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NEW: A Different Threefold Man (9/12?)

Title: A Different Three-Fold Man
Rating: T
Summary: Not even Caan could see every possibility. The Hand was far more aware than anyone gave it credit for, and it transformed itself into something different. Now Donna Noble and the Doctor have their work cut out for them.
Dedicationtardis_mole. This was provoked by “Another Fine Mess.” (Which is no longer on FF.N. Wait for TM to finish the mass posting to LJ to see it again.) You'll have to read it all the way through to have any clue why. And yes, I beta read that story, so in a tiny way I'm tooting my own horn in addition to TM's. ;D And thank you, my friend, for the chapter titles! :D
Disclaimer: Rose Tyler wouldn't have been anywhere near Series 4, and therefore this probably couldn't have happened, had I anything to do with owning these characters. I've lost all respect for the character, I freely admit it. Which means I've lost some respect for her creator. Shame, since he also created characters that I adore.
Author's Note: A new entry for the Alternate Handy Fanfiction Challenge. Nope, we haven't mined this one to death. Not at all! :D And there are still other possibilities! :D

If you've been following the FFN rating mess, then you'll notice that I had to raise the rating for this story over there. The topics within are apparently considered "adult." Despite that any nine year old would ask them. Go flipping figure. At least I don't have that worry here. :D

This chapter's ending is why the story didn't end with the TARDIS sighing over the messes bipeds make. :D

Chapter 1 / Chapter 2 / Chapter 3 / Chapter 4 / Chapter 5 / Chapter 6 / Chapter 7 / Chapter 8

Chapter Nine: Girl Meets World

The living room door opened and Donna made her way into the kitchen with Martha at her side. She held on to Martha and rubbed her lower back at the same time. Practice – when she was allowed on her feet, a fact that she loudly protested even though she had to admit she couldn't walk around as much as she wished – kept her moving fairly steadily, even with the waddle she had since being nineteen weeks pregnant and that had worsened ever since she looked like she ought to pop at any moment with one baby, never mind three. “Did I hear the twins?”

The Doctor popped up, grateful for the moment's distraction from talking with the acting head of UNIT. “Yep. You're all still fine?” He couldn't keep the worry out of his voice if his remaining lives depended on it, even as she smiled at him. Instead he touched her face, eyebrows tightening slightly until she gently shook her head, and took over helping her move.

Martha resisted the urge to roll her eyes as the Doctor guided Donna to her comfortable kitchen chair – moved by Mickey into easier reach for her. She decided that her stint working in the maternity ward – which had been the hardest part of her training – was a piece of cake compared with checking on a half-Time Lord pregnancy. She never thought she'd see the Doctor acting the part of the nervous father-to-be, and taking it to new levels. Then again, Donna had once told her that there was no way she'd see the Doctor that way. She remembered that lie being exposed that fateful day of the Planets, but she could appreciate why it was said. She still sometimes wished she'd had that kind of wisdom – would've saved her a tonne of embarrassment.

Of course, it figured that the Doctor's children would be the ones who gave her an absolute devil of a time whenever she used the sonic aids to check size and health. Martha was sure they did it on purpose. Finally, their parents somehow convinced them to cooperate, for their mother's sake. Although she was sure she saw some sibling roughhousing attempts on the screen today. Perfectly explained why Donna wasn't sure she heard her two eldest come in. “She's fine. The babies are fine. They finally hit all the developmental markers the Gallifreyan materials said they should. Those vivid dreams Donna mentioned could be just part of pregnancy.”

The Doctor didn't believe that for one moment. The dreams Donna was experiencing – colours she couldn't understand, sensations she'd never even heard of, and sounds she couldn't identify – told him that their unborn children had been conceived inside the TARDIS, on their wedding night. That put him on edge; there was nothing to indicate how exposure to a time field at such a delicate stage might have affected the development of a fetus. Especially a half-human one, and they had three to think about.

Donna groaned, feeling every worry radiating from her bonkers – and alien – husband as his hands ran over her belly, accidentally triggering gymnastics as the triplets tried to physically say hello to their dad, vying for space and elbowing their way to the front for daddy-me time. “We went over the birth plan – again! We're ready, Doctor,” she reminded him for what truly felt like the millionth time. “Just a matter of waiting on these rascals to decide they're done.” She knew she might regret calling them that once she was in labour, but she no longer cared. It accurately described their behaviour.

