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Shakespearean Cupids (11/13)

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.

Author's Note: Yay! I finished it sooner than I thought I would! Chapter 12 needs more work, but this one is as ready as it's gonna be. Yes, my peeps: it's the fluff you've all been waiting for...! Thank you for bearing with me. Just be prepared... There's still some darkness ahead, but anyone who watched New Who Series 4 knows that... (Sorry for reminding you. And now you will forget that you read that last line...)

Also, it might help to find pics to help you recall what they're wearing when I don't expressly mention it...


From Chapter Seven:

Jenny nodded, pushed a lever and watched as her parents teleported away. She sighed in relief. “So, that's how you do it!” Now they're both safe from her!

The TARDIS was surprised to sense Donna and the Doctor teleporting into the Console Room, but not that there was danger. She hadn't wanted to go to the Library; she wanted them to deal with the awkwardness of seeing each other at a beach that wouldn't be discovered by any kind of people for hundreds of years.

But then something went wrong, and her too-stubborn humanoids both screamed in pain. The TARDIS tried to intervene, but they vanished.

Her whale song turned into a primal scream of unbearable agony...

“Dad, the Library, it's on television now.” Why don't they get it? I told them that Donna Noble and the Doctor had been saved. I don't know how I knew it, but I do. Why won't they listen? Why were they just concerned about my headache from just before I said it...?

Her dad sighed. “How many times, darling? The Library is just your imagination.”

He walked off to do something else, so she sighed and continued flipping channels. Each one showed a different part of the Library. One with those people fleeing the darkness. But she stopped flipping when she came across one showing an ambulance pulling up to a hospital. It was snowing, and the driver had to be careful. She watched in fascination as the crew rolled out the stretcher and she saw the soaked man lying on it. She gasped, “The Doctor?”

She kept watching, and a second stretcher was pulled out. She grew even more confused. “Donna?” The ginger was just as soaked as her companion... and missing a coat...

And then she saw who was waiting for them inside, and frowned. “Dr. Moon...?”

These two will be the trickiest to integrate... Dr. Moon was all-too aware of the enormity of the task that CAL had presented him with. He had to guide them through the reality that CAL was creating at that very moment. Keeping them “unconscious” bought precious extra time to set it all up.

Donna Noble on her own would have been easy to integrate. Humans were fairly easy to persuade, even if this one seemed extraordinarily observant. Dig a bit into her past, see what she'd desired, and build a life around that.

But the Doctor was a Time Lord, with a brain that was practically like CAL's. A Time Lord had no place in this Earth-based illusion. So he had to be convinced that his memories were nothing more than hallucinations stemming from an accident. But how to convince him of that? The very nature of his people meant that he would resist efforts to trick him.

So Dr. Moon and CAL needed something to distract him, something for him to focus on. Something to make him believe that he was a human man...

But, Dr. Moon reflected, we do have the perfect bait to reel the Doctor into the fantasy...

Donna opened her eyes and blinked at the unfamiliar surroundings. She was sitting on a bed, in what looked like a hospital room. What am I doing here...? Hadn't I just been somewhere else..?

He came to awareness slowly, feeling like the fog of war had multiplied itself indefinitely. So much he couldn't figure out... or even remember... Including his name...

She stood and turned her eyes toward one wall, feeling that something was important over there. Or someone. They rested on the other bed's occupant, and she froze. It was a man with brown locks that looked like they needed a lot of product to be remotely tamed – although some part of her questioned whether the end result would look good or just oily. A pale face that maybe needed some more sun, but that might grow on you – almost like a rash, her sarcastic side idly thought. And thin. He wasn't like one of those men you saw in the vids from concentration camps, not at all, but he could use some extra meat on his bones.

She couldn't remember ever seeing him before. So why did he seem so familiar...? Like someone she trusted...? And why, she asked herself, does the word “doctor” keep popping up from looking at him...?

He finally opened his eyes, and saw that he wasn't alone. A woman stood by the other bed in the room – which looked rather comfortable for a hospital, he vaguely noticed – and his gaze fixed on her. The most vibrant ginger hair he'd ever seen, with soft waves – clear even with the ponytail that restrained them – that he suddenly wanted to run his fingers through. Pale skin with freckles, but just the right amount – wasn't sure why he thought that, but he did. The jim-jams she wore gave hints that she was a curvy woman, who wasn't too thin. The last thing that struck him were her blue eyes, which seemed to see right through to who he really was.

