Genre: Doctor Who
Rating: T (language, Donna anger, Doctor anger)
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 chapter. 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.
Altered History: The Runaway Bride
Started February 25, 2017
Story Unfinished as of start of posting
Chapter One: Mutual Shocks
When her married friends talked about the nerves they felt on their respective wedding days, Donna Noble never imagined feeling like hers would carry her away. Not when she imagined her own. And she certainly didn't consider it possible when her arm was firmly linked with her dad's. It sounded like sentimental rubbish.
Until she realized that something was doing just that: making her light and feeling weird. Only then did her vision become clouded with golden glow. Naturally she screamed until she couldn't.
She blinked as soon as she could see again. But she was not in the church anymore. The shock rendered her silent as she took in her surroundings.
The room was more of a Victorian or Edwardian Gothic tone, but with weird round things on the walls. The columns looked strange and were hard to see in detail. The lighting kept things dark, with a soft glow here and there. There was light coming from behind her, and a weird mechanical sound filled the air. And it was more than a bit chilly, even considering she was sleeveless.
But she could breathe. Where was she?!
“What is this, Old Girl?”
She whipped to face the voice she heard. It was a man's voice, and he was puzzled. He sounded like he might be from Sussex, but his clothes were not quite anything she'd seen normal people wear. A black leather jacket, or what looked like one, covered his torso. His trousers looked similar from her angle, and he seemed to be wearing boots. His back was to her so she couldn't see his face, but it looked like he had short dark hair. Although not so close-cut that you thought of a skinhead.
He leaned over a screen, completely engrossed in reading. “Something's been deposited into the Control Room about four metres from where I'm standing.”
“What?!” Donna blurted, a bit squeaky.
“Two arms, two legs, a heat signature, heartbeat, and a nitrogen-oxygen breather,” he continued, his head bowed down over over the controls near the screen. Like he didn't hear her or was aware of her existence. Despite what he was saying. His hands were working over controls that looked like the remnants of a scrap yard, and some were possibly held down by duck tape if her eyes weren't deceiving her. And she did not trust what they were telling her.
“Who are you?!” Donna demanded.
“But there's no rift like the last time an intruder was forced on me,” he carried on as if she hadn't spoken. “They wouldn't have changed their methods. Not when they worked so well before at breaking through a TARDIS' defences.”
“What the hell is this place?!” she shouted.
He finally looked up and turned around, stepping into better light. At last she had a proper look at his face.
His hair was dark – either dark brown or black – and while short some of the strands acted a bit wavy or curly. Impossible to tell the difference at that length. A bit of stubble dusted his jaw and upper lip, and slight lines on his face went from his nose at an angle just above his lip. It combined to make him seem somewhat older than her, although how much was debatable. At least ten years, but no more than twenty if he was aging well. Again, the lighting made it hard to tell. His light eyes bored right into hers. Under other circumstances she would have evaluated his looks as rather handsome, but she was too hyped on fear to notice.
But it was obvious that he was not smiling. “Who are you, and why have my people decided to foist another Human on me?”
“What are you on about?! If you think I chose to be here – wherever here is – then you can sling your flaming hook!”
His eyes widened a touch, although he stayed exactly where he was. “Well, you're full of fire, aren't you?”
“Where am I? I demand you tell me, right now, where am I.”
His face looked pinched, but he kept his voice in a calm range. “I'm the Doctor, and this is my home. You are intruding on my home, so I think I have more of a right to ask questions.”
“And where is this place? It isn't a Mill Wall place, is it?! Not even Nerys would send me there, even if this is about her finally getting me back by having someone kidnap me.”
His mouth opened more than once while she talked, but he held back until she paused in her fuming. “I've never had anything to do with that team, or any team that tends to inspire hooligan behaviour, and I certainly don't know anyone called Nerys. And I'm not in the business of kidnapping anyone. And although you didn't ask, my home is called the TARDIS.”
“TARDIS,” he stressed, tense and stern.
“It's called a TARDIS, and I don't appreciate her being insulted.”
“That's not even a proper word! You're just saying things!”
He declined to answer that. “Now where did you come from? And what are you doing dressed like that?”
Donna growled, “I'm going ten-pin bowling. What do you think, dumbo?!”
“Dumbo?!” he blurted, offended.
“I was halfway down the aisle!” she pressed on, ignoring his reaction and even stepping a bit closer in an attempt to make him back off. “I've been waiting all my life for this. I was just seconds away! And then – I don't know – you drugged me or something!”
“I don't even know who you are,” he insisted, snapping as his temper frayed. He stayed put, not willing to give any ground to her. “If I were the type to do that, wouldn't I make sure to pick someone I knew about?”
She ignored him. “We're having the police on you. Me and my husband – when he is my husband – we're going to sue the living backside off you!”
