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Title: Shakespearean Cupids

Rating: T for emotional angst, innuendo, and Jack-style machinations

Summary: When two people are reminiscent of a Shakespearean couple, friends and family are liable to borrow from the Bard himself to bring them together.

Disclaimer: I don't have the money to go see the awesomeness of David Tennant and Catherine Tate in a Much Ado About Nothing production – let alone own anything related to Who aside from a Disappearing TARDIS mug. And one pair of Converse - that I started breaking in on May 16th...

Chapter 1 / Chapter 2 / Chapter 3


Donna had made herself wait a while before letting her feet carry her inside. It had taken a lot of talking to herself about needing to exert self-control and restraint over her expressive face. And she had a lot to consider – and struggle with.

Only the Doctor has a more expressive face, she thought, which begs the question of how could I miss what they think they saw. Sarah Jane doesn't lie to people like us, although I'm sure she'd lie in the process of solving some alien-related problem. But surely we can't know all there is to know about Time-Lords, not even Jack. I mean, Gramps' alien fascination must be letting him think there might be half-alien great-grandchildren in his future. That explains him. Sarah Jane must want the Doctor to be happy, and maybe Jack falls into that mindset as well.

Yes, she told herself, they have to be seeing things. Besides, even if he is, it has to be because he can't have who he really wanted... And he's so uncertain of how to behave and whether he deserves happiness... I want to help take that pain away, but do I even have what it would take to handle that? It may be kinder to maintain an oblivious air...

“Oh, there you are!” It was Luke's friend again, this time bringing Owen inside. “Dinner's ready!”

Donna managed a smile. “Coming, sweetheart. I'm just taking my time walking.”

She nodded, and half-dragged Owen in with her. Donna then noticed Ianto following them inside, having walked up from the other side of the yard. Taking a phone call, she noticed judging by his closing a phone with a smile. I'm guessing family, but I heard he's single. Maybe a sibling's children...

He held the door for her, and she walked in, bracing herself to not let anything persuade her that she felt more than she was sure she did for her best friend. She didn't notice how Ianto was eying her, and looking sympathetically at her...

Upstairs, the Doctor had forced his mind into the basic levels of science so he could explain to Luke the cellular concepts that the school apparently thought teenagers his age should know. Normally, it would have made him mourn for the loss of the knowledge banks of the Academy – even though he'd hated being a student there. Luke's mind was ready for a lot more advanced ideas than his Earth-bound education had going for him.

Actually, the TARDIS library would have done just fine to provide a plethora of information. Not to mention distractions to the Doctor's troubled mind. And Rassilon, did he need one! The TARDIS had managed to give him some new project whenever he was falling into depression over something, or the loss of someone. Okay, sometimes it was something beyond either of their influences, as the sudden appearance of Donna Noble in her wedding gown had proved. But it gave him a new focus, and usually allowed him to start bouncing back from whatever funk he'd slumped into.

This time, however, his mind wouldn't let go of what he'd overheard. Or what it forced him to realize about his feelings. I'm the biggest bloody idiot, he told himself more than once. There I was, so worried over what had happened with Martha, and I should've kept my mouth shut about just wanting a mate. Who knew I might be ruining something when I was trying to protect us both?

Should've remembered that my plans that don't involve saving a world don't work out... I just thought some honesty up front would be for the best...

The growing smell of warm, fresh banana cake managed to shake him momentarily out of his thoughts, and apparently Luke had had enough of studying and was hungry. It was the first time he'd smelled something with bananas in it – in this incarnation – and not been absolutely delighted.

Fear of the unknown, especially regarding feelings, apparently negated quite a bit of the pleasure he took from life. Not to mention the terror brought by the realization that he had no clue how to act around Donna anymore. If she was in denial, then... he had to be damn careful how he behaved around her now. I don't want her to suffer...

