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Title: Altered History: The Runaway Bride
Genre: Doctor Who
Rating: T (language, Donna anger, Doctor anger)
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: Donna Noble's wedding day wasn't what she expected. Disappearing, kidnapped by robots (twice!), being attacked, and learning she had a worthless fiancée. But the most unsettling part is her savior: an alien ponce who makes all Human men look bad. Even when he is acting like the Spaceman that he is.
Disclaimer: Not mine. I'm taking the Whoniverse and meddling drastically with it.
Special Author's Note: This opening is listed a little different. A special dedication will be at the end of the chapters. Why? I'm trying to surprise at least some of you. If I say right here what brought about this story, I think it'll spoil it. Suffice to say... be prepared for a ride.
Dedication: Two this time. One is cassikat, who I owe more of The Noble Girl to. So sorry, my friend. I hope this compensates a bit. I know I owe you for birthday and Christmas. And also to hezikiah, whose birthday prodded me to rush to get the first chapter ready and posted. And yes, I owe you a prompt. Muse stalled on it, hard. And a huge thanks to tardis_mole for awesome beta work.


Chapter One / Chapter Two


Altered History: The Runaway Bride

Started February 25, 2017
Story Unfinished as of start of posting


Chapter Three: Rooftop Exchanges

Donna looked at her watch. Just gone half eleven. Too late. So she couldn't even think about what was happening behind her. They were on some high rise rooftop in London. She had no idea where.

She vaguely heard the Doctor coughing and spluttering, and the sound of a fire extinguisher as he battled the smoke billowing from inside. “It's all right, Old Girl,” she heard. “You'll be fine. Just rest for a while.”

Only when it was all calmed did he put down the extinguisher and join Donna. “The old girl does a lot of amazing things, even more so for a spaceship, but flying within a planet's atmosphere isn't one of her strengths. She'll need a couple of hours to heal and be flight capable again.”

She had no reaction. Just kept staring out over the skyline.

The Doctor stilled. After seeing her so animated earlier, seeing her so empty felt wrong. “Are you all right?”

She shrugged. “Doesn't matter,” she said quietly.

“This might be a daft question, but... did we miss it?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, can you book another date?”

“Course we can,” she muttered.

“Don't you still have the honeymoon?”

“It's just a holiday now.”

“Oh... yes... sorry.” He looked in the same direction she was, taking his cues from her. “Look, I'm out of my depth here. Never dealt with anything like this before, and I've seen a lot of things.”

She glanced at him, for once gently. “It's not your fault.”

The Doctor smiled. “Thank you. Now I remember why I bother with you lot.”

Donna sighed, and had to comment, “Didn't you say she's a time machine? Then we could go back and get it right as soon as she's ready.”

He shook his head firmly. “Donna, I can't go back on someone's personal timeline. I've done it before, and it's always been bad. I'll only do it if the alternative is worse. And I don't want to experience that again. Last time I had to let my companion think I'd died.”

Donna narrowed her eyes at the Doctor, trying to tell whether he was messing with her. But she didn't want to worry about it, and so she moved to sit on the edge of the roof. Only her diving experience kept her from feeling nervous about it, and as bad as her day had been she was not going to give her detractors the satisfaction of completely giving up.

He saw her shiver, and shook his head. How very Human for them to not dress warmly enough. But he felt sorry for her, and so he took off the satchel so he could remove his jacket. “Here,” he said, draping it around her shoulders. “Don't want you freezing.”

She was startled. “Oh. Thanks.” As he sat beside her, she sniffed the lapels. “Weird. You aren't a big man, but I wouldn't say that this wouldn't fit a rat.”

“A rat wouldn't choose to wear clothes,” he replied. He frowned as he recalled something important. “I need something to keep you safe from those creatures,” he remarked, digging into his pockets. “They can trace you. Ah-ha!”

Donna scowled when he produced what looked like a wedding ring. “Oh, do you have to rub it in?”

He was patient. “This is a bio-damper. It should keep you hidden. May I?” he asked, holding his free hand out to her left.

She thought a moment, and sighed as she offered her hand.

