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NEW: Cherub (1/1)

Title: Cherub
Rating: T (I'm feeling paranoid)
Genre: Fluff, AU
Pairing/Characters: Ten/Donna, Handy, Rose, Jackie, Mickey, Jack, Martha, Sarah Jane, the TARDIS
Summary: Donna saved all of Creation seemingly on her own. Well, not quite. The Doctor isn't prepared to see what became of his old hand...
Warnings: Might want to brush your teeth from the sweetness of parts of this. Oh, and a whining Rose.
Disclaimer: Believe me, if I'd owned these characters, this just might've happened instead.
Author's Note: My own contribution for the Alternate Handy Fanfic Challenge I issued. Hope you enjoy! Oh, italics are flashbacks, bold are telepathic thoughts. Fair notice. And thanks to bas_math_girl, tardis_mole, and cassikat for beta reading. I came up with a good challenge, didn't I? :D

The Doctor stared at Donna in confusion. She had just saved all of creation, and talked a bit like she understood parts of things that she had called babble before. And handled the Dalek equipment like she knew what she was doing. But now – now that they'd moved Earth back and the Daleks had triggered their own self-destruction rather than be trapped in place for eternity (and he had to remember to thank her for not actually killing them, which might have become the only option, now that he paused to think about it) – she acted like she didn't know what she'd done. Or at least how to explain it. So what had happened?


She looked at him, a bit of worry in her eyes. “Yes, Spaceman?”

He ignored the companions trying to get his attention. “Donna, how could you understand what you did? You flew the TARDIS out of almost certain destruction, flew it back inside the Dalek Crucible right to where we were, created an electrical smoke bomb to conceal what you were doing, manipulated the equipment to stop the Daleks, and then put them into a situation where they felt that self-destruction was their only choice. How did you do it?”

Now everyone was staring at her. His words had sunk in, and they were now waiting for the answer.

Donna blushed considerably, for the billionth time silently cursing the ginger locks that made it so pronounced. “Well... I had help.”

The Doctor frowned. “But the TARDIS couldn't have helped you come up with all of that. I mean, she knows so much, but that's a creativity that neither her nor I could have come up with! As for the rest... well, you're always accusing me of taking the mickey and talking bullocks. So how could you understand all that you did well enough to manage?”

Oh, this was going to be awkward. Sighing, Donna waved a hand around. “Notice anything missing from this room, Doctor?”

He frowned. But he did look. He quickly walked the Control Room, rapidly scanning for anything not where it was supposed to be... and spotted broken glass and dried nutrient fluid near the Controls. “My old hand! What happened to it?!”

Rose and Jack moved quickly, and stared in shock. Now their wide eyes were as eager as the Doctor's.

Donna squirmed. “I heard a heartbeat. It's what kept me inside the TARDIS. It was like something was crying out to me. And while I was stuck... I realized it was coming from the hand... I don't know what possessed me to do it, since I remembered your warning to not touch you while you were regenerating, but...”

The TARDIS was burning around her, flames erupting all over. But all she could see was that hand in the jar. It was glowing... and the heartbeat she heard... it was coming from there, she was sure of it. But it wasn't a heartbeat as such. It was more like a cry for help. Incoherent, but undeniable. The Doctor's Old Hand needed her to do something...

And she could only think of one thing. Despite his warnings...

She continued, “I touched the glass... and it broke, spilling the hand and the nutrient fluid out. It was still beating in my ears, like a pleading cry, and then I-”

The Doctor's eyes widened. “You touched it?! Donna, your mind! You could burn!”

She shook her head. “I don't have any of your memories, Spaceman, if that's what you're freaking out about. Not anymore, I don't. Because he saved me and helped me save the day.”

Martha shook her head. “Well, then where is the hand?! And why are you calling it 'he'?”

Donna sighed, and walked toward the corridor opening to the rest of the TARDIS. “It's all right, Sweetheart,” she called out, hoping the tension she felt wasn't obvious, “you can come out now.”

The Doctor blinked. What the-? But then he heard soft footsteps approach, and then...

All jaws – save Donna's – dropped when a child walked into the room. He looked no more than six years old, wearing a blue shirt that was clearly a man's size. Though short-sleeved, the shirt's sleeves were rolled up, barely exposing the boy's forearms, and it went down to the floor. Or would have had the bottom not been tied to give him room to walk without tripping. His auburn hair was sticking up in odd ways, and his huge green eyes (with blue striations) were looking around in fear – and recognition – at the people around him. On the other hand, the face – however altered by the differences in skin tone, eyes, and hair – was unmistakable.

Sarah Jane breathed, “It grew into a child...?!”

Jack blurted, “He looks like a Mini-Doctor! But he's got your eyes, Donna! And some ginger in his hair!”

The Boy trembled over the murmuring and words. When he saw Donna, he rushed to her with his arms stretched out. She drew him into her arms and picked him up. “Shh...” The boy's arms flew around her neck, his legs tried to wrap around her waist, and he buried his face into her neck. Donna's mind drifted away from the moment...

The hand, now in the center of the room, seemed to grow after she touched it. She backed off, hitting a pillar. She watched in horrified fascination as it seemed to form into the general shape of a person, and then exploded like the Doctor had. Donna covered her eyes, unable to look at the brightness. She barely kept aware of how close the flames were getting, and how the TARDIS – as in pain as she was – seemed as baffled as she felt. If the odd humming noises Donna could hear over the ones that signaled the pain the Old Girl was in were any indication.