The conspirators were getting impatient waiting to implement the next, and much more delicate part of the plan. Having reeled them in with the traps, now it was time to find subtle ways of coaxing them into being a bit more honest with each other. That was Sarah Jane's contribution to the plan, thinking that an extremely gentle approach would be needed since both would likely be in a bit of shock.

Certainly they needed to give them some time to adjust. Sylvia had insisted on it. Of course, Jack – being who he was – thought that they could find the right hints to prod things in the right direction.

When Donna entered, Ianto made a point of glaring over her shoulder at Jack. Trying to communicate, Don't you think you maybe took it too far?

The Immortal pretended he didn't see it, but he did feel a twinge of sadness that the lovely Welshman wouldn't have anything to do with the matchmaking. The man's input, he'd said, would've been fantastic to have along for the ride.

Martha had looked at the others, and shared an eye-roll with the other Torchwood Cardiff members. Yeah, they could read between the lines. Wasn't hard when dealing with what seemed like the randiest human that ever lived, and could ever live!

“Ah, there you are!” Wilf had probably the hardest immediate task; getting his granddaughter comfortable again after participating in upsetting her equilibrium. “We heard you were back, but we haven't seen you. Where did he go? The TARDIS didn't go anywhere.”

Donna's face flushed, and she ruthlessly squashed the bubbling feelings inside. “Oh, I needed a little walk. Spaceman was driving me crazy with all his questions at Tesco's. Glad I managed to prevent him from causing a scene.” It took everything to not flinch at how she sounded.

The lightness was faked, and they wondered how aware of it she was. Sylvia was pretty sure that her daughter was painfully aware of it. She sighed, and held up the dish she was bringing from the kitchen. “I made your old favorite, Donna.”

That brought a genuine smile to Donna's face, and lightness to her heart. “Gran's lasagna recipe?”

Her mother nodded, her own smile mirroring Donna's. “Jenny wanted to try it, and apparently Luke has never had a home-made version.”

Any response Donna might have made was cut off by the sounds of someone coming down the stairs. Luke, from the sound of it, Donna thought. Then she heard the boy call out, “Come on, Doctor! I'm hungry and you're going to have competition for that cake!”

“Oi!” The exclamation made Donna, having frozen momentarily before she collected herself, look away from the direction of the voices. “I'd like to think that your mum will save me some.”

Sarah Jane smirked, finding a prime tension breaker. She playfully called out, “Want to place a bet on that, Doctor?”

The whole room heard the answering groan, and some footsteps picked up the pace. “Because you're not that mean.”

He finally appeared, and was about to add something when he made eye contact with Donna. She quickly broke it, not noticing the flush coming over his face, and quickly moved to sit next to Sarah Jane. “Tell me, was he always a cake fiend?”

Meanwhile, the Doctor's face had gained quite a bit of color, but he dropped his gaze almost at the same moment Donna turned away. So he didn't realize anything was off. Not that he could let a volley against his food preferences go unchallenged... “I'll have you know, Donna, that cakes are an important part of several Gallifreyan traditions.”

Donna snorted, grateful that it sounded spontaneous as she sat down – not noticing the slightly bewildered expression on her new friend's face. “And how many of those were banana-flavored?”

He frowned, risking a glare in her direction – but not quite meeting her eyes, the conspirators noticed. “You know that they didn't exist on Gallifrey! We didn't even have chocolate!”

“Ooh!” Donna managed a genuine laugh – with a tiny shudder at the thought. “How unfortunate!”

Jack clapped his hands. “Right! Food's all ready, so let's eat!” He, Wilf and Sylvia wound up teaming to serve everyone something of everything – with a few people getting extra large portions (like Jenny and the Doctor getting extra banana cake). They made a point of keeping talk about food to calm the evident bickering session that was brewing.

Which made more than one person concerned. They knew they'd been overheard; Gwen and Tosh had captured proof in the Doctor's case, and Owen had mouthed that Donna's reflective mood looked promising. So what was the deal with their modern-day Benedict and Beatrice? Why were they still arguing and not looking speculatively at each other?

