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Title: Ginger Goddess
Series: none – first part belonged to “There's The Door!”
Rating: M (there be smut inside in more than one spot, or at least some adult thoughts or implications)
Authortkel_paris
Summary: Ten has been patiently preparing himself to meet his bride and impress her. Naturally, their first proper meeting doesn't go well. After all, she's intending to marry another.
Disclaimer: RTD clearly missed on some of the subtext created by the dynamic of Tate and Tennant.
Dedicationbas_math_girl, for Christmas. Started this back in May for you, after writing the first part Story-a-Day challenge. Love ya, Online-Mummy! (blows a kiss) Also to tardis_mole and cassikat for extremely helpful beta advice. :D
Author's Note: This started as a one-shot, but quickly grew into a story and a sequel. :D


Chapter 1 / Chapter 2




Ginger Goddess, Part 2: Eager Groom, Unaware Bride

CHAPTER THREE: AN ALIEN AND A GENTLEMAN

Donna looked at her watch. Just half past eleven. Too late. She'd missed her wedding.

Behind her, the Doctor – the mad alien with this insane box – was coughing and spluttering as he used a fire extinguisher to put out the smoke billowing from his ship. He had landed them on the roof of some high rise building overlooking London. She walked a little ways toward one of the edges, wanting some privacy.

Lost. That was how she felt. Everything she'd wanted was in her grasp, and now it might be gone. Well, at least delayed. But it would take months to get a second chance. The law had some peculiar features. She might even have to miss the holiday. All this money from her and her parents wasted. They probably couldn't afford to do anything like this again. She wanted to cry, but swallowed it down.

The Doctor put the safety key back on the extinguisher. He'd done all he could. Now it was up to the Old Girl to repair the damage, vent herself. And she would probably vent at him later. He looked at Donna's forlorn stance, and had to join her. What could he say to comfort her? This had to be a disaster in the mind of any human woman who had dreamed of getting married. He had to tread with care. “The funny thing is, for a spaceship, she doesn't really do that much flying. We'd better give her a couple of hours.” He eyed her face. She was guarding her emotions really well. “You all right?”

Why did this alien care so much? Why had he hugged her when he'd rescued her? Why did he want her to think well of him? She shrugged instead of voicing any of her thoughts. “Doesn't matter.”

The flatness in her voice and expression broke his hearts. “Did we miss it?” Daft question, but sometimes asking the daft questions was socially acceptable.

“Yeah.”

More flat tones. He had to find a way to cheer her up, and he thought of something – even though the thought made bile try to escape from his stomach. “Well, you can book another date.”

“Course we can.”

“Still got the honeymoon.”

“It's just a holiday now.”

Oh, he hadn't succeeded in cheering her up at all. Oh, he needed to learn to not put his foot in it! “Yeah... yeah... sorry,” he whispered, head hanging slightly. How much of a fool had he made of himself in front of her?

She took a deep breath. “It's not your fault.” He didn't deserve any more of her anger. Not right now.

He perked up a little. “Oh! That's a change,” he commented, smiling at her – even though she wasn't really looking at him.

She sighed heavily. “I wish we had a time machine. Then we could go back and get it right.” She looked pleadingly at him. “If that thing could travel through space, maybe...?”

His mouth worked silently. Oh, he still remembered the last time someone had asked to go back on their own personal history. The Earth was nearly destroyed. Why had he let Rose keep traveling with him after that? Oh, right, he wasn't ready to be alone again yet. And he hadn't given up on her potential to change for the better yet. He swallowed hard. “Um... Donna, I can't go back on someone's personal time-line. Bad things happen. History can be rewritten in unhealthy ways, putting the planet and even time itself in danger.”

