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The Belted Doctor, Chapter 15

Title: The Belted Doctor, Chapter 15

Author: tkel_paris</lj> , aka KendraC

Rating: High T, borderline M for (very) naughty humor, and some hints... Consider yourself warned.

Summary: A crack!fic inspired by a line from “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and run for its life with. The Doctor is left with a very uncomfortable “protection” against unwanted advances. But will he find the one who is foretold to release him from his... prison?

Disclaimer: Mel Brooks owns “Men in Tights.” The BBC and others own “Doctor Who.” 'Nuff said.

Author's Note: This one kept growing despite my efforts to reign it in, so I'm relieved that bas_math_girl helped me stop it where we did. If you want someone to blame, look no further than juliaaurelia for inciting my muse... Jenny acts out in this chapter, proving that she's still very much a kid. Mind, she's got a good reason for it...

P / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14


The newly bonded couple finally stumbled out of Donna's room, each with an arm around the other. Both were extremely dazed, wearing almost matching silly grins, and walking rather carefully – as though their legs weren't entirely confident of their ability to carry their respective owners.

No surprise, given that even he'd lost track of the number of rounds...

The entire thing seemed a little surreal to both, but the ability to sense each other's feelings was something that not even their imaginations could dream up. She hadn't known it was possible, and he'd never thought it could happen with someone from a non-telepathic species. But the right woman now knew his real name, and it felt better than he'd imagined to hear it. Whether while... engaged, or during one of their many – and lengthy – talks about all sorts of things.

And holding her while she got needed sleep? Probably the most domestic thing he'd ever done, and yet he really liked it! Especially getting to stroke her beautiful ginger locks...

But how the hell did Romana manage to insert a bit of herself into the essence of the Belt? “Really,” Donna had noted during one of their breathers, “it has to be the kinkiest part of the whole thing.”

He hadn't argued the point. If it weren't for the gift of Donna being his wife, the Doctor might have been completely wigged out over the idea.

And during another break, a worry dawned on him. An extremely delayed reaction to Lee's presence on board. Donna had to reassure him that Jenny and Lee were nowhere near that serious yet. She also had to quickly distract him from his prayer that his daughter wouldn't figure out – at least not for a long time – any of the... creative uses for a respiratory bypass...

Bonding worked up quite the appetite – although Donna finally got it into her hear that her new husband was completely delighted with how her body was, so she was learning to restrain her tongue on that topic. However, the TARDIS kept providing food and water – or whatever drinks Donna felt like – whenever needed. “Think your ship,” Donna murmured between a needed snack, “is hinting that she wants little Time-Lords running around?”

The Doctor had to laugh at the old girl's antics. “I never thought I'd be happy she pushed me, but I hope she never does it again.”

The TARDIS was silent, knowing her pilot was hoping for too much. Maybe he'd figure that out one day...

They approached the kitchen in comfortable silence, mostly listening to the background sounds generated by each other's feelings. They saw Lee sitting over breakfast, reading something from the TARDIS library, and Jenny – having already eaten her own food – with the TARDIS cell phone.

“Oh, hello, Aunt Martha,” Jenny spoke, sounding a bit unsure of herself. “I was hoping to talk with you about my mum and dad.”

The Doctor froze, and Donna nearly stumbled from the surprise. When did she figure out how to call Martha, he asked in a growing panic. We haven't taught her anything about phoning!

“I've been kind of left to my own devices 'cause Mum and Dad – finally! – saw what the rest of us have been. They definitely can't claim they're not a couple after the TARDIS put a honest-to-God 'Do Not Disturb' sign – in Gallifreyan, no less! – on Mum's door!”

Donna was mortified. Didn't speak well of your parenting skills if you neglected your kid for a shag. Even if the kid was practically an adult – except for some rather critical knowledge about people, even if she was a fast learner.

The Doctor would have breathed a sigh of relief that it was just a message, but... He stormed over, stopping Jenny's next words and startling Lee, and yanked the phone out of her hand. Closing it, he knew it was time to remind her whose ship this was. “And what,” he growled quietly, “gave you the idea that you had the right to call someone to talk about your parents?”

Oh, don't be so hard on her, Donna reminded him, adding an embarrassed smile to her silent words. She wanted us to be together, even tried to push me to tell you about the Library.

Lee spoke up. “I t-tried to t-talk her out of it. I c-couldn't this time.”

