Summary: What if their first meeting had gone slightly differently?
Disclaimer: I can only dream of making any money out of this lark, let alone gaining any credit for it.
The Doctor sat uneasily in the television studio, the chair groaning as he tried to swivel in it. Why was he sitting there again? Oh yes. It was all thanks to some ginger woman who apparently had the answer to every known problem in the world if not the universe! Good grief! He hated such 'know it all's. And to think she was paid to spout about it too.
He sighed in irritation and changed position again. Did the universe have to keep rubbing it in his face? All his life he had wanted to be ginger haired, and he found himself landed with another ginger companion when he'd been promised a blonde one. It wasn't fair! Why were some obnoxious people blessed with ginger hair? With a great deal of effort, he fought off a jealous pout.
It was all Sarah Jane Smith's fault, he decided; forcing him to land back on Earth and take care of this one particular problem personally. She had got wind of a plot to kidnap the ginger woman by the H'rae. Why they would want Donna Noble, queen of the afternoon chat show that gave chavs the chance to air their dirty washing in public, was a different matter entirely.
At that thought, Donna appeared on the peripheries of his vision. "Oi you! Swivel boy! Get your act together, pronto!" she yelled at him from across the studio.
How would he describe Donna Noble to anyone that hadn't heard of her? 'Mouthy', sprang to mind. 'Popular', Sarah Jane had insisted on telling him. Hmm, he supposed the tall leggy woman with the figure of a Ruben's model could be considered as attractive as she stood in an outfit that emphasised every single curve; but he was immune to all that. Of course he was; especially when she ranted at him. He rolled his eyes in exasperation as he stood up to greet her ire. "Yes, alright!" he shouted back.
"And don't think I have no idea what you are thinking right now, because I do!" she shot at him as she strode towards him at an alarming rate. "You may get away with cruising on your looks, but around here you are just another lackey."
"Oi! You take that back!" he demanded testily, ignoring the backhanded compliment for the time being. Instead he adjusted his jacket sleeves. "I am not 'just' anything. As for you… well, the jury is out."
A pointed, manicured index finger thrust itself into his face, followed by a menacing voice. "Don't take that tone with me, Sunshine! Or you and me are going to fall out, with plenty of bloodshed. I may have taken you on as an employee but I'm doing this as a favour for your mum."
"My mum?" he mouthed in wonder at her.
She immediately launched into an explanation, "Yes! D'uh! Sarah Jane had very specifically told me her son was a Professor Brainstorm sort of person, with a weird sense of dress." Well, wearing Converses with a suit certainly passed for weird in her world. As did the whole name thing. Who seriously called themselves 'The Doctor', for goodness sake? And there was no way she would satisfy his ego by keeping to 'John'. Oh no; she was not going to pander to John Smith in the slightest.
"You think…?" He couldn't hold in his peal of laughter for any longer. It ripped through his body and left him momentarily weak as he fought to remain upright. As he wiped away the tears from his eyes, he pondered aloud, "I wonder what 'Dad' would have thought of you?"
She regarded him caustically. Flipping cheek! "I've seen the photos of him, mate; and I can see you've inherited the same dress sense, except you don't go in for all the velvet."
That sobered him for a moment as he wondered what photos Sarah Jane possessed from her travels with him and thought back to his third self. "I thought the velvet looked quite dashing," he remarked defensively with a sniff.
Oh dear! It didn't pay to diss someone's dad, not too much anyway, especially if he was probably dead. She patronisingly patted the Doctor on the arm. "I'm sure it did at the time; back in the Dark Ages. And your Old Man wasn't all that bad looking." She then eyed his hair thoughtfully. "Are you likely to go grey early too?"
"What?!" He anxiously touched his hair, as if it needed a consoling hand all on its own.
That had clearly unsettled him. Donna wanted to crow with victory over this arrogant, sanctimonious but oddly likeable boffin. She merely smirked at him knowingly, and dabbed him on the tip of his nose playfully, wanting to tease him a little bit more. "I can tell you're one of the lucky ones. You won't wither and die; instead you'll become more distinguished. Blokes are often lucky like that. Now me," she said, pointing to herself. "I never was pretty, so I've got nothing to lose in that department; but I will miss these when they drop." She then emphasised her words by clutching her well-endowed bosom.
Inevitably his eyes followed her actions, watching her hands move up and down; and he found himself contemplating her ample assets when he really should have been looking elsewhere. "They don't look as though they're about to sag for the wrong reasons," he said as he kept his attention there.
