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Shakespearean Cupids (7/13)

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...

Author's Note: The darkness before the dawn begins here. And then it continues for a few chapters... Fair warning...



From Chapter 6:

In the other room, Jenny's eyes drifted downward, and realized that Miss Evangelista was in grave danger...

And so far,” Mr. Lux pointed out, “what we haven't found are any bodies.”

Suddenly, a feminine scream erupted from the other room.

All six people in that first room jumped in their skins, and then rushed into the other room, finding Jenny standing absolutely still – except for shaking like a building in a massive quake. Her flashlight pointed at her feet, her jaw was slack, and her wide eyes were fixed on a skeleton in a spacesuit.

The Doctor's heartbeats went erratic as he realized that Jenny could've been in dire danger. “Everybody, careful! Stay in the light.”

Donna came right to Jenny's side, putting her arms around her. “Sweetheart?”

Proper Dave stared at him. “You keep saying that. I don't see the point!”

The Doctor ignored that, touching Jenny's shoulder and feeling the incoherent horror blasting out of her mind. Her lack of an answer to her mother's whisper sent shivers to the inside of his bones. “Who screamed?”

“Miss Evangelista,” Proper Dave answered, looking for her.

The Doctor looked around, baffled. “Where is she?” He, and the others, looked to Jenny for answers.

But the Time-Lady remained silent. Kept shaking. Her mouth moved, but only her respiratory bypass kept her awake.

River titled her head down, and spoke into a communicator at her neck. “Miss Evangelista, please state your current...” Then they heard her own voice echo... from the direction of the skeleton. River tried again, moving. “Please state your current...” She stopped as the horrifying truth sunk in, whispering the last word... “...position.” She reached over, pulling out a piece of the spacesuit's collar from behind – revealing that the green lights of the communicator were still on. “It's her,” she whispered. “It's Miss Evangelista.”

Anita's eyes widened. “We heard her scream a few seconds ago. What could do that to a person in a few seconds?”

The Doctor's voice was as grim as his thoughts. “It took a lot less than a few seconds.” And am I a bad person to be so grateful that my Jenny's still alive...?

Anita's eyes whipped to him. “What did?”

“Hello?” The voice was Miss Evangelista, but it was coming from the skeleton's communicator. Jenny's shivering became stronger, drawing Donna to hold her tightly – partly out of maternal love and partly out of the need to hold someone as a barrier against fear.

River flinched, heart clenching a bit more. “Um, I'm sorry everyone, um, this isn't going to be pleasant. She's ghosting.”

“She's what?!” Donna thought she couldn't have heard that correctly.

“Hello, excuse me? I - I'm sorry, hello? Excuse me?” The voice was terrified, uncertain, needing a verbal hand to hold.

Donna's hands trembled, even as she tightened her hold, feeling Jenny turn into the embrace – but still staring at the skeleton. “That's... That's her, that's Miss Evangelista!”

“It was awful,” Jenny whispered, finally able to speak. How could anything do that...?

It drew her father into pulling them both into his arms. Oh, Rassilon, she saw it happen...

Other Dave shuffled in place, uneasy. “I don't want to sound horrible, but couldn't we just... you know?”

“This is her last moment,” River snapped, “no, we can't. A little respect, thank you.”

“Sorry, where am I? Excuse me?” The terror was growing in the voice.

Donna shuddered. “But that's Miss Evangelista.”

River sighed. “It's a data ghost, she'll be gone in a moment.” She spoke again into her communicator. “Miss Evangelista, you're fine, just relax. We'll be with you presently.”

“What's a data ghost?” I'm not sure, Donna thought, that I want to know...

The Doctor spoke softly, trying to comfort both of them. “There's a neural relay in the communicator, lets you send thought mails. That's it there, those green lights. Sometimes it can hold an impression of a living consciousness for a short time after death. Like an after image.”

“My grandfather lasted a day,” Anita commented, with a sad smile. “Kept talking about his shoelaces.”

Donna shook her head. “She's in there!” Can't you see that?!

The voice continued, “I can't see, I can't... Where am I?”

Proper Dave tried to explain gently. “She's just brain waves now. The pattern won't hold for long.”

Donna shook her head again. “She's conscious! She's thinking.”

“I can't see, I can't... I don't know what I'm thinking.”

Sometimes, the Doctor thought, I really hate knowing so much about the universe... “She's a footprint on the beach. And the tide's coming in.”

“Where's that woman? The nice woman... is she there?”

Mr. Lux asked, “What woman?”

“She means...” Donna whispered aloud, “I think, she means me.”

“Is she there? The nice woman?”

“Yeah, she's here, hang on.” River looked up to the woman who'd shaken her own world completely. The only one who might be able to help what was left of Miss Evangelista. “Go ahead. She can hear you.”

