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NEW: You Thought Wrong (4/5), 1st half


Rating: T for angst, a character death, and serious Doctor-whump.

Summary: The TARDIS mysteriously dumps 11, Amy, and Rory near Chiswick. Worried about running into Donna, 11 instead runs into someone he thought he'd never see again... and who's furious with him.

Disclaimer: If I owned them, would I have ever felt compelled to write this? Yeah, I didn't think so, either.

Author's Note: All songs referenced are sung by Kelly Clarkson, although there might be one additional one by someone else. Each one seemed appropriate given the tone and topic of each chapter. Title is from another Kelly Clarkson song, although the lyrics weren't right for this story.

Might want tissues while reading this...

This revived fic is dedicated to tardis-mole, with extra Eleven-whumpage as an homage. If you love Eleven, blame this fic on her. My frustration is with RTD and the other writers responsible for the situation that I'm sort-of fixing here, but I'm afraid Eleven has to take the punishment for it. Apologies to Matt Smith, but I have far too much affection for the characters that David Tennant and Catherine Tate played to perfection.

Chapter Note: Well, bas_math_girl, I finally posted something that LJ won't let me publish in a single post. Good to know...

It's Eleven's turn to have a song showcasing his emotions. The difference here is that the song is highlighting what he thinks he hears in Donna's actions and words... If you like Eleven or River, brace yourselves... because the Doctor has earned every bit of this guilt trip...

However, in writing it, I ran into a little stumbling block called Donna Noble's compassion. Made her words less harsh. And actually paved the way for the last part...

If I managed correctly, there'll be a link at the end of the second half to the YouTube showing of the video for the song that inspired this part. If you've never seen it or heard the song, it's worth seeing to understand just how angry the Doctor thinks Donna is with him.

Part 1: Low / Part 2: Because of You / Part 3: If No One Will Listen

PART 4: NEVER AGAIN - 1st Half

Once the Doctor felt recovered enough, which took a lot longer than he wanted, he rushed out of the TARDIS. Amy and Rory had to race to keep up as their Raggedy friend ran like the hounds of hell were on his heels.

And from what they'd witnessed... that just might be the case...

They caught up when he stopped suddenly, and they soon saw why. Black, official vans and other vehicles were all along one street, and people were being held back by a variety of bobbies and soldiers. They even saw evidence of crime scene investigators, which made the Doctor pale. “No,” he breathed, feeling his hearts stop, “no...” And ran into the fray... Not Donna!

Someone in uniform tried to stop him, and he just pushed them aside. “I'm the Doctor, and I need to know what happened here!”

A dark-skinned female in a senior uniform approached him. “You're the Doctor?”

He recognized her. “Captain Erisa Magambo, right? Oh, no, Major Magambo,” he corrected himself, noticing the different rank insignia. He cut off her obvious question. “Yes, I know I look different, but I am the Doctor. I assume you've read my file so you get that it happens that I change. So what happened here?”

She eyed him curiously for a long moment, trying to come to grips with the different appearance before her. “What's your interest in this? And who are these two with you?”

It took all his (limited) patience to keep his voice at anything below panic. “Donna Noble was a companion – she saved all of creation and paid a heavy price for it – and this is her mother's house. These two are traveling with me. Again, what happened here?!”

Major Magambo sighed. “What we have are witness reports of a kidnapping and a dead body.”

The Doctor paled. “Whose...?” He was guided over, Amy and Rory following closely, and then saw a sheet over a body on the sidewalk. One of the techs working nearby, on a hand signal from the Major, pulled the sheet back a little. And the Doctor sucked in a breath. “Shaun Temple... Donna's husband...” Even though he wept inside at another life lost, his legs nearly buckled in relief that Donna herself wasn't under that sheet.

“Apparently,” Major Magambo continued, “a black van drove up, two men abducted Donna Temple-Noble, and one of them shot Mr. Temple. Witnesses, including Mrs. Noble and her father, saw a man who looked like the person we knew as the Doctor run up, check on Mr. Temple, and then moments later vanish. When the paramedics came, Mr. Temple was already dead.”

The Doctor roughly grabbed his hair. “No, no, no! Oh, no! She should've been safe! She was supposed to have the life she'd always wanted!” A moment later, he whipped back to face the Major. “Do we know who targeted her?!”