When the light faded, Donna dropped her hands... and then her jaw. Sitting upright was... a barely school-aged version of the Doctor! With ginger in his hair, and her eyes! “Wot?!” His indignant cry cut off as his high-pitched voice caught in his ears, and he looked himself over. And pouted. “Oh, not fair! I'm a boy!”

“And you're naked,” Donna muttered in shock. A spark behind him drew his attention, and Donna noticed the flames getting too close. She sprang to pick him up, and he threw himself against her in a full-body clutch as she backed away.

“The blue button,” he cried, pointing at the Controls. “The blue button!”

Donna stumbled over, praying that the tyke knew what he was talking about. The boy slammed his hand on it, and suddenly the TARDIS engines kicked in. She dematerialized away from the Crucible and the fires began to go away.

The two heaved sighs of relief – in unison. It caught their attention and they stared into each other's eyes. But it didn't last long. The boy looked at himself again, and looked back up with a pout that Donna knew very well. He was upset about being “born” a kid.

And she could feel it in her mind... somehow...

She rocked him to-and-fro, slipping back to the present. “We got Earth back into place, and stopped the Daleks. You're safe, Benny,” she whispered...

The Doctor was pulled out of his stupor. “Benny?!”

Donna fixed a measured stare on him. “Well, he's a little boy. Might have your memories and such, but he has the maturity of a little child. Mind,” she added, “you're not much better at times.”

“Oi!” The Doctor was more irritated when he overheard Mickey, Martha and Sarah Jane snickering, and saw Jack smirking. Jackie was intrigued, whereas Rose was frowning – but kept silent.

“Anyway,” Donna continued, “he was born from your old right hand. 'Benjamin' means 'the son of the right hand.' Mind, it refers to Jacob's son, but the point stands. And since he's too little for such a big name all the time, he liked my idea. I thought of it because, in a sense, he's a... Generated Anomaly.”

The Doctor flinched over the memories that evoked.

“Although,” Donna quickly added before anyone could ask why the Doctor reacted so strongly to that term, “I thought about 'Gene' and 'Ana,' but 'Benny' seemed more fitting, given how he came to be.”

Rose stared. “You...made him...?!”

Donna glared at the blatant horror and disapproval in the blonde's voice. This was the legacy that Martha had had to deal with?! “Oh, for crying out loud! Are you bothered by the fact that his hand grew into a person, or because said person is calling me 'Mummy'?!” Never mind, she thought, what his father might think...or what I feel...

“Who are you exactly,” Donna murmured to him as she pulled an emergency box (which the TARDIS had made appear moments ago) open. She couldn't understand where the idea that there might be some spare clothing in this particular one came from, but she was going to be shocked if it held anything that would actually fit the little guy.

He looked at her in tears. He'd been crying as he realized just how little he could do for himself, and how little he was going to be able to actively help save everything. “Well,” he sniffled, “I've got two hearts, but I've also got all these ideas I never had before. Guess I'm part the Doctor and part you.”

Donna blinked, freezing as she grabbed a shirt. Her wide eyes fixed on the boy. “Wot?!”

He found a big smile through his tears. “That makes you my mummy! I couldn't ask for better!”

Only an instinctual need to protect a little person from the cold allowed Donna to pull the shirt over the boy's head... despite the numbness inside her as the reality of that sunk in. A child with the Doctor?! Oh, God, her mother was going to kill her!

The boy shook his head as he tried to stick his hands through the sleeves – which still hid them no matter how much he wiggled. “Gran won't kill you. I'll pull my best cute look. It'll work better for me than it does for Daddy.” He beamed in self-pride. “And she wants grandkids, so she'll forgive Daddy!”

She wished she had his confidence about that. But...she had bigger things to deal with right now. “Well, I won't let her kill him. Besides, slapping him is my job for when he gets too big for his boots!”

The boy watched as Donna rolled his sleeves up so he could move a little more freely. “You gonna slap him for this?”

Donna sighed, shaking her head as she bunched the material at the bottom together. “Well, I can't blame him for wanting to live. I've gotten rather fond of that skinny hide and that weasel of a face.”

As Donna carefully tied a knot so he could walk without tripping, the boy snickered. He had her memories, too, so he knew a few things... “You'd miss the rest of him, too!”

She glared at him. “Oi, you should be glad I'd finished that knot!”

“You wouldn't let me fall!”

No, she wouldn't. She cared too much, had thought that children were past her ability to have. Even after the Library. She felt too old now, and that had helped her feel that traveling with the Doctor was worth the fear and uncertainty. Besides, didn't he make her feel important...?

“And you love Daddy!”

Her eyes popped wide. “Wot?!”

His cheeky smile got bigger. “And Daddy loves you!”

She nearly fainted.

Jackie put a hand on Rose, stopping a potential rant. “Oh, Rose, be quiet! See that boy! He's scared! We're scaring him with all this noise! Be quiet for a moment and let the Doctor ask the questions.”

Rose glared at her mother, but an even sharper glare from the Doctor – which startled her completely – silenced her. She gulped, having never imagined that she would be on the receiving end of his Oncoming Storm look.

