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Shakespearean Cupids, Chapter 2

Title: Shakespearean Cupids

Rating: T for emotional angst, innuendo, and Jack-style machinations

Summary: When two people are reminiscent of a Shakespearean couple, friends and family are liable to borrow from the Bard himself to bring them together.

Disclaimer: I don't have the money to go see the awesomeness of David Tennant and Catherine Tate in a Much Ado About Nothing production – let alone own anything related to Who aside from a Disappearing TARDIS mug. And one pair of Converse - that I started breaking in on May 16th...

Author's Note: I was working on another idea, and was stuck. Out of boredom, I started thinking about all of the fanfics that will surely emerge once MAAN starts its run, and was preparing a prompt list for the Doctor/Donna LiveJournal community... when Muse grabbed one of my own suggestions and ran with it. At least I get to play with the moments I hope I'll get to watch... if the BBC makes a video production... We American fans are going to depend on it! Just please let it be the quality of the one made of Hamlet...


Chapter 1



CHAPTER TWO: A WELL-BAITED HOOK

“Did you seriously have to ask that many questions?!” Donna was irritated as all get out, and had to focus on her driving when she wanted to slap her companion – again! He'd nearly embarrassed the hell out of her at the Tesco!

The answer started on a deep groan. “How often do you think I go to a store to get food?”

She rolled her eyes as she parked. Finally. “Well, where else are you going to get the good jelly babies or those Hob Nobs you keep eating? Your ship does most foods very well, but even the TARDIS admits that she's rubbish at those.”

The Doctor sighed as they exited Donna's mother's car. Earth vehicles were strange to travel in when you were used to the TARDIS, but – as the saying went – when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Ironic, given his and Donna's shared history with Italy...

The debate had been vivid since leaving the Tesco that Donna evidently preferred when she lived on Earth. The distance to Sarah Jane's had allowed for a lot of back and forth – and this was their attempt to wrap it up so they wouldn't be bickering so much in front of Jenny. Donna had worried that it might look bad to their still-innocent girl, and the Doctor saw the point. Although Jenny needed to learn more to handle a variety of interactions, her father wanted her to stay as untainted as possible for as long as possible.

“Oi,” he couldn't help but retort, trying to get in the last word, “is this along the same lines as why you like shopping when my ship could make anything you need?”

Donna scoffed. “Good God, could you be any more bloke-like?!”

He opened his mouth to argue, but a voice called out, “You're back!” One of Luke's friends, he recalled vaguely. The girl was sitting out front, reading a book on cell biology, and evidently asking Owen - sitting next to her – lots of questions. She gestured wildly toward the door. “Sarah Jane said you might want to leave the bags in your ship; you're invited to dinner and I overheard the phrase “banana cake” mentioned.”

Donna groaned as she saw the interest in Spaceman's eyes. Oi, we're going to be stuck here for a good part of the night, she just knew. He never turns down banana cake! Unless the person offering isn't trustworthy...

The girl continued, “They've broken off into little groups to talk. Might take a bit of effort to pull Jenny and your grandfather away.”

Donna laughed, noting the momentary panic on the Doctor's face over the domestic nature of the whole thing. “Oh, we'll see about that. You gonna carry your own weight, Spaceman?”

He stifled another groan, deciding it wasn't worth getting her worked up.

Donna saw a glimpse of her grandfather outside, in the backyard. “Excuse me, I'm gonna go see what Gramps is hearing. Jack and Sarah Jane are sitting there with him. Better make sure Jack's being kept in line.”

Owen, who'd kept himself focused on the book, looked up and said, “Oh, Luke wants to ask the Doctor something about a science project. He's upstairs in his room.”

“Okay, Sunshine,” Donna breezed as she handed the other bags to the Doctor. “You get these to the TARDIS. I'll go see how Gramps is.”

The Doctor frowned, wondering just when he became her bag boy. And why he put up with it. Or, more importantly, why he couldn't stay frustrated with her for long. Being ginger couldn't account for all of it.

Neither of them saw Owen – with the girl grinning over the shared secret – pull out his cell and quickly text someone...




Sarah Jane grinned when Jack's phone chirped. “She's coming this way.” Handing it back, she looked at her co-conspirators. “Ready?”