“Hello? Are you there?”

Donna shook her head in horror, her breath quickening.

The Doctor leaned in, and whispered, “Help her.”

“She's dead,” she whispered back. I'd be talking to a ghost...

He nodded against her ear. “Yeah,” he admitted, but pushed her gently with a tiny plea in his voice. “Help her. I know you can do anything you set your mind to.”

“Hello? Is that the nice woman?”

His words managed to push her into remembering her need to help others. Donna drew upon all her courage to find her voice. “Yeah. Hello. Yeah, I'm, I'm... I'm here. You OK?”

“What I said before, about being stupid.” This time, a hint of desperation was present. “Don't tell the others, they'll only laugh.”

Donna nodded, unconsciously. “Course I won't. Course I won't tell them.”

“Don't tell the others, they'll only laugh...”

Donna frowned over her horror. “I won't tell them. I said I won't.”

“Don't tell the others, they'll only laugh.”

What's happening...? “I'm not going to tell them,” Donna repeated.

The lights blinked, fading as the number of lights cut down. “Don't tell the others, they'll only laugh.”

She's looping now,” River explained. “The pattern's degrading.”

“I can't think, I...don't know, I... I... I... Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream.” The last two word kept repeating, which made Donna and Jenny drew closer together.

River sighed sadly. “Does anybody mind if I...?” No one spoke, so she stepped up and turned off the relay.

Donna's voice trembled as much as her body was. Tears started flowing. “That was... that was horrible. That was the most horrible thing I've ever seen.”

The Doctor held them even more tightly, not even thinking as he pressed a kiss into first Jenny's, then Donna's hair.

Which they each vaguely felt. Although Jenny wasn't sure it happened, whereas Donna found it oddly comforting.

“No,” River responded – having not noticed the Doctor's actions. It was difficult to explain, but it had to be. “It's just a freak of technology. But whatever did this to her, whatever killed her... I'd like a word with that.” Mum and Dad taught me that. Mum would've been a force to be reckoned with against this thing.

The Doctor felt himself go even more grim. “I'll introduce you,” he said. He pulled Donna and Jenny with him as he rushed back to the other room. He was aware of the others following him. “I'm gonna need a packed lunch,” he announced.

“Hang on.” River crouched down to her bag, searching for the food she knew she'd packed.

The Doctor let go of his girls. Someone's died, so I need answers and I need them now! He knelt beside her. When she pulled her TARDIS book back out, he demanded, “What's in that book?”

“Spoilers,” River quickly answered. Can't tell him anything now...

“Who are you?” Oh, don't you think you're getting away with this...

She sighed, and rattled off her standard introduction. “Professor River Song, University of...”

“To me,” he demanded, sharply. “Who are you to me? And how come you don't know who my companions are?!”

I'm going to assume there's a reason, River thought with a sigh. “Again... spoilers.” Although something was starting to nag her about both women. She handed a lunch box to him. “Chicken, and a bit of salad. Knock yourself out.”

As he gave her a long, hard look, Jenny started coming out of her stupor. In her mother's arms, she tried pushing the image of Miss Evangelista's body melting right in front of her out of her mind. Seeing her father talking with Professor Song, however, triggered her suppressed anger. Are you saying that I'm not going to live? Or Mum? Oh, I don't think so...

The Doctor stood, and forced a lighter tone. “Right, you lot. Let's all meet the Vashta Nerada!” He flipped the flashlight and caught it.

Quit showing off, Sunshine, Donna thought idly. Although if things hadn't been so serious, and seeing him approach the Professor hadn't made her cringe, she would've cracked an indulgent smile over her Martian's antics.

A few minutes passed as the Doctor scanned the floor with the Sonic. Checking each shadow.

River approached Donna and Jenny. Her curiosity was running rampant despite the agony in her heart. “You travel with him, don't you two?”

Jenny snapped in a sharp whisper, “None of your business!”

“Proper Dave,” the Doctor said, pausing a moment, “could you move over a bit?”

The man was confused. “Why?”

He didn't bother answering. “Over there by the water cooler. Thanks.”

Proper Dave looked askance at the Doctor, but followed instructions regardless.

Donna, although she wasn't crazy about this woman, sensed that she had to take charge of the questioning. “You act like you know him, but he doesn't know you. How come?”

River swallowed, knowing enough from her mother than she had to give a truthful answer. I've seen that kind of glare from her when I tried talking rubbish. Must be a ginger trait. She sighed, “He hasn't met me yet. I sent him a message but it went wrong, it arrived too early. This is the Doctor in the days before he knew me. And he looks at me, he looks right through me and it shouldn't kill me, but it does. And the same goes for seeing him...” She had to swallow to get the words out. “...so clearly in love with you.”