Not acknowledging the truth of Lee's words, Jenny glared at her father. “I figured it out because I wanted to ask someone who isn't part of my...” She had to pause to think of a phrase that covered the ambiguous nature of what Lee was to her at that moment. “...immediate family about men and women. You know, as happy as I am that I won't have to deal with anyone taking Mum's place, I discovered that there are certain things that a kid is better off not knowing about her parents. I'm so grateful that the TARDIS muffled any sounds.”

Both adults blushed. Hard. And she wasn't done. “Besides, I think I've got a right to be angry over being ignored for...” She double-checked her internal clock, and shuddered. “...over four Earth days...”

Donna's face nearly turned red. Oh, my God... Were we really in there that long...?

The Doctor's face had never had so much color in it as the truth of Jenny's accusation hit. He knew his shock alone would answer Donna's question. He sent a silent curse at the TARDIS for... encouraging them to have an extended lie-in. His mood didn't improve when he sensed that Jenny's reaction was the only thing his ship was sorry for.

They had no idea that the Old Girl had an agenda with her meddling, that she felt completely justified in her actions...

Jenny found considerable satisfaction in their mortified faces, but she hadn't finished making her point. “Lee and the TARDIS kept telling me that there's a lot that I don't know about your situation, and relationships in general. She tried keeping me distracted with lessons, but I wanted them to be given by people who know to not speak in riddles all the time.” Then she grinned evilly, thinking of a way guaranteed to mess with her dad's head. “Frankly, you two should have thought about what I might have gotten myself into in the meanwhile...”

That was a thought her father didn't need; his hands clenched the table and the phone. Only the innocent – and alarmed – look on Lee's face kept him in check. Donna tried to silently convince him that those thoughts weren't occurring to their girl yet, and hurried over to re-enforce the thoughts with her touch, but his protective father mode was running too high.

“But anyway,” Jenny said grimly, needing to change the subject, “you can try to explain yourselves later. I'm afraid Martha's in trouble.”

The room seemed to chill. Donna broke the silence generated by Jenny's worried tone and words. “What makes you think that?”

“I've seen you call Nan and Gramps, and those calls always go through. It's because the TARDIS manipulates the timing so that it reaches them at a time they can answer, right, Dad?” When he nodded, she demanded, “So why isn't Martha able to answer?!”

I didn't realize how quickly she bonded with Martha, the Doctor – in a bit of a daze – told Donna.

No big surprise, Donna answered, also a bit stunned. You didn't see them when we found Jenny new clothes. And, you know, that whole thing about the phones never occurred to me before. I think we should check up on Martha, just for Jenny's peace of mind.

And ours, he added, sad for all he'd done wrong. Besides, we owe her for... indulging ourselves... He was afraid that explaining the Belt would be the price for Jenny's silence on what had just happened.

The Doctor wasn't sure quite where on Earth they'd landed, or when. But it was dark outside. “Blimey,” Donna muttered, “why doesn't this reassure me that it's just horribly distracting monthly troubles?”

He didn't have an answer. A check of the TARDIS' systems had been unclear whether Martha was in danger, but it showed that something not good was happening in the time-frame the missed calls were going to. Although it probably meant that the humans would handle it, Jenny's fears would not be swayed by anything other than checking it out for themselves.

She was really starting to become Donna's Daughter as well as his own. The Doctor believed that it would be a good thing in the end.

He nearly, however, blew a gasket when Jenny emerged with Lee... and what looked like a hand-gun in her grip. “What is that?!”

“It's a stun gun, Dad,” she blurted before he could, remembering his distaste for weapons. “I read that some Earth policemen use them as a non-lethal alternative, and I thought at least one might come in handy given all the dangers we go through – because you can't always use words to stop people.” The moments around her death were fuzzy, but she'd been struck – and still a bit confused – by his apparent refusal to kill her murderer. “So I've been building one in my spare moments on board. Various settings for different species. You two gave me... plenty of time to finish it.” Then she ran to a spot to scan from safely – with Lee just barely keeping up, to protect her.

Her movements reminded the Doctor too much of what she was like on Messaline before Donna really got into him for ignoring Jenny, before he had realized what she was. It still gripped him in horror – even with the verbal slap for leaving her unexpectedly without guidance.

Until Donna touched his arm and grabbed his hand, gently tugging him along. She's modifying her soldier instincts into more peaceful methods, she soothed his worried mind. You've got to give her time to figure out her best methods for stopping trouble. Besides, those instincts might come in handy on reconnaissance, right?