The Brig chuckled loudly as Donna sat down. He'd greeted her with a kiss of the hand when he arrived, just before Martha swept her into the living room for the exam (and some frank talking). “Is this the same Doctor who hated staying in one place?”

The Doctor flinched. He knew the Brig was just teasing, but the unintentional reminder of his time exiled as his third self still hurt. “That wasn't my choice the last time. I have that freedom now, and I have the best reasons to be on Earth so much.” His hands changed their rubbing pattern on Donna's belly, and he leaned to touch his forehead against her bump – strengthening the connection to the children and coaxing them into stopping their wild movements.

Martha chuckled, covering up the fact that she found the sight utterly adorable and had to keep from embarrassing him by saying so. His wife and children were giving him enough payback for the times he made her, Martha, feel second-best to Rose. “I can't believe,” she commented, amused, to Donna, “this is the same man who said he 'doesn't do domestics.'”

He didn't need to look at her to know she was using finger quotations. He sighed heavily and looked up. “Fine, you want an answer for that? Domesticity was, for a long time, synonymous with boredom and being trapped in one place, with someone I didn't love or want to be with, expected to carry out a role I never wanted and knew I wasn't suited for. I was held back for most of my life. Being exiled, as painful as it was, was the best thing that happened to the first me. I was able to start exploring the universe and time instead of observing them from a giant distance. Domesticity meant that I had to live completely according to another's rules.”

The others flinched. No wonder he'd been exiled, they all realized – he must have been chafing something dreadful under those rules on Gallifrey.

Donna was the only one who already knew. He'd been slowly telling her a lot before they married, and the flow had increased after that.

“After the Time War, domesticity meant living like a human with no regard to my not being human. I couldn't handle my differences not being respected. Had enough of that from my own people. I couldn't even think about anything close to domestics...” He looked at Donna, his eyes shining with gratitude and love. “...until Donna came along and I suddenly realized I was doing all sorts of things I'd hated before and yet I didn't mind. It was the company, and that I was doing things out of love that made the difference.”

“Aye aye.” Wilf absently commented as he moved to help Sylvia with some chopping. “There are plenty of proverbs about that.”

Taking a deep breath, the Doctor continued, turning his head back to his audience. “I'm no longer alone. I have a family who needs me as much as I need them, and I wanted to try to create more family – filling the empty spaces inside me. Some spaces I'd sensed were empty before the Time War. And there are so many unknowns since my people lost all records of what Gallifreyan pregnancy meant, so I won't leave Donna alone for long. I need to see that my family is safe, to see our children outlive me.”

Martha's mouth went a bit slack. “Then each one of them is more precious than the entire Sol system. Maybe even the galaxy.”

He restrained his reaction, focusing on his hands as they rubbed Donna's belly to continue calming the babies. They were nearly asleep. “Could I have imagined living like this back when I was in that past life and unable to even pilot the TARDIS? I doubt it, even if I'd had clues that this was in my future. But this is my life now. I'm able to go places if I need to, and the TARDIS is helping ensure we get back on time. I wouldn't have chosen the path we took, but I'd never change the outcome.”

Donna stroked his hair tenderly with both hands, smiling happily. She knew the feeling well that he'd just described. She had to suppress a laugh when she felt him struggling to not purr under her touch. His reputation didn't need any further beating. So she moved her hands to rub his shoulders.

The others all were silent for a long moment. It was a drastic change for him, but every one of them could understand and support it. The Brig smiled. “I've certainly never seen you looking content.”

The Doctor quirked a tiny grin, shrugging.

Mickey, sensing a tension break was needed, smirked. “Who knew you'd become such a lucky sod?”

The Doctor beamed, his typical manner breaking through his frustration and concerns, but then he froze. He heard the TARDIS engines firing. His head lifted instantly. “What do they-?!”

The Old Girl cut him off mid-sentence. It was not their idea. I need them to help me, Thief. We'll be back very shortly. And then she – and the twins – were gone. Leaving him and Donna wide-eyed.

With an audience that had no idea what just happened.

