Title: Think of the Implications, Doctor!
Rating: T (angst, threat of character death, grim predictions)
Summary: Donna has a few things to say when the Doctor tries to wipe her mind. Things he never thought of.
Disclaimer: Yeah, still not mine, because this conversation at least would've happened.
Dedication: To all the fans who screamed bloody murder over Donna's fate, who know that it was WRONG of RTD to write it.
Author's Note: This leaves Handy's fate out of it. I have chosen to accept it for this story, to focus on Donna and why the Doctor should've let things happen. There are two different endings included: one for angst, and one... not so much.
Posted to wish dtstrainers a Merry Christmas.
Think of the Implications, Doctor!
Started May 16, 2012
Finished December 25, 2013
Donna saw the look in the Doctor's eyes, and gasped, drawing away sharply. “No! You can't! I'd rather die!”
The Doctor was stricken. “Donna, please!”
She shook her head. “Have you thought about what my life will be like if you do this?! What things will be like for those around me?! Have you?!”
“You'll be alive! I can't let you die! Not if I can help it!”
“It might be impossible for me to get work again! I've been away for months, not held a job in almost a year. How am I going to explain that if I can't remember? HC Clement's will be on my job record, and I won't be able to explain one bit of that. How will that look to employers, to the temp agency, to the Job Centre?! They take a dim view if you have no work record for a certain amount of time, and I'll have passed it if you do what you're planning, and they'll dock my job seeker's allowance! There's still a mortgage on Granddad's home! How am I going to be able to help them?”
He went still. Oh, that would be a problem. He cringed as he thought that her SuperTemp skills would be dismissed.
“I'll be like a patient with brain damage, having woken after a long coma and not knowing anything that happened for a while before. I won't remember my dad's death! The move to Granddad's! Have you thought about how awful that will be for me?!”
His hearts lurched into his chest. Oh, Rassilon, what would it be like to not remember the past since just before the Time War? It was about the same comparison for his life. He would have rather not remembered the End, but at least he knew what had happened to them. If he didn't know... he'd go crazy trying to find out. How could he do that to her?
“You'd tell Mum and Gramps that if I remember for one moment, I'll burn. That I can't be reminded of anything close to what happened since just before Mum and my argument over my taking the temp job that led me to HC Clement's. Well, how many people in my circle would have to be included to make that work even a little bit? How many of them do you really think I can depend on to help me?! Not many! Only a few of them might be true friends who would support me. Nerys, perhaps. The others will talk about the failed wedding and that I've been gone. And Mum will pussy-foot around me like I'm made of glass. I'll figure out that something's wrong, and try to discover it. You know I will!”
He was dismayed. Did she really have almost no true support other than her grandfather? He could suddenly see her remembering not a day later if he did this.
“And what about my old wish to get married and have children? I'm almost past that point anyway. Who is going to want me? The only candidates will be the losers my mother thinks are suitable, which would just be settling!”
He felt sick suddenly. How far would he condemn her if he did this? There'd be nothing for it. He'd have to live on Earth for this to work.
“And don't you think of just becoming my guardian and living on Earth!”
Bugger, how did she know?!
“I can hear your thoughts right now, Spaceman! You're broadcasting like a foghorn.”
“You'd have to leave me on occasion, and there's no telling when the TARDIS would get that signal. If you're trying to protect me, who the hell would you get to look after me? And how would I accept you if I can't remember you?! You remember what I thought of you when we met!”
He did, and it still hurt sometimes. Being right back to that point...could he handle it?
“And no putting me in stasis, either! I might be there until the end of time!”
It looked like a better option to him.
She shook her head despite the pain. “No, Spaceman! Let me die whole, after saying goodbye to Mum and Gramps. Let them remember me as a hero rather than live watching me, brain-damaged.”
He choked. “You expect me to let the woman I love die?!”
It was her turn to freeze. And she could still hear his thoughts, so she was completely silenced from shock.
The Doctor started crying openly. “Everyone I've ever loved, Donna, and I mean truly loved, has died because of things I did or were lost to me for similar reasons. I just wanted you to have a chance to live, because where there's life there's hope.”
Donna's lips trembled. The intensity of his feelings stunned her. “But what about...your name in my head? We're...bonded, aren't we? What would the mind-wipe do to you?”
His body instantly developed a tremor. “It would break, but an echo would be there. It would be painful and constantly on my mind. Even if I tried to ignore it.”
She began weeping. “Then my death would leave you one day able to form a new one?”