With his protective instincts running rampant – partially out of guilt, her words only made a slight dent. Which disappeared when Jenny stiffened, whipped around the corner and fired one blast. His and Donna's steps quickened, and they saw Jenny lower her weapon, showing her hands as if she had weapons trained on her, and go, “Was Lab-Coat there the only bad guy uncaught?”

“Yes,” came a female response. “You might have saved Owen's life.” That Welsh voice sounds very familiar, the Doctor realized. Where have I heard it before?

Then Jenny looked harder at something or someone, and paled. “Oh, my God! How is she?!” And she rushed out of sight, with Lee coming out to follow her.

The Doctor and Donna rushed forward, only just catching the last bit of what was said in response by a man. “She needs rest, but should be fine.”

They turned the corner, and both were shocked to see Jenny examining Martha – who was barely standing as her weight was supported by a man neither recognized – and several others were nearby. They weren't spotted by the others, but the Doctor froze when he saw their leader. Who's that, Donna immediately asked, and what is it about him that makes you uneasy?

His answer: A good person... basically, but... always trouble.

“You definitely saved Owen's life,” the leader spoke, his American accent a stark contrast to his team. He approached Jenny, who had already holstered her gun and was helping Owen support Martha's weight, and took her free hand – with a huge grin – for a kiss. “And who might you be?”

“Don't, Jack.” The growl was nothing like Donna had ever heard come from his mouth. She could feel the tension radiating off his body, and Donna knew that he was horribly unnerved by this flirt. More so than usual, evidently.

Jack looked up, and his grin – which momentarily vanished in shock – became bigger. Jenny, perturbed by his reaction to her dad, cut off whatever he was about to say. “You didn't say what your name is.”

The Doctor relaxed a bit, hearing Jenny's suspicious tone. The man who nearly kissed her hand was surprised, but quickly grinned again. “Captain Jack Harkness, at your service.” Then he did kiss it.

Jenny's eyebrows raised, and Lee looked almost as tense as the Doctor felt to Donna. This man, Jenny thought, seems... wrong somehow. I can't figure it out... “You're a flirt.”

Matter-of-fact, that's my girl. “With no preferences in terms of sentient species or gender,” the Doctor added, grimly. He would have remained where he was, but he had to check on Martha. It couldn't be natural for someone with a dark complexion to look that pale.

But his feet wouldn't move. Trouble was, he didn't want Jack anywhere near Donna if he could help it. And Donna, he knew, will follow me closely, which won't keep any distance between them...

It was strange to think that he now wished Rose had fallen for the former con-man... Would have made my life a lot easier...

“I suppose,” Jenny said carefully, interrupting Jack again, “that it's a pleasure to meet one of... the Doctor's friends.” She wondered what reason her father had for not wanting them to meet, and suspected it was a good one. It was why she didn't immediately identify who she was. “Now release my hand before I have to hurt you.”

Jack dropped her hand, startled, but quickly recovered his composure. “Sounds like it'd be fun.”

“Jack!” The warning in the Doctor's voice snapped Jack out of his good mood, and made him back up a bit as the Doctor approached with his Sonic Screwdriver to scan Martha. The Torchwood team had no clue what was going on.

But Martha did, and she laughed, which reassured the Doctor and Jenny. “Jack, if you want to keep any goodwill from the Doctor, you'd better cease flirting with Jenny. Right now.”

That warning stunned Jack into silence. While he tried to figure out what “Jenny” could be to the Doctor that he'd be practically turning into the Oncoming Storm over a harmless bit of flirting, Donna cleared her throat loudly and followed the Doctor. “Excuse me. Normally I'd say this is the time for introductions, but maybe we should take care of any prisoners and get Martha to an infirmary first.”

Jack's command mind resumed functioning, and he shook his head. “Oh, that prisoner's not going anywhere without us.” The dark-haired woman who reminded the Doctor of someone was helping a man who sounded Welsh bind the man who had apparently held a gun on Owen. “And Martha just needs lots of rest, and maybe some fluids. So let me start the introductions.” He just pointed, sensing that the Time-Lord's patience was unusually short – although he walked toward him just because he could. “Owen Harper, Tosh Sato, Gwen Cooper, and Ianto Jones. So who are your new companions, Doctor?”

The Doctor groaned loudly, but stopped when Donna told him, Really, Sunshine, you're wasting everyone's time. He sighed, and gestured. “Donna Noble, Lee ____, and... Jenny.”