He turned back to Donna, looking at the boy clinging to her like a baby monkey. “So he's a... a little version of me... but how can he be stable? Meta-Crisis interactions aren't known to be stable...”

Benny looked up, pouting at his father. Can't you love me, Daddy...?

The Doctor's breath was caught. He could see Donna's eyes on his own face, and the shock of ginger intertwined with his own colouring... and that pout... Do I, he wondered, really look like that? His hearts were doing strange things from looking at the marvelous sight. “Well,” he sighed, struggling to deal with all of the overwhelming feelings, “you know what I mean. If you have my memories, you know what I'm concerned about!”

“Oi!” Donna drew the boy closer. “Stop scaring him! He's our son!”

A gasp from Rose kept the room from being completely silent after that announcement. Martha's eyes, however, were the widest. One particular incident was fresh in her mind...

“Besides,” Donna added, “if it's my mind you're worried about, he's already taken care of that! While we were putting together the plan!”

Donna sat on the Jump-Seat while Benny (she finally named him since she wasn't quite feeling up to calling him “Mini-Doctor”, because he talked as much like he was from Chiswick as... Wait, come to think of it, how did the Doctor get a West Surrey accent?! He's an alien!) on her lap with his hands on her face. He was seeking out the memories of the Doctor, and locking them away safely in her mind before the energy they generated could possibly become too much. He said as long as she didn't get hit by some energy burst, she would be fine once he was done.

She certainly hoped so; she remembered how the Doctor had reacted to Jenny at first. He would need her to help him figure out how to deal with this little tyke...

“There,” Benny finally said with a huge, relieved sigh as he dropped his hands. “You're safe, Mummy.”

Mummy. A title she was going to have to get used to – if they made it out. She wanted to believe, but they needed a plan. Time to revisit what they'd talked about before the boy told her he had to get into her mind to save her – and since she wasn't keen on burning up or tempting the Doctor into thinking of wiping her mind, she readily agreed. “Okay... So... you want to build a gun that'll turn the Reality Bomb onto the Daleks, even though your Daddy hates killing.”

“What else can we do? Disable the thing?!”

“Well,” Donna thought aloud as she picked him and walked to the screen that showed them the Dalek Crucible layout, “what if I can get to that control panel?”

Benny stared at the readings on it, and his eyes widened. “It might work! I can use my knowledge to guide you – if we can get you there without you getting shot...” He whimpered at the thought. He wouldn't be able to help her if they got to her first!

Donna blinked. “Wait, how could you guide me?”

Like this, his voice went inside her head.

Her eyes went wide. “How can I hear you when your hands aren't on my face?”

It's the bond between a mother and child. It's different than what's between spouses or siblings.

She swallowed, vowing to not look to closely at that, and what it might mean for her and the Doctor until much – much – later. “What about a distraction? Something to block their ability to see but not mine? Surely there's something those Daleks can't handle for long enough that I can get from the TARDIS doors to that panel!”

It wasn't long before they put together a smoke bomb, with an electrical signal that – once active – would interfere for five seconds with Dalek vision. Just barely enough time for her to run from the doors to her destination... It had to work... The gun was her back-up method...

The Doctor backed off at her vehemence. Her eyes seemed clear, and the TARDIS happily reported that Donna's mind wasn't affected at all by a Time Lord consciousness. The boy had done exactly what she'd said he had.

Donna glared at the Doctor. “Great big Outer Space Dunce! Are you going to need me to knock some sense into you – again?! He's not Jenny! He'll stay with us and be our little one. He needs us! If you can't see him as his own person, then you'd better drop us in Chiswick, Spaceman!”

He gasped, and froze. The idea of Donna leaving him had left him speechless and breathless the last three times he was faced with the possibility. When it happened in the Library, when he thought she was dead, he hadn't felt his hearts constrict so much since he had to condemn Gallifrey. Only River hinting that Donna was alive in her past (and therefore his future) gave him hope. There was still so much he wanted to show her, things he never even thought of showing someone before her...

That threat works pretty well, Donna realized. Better keep it as a tool to be pulled out in the direst need. “Doctor,” she pleaded, voice softening, “look into his eyes. Are you telling me that you're not able to give him a daddy's love and guidance? Because you were doing great with Jenny once you opened up to her.”

He swallowed, eyes drifting to the boy. This boy wasn't a duplicate of him in smaller form - he was something new... something very scared... by him. His hearts constricted again as he realized that he was terrifying a child, something he always felt furious about when he saw someone do. It made him feel lower than slime.

“Here,” Donna said, walking right up to him. “Hold him.” Benny wouldn't let go, however. “Oh, Benny, I'm sure that a little cuddle will melt your dad right quick. He didn't mean to scare you. It's just Dad Shock. Do you remember how it felt to see Jenny? It's the same thing. Only stronger here.”

Benny remained where he was, eyes fixed on his father's face. Looking for clues that he was going to be thrown out... and maybe lose his mummy, too...

But the Doctor could read his thoughts more than well enough to connect the final dots, and it made his face fall as he realized how thoughtless he was being. “Oh, don't cry...” He reached for him, hearts melting. “I won't send you or your mummy away. You two belong right here with me.”

Sensing the growing feelings of acceptance and love coming from his father, Benny slowly released his mother's neck and allowed her to pass him over. He found himself folded into a tight embrace.