When they faintly heard footsteps, the men nodded. Wilf had to whisper, “Better hope she doesn't interrupt us.”

Jack grinned, and answered in the same low tone. “Which is why we choose our words carefully.” As the steps became a bit louder, he raised his voice and put on serious airs. “No, Wilf, you have to trust me on this one. I've seen a lot of things as a Time Agent, and I know how to recognize when one humanoid is in love with another.”

Donna's eyebrows raised. Who could Jack be talking about, and why was Gramps interested?

Wilf managed an awed disbelief. “I'm not saying you're putting me on, but are you really saying that the Doctor is in love with my Donna?”

Her feet froze, nearly sending her completely off-balance. It took every bit of muscle control to pull herself together, but only one thought crossed her mind: What?!

Jack laughed lightly. “Is it hard to believe that an alien could fall for a human?”

Seems more like a movie plot device, Donna thought as she tried to move closer without being detected. I have to hear what they're on about! And surely they'll say more if they don't know I'm here.

Sarah Jane laughed, genuinely amused as a few memories asserted themselves. “Well, humanoid women are falling for him all the time – no matter which regeneration he's on. Why not the reverse?”

They've got to be wrong about him liking me that way, Donna thought immediately. Because for one thing, I'm not blond and thin! And he looked so relieved that I wasn't interested in him when we had that whole “mates” discussion! Jack has to fibbing! But, she suddenly thought, Sarah Jane doesn't seem like a liar...

“Well, it's...” Wilf had to find the right words, which was hard enough when you knew you weren't being listened in on. “It's just that she's often off on how nutters he is, even if that's said with the fondness that you have for a good friend. And she's always been genuinely interested in people and their concerns.”

Can't remember not being like that. Of course, Donna remembered sadly, didn't always see what was really in front of me... Lance is proof enough.

“I mean, “ Wilf continued, knowing this would be critical to the plan's success, “if she doesn't see it, then what's your authority that he does feel that way?”

Jack's grin was pure bad boy wickedness. “Ah, I have the benefit of... liking to watch his reactions to my behaviors.”

Yes, Jack, we know you like to watch him. Donna, even through her slightly dazed state, grinned at the memory of how awkward the Doctor looked when Jack flirted with him earlier that day.

The Immortal continued, continuing the semi-charade. “And this morning, during the introductions, he was giving all sorts of possessive signals where Donna was concerned – if I was talking with or to her. He never behaved that way around Martha... or Rose.”

What?! But he was... so sad over her... Donna slipped closer, unable to pull away or speak to demand what they were on about.

“You know,” Sarah Jane said, reflectively, “I remember when I met Rose. She was so jealous of me and what I represented to the Doctor that Mickey was joking about us being 'the Mrs. and the Ex.' Given that he was her boyfriend before the Doctor popped into their lives, I was rather impressed with his growing maturity. Much more than when she showed compassion.”

That got Donna's attention. She wished that she could've met Mickey, and made her own assessment of the young man's character. And made her want to learn more about Rose's actions while traveling with the Doctor.

“Sure,” Sarah Jane added, with a bit of laughter, “we got along in the end – which really freaked him out – but I think it was only possible because Rose didn't understand about all those who came before her. I can't imagine that she would've been able to settle him; she kind of encouraged some of his not-so-lovely traits.”

Donna found that interesting. She knew that she wasn't very mature at 19 and 20, and that she wouldn't have been a good friend or companion to the Doctor then. What did it say about him that he chose Rose anyway?

“No,” Jack admitted, sadly, “she was youthful and energetic. She had a good brain, which should've been developed. But, from what I could tell from the one time I talked with the TARDIS, Rose – in every way that makes you a fully-fledged adult – stopped growing up when she met the Doctor, and I think that gave her brand of healing a... superficial quality that was the true cause of the depth of his devastation when he lost her.”

Not growing up... She'd seen a lot of people doing that. More males than females, but the gap seemed to be closing. It dawned on her that she really didn't know that much about Rose as a person. Could Jack be right, and the bond built more on superficial things...? Surely Spaceman was better than that!

Jack continued, “He once, when I wanted to know what had happened to her, commented that she liked reaching out to lost souls. I think he didn't realize that he didn't really qualify; he's just been drifting because he never really felt at home, never had someone to really encourage him to be better. Which I think he now does – but only because of Donna.”