“And why shouldn't he love her?” Jenny saw an opportunity to shove the woman into her place, and seized it. She all but got into the Professor's face, growling quietly, “She might've worked as one, but there's nothing temporary about her!”

“Quiet,” Donna snapped in an even lower tone. “He's working! Don't disturb him!”

Jenny was only sorry for that. But not for any pain she might be causing.

“Temporary...” The concept was flicking some connections with the Doctor, and what little he'd said of his past companions. “Temp... Donna?” At the flickers in the two women's eyes, she knew who the ginger was. “You're Donna Noble?!” Despite it all, River couldn't help but feel awed to be in her presence.

Damn, Jenny thought, she figured it out. But I'm not saying mine unless she somehow guesses it...

Donna sighed. “Yeah.” Her voice was as tense as she felt. “Why?”

Of course, River thought sadly as so many things became clear about the Doctor's various actions over the years. The Most Important Woman in All of Creation... No wonder he's completely bonkers over her... even before she became that... “I do know the Doctor,” she admitted softly. “But in the future. His personal future.” But who is the blond...?

“So why don't you know me?” This was scaring Donna. “Where am I in the future?” Jerking her head toward Jenny, she added, even more desperately, “And why don't you know her?!” I can accept my own death, but Jenny is supposed to outlive her father!

River didn't want to answer the first two questions; the spoilers would be too painful. And it explained some of the sad looks she'd seen from the Doctor. But she had no clue about the third...

Fortunately, the Doctor interrupted. And River had never been so grateful for his talkative nature.

“OK, we've got a live one!” He was grim, even as he shouted. “That's not darkness down those tunnels, this is not a shadow. It's a swarm. A man-eating swarm.” He knelt, grabbed a chicken leg from the lunch box, and threw it into the shadows. But when it reached the ground, only the bone was left.

Jenny gasped. “That's what happened to Miss Evangelista...”

The Doctor sighed. “The piranhas of the air, the Vashta Nerada. Literally 'the shadows that melt the flesh.' Most planets have them, but usually in small clusters. I've never seen an infestation on this scale, or this aggressive.” And this isn't good...

“What d'you mean, most planets?” Donna knelt by him, drawing comfort from his presence despite his propensity to attract trouble. “Not Earth?”

His hearts broke a bit more over her words. I wish I could offer that comfort, but she knows when I'm lying... “Mmmm, Earth, and a billion other worlds. Where there's meat, there's Vashta Nerada. You can see them sometimes, if you look. The dust in sunbeams.”

That made everyone look around, especially River. Who finally felt fear sinking into her bones.

Donna shook her head, hoping against hope that her fears were wrong. “If they were on Earth, we'd know.”

He sighed. “Nah, normally they live on road kill. But sometimes people go missing. Not everyone comes back out of the dark.” Unfortunately...

“Every shadow?” Oh, my God, River thought, this is more dangerous than anything... Even the Weeping Angels...

“No.” Which, he thought, is a bit of a relief. “But any shadow.”

River's body trembled from deep inside. Something told her that this could threaten everything she knew. “So what do we do?”

And that, he knew, is the rub... “Daleks - aim for the eyestalk. Sontarans - back of the neck. Vashta Nerada... Run! Just run.”

“Run?” That's it? River couldn't believe him sometimes! “Run where?” Have you thought of that?!

He thought about that. “This is an index point. There must be an exit teleport somewhere.”

“Don't look at me,” Mr. Lux snapped, hiding his own fear, “I haven't memorized the schematics!”

A brainwave hit Donna, and she was suddenly, inexplicably grateful for every moment she'd spent being a complete chav. “Doctor, the little shop! They always make you go through the little shop on the way out so they can sell you stuff.”

He beamed at her. “You're right! Brilliant! That's why I like the little shop!” And why I love you, he thought before he could stop himself, and he blushed.

Between his words, the look in his eyes, and the blush, Donna thought her skin would catch fire. God knows my heart has...

Proper Dave felt relieved. “OK, let's move it!” He started heading in that direction.

But the Doctor's eyes caught something that made his hearts sink.”Actually, Proper Dave, could you stay where you are for a moment?” Oh, we're in more trouble than I thought...!

He frowned. “Why?”

Only part of this can be Donna and Jenny's influence, the Doctor thought about the agony he felt over having to say it. “I'm sorry. I am so, so sorry. But you've got two shadows.” Everyone looked down, and saw the second shadow – that shouldn't have been there. “It's how they hunt, they latch on to a food source and keep it fresh.”

Proper Dave felt his throat constrict his breath. “What do I do?”

“You stay absolutely still,” the Doctor decided. It was the only thing he could think of. “Like there's a wasp in the room, like there's a million wasps.” Not sure how long it'll work, but maybe it'll buy us a little time...

