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FIC: A Different End of Song (1/1)


Title: A Different End of a Song
Rating: T
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: The Doctor and Wilf get a huge shock when, after the Time Lords have vanished again, the TARDIS appears. Who's piloting her?
Disclaimer: Excuse me while I cry at the very thought of this episode.
Dedication: tardis_mole's idea. My friend, you wrote something along these lines and now it's my turn. :)
Author's Note: Fascinating how two people can take the same prompt and come up with wildly different ideas. I think I've taken inspiration from a variety of sources, including katherine_b over at LJ. Originally thought of for my 2012 Story a Day, but not started then.

And TM has something along very similar lines upcoming. At least for one moment. It's scary how great minds can think alike without any consulting.



A Different End of a Song

Started May 1, 2013
Finished October 30, 2013

The Doctor, body broken and soul mortally wounded, spoke with the trapped Wilfred. The man was starting to see that the Doctor was about to step inside the other one and sacrifice himself, and begging him to not do it. But the Doctor couldn't let him die – it would be another betrayal of Donna, and she needed someone he knew would support her through everything, especially as she finally got married.

He put his hand on the door, and suddenly Wilfred vanished.

“What?!”

Then as the machine overloaded, he realized that something was in Wilfred's place: an object he'd last seen on board the TARDIS. He couldn't blink. To add to his shock, the TARDIS suddenly appeared.

Her doors opened, and a stunned Wilfred stepped out a few seconds later. “Aye, aye! What just happened? I felt my vision blur and then I was in your control room! Then I heard her moving like she did when you flew her to the mansion. She opened the doors for me. Doctor, what happened?”

The Doctor had to think a moment, trying to get his brain working again. “She... I didn't think she could do that on her own. She transported you out and replaced you with a book. And... not just any book,” he added, eyes wide as his mind made the connections. “The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Rassilon. It looks like a book but is so much more. It's absorbing the radiation, where it'll be neutralized. She shouldn't have been able to do that on her own. I was sure it all required someone helping her. But who? There's no one else who could pilot her!”

Wilfred's mobile rang, startling both men.

“Well, could that be Donna?”

“Doubt it,” said the Doctor sadly. “She's probably unconscious from the defense mechanism. More like it's your daughter.”

He looked at the caller ID, and his mouth dropped. “It is Donna's!”

The Doctor paled. “Oh, no. She might have been out in the open overnight. Someone might have found her and tried calling the last number dialed.”

Wilfred answered. “Hello?”

The Doctor watched as Wilfred's expression whitened and listened for a moment.

“But... are you all right, love?”

Wait, could it be Donna after all?!

Wilfred's mouth dropped. “But, Donna, you can't-!” He cut himself off, and the Doctor could hear Donna protesting loudly. “I mean, are you sure?” Then after another moment, he drew the phone from his ear and with wide eyes held it out to the Doctor. “She asked for you.”

The Doctor shook. “W-w-what?! But she'll die if she-”

“Oi!” came the shout from the phone. “Stop your jabbering and take the mobile, Spaceman! I'll have more words for you if you don't start talking with me and not about me!”

Mouth slack, he slowly accepted the mobile. “Are you burning?”

“Already did when your defense mechanism knocked out those copies of the Master. Only I kept burning and now I seem to have a second heart.”

The Doctor's legs gave out, but he didn't let go of the phone even as his rear slammed and he felt his tailbone break. An injury that could leave a Human in a wheelchair and yet he couldn't feel it in his shock. “What?!”

“Did it occur to you at the time that maybe this was supposed to happen? That I would've been just fine if you'd honoured my wishes and not ripped everything from me?! Do you have any idea what the past sixteen months have been like for me?! Everyone around me doesn't talk about the gap in my memory. Anyone who did got my mum and Gramps giving them a thick ear, and then suddenly they would do just what my family does whenever I do start asking: change the subject. Made me think no one loved me, that I did something criminal and they were trying to protect me from it!”

He didn't notice Wilfred trying to silently fuss over him, check his injuries. And he ignored, too, the tears that began to fill his eyes. His sole attention was on the voice he never thought he'd be able to hear directed at him with recognition again. “But I couldn't let you die.”

“You killed me, Spaceman. You killed the woman I'd become. Couldn't let a stupid ape suddenly be your better, eh?”

“Now that's not fair! You've always been important! You were never stupid!”

“You certainly made me feel like a stupid ape when we met. Remember the pencil? Or 'you're not important'? Or leaving me to deal with my family and friends by faking a crying fit? Tell me, why couldn't you tell me to my face that I was your best friend?”

He sucked in another breath.

“You've got a weird sense of that if you treat your best friends like trash. Shame you didn't notice that I was fine until you dumped your Duplicate with Rose, over both their wishes. Let's hope that that world doesn't kill him – if Rose's behaviour doesn't drive him mad first. He is part me, Spaceman. You really think that Rose will love your Duplicate, a man with the mind of someone she ignored while professing to love, without acknowledging that he is your son with me, a woman she murdered to get to you?

