A/N: Hello there, Doctor Who fandom! This is my first foray into actually writing ficcage for it, so I'm rather excited. Despite my love of Matt Smith, this is a Ten fic because it fit my idea. Also, because he's still pretty damn awesome.
Anyway, on the subject of the idea, I have to give a shout out for that. On some random oneshot I read a while back, some anonymous person signed their review "oodnoodle". I laughed rather a lot, and then it just festered in my brain for a while until this oneshot popped out. So thanks, whoever you are, for both the laugh and this random bit of prose I've come up with.
Disclaimer, because even though I've learned that they're completely unnecessary and the fact that it's FFN protects you, it's kind of a tradition: RTD owns the Ood, I believe, and I'm pretty sure everything else is property of the BBC. Possibly the Ood as well. Really not sure about that one.
After the debacle that had been the trip to Pompeii—he had wanted Donna's first real trip to be a lot more fun than that—the Doctor had decided that they needed to do something ridiculously bland, but somehow still interesting enough to ensure that she didn't just give up on him and go home.
An exotic restaurant seemed like the prefect plan.
"Hello, and welcome to the OodNoodleSphere," said the maître d'. "Will you be dining in today?"
"Yep," the Doctor said. "Have you got a table for two anywhere?"
The maître d' inclined his head in the affirmative. "Follow me."
As they followed, Donna leaned over and whispered, "What's wrong with his face?"
"He's an Ood," the Doctor explained. "They're a subservient species. People use them for personal attendants, cheap labor… That sort of thing."
"Then why's this one running a restaurant?" she asked.
"Oh, he's not the one running it," he told her. "Someone else owns the place. Braffle Corbotinus, if I remember correctly. Decent fellow, but don't get too close to his piñatas."
Donna looked baffled, but the Ood had stopped in front of a small table and was waiting expectantly for them to seat themselves.
Once they had done so, his light came on again and he said, "Your server will be with you shortly. Can I bring you any beverages?"
The Doctor glanced around the table, and, seeing no menus, asked, "What have you got?"
"We have nigena juice, a lovely and refreshing nigena juice cream shake, nigena juice with vodka, nigena juice with ice, nigena juice with lemon, and water."
"Just a water for me," Donna said.
The Ood nodded.
The Doctor looked speculative for a moment, then said, "I'll give that cream shake a go, I think."
The Ood nodded again and left.
"What on Earth is nigena juice?" Donna asked.
"It's like apple juice or orange juice or any other kind of juice," the Doctor replied, "just made with nigena fruit."
Donna sighed. "I had figured that part out, thanks."
"Then why'd you ask?"
"I was hoping you could explain what it tasted like," she replied exasperatedly.
"Oh." He was silent for a moment, pondering. "Well… Kind of like… all the things that smell good and taste bad."
"It tastes like a load of stuff that tastes bad?"
"No, no, no." He shook his head. "It tastes like the smell of a load of stuff that tastes bad. It's actually quite good."
Donna stared at him. "You couldn't possibly make less sense than you're making right now."
He grinned. "Oh, I think you'll find that's really not true. I'll give you a sip, how's that?"
An Ood came up to their table and set a glass of water in front of Donna, and something that looked like oranges and manure whipped, shaken, and stirred together and topped with partially digested tree leaves in front of the Doctor. Then it released its orb from its shirt and held it up.
"Would you like an appetizer, or will you be skipping straight to the entrées today?"
The Doctor looked expectantly at Donna.
"Entrées," she replied, marginally worried that all the original creations of the OodNoodleSphere were going to look like the nigena cream shake.
"Excellent," the Ood said. "What would you like?"
They both looked around the table in search of menus, and still finding none, the Doctor sighed as he was forced to repeat his earlier question.
"What have you got?"
"Pente, linguingi, festershini, tortellonini, rabioli, and our specialty, the OodNoodle. Choices of sauce are white, red, pink, brown, and yellowish-green."
Donna raised an eyebrow at the similar-but-not-quite-right names of the pasta selections, but didn't comment.
"What exactly is the OodNoodle?" the Doctor asked, intrigued.
"A cylindrical pasta with very slight waves along it, appearing in a reddish-pink sort of color. Vaguely slimy and rather chewy. Side effects include upset stomach, cramps, occasional twitching, and, very rarely, a slight case of Oodity. Many of our customers enjoy them."
Even the Doctor couldn't look interested in that.
"I'll have some linguingi," Donna said, feeling like she had peanut butter stuck to the roof of her mouth—or perhaps a bad cold—as she pronounced the word. She really hoped that it was just linguini, and the extra 'g' didn't coincide with anything else added to the pasta. "With white sauce, please."
"Of course." The Ood turned to the Doctor. "For you?"