He shook his head. “I won't take another. Companions, yes, maybe, but no one in bond. Not after this.”
Donna risked walking up to him and grabbing his arms. “You still need someone, Theta.”
He sucked in a breath over hearing that name fall from her lips.
“If you love me, then show it by respecting my last three wishes.”
He could barely see her through the water in his eyes. And that was saying something for a Time Lord.
“First, don't try to stop this from taking its course. I don't care if I die. I made a difference.”
His hands shook. That would be the hardest thing he'd ever done. With the Time Lock, there had been no other choice. As painful as it was, the knowledge that the universe was at stake drove him to finish it.
“Second, help me to Gramps' so I can say goodbye.”
That was going to be the second hardest thing he had ever done. Because she was right – the alternatives were unacceptable.
“And third, find someone to support you. You're going to need someone to stop you from falling apart. So at least keep in contact with the other Children of Time.”
Although his hearts were breaking, there was now only one choice. He nodded. “Donna,” he whimpered, eyes pleading.
Hers softened, knowing what he wanted. Go without regrets, she decided, and drew his head to hers for the gentlest, most tender, and most bittersweet kiss in existence. Their arms went around each other, drawing what little comfort could possibly be in the moment and trying to prepare for the worst moment of their lives.
ENDING 1: A Noble Death
Sylvia eventually forgave him. She understood Donna's reasoning, and – as much as she wanted her daughter to live – she couldn't bare the thought of her suffering like that. The agony of not knowing if something would happen to endanger her only child.
Wilf didn't have to forgive him. He'd been a soldier. Heroes sometimes died. It wasn't fair, but it happened and you couldn't rail at the world for long without losing your mind.
Donna had gone with grace, despite the pain and agony. Still, she got her wish of dying whole.
But she'd given consent for one last thing the Doctor thought of idly, and then they both realized it was ideal. It made her smile when he'd nearly begged her.
So there Sylvia and Wilf stood in UNIT Head Quarters (the only place safe enough outside of the TARDIS, which wasn't feasible for this delicate project), watching the Doctor monitor the machine before them. The idea had made them cringe when he first described it, but Donna had given permission immediately. Beside them, Jack Harkness and Martha Jones also stood. Their knowledge and assistance – especially Jack's – had been needed to make it work. Mickey Smith was there for emotional support.
The machine finally opened, and the Doctor – rushing forward immediately – began crying as he looked inside. “Hello,” he whispered as he reached in. He turned around with full arms.
Sylvia and Wilf cried. A ginger girl lay in the Doctor's arms, blinking in dismay at the light and being out of her warm shelter. Martha wept as the other men didn't try to hide their own watering eyes.
The Doctor looked into the tiny yet huge eyes. “Hello, little love,” he choked. “My own mini-Donna. Your mummy lives on in you. We'll tell you all about her – how wonderful and brilliant she was.”
The baby cried, demanding attention for her immediate needs. She knew nothing other than the voice of her father.
Tears falling into his daughter's hair, the Doctor held her as closely as he could. Here was a person who was part Donna and part him. A reason to keep going, a reason to be careful with his life – or lives. With her beside him, then he hadn't truly lost her mother.
ENDING 2: Another Way
As they deepened the kiss, Donna realized her headache was fading considerably. She wondered if there was some analgesic properties in a proper Time Lord kiss, despite not having anything in her acquired memories about that.
The Doctor, hearts torn between the heavens and hell, suddenly felt something flowing into him. He had to break his focus on Donna to determine what it was.
Then it hit them both what was happening. They broke apart with a gasp.
Donna found her voice first. “Did that...just remove some of the pressure on my mind?”
The Doctor's eyes were wider than buffet platters, but a smile was starting to appear. “I absorbed some of the energy from you. With it came some of the excess pressure. Oh, Donna, I think this could work!”
“You mean, kiss every time I feel that headache form? Won't we have to be careful? The last time you used a kiss-”
“Yeah, it killed my last self. But if we're careful and keep them short, then I'm only getting a bit at a time, and that can be metabolized away safely.”
Donna's own smile burst out and she squealed in joy. They fell on each other, clasping into the biggest hug of their lives as they laughed in relief, even as his tears still escaped.
The Doctor risked adding, “I hope we can find a stable balance. I'd like to be able to kiss you without the threat of your mind burning.”
She'd once truly thought he was a skinny streak of nothing. But now? “If you kiss me too much, you're at risk, too. I'd like to enjoy kissing without either threat existing.