“We're not leaving you, Dave.” You don't leave someone behind, River knew, Her parents had told her about the time they were separated by the quirks of time. She wouldn't inflict that on anyone.

“Course we're not leaving,” the Doctor agreed. I have to try to save everyone here... But maybe get my girls to safety first so I can focus on getting the job done... “Where's your helmet? Don't point, just tell me.”

“On the floor,” he said, feeling the weight of the universe dropping on him, “by my bag.”

Anita went to fetch the helmet. The Doctor had to shout, “Don't cross his shadow!” Anita managed, and he took the helmet from her. “Thanks. Now, the rest of you, helmets back on and sealed up. We'll need everything we've got.” He carefully placed the helmet on Proper Dave.

“But, Doctor,” Donna wondered aloud, more frightened than when the Empress had her hanging in that web, “we haven't got any helmets.”

Jenny snapped, “And don't tell us that we're safe. You know that I can sense a bit of your thoughts, and I know that you are trying to think of a way to keep us safe. So don't even try lying!”

Well, I had a lie ready, he thought, but I suppose I should've known they'd see through me. Instead, he focused a question to Professor Song. “Professor, anything I can do with the suit?”

“What good are the damn suits?” Mr. Lux couldn't believe what he was hearing, “Miss Evangelista was wearing her suit, there was nothing left.”

River had an idea. “We can increase the mesh-density, dial it up 400%. Make it a tougher meal.”

The Doctor liked the idea. It could work, he thought. “OK.” He quickly sonicked Proper Dave's suit, getting an idea.800%! Pass it on.” He turned, holding up the screwdriver, but she lifted a similar one.

River smirked. “Gotcha!” I always did love getting one up on the Doctor...

Jenny beat her father to the punch. “What is that?”

“It's a screwdriver,” River answered, still grinning at the Doctor.

“It's sonic,” he observed. And looks just like mine!

“Yeah, I know. Snap!” She enjoyed the look on his face, and turned around to seal everyone's suits.

The Doctor watched her. The suspicious side of him didn't like the implications of seeing that. He grabbed Donna and Jenny by a hand. “With me, come on!” He practically dragged them into the shop.

“What,” Jenny snapped, pulling away from his grasp once they were in the other room, “are we doing? What the hell are you doing?!”

“No talking,” he snapped, not meaning to be mean, “just moving! Try it! Right, stand there in the middle.”

Jenny could read enough of his thoughts – which told her that he was absolutely terrified – to figure out his plans. “It's a teleport,” she realized grabbing Donna away from the Doctor. “Why didn't you get us to here in the first place?!”

Donna got a bit worried. “You know him. He has to help others.” She kept her tone low, trying to calm her overly tense daughter.

The Doctor pulled Donna toward the platform, despite Jenny's grip. “Stand in the middle,” he ordered, reaching for Jenny as well and talking faster than usual – even for him. “Can't send the others, TARDIS won't recognize them.”

Then Donna picked up on the idea, and abruptly pulled away, going back to Jenny's side. “What are you doing?”

“You don't have suits,” he pleaded, rushing to them, “you're not safe!”

Donna gasped at his own recklessness. “You don't have a suit, so you're in just as much danger as we are and we're not leaving-”

“Damn right, we're not leaving,” Jenny shouted. “Do you think we're going to leave you with that Professor?! She's dangerous!”

In the other room, the shouting reached River's ears. And everyone else's. She briefly froze, despite not being surprised to hear how little she was trusted by the Soldier.

His hands shook from the fear he was feeling consumed by. “Let me explain,” he started, trying to inject a calm note by keeping his voice down.

“What's there to explain?!” Jenny looked out to make sure the shadows were a good distance away, but she'd had enough. “You're going to listen to me this time! What makes you think you can trust the Professor? You didn't hear her talking!”

The Doctor grabbed them in a panic. “I can't risk losing either of you!”

His shout, and the ones preceding it, were more than audible to the others. River blanched over the final proof of where the Doctor's love lay at this point in his life.

The Time-Lady saw red everywhere. “But you will, according to her!”

The Doctor stopped breathing. What?! No!

Jenny shook from her anger. “She doesn't know us, but she knew of – of Donna!” She had to remind herself what she had planned, that she didn't think she could reveal who she was – or who Donna was to her. “She didn't say it, but her eyes hinted that Donna will meet a horrible fate! And who the hell does this woman think she is?! A savior?! She's dangerous! She carries a screwdriver like yours! She acted like she had absolute confidence that everything will turn out right, but the three of us all know how badly things could end.”

