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Shakespearean Cupids, Chapter 5

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 Tennent 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...

Author's Note: Sorry for the delay. This took a lot longer than I wanted it to take. I had to get extra information to make the following chapters work the way I wanted, and then the editing process was rather lengthy.

Two shout-outs here. One to time_converges</lj>, for pointing me to a website of Doctor Who transcripts. That actually made things easier, even if it gave me a lot of material to work with. Also to tardis-mole over at Fanfiction.Net, for sending me brief info on the Old Who companions. One nugget of info made its way into this chapter. You'll see in around... seven or eight chapters why I wanted the rest. Thank you both!

Chapter 1 / Chapter 2 / Chapter 3 / Chapter 4


Jack laughed over the five-way computer connection. “Jenny, you are a certifiable genius!”

The Time-Lady's answer was as matter-of-fact as her father's manners could be. “Of course. I'm the Doctor's Daughter.”

Martha snickered, both over the answer and the situation that prompted it. “I can't believe you actually got them both to write about their feelings for each other! Donna I can see since she's a human woman, but an alien who's total rubbish with his feelings?! How did you do it?!”

Jenny was feeling very smug. As she ought to be; she'd practically done the impossible. “Oh, I let each separately see me writing about my concerns about what it means to be a Time-Lady. I didn't say where I got the idea from, but I suggested that it was a good way of working through things that are bothering you. I think they both wanted to try something to exorcise their feelings. Anything, it seemed.”

Sarah Jane smiled as she shook her head. “I bet it didn't work, based on how much you're smirking. You look like you've taken lessons in looking smug from your father.”

Jenny snorted. “Oh, I didn't need that. Already had it as part of who I am.”

On the last part of her screen, Sylvia and Wilf laughed over the girl's antics. “You're as resourceful and persuasive as your mother,” Wilf complimented, making Jenny beam in pride.

“So...” More than one person could guess the Immortal's next line, and he didn't disappoint. “Going to read from them?”

Jenny stuck out her tongue. “Not bloody likely. I was embarrassed to read them once I got my hands on them, and believe me: it took a while before I was sure that they wouldn't realize I'd seized the papers.”

Martha, having already rolled her eyes at Jack, leaned in. “Well, what can you determine about their mental states? Where are they in dealing with their feelings?”

She picked up several pages and, keeping the text facing her, waved them. “I was a bit surprised to find that Dad wrote quite a bit. Thank God for the TARDIS, or I wouldn't be able to read it; he actually writes in High Gallifreyan! I guess he was thinking he could keep it safe that way.” She shared in a smug smile with everyone as she imagined how horrified he would be to realize just how little influence he really had with his ship. “The highlights are that he actually wishes they could be together forever and that while he wants to give her children, he's not sure whether such children would themselves be fertile. There's apparently no indication of how the two types of DNA would interact.”

Martha nodded, getting the problem. “Well, I remember that human woman and that cat-man from New New Earth. There must be medical ways of helping that along.”

“Which he does ponder,” Jenny added, fascination shining through what was for her the awkwardness of the subject. “I learned quite a bit about the universe from reading his rambling reflections on Mum. But...” Grinning, she flipped a few pages to find the one she wanted. “Something he wrote got me looking into the Old Girl's details about his past. Apparently, one of his past companions wed a Citadel Guard and actually conceived the first naturally born Gallifreyan in millenia!”

Her audience all gasped. “Wait!” Martha shook her head, trying to absorb that development. “What do you mean by 'naturally born?'”

Jenny grimaced. “Evidently, Gallifreyan society pushed itself so far away from what most humanoids consider basic elements of life cycles that all new Gallifreyans were artificially conceived and... grown, for lack of a better term.”

Sylvia squawked, “You mean their babies weren't nurtured inside a womb?!”

“No,” Jenny sighed. “I mean, there were familial bonds, but the type of love that's known on Earth? The kind I've been able to watch? Considered beneath them. Not 'Time-Lordy.'” She used her fingers for air quotes, just like she'd seen Donna do. “With all that distance placed between their society and a basic emotional awareness, it's no wonder Dad's an even bigger idiot than most of the guys I've met when it comes to feelings.”

“They sound like bloody Vulcans,” Wilf exclaimed. “They didn't stand people who... broke tradition, did they?”

