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 Post subject: Doctor Who Fic: Homecoming (Donna, Tenth Doctor)
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 11:11 pm 
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Title: Homecoming
Characters: Donna, the Doctor
Rating: PG
Word Count: 3406
Summary: The connection between Donna and the Doctor is much more complex than we thought. Set post the Journey’s End fix of your choice.
A/N: written for the lovely Katherine_b, who owns my soul from the Support Stacie Auction.


“Here we are, Donna, the no-longer-lost Moon of Poosh!” the Doctor declares, pulling on his duster as he strides down the ramp.

She follows him, grinning. “Next stop on the stolen planet tour, I presume? I hope it goes better than the last one.”

He looks back at her, wrinkling his nose. “Perhaps Pyrovilia was a bad idea, yeah,” he agrees. “Still, they might have been more grateful,” he adds as he opens the doors and steps out. He stops short just outside the doors and Donna bumps into his back, but he only sways under the impact.

“Oi, what are you doing?” she asks, giving him a little push. When he doesn’t move, she pushes her way around him, looking up at him curiously. He’s staring at their surroundings, his mouth open, uncharacteristically silent. When he doesn’t look down at her, despite her tugging at his sleeve, she follows his gaze to see what has affected him so profoundly.

Tall, exotic-looking buildings tower around them, tipped with domes and spires that rise impossibly high into the sky. The city seems to be encased in a dome, although she can’t be sure it’s not a trick of the light. She squints up into the sunlight, and she gasps at the sight of two suns, one setting, one still high in the reddish-coloured sky.

“Where are we?” she asks, breathlessly. He doesn’t look at her, but reaches out his hand toward her, groping blindly. She quickly grabs his hand, holding on with both of hers. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

As her hands close over his he finally turns to look at her, and she catches her breath again at the look in his eyes. “It’s impossible,” he says, not quite focusing on her. “It can’t be.”

“What is?” She squeezes his hand, trying not to panic. “Please, tell me where we are,” she says, slowly, hoping that if she remains calm he will too.

He turns, stepping back into the TARDIS, pulling her with him. He releases her hand as he sprints for the console and grabs the viewscreen, spinning it around to him. Donna follows him, peering over his shoulder as he slides his spectacles onto his nose. She can’t decipher the clockwork symbols and swirls on the screen, but there is a picture of a red-tinted planet floating in the corner of the screen.

“No, no, no, no, it’s impossible.”

Donna crossed her arms over her chest. “You use that word a lot, and I don’t think you know what it means. Now, please tell me what the hell is going on!”

He turns to her, removing his glasses and returning them to his pocket. “We’re on Gallifrey.”

She stares at him for a moment. “But, you said it burned – it was lost – how—“

“It did – it does – it will.” He rubs his hand over his face distractedly. “I watched it burn. It’s gone.
We can’t possibly be here.”

“Did we somehow – I don’t know – break the timelock?”

He shakes his head. “No – at least, I don’t think so. Dalek Caan managed it, but went mad in the attempt.”

“Yes, I know that. Then it’s an illusion, or a trick. Someone’s set a trap for you, right?”

“No, no, that’s just it. It’s not a trick. It’s not just what we can see, which is clearly the center of the Citadel, by the looks of it. I can feel them all up here,” he says, pressing his hand to his temple.

She covers his hand with hers, closes her eyes, and for a moment she can hear them, feel them. She can’t make out any words, only the sense of a crowded room with everyone talking at once, so briefly she could almost believe she imagined it. She feels his mind clearly, though, sharp against hers, and familiar. An electric tingle runs through her fingers and she pulls away.

She opens her eyes to find him staring at her. “How did you—“ he asks.

She shrugs. “I don’t know. Must be something left from the metacrisis.”

“Nothing’s left from the metacrisis, I made sure of that.”

She’s not sure that’s true, but doesn’t argue. “Maybe leftover from the Oodsphere, then.”

“But you heard them, felt them,” he asks, and when she nods he lets out his breath in something like a sigh. Relief, she thinks, that he’s not going mad. That the empty place is filled again, however impossible that might be.

She rests her hand on his arm, squeezing lightly. “Well then, shall we go have a look around? I know I don’t want to pass up a chance to see the legendary Gallifrey.”