He carefully and gently placed it into place, looking her in the eyes the whole time. “With this ring, I thee bio-damp,” he said, gently teasing.

She had to smile at his little antic. “For better or for worse.”

The Doctor smiled at her. “There, now. I knew you had it into you to give a lovely smile.”

Donna laughed and drew her hand back. “So, come on then. Robot Santas -- what are they for?”

He knew a deflection when he heard it. He was gifted at them himself. “Oh, they're your basic robo-scavenger. The Father Christmas stuff is just a disguise. They're trying to blend in. I've met them a few times, including last Christmas.”

“Why, what happened then?”

He looked back at her and blinked. “You mean you missed the great big spaceship hovering over London?”

She flinched and looked away. “I had a bit of a hangover,” she hedged.

The Doctor shook his head and exhaled quietly. “I still don't understand Humans sometimes. Getting yourselves so sloshed that you miss potentially important events. What's the point?”

“Oi,” she muttered, not feeling the urge to challenge him with more force than that.

“But the important question is, what do camouflaged robot mercenaries want with you? And how did you get inside the TARDIS if my people weren't responsible for it?” he asked aloud as he contemplated her.

Donna rolled her eyes. He was going to be all Spaceman and she was going to have to quiet him somehow.

He reached into his jacket pocket. “Sorry, I need the medical probe,” he promptly said, guessing a slap might be in his future otherwise. “I won't touch anything that doesn't concern me. What's your job?”

“I'm a secretary,” she said as he began scanning her.

“Any specialties? Work for anyone really important?”

“Shorthand, typing, dictation. I type 150 words per minute, and I know the Dewey system, backwards. Not that I need that at H C Clements. I'm in the pool.”

“Well, that rules out working directly for someone important. And what does H C Clements do?” he added as he drew it away to listen to the readings again.

Her eyes narrowed at the probe. “Oh, security systems, you know... entry codes, ID cards -- that sort of thing. If you ask me, it's a posh name for 'locksmiths'.”

“Keys...” he mused as he shook his head, speaking absentmindedly. “I don't understand. This is weird and I deal in weird all the time. I mean, you're not powerful, you've got no connections to powerful figures on Earth, you're not important by any meaningful definition of the word to any other species. And I'm not yet seeing a specialness that would matter outside your friends and family. So why were you targeted?”

She noticed that he meant no insult, but the words were too close for comfort. “These friends of yours you mentioned – just before they left, did any of them punch you in the face? Stop bleeping me!” she snapped, raising her hand as he raised the probe again.

He sighed. “Okay, okay, okay,” he said as he put the probe away just as carefully as he drew it out. “How did you get the job?”

His tone mollified her enough that she relaxed into telling her story. “I was temping. I arrived on my first day to be placed in a crowded, open-plan office space. I mean, it was all a bit posh really. I'd spent the last two years at a double glazing firm. Well, I thought -- I'm never gonna fit in here. And that's when I met Lance. We met eyes from across the office, and then he made me a coffee. I mean, that just doesn't happen. Nobody gets the secretaries a coffee. And Lance -- he's the head of HR! He don't need to bother with me! But he was nice, he was funny.”

The Doctor listened to her, watching her come alive as she recalled the events that led her to today. She was engaging when she wasn't angry, he decided. Maybe she would make a good companion, if she weren't getting married.

“And it turns out he thought everyone else was really snotty too. So that's how it started, me and him -- one cup of coffee. That was it.”

“So when was this?”

“Six months ago.”

He was puzzled. “Sounds a bit quick, to get married that soon in this age. Don't most people want more time together first? At least that's what I understand.”

She hesitated. “Well... he insisted,” she claimed. She was lost in the memories of those moments trying to persuade Lance. “And he nagged... and he nagged me... And he just wore me down and then finally, I just gave in.”

He noticed the shifty look in her eyes and he waited until she looked close enough in his direction to notice his focus. “Are you lying to me?”

“You what?!” she blurted.

The Doctor narrowed his eyes. “Donna, I have lived a long time. I might still be ignorant of a lot of Human habits and patterns, but I can tell that there's more to the story. Your hesitation suggests that maybe you're not telling me the whole account. If I'm to protect you from those creatures and to figure out what they want with you, I can't afford to be lied to. Not even slightly.”

