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The Belted Doctor, Chapter 18

Title: The Belted Doctor, Chapter 18

Author: tkel_paris , 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 was an amusing chapter to write, and a welcome return to the lighter notes of the earlier parts of the story. And an even more welcome departure from... other aspects of the story. You gotta love an embarrassed Doctor, don't ya?

P / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17


The Doctor wasn't kidding when he said he was rubbish at weddings. None of them had ever gone quite the way they were planned, and it didn't matter whose wedding it was. It was the worst at his own. Which made him really nervous about the Earth wedding that he had – reluctantly – agreed to. He had all sorts of nightmares about various enemies showing up and having to save the world – yet again – and possibly losing his girls for good.

The worst part was how almost each one of his companions found at least one aspect of his behavior worth laughing at. Martha called his energetic pacing “frantic” and – with a big grin – spoke of finding a ball and chain to keep him tethered to the ground. (She even pulled out her smart-phone to look up the heaviest elements currently known to humans.) Sarah Jane was shaking her head with that affectionate look that only a maternal instinct gave a person as she adjusted his tie (he had given in and gotten a new tux; didn't want to chance that his old one really was jinxed) for the fifth time, cautioning him to not tempt Donna to strangle him by freaking out. Jenny had never seen her dad act anything like this, and was laughing herself silly over everything – apparently making wearing a fancy dress okay.

The men were worse... much worse. Mickey was even more amused than Jenny, although he managed to suppress it down to snickering as the ceremony approached – but didn't really bother to hold it in at the reception. (Made the amusement over “Mrs. and the Ex” seem like child's entertainment.) The Brig almost completely embarrassed him by reminiscing about all sorts of adventures that the Doctor really wasn't sure he wanted certain people hearing. Especially Jack... That man had been smirking up a storm watching the pacing, clearly storing witticisms for future teasing. Ianto and Owen were mostly just fascinated by what they clearly considered alien behavior, although they each asked Jack to enlighten them on why this was so humorous.

The Doctor knew that it'd be useless to pray that he would be nowhere nearby to hear the explanation... And it came true as he overheard Jack describing their first meeting, and what his last self had been like. At least the stories Jack did have weren't horrendously embarrassing. And not that he was easily embarrassed; he just preferred to keep some things private.

And only part of it had to do with having a different perspective from having centuries more experience than nearly everyone else in the room. Jack's being older didn't really count; he shouldn't exist as he was anyway. He had seemed odd to the Doctor before, but now he was just plain wrong... Time-sense wise, that is... Never mind the... extraordinary flexibility with regards to what Jack found attractive...

The other members of Torchwood, if he'd mentioned that, would have enlightened him about an old... friend... of Jack's whose tastes ran even more extreme. Jack, at least, had never expressed interest in a French Poodle...

The only exceptions were Lee and “Handy,” who'd begun going by the name “James” around others. (The two Doctors had decided it was too much for them to both use the human name “John.” Besides, Donna would've had more than a few things to say about it... The name “Jonathon” had been bandied about until Lee mentioned that it invited jokes about “Jonathon Swift.” The Doctors had mixed feelings about that, for reasons only Donna would ever know. “James” was as much an admission that “Handy” really didn't care for any of the other names suggested; Donna had proposed some... unusual ones, and he'd vetoed them flat-out.) Lee, partly motivated by keeping on the Doctor's good side and partly because he wasn't the teasing type, had done his best to keep the others at bay – which was hard enough without a stammer added to the mix. And “Handy,” sharing all of the memories that were making the Doctor nervous, used his human side to figure out a few phrases to calm his “brother” down from multiple near panic attacks.

However, it got so bad that “Handy” decided to take the TARDIS into the Vortex. Maybe, his reasoning went, he could draw trouble away from the wedding. The Doctor reluctantly agreed, with the small comfort of knowing that his double wasn't alone, for their companion from Pete's World was with him.

Meanwhile, Donna was forcing herself to remain calm. She saw no point in adding stress to the occasion when she knew her husband would be frantic enough for the both of them, and worrying couldn't be good for River. God knows, she thought, I'll be doing enough of that as she grows up...

Sylvia had surprised her by being a rock in keeping things moving along, and keeping the simple plans on track. Donna suspected that part of it had to do with the attention that her mum was giving to their newest addition, and the implications that followed, but she wasn't going to complain. Besides, she was starting to accept the Doctor as part of the family, so she wasn't about to rock that boat.