Sarah Jane laughed openly. “And think about how many things he clearly knows about Donna's preferences. I think he only remembered a few of my favorite things, but he's memorized so much about her. It amazes me how she doesn't notice just how much.”

Donna felt her heartbeat go haywire as examples of what he knew about her flashed across her mind. Oh, my God, he has learned a lot! He didn't do that for others?

“Wow,” Jack marveled – honestly. “The one I first met couldn't be bothered by such things. Guess that proves just how far gone he is.”

Her cheeks went very flush as her mind started sputtering. This is a first for him...? Well... who... would've thought... A moonstruck alien...? And over me...?

“Well,” Wilf began, pushing into the most important part of their plan, “do you think he'll ever tell her? I wouldn't mind having an alien in the family if it were him.”

Oh, God, Gramps! You're not turning matchmaker, are you?!

Sarah Jane shook her head. “I doubt it.” And she believed it was what would happen without this interference.

Donna sucked in a sharp breath. What?!

“That man seems to think he's doomed to be lonely, since he's the last of his kind and everyone he cares about is going to die before he will.” Sarah Jane sighed heavily, feeling the weight of her words. “He must be worrying about the fact that he won't age like his companions do. It's like he thinks he doesn't deserve to be happy if he's just going to be alone again in the end.”

Her chest felt like it was twisting. Oh, my poor Spaceman... No one deserves to be miserable... Yet she knew that they were definitely speaking the truth; she'd seen the hurt and sadness in his eyes so many times.

Jack scoffed. “If anyone has the right to use that excuse, it's me. I can't die, so the problem is worse for me.”

“So why get involved with people?” Wilf knew this was the critical part, and the questions came easily. “Why let yourself get attached?”

Donna thought that was a good question, and she wanted to hear the Immortal's answer.

Jack pretended to think about it for a long moment, but he'd thought this one over a lot over the years. The answer was amazingly simple. “If you don't have friends, people to consider as family, and... lovers, you're not living. Life is all about taking chances on others, and it's a painful existence otherwise. Hence his always having companions. But he's so bad with expressing his deepest feelings – and he knows it – that I think he's scared to make himself be that vulnerable. Which is what he'd be if he put his hearts at Donna's feet; she could trample all over them with just one word.”

A gasp escaped Donna's lips. She had to resist clapping a hand over her mouth; that they would surely hear, even if they missed the other noise.

“Also,” Sarah Jane added, on seeing confirmation that Donna's unconscious reaction was overheard, “from what I've pieced together from talking with Jenny about the stories her parents have told her about their earlier travels, I think he's put himself in a bind. He didn't intend for Martha to fancy him, and I'm certain he had no clue how important Donna would become to him. So apparently, he said something about only wanting a friend. Now how does someone that rubbish with his own feelings overcome that? Especially when the woman he wants thinks of him as 'a long streak of nothing?' Alien nothing, at that?”

Donna had to sink to the ground; her legs couldn't support her weight. Spaceman was... already suffering from... broken hearts?

Wilf sighed. “It sounds like she's the best thing that's happened to him since he lost his people, and could become even more so.”

“Oh,” Jack interjected, “maybe the best thing ever to happen to him. I mean, he doesn't talk about his family, but I bet that no one has ever challenged him in the ways that he's helped others.”

Donna could see her grandfather nod through the bush that was hiding her. “So,” Wilf queried, “you accept the extra pain?”

“Oh, it doesn't get easier.” Jack couldn't keep the tightness out of his voice, but he knew it would suit the situation. “Life, after all, is all about pain. But the memories... Those are the comforts you carry, to keep you smiling because you did have good things happen to you. If anyone could convince the Doctor of that, it's Donna. But do you think there's any chance she could see him as more than a friend? He's so scared of his own feelings that I can't see him making the first move. Not without major encouragement.”

Donna felt her throat constrict. This seemed like an ominous event waiting to happen. But it was just like the infamous train wreck analogy; she couldn't turn away even if she'd wanted to.

Wilf sighed, not needing to force a sad note into it. “I wish she would. I love my granddaughter deeply, but she sometimes has such narrow ideas about what would suit her. Her grandmother wasn't really like the kind of woman I thought I'd marry, but I kept an open mind. If she would just open her eyes to what's in front of her... I hope she's able to reconsider that like she did her first refusal of his travel offer. Sounds like she could hurt him more than he's been hurt before, and yet he's the best thing that ever happened to her.”

