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Title: From Ashes to a Phoenix

Rating: At the moment, T (emotional hardships, and later some suggestive implications). There's a shot that at least part of this story will jump to a strong M rating. We'll see as it develops.

Summary: “The Belted Doctor” supplement: The story of Donna Belle, of Pete's World. How she lost her family, nearly lost herself, and was reborn with the right support.

Disclaimer: The simple matter of this fan-verse's existence should prove my lack of ownership. Capish?

Dedication: To MonkeesDoctorWho1987, whose review planted the seed of this story. So if you're getting sick of this universe, you know who to blame. (grins) Anyway, thanks for the idea. It allowed me to flesh out some other events within this universe when the tone of TBD didn't allow for it. Well, the truth is that I didn't want TBD to grow past 90 pages on my word processor...

Author's Note: NaNo is over, and I won! :D Got the final chapters back from BMG while I was still in the midst of the challenge, and now I've gotten back to finishing this. The final chapters will come pretty quickly now.

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5

PART 6: A Fixed Point, Or Something in Flux?

Life with a group of time travelers, Donna Belle quickly learned, was a tricky thing. As James explained it early on, a Time Lord had the burden of always being able to see practically every possible time-line that had been, could be, and must not be. Practically, he'd stressed, because said Time Lord's own time-line usually remained a complete mystery to him. Despite being exposed to the Untempered Schism, which supposedly showed them everything.

Which explained the near mess the Doctor had made of his relationship with Donna... And with others... including one whose name Donna Belle could now hear with relative calm...

And now Donna Belle was spending a good part of her time helping at UNIT. Turned out her talents that had make her successful in Pete's World were immediately needed at UNIT; their records were such an absolute mess, it was a miracle if they could find anything they needed. In fact, she figured the only reason they could quickly find information on the Doctor was because the
higher-ups had made those files priority items.

Once she put what was called SuperTemp knowledge to work and tamed the UNIT files, creating a system that would serve them for the rest of time, she was instantly offered a job. Yeah, it was more clerical than anything else, but it suited her. Constantly traveling in the TARDIS didn't really appeal to her; she wanted to get something a little quieter for her life.

She'd breathed a huge sigh of relief that James didn't hold it against her. Seemed that meta-crisis thing that created him had made him a bit more domestic than his brother. Donna Belle and Donna had shared a smirk when the Doctor had exclaimed his disbelief that anyone with his memories and personality could possibly want to stay in one place that much.

Of course, given the story James told about when the Doctor was exiled to Earth without the ability to travel, she understood where he was coming from. His was a restless spirit, calmed only by his wife and daughters.

She supposed he'd be even more antsy if Jenny didn't have someone basically waiting for her to grow up a bit more before they made things official. Might be the only reason he'd accepted Lee so readily; at least he knew the man, and his presence made Jenny not care about other men. Yes, the Doctor had clearly made the best of the situation.

Didn't mean he wasn't still over-protective. And she could sense that he was not looking forward to when Flumena was grown. Hell, neither was James or Donna or even Jenny; they seemed a little anxious about what might happen...

Given the things James had told her that River Song had said in the Library about her “past” dating choices, Donna Belle couldn't blame them one bit...! Hell, she wondered how her niece would turn out!

Meanwhile, she and James kept very quiet and subdued about their budding relationship. Because they did need to prove to themselves that they could work out before they let their worrywart family find out – especially the over-protective Doctor... Mind, as Donna Belle admitted to James on the after work dinner that doubled as their first date – the sneaking around was the only downside of being with him at the moment – following her first day helping UNIT, she could appreciate that his hearts were in
the right place.

James hated to admit that his twin might have a point. Even if he went overboard about it. As the Doctor was often inclined to do...

Still, they tried to make the most of it. Having an infant just two Earth months old was distracting the Doctor from his previous efforts to keep an eye on them. James in particular. So having dinner out most nights after work was just one little way they claimed a bit of privacy to explore what was building between them, learn more about each other, and... basically learning how far each could go in teasing the other...

And James would steal the occasional kiss at opportune moments. He would've considered trying it closer to home if Donna Belle didn't blush so much afterward...

Oh, he liked those blushes; they were very becoming on her! But... it defeated the purpose of keeping a secret from their family if they saw an obvious sign...

But on one of the days they were both off, they noticed how restless Donna and the Doctor were getting. Oh, they had every bit of help they needed from everyone else, but... James finally had to break the tension. “Look, hand Flumena over and go on an adventure. Just the two of you.”

The dual startled reactions made James snort. (One of the more Donna-like habits he had.) “Oh, don't look at me like that! Donna hasn't been on an adventure since months before your last one, and you haven't gone anywhere since. Parents need some time to themselves, and you two don't exactly do romantic dinners. So...” He met Flumena's awake eyes and beamed at her. “How does a little time with your aunt and uncle sound to you, sweetheart?”