If not for Donna's hand on his arm and her thoughts in his mind, the Doctor would've exploded in anger once Donna said what they sensed. Knowing they could do nothing, she forced him to sit back down and helped contribute to the matters involved in rebuilding Earth's defenses. She knew things were bad if a Brigadier had been brought out of retirement – again – to run one of the two most important defenses against alien threats that Britain had ever had. That said a lot about the scope of the massacre.

Of course, UNIT probably also wanted the Doctor comfortable with them, so they deliberately chose the person he was most comfortable with. Donna wondered who was being groomed for Sir Alistair's place, especially as the go-between with the Doctor – the man was not young, and she sensed from the bond that the Doctor knew his old friend had maybe a few more years of life left. One more burden of being a Time Lord.

But far worse would be Sarah Jane's death. Donna knew her friend was having cancer concerns, and the way the Doctor flinched subtly when it was mentioned told her that he knew it was coming. Donna knew how much Sarah (as he'd sometimes called her) meant to him still, how much they'd lost because of his own people, and knew he would be gutted when she passed.

She wondered how far he would go to delay the event. It wasn't doing his mental state any favors now.

The Doctor's frustration over the twins disobeying him and running off with the TARDIS – oh, she knew it was the other way around, but the distinction didn't change that he felt trapped and angry – wasn't the biggest test of her patience, but it was up there. Mind, she understood the frustration. The twins had followed their instructions and orders with only some complaining (and that was cleaned up when Sylvia noted when they were whining like teenagers – they didn't want to sound anything like a certain companion) since they arrived.

No, Donna knew the greatest test of her patience was and would be the Doctor's overprotective streak toward her and the children. Aside from a few times where the TARDIS signaled that she'd detected something in the past, or the bus incident just days ago over Easter, the Doctor hadn't left Earth since the Planets mess. He'd barely been away from her, insisting that she never be alone. All because he sensed the morning after their wedding night that they had conceived a child. He had to show her through the bond, and she'd bawled in his arms – unable to believe that her greatest dream was coming true.

Mind, it coming on the immediate heels of them becoming parents and marrying worried her a little. It was moving fast, but they'd adapted. What else could they do?

Trouble was, she understood the cause of his worries that provoked the overprotective behaviours. He'd been the last of his kind for far longer than he let anyone else know. She knew about the Master because her husband had a nightmare three weeks after the Planets mess about the Year That Never Was. Evidently his former friend turned enemy had gone after everyone still alive who had ever helped the Doctor, and had sent his goons after Donna, killing her family in the process.

Seemed the Doctor was more obvious about his feelings for her than she could've imagined. No wonder he was so nervous now about her safety and the children.

Yet Donna, in that Year, thwarted the Master's plan to torture and kill her in front of the Doctor, as he had the other companions he'd got his mitts on. By luck she overheard that the goons were to take her alive (possibly because the TARDIS managed to give her a warning), and read between the lines correctly. So instead of letting herself be captured, she managed to set off an explosion that killed those who killed her family. Alas, it also killed her, reducing her to ashes. As painful as the knowledge was, the Doctor had felt a bit of pride in Donna for not letting anyone hurt her and going down fighting.

She held him as he'd cried from recounting the dream memory. Then coaxed him into making love. He slipped into a mad desperation to remind himself that she was safe, that they were building a future together.

Bringing herself back to the present, Donna sighed. Her challenge had been and would always be to remind her husband to not keep the children – and her – locked up for their own safety, to not make them feel as trapped as he had felt at more than one point in his life, but to be a daddy and husband – to have fun and be involved in more fun ways in their lives. He was actually doing a good job of that with the twins, helping them figure out how to turn their schoolwork into something challenging to them.

He was definitely encouraging a protective streak in Ben toward Bella, though. Mind, she hadn't said anything about it since the incident at the school. They'd started school just two weeks before, which could've been a problem, but Ben's actions might've protected their cover in the end. Their schoolmates had quickly accepted them, and the teachers loved them – even though they were baffled by them at times.

Which reminded her: what had happened that the TARDIS claimed only the twins could handle? It was just their luck that the Old Girl would choose that moment to discover something critical!

Okay, perhaps she didn't choose it. Maybe the Doctor was right when he muttered that he sometimes was convinced that the universe hated him. Scary thought.