Did she know who he was...? And who was she to him...? I want to know more of her...

They both startled when the door opened, and a dark-skinned man came through. They both knew he had to be a physician, even before he introduced himself. “Ah, finally awake, Mr. John Smith. I'm Dr. Moon. I've been overseeing your care since you were admitted.”

John Smith...? It sounded kind of right... and kind of off at the same time. “What – What happened?”

“You had an accident while helping protect several children on the banks of the Thames, just outside London's outskirts.” Dr. Moon kept his voice calm, matter-of-fact. “You were accidentally knocked unconscious and fell in. Ms. Noble here was nearby and pulled you out just in time. I've been concerned because you only just fully woke. You've been in and out of awareness for a week.”

“John” suddenly had flashes of helping some children escape from something rushing toward them, but nothing more. Although he had an image of... Ms. Noble... leaning over him, evidently having carried out first aid, and looking like a wet ginger angel.

Donna had flashes of seeing a man – John, she now knew – fall in when he hit his head pushing a child out of harm's way, of throwing her coat off to dive in, and struggling to bring the unexpectedly heavy man to the surface. And of him coming to briefly, and staring in awe at her before passing out again. She had to ask, when she noticed her state of dress, “I'm in hospital clothes! Was I admitted too?”

Dr. Moon nodded, very measured. “Yes, Donna. It was a very cold day, and you threw off your heavy coat to dive in to save him. Apparently you get cold very easily, so you actually had almost as bad a case of hypothermia as John did – despite less exposure.”

Donna looked over her clothes again. “Why am I here instead of in my own room?”

John's eyes went back to Donna. She... doesn't like me...? He felt himself sink deeper into the bed at the idea.

Dr. Moon smiled. “You woke after only a day, but required considerable care. You asked about how he was as soon as you remembered what happened.”

Something flickered into Donna's awareness, the sense that she did remember. “Oh! I forgot! I... I wanted... No, needed to see that he'd be all right.” I can't explain why...

Confusion pulled through his mild headache – which he didn't remember having until Dr. Moon mentioned the head injury. John wondered why he felt so... completely delighted... when she said she needed to check on him. “Sorry, but... I can't remember being introduced.”

An odd smile was part of the answer. “John Smith of Southend-on-Sea, this,” he gestured in a small way with his chin, “is Donna Noble of Chiswick.”

Their eyes met again, and there was a beat of silence. Then, near simultaneously, they both said, “I feel that I remember you from somewhere else.”

“Yes,” Dr. Moon said slowly, controlling every syllable coming out of his mouth. He spoke to both, but his eyes focused on the man as he added, “And then, you both forgot.”

Both started, as if shocked, and Donna's eyes came back to Dr. Moon. “Oh! Dr. Moon, um... is... Mr. Smith going to be okay?”

John blinked. What just happened...? What did he just say...? Although Donna's voice – especially laced with concern – was too distracting for him to focus on the questions.

Dr. Moon nodded, again in a measured way. “He'll need to stay another few days, to be on the safe side. He's had some strange hallucinations since his admission, and he must have said some of them when you rescued him, as you have had strange dreams throughout your time here. But he should be able to go back to work before long.”

I'm still not sure that's my name, he thought, but I guess I could like it coming from her lips... His eyes turned back to look at the woman who was making his insides feel all gooey. A woman who made it hard for him to remember there was someone else in the room... “Donna?”

She turned back, surprised. “What?”

He couldn't stop the words from coming out. “You have the loveliest ginger hair I've ever seen.” It felt like the truth, and he wanted to keep those eyes on him.

Donna felt her face trying to turn the same shade as her hair. “This?” She fingered some loose strands at her temples. It was all pulled back into a ponytail, so he wasn't seeing how much trouble it could be. “This has been the bane of my existence all my life. The other kids teased me mercilessly.”

John's eyes narrowed just slightly. “Then they were completely stupid. Because I bet you were as lovely a child as you are a lady.”

Donna's lips formed a soft, almost shy smile without her knowing it. “Well,” she murmured, ducking her head, “I suppose you're kind of cute... for a skinny boy.” Well, he was more than cute, but she didn't admit to that so quickly!