"The tortellonini," he said, "with the yellowish-green sauce, because what's dinner without a little adventure?"
The Ood nodded and left.
"Oodity?" Donna asked in a half-whisper.
"Apparently." The Doctor's nose wrinkled up slightly. "Not going near that one."
"What is it?"
"Usually just a change in behavior, but in severe cases… Well, essentially, you turn into an Ood."
Donna's jaw dropped. "You turn into an Ood?" She jabbed her thumb behind her, toward the doors to the kitchen. "You turn into one of them?"
She shuddered. "And the OodNoodle, he wasn't describing…" She wiggled her fingers in front of her mouth, rather comically. "…was he?"
"Sounded like he was, didn't it?"
She shuddered again. "That's vile."
"Which is why we didn't order that," he said, and pulled his shake toward himself.
She watched him apprehensively as he drank, some tiny part of her expecting him to keel over, gasping, and most of her expecting at least an expression of disgust.
Neither actually happened. He just shrugged and pushed the glass toward her.
"Thanks, but I'd really rather not."
He shook his head. "Not an option. You came with me to have adventures, yeah? The least you can do is try a mediocre fruit shake."
She shot a glare his way, but had to admit that she was traveling with him in order to shake up her ordinary life. She stuck her straw into the thick shake and took a short sip.
It was definitely weird enough to get a strange expression out of her, but it wasn't necessarily bad. With the right supporting flavors, it might even be good.
Then, moments later, an unidentifiable flavor hit the back of her throat and forced her into a watery-eyed coughing fit.
The Doctor visibly bit back a grin as she gulped down water. "Could be an acquired taste, I suppose."
She was coughing too ceaselessly to reply.
The rest of the waiting time was passed by the Doctor describing some of the quirky planets he'd visited. Apparently, he had once stopped on a beach where the waves had frozen mid-storm, over ten feet high and towering. Personally, Donna would have been worried about taking an icicle through the skull, but it did sound beautiful.
He was partway through telling her about a culture that ate gold and used meat pies as currency when the waiter returned with their entrées. He set down their plates and wordlessly retreated to the kitchen.
Donna frowned. "I was going ask for another water."
"It's not customary here to ask for things that you're not offered," the Doctor explained. "Luckily, they're not completely unsympathetic."
He picked up a water pitcher that she hadn't even noticed and poured her a second glass.
"No problem. Try your noodles."
She looked down at her plate. The pasta was—thank heavens—normal-looking, although she did have to remove a rather suspicious leafy bundle that had been placed on the top as a garnish. She took a hesitant bite and found that the sauce was very flavorful, even if the flavors weren't ones she had ever tasted before.
Weird, yes. Good… also yes.
The Doctor hadn't touched his own food. He was too busy watching Donna for her reaction. Once he got a cheerful thumbs-up from her, he turned his attention to his own dish. He had to admit that the sauce looked a bit like snot, but he wasn't one to pass up any new experiences.
Unfortunately, the sauce also tasted a bit like snot; it was incredibly bland, save an excess of salt, and had an ever-so-slightly phlegmy texture.
"How's yours?" Donna asked dubiously, just as put off by the appearance of his entrée as she had been by his drink.
"It tastes like someone had a traumatic break-up and cried messily over my pasta," he replied genially. "How's yours?"
After pausing for a moment to take in his peculiar description, she said, "It's actually really good."
Half an hour later, the Doctor's meal had been pushed off to the side with two bites missing (Donna had to see just how accurate the Doctor's description had been; the answer was "unnervingly so") and Donna's plate had been scraped clean by two forks.
"So that wasn't so bad, right?" the Doctor asked as they nodded cordially to the maître d' on their way out.
"It was alright," Donna agreed, smiling.
"I don't suppose you want to see the place where the Ood come from?" he asked. "For lack of a better idea."
She shrugged. "Sounds interesting. Let's give it a go."
Grinning, he pushed open the door to the TARDIS and they headed off to tour the OodSphere.
A/N: So, ignoring the bits in Planet Of The Ood where Donna doesn't know what the Ood are, this little oneshot is pretty much canon. Not that it needs to be. It's really just me having a bit of fun.
I'm really not sure how well I kept (or even got in the first place) Donna in character. Generally, I'm pretty sure I'm alright, but as far as the dialogue goes... It's been a little while since I saw season four so I couldn't really hear her in my head like I can with some of the others (Eleven, Amy, Rory, River... Gosh, wonder what I've been watching recently...). Hopefully she still came out alright.
So, feedback is always great. It's been about three years since I've been new in a fandom (i.e. basically when I joined FFN), so I'm actually really excited about reviews on this.
Alright, well, I'm really going to post this now. Geronimo!