Donna, blatantly ignoring her husband's mental warnings because it sounded like it might be fun to flirt a bit with this man, extended her hand with a smile. “Pleasure to meet you, Captain, although Spaceman here has never breathed a word about you.”

Jack gasped in semi-mock affront. “Am I that forgettable?!”

But Donna was completely affronted that he merely shook her hand and focused completely on the Doctor. He thinks I'm not even worth flirting with! Then she sensed that her husband – although he agreed that Jack clearly lacked some taste if he wasn't at least intrigued by her – was very happy that she wasn't on the Immortal's radar.

Of course, her mind caught on one part of his thoughts. “What?! He's immortal?!”

“Really?!” Jenny was only a bit less confused, although it explained the weirdness she sensed about Jack – that wasn't connected with his behavior. “No wonder he doesn't seem like a typical human.”

“Wait a minute!” Owen had had enough of being left out, and – being a doctor himself – that last part needed addressing. “You're not human, either?”

She shook her head. “No, I'm a Time-Lady.”

Jack whipped his head to face her, then whirled to face the the Doctor. “I thought you and the Master were the only ones who survived the Time Lock!”

“We were,” the Doctor explained, not very patiently. This was trying his nerves worse than when Lady Cassandra O'Brien took over his body. That still gave him nightmares – and had made Rose's unwanted affection more evident. “She was... created afterward.”

Jenny found his unusual concise phrasing quite amusing. “Oh, come on, you can't say that I was born from a sample of your blood, Dad?”

The entire Torchwood team started over that. “Dad?!”

Martha laughed aloud – a bit weakly for her, but still delighted – and pulled away from Owen to hug Jenny. “So what led to you seeking me out?”

Jenny grinned, finally relieved. Besides, here was a chance to actually have fun at her parents' expense. “Oh, just news about Mum and Dad.”

Martha didn't miss the matching blushes on the subjects of her curiosity, and her smile turned positively gleeful. “So they finally woke up to reality?”

Donna joined the Doctor in groaning aloud. But their horror grew when Jenny – sporting the most wicked grin – leaned in to whisper in Martha's ear for several seconds.

Martha's jaw slowly dropped and she swore her eyes were about to explode. Looking at the Doctor and Donna, she blurted, “Over four days?!”

Donna, realizing that Jenny was acting like a rebelling teenager, had it. “Right, we've had enough of this. Lee, go help Martha get stabilized. Call us with the time when you've arrived at Torchwood and not only is she settled but the prisoners are locked up.” Her tone brooked no argument, and then it turned a bit harsher as she grabbed Jenny's arm. “Sweetheart, your dad and I need to talk with you.” She waited for Lee and Owen to support Martha before force-marching Jenny back to the TARDIS.

The young Time-Lady squeaked in shock, but she'd never seen her mum act angry at her before. She realized that she was in trouble with both of her parents. This was an ugly, scary first...

The Doctor let them pass, holding his own frustration tightly within. I'm not looking forward to this, he thought. Instead of giving any hints, he managed to lightly touch Martha's shoulder, and even smile a little. “I'm glad you're going to be all right,” he said, quietly. “We'll see you shortly.” He nodded to Lee, trusting that he didn't need to give any instructions. His walk back, however, was only a measured version of the storming he'd done earlier – when Jack was trying his patience and paternal instincts.

Donna had made Jenny sit on the Jump Seat for her home truths. The Doctor closed the doors, and heaved a disappointed sigh. “You told Martha something that's not fit for public knowledge.”

Jenny looked back and forth between her parents. Never before had her lack of knowledge about living seemed bigger, and she sensed that she had crossed a line that she felt she should have known about. Remembering the story about when her parents met, she had to ask, in a small voice, “Am I going to be slapped for this?”

Both of them exclaimed, “No!” Donna knelt at her side to explain. “Love, we know that – for all the knowledge you have – you're still very much a child who needs to learn how to interact with others. We never intended to leave you on your own like that.”

The Doctor nodded, resting a reassuring hand on Jenny's shoulder. “And believe me, I'm going to have words with the Old Girl over her actions.”

Jenny didn't miss how his eyes – with a glint she'd never seen in them – drifted to his mallet, or the ship's almost squawking protest in response. Still, she thought, one thing I don't get. “But how can two parents get so distracted by... whatever you two were doing... that they forget to monitor their child?”

Both blushed, and Donna looked at the Doctor. I think you were right about the price of her silence...

