Prompt: Jenny heals Donna and then goes in search of her dad, just after EoT and finds a way to stop him from dying.
Disclaimer: I had Jeff the Snowman (who later possibly became Father Christmas) held hostage in the back garden for days, and it still didn't win me these characters.
A/N: This was written for tardis-mole. I was asked not to post this until it was completely finished. Damn it was hard to keep to that!
Follow The Star
It hadn't taken Jenny very long to miss her father. Just three days after leaving Messaline she was desperately wondering where he and Donna were; what they were doing, and how they were.
She thought back to when they had sat in that prison cell together, and Donna had suddenly commented, "Be careful, Spaceman; she'll be calling me 'Mum' next."
Funnily enough Jenny had dismissed the question that had immediately entered her mind because something else had cropped up; he had tried to deny her connection to him.
Not a Time Lord, he had remarked, that she would never be one since they all had a shared history. His words had hurt more than she had cared to admit in front of him. Then again, it had made her determined to please him as much as possible. It seemed to have worked, because he had later hugged her. That felt good, that hug. Nothing else had compared to it so far.
What if she had thought to hug Donna? Would that have felt as good? She would never know now, unless… Unless she sought them out and hugged them both. Yes, that would work, she decided. She would seek out her father and try to claim some of the Time Lord label he had mentioned with such reverence.
The only problem was how. How would she find him? What was it Donna had said? Human. Donna was a human from the planet Earth. Surely that wouldn't be too difficult to find? Much less difficult than leaping from planet to planet in a guessable order to find where they had landed that particular day. Of course that idea depended upon whether Donna actually bothered to go back to Earth every now and again. But it was a start, and Jenny was happy to have a workable plan finally to put into practice.
With added new vigour, she punched in information on the navigation dashboard. The colony had come from Earth, they had told her; so logic said it must have a destination origin to pinpoint and travel towards. Milliseconds later an image pinged up on the monitor before her, showing the size, coordinates, and generalised atmosphere data about the planet Earth. Beaming from ear to ear, Jenny pressed the green button and took her first intergalactic step towards her family. A squeal of delight followed as the engines boomed into life.
She was heading for her version of home.
Donna sighed. It was all getting too much for her, what with the flowers suddenly leaping up in price, cousin Alison losing weight so that her bridesmaid's dress would have to be altered, again! The community centre had double booked so she had lost that venue for the reception, making her have to book the Scouts' hut down by the football pitches at the last moment. God knew what state it would be in when they tried to set up some buffet tables. And that was another thing; Sylvia's Wednesday Girls had offered to help, but they were on the verge of falling out with each other. A case of too many chiefs and not enough indians, as usual, if you asked her. Typical!
And now Shaun had lost his voice, so nobody would be able to hear him speak his wedding vows. So much so that she might have to have Nerys step in and take his place. Okay, so she wouldn't actually do that. Nerys was taken for a start! And she'd much rather be married to a bloke, even if dealing with the weekly underwear wash was an obstacle she could definitely do without.
She put down her pen, took her head in her hands and sighed again. Why was she so determined to have a white wedding? What drove her to do this? There was no guarantee it would make the marriage any better. She snorted then. What did it matter? She was fast approaching 40, still single and without a permanent job. What she needed was some stability in her life, and not this gnawing chasm that tore at her very soul. Something was missing; that was all she knew.
Tears dripped onto the notepad in front of her before she was even aware of it. Her mother had caught her out the night before by suddenly asking if she loved Shaun enough to marry him. The answer had almost choked her, but eventually she had stuttered out, "Of course I do." But it hadn't sounded convincing. Not in the slightest.
"Donna," Sylvia had gasped in a tone that admonished her. "You shouldn't marry the first man that proposes. You're worth more than that!"
"That's the thing, Mum," she had responded sadly. "I don't think I am at times. Shaun was the only bloke who's given me a second glance, and I'm too old to be choosy."
Too many protests wanted to come out of Sylvia's mouth, and too many of them involved bringing up topics that were completely taboo; or rather had become taboo. Instead all she could do was hug her daughter and offer comfort by saying she'd always support her life choices. What else could she do in those circumstances? Nothing without killing the person Donna had become. It was bad enough that her former self had been killed.
None of this was said as Sylvia gave Donna one of her rare hugs; but Donna appreciated the gesture enormously. As she sat there at her table she could have done with another of those precious hugs.
Idly looking out of her window she happened to notice something that looked like a shooting star. If she didn't know any better she'd have thought it was the Christmas Star back on a farewell tour. Oh my! She'd never seen one before, thanks to frequently cloudy skies and light pollution; and it caused another ache in her heart. To think a space particle that had once torn through the universe had landed right near her. What would she give to be able to travel out in space? It wouldn't happen now; she was too old to be an astronaut and Britain wasn't exactly known for having a space programme. It all seemed so unfair.
Later that night she lay in bed on her side, staring out into her darkened bedroom. She couldn't sleep again. Too many thoughts kept swirling around in her brain. Thoughts about that meteorite, where it had landed and what it might have brought with it.
After trying in vain for several hours, she decided to give up and go investigate.
Jenny rubbed her head, trying to take away the pain that throbbed through her skull. In hindsight she should have devised a system of scanning the planet surface to detect the life signs she sought. Oh well, it was too late to regret that. Instead she peered at the landscape she had found herself embedded in. Oops! That could have gone more smoothly.