Thank goodness for Martha and Mickey. The former proved better at forcing the Doctor to listen to her than she had been, and the latter was able to be the voice of reason. Of course, it didn't hurt that he could still call the Doctor on wrongly labeling him an idiot all those years ago. For him.

About two hours later, the Brig decided that they had done enough for the day, having plenty of ideas to implement for a month. The timing coincided with his Ruth's arrival. Martha and Mickey had planned to head on their own, but the tension level from earlier made their accepting Donna's dinner offer a good idea for everyone. The roast chicken and potatoes were ready to serve, the side dishes – including stuffing and fresh vegetables – already set at the table.

As Sylvia and Donna discussed where to seat everyone, made much easier with the two large tables they now owned, they all heard the grinding of the TARDIS engines. The twins had returned. Donna and Martha, both seeing the Doctor's eyes flash, grabbed his arms before he could stand.

“Let them have a moment to explain themselves before you jump to conclusions,” his wife sharply cautioned, briefly wincing at a twinge in her back. “Remember the last time you made assumptions before you asked why people did what they did?”

He flinched. She tried to not remind him of the events of the Planets mess, but that one was one of his worst moments. Thinking his fourteen year-old son was actually old enough to be imposed upon by Rose Tyler? (From her perspective, it would have been the other way around, but he'd never given a thought in that direction. Especially not after she'd triggered the Oncoming Storm. Indeed, he now tried to not think about her.) Yeah, he still owed Ben for that.

The Brig gave him a sympathetic look. “Children are difficult at this age. I believe Dr. Jones was telling me that in humans, the frontal lobes are not yet fully integrated and unable to properly influence their thinking. I can't imagine how their Gallifreyan heritage works, but surely the human side has room to grow?”

The Doctor groaned, and took a deep breath. Okay, Old Girl. Why?

You will see when they come in. They are fine, my Thief. A bit tired, but fine.

I hate it when you're cryptic. You're interfering with our rules.

The TARDIS was silent, but he and Donna could hear a satisfied tone in her humming. And relief.

The Old Girl learned from the best on both counts, Donna told him. That drew a groan from him as the back door opened.

Sylvia, who had finished the cooking with Wilf's help, held up a hand. “I'll deal with this.”

The Doctor couldn't help but smile a little. Who knew that her brand of nagging would come in handy every so often?

Sylvia called out, “And what time do you call this?!”

Ah, Donna sighed to herself, the phrase and tone of doom. At least she no longer throws it at me. And my kids are smart enough to not toss my old retorts back at her.

“This wasn't part of our plans for today,” Bella snapped back, her father's irritation booming in her tone.

They could hear her and Ben's footsteps, but something sounded off about it. Like they had company.

Sylvia stuck her head out in the hallway of their former neighbour's house. “No excuses, you two-” She cut herself off. “Who is she?!”

That captured the room's attention, confirming the Doctor's suspicions. Although why were his senses tingling? It was almost like...no, it couldn't be.

“Someone,” Ben replied secretively, pleased with the results of their impromptu journey, “we thought was dead.” He and Bella came into view, looking exhausted physically and mentally, bringing with them the person Sylvia saw.

Wilf, Mickey, and the Brig were baffled when the Doctor choked on his breath, slowly rising to his feet in shock. The face was one embedded in his memory. His instincts hadn't been wrong.

Donna gasped, covering her mouth with both hands, unable to believe her eyes. She trembled, both from the weight of her own emotions and from the barrage she felt through her link.

Martha blurted, shell-shocked, “Jenny!”

Wilf and Sylvia's faces fell open.

The very alive young Time Lady looked around, waving a little at Martha, smiling at Donna, but her face went watery at looking again on the Doctor. “Hello, Dad,” she whispered. Unable to wait, she rushed into her father's numb arms.

They went around her by instinct. Her scent was the same, obscured by the smells of her travels, but still so familiar. Her hearts beat under his embrace, strong and steady despite the turbulence of the moment. Her grip was as strong as it had been when he'd opened his hearts to her. His body started shaking, and he was instantly in tears.

The Brig, Ruth, and Mickey were stunned. Seeing the Doctor that emotional was unheard of to the two former, and the latter knew he was missing some critical information.