It had never dawned on River how much she'd relied on that comfort, that belief that – because the Doctor was there – things would turn out well. At least for her... She shivered as a few implications made the Soldier's anger seem a bit more reasonable.

The Doctor hadn't seen or sensed any of this coming; he'd been sure that Donna and Jenny had lots of time left with him. And he certainly hadn't seen his daughter's exploding temper coming – or realized how much she was like him at times. This was an Oncoming Storm of a different nature, and he had to find a way to contain it. “Jenny,” he whispered, “you-”

But Jenny's anger needed an outlet. “Oh, God, if only those shadows had caught the Professor instead! Why should Miss Evangelista and Proper Dave have to pay for some adventurer's wanderlust?! I talked with that poor girl, and she told me that the expedition wouldn't have happened – for all of Mr. Lux's money – without Professor Song's leadership! That sweet girl! She's dead! She can't grow up! She can't make something of herself!”

All five occupants in the other room flinched at the unspoken accusations. They were all finally willing to entertain the thought that they'd been too harsh on the assistant.

And Jenny wasn't done, Donna could tell. She grabbed her girls' shoulders. “We know,” she whispered, trying to halt the torrent.

It was a futile effort; Jenny whirled on her mother. “Oh, don't you try defending that Professor! You don't trust her, either, Donna Noble! You told me that the Doctor needs someone to stop him from going too far, someone to be there for him. Do you really trust that the woman who claims she knows him in the future has the instincts – much less the willingness – to fill that role?! That she won't just encourage his worst traits like certain others have?!”

River felt insulted, but also remembered all the time she'd wondered one thought: Oh, Doctor, why do I ever let you out? But she realized one other thing in that moment: Oh, God, she's right... I never could've stopped him those times...

I don't trust River Song to do anything good for my Spaceman, Donna realized with a cringe. Not as far as the TARDIS could toss her...

And the Doctor saw the proof of the level of mistrust in Donna's stance, even though her tense gaze was fixed on Jenny. And his hearts sunk as he realized he'd never get his girls to safety while they viewed the Professor as a threat. Made Jenny's understandable anger over Rose – not to mention Rose's inexplicable jealousy over Sarah Jane – seem like child's play...

He had no idea how much, and his daughter was still not done. “How,” Jenny screamed at Donna, “do we know that she won't be the one to end our time with him?! How do we know she isn't a dangerous murderer?!”

In the other room, River cringed. Whoever the Soldier is, she's dangerous. Especially to me... She tried to ignore the curious stares of the others.

I've got to stop this! The Doctor grabbed his daughter's shoulders. “Answer me quietly: Do you believe that River Song is a danger to us all?”

Jenny fixed her gaze deep into her father's eyes. “Yes. As sure I as know I have hearts and a soul.” She knew she'd read something close before, but she was too furious to make the connection.

He looked at Donna, and caught her attention. “Do you agree with her?”

Donna couldn't tear her gaze away from his eyes. He needs my input, she realized, and he can't wait very long. He needs us to be safe... “I don't feel comfortable with the very thought of you being alone with her.” At that moment, she could accept going away if it allowed him to concentrate; she'd sensed that her touch had distracted him more than once back there. Which, she knew, is very dangerous right now...

He sighed. Then there's only one thing I can do... “All right.” He pulled his Sonic out, and handed it to Jenny. Her eyes widened, but he didn't let either speak. “Donna and I will transport back to the TARDIS to find whatever we can to help save everyone.”

Oh, God... He's coming with me... “Including Proper Dave,” Donna asked, desperately wanting to feel a bit of hope for the man.

It was more an attempt to distract herself from the implications of his not leaving her side. She'd never admit to that, though...

The Doctor frowned. “I hope. But at least to get everyone we can safely out of here, and maybe solve this mystery.” And have every moment I can with Donna... and fight for more time for both of my girls... I'm not willing to accept that what I'm hearing will happen...!

He turned back to Jenny, and quickly put his fingers up to establish the telepathic connection. 'This is everything I know about the Vashta Nerada. There's no telling what you'll need.” Good thing, he thought, that Gallifreyan minds can work so quickly! “Now,” he added, as they disconnected, letting Jenny's mind absorb the new knowledge, “swear to me that you'll be careful and not let anyone die.”

Jenny realized what else he meant, and was angry. “Even-”

He grabbed her shoulders again. “You don't allow anyone to die! No matter what you feel about them! I want you to always want to save people! Don't you dare push anyone into something that could kill them! Swear it on the TARDIS!”

She shuddered, knowing he'd never made anyone promise that level of vow before. “I swear it,” she promised, reaching to the bottom of her hearts. Even if it kills me...

OK, he sighed, she's agreed and I can trust she'll keep her word to me. He grabbed Donna's hand and pulled her with him onto the platform. “One of those levers should do it,” he said, squeezing Donna's hand in reassurance.