His blush strengthened, and his free hand rubbed his neck. Knowing who they were going to deal with, and that he had to get this over with, he motioned for his girls to join him in sitting on the Console Room floor. His focus was unbalanced, but he tried to remember the more awkward talks with his children on Gallifrey – to give him a reference point. And quickly realized that he needed Donna's help.

“Okay,” he began once they settled into semi-comfortable positions, “you know about my age, regenerating, Gallifrey and the Time War. I'll have to tell you about your half-siblings and their children some other time.”

That made Jenny's jaw drop. Donna managed a wan smile. “904 years old, and you thought he hadn't had a family before us?”

Her mind was having trouble processing what she heard. “You mean... you and Dad... were each once with other people...?”

Donna's smile grew indulgent at the horror in the girl's voice. Reminds me, she thought, of when I realized what my parents were really doing when they had “private time” together... “We didn't know about each other until almost two years ago. No one ever knows exactly who they'll be with – or if they'll be with someone. There are so many unknowns.”

Jenny felt her confusion compound. “So one could be with a lot of... different people... before finding someone...?” Her disgust was growing. “Oh, my God... Think of the health risks!”

Donna vaguely remembered someone once saying that when you have sex with someone, you're also having sex with everyone else they had ever had sex with before meeting you. “Yeah,” she muttered, “I suppose most people don't think about disease vectors when they're falling in lust or love.”

The Doctor flinched at the thought, and sighed. “Anyway,” he stressed, “there were quite a few people who traveled with me before I met your Mum. I'll tell you about them when we have a quieter moment. But one of them was a Time-Lady who foresaw that I'd be with your Mum one day, and apparently she didn't trust that I'd be... ready for her if left completely to my own... devices.” He was holding on to the hope that certain things wouldn't have to be said, which altered his wording of the situation.

Jenny frowned, then raised her eyebrows. “Guess she didn't tell you who to expect; you would've been a couple much sooner, otherwise.”

Donna snorted. “Well, he might've been ready a lot sooner. I probably wouldn't have been. Your dad had to grow on me first.”

“Yeah, he scared you that first time,” Jenny murmured aloud, reflecting on what wasn't being said. “So what did she do to keep you...” Her mind fished for a good word, and when it did, she snorted. “...pure for Mum?”

The blushing increased. Yep, he sighed, we're not getting out of this one. So Donna had to describe the medieval contraption known to Earthlings as a chastity belt. Jenny was angered on behalf of its victims and disgusted at the perpetrators, but wondered, “But what's that got to do with-” She cut herself off as the answer hit her, and she whipped her head to face her father. “She put you in one?!” Oh, God, she thought, that means she saw him – Ugh, that's gross!

Even when her parents explained – in extremely general terms – how the Belt affected the Doctor, Jenny couldn't understand it, and – frankly – didn't want to. Whatever she and Lee had could take its sweet time; she wasn't ready to have anything stuck inside her!

She had no idea how grateful her father was to realize that...

When they arrived at Torchwood Cardiff, in an attempt to ward off further discussion, the Doctor asked Gwen questions about her family history, as he suddenly made the connection to meeting Charles Dickins. It worked for a bit, but then the never expected Spanish Inquisition began.

Martha led the questioning, after helping explain Jenny's existence, and managed to drag the extremely embarrassing basics out of the couple. They thought about admitting to the Belt, but it had been embarrassing enough to tell Jenny, and they weren't about to give Jack extra ammunition.

Watching her parents try very hard to withhold personal details – yep, she thought as she reflected on what she'd been told earlier, I wouldn't admit to the truth, either – made it easier for Jenny to forgive them. Mum was right that some thorough teasing was a great way of releasing tension and anger. It also helped her deal with the strange people around her. Especially the Immortal Human who was still using his eyes to flirt with her. She finally had to tell him, in a loud voice reminiscent of her mother, “Listen, Captain Hard-On: I find knowing that someone is... interested... in my dad – of all people! – a complete turn-off.”

It suitably deflated Jack. And amused Tosh and Gwen to no end; finally, a woman completely immune to their boss' charms! They hoped to see more of her; she might be fun to have around! Owen and Ianto were also rather amused by the whole situation – Ianto, in particular. Martha was laughing herself sick.

For the parents – especially the Doctor, the sight of Jack's face falling comically in dismay was almost worth their embarrassment. Doubt he's ever been completely shot down like that, Donna mused with a mental nudge.