Sylvia and Wilf, however, weren't. “This is Jenny?!” he cried as she asked, “You said she'd died!”

“Who,” Mickey interrupted, “is she? Are the rest of us going to hear this one?”

The twins sighed. Clearly they were the only ones in the know who had enough control over their emotions to tell it. “When Martha was saying goodbye inside the TARDIS after the Sontaran invasion,” Ben began, “we and the TARDIS suddenly detected what seemed to be the presence of another Time Lord. Well, the TARDIS had an emergency program for such things, despite our father's pessimism. So she took charge and flung them to another planet and time.”

“Once there,” Bella continued, “on an underground world, they were captured by a group of human soldiers. On orders of their warmonger leader, a sample of Dad's DNA was stolen by a machine, shuffled around, and force-matured into a grown person: Jenny.”

Those not in the know stared at Jenny, who was aware of the scrutiny, but couldn't care less. Her dad was shaking from shock, so he needed to be hugged longer.

Ben shuddered over the memories. “The entire story is a long one, but suffice to say, Dad didn't react well to a creation without his consent. Mum was gobsmacked by it, too, but she quickly saw the girl as a person and even named her. And pressed Dad to accept her as his. It was only when she proved that Jenny had two hearts that he started to.”

“He'd reached acceptance toward and love for her,” Bella added, tearing at the memories, “and had found a way to stop the war when that warmonger aimed a gun at him. Jenny stepped in the way and got shot, and seemed to die.”

Martha shook her head. “I checked her myself. How is she alive?!”

“The machine that created her,” Ben noted, “was geared toward making humans. So she thought she was one. Didn't realize she had two hearts until Mum and Dad told her.”

“We have two hypotheses,” Bella explained softly. “One was that the terraforming gases that Dad released to encourage the combatants to stop fighting – it worked, by the way – held her in a form of stasis so she could heal. The other is that she was actually falling into a healing coma, but that programming from the machine had convinced her that she was supposed to die. And Dad hadn't established the familial bond with her, and so neither of them realised that she wasn't really dying.”

The Doctor's numb mind could've reached those conclusions on its own, but the twins did think a lot like him. It made sense. Although it was all he could do to not break down into tears.

“I'm told that I breathed out a faint golden cloud as I woke,” Jenny said, voice breaking as she tightened her hold on her father. “I stole a shuttle and started exploring, trying to follow in Dad's footsteps.”

The Doctor, shocked as he was, hugged her even more tightly. She really was so like him.

The Brig and Ruth were stunned, staring at the reunion as comprehension hit. Mickey felt a lot of empathy for the Doctor, thinking someone he loved was dead. He'd been there, but he hadn't thought he'd see it happen. The alien didn't do anything by halves.

Sylvia cleared her throat and looked at the twins. “And you have your parents' memories of her?”

They nodded.

She grimaced. “That makes things trickier. But how did you find her?”

Bella stuck her hands in her pockets, and Ben folded his arms. She started the tale. “The Old Girl sensed Jenny's life-signs, and that she was in trouble. We went to the location, and found her crashed shuttle. Along with some time travel device she'd attached to it. Clever thinking, but the shuttle wasn't designed to handle that.”

“I was trying to find Earth,” Jenny defended. “Trying to find my Mum so I could also find my Dad.”

The Brig interrupted. “But if you just came from the Doctor...?”

“She imprinted on me,” Donna murmured, just loudly enough for the whole room to hear. “I named her, made her father accept her, and basically treated her like a Time Lord.” She was heartily ashamed of saying Jenny wasn't real, even if it'd been frustration and anger that caused it.

“Anyway,” Ben interjected, wanting to get the story over with, “she did her best, but the timing and location were off by a lot. Turned out to be a place that you visited with Rose.” He glared at his father. “Remember the planet you went to a day after the first visit to New Earth?”

The Doctor cringed. Yeah, that hadn't been one of his finer moments. Or Rose's. He knew afterward that he should've given Rose a lecture about walking off on her own and flirting with the locals. Had he been so...confused...that he'd let her pouting face make him give her another chance without a warning? Or had all that flirting with local males been an effort to get his attention in ways he wasn't able to give? “What happened?” he managed, just barely.