Donna eyed him suspiciously, but sighed heavily. “I understand. Sort of.” She really didn't understand that, but the feeling of not grasping something was nothing new. She might've understood it better with a clearer head, but not anytime soon. “But I can still wish.” Not wanting to feel any worse, she moved to sit on the edge of the roof. She let the dejection pour off her, wishing he would leave her alone. Maybe it would be for the best if she was never seen or heard from again. She shivered, finally cursing herself for insisting on a sleeveless dress in December and knowing ending it was not an option.

He sensed a despondent note in her manner. He couldn't let that remain in place. Noticing her shiver, the Doctor removed his jacket and slowly draped it around her shoulders.

Donna froze. Why was this alien who was suddenly sitting next to her acting more like the gentleman than any human man she'd ever met? If she'd met him before meeting Lance and hadn't thought him an alien, she just might have been in danger emotionally. As it was, his jacket had his scent all over it. How could an alien's scent be so appealing? How?! She pretended she didn't like the smell as she plucked at the jacket. Or the fit. “God, you're skinny. This wouldn't fit a rat.”

Insults were safe grounds for her. She could protect herself with them. Not wise to admit to someone who acted like he really liked her. She couldn't get his hopes up. Besides, could an alien and a human actually get it on? The movies and books and telly probably over-emphasized that possibility.

He flinched. How in Rassilon's name could she think such a thing?! He was an attractive man! She would see it soon enough, he reminded himself. He felt the TARDIS give him something through his right trouser pocket. “Oh and you'd better put this on.” He produced it and froze. It looked like a wedding ring. Uh, oh.

She sank in her seat. “Oh, do you have to rub it in?” she griped.

“Those creatures can trace you,” the Doctor said firmly. “This is a bio-damper.” He took her left hand in his, grateful she didn't protest. “Should keep you hidden.” He slipped it slowly onto her finger, adding, “With this ring, I thee bio-damp.” Wed, his mind whispered. He looked into her eyes, hoping to do this for real very, very soon.

Strange man. He seemed to like doing this. She smiled slightly, amused. “For better or for worse,” she joked.

The Doctor smiled fondly at her. Yes! She liked him as a person! Maybe not quite trusting him, but he felt like a third of the battle had been won. So he couldn't stop smiling as she gently tugged her hand back. He had to look away to keep him saying something that would utterly destroy his reputation as the Oncoming Storm. He wanted her to be at least somewhat impressed with and by him.

But not in awe. He'd had enough of that!

She cleared her throat. His looks were a bit heady, making her think about what she might've done had this been last year and she hadn't known Lance existed. “So, come on then. Robot Santas – what are they for?”

Explanations. He was good at that. “Ah, your basic robo-scavenger. The Father Christmas stuff is just a disguise. They're trying to blend in. I met them last Christmas,” he added casually, trying to push aside the tension that the sight of those pilot fish had produced.

Donna frowned. “Why, what happened then?” What had she missed?

The Doctor looked at her. She was an intelligent woman, he could sense that. How did she miss it? “Donna... a great big spaceship? Hovering over London? You didn't notice?”

She looked away awkwardly. How could she admit to what really happened that day? How yet another year had seemed wasted? “I had a bit of a hangover.” Which was true – she and her mates had all got a bit merry. In her case, quite a bit.

She was holding something back. Something she was ashamed of. He decided to wait, to not to pursue this just yet. Instead, he scanned the landscape with his eyes. They stilled when he realized the direction he was looking in. He slowly nodded in that direction, and spoke without being aware of it. “I spent Christmas Eve and Day just over there, the Powell Estate. With this... family. One of my... friends, she had this family.” He paused for a moment, lost in thought. What had become of Rose since he left her? Had she finally grown up? Had Mickey dumped her for his future, another girl, or both? Had Jackie got herself a job and listened to him regarding not spoiling Rose anymore? Had she found anyone? He sighed heavily. Too many questions that would probably need to remain unanswered – he couldn't chance going back there. “Not the best Christmas of my life,” he admitted.

Donna thought a moment. There was this tension in his voice as he spoke of his friend. She was someone who provoked mixed feelings in him. She couldn't help but ask. “Your friend... who was she?”