Although it was plain that most of the story was not meant for anyone other than the Doctor or Donna to know, Martha was very pleased to hear that things were finally working out for the lonely alien. His marriage – Good God, he was turning domestic whether he realized it or not! Oh, she was going to have so much fun teasing him about this! – wouldn't be smooth sailing, but those two certainly had enough stubbornness between them to make it work.

They certainly had a determined cheerleader in their corner, she noted. With everything that was said, and with what she figured out by reading between the lines, she finally had all the knowledge she needed to completely forgive the Doctor for his unintentional treatment of her.

Although she had to insist on being Godmother (a concept that promptly had to be explained to Jenny) to their first-born. After all, it seemed that Donna fell for him partly because of his modified behavior driven entirely from that verbal trashing Martha gave him when she left as a companion. That deserved some recognition, thank you very much!

Mind, based on the hints of curiosity in her female Torchwood cohorts, she'd probably have to make the time to corner Donna and get the lowdown on inter-species sex. As uncomfortable as she'd been with the knowledge of how alien the Doctor was, Martha couldn't help but wonder about the... mechanics of the act. One had to be alien to manage what Jenny had indicated had apparently happened, which made her very grateful she'd fallen out of love with the Doctor; she was positive that a human should have been dead after less than a day. Which begged the question of how Donna had survived... Besides, it'd horribly embarrass the Doctor, and he probably deserved a bit more mortification from her...

Meanwhile, Jack had a lot to think about himself. He'd never thought he had a type. At least not one that he didn't go for. But Donna Noble hadn't made a blip on his radar. And yet the Doctor had married her?!

It finally dawned on Jack that, all of his life, the people he really went for were on the skinny or slender side. It was what was considered attractive in his early days, and that impression must have stuck with him more than he realized. Oh, he happily flirted a lot, and someone being a companion of the Doctor was always worth paying attention to, but he supposed there was one other reason for his not going after Donna: she smelled all wrong to him. So if she apparently smelled right to the Doctor... Oh, he silently groaned, I'm a getting a headache from this! It clearly meant he smelled wrong to the Doctor. Which was a very depressing thought. Never mind that his own prowess had just been blown out of the solar system by a new record-holder...

Of course, Donna had surprised him by one admission. “I never went for skinny blokes before. Really, it was an absolute shock to realize that I'd fallen for my best friend.”

It then occurred to him, like it clearly had to Martha Jones, that – for Donna – attraction grew from affection. It seemed the two had grown hand-in-hand for the Doctor, however. It's definitely true, he thought, that men are very intrigued by challenges, but it seems too... normal... for him to be in such a situation...

Although the look of abject horror on the Doctor's face when Martha asked when the Earth wedding would be was priceless. He sputtered, “We... We're already considered married by my people's customs. We don't need that mess.”

Jack raised an eyebrow. “So... some telepathic link?” He could see the “WTF” thought cross the Doctor's face. He grinned. “Time-Lords were the most important subject studied by Time Agents, and some things about Gallifreyan customs were... public knowledge. So how-”

Donna had been silent, as if in thought, but she interjected, “None of your business how it happened, Mr. I'm-Always-Thinking-Naughty-Thoughts.”

The label make Jack smile. Well, he knew that it wasn't always the case. Just most of the time.

Then the Doctor got a worried look on his face and turned to face Donna. “Please tell we don't have to,” he begged in a whisper.

Martha scoffed, catching everyone's attention. “Doctor, let me explain something to you. Maybe you're wed by your customs, but don't you think you should respect the traditions of our world? You're practically an adopted son of Earth, given how much time you've spent here and with humans. Jenny,” she added, seeing an opportunity she couldn't resist, “would you like to see an Earth wedding?”

Brilliant, Jack thought. Use a young girl's curiosity against her father's reluctance. The grimace on the Doctor's face was a bonus. Especially when Jenny smiled thoughtfully and commented, “Well, I would like to. And it does seem right, Dad, to add human traditions into the mix.”

The Doctor turned back to Donna with a plea in his eyes, and probably something to say through the bond. Donna sighed. “I know you're the biggest trouble magnet in the universe,” she said, reflectively, “and that you've had some... bad experiences at weddings. I'd let you off the hook on this one, except for two reasons. If we're gonna have babies, we might need my Mum to babysit, and things will be a lot smoother for everyone if we're married in a way that she recognized.” The mention of Donna's mother made the Doctor pale a little, which amused Jack to no end. But he really wanted to know what she meant when she added, “Besides, I think it'd be a nice way of our coming full circle, and I promise to go against everything I did the last time.”