“Oi!” But he somehow didn't feel too offended. She might just like him, after all...

She looked up with a laugh, and froze. As he smiled at her, Donna found she couldn't look away. What a lovely smile... and I could lose myself in the depths of those eyes... Oh, I want to take that sadness away...

Charlotte was fascinated. What was this reality they were experiencing? And why did they seem so awkward around each other and yet so completely... in love...? She curled her feet under her, settling in to enjoy the viewing.

He was working on a very strange computer, and Donna was at his side. They were both in suits – his a pinstriped brown with a blue shirt underneath, hers a simpler black with a burgundy top. They both blinked at the problem before them, and shared a glance. Donna voiced her confusion. “Weren't we just in the hospital?”

“I know the feeling,” John replied, pausing to stare the the strange tool he was using. “But here we are, working on some... bug in the system. Something that's keeping it running when it shouldn't be.”

Her fingers grabbed something on a chain. “Isn't that what we're looking for? I'm not sure what it is-”

“But it's what I needed to find,” he finished. I don't know how I know it, but it just is! He accepted it from her, and they couldn't explain why they felt sudden glee over their success. John exhaled, feeling an odd tension in his chest. “I... I don't remember how we got here, but I do know this... I've never felt so happy... or at peace... as I do with you at my side.”

Donna blushed, and words tumbled out before she could stop them. “Well, I've never felt so valued or happy before I met you. So I guess we're even.” She felt her breath catch as something else came to mind. “I can't believe I almost turned this down...”

His heart sunk as a memory of her nervous reaction to his offer came to him. “I was ready to do anything to persuade you to come with me,” he breathed.

Seeing the intensity of his eyes, Donna couldn't stop herself from admitting, “I realized just in time that I would've regretted it for the rest of my life.”

They exchanged an inexplicably soft look...

Charlotte giggled. “They're cute together. What'll happen next?”

They stood side-by-side, staring at the ruins of a burned-out home. The family of four that they'd saved stood closer in, clinging to each other as everything they had lay burned or washed away. They vaguely remembered more families losing their homes to the blaze, that lives were lost. But this family kept their attention...

“That poor family,” Donna whispered, not daring to let them overhear. They were a proud group, she somehow knew, and saying anything within earshot would be an insult. She was still crying over how close that family had come to dying...

John nodded. “We got to them in time, thanks to you and your stubbornness.” He sighed, remembering how her tears had persuaded him that they had to take action since it might come too late for the arson victims otherwise. “You were right that we had to help them.”

She dipped her head, remembering how in their attempts to help people while they waited for the fire department, they'd nearly gotten trapped themselves. “I nearly got us killed, too. Stopping that explosion from happening – to keep the fire from spreading – felt like condemning a few to save many.” Because a few people hadn't made it; some were caught in the middle, and others gave their lives to protect their families.

He shook his head. “The part about the whole thing seeming like a no-win scenario is, I'm afraid, a bit true. But,” he continued, looking pointedly at her, “the rest isn't what I remember.”

She gave him a what-the-hell-do-you-mean-by-that look.

He managed a hint of his usual, almost manic grin – laced with fondness for the woman he was talking with. “I remember a woman reminding me that people in danger need help, and that same woman sharing in the effort more than I had any right to expect or hope for.” I can't believe you don't think you're amazing...

Donna managed a tiny smile. Why does he like to say that I'm brilliant? I mean, I like that someone feels that way, but it's... surreal. So she aimed for levity in her voice. “Feel better having someone with you to solve things?”

John's answering smile was a bit bigger, a little warmer. “There's no one I'd rather have at my side. Or,” he quickly added, panicking as he remembered how Donna had said she was no-one's companion but a partner, thank-you-very-much, “be at the side of.”

She couldn't help it. He was too cute trying to back-peddle when he thought he'd unintentionally insulted her and might get slapped. So she giggled, struggling to keep it in.

He couldn't help looking at her the whole time. Blimey, she's amazing...

Donna finally chose to playfully slap him on the arm. “You're daft, absolutely daft! You know that, right, John Smith?”

John's awed smile grew a bit grave – pushing aside that feeling that that name wasn't the one she should be calling him by. “And you don't give yourself enough credit when it's due, Donna Noble.” But he couldn't keep her gaze any longer, and broke it off with a blush. Why can I hear her voice telling me that she just wants to travel with me...?

