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Title: Altered History: The Runaway Bride
Genre: Doctor Who
Rating: T (language, Donna anger, Doctor anger)
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: Donna Noble's wedding day wasn't what she expected. Disappearing, kidnapped by robots (twice!), being attacked, and learning she had a worthless fiancée. But the most unsettling part is her savior: an alien ponce who makes all Human men look bad. Even when he is acting like the Spaceman that he is.
Disclaimer: Not mine. I'm taking the Whoniverse and meddling drastically with it.
Special Author's Note: See the other chapters for that. I think I can stop it right here. Since this ends this story.
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. And yes, this wouldn't exist with Paul McGann's presence at Gallifrey One this year. So we can all thank him. (Mind, I am not sure I'd want any actor reading my work...)

Chapter One / Chapter Two / Chapter Three / Chapter Four / Chapter Five / Chapter Six / Chapter Seven

Altered History: The Runaway Bride

Started February 25, 2017
Story Unfinished as of start of posting
Finished March 17, 2017


Chapter Eight: Fanning the Oncoming Storm

Donna's mother waited until they were within speaking distance before she began her harsh words. “And what time is this?”

“How old am I?” Donna snapped, reflexively.

“Not old enough to use a phone. And what's he doing here?”

The Doctor did not allow Donna a chance to answer. “Your daughter was abducted, her fiancée isn't with her, and all you can focus on is what time she gets home and who got her there safely? Not to mention forgetting that she doesn't have pockets? Where are your priorities?”

He was not going to let on that he felt vindicated by that comment. Not when the mother of the bride ought to know the details of her daughter's dress.

“Sylvia,” Donna's father stressed, hands on her arms. “Let's let them both come in before we give the neighbours more to talk about.”

Sylvia shot a glare at her husband, although it was nowhere near the intensity she sent at her daughter or the Doctor. “Geoffrey, that man-”

“Saved all your lives,” the Doctor interrupted. “And just saved Donna from the fate Lance had in mind for her.”

Scoffing, Sylvia stepped back into the house without giving an invitation.

The Doctor took a deep breath and silently motioned for Donna to precede him. He relaxed a little when Donna and her father hugged tightly, with the man gently tugging her inside.

“Donna, love, thank God you're safe. What happened?”

She clutched him, and sniffed. “That's why the Doctor is here, to help me explain.”

The Doctor closed the door behind him, listening out for Sylvia Noble coming back into the room. Given the sounds coming from where he suspected was the kitchen, he figured he had maybe a minute or two to prepare for her. For now he would see what he could learn about why Donna was the way she was through watching her and her father.

Geoffrey Noble was smiling as he let his daughter out of the hug. “This wasn't how I imagined your day going. I wanted it to be the special day you dreamed of.”

Donna's eyes watered. “Turns out there was no chance it would've been a dream,” she whispered.

“What do you mean, love?”

“Did Mum even worry about me?” she asked, weak and quiet.

“Oh, Donna,” he soothed as he kept a gentle hold of her arms. “She was terrified for your safety, worried that you were dead. I told her to not say that.”

“Then why did she let the reception happen without me?”

“Weddings aren't cheap, Lady,” Sylvia snapped as she walked back into the room, drying a dish with a towel. “And now you've run Lance off, have you-?”

“That's enough, Mrs. Noble.”

Sylvia just turned a scornful look at the Doctor over his cold tone, ignoring the dark look in his eyes and the thin line his lips had become. “Who are you to tell me what I can and can't say-?”

“I told you at the reception. I'm the Doctor.”

“Doctor who?”

“And I'm here to tell you that Lance betrayed your daughter, not the other way around. I can't see how you could even think that Donna did anything wrong or caused the events of today. Your daughter was the target of a nefarious plot to destroy the whole planet.”

“She's done party pieces before-”

He had no patience for her words. Especially since he could see Donna wincing with each one, or perhaps just over the tone. “How can any parent make her own child think so poorly of herself that she thinks she has to accept being treated as if she deserves nothing good in world? And were those 'party pieces' more an attempt to get your attention and maybe some praise for showing creative thinking? Because the woman I observed today saw so many minor details that I nearly missed, so she's not the stupid woman that Lance called her today.”