It was on the tip of his tongue to change the subject, to ask about her to figure out a number of things. Learn more about her as a person, so he could better woo her. And, more importantly at the moment, determine why the pilot fish were after her. But... if he was going to bond with her, shouldn't he get used to telling her important things about himself, his life? Things that he never even told his previous wives.

Sighing, he looked in her direction, at her knees. Probably best to get the worst one out of the way. “Her name's Rose. Rose Tyler. I ran into her while stopping a threat over two years ago. Next day, she saved my life – saving the Earth in the process. I invited her to go with me. I was alone, had been for a long while, didn't know if any of my other friends could be found... So I let this girl I thought was nineteen travel with me.”

Donna's eyes narrowed. “Thought was nineteen?”

He flinched over her suspicious tone. “I'd traveled with younger companions before. Practically raised some as my foster children because of what happened that brought them into my life. So it seemed like I was reclaiming a bit of my past, doing good and helping someone grow into a better person.”

Foster children. He had to be much older than he looked. Well, if he was an alien, then who knew how his species aged? Donna noticed that he was speaking carefully, like he had a bad taste in his mouth just from thinking about this Rose girl. Still, she couldn't jump to conclusions, so she tried to encourage him to talk. “You regret asking her now?”

The Doctor sighed. “Yep. Turns out she was willing to do anything to escape her life, which she considered boring. Didn't see that her boyfriend was actually very intelligent, and treated him like dirt much of the time. Didn't see the sacrifices her mother made, or the mistakes her mother made for what they were – difficulty coping with her husband's, Rose's father, death. Mocked her without trying to see her side of things. Didn't even want to make the effort to improve her life herself. Just looked for a meal ticket out, and wouldn't let me go.”

Donna scoffed. “Some don't grow out of that attitude, Spaceman.”

He grimaced. “It gets worse.”

She looked at him questioningly. “How?”

“She didn't even really help me when something she did left me very ill last Christmas. Her mother and boyfriend did more to help me. It's because of them I was able to save humanity from being enslaved.”

Donna's mouth went slack. Oh, god, her grandfather was right! The people had been on the roofs!

He sighed heavily. “I really should've left her several different times: when she showed a lack of compassion when I talked briefly about my past, when her boyfriend informed me she'd lied about her age, when she caused the death of a being trapped in the future, when she nearly destroyed the Earth by trying to save her father's life, when she set her boyfriend against another man, when she allowed advanced technology to arrive when it shouldn't have, and when she hurt my ship and then me.”

Donna's mouth worked slowly. “What did she do?” she whispered.

The Doctor shuddered. “Please. I've... I've said more than I wanted to say right now. I made a lot of mistakes, and the ones I made regarding Rose... I feel like I could've prevented them so easily.”

She risked gently placing her hand over his and squeezing gently. “Just makes you a person. Not a god. At least, not a Greek one.”

His lips pursed. She didn't know how close she was to the truth there. He soaked in the pleasure of her hand over his, clasped his other one over hers, and cleared his throat. “Well, the important question is, what do camouflaged robot mercenaries want with you?” His mind churned as he looked again at her. “And how did you get inside the TARDIS? I don't know...”

Donna rolled her eyes and tugged her hand free. He liked to contemplate her a lot.

“What's your job?” he asked as he reached into his jacket's right inner pocket.

Donna tried to not flinch – well, shiver – as his hand got a little close to her breast. “I'm a secretary.” Did he even realize how he nearly touched what she knew he'd been looking at more than once?! And why did he have that weird pen-thing out? What was it?

He scanned her slowly, from her knees up. “It's weird, I mean – it's not obvious what they're after. They don't have time senses, they're not intelligent, they need help to think and plan-”

“These friends of yours,” Donna snapped, hating the sound of the pen, “just before they left, did any of them punch you in the face?”

The Doctor was shocked when she whacked the screwdriver aside. Only his strength kept it in his hand.