Jenny, having provided Donna with food, sat down on the couch next to Donna's chair, leaving space for someone to join her and Wilf – on the side nearest to Donna. “Dad, come join us!”

Both of her parents flinched slightly, and Jenny felt it necessary to risk sending her father a telepathic message: I don't want Jack to even try...

It worked. The Doctor didn't like the thought of the randy Immortal being anywhere near his girl. Well, either of them, he admitted to himself; vivid memories of the morning came back with a vengeance. I can do this... If I can face the Daleks, he told himself as he walked with measured steps to join his daughter, then I can handle this dinner party...

Donna had to force herself to breathe evenly and take measured bites – even as her heart fluttered wildly when he sat down nearby. Just pretend, she told herself, that you're still miffed at him over the Tesco nonsense and you can't be bothered to meet his gaze again. Yes, that should do very well for the rest of tonight. I'll think of something for later...

The Doctor started digging in before he even sat, and sitting required all the self-control he had to keep his expression neutral. His hands needed to be busy, so going at the large banana cake slice seemed a safe bet. After all, he knew, I've developed a rather embarrassing habit of blurting things out loud around Donna that I'd rather keep to myself...

Now the rest of the room was really concerned. Feeling Ianto sending another glare asking what they were thinking, Jack decided to take action. “Jeez, what crawled up your asses today?”

Both of their targets sputtered, nearly choking on the bites they'd just swallowed. Sarah Jane made sure Donna was okay, which she was. Jenny merely gave her father a hard slap on the back, which dislodged the meat that was blocking his airway. He tried glaring at her, but she just raised a delicate eyebrow in an odd challenge – which, remembering her anger in the kitchen, he wisely decided to not engage.

Sarah Jane decided it was time to intervene a little. “I'm guessing that something happened at Tesco's to provoke this one, am I right?”

The Doctor flinched, waiting to get another tirade. But Wilf got in first. “Well, why are you surprised? He is an alien, and he said he doesn't go shopping. So what was the problem?”

“He asked too many questions!” Donna looked at them like it was a stupid question.

Before the Doctor could defend himself, Jenny had to comment. “But I would've asked all sorts of questions, too. You said that's because I'm still a child at heart and in mindset. And haven't you called my Dad the biggest kid in the universe?”

The sheer innocent nature of the questions disarmed Donna and took away her anger. She wanted to growl over losing the right to be upset over how her Spaceman had nearly embarrassed her to pieces, but Jenny was right. Still, it was- Wait, she realized, my Spaceman. Oh, God, got to stop that thinking right away!

If only he were watching her play of expressions, Martha thought as she watched Donna's dismay and the Doctor's refusal to look up. “Hey,” she added, “we all know the Doctor has his oblivious moments, and there's a lot he could still learn about how humans live. I know you can let go of whatever he did – even if it was worthy of a slap.”

The Doctor flinched. Okay, he thought, maybe I do need to keep my mouth shut more often and let Donna handle things that she's an expert at. Though it is nice to watch her tell others off when they need it- Oh, bugger! He forced his attention back on his food, taking a huge bite of his cake slice.

“Well,” Wilf declared, sensing that this needed another distraction, “I've always wanted to know what day-to-day life is like on your ship, Doctor. What is a typical day like for you and Donna?”

Donna flushed, remembering the conversation she overheard. Oh, God, Gramps, please don't go too far...

The Doctor didn't look at his companion; he wasn't sure he could hide his own feelings from her observant eyes. And that seemed critical to keeping status quo, which he was desperately hoping to keep. “It's not right to call things day or night inside the TARDIS; those distinctions are really artificial by any measure.”

“But,” Sarah Jane noted, “the TARDIS does adjust the lighting to help us adjust and rest. Although it came take her some time to adjust to us being there.”