“Lance said that?!” Geoffrey demanded. “When?”

“When he revealed that he had been poisoning her with a substance not of your planet's origin. A substance he and the people he worked for were convinced to make, and Donna became their chosen victim. All as a key to unleash something hidden below the planet's surface. I will not repeat what he said because it does not bear repeating. He tore her apart and she just took it. I can't imagine any woman as brash and intelligent as Donna is accepting that unless it was something she was used to hearing. I just watched her with you, Mr. Noble. Clearly she never heard a harsh word from you in her life unless you were telling her 'no' with good reason. So I can only assume that she heard it all from your wife. She mentioned that she was teased at school about her hair, although it seems that nothing any of her erstwhile suitors or colleagues or so-called friends have said compares to the pain her own mother caused. But why would any father who loves his child permit it to go on for even the slightest bit of time, let alone after the child is an adult?!”

Donna stared in shock, mouth slackened and her body still. No one had ever stood up to her mother before. Even her father and granddad had not challenged her views so much. Either the Doctor was foolhardy or supremely brave. Or both. Or he had no idea what her mother was like in a foul mood.

Geoffrey paled. He was not unaware of his failings as a father, but hearing them put in such blunt terms left him speechless.

Sylvia wasn't affected. Unless you counted looking even more cross and like lightening bolts would shoot from her eyes. “How dare you insult my husband!” She let her own hand loose.

Only the Doctor was ready. Dealing with her daughter had given him a warning, and his reflexes caught her by the wrist. “Your daughter already got me twice today. One of them I definitely deserved, the other I probably earned. But you have no right to attack me when you've been attacking your daughter since she was little.”

Sylvia let her other hand loose, but he caught that one as well. “Let go of me, you wedding-ruiner!”

“Am I? Or are you?”

“It's either you or Donna who's responsible-”

“Lance was responsible for ruining everything, Mrs. Noble. He never intended to be with Donna. He only agreed because he didn't want her running off before his plans could come to fruition. And you are going to listen for once in your life and open your eyes to what you've done.”

“What I've done?!” Sylvia shouted. “It's what Donna's done, wasting her time temping! Goes from one job to the next, never sticking around long enough that anyone would want her more more than practice. Always wanting to do things that won't get her far-”

“What happened to you?” the Doctor growled, his voice quiet but so sharp it could cut glass without breaking it. “Did you have dreams that were denied you because of the era you grew up in?”

Sylvia stilled, blinking. “Why, I-”

He knew he had his in, and pressed it immediately. “Despite the advances women were making on your world there were some things still closed off to you. So you accepted something that was considered okay for women to do, did it to what you considered perfection and accepted nothing out of the ordinary. And whenever your daughter showed signs of wanting to do things that were perhaps available to her, what did you do? Did you encourage her? Or did you put her down? You couldn't stand for her to have the opportunities that you missed, could you?”

“They weren't necessarily there for her, either,” she insisted, drawing back and freeing herself. “Why should she suffer when failure was high? She's so far behind where I was at her age that she's considered a failure in my circles.”

“Sometimes you need to try because you never know, but you didn't let her have the chance to fail!” he snapped, stepping forward and making her back away closer to the wall. “You discouraged her from everything she was good at, not even stopping to think that there might be some useful need for it. You tore her down until she barely has any trust in herself and her abilities. Is it any wonder she's had so much trouble and pain? She would've seen that Lance wasn't that interested in her if you hadn't convinced her that she's not special, if you and everyone around her encouraged standing up for herself. When she was sent home from school, did you even stop and consider that whatever she said happened was the truth? Or did you teach her to not make any waves, to accept any injustice that happened to her because that was what you thought you had to do? Anyone would think you cared nothing for your daughter, that you don't think she's important.”

Donna watched her mother's face. She saw her eyes watering in the face of the Doctor's icy words, and couldn't believe her mother was stepping back even a little against his accusations.

The last words brought a little edge to Sylvia's voice. “She is important! She's my daughter!”

Donna sucked in a breath.