They would clearly be busy for a while. And the whole “just mates” rule definitely had to be tossed aside. No way they would be just friends if they kept that up!
They looked at each other as another realisation descended. It wasn’t going to be enough. She would need to be kissed every hour of every day and night for the rest of her life. As deeply as he loved her, and she could feel it in her mind that he did, it wasn’t feasible. If they missed just one, if they were late by a few seconds...
“Oh no,” she spoke.
He jumped back, gutted, shocked and grief stricken.
Donna couldn’t help the cry of pain. “Get my mum... and granddad!”
“Hold on, Donna! I’m getting your mum and granddad. You just hold on for me!” he begged, practically shrieked.
Donna wrapped her arms around herself, holding it in. It was burning. Ok, so every hour was a bit of a conservative guess. She felt the TARDIS land, and watched him dash out the door. It seemed an interminably long time before he came back with her family, startled by the TARDIS, scared for her, and him both as well as terrified of losing his wife. Yes, that was what he had said. Yes, he had married Donna, yes Sylvia could slap him later, but right now Donna was dying and it was her wish they be here for her.
The four of them stood in the TARDIS Control Room, waiting for the inevitable. Donna had hugged and kissed them all goodbye, and drew away to keep them all safe as she felt the energy building, growing stronger and preparing to burn her from the inside out.
The Doctor held Wilf and Sylvia. How the latter part wasn't part of his vision of how life would go, but this whole day wasn't part of his plans. Not one bit.
Holding them was keeping him from going over to Donna. He remembered the Ood telling him that “your song must end soon.” He was tempted to just hold Donna while she burned, letting it do what it would to him. It felt like what he deserved. But Donna had known he might do that, too. Thus putting him in a situation where he had to keep her family safe from the energy was born.
He was torn between wanting it over with so Donna was no longer in pain and wishing it to wait a while longer so he could still look upon her living face. He had no idea what it would do to her, and that scared him – almost as much as when he thought her and the TARDIS dead.
When it came down to it, there was only one acceptable option. “Don't fight it, Donna,” he choked. “Let it happen.”
Nodding, Donna felt the energy making her glow, which she supposed was to be expected. Not one bit of the Spaceman's knowledge about meta-crises covered this. Every bit of information and speculation assumed there could not be a stable interaction with a human.
Only now was she suddenly very worried for the Duplicate. Would he even last long?
Those thoughts fled as Donna felt new pain – in her chest and throat. Like something was trying to rip her apart. Okay, this shouldn't be happening, she silently screamed.
The Doctor, still holding two crying humans, stiffened as he felt the oddness of the moment, too. “Donna?” he cried questioningly, even through his tears.
The pain became exponentially worse. She was alarmed. Shouldn't it just be burning her mind by now?!
Then the TARDIS starting making very happy noises in her head. Donna quickly connected the dots. And beamed suddenly in ecstatic joy.
Gasping, the Doctor suddenly realized what the Old Girl thought she was detecting. “It can't be,” he whispered.
Donna's eyes met his. She managed to speak. “And yet it is.”
And she threw her head back as energy exploded from her body – head, hands, and feet.
Her family covered their eyes, not daring to watch even if they could. The Doctor flinched from the glow, but he was transfixed. The odds had been so tiny he considered them impossible...and yet it was happening before his eyes!
His hearts lightened. Although he was still saddened by the thought that she would not be ginger anymore.
Donna couldn't scream. A person couldn't when the energy flowed this way, not until it was close to completion. He knew that. He just wanted it over with!
It seemed an age, even to him, before the energy faded and Donna gasped her first breaths as a Time Lady. The Doctor felt her mind more sharply in his own just before the glow faded. And he could've cried in joy had he found the voice.
She pat her face, and looked herself up and down. “Yes!” Donna cried in relief. “Did it! I'm still me! Just a Time Lady now! Oh, but I still have some human blood in me! Can't lose that little bit of human. Must be how I managed to look the same! Ha!”
“Donna?!” her family cried in shock.
She looked compassionately at them. “We really thought I was going to die. But I found something happening, and the TARDIS helped me see what it was. I figured out a way to harness it to just heal the damage and keep my DNA – just in Gallifreyan form. I mean, why change if you don't have to?”
The Doctor let Sylvia and Wilfred go and flew to her side, crying incoherently with joy. Drawing her into his arms, he snogged her like his own life depended on it. This was the sun coming out, drying the torrential rains.
Donna was stunned, but she returned the embrace and kiss. Her family's reassurance would have to wait a moment. Her husband needed her first.