The Doctor nearly sank completely to the floor, only not hitting his head because Wilfred was supporting him. “Oh, Donna... I'm so sorry.”

“You should be. You nearly got yourself killed today because you didn't ensure that the Master's remains were completely destroyed and had no way to be resurrected. The whole Meta-Crisis might not have happened if you'd told Rose the truth with that hologram of you, that you wanted her to have a life and to work on letting go of her feelings, that she would recover one day if she made the effort to and accepted support. A lot of those things you called fixed events? Only became that way because they had to balance out the damage Rose did earlier to the timelines.”

He gasped.

“You didn't see that because you were too wounded by the Time War.” Her voice became a lot gentler. “If you'd had someone with you who could stop you instead of enabling your bad habits, you would've seen that checking on the Game Station would've stopped the Dalek mess from happening, and you'd probably still be that bloke with the big ears. Fetching your hand would've stopped a fair bit of Torchwood's nonsense, and keeping Rose from insulting Queen Victoria would've prevented any number of bad events. Have you even found anyone to stop you, Doctor?”

He burst into tears.

Wilfred took the phone. “Donna? Are you really okay?”

“Just get him inside the TARDIS. She'll know what to do.”

Easier said than done, but the Doctor did obey his fatherly commands, starting to limp from the pain. As soon as they were inside, the doors closed and the TARDIS flew them away. The 'book' vanished with them, the TARDIS transporting it aboard to a safe place to vent the radiation if need be.

When she landed, rather gently compared with the previous times, the doors opened and Donna stepped inside. Her face flamed with anger, but it dulled when she saw how injured the Doctor was. “Oh, Spaceman!” She rushed to his side and touched his face. “What have you done to yourself? Have you slept at all since I left?”

The Doctor's crying renewed as he threw himself into her arms, clutching her as he buried his face in her hair. “Donna,” he choked. “I've missed you. Can you ever forgive me?”

She let him sob a while, just holding him as she tried to assess his physical wounds. “If you let us take you to the infirmary so we can treat the worst, and then you come inside the house and have a good healing sleep. Probably on the sofa since I'm not making you walk up the stairs, and I'll spare your dignity by having to be carried upstairs. We'll feed you and take care of you. Although if you've done what the TARDIS is telling me you did, my mum will be checking if you broke your neck.”

Then his tears stopped as he remembered a critical detail. “Your fiancée, what'll he think?”

Donna took a long breath. “I would never have become engaged to him if I'd been whole, and he knows it. We already broke it off. Only fair to him, since I can't leave you alone now. Is this how things go when a Time Lord can't be with their wife?”

He stiffened. “What?”

She adjusted her head to whisper in his ear.

He gasped. It was what River had whispered, only Donna knew the whole sequence that accompanied his name.

It made his brain kick back in. It meant that River might not truly be his future wife, no matter what she thought. She'd probably learned his name through some other means, which made him instantly more suspicious of her motives and her clear Neverwere origins. But if Donna knew... then she also knew his feelings, which River plainly didn't.

Donna pulled back to look into his eyes. “Your song ended, but a new one took its place. One happier than before.”

His eyes were wide as the implications hit him. He felt his vision become blurry as tears flowed out.

Wilfred covered his mouth, unable to speak and equally unable to look away.

Donna gently touched her forehead to the Doctor's. “Just let me and my family look after you, you get some needed rest, and then once you're better I'll show you what you've been missing.”

For the first time since before things turned sour on Shan Shen, the Doctor's smile was utterly beaming.

THE END

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
jennytork
Nov. 1st, 2013 12:44 am (UTC)
Lady, I love you!
tkel_paris
Nov. 1st, 2013 03:18 pm (UTC)
Aw... :D
dm12
Nov. 1st, 2013 12:55 am (UTC)
I love Donna's take on the "song ending" prophecy of the Ood. It certainly could have meant his sad, melancholy, lonely song was ending and he was beginning a happy song with his soul mate. I absolutely love Donna and the TARDIS's solution to the issue of Wilf in the booth, and Donna's words to the Doctor. He needed to hear all of that, and he absolutely needed Donna.

Yes, she knows the whole of his name; obviously she couldn't marry another if she was already bonded to someone else! I'm so glad they caught it before she actually married Shaun.

Well done!
tkel_paris
Nov. 1st, 2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
Well, it makes sense. And it's one of those things the Doctor would so easily miss if he doesn't have someone looking out for him.

