Characters: Ten, Donna, McDonnell, Scannell, Riley
Prompt: Donna in "42" instead of Martha.
Disclaimer: Everything here is borrowed; honest, guv'nor!
A/N: written for heintz571, even though she's probably forgotten she asked for this.
Donna ran to embrace the Doctor in gratitude. That wonderful Martian had saved her by halting the progress of the jettisoned pod she and Riley were trapped in; putting himself at great risk to do so.
"Donna, I need you to help me. I'm sorry but you've got to freeze me, quickly!" the Doctor had told Donna as soon as they'd been reunited and he'd taken his helmet off.
"What?! I can't do that," she had inevitable replied as his words sunk in.
He gritted his teeth. "You can. I know you can," he insisted.
After some seconds she reluctantly replied, "Okay, I'll try."
So with the help of McDonnell she managed to manoeuvre the Doctor into the med-centre and towards the stasis chamber. As they laid him down on the stasis bed, he begged them, "You've got to keep me below minus 200. Freeze it out of me!"
Immediately he began screaming in his suffering torment; and her heart had clenched in sympathy, wanting to end his agony. "Freeze it?" Donna had whispered.
The Doctor attempted to nod. "It'll use me to kill you if you don't! The closer we get to the sun, the stronger it gets!"
Then that hideous computer monitor stated its warning. "Impact in, 7.30," she idly noted to the room. As if they hadn't been aware of the imminent impact!
It was as if the information had hurt the Doctor personally, because he screamed again before calling out pathetically, "Donna, where are you?!"
Donna had been fiddling with the stasis chamber settings, and she raced straight to his side to offer any comfort that she could. "It's alright, sweetheart! I'm here now!" she told him as calmly as she could, stroking his cheek and smoothing his hair back in a fond gesture. "I think I've set the stasis chamber to minus 200, just as you said; so it'll soon be over."
McDonnell had immediately protested, "No, you don't know how this equipment works! You'll kill him! Nobody can survive those temperatures!"
Donna tried not to snort her scorn. "The Doctor isn't human like us. I may not know what I'm doing with this machine, but if he says he can survive this then he can. I've got to save him, no matter what, and freezing is the way to go."
That seemed to change McDonnell's mind, because she then offered, "Let me help you then!"
Donna merely answered sarcastically, "Thanks. I think you'd better after all the damage you lot have done to that poor sun."
The Doctor flailed feebly for something, so Donna grabbed his hand. Immediately he seemed to momentarily calm enough so that he could inform her,"Ten seconds. That's all I'll be able to take. No more!" He then screamed again in pain. "Donna!"
Donna fought against the tears that welled up. She could hardly bear seeing him in so much agony. "Yes Doctor? I'm still here. Just tell me what to do to make it all better and get rid of the pain."
The Doctor gurgled and retched. "It's burning me up. I can't control it. If you don't get rid of it," he started to say, and then his voice went ominously deeper, "I could kill you. I could kill you all." Then he did the scariest thing of all, as far as Donna was concerned, once he'd screamed again; he confessed his fear like a child would. "I'm scared, Donna! I'm so scared!"
"Shh shhh shhhh!" she comforted him, pressing three kisses onto his forehead as she quelled him. "It'll be okay. I won't let anything happen. You and me are partners, remember; you saved me and now it's my turn to save you."
The Doctor gasped."It's bloody killing me! Then what'll happen?!"
Donna desperately wiped away a stray tear before promising, "I won't let it. If it gets even close to topping you I'll slap it from here to next Tuesday!" She placed another kiss on his forehead. "And you'll have my permission to come back and haunt me."
The Doctor managed to slightly smile, but he seemed agitated then as he considered the possibility of dying. "There's this process. This… this thing… that happens… if I'm about to die."
Donna didn't want to hear such defeatist talk from him. "And I told you I won't let it happen. I'm going to start the machine now. Are you ready?" she asked him gently.
The Doctor clung desperately to her hand. "No, but do it anyway."