Donna winced and thought about it. At length she groaned. “Fine! I nagged him. There, are you happy? You know my dirty secret.”

“I wouldn't say it makes me happy. If anything it makes me feel sorry for you. Why would a beautiful woman need to nag a man into marrying her?”

She gave him a look like she thought he was stupid. “Have you even noticed what colour my hair is?”

“Yes, you have this unique shade of ginger. Reminds me of some of the most beautiful sights in the universe.”

The honest look and implication that he thought her being beautiful was a matter of fact not opinion gave her pause, and she had to think to remember her usual tirade. “Well, people on Earth haven't liked gingers much for a long while. I can't remember a time in school when I wasn't teased about it.”

“What is it about you Humans, being so fixed on physical characteristics and assigning value to them?”

“If I knew what started it, I might be able to do something about it, dumbo.”

“I still don't have an answer.”

She didn't care to answer, but she knew he would insist. Something about him seemed like he didn't forget about something readily. “Well, the dislike is enough that no one's ever been interested enough to want me for anything other than practice. Lance was the first to treat me well. Anyway, enough of my CV. Come on, it's time to face the consequences.” Her face fell into her hands briefly. “Oh, this is gonna be so shaming. You can do the explaining, Martian-boy.”

He had a tiny smile on his face. “Donna, I'm not from Mars and I'm obviously not a boy.”

Donna smirked. “I'm not taking it back. Not unless you show me if there really are Martians.”

“Would be difficult. They're no longer living in your age, and they were very secretive. So! Shall we go and ensure your family and fiancée know you're safe?”

“Okay.”

The Doctor stood and lent her his hands to help her up. “There we go! Oh, keep my jacket for the moment. We might have a little wait getting a ride to the church,” he said as he put the satchel back on.

“No, we should go on to the reception site,” she said as they walked. “There was another wedding scheduled after us, so they would have to leave by now anyway. Oh, I had this great big reception all planned. Everyone's gonna be heartbroken.”

“No, they'll be happy you're safe! What could they be doing other than fretting about you?”

/=/=/=/=/=/

Special Dedication and Rest of the Author's Note: In a sense, this is ultimately dedicated to a charming and talented man known as Paul McGann. I saw him for the third con this February at Gallifrey One. I went despite recently being sick (that's what you have to do with work when your job doesn't have sick days, and I made sure my doctor didn't think I needed special precautions because I would have had to stay home in that case – something that would've devastated me), and felt a huge emotional boost merely from being there. And of course, any chance to see him is worth a lot. Put simply, he makes any con worth going to. (Read what you will into that.)

And with having seen him, I came home and listened to every last copy of an Eighth Doctor Adventure from Big Finish that I owned and hadn't listened to yet. I'm hungry for more, and had already gained at least two plot bunnies from talking with PM. But this one? Huge, and came to me randomly afterward.

So if you haven't figured it out yet, it's not Nine who Donna's met. It's Eight. And he thinks the Time Lords have imposed another witness protection person on him. For clarification, a passing knowledge of Lucie Miller's first Big Finish adventure, Blood of the Daleks, is useful for understanding his mindset. She's one of Eight's companions, and... much like with Donna... she didn't get on with the Doctor at first. And perhaps had more reason to take out anger on him.

If anyone is blinking over the Doctor's described outfit, I can explain. It wasn't seen on screen in either the Movie or Night of the Doctor, but it is from the Dark Eyes series from Big Finish. (While I don't currently own any copies, I will one day soon! I keep hearing great things about it.) I was going to use the Night of the Doctor outfit, but it dawned on me that the Dark Eyes one allowed me to potentially throw some confusion into the mix. Couldn't resist.

Please enjoy the rest of the ride!

Chapter Four: Unreceptive Reception</a>

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
dm12
Mar. 16th, 2017 07:03 pm (UTC)
Well, he was much more polite about it, putting it in context instead of just blurting out half-comments.
Being as old as he is, he would realize that Donna wasn't exactly telling the truth of how she came to be marrying Lance. He also didn't "bleep" her without explaining, and still with the ring! I could see that playing out a little differently without DT's wistful adoring stare at her. A little more humor in it with Eight.