Jenny shook her head. “And that's the source of a lot of Dad's grief, I bet. The origin of a lot of his... problems, as I think Mum would put it. In any case... He 's not sure how much intervention was needed for Leela – that was her name – to conceive, and whether any of that technology could be recreated. Of course, he still questions whether he's good enough for her in any way. Wants her to be happy and all that.”

Sylvia found a tiny smirk in her – despite the topic of moments before. “Well, a man is supposed to know he's extremely lucky when the woman he wants will have him. At least this shows that he respects my daughter. And speaking of Donna...”

Jenny read the trailing off correctly, and picked up just three different sheets. “She was reflecting on what kind of a woman would be best for Dad, and coming up with all sorts of excuses for why she isn't that woman. However, I think she could tell that some were hollow, and I think she's getting close to no longer denying her feelings. A little push in the right direction, and I think they'll be on a level playing field. Ripe for the next stage of our plan.” Her eyes flickered up to the ceiling for a moment, in thought, and they widened. “Blimey, I think they might be ready now...”

Jack leaned in, eagerly. “What makes you say that?”

She briefly closed her eyes to recall the events in detail. “I was sitting with Mum in here earlier, after breakfast. I'd just nicked her papers and was reviewing them – pretending to be reading about temporal mechanics. She was reading from – of all things – a book of Shakespeare's sonnets.”

The Immortal's grin went wider. “Talk about the real food of love.”

Jenny rolled her eyes at the source, but grinned at the sentiment. “Anyway, I realized she was staring at one page for over ten minutes. She only came out of it when Dad entered, talking about some repair he'd just finished. She flushed so much I thought she'd pass out. And he's so oblivious that he didn't look up until she'd looked firmly away and dropped the book. She muttered something about getting ready for the day and hurried out – trying to not look like she was rushing to avoid saying or doing something she wasn't ready for.”

“Ah!” Wilf sighed aloud. “Not good with feeling vulnerable. That's our Donna.”

“Sounds like the Doctor, too,” Sarah Jane noted sagely.

Jenny continued, “Then he looked worried about her, but it was like he's at a total loss as to what he can do. Which I find really odd given what we know he overheard. She's acted the same way when he's diving into repairs or talking about random things as a distraction, by the way.”

“So,” Jack interjected, “what did he do then?”

“Nothing, except walk over to see what she was reading. I decided to mention which side of the open book she'd focused on.” Jenny smirked. “He spent at least twenty minutes looking at it before deliberately going back to... work on more repairs, as he put it.”

That got everyone's attention. “Which sonnet,” Sylvia demanded, “was it?”

“Um...” Jenny pulled the copy and opened it to the bookmarked page. “116.”

Martha frowned. “How does that one go again? I swear I've heard it before.”

Jenny looked down, and cleared her throat. “Okay, here it is:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
      If this be error and upon me proved,
     I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

You know,” Jenny murmured, closing the book as everyone went very quiet, “I think they were drawn to it because they must feel that their feelings are in some way forbidden. Despite what Dad told me about the Shadow Proclamation not even making an edit about inter-species relations. I think they were still hoping to make it go away until they read that.”

Jack rubbed a hand over his chin, contemplating. “That particular sonnet has a lot of various connotations. I wrote a paper on some of them in school.”

Jenny held up a hand. “Keep your speculation to yourself, Mr. Pan-Sexual.” He pouted, looking pathetically cute. She wasn't about to admit that she might've gone for him had she not immediately realized that he had a massive thing for her father... Poor Dad would have a hearts attack...

“Jenny!” The feminine shout came from the other side of the closed library door, making everyone jump.

“Yes, Mum?” Jenny hoped that they could limit this conversation to between the rooms.

No such luck; Donna opened the door within seconds, frowning. “Better close up whatever you're doing, and don't bother finding beach wear. That overgrown kid we call your father has a new destination in mind. He's being awfully secretive about it, and I've got the feeling that this wasn't his first choice. The Old Girl's indicated that something's not quite right about it.”

Jenny cleared her throat, grateful she'd had the chance to close the books and the folder before her Mum could poke her head in. And tried to not focus on the idea that the TARDIS had a bad feeling about it; that could freak her out if she let herself think about it. “Just give me one minute. Surely Dad can wait that long, if he actually waited for us to change for the last adventure.”