"See you on the other side." With a last caress of his cheek, she released his hand to push the lever that slid his body into the chamber, typed in the number 200, and pushed the fateful start button. Inside the machine, the Doctor continuously screamed as the process took place, and Donna clasped her hand over her mouth to stop her own sobs as she carefully watched the temperature readout fall. It had to work, she kept telling herself, because anything else without him could not be contemplated.
Suddenly the machine shut down with minus 70 degrees on the display. The Doctor whimpered in distress, "No! Donna, you can't stop it! Not yet!"
She peeked in, seeing him covered with ice crystals and looking very annoyed.
"I didn't stop it! It did this all on its own… or somebody did," she reasoned out.
"The power's been cut in engineering," McDonnell stated.
Donna was fuming! How dare they?! "Who the hell is down there?!"
Obviously McDonnell had a very clear idea who, because she instantly said, "Leave it to me."
Donna watched her leave, running with determination, as the Doctor started to scream again.
A glance towards the computer monitor told her that impact would happen in 4.47. She was in two minds to tell the computer exactly where it could shove its 4.47 minutes; but that wouldn't help the Doctor. He needed calming down, the creature made to bugger off, and the pain to go away; not necessarily in that order. Frantically she punched, pushed and prodded various buttons to get the chamber working again. "Come on, you stupid…! You're not defrosting on me."
The ice crystals, however, had ebbed away, leaving the Doctor in his former state. "Donna! Listen! I've only got a moment. You've got to go!"
Donna peered in at him, and protested, "No way, Spaceman! I'm staying here with you."
The Doctor fretfully cried, "Please, Donna. Get to the front! Vent the engines! Sun particles in the fuel! Get rid of them!"
Donna shook her head at him. "If you think I am leaving you alone…," she warned him stubbornly.
There was a pained gasp. "You've got to! I need you to give back what they took!"
"But Doctor!" she sobbed. "I can't leave you like this."
They reached for each, and the Doctor clasped her hand to plead with a cry, "Please, Donna! Go!"
She knew he was sacrificing himself for the creature and them on the ship; and her heart threatened to tear apart with grief. But she had to hold it together, for him. "I'll be back for you."
The impact status changed down from 4.08 to 3.43 as McDonnell fled from Korwin somewhere near engineering.
Unaware of this, Donna raced towards the front of the ship, passing through area 21 as she went. She was equally unaware of the plight of the Doctor as he fought his own internal battle.
His body twitched and jerked; throwing him to the floor, and drawing out continuous cries of pain as he fought the sun creature. With a great deal of effort, he tried desperately to pull himself upright, and failed just as the computer monitor flashed up, "Survival element protection 0%."
Needing suddenly to speak to his companion one last time, the Doctor crawled along the floor in an effort to follow Donna."Donna!" he cried out.
She briefly ceased running as she entered area 4, hearing his distant cry. "Doctor?! What's the problem?"
Hearing her voice, he stopped crawling; and using his last reserves of energy, answered her question as he felt the last of his will ebb away. "I don't want to kill you, Donna; I'd much rather love you, but I can't fight it any longer. Give it back or…" His normal voice faltered completely then, and his eyes glowed with the heat of the sun. "Burn with me. Burn with me, Donna!"
Shocked realisation hit Donna. The Doctor had been taken over by the creature, and he could only be saved if she acted fast within the next 90 seconds. Ignoring the fear in her heart, she ran as fast as her legs could carry her into area 1, telling Riley and Scannell as soon as she saw them, "Vent the engines. Dump the fuel."
They both stared at her as though she was mad.
"What?" Scannell queried.
"Oh, for the love of Pete! There are sun particles in the fuel. Get rid of them. Now!" she shouted forcefully.
Both blokes sprang into action. They headed towards two almost identical walls, and began twiddling dials, which caused the fuel to be released.
"Come on Spaceman, hold on," she muttered to herself whilst the men worked.
With one final turn and twist of the dials, the fuel dispersed into space; and the ship lurched sideways. They were flung about like ragdolls; fortunately travelling in the TARDIS meant that Donna knew exactly how to hold on tightly. But the readout showed that the fuel dump had been successful.