Jack could tell the Doctor would cave when Donna's words brought a soft look to his face. Once the acquiescence was given, he quickly offered his team's services to minimize any problems that could happen. Although he was very disappointed that Donna suggested that Martha be “Best Man.” Martha and the others found it funny, and she was delighted to accept.

Donna's smart, Jack mused, to decide to make simple plans; fewer things that can go wrong. Though he was definitely finding out what the Doctor meant when he muttered that he'd have to get a new tux because he couldn't risk wearing the old one... Martha looked like she might have an idea, though...

Running into Jack while checking on Martha had been utterly embarrassing for the Doctor. Thank Rassilon, he had sighed when his family finally returned to the TARDIS, that we kept certain things from them. Though he didn't mind Martha letting his old friend – from several selves ago – Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart know about the changes in his life; apparently the man had sought Martha out after she joined UNIT, and they had lunch occasionally. The Brig was a good man, but the Doctor had no idea how to locate him.

Donna rubbed his back, deliberately not thinking about the events that had just happened. She figured that there were a few people from his past that might be invited, to mend fences and show his respect for. Still, she had to ask, after coaxing a few of those names out of him, Is there anyone else you want there? Not just as a witness, but to be treated as your family?

The distraction took a moment to work on his mind. Any encounter with Jack Harkness left him rather drained. Never mind the knowledge of what the man's fate might just be. But things started clicking in his mind again, and one name popped up. One person who had to be there to share in the joy of his new future...

He wasn't surprised that Sarah Jane had some warning system that noticed the TARDIS' arrival outside her home. He also wasn't entirely surprised that she ran out to greet him with a big hug. He was also very happy to see that she had adopted an innocent boy created by alien technology; she finally had her own family to care for.

Not unlike him. Even though Sarah Jane had been right when she said that he had a family in all of his companions, there really was nothing like having people who were as close to being blood family as one in his situation could get.

Sarah Jane hadn't been surprised to not see Rose (she was surprised to learn how long Rose had traveled with the Doctor after the realizations), and didn't bring her up in any of the conversations. (Which he was very grateful for.) Then he introduced his own family. Jenny's existence was quickly accepted, as Luke's story was a bit similar (the lad was blushing a bit around her, but he was too young to trigger any concerns, so the crush could be indulged a bit). Introducing Lee reminded him that the man who only been traveling with them for about two days – but events had made it seem a lot lounger.

When he introduced Donna, he unconsciously took her hand. Sarah Jane beamed. “You found Her.”

The Doctor blushed, making his family – including Sarah Jane – chuckle. His former companion urged everyone inside for tea and some treats, and to catch up.

Telling the story here wasn't as embarrassing or as awkward. No pressure to tell anything that he didn't want to. Just a comfortable place to share in his joy. Without being hurt by regrets from the past, which was so refreshing – even in its strangeness.

Although it finally got embarrassing for him when Donna shooed the males out of the room on the excuse that they should help with some science project of Luke's. Mortification filled his mind. Especially because of the almost wicked grin on Sarah Jane's face when she thought of their more entertaining adventures.

At least he didn't have too much to be alarmed about Donna hearing. Or Jenny. He was sure of it!

Luke proved an extremely bright boy, and the Doctor enjoyed explaining the finer details of the various ideas behind his options. Even Lee came out of his shell, joining in and adding additional ideas for the teenager's project. During the talk, it slowly dawned on the Doctor that Jenny had his own restless energy, and yet it hadn't been so apparent since Lee had joined them. The older man did for her what Donna did for him.

It was a sobering thought, but it didn't fill him with as much dread as he'd felt on one of the previous mornings. Still, he prayed that he'd have a few more years before he was officially replaced as his daughter's best guy – to borrow a phrase he'd once heard used in reference to the father-daughter bond.

After a few hours, the Doctor decided it was time to get moving. He also finally couldn't stand not knowing just what Sarah Jane was sharing with his girls. He'd sensed considerable amusement from Donna, and occasional sadness mixed in, and needed to know what was shared.

When the males all came down, Jenny and Donna were both snickering hard, and then they saw him – and promptly exploded into laughter.

“Oi, what did you tell them?!” He knew he was whining, but this was surely justified, wasn't it?!