Donna smirked – although Jenny could detect a flicker of suppressed unease behind her mother's eyes. “Oh, I'll threaten him with waiting longer than he did outside the Eddison estate if he whines.” With a wink, she left – but didn't bother to close the door. A reminder to get moving.

Sarah Jane whispered, “That was close. Better re-convene later. Call us when you're done with this adventure.”

“Yeah,” Jenny murmured, distracted. If the Old Girl does have a bad feeling about this one, then I'd better stop by my room for my special stash of supplies. Who knows what we might need...?

“Books! People never really stop loving books.” The Doctor grabbed his coat, feeling very eager for any adventure to distract him from the thoughts that had plagued him for days. He trusted that his girls would follow him out – even if they were a bit miffed at him. Hope they don't pick up on my own confusion...

Donna rolled her eyes at his back as he tossed his coat on. She made an effort to focus on his hair; it was easier to maintain her beliefs when she kept her gaze from drifting to more... dangerous observation points...

Jenny followed behind both, shaking her head ever so slightly. They are both idiots, she thought. Better do the paper “switch” soon – and let the Old Girl willingly take the blame. They've got only one more day before I lock them in the cupboard we've selected... “When are we?”

“51st century,” the Doctor answered readily. I love being the teacher! “By now you've got holovids, direct to brain downloads, fiction mist, but you need the smell. The smell of books, Donna, Jenny. Deep breath.”

His ladies – he might call them his girls, but Donna was training Jenny with considerable focus on demanding respect – obliged him even as they wanted to look askance at him. Although the number of books made Jenny's eyes widened as she took in the marvel of the huge book collection before them. “What is this? A reception room?!” The enormous bookshelves and the buildings that apparently housed far more of them. Sure, the TARDIS library was huge, but the Old Girl kept most of it hidden to keep the room feeling very cozy. Jenny figured that it was something left from when her father first got the ship. She'd seen images of him as he was, and it struck her how he'd really looked like the old man that he said he was.

It also struck her as a good thing that his regenerations made him look younger. Makes for fewer questions, she thought, about him and Mum. Probably part of why they keep being mistaken for a couple...

The Doctor grinned, and silently led them through a door. Wait until they see this...

Jenny intended to keep quiet while her father babbled about The Library, although she knew she'd hear everything. She noticed that the awkwardness that had engulfed her parents faded considerably as soon as they walked out. Maybe, she prayed, this will actually be a good thing...

Except her jaw dropped almost as much as her mother's when they saw the buildings all around, and the random books on the rails. “The buildings look like book shelves,” Jenny exclaimed in awe.

“The Library,” the Doctor announced with pleasure. Watching his girls' amazement – well, any companion's amazement was special, but these two meant so much more to him already that it made theirs more important to treasure – brought a huge smile to his face. “So big it doesn't need a name. Just a great big 'the.'” He couldn't ever admit that Donna's was catching his eye more, though...

Donna marveled over the appearance of endless books. “It's like a city,” she managed, guessing and suspecting that she was understating – again. Not that she could find it in her to care... He'd have to forgive this level of awe, wouldn't he?

Delighting in their reactions, the Doctor explained further: “It's a world. Literally a world. The whole core of the planet is the index computer, biggest hard drive ever. And up here, every book ever written. Whole continents of Jeffrey Archer, Bridget Jones, Monty Python's Big Red Book. Brand new editions, specially printed.”

And just how, Donna wondered silently, do you know about Bridget Jones...? She filed that away for future teasing, whenever she had the nerve to do it again...

“We're near the equator,” the Doctor continued, unaware of Donna's brief pensive look or Jenny's curious focus on them, “so...” He licked the finger always used for detection, then lifted it up to feel the what the wind could tell him. “... this must be... Biographies!” The Doctor nearly shouted in excitement, making both women nearly jump out of their skins. “I love biographies!”

"Yeah, very you. Always a death at the end." She laughed as he shot her an offended glance. He's ridiculously cute when he's annoyed or pouting... In her amusement, she forgot to push the thought aside; his reactions were sometimes too comical.