“Not yet.” Major Magambo tried to keep her voice even. No one had ever written about how to handle an unstable Doctor... “We don't have any indications.” She gave a general overview of what information was available, which told the Doctor nothing about who had targeted Donna. “The only thing we know,” Major Magambo concluded, “is that Mrs. Temple-Noble's health has been declining since her wedding night.”

“How do you know that?!” Amy was the one to blurt out the question. Ever since hearing about what the Doctor had done to Donna in the name of saving her life, and hearing from John Noble about how well things had worked with Rose Tyler, she'd started questioning how wise the Raggedy Doctor was toward his companions. Even more so than when she'd had the shocking revelation about her and Rory's little girl's future... And that was before they lost her to the universe...

“Who are you?!” Sylvia Noble's voice was still unmistakable; the Doctor could hear her daughter in the tone. He turned slowly and saw her and Wilf clutching each other's hands, looking absolutely pale.

This will be awkward... He couldn't move, but he made himself speak. Although it took a few tries to find his voice; here were the people he'd trusted to keep Donna safe, and they'd been unable to do so. He owed them an explanation. “Sylvia, Wilf, it's me. The Doctor.”

Sylvia and Wilf both blinked, staring at him like he'd grown a second head. Which, the Doctor reflected, wasn't entirely off the mark. Even though he'd explained the Meta-Crisis – including the rather big detail about regeneration – when he brought Donna back. But before either could demand an answer, a familiar female voice called out, rather blandly, “You regenerated again, didn't you?”

Martha Jones! The Doctor whipped around to face his former companion – and got a double shock. Standing next to her were Mickey and Jack. The former's expression was stony, and the latter's... was filled with anger. “Where,” Jack boomed, “the hell have you been?! Did you not know that we could've used your help the 456 and with Miracle Day? What was so important that you couldn't come when we called? Just like Harriet Jones worried would happen?”

The Doctor was silent. He remembered the former PM's words, and his last self's anger that she'd ordered the destruction of the retreating ship. What had happened...? And why didn't he know...?

Mickey sighed. “I think we've got to focus on what's happening now. No point in beating a dead horse. As much as we'd like to rake you over the coals for not being there those times...”

The trailing off reminded Martha of exactly why she was there. She motioned him toward Wilf and Sylvia, and away from the prying ears of the others. Amy and Rory, however, followed closely. Enough that Jack looked curiously at them. “New companions?”

Amy frowned. “We've been traveling with him for quite a bit, yes. Seen what could have been the end of the universe with him. I'm Amy Pond, and this is my husband, Rory Williams. Now, I'd like to think that we can be trusted with this – and I bet you'd better continue, because I've never seen the Doctor act this freaked out over anything.”

Martha eyed the two a moment, and then fixed a glare on the Doctor. “UNIT has been watching over Donna ever since we got word that you'd locked her memories away. I hoped you knew what you were doing, but I had to look out for her. I had her family keep me informed of her status, and when she collapsed on her wedding night, I arranged to get copies of every medical report since you left her.”

“Wait!” The Doctor needed more information. “Explain how you've been keeping an eye on her without her knowing.”

That launched Mickey into the overview of what methods had been used. Sylvia and Wilf pitched in, tensely, with what they did to keep UNIT in the loop. The people who had seen the most of the information were Martha and Mickey – much to the Doctor's relief.

But his relief faded when Martha picked up the story of what else they'd noticed. “Seems your memories weren't the only thing she got from the Meta-Crisis. She also got some of your DNA.”

The Doctor slapped his own forehead. “Of course! Two-way Meta-Crisis. Her human DNA gave the Duplicate one heart, and mine made the Time Lord consciousness possible within her mind!”

Jack interrupted. “And apparently, your DNA needs that Time Lord energy to run properly. Near as we can tell, it's been slowly shutting down ever since.”

The Doctor froze solid. He swore his hearts stopped beating.

Martha continued, coldly, “From what I can tell, Doctor, when you regenerated, the DNA that came from your last self nearly died completely. In fact, it'd become so entwined in reworking Donna's DNA that she... should have died that night.” She hated the gasps from Sylvia and Wilf, felt for the shock on Amy and Rory's faces, but felt only a little twinge for the Doctor. She didn't understand why things had to be the way they were, and was ready to demand answers. For everybody’s sake. “When did Donna start to turn for the worse after we left, Doctor?”