The Doctor held the boy close. “It'll be all right, Ben,” he murmured. “Truly all right. I will do everything possible to keep you and your mum safe. I'll even deal with her family...” He mentally cringed over the realization that he was the father of Sylvia Noble's grandchild. Oh, she just might kill him... even if she came to adore Ben...

Donna could read the dread that flashed across his face. She decided to ignore that until later. “You know, there's one thing I do have floating in my mind still that I don't understand. And Benny refuses to explain it. Says it's not his place.”

The Doctor blinked, not changing his hold on their boy. “What?” He glanced at the boy, who suddenly looked so innocent that a halo should've appeared over his head. Not that the Doctor was fooled for an instant; he knew he never fooled anyone with that look. Not that it stopped him from trying.

She couldn't understand why, but she felt unable to speak it aloud. So she leaned in and whispered on the other side of him.

Benny smiled, knowing what she was whispering. Daddy will be surprised...

The Doctor's jaw dropped and his eyes widened. His hearts tripled their rate, and he felt himself trembling over the implications...which he now had to explain to the woman who'd made one massive decree in front of the TARDIS. If his hands weren't firmly involved in holding their son, at least one would've flown to his mouth.

Donna watched him, knowing that everyone was watching them carefully. “Well...?”

Swallowing, the Doctor felt he couldn't quite say it aloud. Given he now had a boy who wasn't easy around so many people at once, he didn't think it was wise to say it aloud within Rose's hearing. So he leaned to whisper. “My name. My true name, Donna.”

She blinked. And whispered back, “Why's that so important? And why won't you say it aloud? Why can't I say it aloud?”

He pulled back enough to look into her eyes and continued to whisper, trusting his ship to keep the others from overhearing. “The only time I could tell someone...is as part of marriage bonding.”

Donna frowned. “But I know it because of the Meta-Crisis-”

“Doesn't matter. It means we're bonded...” And he pulled away, hoping that keeping Benny in his arms would protect him from a slap.

She stared at him. Glanced at the scowling Rose and very curious others, and then looked back, keeping her voice soft. “Is this going to be a problem...?”

He took a deep breath. “Only if you ever want to leave us...” Because I won't let go of the last link I might have to you, he thought as his hold tightened.

Benny's smiling face fell, and Donna flew to his side to cup his face. “Oh, sweetheart! I promised you I'd never leave! I keep my promises.” Once he was smiling again, she looked at the Doctor. “Well,” she quietly sighed, “I already planned to stay with you forever, so I'd better get used to it. But are you sure you won't have a problem with it...?”

He risked letting more of his feelings show on his face, still whispering. “The truth, Donna? I blundered by saying what I did back when you invited yourself back into my life... I haven't felt that way since... early in Pompeii...”

Donna's jaw dropped. “Wot?!” She had to slap his side.

He flinched, but didn't protest. “Can I make it up to you...?” His voice got rather small; those nasty fears over her leaving rekindled, making it hard to remain comforting to their son.

She sighed, feigning long-suffering. “Oh, all right, Spaceman! We'll figure out the details later. First, I think we have some people to return home.”

Jackie perked up. “Right! I really do need to get back to my boy. No telling how long it's been for Pete and Tony.”

Rose looked at her mother from the corner of her eye. She still wanted to stay with the Doctor, but she wasn't liking how the hand had grown into a boy who called the ginger (who the Doctor seemed too fond of) “mummy.” And there was all that whispering... “What are you two talking about?! What's with the secrecy?!”

The Doctor sighed and carefully handed Benny back to his mother. He leaned in to whisper, “Keep him close. This could get ugly.”

Donna fixed a stare on him as she accepted their precious bundle. “You think, Spaceman?”

The Doctor closed the TARDIS doors, and sagged against them as the weight of the day finally caught up with him. He'd come so close to losing everything, including the universe that – as much as he railed against it for making his life difficult – he adored. Okay, now he had two people who practically made up his universe, and they personally ranked higher than the universe. The top two spots on his list!

And woe to anyone who tried to use them against him. The Storm would not be denied...

Although now he had to deal with helping Donna tell her family. He wasn't looking forward to telling Sylvia Noble that he was now her son-in-law...

But nothing he could encounter today could match the shouting fits from just an hour earlier. He'd gotten them to Pete's World right away, using the manipulators to get them to the Cannon. When he got a good look at it, he'd realized just how long Rose had been trying to make it work – and it predated when the realities started bleeding into each other. So he was mad. Mad enough to destroy it.

And oh! Had Rose thrown a tantrum! His son might prove able to beat it one day, but his arguments would surely be more reasoned than the fits of jealousy that drove Rose. The Doctor had only been able to take so much of her yelling, especially when Benny could hear from the safety of Donna's arms – even standing in the TARDIS doorway... and that didn't account for the need to get everyone else back home...

“Why wouldn't I spend the whole time trying to get back to you?” Rose's voice got shriller with every second, whining drenching every word. “This world is awful!”

The Doctor had been rubbing his head, trying to ward off a headache from the loudness, and he'd had enough. “Quiet!”

The shout startled the entire area. Silence reigned supreme.