Donna felt her heartbeat quicken as she saw his face turn an interesting shade of pink. Oh, why does he have to be so adorable when he's embarrassed?!

Charlotte pondered what she was watching. “What did they really mean by condemning a few to save many...? I hope they don't think too hard about it.” She wanted to see more of their oh-so-obvious bond, and where it took them. “They're... It's like they're afraid of pushing things too far... But why? They're good together.”

They were standing in the snow. She was nicely bundled in a thick coat with fur-like lining on the hood. He had a coat that looked more like a trench-coat, but he wasn't as cold as he though he should be. Maybe the wooly hat covering his head and ears was doing the trick. “Looks like we saved the day again,” John commented, watching the crowd down the hill celebrating the return of lost family members.

Donna sighed. “Modern-day slavery in England itself... Hard to believe...” She blinked as something tried to come to mind, but wasn't quite there.

John noticed her frowning, and his brows drew together. “What is it?”

She tried to find the words to explain her feelings and thoughts. “I... remember that they were singing. This song of so much grief and misery about their captivity. But I can't remember what it sounded like. Nor can I remember what they sang when we freed them.”

Memories of both tried to come to him, but it was like they'd already slipped his awareness. Damn that head injury, he thought. How can it be keeping me from remembering things that just happened to me?

Donna noticed his frown, and the distant look that accompanied it. She'd come to associate it with thinking about his accident and the difficulty of recalling much of his life before that. He needs a distraction, she thought, and don't we have just the thing around to do the trick... She quickly knelt and gathered some snow together. “Hey,” she playfully called, stepping a little back.

He turned, and got a snowball to the chest. “Oi!” I can't remember anyone doing that to me!

She laughed, bright and clear. “We saved the day, John. Don't you think we should enjoy this winter wonderland?”

She's so beautiful when she's playful, John marveled silently. He couldn't find his voice.

Donna felt uneasy about his stare, even as it made her insides turn to jelly. She had to crack a joke. “Just as long as you don't sing any carols.”

That got his attention. “Oh, I can't have anyone making fun of Christmas! Not even you!” He grabbed some snow, but not before she sent another one – a tiny one – to his head as a lark.

They were soon laughing themselves sick as they behaved no better than little kids on an unexpected school holiday.

Saving people... Songs of pain and of joy... Charlotte wondered just what they thought they were hearing, but hoped they wouldn't remember. “It'd be bad if they knew,” she whispered with a certainty that she couldn't understand. Good to see them having fun, though!

Donna laughed in delight as she parked the car outside John's home. “Thanks for the day at the race track! It was so good to remember how to drive a stick-shift, John,” she gushed. “I've been wanting to go to Silverstone for years, but never had the chance!”

John couldn't help but share in the laughter; his ginger's amusement was infectious. “I like teaching you about all sorts of things.” Wait, he suddenly thought, my ginger?

“But to let me re-learn on your precious sports car?” Donna shook her head, still marveling as she turned off the engine. “You must trust me quite a bit; blokes are usually very sensitive about who handles their things – especially a classic blue convertible.”

That distracted him, and he let the concern slide for the moment. “I told you,” he exclaimed indignantly, “I'm not a bloke!”

“Trust me: you are!” She gave him her best you-don't-see-it-do-you look, but spared him from the exact explanation. He seemed a bit sensitive about it for some reason. “Taking me to the race track is one thing, but then to bet on who drove back here? You couldn't believe that I beat you!” She laughed over the memory of his shock when he realized that she had finished ten seconds faster.

He groaned as images flooded his mind. “You weren't joking when you said you could learn quickly.”

“Oi, Best Temp in Chiswick, remember?!” She feigned offense, knowing his ego had just been a little bruised. “Of course I'd be able to take all your tricks for fuel efficiency and master them! All the boys assumed a girl couldn't, but at least you're man enough to know better.”

Why do I have a recollection of saying something like, I'm not exactly a man, Donna? John pushed the thought aside; the here and now was more important. Besides, it seemed to invite questions he – for some reason – didn't want to hear the answers to... “Okay, I wasn't prepared for how quickly you'd catch on, but I am proud of you.” When he caught a hint of her preparing to scoff, he sighed. “Why won't you believe me when I say you're brilliant?”