He could not explain it, but that inflamed his fury even more. He could feel the crackling that signaled the Storm he kept locked away was ready to emerge, and he almost welcomed it. “Then why is that a surprise to her? Why couldn't you tell her that instead of dragging her down? If you hadn't, you wouldn't have spent all that money that you considered more important than her. And that would be because she wouldn't have felt so pressured to accept the first man who treated her at all well, or even do what no woman should and nag. Your daughter could already have done amazing things if you hadn't kept her down!”

Sylvia gasped as she tripped into a chair, eyes going huge over the energy she could not begin to explain.

“Doctor!” Donna cried, rushing right between them and putting her hands on his chest, fighting to not cringe against the energy she felt.

The touch of her hands startled him, and the energy slipped back under tight control. He took a few breaths and looked at Donna, softening his gaze. “Why are you defending the woman who has done nothing to help you?”

“She showed me how to not let my detractors bring me down, to hide what they made me feel, and taught me skills that have made me excellent at what I do. And she's my mother. I wouldn't be who I am without her. And my dad and granddad, two men I trust and love, love her.”

The defense got him to calm, but he spared one final glare at Sylvia Noble. “Your daughter is a better woman than you are. She had compassion even for the creature who wanted her to become food for her children. When I had to stop them from emerging Donna felt pity for their mother's grief, even though she could have stopped it by accepting my offer of finding them another world to live on. You do not deserve a tiny fraction of her loyalty or affection. If I were the type to kidnap people I would take Donna away from this toxic atmosphere and never let her return, because it would serve you right to never see her again.”

Sylvia was silently crying, in that instant looking very much like her daughter had a few hours earlier for them. She looked stricken, lost, and like she could barely hold herself upright.

Geoffrey went to her side and held her hands. “Doctor, the women in her family, they don't readily accept when they're wrong. They have strong opinions and aren't afraid to speak their minds. When you have two such women in a family, they will clash. I saw it with her mother. It's a friction that makes it difficult for the rest of the family. Believe me when I say I did what I could, and tried to convince Sylvia that sometimes you do need to rock the boat. Especially so those who come after you will have better lives. The influence of what others expect reigns heavily over us, and I don't know why you don't understand that.”

His eyes softened a little. “Oh, but I do. My people have even stronger opinions about what each person in society is supposed to do and when. I simply don't understand why anyone who has the freedom that you Humans have would attempt to impose their will on the rest of the world.”

“What do you mean, 'you Humans'?” Geoffrey asked.

It was the opening he was looking for. He checked with a quiet glance at Donna, and when she nodded he began the tale.

“I'm not of your world. I look like I am, but my people are from another planet far away from here. We're an ancient race, living terribly long lives and often losing track of the things your kind consider important. Around the time your planet was forming there was a huge conflict known as the First Great Time War, pitting the ancient races against each other. My people fought many kinds, including a race of giant spiders known as the Racnoss. We thought we had unravelled their power source, but their leader, the Empress, figured out a way to hide some of her kind. She left a web-star full of hatchlings inside a Mars-sized planet that smashed into the primordial Earth. As the two planets coalesced into one the ship slid into the core of the planet, in hiding and waiting to be discovered. Then an organisation call Torchwood, who seeks to seize aliens and their technology for Earth's benefit without any regard for decency or civilised law, drilled down. It alerted the Empress, who got Lance to help her recreate their power source. But they needed a living host to make it work as the key to unlock the ship, and so Lance – one of the few survivors of the Canary Wharf incident – began poisoning the staff of H C Clements. Some fell ill and left the company. But he singled out Donna as someone who could be manipulated and who was managing to have a catalysis rate that would allow her to be the key. Everyone else was captured and used as food for the Empress. Donna is the only survivor left of H C Clements, and she had no idea until today when Lance revealed he despised her.”

“You say he tore into her?” Sylvia said through her tears, her fire returning with a faint flicker. “Where is he? Let me at him.”

“Too late. He had no idea that the being who he thought would take him into the universe was not above using him as food for her children. In the end I had no choice but to use the Thames to drown them to save the rest of the planet. Donna and I barely got out alive, and the military shot down the Empress' ship. She's out of a job and not quite a widow, but has made a lucky escape. Now she's left to pick up the pieces. She needs you both to support her, to believe her. So I ask you, do you believe me when I say that there was no chance she could have disappeared on her own or put her life on the line?”