“Stop bleeping me!”

He looked at her for a long moment, stunned. Okay, he was going to have to make lots of changes to how he behaved if she didn't like the sound of the sonic. He supposed he could re-learn how to save the universe with a shoestring – just like his Fifth self did. Sighing, he put away the sonic in his trouser pocket. “What kind of secretary?” There, ask about her. People usually liked being asked about themselves and what they did. Him being the major exception to the rule.

“I'm at HC Clements. It's where I met Lance.” Donna beamed. “I was temping.”

The Doctor grimaced. Oh, now he got to hear about his competition. Although his insides churned unpleasantly, he forced his breathing to remain even. This was how he would learn about what made his rival tick and how he could send him off.

“I mean, it was all a bit posh really,” Donna continued, lost in the memory of that first day when she felt overwhelmed. “I'd spent the last two years at a double glazing firm. Well, I thought – I'm never gonna fit in here.”

The Doctor watched her expression as she recounted the story. She was remembering feeling not worthy of her situation. Oh, she had to be up to handling anything. If he would marry her, he guessed that she had magnificent skills. Had she just not used them yet?

The memory of Lance motioning to her brought a smile to her face. “And then he made me a coffee.” She still couldn't believe it, any more than she did that day. “I mean, that just doesn't happen. Nobody gets the secretaries a coffee.”

Maybe they should, the Doctor thought. Don't the secretaries make life easier for the rest of the office? That was what he remembered from his exile on Earth as his Third self.

“And Lance – he's the head of HR! He don't need to bother with me!”

His eyes widened. Wait, she didn't think she wasn't worthy of good things, did she?

Donna continued, thinking of times they laughed at the bottom of a flight of stairs. “But he was nice, he was funny. 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.” Yes, speak of what she had in store for her. That would push this oddly appealing alien and his almost child-like charms.

“When was this?” The Doctor felt like he deserved an award for keeping his voice calm. Okay, so this Lance fellow made her laugh. Didn't give him anything he could use against the man yet.

“Six months ago.”

He frowned slightly. “Bit quick to get married... at least for humans.” It was. In this era, certainly. Even Time Lord marriages took a long time to happen, because of all the family politics involved in arranged matches. The Curse had suppressed the reality that the basic time senses that they had before they became Time Lords made them able to fall in love instantly. It had become a legend by the time the Doctor was born, but he learned about it and didn't doubt its truth. And he had the proof when he first saw Donna.

Donna's body tightened. Oh, it would be too shaming to admit the truth. “Well... he insisted.”

One thing Rose had not realized was another detail of the Time Lord senses. He had the ability to sense when a person was lying to him. He'd actually sensed that Rose wasn't being completely honest with him about her past from the beginning, but he was still so messed up from cleaning up the consequences of the Time War on Earth's history that he didn't recognize it for what it was until Mickey enlightened him about Rose's age. And Donna was lying to him now. Why?

She hoped this alien couldn't read body language or tones. “And he nagged... and he nagged me...” She remembered how much effort it took to get the answer she wanted from Lance, and how puzzled she was since he was so into her. “And he just wore me down and then finally, I just gave in.”

The Doctor thought a moment. No, he was certain that Lance had not been the one nagging. Which meant it was Donna. Why did she nag? Why would a beautiful woman feel the need to plead with a man to marry her?

He let his senses and the TARDIS look at her to see what they could tell without asking. Her timeline said that she was... 38 years old. Oh, right. Human women would be painfully aware that their chance to have children were considerably diminished by that point, and if they really wanted to be a mother they might be driven to measures they might not otherwise consider. His hearts sank as it was clear that Donna's life was not giving her the chances to shine that she deserved – unlike Rose, she was clearly making an effort to improve herself – and that she doubted her ability to make changes herself.

But perhaps it kept her on the path to meet him. Yes, he could accept that. It would be lovely helping her transform into the confident woman he saw on New Earth. Having thought all of that within seconds, he returned to asking questions. “What does HC Clements do?”