She deliberately pushed her breasts together, and laughed loudly when his eyes practically went boss-eyed with the effort of controlling his reaction to the swell of her flesh. "Thought so!" she trilled triumphantly, and then walked away, leaving him floundering like a landed fish. What was the point of staying around when she had scored all the points she possibly could?
It took a few seconds for him to realise she was leaving him standing there on his own. "Donna! Wait for me!" he called out after her, and gave chase. Not that it took him very long to catch up with her, since she wasn't walking very fast and he was a pretty good runner at the best of times. "So…," he mused as he meandered next to her. "What's next on the agenda?"
She stopped to turn and answer him. "I was thinking some sort of leather fetish followed by a little light spanking."
"I beg your pardon!" he spluttered.
"For a doctor you're not particularly with it at times, John Smith," she chastised him. "The show!" She twirled her finger around in emphasis to denote where they stood. "You know, the whole reason we are standing here among all these cameras and microphones in a television studio. I have to help sort some people out with their problems, and today's topic is finding out your partner's darkest secrets. I'm sure you have plenty of your own."
"What are you implying?" he asked, crossing his arms in self-defence. There might have been a hint of a pout, but he'd never own up to it.
There was a swift glance up his body as Donna sought out another way to goad him. "At a guess, I'd say you have sock odour problems that could kill at twenty paces, and… let me see…" She then circled him as she continued to try and see into his soul. "Hmm… closet gay perhaps although you are more likely to be bi, food issues, and probably commitment phobic. You certainly have a problem with authority and strong women. You're a walking cliché."
"Now look here…!" he started to protest.
"Acting all superior don't win you no friends either; but I'm sure your mum spoilt you rotten like that. It's a common mistake," she carried on saying, completely ignoring his outburst. "Can I just say, for future reference: I've noticed you. Now, you can stop the silly sod act and we can get on with whatever you've been sent to do." An extremely sweet smile was then aimed in his direction.
"Can we have you back in makeup, Miss Noble?" someone wearing a headset stepped up to ask, and Donna was taken away from his slowly forming retort.
He would not get the chance to bring it back into the conversation, much to his annoyance. Instead he made do with glaring at her retreating back. The Doctor reminded himself that he was a man of honour, and having promised Sarah Jane that he would protect Donna Noble, he would carry out that promise.
At that moment Donna was sitting innocently in the makeup chair. "Who's the new squeezy geezer following you around?" the girl asked Donna.
"You've got the wrong end of the stick, Rebecca," she answered. "His name is Dr John Smith, and I'm employing him to look after me as a favour to his mum."
Rebecca wafted a brush over Donna's face. "His mum, you say? It's rare for a man to get a job through his mum. Is he married and why do you need a doctor with you all the time to look after you?"
"He's not married or with anyone, according to his mum," Donna started to say when she spotted him approaching them in the mirror. She called out to him, "Come and meet Rebecca, John. She wants to know why you're bothering to hang about with me."
The Doctor cordially greeted Rebecca, and seated himself where he could easily see them. "I'm making sure Donna stays safe from possible threats."
Rebecca busied herself applying some lip gloss. "SO… John, how long have you been looking after Donna here?"
Donna glared at Rebecca for asking a question when she couldn't reply.
The Doctor noted her discomfort, and answered, "We met last night. I've stayed close by her side ever since."
Rebecca's eyes widened in surprise. "Right by her side? As in… all night…?"
Donna swatted her arm. "That's enough of your cheek! It's none of your business where he slept; but if you must know, he was in another bedroom."
Rebecca pulled a disbelieving face, and emphasised every word. "I'm sure he guarded you all... night... long."
What did that mean? The Doctor found himself to be completely confused by this conversation between Donna and the makeup girl. He opened his mouth to ask a question, but Donna immediately interrupted him.
"Before you ask, yes she is saying that, and no I don't think that way," she told him sternly. "As for you," she continued, aiming these words at Rebecca "put the wooden spoon away. You've done enough stirring for today."
Rebecca merely smirked back at her playfully; she knew she'd have a good laugh about this later with her, especially as John was looking none the wiser. Poor bloke. Did he know what he was letting himself in for with Donna? She certainly didn't suffer fools gladly, but she was a riot to spend any decent time with.
Donna pulled herself up out of the makeup chair, and resisted clicking her fingers at the Doctor. "Come on, Fido. We have a show to go and put on. I might need you to stop a fight or two," she commanded, and winked slyly at Rebecca before leaving the room.
"I'm not called Fido," he grumbled as she swished passed him.