Donna looked up in surprise. And disbelief.

Martha snorted. “Yeah, I remember feeling like I'd gotten a really crummy room for the first few weeks.”

Jenny was watching her Mum's reactions, and wondered why she showed no recognition in any of the hints. Although she wanted to know just what the Old Girl had done that was making her Dad look rather chagrined.

Jack laughed. “It's as if she's intent on playing practical jokes until she's sure that we're really staying. She's kinda like a spoiled child, sometimes.”

Sylvia frowned, and turned to her daughter. “Has that box been that way with you? Why would you put up with that?”

The answer was stunned, but completely honest: “Because she's never done any of that to me.”

She was staring at the other companions, and missed the Doctor's eyes darting to her face in shock. The Old Girl, he realized with a start, has been extraordinarily well-behaved toward Donna! What's going on...?

Jack stared, astonished. “You mean not one time did she make you lose your way?”

Martha added, “Or endure a room that wasn't very pleasant?”

Sarah Jane pitched in, “Or interrupt quiet time with some prank?”

Donna shook her head. “Nope. No pranks, a good room right away, and she never lets me lose my way when I go exploring.”

The Doctor's eyes were fixed on her face in wonder. It's like my ship loves her more than she loves me! Oi, she's even that way with Jenny – although not so much; she's still getting used to her. So the TARDIS really wants Donna to stay...? But he quickly looked back to his food, digging in harder, when Donna's eyes whipped to face him.

“Oi! Your ship needs a good talking to! These are decent people, and she was acting like a child trying to get rid of a step-parent?!” For the first time all evening, Donna wanted to look Spaceman in the eye and see what his culpability was in this revelation. She wanted to think better of him, but could he be giving off signals that he didn't realize he was? If Martha's unrequited love was any indication, he was more than capable of it.

Having stuffed the last bite – a rather big one that most of the room thought he should've choked on – in his mouth, the Doctor surprised everyone by managing to chew and swallow fast enough to answer within seconds. “I had nothing to do with any of that. I kept trying to make the Old Girl stop it. But the more I whacked her with my mallet or anything else I could get my hands on, the more she played her tricks. She'd even take things out of where I usually kept them!”

His refusal to meet her eyes was just as striking as her inability to keep looking his way even if he wasn't looking up.

Jack raised his free hand, placating. “All right, I guess TARDIS life is off-topic for now.”

“The rest of you can talk about it all you like,” the Doctor suddenly said, putting his plate down. No one had realized how quickly he'd eaten. “I need to have a long talk with my ship, and then it'll be high time to get a move on. Jenny, Donna, how much longer will you two be?”

Donna put her plate down just as quickly. “I'm done.” She'd had her favorites, and had lost her appetite holding back her emotions.

When she stood, the room noticed the most striking thing of the evening: their hands unconsciously reached for each other, but then each caught themselves and pulled away before contact could be established. It seemed that neither realized what the other had done.

Jenny needed to buy herself some time. “I'll be a few minutes, Dad. I want to bring some of this food back with us.”

“Fine,” the Doctor said, rather quickly. It wasn't sharp, but his patience was clearly at its end.

Which wasn't saying much; only scientific things seemed to grant him patience. Everything else? Woe to those around him...

Sylvia stood, trying to stop the fleeing. “Wait a minute, young lady! We've barely seen you and you're just going to gallivant off?!”

Donna shook her head as she quickly moved to hug her mother. “No, I'm just suddenly tired. I'll go relax for a while before the next adventure, but I really need my room in the TARDIS right now.” She forced herself to not think about how relaxing evenings in the Doctor's company had been until her eyes were opened to... what was apparently the truth. She planted a kiss on Sylvia's cheek. “I'll call soon.”

She followed that up with a goodbye to Wilf. He managed to stop his daughter with a brief touch on the arm. “Be careful, my girl. And you, Doctor, you take care of her!”