Donna squirmed. It invited questions that she felt her mind resisting. Instead, she aimed for blitheness. “Maybe the same reason you don't believe that you're a bloke. I still can't believe you can fit all that equipment in the trunk and still find anything you need at a moment's notice!”

John couldn't remember how he'd done it, but he could recall stunning her with it that first time she rode in the car. Maybe a subject change was a good idea... “Well,” he said, trying to not sound smug, “to borrow a phrase from America, just call me MacGyver.”

“Ooh!” Donna's eyes sparkled as she saw a way to tease him. “Now he would've come up with a great solution to that carbon monoxide problem!” She tossed a sly grin as she opened the door and got out.

“Oi!” His ire flared and he all but jumped out and rushed to her side. “Are you saying a fictional character is better than I am?! Some of his fixes don't actually work!”

Donna just laughed. “Aw... Is my partner feeling insecure because of Angus?” She ruffled his hair like a child's. “Don't be. You're here, he's not. Besides, and I say this at the risk of inflating your already big ego, it wouldn't be as much fun working with a secret agent as it is with you.”

John couldn't remember ever turning that flush that quickly. He couldn't think in the face of her playful teasing. All he could do was clear his throat and rub his neck nervously.

Time to stop the teasing, Donna knew instinctively. She held out the keys. “Here you go.”

His free hand came up and pushed the key away and closed her palm around it. “No, that's yours.”

Donna blinked. “What?! You said this was your spare!”

He grinned. “And since we are partners, and your driving is just as good as mine, if not at times better, it makes sense for you to have your own key. We drive this car all the time anyway.” It made perfect sense to him. He did try to ignore that the instinctive response was motivated by a wish that she'd always be in his life...

Awed and delighted with a clear sign of trust, Donna threw her arms around him for a big hug. “I bloody love you,” she exclaimed without thinking when he returned the squeeze.

And she couldn't feel too embarrassed about it. I say all sorts of things around him, right?

John couldn't help but have one thought: Could she possibly mean that in more than one way...?

Charlotte laughed at their expressions. “Don't you both see it?!” Never had a grown-up romance been this entertaining, or exasperating. “Go on! Kiss already!”

They suddenly found themselves at an outdoors party. She had a sidecar in her hand, he a clear soda. The change was jarring enough that Donna had to voice her thoughts. “What are we doing here,” she asked, noticing she was wearing a flapper dress that looked... rather flattering on her. “And where did I get this dress?”

John had been trying to figure out why they were there when Donna's words drew his attention to her dress. And left him tongue-tied. The color was perfect with her complexion, the lines attracted the right attention to her shapely body, and the neckline made him want to pull her away from the males who were ogling her from across the room – all so he could kiss and lick her lovely neck in total privacy.

The desire was leaving him breathless, unable to think. So what's stopping me...? It's not a fear of her slapping me...

When he didn't answer, Donna looked up. “Oi-” And cut herself off at seeing the raw desire – and so much more! – in his eyes. “Oh... This... This is...” She had to hunt for the right word to describe her jumbled emotions. And they wouldn't come. God, why do I feel like I'm on fire from the inside on out?

“I know,” John whispered, suddenly desperate to convey what he thought was holding him back. “I don't know why, but... it's like I'm... afraid that something bad will happen if I don't act on this. I can't make myself do anything about it, but...” He just knew his voice had never sounded so gravely or low as it did when he blurted, “I don't want those other men even looking at you – period.”

Why doesn't that possessiveness worry me...? Instead, she whispered back, upon noticing a group of females – including some rather brazen-seeming ogling blondes – on the other side of the room openly admiring him, “Oh, blimey! I won't let those floozies get too close!” She couldn't stop herself from pulling his head in for a hard snog – dropping her glass in the process.

What-?! His own glass fell, crashing and breaking against Donna's and the ground. But John's mind stopped thinking. Except for how good it felt to be so close to Donna... and how it felt like he'd just found home...

Feeling his lips against hers... was the closest Donna felt she'd ever come to finding heaven on Earth. As she kept snogging him, trying to stake her claim so those blondies would stay away, she swore she needed him more and more... until she had to let him go because her lungs suddenly burned for air more than for him.

When their lips separated, John gasped, but it wasn't from the need for air. So wonderful... Why did I even fight against going here...?