He rubbed his eyes with one hand, sticking the other in his pocket. “When,” he loudly wondered, “had I agreed to be anyone's Doctor?” Other than Donna's... “When did accidentally saying that I'd imprinted on a companion give them the right to be obsessed with me?” He groaned, remembering what might've been the stupidest thing he ever said – possibly only topped by telling Donna that he just wanted a mate. “And really, what was I thinking when I said that?! 'Like a baby bird?!' That isn't how regeneration works and I knew it! It was the force of absorbing the Time Vortex, it messed with my head and made me babble. It's the only explanation that makes sense.”

Rose – stunned as she was – wasn't completely silenced. “You were supposed to be mine! How could you betray me?!”

“Betray you?!” He was incredulous. “You have no right to scream at me for anything – least of all an untrue accusation of betrayal.
You betrayed me by becoming so fixated on getting out of Pete's World, even when I told you that the universes would collapse. You betrayed your mother by being so willing to abandon her to Pete's World just to stay with him. You betrayed Mickey time and time again... and betrayed the multi-verses by playing fast and loose with temporal physics and stellar mechanics to get what you wanted. Well, what choice do I have but to exile you?! Give me the TARDIS key back!”

No one could speak for a long moment. No one could move. Even Rose was silenced by the force of his words.

In retrospect much later on, he probably could've expected Rose's next move. She grabbed the TARDIS key out of her pocket, chain it was on and all, and threw it at him. The Doctor barely caught it before it could hit him on the forehead. “Oh,
that was a mature response,” he scolded her with all of the sarcasm he'd learned from Donna. “How did I not see how unfit you were to be my companion once I'd regenerated? Even before then, when you nearly got me killed by your own stupid stubbornness and bloody willful ignorance!”

She gasped. “How dare you!” Incensed, Rose stormed up to him and set her hand into motion.

But his sharp reflexes – heightened by living with a woman whose slaps could send someone into next month – stopped her from slapping him. He glared at her and pushed her back with a warning: “Only Donna Noble has the right to do that, and she has it because she's my wife now.”

He ignored the shocked gasps from all around him. Especially from Donna. This was too serious.

Unable to make a coherent protest, Rose screamed and stormed off. She didn't even look at the disappointment in her mother's eyes.

Really, the Doctor sighed as he remembered that moment, I hope she'll eventually accept some therapy. She's getting fit for a straight-jacket at the rate she's going!

At least everyone else was all right. And Mickey would adjust easily back to Earth life. He couldn't blame the young man for begging him to let him come back. Not one bit. But now that they'd dropped everyone else off in London, what was he going to do?

“Spaceman?” Donna watched him in alarm, touching Benny's shoulder as he sat on the Jump Seat. “Longer day than usual for us, eh?” She hoped a little humour would snap him into a bit of a smile.

He turned to face her, standing stock still as his eyes drank her in. How close, he wondered, had I come to losing her today? If the Meta-Crisis had worked differently, had there been enough to turn Benny into a grown version of me, would I have been able to see him as my son? Would things have turned out such that... Donna would've burned because he didn't think to lock the Time Lord energy away?

The Doctor was immensely grateful that the Meta-Crisis had come out as a child and utterly attached to Donna. It might have saved her life... and his own sanity.

Daddy, Benny scolded him, you're worrying Mummy. Tell her what you feel. She didn't really believe me when she thought you'd be angry.

Donna sensed her son talking to his father. “Sweetheart,” she murmured, “what are you doing shutting me out? What's wrong with your dad?”

The Doctor cleared his throat. “I'm... well, I'm calculating the odds that you'll slap me...” Over, he silently added, what I want to do...

She frowned. “Well, we won't know until you tell me. So don't be a big girl's blouse about it! Just say it! Take it from me; you don't leave things unsaid if you can help it. Well, unless you're talking to my mother,” she allowed. “But that's the exception!”

It wasn't the best thing she could've said, the Doctor knew, but she's right. If I don't do this now, I might never be able to... and we still need to discuss other things.

Then Donna recalled what happened in Pete's World. “Wait, you told Rose I was your wife! Simply knowing your name is enough?!”

He nodded. “By the most ancient Gallifreyan social standards. My people actually ordered us to avoid it to keep us from getting too attached to... the things that... well, lesser beings – pardon the phrase, but that's the term used! – were. But sometimes it did happen. Though, not to me.”

Donna sighed. “Well, I'm sure I'm not quite the kind of woman you imagined being stuck with, but I'm sure we'll-”

His eyes flashed with fury at everyone who ever made her feel down about herself. “Stop.”

She blinked, startled by the force of his tone. She didn't notice the tiny expectant smirk on Benny's face.

The Doctor, emboldened, walked up to Donna and gently grasped her upper arms. “I'm telling you, Donna, you are brilliant. You're the only companion who consistently stops me from going overboard, the one who's never let me put them off, and who's become my equal. So don't tell me you're not special, because I'll never believe you. And contrary to what else you might think, I wouldn't want anyone else to be a mother to my child.” Grief fluttered through his expression. “You were one to Jenny.”

Donna's jaw wobbled. “In that short time?”

He managed a soft smile, even though he couldn't speak louder than a whisper. “You weren't paying attention to how she looked at you. She was imprinting on you from the moment you named her. If she'd lived, she would've called you her Mum.”

Tears built in Donna's eyes, so she used her sleeve to dab them away. “I miss her, too, Spaceman.”