He heard the demand in her voice. He'd heard it on New Earth, and a few times since. Having been around Donna, with her memory still so vivid, ensured that he had to answer honesty. “After I left the Duplicate with Rose.” Which I now see was the biggest mistake I've ever made...

Mickey scoffed. “So it didn't even occur to you that she might need him? And what about him? If she suffered because of... your old DNA, then wouldn't he be dead since he was mostly Time Lord?” I had to leave because I couldn't stand being around Rose and her obsession with getting back to him! Wonder if I should've said a bit more about how she'd changed...

The Doctor flinched. John's words were still fresh in his mind, and their argument replayed itself in his mind. Mickey, he probably had a lot to tell me about how Rose coped. If I'd known... what would I have done...?

“You told us,” Sylvia snapped, her voice low and controlled – reminding the Doctor of Donna at her most frightening, “that we could keep her safe by lying to her. But she could tell. We had to interfere so much to keep her from learning the truth. I could see her light going out slowly, and it's gotten worse since her illness. How could someone like you have not seen this could happen?! Why couldn't you stop it?!”

Wilf wanted to defend his friend, but he was too caught up in his own thoughts. Which he voiced aloud. “Oh, I knew that she was just making do... All that time we spent trying to protect her, it made her not trust her own instincts. She wouldn't have accepted Shaun if she had...”

The Doctor had reeled enough from Sylvia's venom, which he'd expected to receive, but Wilf's forlorn regrets... His respiratory bypass kicked in when he suddenly couldn't breathe, and he staggered to the house to lean against the door-frame. Oh, Rassilon... Why couldn't I see this coming...? I would've tried everything to save Donna!

He had a sudden vision of even using the Chameleon Arch to become human again – to be near her without triggering anything bad. Though it seemed like that might not have prevented this...

The lengthy silence was finally broken. “Major!” A Private rushed up, snapped a salute, and informed the group, “Call from Headquarters. The kidnappers have been apprehended and Mrs. Temple-Noble is safe.”

The Doctor, Sylvia, and Wilf heaved enormous sighs of relief. The others exhaled heavily. Major Magambo was first to speak. “That was quick. How is she?”

“Tired, but alert and coherent. Only slightly roughed up. Reported that her memories are back, and that she was already feeling better. The bloke who saved her also said he was feeling better than he was.”

The Doctor interrupted. “Tall, skinny, blue-suited, and wearing trainers?” At the confused nod, he felt a strange mixture of relief and... guilt. “He was right...”

Mickey glared at the Doctor. “And you didn't even think about it then?!” His words were unusually calm, and measured. A sign of someone trying to hold back anger over someone they cared about being mistreated.  Like, he thought, I feared back when he was that bloke with the ears... “If you didn't want Rose traveling with you again because you'd changed, why didn't you give her the truth? Didn't she deserve honesty from you?”

Jack nodded grimly. “Yes, it would've hurt. But nowhere near as much as what you did. Besides, she's young and a human. She had plenty of time to heal, no matter what she thought might happen.”

Martha nodded, just as grim. “How could you not know that the decent thing to do was to not fob her off on an innocent who did what he thought was right? I'm not convinced that what your Duplicate did was wrong; what else could we have done about all those Daleks?”

“Excuse me,” Major Magambo interrupted, “but I need a fuller report.” She turned to the private. “Where is Mrs. Temple-Noble and... What did the man call himself?”

“John Noble. They gave their statements there, and then they said they'd take a different route home. He wrapped his arms around her, she tweaked with something on his wrist, and they vanished.”

Jack's eyebrows raised, intrigued. “So he crossed back over with a Vortex Manipulator. Wonder how he got his hands on that...”

“Major!” Another voice called out from near the perimeter. The whole group turned to look, and the Doctor was one of those who froze stiff as they saw who was approaching...

Getting away from the UNIT people had been important to John; he needed to get Donna to the TARDIS to make sure she'd be okay. And he had a feeling that the Doctor would rush out to check on things, with his companions following to keep him out of trouble. Which would give them a window of having the Old Girl to themselves...

Now, he knew Donna Noble and her compassionate nature. The anger he'd heard before UNIT arrived was understandable; they – and others – had suffered needlessly because his progenitor had an unfortunate tendency to decide things without consulting anyone. And had a far-too developed guilt complex. So it mollified a bit of his own frustrations.