He's dazed... Donna, although her heart was fluttering like a hummingbird, panicked over the thought that he didn't like it because he didn't really respond. “Oh, my God, I've ruined everything-”

But hearing her disparage herself was enough. He drew her right into his arms and kissed her tenderly – unconsciously leaning them over in a rather romantic pose...

In her living room, Charlotte laughed and clapped her hands. “They got over their fears!”

Meanwhile, John and Donna lost all track of time, and forgot all about the people whose presence had pushed them over the edge. There was nothing except the feel of being in each other's embrace.

When the need for air threatened to overwhelm, their lips finally separated. All they could do was look into each other's bewildered eyes – and see the other's love burning bright for them. Donna barely managed to convey a burning question: “You want this?”

“Oh, yes,” John whispered, unable to believe that such a woman had come into his life – and equally desperate to keep her in it. But he wasn't sure quite how to say it. Instead, he vowed, “Donna, if it takes the rest of my days, I will make sure you see how special you are.”

Donna blushed, and laughed – beaming over that smile she adored. “Gorgeous, talks as much as I do, devoted to me, and completely bonkers. What am I going to do with you...?”

Suddenly, John entered his home, carrying Donna over the threshold – her arms gently looped around his shoulders, a bouquet dangling from one hand. He was in a morning suit, she in a wedding dress. Her hair flowed under her veil. In the backs of their minds, they heard bells ringing. But they couldn't take their eyes off each other.

He paused after managing to close the door with his foot – and letting Donna reach back to lock it. “Welcome home, Mrs Noble.”

She giggled. “I can't believe you wanted to take my name.” She had to kiss him; the abundance of love in his eyes just drew her to him.

He slowly lowered her back to her feet, unable to carry her when just her lips on his did amazing things to his whole body. “I can't explain it, but I feel no attachment to the name 'Smith.'”

Donna beamed, a bit grateful. “Well, with so many John Smiths hovering around, I'm glad I'm not answering to 'Mrs. Smith.'” Then she looked down at her gown, as if seeing it for the first time. Which she knew she hadn't. Except... “Why do I suddenly feel like I've worn this before...? It's like I was planning another wedding before the accident.” She shuddered, unable to imagine ever having wanted to marry someone other than her daft skinny boy.

John couldn't explain the rush of emotions at the thought of her being with another. He had to change the subject, and pulled her sharply against him. “Have I told you that you're so beautiful in that dress...?”

She blushed at the intensity of his adoring stare – laced with a smoldering fire that made her shiver. How can his voice hold so many sinful promises...? “No,” she whispered, shivering as an inferno spontaneously formed inside her.

He wasn't sure why all the delightful sensations felt a bit strange, but he was no in mood to stop and think about it. Leaning in closer, he whispered, “Know what I'm thinking about doing to that dress?”

Her blush faded, replaced by a desire she couldn't see past. “Probably what I'm thinking about doing to that suit...”

He growled low in his throat as their lips drew together of their own accord... her hands trying to get under his shirt as he practically bent her back over a handy table, nearly knocking over a lamp in his eagerness to find the zipper on her dress...

Charlotte gasped, and made a move to change the channel... Only the image changed before she saw anything she shouldn't. Dr. Moon was sitting in what appeared to be Donna and the Doctor's living room, looking over a photo album. One of Donna in a hospital bed – with the Doctor sitting behind her, an arm around her tightly – holding twin babies that she'd clearly just delivered appeared on screen. Both looked absolutely exhausted, but it didn't take away from the utter radiance of their smiles.

Then she saw the Doctor – in the same linen shirt he was wearing in the picture, jeans, and trainers – was gently and lovingly shooing the twins – who looked about five or six years old – from playing too close to the couch – where Donna – in a blue shirt, darker slacks, and a comfortable pair of stylish flats – and Dr. Moon were sitting.

“Come on,” John exclaimed at the exuberant Joshua and Ella. “Stop it! Take it outside if you're going to be noisy, or keep with quiet games! Your mum and I have a visitor.” The twins apparently decided that being around Mummy and Daddy was more important; they settled down on the floor with some kits. John smiled, ruffling Joshua's dark locks and then briefly stroking Ella's ginger – Yes, he'd cheered on seeing her that first time, there is a God! – ones.