When they had arrived on Pete's World, Donna had taken charge of helping Jackie explain the consequences of using the Cannon – especially Rose's fate – to Pete Tyler himself. The man might not have been her father, but he'd come to love her as though he'd been there all along, so grief hit him hard. But he was wise enough to understand that the Cannon had to be destroyed, and knew that he would never have gotten through to Rose. “My job now,” he'd whispered, “is to help Jacks accept that.”

“Handy” and Jenny had divided the tasks among the companions, which meant that the Cannon was defunct within a few minutes – which was good since they didn't have much time before they needed to close the gaps between the worlds. But as Mickey was saying his goodbyes to Pete and Jackie, someone else came up to announce that she was quitting her job.

The very sight of an alternate Donna Noble was enough of a shock to the Doctor and his family, but seeing how frightfully thin she was took away their ability to speak. Listening to Pete apologize for Rose's treatment of her and a plea that she reconsider, and then the listless negative answer, told them that they were looking at a woman who felt she had no reason left to live.

Which, sadly, proved that even the most magnificent person could be completely brought down if the hits kept coming...

It had been “Handy,” oddly enough, who broke the family's silence and approached. Donna hadn't been surprised by the absolute shock and fright on her counterpart's face – though she wondered how close it was to her own reaction that fateful Christmas-time. She supposed that the relative suddenness of actually feeling emotions again was why – especially as “Handy” stunned everyone by suggesting that she come with them – it took the other Donna a few moments longer than she did to recoil into a slap.

“Handy” shouldn't have been surprised by it, but he was, and it was more comical than Donna would ever admit. She also wasn't surprised to see the Doctor rubbing his left cheek in wincing remembrance. Things were going poorly, and she had to step in – because, not only did they not have much time, she just knew that this woman before them was virtually suicidal – and finally persuaded her with, “What have you got to lose by coming with us?”

Although three faces all grinned fondly when the woman's first words after stepping into the TARDIS, once she was able to speak again, were, “This... is... completely... impossible!”

To which “Handy” had answered, “Nah, just a bit... unlikely.” The Doctor, Donna, and Martha just rolled their eyes.

So she had spent the past few weeks almost completely on Earth, where Sylvia and Wilf had been focused on helping her adjust to their world. “Handy” surprised the whole family by hanging around a lot to explain the crazier aspects of the family life – and because he was, to hear him tell it, “Uniquely qualified to help with being a double.”

Donna, as she got ready for the ceremony, smirked at the memory of the Doctor pulling “Handy” aside early on to grill him about his intentions. The Doctor had been all worried about the influence of his own feelings given how “Handy” came to be, and that Donna Belle (the “sisters” had quickly decided the newcomer would also go by a nickname for Isabelle, their shared middle name) could get hurt if he overemphasized anything. “Handy” had been incensed and loudly protested that he was being helpful since the Doctor and Donna would be focusing more on getting the former through the wedding.

It had thoroughly distracted the Doctor, and possibly contributed to the stories she was hearing from a laughing Jenny. Although, Donna thought, I wonder if we're about to witness a variation on what might have happened had the Belt not been in the way... Really, if I could come to be in love with a man I used to call a long alien streak of nothing, then anything's possible. Never mind the rest of what's happened to me...

If anything, her suspicions got stronger when “Handy” stopped by with his own report on the Doctor's latest hissy fit, and – upon noticing how nervous Donna Belle was becoming over witnessing her “twin's” wedding when the pain was raw again – suggested taking their new family member for a trip. Oh, she saw the benefits to it. She just couldn't help but also wonder what it said about the future...

The Doctor couldn't believe the lack of eventfulness of the day as he sat down in his in-laws' home. The day was almost over, and not one simple plan had gone off track. “Did I just make it through my own wedding and nothing major went wrong? Not even anything minor...?”

Donna lightly swatted his arm as she sat next to him. “The day's not over yet, Prawn.”

“I didn't say that I believed it,” he protested. “I've learned my lesson from... Midnight.” He could say that planet's name with some calmness because that very evening was the best of his life.

Jenny smirked. If he's acting calm, she thought, then I can poke fun at him. “Nothing, you say? How about you nearly stumbling over your vows, how many times you blushed when someone told a story, barely managing to dance, and then interrupting some of my dances?”

The Doctor was indignant. “You actually danced with Jack! I thought you knew better!”