Jenny shuddered. “I explored a bit when I crashed. Some bad things had happened and they were rebuilding. I started helping, and I happened to mention I was looking for the Doctor. Then they arrested me, calling me Rose Tyler.”

The Doctor froze, eyebrows trying to touch the ceiling. “What?!”

Donna and Martha exchanged baffled looks, and Mickey shook his head. “They don't even look alike!” he cried. “They're not even the same shade of blonde!”

Jenny pulled back enough to look her father in the eye and take his hands. “I tried to say I had no clue who they meant, and assumed it would be bad to admit who you are to me. I didn't like how the primary leader looked at me.”

The Doctor's hands gripped hers a littler more tightly, eyes scanning her for injuries or other injustices.

Bella sighed. It was ridiculous. She resumed the story. “So we apparently arrived shortly after she did, and followed her trail. When we were nearly captured because Ben was recognized, we used perception filters to hide who we were. Well, who Ben looks like. Seems enough time had passed that only thing about Rose remembered with any accuracy was her being blonde.”

“It's a good thing we came when we did,” Ben added grimly. “That ruler wanted to kill her. Well...eventually,” he reluctantly added – not wanting to think the rest of it, but knowing he had to say it.

Everyone cringed. No one more so than the Doctor. He hugged Jenny again, more in relief this time.

“Nothing happened to her, Dad,” Ben stressed. “We got there in plenty of time, and we found help from people who remembered you with gratitude.”

“We collected her captured things, and then broke her out with our Sonics,” Bella continued, thankful that their mother had insisted that just because they were effectively exiled to Earth didn't mean they shouldn't have the tools of a Time Lord. Then smirked. “But we also toppled the leadership, which was making the people who helped you stop the original threat struggle to live.”

The Doctor hissed. Donna's eyes closed as she covered her mouth, imagining the agony.

“Which,” Ben tightly added, “you might've realised was a possibility had you not been so keen to get Rose off the planet. Or at least made her apologise for inappropriate flirting and interfering with the peace process.”

Both of them were grateful they'd stopped themselves from joking about what other side-effects Rose's actions could have on their futures. The truth of that feeling hit too close to home today.

“You do realise,” Bella stated, “that trying to remind Rose that flirting and pouting isn't the answer to everything might've saved you a lot of trouble? And spared us from having to make a ridiculous rescue today?!”

Donna's hands slapped her chair's arms. “Enough!” she snapped, recovering her voice in the face of her husband's distress. Jenny's presence was plenty for his mind to deal with. “It's in the past. We have to let go sometime.” She looked at her eldest – in every sense of the term – and more tears formed. “The family is whole. That's what's important here.”

“Ere, so this is Jenny?” asked Wilf. He couldn't help but stare at the young girl. “But she looks more like our family than you, Doctor!”

A sort of laugh escaped Donna's lips, but her concern was too great to let humour in. Her husband was still in shock.

Jenny, as much as she was enjoying being hugged, needed to move. “I've missed you, too, Dad, but I want to hug Donna and Martha! And I think I should be introduced to the others.”

That dragged him out of his thoughts – which had been incredibly jumbled. He was feeling the familiar heavy weight of guilt, this time for not sticking around long enough to be sure despite his grief. Then he felt his wife reach out to him through their link. She was right. It was the past. A painful past, but the past nonetheless. He would only hurt Jenny if he let his memories consume him. He squeezed her one more time, and glanced at the twins. “You're forgiven this time, but don't go without us again.”

They nodded, ruthlessly suppressing grins. It was the greatest set of extenuating circumstances, after all. Complete set, with trump card.

The Doctor finally let go. “Our eldest is home, Donna.” Which made his wife beam in his mind. He cleared his throat and turned to face his oldest friend in the room. “Jenny, I want you to meet someone who has seen me through a number of my lives: Brigadier Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, retired from Her Majesty's Service – but helping restore the planet's defenses at the moment. And his wife, Ruth.”

Jenny wasn't sure what was expected of her, but the man's extended hand – even with his rather stunned expression – told her to offer hers. Which she did, parallel to his until he clasped and shook it to show her how. After a few seconds of watching their hands, Jenny looked up. “What am I to call you?”