Although he could neither remain irritated nor look her in the eye, he had to protest. To explain context. "You need a good death. Without death, there'd only be comedies. Dying gives us size."

"Right.” I don't quite believe you, Spaceman. She was sure from the slightly stunned look she saw out of the corner of her eye that he heard the unspoken comment. Which was good; he needed to be kept on his toes.

Jenny had to laugh. It was the most relaxed she'd heard them around each other since before that morning after their 1920s adventure. This might be a good thing, she thought, this visit. She was admiring the architecture when she looked over in time to see her father snatch a book from her mother's hands – just after she'd picked it up. “Oi,” he exclaimed, “spoilers!”

"What?” Donna protested loudly, offended that he had to ruin her fun. She was also trying to ignore that there had been a brief finger contact, which had startled her to her core. And triggered feelings she was trying to suppress...

Jenny wanted to snicker as both started at the contact. It was subtle – although it seemed they were trying to ignore it. Musn't rub hands together in glee, she reminded herself.

The Doctor's voice held considerable tension – even as he tried for lightness – when he awkwardly explained, "These books are from your future. You don't want to read ahead, spoil all the surprises. Like peeking at the end." His hand rubbed the back of his neck as his other one put down the book behind him.

It fell to the floor at his feet because he misjudged the distance. His gaze had slipped down a bit further than he wanted it to...

Even as the noise echoed loudly through the huge room, startling her parents, Jenny couldn't suppress a laugh. “What is with you two?!” She hoped the exasperation covered the extent of her amusement, and turned away to give them a semblance of privacy. Not letting them see the tiny mirror she was concealing in her hand...

Donna recovered first; she had plenty of practice faking it to get through something. Though she would be having a serious talk with Jenny later! She turned a glare back on the annoyingly charming Spaceman. "Isn't traveling with you one big spoiler?"

The Doctor would've tossed a glare at his daughter if he could've torn his eyes away from Donna. She was a sight to behold when she was angry – which might explain why he sometimes deliberately got her riled up. But this was a bit much; he'd never misjudged putting a book down before! "I... try to keep you away from major plot developments.” He couldn't meet her gaze, and then – upon realizing where his own was straying – seized on the detail that he'd noticed from the start but ignored in his eagerness to delight his girls. “Which, to be honest, I seem to be very bad at, cos you know what? This is the biggest Library in the universe. So where is everyone? It's silent." He walked over to an information terminal.

"The Library?" Donna followed him, although slowly. Perhaps a little physical distance was called for, she thought. Hope you're going to answer me, Spaceman...

"The planet,” Jenny guessed, based on what she was sensing from her father. He's getting uneasy, she noted. Then she listened with her own telepathic abilities to the surroundings, and sucked in a breath. “The whole planet is quiet." This isn't good... It can't be!

On seeing the Doctor vaguely nodding, Donna felt her insides cringe. "Maybe it's a Sunday," Donna suggested with what she hoped was a casual shrug. But the intensity of his staring at the screen was making her shiver inside.

"No,” he retorted, almost instinctively, “I never land on Sundays. Sundays are boring."

Jenny would have rolled her eyes, but she was getting vibes off her father that were setting off every look-out-for-trouble instinct she had. He doesn't realize how much he's giving off... or that hint of fear I'm detecting...

"Well... Maybe everyone's really, really quiet," Donna said quietly, trying to point out they were in fact in a library.

The Doctor shrugged distractedly. "Yeah, maybe. But they'd still show up on the system." He pointed a few things on the screen to Donna and Jenny, hoping they'd let him work a moment.

"Dad,” Jenny said, moving to his other side so she and Donna surrounded him, “why are we here? Really, why?" She tried to meet his eyes, searching for any hint of an answer.

He avoided her gaze, and opened his mouth to buy himself some time. He forgot how determined his girls were, and had trouble thinking when Donna delicately placed a hand over his – making him have to suppress a tremble of longing.

"No prevaricating, Sunshine,” Donna said. She'd decided to risk a touch that might – and did – force her to conceal her increased breathing to get his undivided attention. Seemed the only way to get a straight answer out of him right away. And let him know how much she'd seen earlier. “It was all, 'let's hit the beach and show Jenny more experiences.' Then you got this weird look on your face, pulled out that Physic Paper and suddenly we're in a Library. Why?" She crossed her arms, daring him to try to avoid the inevitable.