Donna sighed as John walked back to the couch. “It's like they don't know how to calm down sometimes.” She smiled at her husband as he sat and wrapped his arm around her. It seems so natural, she thought, for us to have some physical contact... “Just like their father.”

John snorted, knowing she was teasing. “You do a good job of calming us all.”

This worked better than I thought possible. Dr. Moon observed, “You've done so much in seven years, Donna and John.”

“Ah,” Donna lightly scoffed, “sometimes it feels more like 70.” Then her mind drifted a moment, “Mind you, sometimes it feels like no time at all.”

“I know,” John added. “I feel the same way, but I don't care anymore.”

Donna's eyebrows bounced at that. “Why?”

Dr. Moon was also very interested in the answer. This will determine how well CAL's actions worked.

John smiled fondly at his wife. “Because it feels like, for the first time in my life, I can relax and be myself. No pretending to be something I'm not. I'm now just a man with a great life, and even more wonderful people in it.”

Donna forced tears back over the emotions in his eyes. She just play-poked him in the chest. “Daft man,” she said, giving him a sweet kiss anyway.

When she pulled back, John took more pleasure than he would ever admit to when she met his eyes. I know she can tell what I'd do if we didn't have company – and the twins – present.

Time to leave. Dr. Moon rose, drawing them to their feet. “Can I just say,” he amiably said, “what a pleasure it is to see you fully integrated?”

Suddenly, Dr Moon became fuzzy and then disappeared. In his place stood the fuzzy image of a young blond woman – whose face had haunted Donna and John's minds. It instantly startled both – making him pull her against him.

No,” the blond said, “the signal's definitely coming from the moon. I'm blocking it, but it's trying to break through.” She suddenly looked in their direction, and her eyes widened as she seemed to see them! “Mum! Dad!”

But she disappeared again. Dr. Moon appeared in her place, looking as solid and real as he had before. “Oops, sorry.” He smiled as if he'd just let out a loud noise. “Mrs. Angelo's rhubarb surprise. Will I never learn?”

Donna drew back against John in shock. “Jenny! I saw Jenny!”

“I did, too!” John drew Donna behind him, instinctively protecting her from danger.

“Yes, you did, Donna and John.” Dr. Moon concentrated again, deeply. “And then, you forgot.”

Suddenly, Donna's concern vanished, like it'd never been there. “Dr Moon!” Wait, did I forget he was here again?! “Oh, hello! Shall I make you a cup of tea?” Without waiting for an answer, she hurried out of the room, adding, “I'll bring one for you, too, John!”

John blinked rapidly, eyes first following Donna and then turning back to Dr. Moon. “But I swear I-”

“You hallucinated again, John.” The calm response was immediate, measured. “First time in a long while, so I wouldn't be concerned.”

John tried to process that. He swore he, too, saw the girl who had seemingly been where Dr. Moon was standing. If I'm imagining her, he thought, then what triggered it? And why does she call us Mum and Dad...?

Donna returned, carrying three cups on a tray. She knew she was pressing her luck to bring three hot cups by hand alone anywhere. “Here we are, Dr Moon.”

John looked back to accept his, ready to ask her about what happened. But Ella ran from the corner where she and Joshua were playing, clay figures in her hands. “Mummy, Daddy, I made you!”

“Oh, that's nice, Ella.” But Donna paused when she noticed a strange missing detail on each doll. “Where're the faces?”

Ella shrugged, acting like her father. “I don't know.”

John frowned. It doesn't seem like her to leave out the details... “Dr, Moon,” he started as he turned, “should we-?”

Donna startled at the same moment. She put the cups down numbly. “Where's Dr Moon? Did he leave?”

“But he was right there!” John turned to her, but wasn't reassured by her equally baffled expression.

She shook her head at the impossible nature of what evidently happened. “Just a second ago?”

He nodded. “Yep. You must have passed him.”

“Well,” Donna demanded, a little bemused, “then why didn't he say goodbye?” She went to the window, not surprised when her husband followed closely.

They both expected to see Dr. Moon outside somewhere, but, instead, they both froze. “Why,” John exclaimed, “would a woman go around looking like Queen Victoria? And what's with that veil over her face?!” As soon as he said it, the name of the monarch made something itch inside his mind. But whatever it was stayed maddeningly hidden. Then he felt Donna shudder a little, and he had to hug her. “You all right?”