“She doesn't let me,” the alien quipped, the lightness not quite hiding the sadness behind the words.

“That's because,” Donna explained, aiming for a teacher's tone but sounding squeakier than she realized, “you're the one who needs looking after, Sunshine!”

“Oi!” But the protest wasn't strong. It sounded more like, please, Donna, not now...

And, judging from the fact that she just bid farewell to each person instead, and let the Doctor do his own form of goodbye at his pace, she heard it. Jenny kept busy by packing food – and not just for the TARDIS – and waited for them to finish. She had to say she'd be another minute, to buy herself time to plot with her conspirators again.

When the two would-be-loves finally left the house, and the door closed behind them, Jack turned to the room, baffled. “How the hell,” he whispered, not wanting to chance how close the two might be, “did we misread that? It was the perfect plan. What went wrong?”

Jenny exhaled sharply, lips blowing out. It felt strange to have the answer when she was the most innocent in matters of the heart – as she'd heard it put earlier in the day. “I think we accidentally made our own words about what they were feeling come true because we underestimated those insecurities Martha mentioned. He's clearly feeling completely unworthy of her, and now she's in active denial of her own feelings.”

Dr. Jones slapped her forehead. Hard. “God, why didn't I think of that?! Of course they'd feel a need to put up their guards! We just upset their entire equilibrium!”

Sarah Jane sighed. “Guess we have some work to do on those insecurities. Anyone have ideas?”

“I don't think I can spare much more time without Dad coming back out and possibly discovering what we're up to,” Jenny noted. “And that would be very bad.”

Nodding, Sylvia voiced a thought. “I can see quite a few of us brushing up on our Shakespeare if we're going to keep this up.”

Jack clapped his hands together. “Okay, that's a good idea. I'm liking this a little too much to let it go, and he came so close to letting his guard down when he realized how much the TARDIS loves Donna. The right push has to be within our reach. Jenny, as soon as you're alone and will be for a while, call us.”

The Time-Lady nodded. Donna had arranged earlier that day for Jenny to carry one as a tool for future adventures, and so she could call her Nan and Gramps whenever she wanted without having to bother either of her parents. The Doctor had promptly done the necessary sonic adjustments to make it work just like Donna's or the TARDIS'. He'd had practice, he'd muttered under his breath, as if not quite wanting to remember the first time he'd done that. Jenny suspected the recipient was Rose, which made her internally frown.

Sarah Jane handed her a bag to carry it all, and Jenny slung it over her shoulder before hugging the woman. “It was good to meet you,” Jenny whispered.

“You're a delight to know,” Sarah Jane beamed.

Martha smiled as she pulled her “niece” in for an embrace. “You try and keep them in the Vortex for a few days, all right? Give us a chance to strike while the iron is burning hot?”

“I'll see what I can do,” she promised, giving handshakes to the various Torchwood members. But she didn't offer her hand to Jack without giving him a lethal glare first. Everyone could translate: Don't, Jack.

The Immortal sighed, feeling let down again, but accepted the reluctant handshake. Better not, he realized, suggest that listening device again...

Jenny quickly hugged her family, and whispered promises of a visit. Then she hurried out to keep her father from coming back inside.

When she left, Jack turned to Martha, wanting to lift his own spirits. “So... How about telling us more about Shakespeare flirting with you?”

Martha couldn't help but laugh so hard her sides hurt. Ianto just rolled his eyes at Jack being Jack. The others, however, were undeniably curious...

“There you are!” The Doctor was relieved when Jenny opened the doors and came in – alone. He needed to get away from those prying eyes, and the accusations that he felt following him while around Martha and Sylvia. Jenny might have reason to be annoyed with him, but she was his daughter and still had reason to look up to him – and she knew it, if asking for his protection those moments earlier was any indication.

Jenny snorted, closing the doors behind her. “Where else would I be? I can only take so much exposure to Captain Horny-ness.”