He burst into laughter, like the concept was ludicrous. “That would be a first. I'd like to see you try and find me on any lists.”
She was within inches of stepping up to slap him, but then Donna spotted the doors and instead raced toward them.
“Wait, wait, wait! Stop!” he shouted, rushing towards her in a frantic effort to stop her.
But Donna opened the doors too soon.
Fortunately for her, the sight stopped her cold. There was no path outside. No sun. No buildings. All that was in front of her was a black sky filled with stars. And they weren't twinkling.
He stopped abruptly next to her and sighed. “That's why I tried to stop you. You're in space. My home is a spaceship. We're not anywhere near your home, so I hope you can appreciate why I'm confused that you're here.”
Donna barely heard him. “How are we breathing?”
“The TARDIS is protecting us. It's part of her systems, keeping the atmosphere stable for anyone inside.”
She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself as she looked at him for answers. “Who are you?”
“I told you, I'm the Doctor.”
“Doctor of what? You must have a name.”
He smiled a little. She had managed a slight variation on the usual question people asked him about his title. “I just call myself the Doctor. My true name is my own business. Now will you finally tell me who you are?”
She was quiet, thinking before silently conceding that he had a point. “Donna.”
She frowned a little. “Donna Noble. If you expect to learn my middle name, you're not going to. Not without better answers.”
He groaned. “Are you related to a Lucie Miller of Blackpool?”
She blinked, like he said some non-sequitur. “Never heard of her. And the last time I checked, I have no family there. No friends, either.”
“Weird. Or maybe it's something about suddenly appearing inside here that makes Humans testy.”
“Well, what do you expect? This isn't natural.”
He leaned against the doorway, not quite folding his arms as he kept his eyes on her. “Well, that's in the eye of the beholder, isn't it? For whatever species you are. I've seen a variety of reactions to the Old Girl over my long life.”
She blinked. “Wait... You're not saying you're an alien, are you?”
“What kind of alien do you mean? If you mean merely not from England, which judging by your accent you're from, then that's a little bit of an understatement.”
Donna's mouth dropped. She prided herself on seeing when someone was trying to pull her leg, and this man did not come across as speaking bullocks. At least at the moment. He looked too serious for it.
The Doctor took a deep breath, as though she were trying his patience. “So... Donna Noble, who won't admit to her middle name, what are you doing here?”
She frowned tightly, not inclined to give a straight answer given how out of her depth she felt. “It's freezing with these doors open,” she instead said.
He exhaled loudly and closed the doors firmly. “Fine, fine, fine. I don't know why anyone would show that much skin when you're supposed to be committing yourself to one person,” he muttered as he passed her back to the Controls.
She saw red as she marched to get his attention again. “Oi! Don't you go knocking on my choice! I knew this was the dress for me when I went to Chez Alison!”
The Doctor turned to face her, but he had his own focus. “You didn't meet anyone who demanded you enter some witness protection scheme, did you?”
“No! I just saw this golden glow around me, and it hurt. The next thing I knew I was here.”
He frowned. “But it's impossible for a Human to lock itself onto the TARDIS without outside help. Maybe...” He thrust his hand into his pocket and drew out a strange object that looked to Donna like a wand with a little round item on top in a different color.
“What the hell is that?!” she said, recoiling.
“A medical probe.” He pressed a button on it and ran it over and around Donna's head as he spoke aloud. “I can't find a subatomic connection or anything genetic that could account for appearing like you did. What could be pulling you into alignment with the Chronon shell? I'd surely detect if something was macro mining your DNA-”
Her hand launched before she even realized it, although she had no regrets. He was making her stomach churn and her heart area clench uncomfortably.
He let out an incoherent squawk as he recovered his balance and turned huge eyes on her. “What?! I was looking for answers! I didn't deserve that!”
“Get me to the church!” Donna shouted at the top of her lungs.
He al-but growled as he shoved the probe back into his pocket. “Okay, okay, okay! I'll take you home. I hope there's nothing that's going to stop me like with Lucie. A shield around your time is the last thing I need to deal with. What's the year and location?”
“You what?! It's Christmas Eve, 2006!”
He winced as he manned the Controls. “I hope that barrier isn't still there. Would be just my luck. The location, Donna?”
“Saint Mary's, Hayden Road, Chiswick, London, England, Earth, the Sol System!” she snapped. “Need it to be any more specific?!”
“Not given your attitude,” he muttered. “You pop into my home, in a compete mystery manner, and you act like I've done you wrong? I'll be happy to drop you there and leave! Time to go home to Chiswick, Donna Noble!”
He pulled the lever hard, and ignored Donna's squawked response to the bumpy ride. She grabbed a railing, and decided to be quiet. After all, you did not distract the driver. Even if you don't trust him.
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 Two: Attempts to Part Ways