#

He takes her hand as they walk down the street, but she hardly notices. She’s too busy trying to memorize what everything looks like, and to get a glimpse of the other people walking by, trying not to stare. Time Lords, she thinks in amazement.

“Will they recognize you, do you think?” she asks softly, and he leans down to catch her words.

“No idea,” he replies, shaking his head. “They might detect that I’ve crossed my own timeline, but I honestly don’t know.”

“They?”

“The High Council.”

“Oh. Have you?” she asks. “Crossed your own timeline, I mean?”

“If I’m right about when we are, then yes I have. And that could be very bad.”

“Does that mean there’s another you running around here somewhere?” She laughs. “That’s bonkers! What will you do? Walk up to yourself, and say ‘Hello, I’m the Doctor?’ and he’ll answer, ‘Yes, so am I’?”

He chuckles. “Not exactly. Actually, if I’m right, and I usually am, then we’re here before I became the Doctor. When I was just—“

“Theta!” A woman’s voice calls from an open doorway, and the Doctor freezes, clenching his fingers around Donna’s. He turns his head slowly toward the voice, and Donna follows his gaze. A tall, blonde woman stands in an open doorway, a cross look on her face as she calls again, “Theta!”

“No,” the Doctor whispers.

“I’m sorry, but have you seen a small boy as you were walking?” the woman calls to them.

“No, I’m sorry, we didn’t,” Donna answers, when the Doctor appears speechless.

“Well, if you do see him – about seven years old, dark hair, probably running madly – would you tell him his mother wants him?”

“Yes, of course,” Donna replies. The Doctor is still staring silently at the woman, every muscle tense, and Donna tugs at his hand. “What is it?” she asks softly, as the woman goes back inside. “Who is she?”

He looks down at her, and Donna feels a lump in her throat at the sadness in his eyes. “My mother,” he says, finally.

“Oh my God!” she breathes, looking back at the now-closed door. “Is that your house? Are you in there?”

“No, no, that’s my aunt’s house. And no, I’m not in there. I’m the one she’s looking for, you see.”

“She didn’t recognize you, though. Shouldn’t she have?”

“She wouldn’t recognize this face, no. No reason for her to think I’m anything but some bloke walking by, is there?”

“So where are you then? Where were you hiding?”

“I don’t remember.” He rubbed the back of his neck, and Donna could feel him thinking. “Oh, yes, I do remember. But there’s something I want you to see first.” Donna struggles to keep up with him as he strides down the street, turning and heading toward the edge of the dome. Most of the other people on the street ignore them, but some give them odd looks as they pass, and Donna smiles apologetically.

They finally reach the edge of the dome and the Doctor stops, looking out. A large mountain range dominates the horizon, and a very large, imposing building nestles near the foothills.

“The Mountains of Solace and Solitude,” he says, sweeping his arm at the view.

The sunlight is glinting off of the mountains, making it look like the trees are aflame. “It’s beautiful,” she says at last. She turns to him, takes his hand. “Really beautiful.”

“I didn’t appreciate it while I was here – I was in such a hurry to run away, seek excitement. I didn’t really see it. Now I see it in my dreams.”

“I know.” She knows he sees this in his dreams, and the world burning in his nightmares. “It’s even more beautiful than I imagined.”

His hand is trembling a little in hers, and she squeezes it tighter. “Still, it must have been difficult, growing up in their shadow. I mean, ‘The Mountains of Solace and Solitude’ is pretty pompous, don’t you think?”

He laughs a little, “Yeah, I suppose it is.”

“What’s that giant building there, then?”

“The Academy,” he replies. “I went there when I was eight, and ran away after I graduated.”

“Eight? That seems so young.”

“It was, it is. I hated it, all of it. The rules, the snobbery, the bureaucracy. The pompousness. I scraped by, wanted to graduate so I could escape.”

She lets go of his hand to slide her arm through his, leaning her head on his shoulder, just looking out. “So, Theta?”

He rubs his hand over his eyes. “I was hoping you wouldn’t remember that.”

“Your name is Theta?”

“Sort of. It’s the name I was given just before going into the Academy. Which is when we are. I’m about a week from going, which is why I’ve run away from the family gathering. Everyone was talking about how wonderful it was that I was going away, and I couldn’t bear it. So I ran. Not the last time I would do that.”