The Doctor continued to scream in agony as the ship's fuel fell back into the sun; and then his eyes finally stopped glowing. Still in some pain, he turned onto his back as his eyes returned to normal.
The ship lurched more and more violent for a few seconds. Then, with big beaming smiles, Scannell and Riley embraced; but Donna ignored their celebration. Her thoughts were only on the Doctor and his wellbeing.
"Spaceman," she whispered and ran. She reached him just as he pulled himself to his feet, looking more than slightly worse for wear. With a whoop of joy, she hugged him tightly, and he eagerly returned the embrace.
"Just tell them. That sun needs care and protection, just like any other living thing," the Doctor ordered Scannell and Riley just as he stepped into the TARDIS.
Scannell nodded seriously, taking in the message.
Donna followed the Doctor in, casting the two men a last glance and a smile of thanks as she did so. "So… it sort of all turned out alright in the end, didn't it?!" she hesitantly said. However, rather than being his usual beaming self, the Doctor looked somewhat sad and distant as he buried himself in his thoughts. Realising her mistake, she sidled up to his side to softly say, "Sorry. How are you feeling now?"
Rather than answer her, the Doctor sniffed and became business like."Now! What do you say? Do you fancy ice skating on a mineral lake on a distant planet?"
Donna frowned at him in disappointment. "Stop trying to evade the subject, Spaceman." At his shocked expression, she added, "You're upset about what happened to that sun creature; I can tell."
Inwardly he sighed in relief; she wasn't bringing up his unintentional admission. "Yes, I am," he confessed."By the way, you'll be needing this." He then pulled out of his pocket a TARDIS key on a long chain.
"Really?!" she wondered as she gazed at the key in his hand. "It's about bloody time too, if you ask me." She then caught his look of surprise. "Oops! Sorry. It's a big moment this; giving me the key to your home. Thanks, Spaceman." She grinned broadly at him.
"Frequent Flier's Privilege," he informed her as he slowly fed it into her hand, and looked at her properly. "Thank you."
"You're welcome! That's what friends are for," she stated. "And talking of friends… what was all that about wanting to love me rather than kill me, back there?"
He groaned, quite loudly. "About that, Donna…"
She stood expectantly. "Yeah, what about it?"
"Friends love each other," he argued.
"I suppose they do," she reluctantly agreed. "Except they don't tend to say it in that way."
"They don't?" He feigned ignorance. "Then I shall endeavour to say it differently in the future."
"Will you now?" she quizzed him, stepping closer, causing him to gulp nervously. "And how exactly are you planning to say it, next time you happen to blurt out that you want to love me?"
He hastily adjusted his collar. "I don't think I worded it like that," he stammered.
"I think you did," she insisted. "Or are you saying you don't want to love me anymore?"
"Well… I… erm… I wasn't the one going around kissing people," he countered by changing the subject.
"On the forehead," she pointed out testily. "It wasn't as though I was snogging you."
"You could have. I mean, your intention might have been to snog me," he spluttered, sounding quite reasonable to his ears.
You what?! Surely he didn't believe that load of tosh! It was on the tip of her tongue to remind him he'd been crying and whimpering pathetically when she'd done that. But he'd been in so much pain, had been so frightened of what the creature might do to him, how could she use that as a weapon against him, even when he was being a prat later on about it all?
"Call it a moment of madness," she said magnanimously instead, "a bit like Christmas, New Year, or your birthday, when you'd kiss anyone. In fact, I could say I'd almost snog you to death, right here, right now. But I won't, cos I know you'd hate that."
"Too right I would," he muttered scornfully.
"Yep, lucky break for you," she sympathised, and patted his arm. "To make it up to you I'd better go and make us a cup of tea. How does that sound?"
"Brilliant," he immediately enthused. As she walked away down the corridor towards the kitchen, he mumbled, "Utterly brilliant."
Funnily enough, he didn't sound all that pleased about his 'lucky' escape. Very strange that. And equally strange was his vow to never blurt out the word 'love' in front of Donna; or stupid, depending on your point of view.