I love that he told her she's beautiful and that people would be worried for her and ever so glad and relieved to see that she was safe and sound. Right, as if..... and Eight is going to get a little angry at their reaction, I think (as Ten should have).

And he did deal with the Sycorax the year before, but without regeneration and without a certain other person....hmm... He's not pining after anyone! I like it.
tkel_paris
Mar. 17th, 2017 02:50 am (UTC)
I think Eight was much more restrained in many ways, for all he could get excited about things. He also knew enough here to perhaps focus on other things to keep on Donna's good side. He does need information, and although he no longer thinks his people are behind this he's looking for clues. But I think he has decided she's a good one. An adoring look seemed wrong at this point with him.

Hah! He's not afraid to give someone what for, based on the audios. So wait for it... :)

Nope. He isn't. :D
cassikat
Mar. 16th, 2017 09:14 pm (UTC)
I love the biodamper scene, even though he's not acting as besotted at that moment as 10. Also love that he caught on to the lie about who rushed the wedding.

I also love that, even though she's slapped him, he's still trying to bolster her confidence and reassure her.

And yes, I'm very nearly drooling in anticipation for the reception. Is he going to hold his tongue for Donna's sake, or are we going to get the full Oncoming Storm? *tries to figure out how to travel to tomorrow without a TARDIS*
tkel_paris
Mar. 17th, 2017 02:54 am (UTC)
(I need more Eight icons...)

As I said above, besotted seemed the wrong reaction. Besides, I remembered watching his panel at Fan Fest 2014, where he pretty much said that you have to be careful to not go too far with anything like a romantic angle. Trying to respect that, I guess. Doesn't hurt that Eight's natural manner doesn't lend itself to such behavior right here Ah! You liked that, huh? Well, I think he was a bit more observant about behavior and words than other Doctors. He remembered things very well, too. IIRC.

He's seen enough good notes about her to know she was scared and deserves a chance. :)

Heh! You'll see. Soon enough... ;D
cassikat
Mar. 17th, 2017 04:28 am (UTC)
I only have the two up, but you can have them cos I made them. (And if I ever get in another icon-making mood, it'll be him and 12. Will also source you the others I made when I'm not on my phone)

True. For all that I joke that Eight was romantic, it's more his earlier dress than his actions, not like Ten who basically wore his hearts on his sleeve. And yes, he was very observant. And remembered things quite well...except for Orbis and a few directly after. Not sure if you have those or not, so I'll be good and shut up now. :)

That's one of the things I like best about the Doctor. Even when he's an idiot, he knows when people just need a chance to shine.

Yes, yes, I know anticipation makes getting the next chapter better. Still trying to find the TARDIS though. *L*
tkel_paris
Mar. 17th, 2017 04:42 am (UTC)
As the Brits say, Don't mind if I do. ;D And let me know. :DDDD

Yes, Ten did. Eight was more guarded, and I think he didn't let people get as many mistaken impressions about his intentions. Or if they did, he intended them to have that impression. Orbis doesn't sound familiar. I could list what I have for you. :D

Sad that he didn't spot that in Jackie. Rose might've grown up if he had.

And I always like to make one final go over the next chapter. So it'll be even better. Hey, if you find one, come and find me! :DDDD
bas_math_girl
Mar. 17th, 2017 08:26 am (UTC)
Having Eight here makes him seem so much sweeter for treating her with kindness somehow. This is a lovely warm and friendly dynamic already so like everyone else, I'm looking forward to seeing how the reception will play out.
tkel_paris
Mar. 17th, 2017 03:00 pm (UTC)
He seems very capable of sweetness, but it might not be as obvious as with Ten. Although I think it comes across as meaning much more with Eight, given how much Ten wears his hearts on his sleeve. Eight's joy for life isn't clouded by anything like it is with Ten. Although... here that's not entirely true. And that's all I'll say so far. And you'll find out soon, because I'll be posting shortly. :D
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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