Not that he wanted to be around the Doctor much more. He might take a page from Donna's book and feel for the Time Lord's plight, but he could never forget being dumped at Bad Wolf Bay and its aftermath... Forgiving was not the same as forgetting...

He held Donna when they appeared next to the Old Girl, and was relived to discover that recovering from Vortex travel was easier now that he was stronger. She, on the other hand... needed a moment. “God, I can see why he hates traveling this way!”

“It gets easier if you rely on it,” he whispered, gently stroking her head. until she was able to pull away and stand on her own. They approached the doors, noticing that three people appeared to be running away from them. “That's him and his current companions,” he whispered as he snapped his fingers to open the doors.

But, upon entering and closing the doors behind them, they staggered again when the TARDIS gave in to a need to mentally bawl in relief over seeing them both. The Time Human duo cried as they felt the particular joy of the ancient ship in seeing and feeling Donna again. (She'd given John his own welcome while he was waking from his journey back to this universe.) They each gently stroked the walls, struts, and other objects on their way to the medbay.

Special liquids were waiting for them, as well as protein drinks to replenish Donna's cells especially, and those were quickly downed. The duo communed silently with the ship while they got the confirmation that they were on their way to recovery. They didn't need much time there; they just collected more of those liquids and special foods in one of the dimensionally-controlled bags the TARDIS provided.

They'd need them. Besides the recovery to what they'd been back before things went completely pear-shaped thanks to the Doctor, it'd help with bouncing back if they had to suddenly travel anywhere...

Then they went to Donna's old room. She wanted to collect the mementos that the Doctor had kept out of her bags when he returned her and her things. It was completely bittersweet seeing everything again – and made worse by the crying they could feel the TARDIS doing.

They wished they could offer better comfort. But what could they do? The time-lines couldn't be meddled with now...

As they packed, John shared his vision of what the future held for him and Donna: growing their little baby TARDIS (which he had thanks to the Old Girl making sure he saw the cutting before they landed at Bad Wolf Bay – while the Time Lord was looking away and distracted by questions from Rose and Jackie – and urging him to stash it in his pocket – and he never let Rose know about it) by means he couldn't yet figure out, helping those around them rebuild ways of defending Earth, and – and this was the part that excited him the most – raising a brood of Time Humans.

Donna couldn't help but smile. He was trying to not be too enthusiastic in light of her losses, but it gave her hope. “We're the first of a new species,” she mused. “One day we might have to go to the future for special genetic manipulation so we can keep the Gallifreyan traits as alive as possible in our descendants.”

John beamed at her, and then frowned as a thought hit. “Not New Earth.”

Her eyes widened as the same memories flashed in her mind, and she nodded quickly. “Of course not!”

They thought they'd gotten everything when the TARDIS hinted they should look in the closet. They slowly moved to it, opened the doors together... and froze at the items inside. A few stood out more, though: a few pairs of trainers, the “jinxed” suit, the coat, and... the brown pinstripes...

Both cried at these last vestiges of the Tenth Doctor. The Old Girl was asking them to take them for John, as they would carry on his legacy. Donna pulled out the pinstripes... The suit he'd worn when they met, when they were reunited, on several adventures, when his actions separated them... and the last thing he wore before regenerating... Donna clutched it to her, grieving for the Spaceman she'd personally known... and for the nine other hims who had come before. John pulled her into his arms, sharing in the pain completely.

It took several long minutes before they could compose themselves enough to carefully fold the clothes into one of the additional bags, and gently stuff the trainers in after them. With everything else packed, John tugged the coat off its hanger, and slowly drew it on. The sight brought more tears to Donna's eyes, but there was a strange measure of comfort for both of them in seeing and feeling it again.

With the bags hanging over their shoulders, they slowly walked out hand in hand – with their respective free ones slowly running their fingers over various surfaces. Keeping up a last contact with the Old Girl, who desperately wished that she had her humanoid form again – all so she could hug them physically as well as mentally. Tear ran down their faces again as they walked outside and closed the doors, each pressing a kiss against the door for the goodbye that neither could think, let alone say. And when they walked toward the scene of the crime, the TARDIS reluctantly broke the link first – as she knew that to linger would make things more painful for all of them.

John and Donna continued along, each lost in their own thoughts about the loss that followed the Doctor throughout his life. Sometimes of his own doing...

Part 4.5 Here

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