The Doctor's eyes widened. She saw that? I thought she was- Fortunately, the terminal beeped at him, giving him a momentary delay. And it confused him to no end. "Now, that's interesting," he muttered, more than a bit concerned.

Jenny exhaled sharply. "What?" She leaned in closer, hoping that her growl would make him get to the point so they could get an answer out of him.

He flinched, but went ahead with the results. "Scanning for life forms. If I do a scan looking for your basic humanoids - you know, your book readers, few limbs and a face. Apart from us, I get nothing. Zippo, nada, see? Nobody home. But if I widen the parameters to any kind of life..." He pushed a few keys, and watched as numbers flew across the screen – until 'Error' flashed across the screen. "A million million. Gives up after that. A million million."

"But there's nothing here,” Donna protested, looking around. “There's no-one."

"And not a sound,” the Doctor added, reflecting on that discovery. “A million million life forms, and silence in the Library."

"But there's no-one here,” Donna whispered, suppressing the urge to shiver. “There are just books. I mean, it's not the books, is it? I mean, it can't be the books, can it? I mean, books can't be alive?" She looked to the Doctor for answers, knowing she couldn't keep the fear out of her voice.

The Doctor hadn't heard Donna babble like that in a long while, which tugged at his hearts. If I could only hug her without hurting her...

I wish they'd just comfort each other already! Jenny cautiously reached for a book. Just before her fingers could touch it, a voice echoed through the room, making all three of them jump in shock. "That came from in there," she exclaimed, pointing to the room they entered upon exiting the TARDIS.

"Yeah!" Donna's almost normal-level agreement prodded the trio to return.

To find a pole with a circular, two-sided object in the center of the room. What was most striking about the gray statue was the human-looking face – devoid of color or any hair not on the eyebrows or eyes – that seemed to be talking to them. “Dad,” Jenny muttered, just loudly enough to be overheard, “what is that?”

"I am Courtesy Node 710/aqua,” the statue answered – in a very robotic tone that yet held a hint of humanity in it – before the Doctor could. “Please enjoy the Library and respect the personal access codes of all your fellow readers regardless of species or hygiene taboo."

"That face,” Donna whispered as she pointed in shock, “it looks real.”

"Yeah,” the Doctor admitted without actually saying anything, “don't worry about it." Even as he said it, he knew that it wouldn't sink in; Donna felt too much compassion to let that go.

"But a statue with a real face, though!” Donna couldn't take her eyes off it, couldn't stop thinking of the possible implications. “It's a hologram or something, isn't it?" She managed to look back up at the Doctor, desperate for reassurance.

All he could do was touch her shoulder in comfort. "No, but really, it's... fine." If only I didn't sound so uncertain...

Jenny didn't need to have telepathy to know that her mother wasn't really comforted. At least, not by his words...

"Additional,” the Node interrupted. “There follows a brief message from the head librarian for your urgent attention. It has been edited for tone and content by Felman Lux Automated Decency Filter. Message follows. 'Run. For God's sake, run. No way is safe. The Library has sealed itself, we can't... Oh, they're here. Arg. Slarg. Snick.' Message ends. Please switch off your mobile communication units for the comfort of other readers."

We've found trouble again, the Doctor mentally sighed as he dropped his hand from Donna's shoulder. Is even one peaceful adventure with my girls out of the question? "So that's why we're here... Any other messages, same date stamp?"

"One additional message. This message carries a Felman Lux coherency warning of 5, 0, 11..."

"Yeah, yeah, fine, fine, fine, just play it." I hate it, the Doctor thought, when computers babble...

"Message follows. 'Count the shadows. For God's sake, remember... if you want to live, count the shadows.' Message ends."

He sucked in a breath. Shadows... Danger in the shadows. "Jenny, Donna..." He grabbed them both by an arm, pulling them in tight. And keeping them away from potential danger.

"Yeah?" Only the naked fear in his voice stopped Donna from automatically protesting his actions. Oh, my God... What this time...?

"Stay out of the shadows." He intended it come out as a command, but it sounded more like a plea. Please don't let this be the time they ignore me...

"Why,” Jenny demanded, her own frustration growing, “what's in the shadows?" Come on, Dad! Answer us!