Donna looked at her. “We'll see you soon,” she promised as she returned the grip.

Jenny nodded, pushed a lever and watched as her parents teleported away. She sighed in relief. “So, that's how you do it!” Now they're both safe from her!

“Doctor!” River called from the other room, finally feeling that she could talk without getting shouted at. Things seemed to have quieted, and she hoped that the Doctor had talked the Soldier into some sense of calm. And maybe this awful headache I'm starting to feel will go away...

Jenny smirked as she ran back. Can't wait to deflate her ego a bit more... Of course, Mum and Dad looked more aware of each other's feelings than ever... If this is what pushes them into each other's arms... then I guess I'll have to find a way to thank Professor Song... after I make sure she knows to stay the hell away from my Dad...

When Jenny rushed in alone, River was shocked. “Where are the Doctor and Donna?” She had to force herself to ask about the latter; it seemed a bad idea not to.

Jenny ignored her. Especially when she noticed a major difference around Proper Dave: the second shadow had vanished.“Where did it go?!”

Proper Dave's voice was baffled. “It's just gone. I... I looked round, one shadow. See?”

Where is the Doctor? And where did this massive headache come from?! River, however, chose to ask something else. “Does that mean we can leave? I don't want to hang around here.”

“I don't know why we're still here,” Mr. Lux groaned. “We can leave him, can't we? I mean, no offense...”

“Shut up, Mr. Lux,” River snapped. But he wasn't the only thing upsetting her; she realized she suddenly couldn't drag up from the depths of her memories the one bit of knowledge about the Doctor that had become an immense source of comfort... That one precious word...

Better you two as targets for each other's anger than me, Jenny thought. “Did you feel anything? Like an energy transfer? Anything at all?”

She could tell he was probably shaking his head inside. “No, no, but, look, it's, it's gone.” He even started to turn around to show he seemed clear.

Something from her transferred knowledge was nagging at her. “Stop moving! They're never just gone. And they never give up.” She knelt and scanned the shadow coming from Proper Dave. “OK, this one's benign.”

“Hey,” Proper Dave suddenly exclaimed, “who turned out the lights?”

Jenny stood up, and backed off a bit; something instinctual told her to. “No-one, they're fine.”

“No, seriously,” Proper Dave nearly shouted, “turn them back on!”

River didn't need to see the Soldier backing off to know things were turning uglier. “They are on.”

“I can't see a ruddy thing,” he said, panic practically raining from his voice.

“Dave,” Jenny ordered softly, despite knowing she wasn't prepared for whatever she'd see, “turn round.”

Proper Dave turned back to the group slowly, but his face was suddenly invisible in the darkness of the helmet. “What's going on? Why can't I see? Is the power gone, are we safe here?”

“Dave,”Jenny said softly, sifting through her new knowledge as quickly as she could, “I want you stay still, absolutely still.” The man suddenly stiffened, and Jenny just knew his end was coming. I've already failed... Now I know how Dad's guilt has grown over the years... “Dave, can you hear me, are you all right? Talk to me, Dave.”

His voice grew a bit calmer, but it was clearly forced. “I'm fine, I'm OK, I'm... I'm fine.”

If things are like with Miss Evangelista, she thought, then he'll start ghosting soon. All I can do is be a calm voice for him to hear on his way out. “OK, stay still, but tell me: do you feel physically all right?”

“I'm fine,” he said again, “I'm OK, I'm, I'm fine. I can't... Why can't I? I... I can't... Why can't I? I... I can't... Why can't I? I...” The lights on his communicator blinked, signaling the end.

He's gone,” River announced, knowing it wasn't necessary but felt it should be noted aloud. “He's ghosting.”

Mr. Lux had to voice the new obvious question: “Then why is he still standing?”

“Hey! Who turned out the lights?” The tone was identical to the last time they heard it, and then: “Hey! Who turned out the lights?”

Jenny's eyes widened in horror. Oh, God, it's learning...

River felt some relief seeing the Soldier stay put, whereas the Doctor – ever reckless at times – would've approached Proper Dave's suit. “Stay away,” she ordered everyone.

Hey!” It repeated. “Who turned out the lights?”

Jenny aimed the Sonic at the helmet, and the visor flipped, revealing a skeleton. Everyone gasped. And the communicator kept talking: “Who turned out the lights? Hey! Who turned out the lights?”

“Excuse me!” River shouted to everyone. “We should go!”

Jenny nodded. “Get away from it, now!” The group did, but it was obvious that they no longer had a clear way out, and Skeleton Dave was now walking toward them like a zombie.

River commented drily, “Doesn't move very fast does it?”