Benny rolled his eyes. “Come on, Daddy!” His voice startled the adults, but he pressed on, “Do it already!”

The Doctor swallowed, painfully aware that if his son had his memories, then he'd know about how a certain action had been on his mind since he'd taken Donna to see Earth's birth – even if he hadn't realized it until the Shock in 1926. Oh, Rassilon, I'd better brace myself...

Donna frowned at her son. “What,” she started to say, “does he-?” She cut herself off when she noticed a tender expression in the Doctor's face... just before he leaned in and pressed their lips together.

Benny suppressed an exasperated sigh. Finally!

The Doctor kept the kiss as chaste as he could. Donna was no stranger to men sexually desiring her, but she needed to be convinced that she could be loved for who she was inside. So he held back all the more... primal feelings and let all the other emotions that had driven him nutters flow into the kiss, hoping it would be enough to persuade her. Even if it earned him a slap for presumption until it all sunk in...

Donna knew she'd never been kissed with that much tenderness or care before. Was this what it felt like when someone tried to pour their soul into kissing you? The Doctor wasn't emotionally savvy enough to fake any of this; he obviously had trouble expressing his own feelings if he'd bungled things so much with Rose and Martha.

And apparently, she realized as she felt a comforting warmth spread from her heart, with me, too, because I had no clue he felt this way...

Benny's smirk faded as the kiss went on. Oh, his child-like mind groaned as he slumped into the Jump Seat, how long do adults kiss?! Doesn't Daddy remember that Mummy's human?!

A mental nudge from the TARDIS reminded the Doctor of that fact, and he reluctantly ended the most pleasant experience of his life, dropping his arms to his side. He held his breath, waiting to see if she'd slap him...

Donna didn't dare open her eyes. She felt floaty, as if in a dream. She raised a hand slowly to touch her lips, seeking confirmation that she'd really been kissed. The gentle swelling she felt coaxed her to meet the Doctor's gaze. He was staring so earnestly at her that the warmth made her knees a bit shaky. Her lips quirked into a very shy smile.

His mouth dropped as it became clear that she had no intention of slapping him. Could this mean... she loved him in anything like the way he loved her?!

Benny was fed up, and very grateful when nature paid him its first visit. He slid off his perch. “I need the loo,” he announced blithely when his parents looked down at the thump when his feet hit the floor. “Go be as kissy as you want,” he proclaimed, running before he lost control of his body. It'd be too embarrassing to wet himself.

The Doctor's face turned almost scarlet. Now he finally understood the meaning of feeling like your face was burning.

Donna, too, endured a massive flush, but her Spaceman – yes, she could call him hers – looked so uneasy that she had to hug him. She rested her head against his chest, trying to snuggle into him. If he'd accepted the domestic nature of being a parent again, then he probably wouldn't mind her actions...

He sucked in a stunned breath, but his arms instinctively wrapped her closer. No slap, no cry of protest or even a noise of displeasure from her... The implications soon had the biggest grin ever growing on his face. He felt like he could handle anything Donna's family – namely, Sylvia – might throw at him.

Figuratively, he hoped. He really didn't want to see the ax again...

The Doctor hated shopping. Did it only when he had no choice. And he considered having to go for clothing for a small child now traveling aboard the TARDIS a “no choice” situation. Thank Rassilon one of Wilf's neighbors had some young boy clothes they were about to give away; that allowed Benny to wear something that actually fit him.

Oh, yes, and there were still those moments when Donna basically had made him feel guilty about something that happened and it was the only way to make it up to her. He just barely managed the ego dent from having to carry her bags around... and he wasn't surprised that she insisted on getting their son some new things to call his own. Given that she'd run the risk of burning up, he probably owed her a lot of things.

The only upshot to this shopping trip was that he was allowed to go with Wilf to search for some objects that would be useful for repairs. And some toys for Benny. That was an... interesting adventure; humans had strange ideas about what was appropriate for each age range. He had to dismiss a whole slew of items as being too noisy (“Really, Wilf, those would give Donna a headache! And don't the people who make them realize that they're making children go deaf?!”), too immature for Benny's young Time Lord mind (“Come on, children are immature people, not pets! Who made everything think it's fine to treat them like that?!”), or just plain... weird (“Can you even explain what some of those things are supposed to do for a child? They make no sense – and I know that's saying a lot coming from me!”). The books? Oh, he'd shot all of those down out of hand! (“My son's bed-time stories might as well be from the big person books!”)

Wilf had finally talked him into getting a few things. After all, Benny was getting to be a child, and wouldn't have the burdens that he'd grown up with. No, the Doctor remembered as he thought about the little version of him who shared Donna's DNA, our son can freely find himself and learn as he pleases. Well, he added silently, plus whatever we have to teach him about functioning around others.

OK, that was Donna's domain, really. Benny knew as much about interpersonal interactions as he did!

He and Wilf finally met up with the rest of the family outside some casual dining place. (Not many people were out, as there was still considerable shock over the “Pepper Pot Invasion” and “the planets in the sky” and their aftermath.) Donna and Sylvia flanked Benny on a bench. The Doctor was so grateful that Sylvia had melted in the face of Benny's charm within minutes of being introduced, and was doting on him with a heart-felt care that allowed him to relax a bit around her.