Pushing on the inner lever, the main door swung open, releasing Jenny and wafting in the fumes of the burning plant life that had saved her from destruction. She waved a hand about in front of her face and coughed dramatically. "Perhaps landing in water would have been better," she commented to herself.
Climbing out, she could see that her craft was sitting at the bottom of a freshly created crater. Another oops! That would attract some attention. After a few attempts, she managed to scale the sides and sit up on the rim as she contemplated her next move. With glee she calculated that the light pollution was coming from an extremely large city; probably London itself! That meant that Donna might be very near. She clapped her hands in excitement.
It hadn't taken Donna long to get into her mum's car and drive off into the night. The trail the meteorite had blazed wasn't too far away, possibly close to Heathrow or the M25, judging by the trajectory. How she knew she was so certain of this was a different mystery to her, but she just knew.
There wasn't much traffic on the Chiswick flyover, and soon she was bombing along the M4 towards her goal. Following her senses, she headed towards the reservoirs, knowing it had landed somewhere near there, but without attracting too much attention from the airport. They'd probably dismissed as a shooting star; but she knew better.
Finally she was in a position she was happy in, and stopped the car. It was here, not far away. Stepping out, she could smell the scorched earth and followed its scent faithfully. Within minutes she found the outer edge of the crater, and searched the area desperately. Something was calling to her, begging for her attention; and then she saw who it was.
Squatting in the darkness was a girl with blonde hair that hung in a long ponytail against the girl's back as it shone in the moonlight; it was the only visible part of her in the diminished light. But Donna was strongly compelled to get closer, and communicate.
As she got to about twenty metres away the girl suddenly looked up, seemingly confused.
"Hello," Donna softly greeted her. "I get the feeling you wanted me to come." She should have felt self-conscious standing there but she didn't for some reason. The voice in her head was jubilant now, and offering all sorts of wordless love as it reached out for her.
The girl stood up gracefully, her expression welcoming as she took in the fact this was the one person she had hoped to meet. "Donna? Is that you?" she wondered falteringly.
What? How did she know her name? "Yes, I'm Donna. What's going on? Is this some practical joke being played on me?! Because I don't find it funny in the slightest!" Hurt and anger rolled off Donna in waves as she considered what this situation might really mean.
The voice in her head turned to soothing sounds, obviously wanting to reassure her that all was okay.
The girl eased forward, until she could make out Donna's face reasonably clearly. "Donna, it's me; Jenny," she said.
"Jenny who?" Donna queried. "I don't know a Jenny." Except there was something familiar about her that she was trying to avoid at all costs.
"Yes you do! You were there with Dad," she insisted. "That's why I called to you. Please, Donna; I need your help to find him. Where is he?"
"I was? I think you've got the wrong person, love. I don't know any blokes with a daughter called Jenny," Donna protested as the girl got nearer still. "In fact, I don't think…" Her words ground to a halt as she looked at the girl standing there with her dark outfit that bared her arms in a t shirt, and her blonde hair lifted out of the way for practical purposes. For some reason she could picture her doing acrobatics like some Olympian gymnast.
"Don't you know me, Donna? Or should I call you Mum? I was a bit too shy to ask when I came out of the machine. I've missed you so much and I can't wait to catch up with Dad," Jenny enthused as she saw recognition bloom on Donna's face.
"You're Jenny! But you died. We left you dead on a slab," Donna stammered out, pointing at her. "You stepped out of a portable toilet machine all smiles and carrying a gun," she gasped. "And I was standing there watching you with… with…"
"With Dad," Jenny finished for her. "Cobb thought you were Dad's woman, but you said you weren't like that, that you were friends; so I didn't risk calling you Mum."
"You wanted to call me Mum?" Donna quizzed her, feeling suddenly pleased at the revelation. "I would have loved that. Why didn't you say? Of course you can. Come here." She opened her arms wide, and Jenny rushed into her embrace.
As their bodies met so did their minds, wrapping themselves around each other in joyous contentment. But all was not as well as it could have been.
Their hug hadn't lasted long when Donna murmured, "Jenny, I've got something to tell you. Something really bad."
"What's that?" Jenny whispered back, reluctant to let go.
Donna's voice sounded slightly strained as she said, "There was a bit of a problem after we left you; and… not to beat about the bush… it's killing me. I won't be able to hold it off for much longer unless you are willing to risk helping me."
"What do I have to do, Mum? Tell me. I'll do anything," Jenny quickly vowed desperately. She had only just gained Donna back and she wasn't willing to lose her again.
Through gritted teeth, Donna told her, "Bring your hands up and lightly touch my temples with your fingers… Yes, that's it; you'll need to keep them there. You're going to feel a bit of a blast, but it won't hurt too much. Are you ready?"
Jenny nodded. "I'm ready," she said determinedly.
Intense light shot out of Donna, flooding her mind as Jenny bravely held on. And then the universe burst into her head. Staggering backwards, Jenny asked, "What just happened to you?"
"It was a metacrisis regeneration, but I syphoned off some it into you so that you could gain some of your dad's knowledge," Donna explained.
Jenny mentally felt around her head, nudging at pockets of information that enticed her to go exploring more. "Wow!" she exclaimed.
"I need to get you home and into a healing sleep," Donna informed her. "In fact we both do, so get in the car. You're coming home with me."
Jenny instantly found herself being manhandled into a small cramped machine with square-ish portholes, and rather a feeble console. "Where exactly are we going?" she wondered.
Donna smiled back at her as she started the engine. "We're going to Chiswick, Jenny. Welcome to London."