The Brig chuckled. “Sir Alistair. Your siblings call me that.” Charming girl, he thought. Wonder how her father will handle her naivety. He saw far more of the Doctor who had worn the celery stick than this Doctor in her, and wondered how Gallifreyan genetics really worked.

Jenny nodded and also warmly greeted his wife, who was too stunned to speak much. Still, manners allowed her to smile warmly.

The Doctor continued, “And one of my companions, Mickey Smith.”

Jenny grinned. “Sounds like you could help explain Rose Tyler to me. You seem to know her.”

Mickey suppressed a smirk, noticing the Doctor's unease. “Well, I did. The twins tell you anything?”

“No, they said it was Dad's responsibility.”

The Doctor coughed, and glared at his wayward offspring. Oi! Did you two have to put that all on me?!

The twins each raised an eyebrow. It's your story to tell.

Listen, Sunshine, his wife interrupted, you can't avoid it forever. Tonight you will explain that story.

He sighed, knowing Jenny's eyes were on him in confusion. “You remember Martha Jones.”

Martha and Jenny hugged in an instant. “So glad we were wrong,” the young doctor sighed happily.

“Good to see you again,” she enthused.

The Doctor coaxed her along. “Your mum's mother, Sylvia Noble. The twins call her Gran.”

Sylvia found a smile despite her shock. “You do look like you could come from the family. My granddaughter, just like Bella,” she commented as she drew the girl into a hug. “Would make it easier to create a cover story for everyone not in the know, if we hadn't told everyone who's asked a story about Donna and the Doctor met.”

The twins winced. Maybe they should ask Minnie for ideas about explaining Jenny away. Which reminded them: they still had to mention what she'd said. Half-sister by some previous relationship seemed the best option, but what about the details?

“Sounds like a lot to do,” Jenny muttered. “You seem like a good teacher.”

Donna agreed, but she held her tongue. Some things she'd figure out on her own.

Jenny turned to the last person she didn't know. “And who's this?”

Wilf held out his hands to take hers. “I'm Sylvia's dad, Wilfred Mott, your great-grandfather. Call me Great-Grandy.”

Jenny instantly liked him and hugged him. “They said you watch the stars at night.”

“Yes, whenever I can. If the weather permits, I'll bring you with us tonight.”

Beaming as she was released, Jenny turned to face the last person in the room for her to greet. “Mum,” she breathed.

Donna's tears started falling again. She held out her arms. “So good you're home, sweetheart.”

She rushed to hug Donna, throwing her arms around her. And pulled away with a gasp when she felt something get in the way of a proper hug. She saw a huge bump on Donna's belly. “What's that?! It moved when I touched you! What's wrong with you, Mum?!”

Not so shocked now, Donna chuckled at the innocence and wiped her tears. The triplets had slept through everything until she saw Jenny. She just hadn't realised it until they kicked against Jenny's body pressing into hers. “A pregnancy, Jenny.”

Jenny looked like that was Greek to her. “Again, what's that?”

The twins blinked. Did that mean-?

Martha's eyes went wide. “Um,” she started, “that's how new people are grown.” What and how much had been omitted from her programming?

Jenny looked at her in horrified disbelief. “No, they're not! They're created by a progenation machine with a sample from a sole parental source of DNA.”

Mickey, Ruth and the Brig stared at her, not daring to interrupt. This sounded like a bizarrely fascinating moment to witness.

Sylvia and Wilf exchanged stunned looks. How little did this girl know about the everyday aspects of life? Was warfare and life on the battlefield all she knew?

The Doctor swallowed. “You mean you've never heard of reproduction? Of two parents combining their DNA to make a new person?”

Jenny thought a moment. “No, that wasn't included in my download. And what does that have to do with a huge growth on my mother's body that moved under my touch?!”

Oh, this could be shaming, Donna told the Doctor. We have witnesses for a birds and the bees talk. Including Mum and Gramps. Aloud she cleared her throat. “Sweetheart, I'm carrying babies, who will grow into new people. It takes about twenty Earth years for them to grow to proper adulthood, and their maturing depends on their environment and their own natural progression. They're growing inside me, which is the typical way someone is made.” There, that wasn't too bad!