Sylvia saw Donna's own watery gaze, strengthened by her interfering with the Doctor's tirade, and lowered her eyes. “I'm sorry, Donna,” she choked. “I thought I could protect you from what I went through. I wanted to do far more than I did, and found the doors firmly shut to me.”

“Maybe the problem is that on a key level you're very alike,” Geoffrey suggested.

The Doctor's lips tightened. He could not see much similarity beyond a tendency to jump to conclusions and being brash when frightened. But he had only known Donna for several hours and her mother for less than thirty minutes. So he could accept that he had little information to go on.

But he did not believe his eyes when Donna and Sylvia silently moved to embrace, and clutched each other. He could see Sylvia's face from his angle, and he was positive that he saw her whispering an apology over and over again.

He had done it. He had changed the woman's mind. So whatever else happened tonight he had done good by Donna Noble. She needed it, and better late than never.

Geoffrey came over and stood by him. “Thank you,” he whispered. “Sylvia's been tense. Her mum died last Christmas and her dad's ill. He had to miss the wedding.”

“Did no one suspect that Lance was using Donna?” the Doctor asked, equally quiet.

“Sylvia... in one of her moods... thought he was too good for Donna, that someone like him would be unlikely to choose her. I never wanted to think ill of him, but I wondered sometimes if there was something I wasn't told. Wilfred, my father-in-law, had some inklings, I think. But she seemed so happy that we...”

“Wanted to believe that he was the real thing, that he would take care of her,” the Doctor finished for him. “No, I understand.”

“How? You have a family?”

“Yes. Might be best if I save the explanation for when they're both listening.”

Sylvia and Donna broke apart slowly, sniffling and each wiping their eyes. “I wanted to be more, but I had no idea what trying to fit in with my friends made me like to men,” the latter said, choking on the words.

“Well, don't. Go and seek what you could be. Better late than to never attempt.”

Then Sylvia looked at the Doctor. She took a few breaths and put herself back together mentally. “Thank you for getting her home, Doctor, and for saving her life. We can never repay you, but if you can handle Human food then you're welcome to Christmas dinner. Donna and Lance were supposed to have it with us before they left for Morocco, but you can join us instead.”

The Doctor, although still tense from dealing with Sylvia, found a smile. But not over the invitation. Instead it was over Donna's shocked look. “Thank you, Mrs. Noble. The day has been long and a good meal would be delightful.”

“Good. Donna, do go and change. Let's start putting this day behind us all, and figure out how we'll recover from the cost.”

“Maybe she can seek compensation,” Geoffrey suggested. “With that level of devastation it's worth checking into.”

“I'll find out,” Donna promised.

“Doctor, I'm putting the kettle on. Do you drink tea?” Geoffrey asked.

He found a real smile. “Tea will be excellent, thank you.”

The couple walked into the kitchen, quietly talking between themselves. But their body language said that they were still convinced.

Donna looked at the Doctor with huge eyes. “I can't believe you did that, convince my mum. What was that you did in the end there? It was like static electricity, but something far bigger!” she asked quietly.

The Doctor cleared his throat, and kept his voice equally low. “I-I'm often called the Oncoming S-Storm. It's something I have to keep a tight hold of, because if I get angry enough to let it out a lot of damage happens.”

She shuddered. “Oh my God, you really do need someone to stop you.”

“So... have you changed your mind?”

“I suppose I'd better. You might've died down there without me. And I'll miss out on a huge chance to make a difference if I keep my answer the same.”

“Then, Donna Noble, I think this will be start of a fantastic friendship.”

She laughed lightly. “Daft prawn. You do realise you're stuck here until the day after tomorrow? Because I won't leave before then. No one will detect the TARDIS, will they?”

“No, I have the Old Girl keeping a lookout for scans. But it would be best if I bring her closer, keep her from accidentally catching attention. And your parents not noticing the bio-damper confirms that it's also a perception filter. Otherwise I can't believe that anyone would be that unaware when a woman shows to what was supposed to be her reception wearing a ring from a man not her groom, and with said man in tow.”