Flumena laughed and waved her hands excitedly. She liked the attention.

Donna Belle smirked at the bewildered looks on the parents' faces. “She'll be fine,” she said as she gently took the giggling baby from the Doctor's arms. “Go find some planet to save,” she urged as she took the girl away to change her for an outing. An hour or two would be fine, and the TARDIS was – according to Jenny – getting better about getting people home when they intended to – no matter how much time the adventures seemed to take.

And it would be just the Doctor and Donna. Jenny and Lee were helping Jack Harkness and his team clean up a huge mess. Owen and Tosh had nearly been killed by a plotting madman... who apparently was Jack's brother... So that team needed the extra hands and minds until they got their feet back underneath them. It said something about how much trust Lee had earned – and how immature the Doctor knew Jenny to still be – that he was in charge of keeping Jenny out of trouble...

Flumena was insatiably curious about the world around her, extremely alert to her surroundings, and nearly impossible to distract. Made life extremely interesting for her family, and she always wanted things explained to her. How much she understood was a bit of a mystery to her family, but the eager example of the Doctor and James – each all too willing to talk to her about whatever seemed to catch her eye – had encouraged the rest.

She also preferred being carried to being pushed in a pram. They found that out the first time Sylvia tried taking her on a walk. Flumena had fussed until her frazzled grandmother picked her up to hold her a moment. Jenny figured it out, as she had joined them for some granddaughter-grandmother bonding time, and now the pram was more for carting around supplies than its originally designed usage.

Thank goodness for slings that held babies close to you and let your hands be free, Donna Belle thought with a smile as they sat on one of the benches at the nearby park. Flumena could people-watch to her heart's content, and try to figure out how the children's toys worked. She apparently liked to use that Time Lord mind to figure out what – to her young perspective – were the mysteries of the universe.

The first time she said it, James had grinned wryly. “When you're that young, I suppose the mechanics of a swing would count.”

These moments when they could be seen publicly and act like a couple were becoming more and more comfortable for Donna Belle. Which was a huge relief to James; he'd worried that being mistaken for Flumena's mother might bring her pain. As it was, she let him hold her hand or even hug her whenever painful memories did come to mind, and she was slowly smiling in amusement any time they were assumed to be their niece's parents. The joke the universe had played on the Doctor and Donna was alive and well...

One thing did catch their attention during those moments. Flumena giggled every time someone assumed that they were her parents.

They always thought it was because she liked something in the tone of the person who made the assumption. They had no idea she was laughing about how silly all the big people were. Didn't they know that she was with Not-Mummy and Not-Daddy?!

They were all in a good mood when they approached Wilf's home, and the TARDIS was back, so Flumena wouldn't have to wait for another feeding. Oh, they'd had some “mummy goodness” (oh, had Jenny looked ill when her father tossed that description out!) in the bag, but nothing could beat bonding time with Mummy. Let her Daddy be the one to, most of the time, feed her by bottle.

But James flinched as they approached. “Something's wrong,” he muttered. “The Old Girl seems shaken, and I can feel him hurting.” They rushed inside as Flumena began to detect her father's emotional pain. Only James' ability to sense Donna reassured him that the worst hadn't happened...

In the living room, they found Donna and the Doctor sitting close together, her arms tightly around him as she murmured various soothing sounds to him. He was in a daze, and barely responded to seeing Flumena reach for him. He folded her into his arms, clutching her close and trying to let her innocent mind flow over his – without letting her into what he'd seen.

Jenny filled her aunt and uncle in on the mess that had been her parents' visit to Mars – for the first human attempt at colonization. It hadn't gone well, and had somehow become a fixed event in history. The sequence of events themselves were bad enough, but what worried her – and Donna – was how the Doctor had had a moment of nearly becoming Time Lord Victorious by altering the events.

Except Donna had reminded him about the consequences of meddling in fixed events. What could the domino effect be? At least the people there were known as heroes to Earth's history as things were. Why risk making things worse when time was demanding they stay the same...?

She admitted being afraid that his actions had to do with that prophecy that Carmen and the Ood had respectively given. He was afraid that he was going to die, and it was messing with his head...

James had never been more grateful to not be the Doctor... But also had the feeling that he and the others would need to stick around the Doctor more often. A bond with the love of one's life might only go so far toward stopping a person – or a Time Lord – from acting very stupid... There might be something to living on Earth most of the time.

Only a few weeks later, he had cause to swallow those words...

Part 7: Comfort After an Unbearable Sacrifice...


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 12th, 2011 01:39 am (UTC)
Lovely to revisit this family. I have such a soft spot for how sweetly and slowly you are developing things between Donna Belle and James &hearts
Dec. 12th, 2011 05:12 am (UTC)
That picture is strangely fitting... :D

Thanks! Hope you like the rest, which should come within a few days. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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