“It's a swarm in a suit,” Jenny retorted. “But it's learning. Much too fast,” she added as several shadows stretched out from Skeleton Dave toward them.

What do we do?” Mr. Lux couldn't remember such fear in his life, or imagining such horror. “Where do we go?”

River quickly scanned the areas around them, and looked right where Mr. Lux was standing. “See that wall behind you? Duck!” He did, and River whipped out a sonic blaster, which blew a hole in the wall.

For the first time, Jenny felt a bit of admiration toward the smug professor. “A squareness gun!” She knew of it only from the reading in the TARDIS library.

“Everybody out,” River ordered sharply. “Go, go, go! Move it, move, move! Move it, move, move!” When they did, they quickly found themselves in a shadowy aisle. “He said not every shadow,” River recalled, looking around.

Jenny was already scanning hard. “But any shadow!” Now I get why Dad gets so frustrated with other species sometimes...

“Hey!” They saw Skeleton Dave lumbering slowly toward them. “Who turned out the lights?”

“Run!” Jenny and River shouted simultaneously. They all did.

Moments later, Jenny used the Sonic to adjust a lamp's settings. River watched nearby while the others sat, panting from the exertion that wearing the suits demanded.

“What are you doing?” River watched the girl who might be her most personally dangerous enemy yet. Except... her mind was suddenly telling her that she did know the girl after all... But where did those memories come from, she asked herself. I had no idea who she was when I first saw her! And why can't I now draw up my memories of the Doctor as I remember him?!

“Trying to boost the power.” Question was legit, Jenny acknowledged silently. Although she spoke more to the others than to River. “Light doesn't stop them, but it slows them down.”

River approached and added her screwdriver's power to the effort. “So, what's the plan? Do we have a plan?”

The lamp messed with as much as possible, Jenny stopped and yanked the sonic out of River's hand. The professor gasped in indignation, but Jenny was out of reach in seconds. She looked at her new acquisition with a suspicious eye. “Your screwdriver... looks exactly like... the Doctor's.” It took all her concentration to not say Dad's. “How the hell did you get it?”

I'd better be very careful about my answers, River thought; she might be the only way we're getting out of this one alive. “He gave it to me.” But now the memory of the man she remembered was completely fuzzy; she couldn't make out his face, or what he wore – and she'd seen them both often enough!

Jenny scowled. “You're lying. He doesn't give his screwdriver to anyone. He barely lets me use it – although he's promised to make me one.”

I'm not anyone. But River didn't voice the thought; the Soldier had reacted very violently back in the Shop, so it seemed unwise to fuel her fire. “I'm not lying, and I'm positive that it's not the screwdriver that the Doctor uses right now. Which you're holding in your other hand. So where is he?”

A small triumphant smile crossed Jenny's face. “I teleported Donna and the Doctor back to the TARDIS. They'll look for things that can help us.” I'm sure Dad was counting on Emergency Program One to kick in if things went to hell and he'd succeed in sending us back there. Silly man. “As for... your Sonic,” she added, pocketing it, “I don't believe you, so I'm confiscating it. He was freaked to see you with one.”

River sighed, wanting to protest but sensing it was a bad idea. Doubt I'm going to get a better answer, especially when she said that she doesn't trust me near him. I've got to find a way to get her to trust me. Maybe my journal will help, and remind of what I inexplicably can't recall. “We need to get a shift on,” she announced to the others.

Then Jenny realized that the TARDIS had been nudging her mind for some time. Jenny felt her insides freeze solid as the frantic message finally came through. She looked at her father's Sonic and its readings didn't comfort her. “Oh, my God,” she whispered. “They're not there... I should've received a signal, the console signals if there's a teleport breach.”

River's heart lurched into her throat. “Well, maybe the co-ordinates have slipped. The equipment here's ancient.” She prayed it was the case. “They have to still be here.” He has to still be here, she thought – although she didn't dare say it.

Jenny ran to the nearest Node. “Donna Noble and the Doctor. There's a human woman called Donna Noble and a Gallifreyan man called The Doctor somewhere in this Library. Do you have the software to locate their positions?” Please let them be OK...

The Node turned its head toward Jenny, and the face it revealed froze her solid. “Donna Noble has left the Library.” The tone was the same robotic one, but it was her voice... “Donna Noble has been saved.”

Jenny's jaw had dropped, nearly unhinging. “Mum...” She choked on the whisper.

But, where it always stopped before, it kept turning. All five people – with varying levels of dread – suddenly knew what face and voice would appear next. And they were right: “The Doctor has left the Library. The Doctor has been saved.”

Jenny's legs wobbled, dropping her to the floor. Only River's proximity prevented her from unconsciously injuring herself from the fall. River acted on instinct, barely aware she'd done it as she whispered, “How can it be Donna and the Doctor? How's that possible?