“Yeah.” I'm not sure why she's making me so... something... “Yeah, I'm fine, it's just...” She tried to dismiss it.

John gently guided her to face him within the circle of his embrace. “Just?”

She sighed and hugged him back. “Nothing.” She took a deep breath, and gave him a comforting kiss. She meant it to be quick, but few times did that happen. It was like they needed the comfort they could find in each other. When they parted slightly, he raised an eyebrow in query, and she shrugged. “It's been a long day, that's all. I'm just tired.”

Suddenly, they were sitting on the bed together, holding hands. He was in blue jim-jams, she in a purple nightgown. Her pulled back hair was now loose.

John blinked. Weren't we just...? “You OK?” He had to know; it felt like the most important thing.

Donna felt equally confused. “I said I was tired, and...” A look of comprehension passed over her face as images fluttered into her mind. “And we put the kids to bed, and we watched television.”

“Why,” he quietly asked after a beat, “can't I remember that? I should remember it!” He clutched her hand unconsciously.

“Oh...” She got onto her knees so she could straddle him and pull his head to rest over her heart. He was so surprised that she freed her other hand to hug him around his shoulders, and his arms wrapped around her waist – clutching her to him. “You're not the only one who has those moments, John,” she reminded him as she massaged his scalp through his hair. “Sometimes I can't even remember my childhood. But we can't let it consume us.”

John sighed, feeling a lot of tension rush out of his body and into the ether in the face of her touches. “I know, Donna, I know. I just...” He lifted his head, needing to see her eyes – and grateful when she tilted her head to look questioningly at him. He raised one hand to cup her cheek – his fingers unconsciously tangling in her loose hair. “I don't like this fog it sometimes feels like I'm living in, but if it's the price I pay to be with you, then I'll gladly learn to live with it. Because I can't imagine not being your husband.”

Donna's eyes watered. There's something about looking into his eyes... She swallowed to free her voice from her tightened throat. “I can't imagine what it'd be like to go back to... whatever my life was before now that I've known you. I feel like I was shouting at the world before, but now I have someone who listens, who cares about what I think. So the feeling's mutual, love.”

Once again overwhelmed, John felt a need for actions rather than words. So his hand slightly adjusted to draw her into a kiss, and Donna's eyes fluttered closed in anticipation of... quite a bit of fun...

But both froze when they heard a noise. That, Donna thought, sounds like the front door letterbox! “Was that a letter?!”

John frowned hard, also looking in that direction. He quickly glanced at the clock. “It's midnight.” He motioned for her to get up so he could, too. More than a little irritated, he grumbled, “Who drops letters in the middle of the night?” He managed to not storm over to the window, but he did move to see if he could spot the person.

Donna stuck to his side, and then they both saw the woman in the black dress. She seemed to be waiting. “Shall we go and see what it is,” Donna asked.

John nodded, and they quickly – and quietly – rushed to the front door, holding hands again. Both uneasy over what could be happening.

Sure enough, there was a letter. Slipped through the mail-hole. They exchanged another confused look, and he picked it up carefully. Opening it, he read the contents: "'Dear Donna and the Doctor, the world is wrong. Meet me at your usual playground, two o'clock tomorrow.' What the-? How can she know about my hallucinations?! I thought only you and Dr. Moon knew!"

Donna took the letter and hurried to a side window, pushing the curtains aside enough to see the woman walk away. She turned back to John, shaking her head. “Nutter.”

John nodded. “Do we want to know what she's up to?” Though I don't think I really need to ask; she's always been up for investigating...

In her flat, the Girl sucked in a breath. “Don't go,” she whispered, pleading at the screen. “Please don't go.” I'm not sure why, she thought, but it'll be very, very bad! “You're happy! Don't go!”

Chapter 12: Nothing in the World So Well As You


Jul. 13th, 2011 08:36 am (UTC)
Oh, yes, CAL was watching, but showing it all through her eyes is a very clever concept. And yes, of course she would be interested - in fact I imagine she would have been interested in everybody else she 'saved', choosing lives for them that suited them best.

And I do adore angst!
Jul. 13th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
She probably would have found everyone's lives interesting. I just like to think that she'd find these two especially fascinating; they have such a great dynamic. :D
Jul. 14th, 2011 04:24 am (UTC)

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