He couldn't answer just yet. Instead he pulled them away from the larger area of shadows.

Jenny didn't let him get away with it for long – even if he was giving off signals of being very nervous about their safety. "So...” She pulled her arm away, and stopping right in front of him, glaring as she crossed her arms. “We weren't just in the neighborhood. What did the Paper show you?"

The Doctor sighed heavily. Jenny's blatantly irritated and Donna's hand looked ready to rear up for a slap. He pulled it out, and thought the message back into existence.

Donna's eyebrows bounced up as she read aloud, "'The Library. Come as soon as you can. X'" She looked askance at the outer-space dunce.

"What do you think? Cry for help?" He avoided their gazes. He didn't know what to make of the message when he got it, but he wasn't quite ready to admit to not knowing what was going on here. He was starting to think about getting out of here as quickly as possible. My girls are too important to risk.

"Cry for help - with a kiss?" Donna's retort was harsh. I don't like this one bit... I don't even like that I don't like it!

He tried shrugging it off. “Oh, we've all done that.” Well, he silently added, not me. No one would believe it of me.

Jenny snapped, “Who's it from? Who has the right to leave messages for you with a kiss?!” Except, she thought – forcing herself to keep the thought to herself, for Mum?!

Vividly remembering Jenny's angry words in the kitchen only a week ago, the Doctor suppressed a massive flinching instinct. “No idea to the first, and no one to the second.” He tried for a pinch of levity. “All I can tell you is that it's not Jack's style.”

Donna, despite everything couldn't hold back a snort. “So why did we come here? Why did you...”

But he saw something that scared him. “Donna! Jenny!”

The three saw the lights from a distance go out, and the darkness started to grow, gaining on them. Jenny, stunned, whispered, “What's happening? How's that possible?”

“Run,” her father screamed, grabbing their arms and pulling them off. It took them away from the TARDIS, but he couldn't risk going near. Much too dangerous, he instinctively knew. They were soon stopped by a door, which wouldn't open despite the Doctor's best grip. “Come on,” he growled at it.

Donna's eyes whipped back and forth between the oncoming danger and their blocked escape. “What, is it locked?”

“Jammed!” His eyes always scanned quickly, and it wasn't looking good. “The wood's warped!” There has to be a way!

“Sonic it, then!” Jenny found herself longing for her Messaline gun for the first time since her eyes had been opened to her origins. She added her own strength to the pulling.

Oh, thanks, he thought, asking for the one thing it doesn't do! “I can't, it's wood!”

Oh, Donna's mind exclaimed, now you tell us! “What, it doesn't do wood?!”

But he never gave up. Not even when things looked impossible. “Hang on, hang on, if I can vibrate the molecules, fry the bindings, I can shatterline the interface...”

Except Donna had enough of this. “Oh, get out of the way! Both of you!” She slammed her foot into the door, right next to the handle, and it burst open.

Jenny laughed as they rushed into the room. “Where did you learn that?”

Donna sighed as she helped them slam it shut, and use a book to block it. No telling what that was, she thought. “Oh, from time with some boyfriends who turned out to be worthless.”

The Doctor felt his insides sink over the additional proof that was Donna was mistreated in the past. But before he could comment, he'd turned and spotted what appeared to be a floating sphere. “Oh! Hello!” He approached, hands in his pockets to make himself less threatening, and he felt his girls follow in curiosity. “Sorry to burst on you like this. OK if we stop here for a bit?

He barely finished speaking when the sphere fell to the ground. Jenny stared at it, fascinated. “What is it?”

“Security camera,” the Doctor answered, a bit distracted by a new puzzle. “Switched itself off,” he added as he picked it up to examine it. And suddenly saw words on its screen: 'Stop. Please stop it!' "Ooh,” he blurted, startled, “I'm sorry. I really am, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." He gently placed it down. "It's alive," he explained on a whisper.

Donna moved in close. "You said it was a security camera.”

"It is,” he nodded, not taking his eyes off it. “It's an alive one." More words flashed on the screen. 'Others are coming.'

"Others? What's it mean, 'others'?" Donna tried to catch the Doctor's eyes, but he wouldn't look up. No answer, she realized. Brilliant... Sighing, she walked to the Node in the room. It had a different face than the one earlier. She filed that away to ask her question. "Excuse me, what does it mean, 'others'?