He couldn't help but snort. “Donna would like that one,” he muttered aloud.

It's like he doesn't realize what he just said, she thought as she handed the bag over since he was reaching for it. Although Mum would like that one. Speaking of which... “Where's Mum?”

He paused in his exploring the contents, as if distracted. Then he forced his concentration back on cataloging their takings. “She said something about being in her room until morning. I wasn't going to get in her way or ask questions after today.”

You're awfully tense, Dad. Are you thinking about something that I... shouldn't know about since you two are my parents? Or are you just trying to get your mind off of Mum now that you know how you feel about her?

“Ooh!” His excitement drew her out of her thoughts. “They saved us some banana cake! Lovely! We can share it when we have our lesson tonight. More Gallifreyan for you to learn!”

Hmm... He's particularly eager to be the teacher. Is he worried that I don't love him because of his “treatment” of Mum...? “Yeah, should I take these to the kitchen?” I need to figure a few things out, especially how we're going to get you two to break this new stalemate.

He nodded vigorously. “Yep! I'll send us into the Vortex for a bit. We'll probably have an adventure in a day or two. Meet you in the kitchen in about an hour; I have some repairs to finish.”

He hurried through the actions – a bit more rushed than usual – and Jenny mentally shook her head and walked casually away. “See ya in a bit, Dad.” At least I'll have a moment to call them, and maybe do a bit of research...

The TARDIS made the kitchen door suddenly appear, to her relief. Putting everything away in a rush, Jenny sighed loudly. “Romantic love is an insane situation. Why would anyone keep going for it?” Sighing, she remembered a bit of the quick lesson in Shakespearean insults she'd gotten from Jack and Nan. “Might as well get thee to a nunnery at some point, J. Not like you'd be missing out on anything.”

How long will that wish last, Jenny, the TARDIS suddenly asked her. After all, once your parents get their act together, you will likely be inspired by what they will have.

Jenny shook her head and walked briskly to the ship's library. “I'll believe it when it happens,” she muttered to the ceiling. “Or if it does.”

Times like this, the Old Girl wanted a way she could physically slap sense into her humanoids... They were so alike, no matter how different the species were! Mental slaps only did so much, as her pilot proved on a regular basis... Still... I'll delay him an extra half-hour for you. The plan is a good one.

Relieved that the Old Girl was on their side, Jenny whispered, “So how many days should I give them before I try locking them in a cupboard?”

Find something else to try first. If that doesn't work within a week, then I'll help you.

That gave Jenny a bounce to her steps. And a bigger grin when a huge unabridged collection of Shakespeare was waiting for her in the cozy library. She dove straight to locate the play they were using as their gamebook – strange phrase, she thought once again – and sought inspiration.

And stumbled onto the last efforts of the play's conspirators. “Ooh! They found notes each wrote about the other! Well, I can't trust that they'll do it on their own, but would it be too much to try to persuade them both into writing...?”

She'd need guidance on this one...

Chapter 5: Will Merely Be a Dumb-Show


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 2nd, 2011 03:35 am (UTC)
Am still loving it! *cheers you on* Keep it coming, complications and all! Pleeeease? :D
Jun. 2nd, 2011 04:29 am (UTC)
You're welcome! Anything special that you loved? Favorite lines? Anything you're curious about? I'm listening to requests, seeing whether they fit with my plans - and if they might make writing future chapters easier!
Jun. 10th, 2013 05:30 pm (UTC)
I just found this story of yours and I'm highly enjoying it x3 *Puts it to favs*
I'm curious how you finished it *goes to read the rest*
Dec. 28th, 2015 05:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks. So sorry I missed this way back when. My bad. :( Hope you liked the rest.
Dec. 28th, 2015 03:27 pm (UTC)
Ruh roh this could seriously backfire. Especially if they run away and dont come back for ages.
Dec. 28th, 2015 05:08 pm (UTC)
Well, it could've. Only... well, you'll see.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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