And thank you. :)
dm12
Nov. 1st, 2013 03:28 pm (UTC)
Well, the Doctor believes he deserves all that unhappiness and loneliness, so it wouldn't occur to him that the sad song could be transformed into a better, more joyous one. He absolutely needed someone to look out for him; he needed Donna.
tkel_paris
Nov. 4th, 2013 10:46 pm (UTC)
The question becomes a matter of consistency on the writers' parts, and that is up for debate where TPTB are concerned. I'll one day write an assessment of New Who to iron out my own thoughts.
dm12
Nov. 4th, 2013 10:52 pm (UTC)
I'd love to see that when you're up for it. Unfortunately, I haven't seen much classic Who, since it was on in the dead of night way back when at the time I was a young adult, and I didn't have a TV growing up anyway (don't ask, but it wasn't because TV hadn't been invented yet!). I can't really make the comparison, then, to classic Who vs. new Who.
ddshipper9692
Nov. 1st, 2013 01:31 am (UTC)
This is my CANON!! You are a GENIUS!!
tkel_paris
Nov. 1st, 2013 03:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :D
starseeker32
Nov. 1st, 2013 04:30 am (UTC)
Yes! Thank you! If the DoctorDonna knew everything in the Doctor's head, then she knew his name and became his wife! Can't marry Shaun if she's already married to the Doctor! Awesome fix-it!

I now subscribe to your theory of River being a Neverwere. I wanted to like her, but I can't get past how she was shoehorned into the series. Someone needs to tell Moffat that companions should not be used as a plot devices.

Edited at 2013-11-01 04:31 am (UTC)
tkel_paris
Nov. 1st, 2013 03:17 pm (UTC)
It makes sense. Moreso than River.

Well, I haven't seen Clara, so I don't know if she's being used as such. Still, using a companion as a plot device needs to be approached with care, so the companion can still be treated with respect.
alimoseby
Nov. 1st, 2013 06:43 am (UTC)
Yep. This. This is now my headcanon. Well done. The song ending doesn't have to be sad.

I have to wince though over the broken tailbone. Because my mother did that on ice. Could hardly stand or walk for over a week.

Loved it.

~Ali ♥
tkel_paris
Nov. 1st, 2013 03:15 pm (UTC)
Yes. It didn't have to be.

A friend had at least an injured one. She had to sit on a special cushion during dance classes. That was an ouch moment.

Thanks. :)
bas_math_girl
Nov. 3rd, 2013 10:56 pm (UTC)
I can sympathise with the Doctor injuring his coccyx because I badly bruised mine when I was pregnant the first time and narrowly missed going into labour because of it (took bloody weeks to heal up!!).

Anyway, I agree that Donna was more the Doctor's wife than River could have been, and that the prophecy could have meant something totally different. In fact I want it to be true rather than what happened in the show.
tkel_paris
Nov. 4th, 2013 10:48 pm (UTC)
*shudders* Ouch! *hugs*

Again, a matter of actually remaining consistent. At a talk before NaNo officially started this year, we were told that a writer must be fair, but that doesn't ensure a happy ending or anything close. The reader must feel at the end that they were not lied to. If that makes any sense.
dm12
Nov. 4th, 2013 11:13 pm (UTC)
I can see that point about consistency ... to have a huge build up and then numerous plot lines just evaporating like so much hot air is awful. The fourth season in particular had so much of that. Look at Jenny, she survived and we never saw her again; worse, the Doctor never knew she still lives. Logic dictates she would have at least tried to find her Dad. Poof, gone!

Rose's constant appearance throughout the season speaks to something a little sinister, yet we never saw that one through either.

The situation with Ten II and the Doctor Donna, however, is the worst plot hole ever! It's not like the Doctor never did anything like what Ten II had to do, and yet he is "punished" for it by being sent off with Rose. Ten II was, to all intents and purposes, a child, newborn just about. What he needed was guidance from his genetic forebears (Donna and the Doctor). Donna, at this point, was totally out of character here. She stood there and didn't argue with the Doctor about this? First, she's the one who generally sees the picture and tells the Doctor like it is, second, she's Ten II's "mother" and you can bet she would have fought tooth and nail for him.

Lastly, both Ten II and the Doctor Donna were part of the metacrisis. Why would we expect Ten II to survive, but Donna to burn? And if we did, might have Donna survived if Ten II stayed?

So, yes, I felt that whole season we were being lied to. I don't necessarily mean that everything should have come up pretty rainbows, much as I would have liked it to be so, because we all know the Doctor very rarely gets a good ending, but at least it could have been made more believable.
anyagotr
Nov. 18th, 2013 05:26 am (UTC)
I can not put into words just how great you are. I love you! <3 :*)
tkel_paris
May. 2nd, 2014 04:56 am (UTC)
Oh, I feel so bad about missing this comment. *sheepish* Aw, thanks! :D
dtstrainers
Jan. 11th, 2014 11:45 pm (UTC)
Once again, I bow at the alter of your total awesomeness. If I can only get my TARDIS online, we can go back and correct the gross injustice visited upon Ten, TenToo and Donna.
tkel_paris
May. 2nd, 2014 04:58 am (UTC)
If I could, I'd go back and right what happened to Nine. Maybe Donna would get to witness him turn into Ten. Be a more interesting scene... and much funnier.

*hugs* Thanks. For everything.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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