“You'd better be right back, or I won't change my mind. And I'll slap you a new one.”

“I think I'll be happy to never be slapped ever again, so that won't happen.”

“I'll see it when it happens.”

“You have a back garden?”

“A small one.”

“Big enough for the TARDIS to land in?”

“More than. Why?”

“Because I'll be coming back in through the back. Give me a minute.”

So she followed him to the door, and watched carefully. He quickly entered the TARDIS and the ship vanished. She waited.

Seconds later she could hear the engines again, but the ship was nowhere to be seen. Donna closed the door and rushed to the back door. On opening that she found the Doctor closing the TARDIS doors and walking toward her with a big smile.

“Told you I could land her properly,” he said as he reached her side.

“How often will that happen?” she asked after he was back inside.

“Are you going to be a back seat driver?”

“No, I think I'm going to be learning to co-pilot your Old Girl.”

“Wait, wait, wait...!” He paused, trying to determine if he had heard correctly and then frowned at her. “What?”

She giggled. “The look on your face! We'll talk about this later. Now go and make yourself useful. Time to have a Happy Christmas for a change, unlike last Christmas for you, it sounds like,” she added as she hurried off to change.

He watched until she was out of sight upstairs. He heard the kettle venting, and sighed. “Maybe it will be the first of many happy Christmas',” he thought aloud.


TO BE CONTINUED IN... Altered History: Prophecies and Pompeii


Mar. 24th, 2017 06:14 pm (UTC)
*fistpump* Yes! He went off on Sylvia with every hard truth she never wanted to hear, but needed to! Magnificent reason to call him the Oncoming Storm, too... I wonder how many people dared touch him when he's all rage and fire. (And icon for Donna's shocked look - he didn't even try, and got invited for Christmas! *giggle*)

*cracks up* Oh, I can just imagine his face when Donna flat-out told him she was going to be his co-pilot! So much fun, so sad it's over. Awesome pressie, I loved it all! *glomphug*
Mar. 25th, 2017 02:28 am (UTC)
IIRC, my beta thought for a brief instant that he was going to kill her. Harsher tongue than Ten ever had. Although as I pointed out, he had been twice denied the chance to go off on someone who deserved it. So it came out in a rather big way. And only Donna would dare touch him to calm him in such a case. (Love the icon. Perfect choice!)

We need a photo of him giving a WTF look. Just for that. :DDDDDD I'm glad you loved it, and I hope you love the sequels just as much. *feels the love of the glomphug*
Mar. 25th, 2017 06:16 pm (UTC)
(I need to reshuffle more Eight icons back into my list)

I wasn't worried he was going to kill her. I was worried he'd do some damage though, but Donna stepped in and stopped him. Again. The Doctor needs Donna in his life no matter what his face. :D Also, Eight's got a sharp tongue in his head, though usually he's a bit more...hm. Urbane? Not quite the word, but similar. This case, I agree with you - he'd been forestalled from going off twice, and it came out double-strength.

(The Donna one is mine too...actually I think most of them are mine. Need to get back into icons and manips...)

If I can find the photo, I'll make the icon. Which means more watching of the DW movie, Night of the Doctor, and anything I can find of McGann's that has him dressed appropriately so I can get the right screencaps. Such a hardship! *giggles* And I'm sure I'll love the sequels too. (Eight and Donna in Pompeii? Ohyeah!)
Mar. 26th, 2017 04:37 am (UTC)
(Sounds lovely.)

He might've. He was angry enough, having seen that Donna didn't deserve what she was handed. So yes, Donna proves her worth. Which probably helped his case. Restrained is a good word, but yes. I get what you're saying.

(When you can make the time.)

Hah! A good close-up of him would work. Given that I have him with shorter hair here, that opens a lot of his work for you. I don't know how you'll deal with looking at so many images. :P Which reminds me that I need to post photos from my various cons. I managed one good shot of his face on the big screen at Gally One. Those rarely turn out. Now if only I could remember what was said to trigger the look I captured... :)

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