It got his attention. "That's barely more than a speak your weight machine, it can't help you." He stuck his hand in his pockets and walked over.

Jenny was on his heels. "And the faces?" Can't wait for this explanation...

"This flesh aspect was donated by Mark Chambers on the occasion of his death," the Node said.

Donna gasped, stepping back. "It's a real face?"

"It has been actualized individually for you from the many facial aspects saved to our extensive flesh banks,” the Node continued. “Please enjoy."

"It chose me a dead face it thought I'd like?” Donna pulled further back, unable to fathom this development. “That statue's got a real dead person's face on it..."

The Doctor rushed right up to her side. "It's the 51st century, that's... basically like donating a park bench." I wish I could help my companions understand things from beyond their time-frames, he thought frantically – wanting to erase the horror from her beautiful face.

“Think about who your audience is, Dad,” Jenny snapped, feeling her temper fraying from the stress. “Now what's-?”

The retort had drawn his eyes away from Donna for a moment, but when he looked back his hearts nearly shot into his throat. "No, wait, no!"

Jenny whipped her head to see her father rush forward, grab Donna – around the waist! – and sharply pull her forward. It got her away from the dark shadow she nearly walked into, but it smashed their bodies together. She flinched, waiting for the fallout of that...

She watched as both gasped aloud and their eyes shut almost simultaneously. Her father's tight control over his own mental shields slipped, because Jenny sensed his shock and discomfort over the moment. I finally understand the meaning of the phrase, Get a room...

Although both recovered quickly, Donna found her voice first. "Oi! Hands!" She even slapped them away, needing the space.

It snapped him out of his own stupor, reminding him of why he'd grabbed her. "The shadow, look."

She turned, glaring at it. "What about it?"

"Count the shadows." He stressed, not trusting himself to speak more than a few words – yet.

"One,” she answered, trying to keep her patience. “There, I counted it, one shadow."

But Jenny's sharp eyes had spotted what her father might be concerned about. "But what's casting it?"

The Doctor hadn't even noticed that point. "Oh!” He actually slapped himself on the face. “I'm thick! Look at me, I'm old and thick! Head's too full of stuff, I need a bigger head!"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Donna got royally peeved that he seemed too distracted to answer.

Jennt turned and noticed that a light in the nearest corridor was blinking on and off. "Power must be going," she commented, trying to draw her father's attention back from his own inner mind.

He frowned at her. "This place runs on fission cells. They'll out burn the sun."

"Then why is it dark?" Donna could handle being angry, but being frightened? This was looking very bad, indeed. The only thing she could think of doing was get in the Doctor's face – despite the risks to her own mental state.

"It's not dark," the Doctor protested, a bit distracted – both by his brain trying to put the pieces together and by the way Donna was invading his personal space

Jenny sighed over their continued dance of denial, turned around and was instantly frightened. “Dad! The shadow's gone!”

The Doctor turned around and stared, stunned. How was that possible? A few things were trying to click in his head, but he couldn't see past how both of his girls were frightened beyond means. I have to keep them safe! "We need to get back to the TARDIS." He grabbed her hand and reached for Jenny's.

Jenny beat her mother to the verbal punch. "Why?"

He flinched at the demand in her voice. "Because that shadow hasn't gone. It's moved."

Before he could try again, the Node spoke again: "Reminder: the Library has been breached, others are coming. Reminder: the Library has been breached, others are coming. Reminder: the Library has been breached..."

The Doctor opened his mouth to silence the Node, but one of the closed doors burst open and six people in spacesuits entered the room. The shock of seeing others in the silent Library rendered the trio speechless.

Until one of the newcomers walked straight to the Doctor, switching their visor to transparent. A blond female face smiled at the Doctor. “Hello sweetie,” she calmly said.

Unbeknownst to either of them, Donna and Jenny had the same thought, in the same shocked, angry tone: Excuse me?!

Chapter 6: O Day Untowardly Turned!


Jul. 3rd, 2011 10:33 pm (UTC)
I'm just editing some details in the next part that my beta said needed work. I'm hoping they'll be done within a few days; they're very necessary to setting the stage for later parts...

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