Donna was a little startled, but quickly recovered. “Oh, security systems, you know... entry codes, ID cards -- that sort of thing.” She smirked. “If you ask me, it's a posh name for 'locksmith'.”

Now that might be important. “Keys...” Just what did it mean?

She tried to brace herself. “Anyway, enough of my CV. Come on, it's time to face the consequences.” She dropped her face into her hands briefly. “Oh, this is gonna be so shaming.” She looked at him as she spoke, then thought a second. “You can do the explaining, Martian-boy.”

Great. Dealing with other humans. “Yeah,” he said instead. “I'm not from Mars,” he reminded her, now that he had her attention.

Donna nods, smirking. Yeah, she wasn't sure she believed him.

The Doctor pushed himself to stand, and then offered her a hand to help her up. He liked the feel of her hand in his. He'd got himself into the habit of holding hands with Rose, as a measure to try to keep the mind-numbing loneliness at bay. It worked – until he started waking to the reality of Rose's limits as a person.

Donna took off the jacket and offered it back. He just put it right back on her shoulders. “But don't you need it?” she asked.

He shook his head with a smile. “No. I can handle the cold. Let's keep you warm. I've got some money now. We'll take a taxi. My treat.” He offered his arm. “Where are we heading? The church?” Once again, he thought he deserved an award for keeping an even tone.

She tugged it a bit more tightly around her, accepting it warmth. “Oh, I had this great big reception all planned. Everyone's gonna be heartbroken.” Still, she took his arm and let him lead her to the stairs.

“So the reception hall, then?”

She nodded. “I think there was another wedding after mine, so I guess they might have all gone from the church.”

He smiled softly. “Then we'll make sure they know you're okay, and I'll see if I can find out what happened to make you vanish from the church and appear in the TARDIS. Shall we?”

Donna laughed as she accepted his arm. “What manners book did you learn from and can you get human blokes a copy of it?”

That, he thought with a grin, would be giving away my secrets. He could be patient. Talk with her on the drive over, learn more about what she liked and believed, and slowly let her in on some of his secrets – without telling anything too personal in earshot of the driver. Softening her further toward him. What could go wrong now?


Chapter 4: The Oncoming Future Husband



Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
bas_math_girl
Dec. 25th, 2012 11:33 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I am loving this as it unfolds. :D I especially love all the touchy-feely things between them, in thought as well as deeds.
tkel_paris
Dec. 26th, 2012 04:20 am (UTC)
Yay, you like! :DDDDD *hugs* Yes, he's being very touchy-feely toward her, isn't he? And she's not quite pushing him away. ;)
tardis_mole
Dec. 26th, 2012 05:56 am (UTC)
Meh! *dies*

I'll have to wait now, won't I?

Awesome changes. :)
tkel_paris
Dec. 26th, 2012 06:29 am (UTC)
Perhaps for Chapter 5, since I still need to add some stuff between the end of the episode and the end of the story. But more is coming. :D
tardis_mole
Dec. 26th, 2012 06:38 am (UTC)
Not to worry. I'm typing up the last few scenes of Regarding Donna while I wait. :DDD
tkel_paris
Dec. 26th, 2012 06:48 am (UTC)
Now you've given me something to pout over having to wait for. ;D
tardis_mole
Dec. 26th, 2012 06:50 am (UTC)
Will have it ready in about a week. All the D/D scenes are done. I just need to fill out the Alternate Earth parts. :D
tkel_paris
Dec. 26th, 2012 06:57 am (UTC)
*points to icon*
tardis_mole
Dec. 26th, 2012 06:59 am (UTC)
Haa!! Hahaha!!
yellow_craion
Dec. 26th, 2012 05:47 pm (UTC)
You were right ;) I love it! Thanks to your changes there's so much more depth to that rooftop scene now!
tkel_paris
Dec. 26th, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
Depth and love. For us all! :DDDDD
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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