His and Donna's little boy – wearing jeans and a jacket from that neighbor – was babbling excitedly to his grandmother, who was listening with a patience that the Doctor would never have associated with Sylvia Noble before. Perhaps this was just one thing that Donna remembered from her childhood, which made dealing with the nagging easier than it otherwise would have been.

When Benny spotted them, he burst toward his father for a hug, happily crying, “Daddy!” The Doctor thought his hearts just might burst with fullness. He'd gone from thinking the universe was truly about to end to having a real family.

He scooped the boy up, reveling in the slightly warmer little body clutching him is joy. He was soon  happily treated to babble about the shopping. How Mummy and Gran had made him try all sorts of things on, but he'd found stuff he liked. Especially his shoes. “Look, Daddy!” He pointed at them, raising a foot to show off. “They look just like yours!”

The Doctor laughed in delight. “Benny, they are brilliant. Did you help her find them?”

Benny nodded, then wiggled to be let down. “And look at the new shirt Mummy got me!” He managed to unzip the jacket to open it.

Wilf chortled as the Doctor beamed, laughing at the sight brand-new t-shirt. Well, he reflected, no one needed to know how true its saying was. It proclaimed Benny was a “Chip off the Old Block.” And the Doctor was utterly certain that “Old” was in bolder letters than the rest of the text. Leave it to Donna to insert a little playful joke at his expense in their kid's wardrobe...

Benny's excitement and pure joy at being right there with him, on Earth and living a kid's life, was – by itself – worth the worst moments of that dreadful Saturday! Of course, only one thing competed for making up completely for the awful parts...

And that came when Benny tugged on Wilf's hand bringing him ahead to join Sylvia, who admonished him for running off. (The Doctor knew that if his own habits were any indication, Benny would hear that particular reprimand a lot from his mother and grandmother.) As the three went to get them a table, as Benny's stomach made its needs loudly known, he met Donna halfway. She smirked. “Survived the wilds of the toy shops?”

He grimaced briefly, but instead answered with a kiss. Ever since he realized that Donna wouldn't slap him for it, he was more than willing to steal kisses whenever possible. After all, he'd discovered he liked the feel of her lips under his.

Donna blushed, swatting his arm lightly. “Well, be glad you weren't with us. Your son embarrassed us with the questions he asked!”

He frowned. “So whenever he does something... not right, I have sole ownership of him?”

“So much to learn, Spaceman.” She laughed and tugged his arm. “Come on, let's see what kind of food adventure he wants to go on today.” Her leading them slowed when she spotted a couple with a pram, which clearly had an occupant resting inside. She sighed, feeling a weight grow inside, and kept walking.

But he saw it, and painfully remembered what she'd described experiencing in the computer generated world. He leaned in to whisper something he wouldn't have likely thought to say only a few days ago: “If you want, I'll gladly help you have a baby.”

Donna's eyes widened, but she saw no lie in his face and heard complete sincerity in his tone. She couldn't help but smile over how much he was willing to do for her. “Let's get used to our boy first,” she answered in an equal whisper. Then she grinned wickedly. “But... I might be persuaded into some... practice tonight...”

His eyes widened. He was hard-pressed to tell whether he was more stunned or delighted... but he knew that... mating... wasn't going to be hardship with her! Far from it!

She laughed and smiled, shaking her head at his growing – and all too bloke-like – anticipation. “Keep your shirt on, Spaceman. Let's get through the rest of today first.”

Somehow, the Doctor thought as he let himself be dragged off to lunch, he had the feeling he wouldn't stop smiling for a while. He might have to slip off to a bookshop to get some ideas to make sure he made Donna very happy – before, during, and after they made a few siblings for Benny. This was a domestic he could happily live with!



( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 17th, 2012 07:32 pm (UTC)
God, I love you!

I watched Journey's End (again) last weekend and cried (again) and like always, I needed a healthy dose of Doctor/Donna anti-Rose fics to get better.

Thank you!
Jan. 18th, 2012 01:59 am (UTC)
Oh, my GOSH! You made him a ginger! *BOL*

Thank you! *bows*

Well, then you might also like the "Love Letters" addition I posted after this one. Different fic-verse, but a nice Ten/Donna treat. :)

And yeah, I sometimes NEED to go my favorite Ten/Donna fics. Glad you enjoyed the ride! :D
Jan. 19th, 2012 05:20 pm (UTC)
I'm slowly making my way through all your Doctor/Donna and Handy/Donna fics ;-)
Jan. 19th, 2012 05:41 pm (UTC)
I love having another reader! More fics are to come! :D
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 18th, 2012 02:00 am (UTC)
Yeah, but that'd be a hard struggle to find a kid who could be made to look like a ginger David in miniature. Would've been a great scene, though! :D Thanks!
Jan. 17th, 2012 11:33 pm (UTC)
I'm in love with this fic. *holds it closely*
I want more Benny fics! and boy oh boy, I adore when people point out that Rose's cannon probably helped the Daleks trying to destroy reality.
awesome fic, congrats.
Jan. 18th, 2012 02:03 am (UTC)
So much that you hold it like the kid Benny is? ;P

*sighs* My Muse might come up with some little Benny fics. We'll see.