It kept turning. “Donna Noble has left the Library. Donna Noble has been saved.”

“Oh, Mum and Dad...!” Jenny's voice was barely audible to her own ears. “Oh, my God... What have I done...?”

River's ears were just close enough to pick it up, but she wasn't aware of it at that moment... She instead felt two heartbeats under her hands... She's Gallifreyan...?! Then the Doctor is her father...?!

Chapter 8: Have Patience and Endure


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 7th, 2011 12:21 am (UTC)
This plot twist of Jenny stepping into the Doctor's role is fantastic! Not only do we get to see Jenny go head to head with River, but this leaves more together time for the Doctor and Donna.

I'm loving how you're bringing the sweetness and love between them in at every opportunity, little moments. And it warms my heart to see how protective he is of his ladies.

Chapter: Have Patience and Endure. Good advice I guess while waiting excitedly for the next installment....
Jul. 7th, 2011 12:53 am (UTC)
If you're liking her going head to head with River, then you'll like parts of the next two chapters... especially when Jenny hits the end of her rope.

And there is more sweetness coming... You'll have to wait a little, though...
Jul. 7th, 2011 03:32 am (UTC)
i love this story
please hurry up cause i cant sleep at nights cause of thinking
can u tell me where abouts the new chapter will be ??
i cant wait:))
love the story and doctor/donna aww i just wish that this would happend in real to them in doctor who series
Jul. 7th, 2011 03:42 am (UTC)
Within a day or two. Just need to double-check some things.

Glad you reviewed. Hope I can keep drawing you back for more!
Jul. 7th, 2011 04:00 am (UTC)
u surely will draw me back more if u write more doctor/donna then i will gladly read them out and i cant wait to read chapter 9
i love this fanfic and i hope i will love more your works too
Jul. 7th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
Aw, shucks.... Well, every DW fic I've ever posted - WIP or complete - is here on this journal. I see I'll soon have to start my own fic masterlist entry...

Might post that new chapter later today... Maybe...
Jul. 7th, 2011 07:18 am (UTC)
Ooh, what a lovely moment of reveal! And the twist with Jenny taking her father's place is wonderful. Do I assume then that, instead of Lee, we have Donna and the Doctor together with children? Can't wait to see if I've guessed right!
Jul. 7th, 2011 07:16 pm (UTC)
Appropriate icon for the D/D stuff here, BTW. At least on HIS end... (smirks)

(Gollum voice): You will see! Oh, yes...! You will see...!
Jul. 7th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
Ooh, you awful tease. Love it!
Jul. 7th, 2011 09:40 am (UTC)
Omg, this was amazing. I love that Jenny is so suspicious of River and LOVE that she stopped him from sending Jenny and Donna back. And now Donna and the Doctor are in the virtual world together, ohhhh that's gonna be interesting!!!!! Will they be married and have kids? I so can't wait to read more.
And ohh River knows that Jenny's the Doctor's daughter now. Have I mentioned that I can't wait to read more??!
Jul. 7th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
In "The Belted Doctor," I didn't show it, but Jenny was furious with him over sending them into the teleport. This time, I knew she was going to be so invested in getting her parents together that her natural anger at River would know no bounds. Thus, she was ready to have a temper tantrum/sh*t fit.

In good time, my friend... In good time... ;D
Jul. 7th, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Very interesting, what you're doing. I think I like it. It's a unique little twist you're pulling. Great job. Still love this story, looking forward to the next chapter, as always.
Jul. 7th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
Which twist? I assume you meant this one connected solely to the events within the Library, but there is more than one point you could be referring to...

Thank you. As I said to another reader, the next part MIGHT be up later today...
Jul. 7th, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
Ah cathartic! I like your version so much.
I especially loved him holding Jenny and Donna during the ghosting scene, every time I watch that one I want him to take her in his arms, its so beautifully acted by Catherine.
Jul. 8th, 2011 03:31 am (UTC)
That was one of the times you wished the Doctor had done more to comfort her. Even if it's just holding her hand... That would've been huge! Not to mention making River uncomfortable! (snickers)

I'm thinking he's learned the hugging from his newer companions, but Donna taught him about familial love, human-style.

You're welcome, Sweetheart! (I'm not sure I can say Sweetie anymore... ;D)
Jul. 8th, 2011 02:39 am (UTC)

I'm a bit scared of Jenny!
And oh, lopping the Doctor with Donna in CAL's world :o Can't wait to see how this all turns out.
Jul. 8th, 2011 03:24 am (UTC)
If Jenny unnerves you here with her anger at River, then I guess I did my job. :)

I'm still working on scenes in CAL's world. Once they're polished a bit, they'll be ready for posting. Stay tuned!
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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