Ben and Bella were covering their mouths, trying not to laugh. They wondered just how far their older sister, who their memories made them love and even adore, would take her questions. And whether she had any sense of tact.

They weren't holding out on that last one. She was her father's daughter, after all.

Jenny frowned. She reached out to touch Donna's belly, and felt something kick her from inside. She recoiled in shock. “But...how is that possible?! Unless you're built like the TARDIS, how can a person fit inside there? And how do you get DNA from the second parent inside you? You'd need some sort of receptacle. And what does the father use to insert his DNA?”

The Doctor and Donna turned red. The others' jaws popped open.

Bella and Ben – on the other hand – collapsed to the floor, convulsing in laughter. Oh, they both thought, to have had a video camera!

Jenny turned a scowl on them. “What?! It's a legitimate question!”

They just kept on laughing. This made up for the troubles of the rescue and for being exiled to Earth!

Chapter 10: The Birds, the Bees, and the Bewildered


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 29th, 2012 03:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, dear gods. The birds and the bees of the humans and Time Lords, as brought to us by the Doctor and Donna. *snerk* I like. XD
Jun. 29th, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC)
I know. Fun, isn't it? :DDD
Jun. 29th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
Oh. My. God. Where to begin?!?!

Overprotective, panicky Doctor. Goooooood stuff! But with two teenagers and a set of infant triplets, he's going to have enough trouble just getting through the day, let alone watching their every move to "keep them safe"! It's a good thing that Time Lords don't need the same amount of sleep humans do! Donna's gonna need some serious help with those 2am feedings! ;D

Ah, the Brigs. How sweet!! And Donna's concern about the Doctor's reaction to his and Sarah Jane's inevitable deaths. *sniff* *weepy*

YAY!!!! JENNY!!!!! Sex talk with one's parents is awkward at the best of times. But an innocent like her, and a bumbling, embarrassed, inept Doctor in the mix?! That is a scene I would love to see on video!!

Loving this more and more!!!
Jun. 29th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC)
Well, he would be panicky and overprotective. :) Oh, just wait. At least he also has the twins, Sylvia, and Wilf to help with the babies. But I think he will be sleeping a bit more, just to keep up his energy. ;D

Yeah. So sad. They are both missed.

I have the feeling that some non-D/D shippers might actually want to see that on video, too. It'd be an insanely comical moment. :D

You're welcome! :D
Jun. 29th, 2012 05:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, of course he has help, but do you really think that's going to affect the amount of overprotectiveness he displays? He's manic at the best of times. I can't wait to see him trying to care for three! It's going to be priceless!

And when was the last time he actually even held a baby?!? The twins are different. They sprang up almost fully grown. Picture it: The Doctor dealing with the "Terrible Twos" with triplets!!! He is going to implode!

There's a story out there (forgive me, but I can't remember the title or author-it may have been one of Elly's!) about Donna forgetting something and needing to go back to the TARDIs, and the Doctor insists she tell him what it is. The conversation that ensues about tampons made me laugh out loud and for a very long time. The Time Lord Sex Talk would beat that by a long shot!

Jun. 29th, 2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
Friday, June 29, 2012
User kate_swynford referenced to your post from Friday, June 29, 2012 saying: [...] by [Ten/Donna/OC | PG] A Different Threefold Man (9/12?) [...]
Jun. 29th, 2012 05:42 pm (UTC)
I wonder if Ben and Belle were able to provide some images for that birds & bees talk later? Ha ha ha

I'm also worrying about Donna going through that triple birth! I hope she copes okay.
Jul. 29th, 2012 12:46 am (UTC)
Just wait until I finish the rest of the story. ;D

That's yet to be written, too. But don't fret. *hugs*
Jun. 30th, 2012 06:19 am (UTC)
Again, I have to say I love how the Doctor takes care of Donna. Don't envy him in the delivery room though. =P

So...Jenny. The twins went to get Jenny. Epic.

Oh I am laughing about the reproduction thing. That's gonna be fun to explain. =D


Jul. 29th, 2012 12:47 am (UTC)
Just wait. It gets better. ;)

Yeah. I think I hinted at it back in Chapter 7. :)

Oh, that'll get even better fast! :DDDD

Thanks! :D
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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