And yes, I love pointing out the FLAWS in Journey's End. If you like more... adult stuff, I have an upcoming fic that deals with OTHER flaws in JE... ;)

Thank you! :D
Jan. 18th, 2012 01:41 am (UTC)
Aw, this is truly adorable! It's a fascinating twist on things, and I think both the Doctor and Donna would be the best parents ever. Benny is super-cute, and yes, I have to be happy about the way Rose was treated...
Jan. 18th, 2012 02:05 am (UTC)
Did you need to brush your teeth? ;P Aw, thanks!
Jan. 18th, 2012 06:50 am (UTC)
This is absolute perfection, love it love it love it! RTD could learn quite a few things from u! I choose to see this as canon now, no more mind-wiping *g*
Jan. 18th, 2012 09:48 am (UTC)
Well, the different perspective, sure. We can all wish on the rest. *sighs* Thank you! :D
Jan. 19th, 2012 03:38 am (UTC)
Absolutely adorable. Want to hug Benny.
Jan. 19th, 2012 03:39 am (UTC)
Me, too! I want my own Benny to raise! Of course, I'd need my own Doctor first. *le sigh* But glad you loved it! :D
Feb. 23rd, 2012 02:32 pm (UTC)
I reviewed this over at FFN and I'll do it again here.

What a beautiful story. I love me some baby Time Lords! And Ben. Ah, where can I get one? Pleeaasse?!?!

Lastly, Rose. Poor, self-absorbed, screaming banshee that she is. How could he *ever* have wanted to go back to that!? I would have though he'd had enough of her attitute after her snit in "School Reunion" about Sarah Jane.

I vote with everyone else. More Ben stories!
Feb. 23rd, 2012 02:41 pm (UTC)
Believe me, I want my own little Ben - and bigger one. ;P

I believe I have a prompt over that on my prompts post... ;)

Okay, there will be a sequel to Cherub. Just not sure when Muse and I will get around to it. Got a few other things to work on. :)
Feb. 23rd, 2012 02:54 pm (UTC)
Oooh, yes! A *big* one! Me too! Me too!!!

I understand about those pesky "other things". My Muse (now that she's found me) is driving me crazy with new ideas. I have at least 3 different stories actually started, and every day something else pops into my head. I've taken to writing down snippets of info into my tablet (that I now carry with me *everywhere*) just so I don't forget anything good!
Feb. 23rd, 2012 07:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, but it's a good thing to have an active Muse. The challenge is jotting notes down to keep new ideas from interfering with the in progress ones. Doesn't always work, but it helps.
Feb. 23rd, 2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
I find myself making up parts of stories while I am driving the bloody 405 freeway (which is, I think, the worst in the world, or at least in the US!). I keep threatening to get myself a tape recorder so I can talk into it when inspiration hits. I'd look like a nutter, of course. But what can you do!

Luckily, so far I haven't had stories bleed into each other. The individual stories are vastly different. What *is* the challenge is to force myself to finish one before I work on another. Kind of like my needlepoint. I have a large sunset I'm working on but am dying to start the Van Gogh Starry Night canvas I bought. Discipline? Bugger!

Edited at 2012-02-24 12:34 am (UTC)
Jan. 3rd, 2013 07:14 pm (UTC)
awww, Ben is so cute :)

Jan. 3rd, 2013 10:35 pm (UTC)
He's one of my favorite Handy incarnations. :D
May. 1st, 2014 09:07 am (UTC)
Aww. I love Benny! He has shoes to match his old man's... The entire thing is just too cute. Any chance that you might wanna continue with little Benny stories?
May. 1st, 2014 03:52 pm (UTC)
I have a sequel in mind. Just need to get the Muse back around to it, around my efforts to revise three novels for publication and the research for a non-fiction project. Just finished a partial first draft for Camp NaNo yesterday. Anyway, thanks. I love Benny, too. :D
May. 1st, 2014 07:17 pm (UTC)
I'm willing to wait :D

Congrats on finishing the draft! It must have been a big moment for you.
Carolyn Harrison
Apr. 1st, 2015 11:12 pm (UTC)
I would love to see a story where Rose did end up in a straight jacket! These kinds of stories always make me think what would have changed if Jenny had called Donna Mum?

I really liked the character of Benny.

I think anyone, not just the Doctor, would be afraid of an axe wielding Sylvia!

I love the Doctor and his belief that if Donna isn't going to slap him for it he's going to kiss her anytime he can!
Apr. 3rd, 2015 01:36 am (UTC)
Stick around. One day it might happen. Well, there have been some stories about that. A few of mine have hinted at them, but none actually saw that scene.

Benny was a delight to write. There will be a sequel with him one day. Maybe more.

Glad you agree, and like the Doctor making the most of the opportunities now available to him. :) Thank you for reviewing!
Dec. 29th, 2015 03:29 pm (UTC)
Oh this was adorable, I loved how Benny was actually the one to save Donna. And was there a touch of envy in the Doctor's eyes when he saw the ginger in his "son's" hair?

I especially loved how he handled Rose and her wonderful and perfectly in character temper tantrum response when he asked her for the Tardis key back. She really was still a child no matter how many years had passed. Its nice to see a wholly different take on the metacrisis! I love it.
Dec. 30th, 2015 02:40 am (UTC)
Yes, he was envious. Until he got over it. ;)

I loved this story. When the muse permits... there will be a sequel. :D
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )

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