The weight of the universe fell on Donna's shoulders, heart, and mind. She never wanted to hurt her Spaceman. She wanted him to feel lighter, to be able to be happy. And to learn that she might hold the key to it in her hands...?

Sarah Jane sighed. “Guess we should go inside. I promised Luke and his friends dinner, and I might as well feed all of you. And make sure that banana cake turned out well.”

Donna found enough strength to hide herself further, but not enough to flee. She knew she would make herself obvious, and she couldn't stand the thought of the mortification that would mean.

The trio stood and started walking away. Jack noted, “You know, if I thought it would work, I'd start flirting with Donna to provoke a jealous reaction in the Doctor. Make him act.”

Sarah Jane laughed, with a bitter tone. “Except for the chance – mind, I think it's slim to none at this point – that she'd fall for your antics. Besides, that over-developed guilt would probably make him remain silent, and back away – defeating the purpose.”

Oi! Donna felt offended that they'd think she could do more than maybe flirt a little back after Jack wouldn't hug her. But did that mean he thought she... was the Doctor's woman?

“Yeah,” Jack admitted. “Which is why I won't. It'd backfire horribly, and I'm not going to be the one to cause him extra pain. I just wish he could be happy.”

The heavy feeling crept all over Donna's being, tying her to the ground for ever longer. Rendering her barely able to think, and needing them to leave so she could recover herself.

The conspirators waited until they were nearly at the house before talking again. When he was sure they were out of sight, Jack grinned and whispered, “If she doesn't see him in a new way after that, then I've completely lost my touch.”

Wilf rubbed his hands, shaking just a little from the enormity of what they just did. “Here's hoping my little General has as big a heart as I always thought she does.”

Sarah Jane nodded. “Let's hope the others had as much luck with the Doctor...”

Meanwhile, Donna's mind was processing what she heard. “Can this be possible?” She had to whisper; she needed to hear her voice to hash this out. “He wants me? When I'm not thin, blond, or even not rude? I'm nothing special... Besides, he's not all that!”

Well, a traitorous part of her mind noted, he does have such lovely eyes, which one could lose themselves in their depths... His enthusiasm is infectious, and that voice is often nice to hear... And that smile is appealing, even at times sexy...

She slapped herself upside the head. “Get off it, Donna,” she hissed at herself. “Could you even imagine yourself with him? That he could look at me?!”

Then a memory fluttered into her awareness: “With this ring, I thee biodamp.” He'd given her such a soft smile, and it was so odd given the circumstances. Could, she suddenly realized, he have been falling for me even then...?

But what startled her the most? How the memory of that smile, and the expression that accompanied it in his eyes, made her insides feel like liquid. And realizing that she'd felt kind of soft toward him even then.

Oh, bugger! Had she skipped lust and gone straight to love... with her best friend...? How the hell was she going to face him? Even if he does... feel that way, could it even work...?

“I've got to be imagining things,” she muttered to the plants in front of her. “I just have to be!”




Chapter 3: He's Lim'd!

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
sykira
May. 30th, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
ooh this reads just like a play, and I know that's the point but its still refreshing and fun! And makes me want to see MAAN all the more now! I love all this scheming!
tkel_paris
May. 30th, 2011 04:54 am (UTC)
It actually reads like a play?! (internal happy dance) I'm better than I thought!

(sheepish grin) Anyway... hope the rest lives up to this... A girl could get nervous about what her readers will think...
helloprilly
Dec. 28th, 2015 03:23 pm (UTC)
Oh dear!! This has all the makings of a disaster or a great idea on their parts! And Wilf is such a gem I just love him. I think he wanted them together when he saw them in the Sontaran invasion. This is a perfect parody of that scene in the play I can almost perfectly picture CT's reactions as she is listening, the awesome jaw dropping shock look that she does! I'm loving this!
tkel_paris
Dec. 28th, 2015 04:53 pm (UTC)
The weird thing is that the Doctor should've been the one to overhear the Benedick part of the deception, but... Muse felt the other way around worked better. I guess it did. :) And Wilf was perfect here. I love him. I miss him.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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