His girls laughed harder, and Donna wagged a finger at him. You don't get to whine about this, either, Sunshine, she told him, laughter carrying through her mental voice.

Jenny broke through her laughter to ask, “Did he look like that?”

“Quite a bit,” Sarah Jane laughed, standing slowly. “Amazing how much his expressions actually stay largely the same through regenerations.”

The Doctor rubbed his neck. “Can we please call it a day? There's one more group to tell, and it might not be pleasant. At least not for me.”

Jenny snorted, reigning in her amusement. “Oh, I think Nan and Gramps suspected a lot that last time. Doubt it'll be a complete shock.”

That definitely wasn't comforting. He prayed that Jenny would keep quiet and let them do the talking...

Sarah Jane promised to be there at the wedding, whenever a date was settled upon, as whatever they decided she should be called to outsiders. An older sister or a cousin seemed the best options so far... He had to admit out loud Wilf was right that sometimes you did have to think a cover story through.

Why that admission made Jenny snicker uncontrollably, however, he wanted to know.

“A telepathic marriage bond?!” Yep, Sylvia Noble wasn't pleased. Not surprised, but definitely not pleased. At least she was sitting on the other side of the room, so she couldn't slap him. Yet.

Wilf pat his daughter's arm, although he was as stunned as she was, while Jenny exclaimed, “Nan! I've been wanting them to see the light since I watched them around Agatha Christie. And who else would be so willing to put his own life in danger to protect her?”

Wilf caught the least important part of that defense. “Wait, you've met Agatha Christie?!”

Donna laughed awkwardly. “Yeah. We solved the mystery of her memory loss, even though we couldn't do anything for her until her death. That day was a bit more exciting than I'd wanted, but at least it wasn't one of our worse adventures.”

Neither Sylvia nor Wilf missed the implication that the worst adventures had just happened, and had driven the change in their relationship. Lee had been part of one of them, which they'd sort of explained upon introducing him – although it was blatantly obvious that neither Donna nor the Doctor wanted to think much about how close that one had come to everyone's death. The way they were clutching each other's hands while telling the story drove that point home.

Of course, the promise of more grandchildren, as evidenced by River Song (which threw Jenny for a loop the size of the Milky Way), finally allowed Sylvia to be calm about the whole thing. With the additional promise of an Earth wedding as soon as a few simple plans could be brought to fruition.

Besides, doing anything else would hurt the grandchild that she'd already gained. And, when she thought about it, the Doctor had been treating Donna better, from the start, than Lance or any of the other men who'd been in Donna's life ever had. So that went a long way toward her starting to let go of her anger toward the alien who'd turned their lives upside down.

Of course, Sylvia demanded to know a bit more about his history with Earth, which ultimately led to having to give the shortest account of Rose Tyler that he'd ever managed. He was damned lucky Sylvia didn't slap him then on motherly principle (and on behalf of Jackie Tyler), but she decided it was her daughter's job to keep him in check when things went bizarre.

None of them had any clue just how crazy things would get within a few short weeks... And no one noticed how Jenny's eyes narrowed as Rose was described, or how her frame tensed. Hope I never met that little tart...

Chapter 16: The Past Violently Returns


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 21st, 2011 07:44 am (UTC)
Aw, poor Jack. And yay that Jenny hates Rose.
Oct. 4th, 2011 12:29 am (UTC)
Jack had it coming in a way... He "dismissed" Donna, after all. ;D

And of course Jenny would hate Rose. She'd be a threat to her parents' happy ending!
Carolyn Harrison
Apr. 3rd, 2015 01:37 pm (UTC)
I've always hated that Jack wouldn't even give Donna a hug,

They need to make sure they never let Jenny get away with this behavior again.

The Doctor did nothing wrong with regards to Sylvia, unlike with Jackie. It was Sylvia who decided to go ahead with the reception, even though Donna disappeared in a way she clearly couldn't have done on her own. It's Sylvia who should apologize to Donna.

Jenny meet Rose? Yes please! Does she get to slug her?
Apr. 6th, 2015 06:13 pm (UTC)
So have I. So have a number of my friends. One asked the Barrowman whether it was because Jack sensed the Doctor was giving "she's mine!" vibes and meant it this time.

They won't. She's just proved she's still a kid.

True. We're dealing with someone who really needed some lessons in handling emotions and interpersonal relationships. And I mean the Doctor. Sylvia knows more, being human.

I'd say see next chapter, but you've already done so. :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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