His daughter shrugged, and raised her left eyebrow briefly – in a perfect impression of her dad. “I've... learned to tolerate him, and he's learned to keep the flirting to a bare minimum around me. I get now that flirting to him is like breathing to the rest of us. Besides, I wanted to hear about how you two met.” She looked at him thoughtfully. “What happened to those dancing abilities your last self had?”

Sylvia and Wilf watched with considerable fascination. Here was a father-daughter dynamic that never failed to amuse. The poor alien might have been a father before, they thought, but he'd never dealt with suddenly having a grown daughter – who had practically absorbed her adoptive mother's traits. Especially one who could give as good as he could – if not better, at times.

He scowled. “Oh, you can't count on everything passing from one regeneration to the next! I've lost more abilities than you've had a chance to gain!”

Donna burst into laughter. “So you admit to forgetting things?”

He sighed. “I never said I was perfect!”

“No, but you always act so matter-of-fact when you talk about something being 'bigger on the inside.'” Donna gave her own smirk. “If you ask me, you keep forgetting that you're just a bloke who happens to be an alien with a time-traveling box.”

The Doctor sighed. He knew that his ability to win arguments had greatly decreased – when he was dealing with his girls. Thank Rasillon that it's more about bickering than arguing. But if I have to argue with anyone, Donna's mere presence – along with her reputation as the DoctorDonna – should be a deterrent. Still, he had to look to Wilf. “Do you ever get the last word in?”

His new grandfather just laughed. “I haven't won an argument since before my wife had Sylvia. Get used to taking a bunch of hits for the sake of the team, Doctor.”

Donna's grin turned more teasing as she pat him on the arm and added, wickedly, “Although I'm sure you will be right... on occasion.”

That might be all he could hope for. Still, he wasn't arguing with the life he could now call his own. Far cry from what he'd been expecting since before he fled Gallifrey to explore the universe. He'd had Susan then, but a true partnership had always been out of his reach. Until Donna Noble.

He sighed, looking at his wife's dress and being reminded of another day. “Still can't believe you wanted to reuse that dress. Thought you'd gotten rid of it since you nearly died.”

Donna just hugged him tightly from the side. “Still, if I hadn't been the one Lance chose, then I'd still be that shallow woman with nothing going for her. Like I said in my vows, you opened my eyes to life and the universe – making me a better woman. This was about us coming full circle.”

The Doctor blushed as much as he had when she'd spoken the extended version of that as part of her vows. “I just happened to be the one who showed you what you could do.”

She shook her head. “But who else would have treated me so well after I'd been quite rude out of fear? Who else ever went to such extremes just to make me smile – even after I'd turned down his offer to travel – twice? No, Love, it had to be you.”

His eyes suddenly had a softness in them that even melted Sylvia's heart. His memories went back to “With this ring, I thee biodamp” and really saw just much they had come full circle. Not going to cry, he told himself as he couldn't stop looking into his wife's loving eyes, not going to cry...

Outside, two people walked toward the Noble home. He had his left arm wrapped protectively around her, and she was clutching both him and his free hand, shaking from the memory of their day. She was completely pale and shivering from the inside out. He was deeply worried about her – although he hadn't been pleased by the unpleasant surprise that originated from a few years ago, back in his progenitor's time-line.

“I'm so sorry, Donna Belle,” James “Handy” Smith told his companion, “that it had to be them.”

She swallowed, trying to find the right words. “I thought I'd never actually see a reminder of that day,” she whispered. “It was awful.”

He nodded, remembering that day when Donna and the Doctor met. How each had confounded the other, and the situation made things worse. “You know, I am very proud for you.”

She frowned. “For me?”

He stopped to make her look at him, and spoke softly. “You were scared out of your mind, seeing the very enemies that took everyone you loved from you, and yet you helped save all those children. You helped save London. Few people have the courage to keep going in the face of their greatest terrors. That was all your fierce determination, your dignity in the face of adversity.”

Donna Belle looked into the warm eyes of a man who held the legacies of two people – two different worlds – within his mind and blood. Who hadn't been thrown by her fear or her grief. Who wasn't trying to coddle her, or who accidentally reminded her that she was from another world. Who just accepted her as she was, and tried his best just to make her smile. What woman couldn't be grateful?

Even if he was a skinny bloke with alien blood. But hey, her new sister had rebounded from betrayal of the worst kind. Donna Belle was finally believing that she could move on, that it was okay to be alive even when those you love die.

Maybe, she thought as they walked up to knock on the door, it even was possible to love again...

Epilogue: Last Gifts

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