He rests his head against hers, and she can feel him relax a little as he tells her the story. “What made you come back that time?”

“I’m beginning to remember. Which is why we have to go find the young me, in my favourite hiding place.”

She tries to imagine him as a child, the child who was frightened by thunder, and who didn’t want to leave his family. “I can’t quite picture you as a child.”

“No? I can see you, quite clearly. Ginger pigtails, skinned knees, bossing the other children around?” He turns to her, tilting her face toward his. “Freckles, of course. And probably had your father wrapped around your finger. Am I right?”

She can see the dusting of freckles over his nose as he looks down at her, and she thinks how impossibly young he looks there, in the sunlight. His eyes still look old as they meet hers, and she realizes she hasn’t answered his question. “You must have been sneaking peeks at the family albums the last time we were in Chiswick,” she says lightly.

Laughing, he shakes his head. “Come on, I know where I’m hiding, and you need to be there.” He tucks her arm through his again, keeping his pace slow this time as they walk back the way they came. He walks confidently, clearly remembering his way around the familiar streets. She thinks of the planet on fire, and remembers walking through the streets of Pompeii, knowing it, too would burn. There’s no way to warn them, this time, she knows. Nothing she could say that can change what will happen, and she shivers a little.

The Doctor’s grip on her arm tightens. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” she says quickly. “I was remembering Pompeii.”

He nods. “Yeah. We can’t change things here, either.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

He’s silent as they walk another block. “Thank you,” he says, finally.

#

They round a corner and are at the entrance to a little garden, which is full of statues of imposing looking people, most of whom seem to be wearing cloaks with elaborate collars. Well-manicured trees provide shade, with leaves that include every colour of the rainbow. Donna counts a few picnic tables under some of the trees. The park is quiet and deserted, and a welcome respite from the towering buildings just outside.

“I see why you liked it here,” she says, as they walk toward one of the tables at the far end of the park.

“I found it by accident one day. Whenever we were in the city after that, I would try to get here alone.”

“You didn’t grow up here, then?”

“No, we had a house outside the citadel.”

“Oh.”

“Right, so, I’m hiding under that table over there. Now I can’t touch me – him – but it’s okay if you do.”

“What happens if you touch him?”

“I’d rather not find out, but I’m pretty sure it would be bad.”

“Okay,” she says slowly. “What are we going to do? Aren’t we changing history by looking for him?”

“Not exactly,” he replies.

Before she can ask him what that means, he’s ducking his head under the table and she stoops down next to him. “Hello!” he says brightly, and the little boy hiding under the table jumps in surprise, turning to look at them, eyes wide.

“Are you trying to scare him to death?” Donna asks, giving the Doctor a whack on his arm. She reaches out her hand to the little boy. “It’s alright, sweetheart, we didn’t mean to scare you. I’m—“

Before she can say her name, the Doctor interrupts her. “I’m John Smith, and this is my friend. We were just walking by and we saw you under here.” Donna looks at him curiously when he doesn’t say her name, but doesn’t protest

“You’re strangers here. You don’t belong.”

The Doctor nods. “Yes, we’re just passing through. Now then, does your mother know where you are?”

The boy looks at the Doctor, then at her, solemnly. “No, I’ve run away, and she won’t find me.”

“She’s probably worried about you, you know,” Donna says gently.

“I won’t go back, because they’re going to send me to the Academy, and I don’t want to go.”

Donna sits cross-legged next to him, ducking her head. “What’s so bad about the Academy?”

“It’s too many rules, too many people, and I won’t go.” He crosses his arms over his chest, pouting his lip out a bit. Donna quickly stifles a smile, as she’s seen that look on the Doctor’s face more than once.

“Will you miss your family?” she asks.

He ducks his head, then meets her gaze evenly. “Yes. And that doesn’t make me a baby.”

“Of course not, it’s perfectly natural to miss them,” she says, looking over at the Doctor, who is watching her intently. “They’ll miss you, I’m sure. But think how proud they’ll be, knowing you’re at the Academy, learning marvellous things.” She hopes that’s true.

He shakes his head. “No, they won’t be.”

“Well, we’ll see about that.” She decides to try something different, remember what the Doctor had said. “What happens when you graduate?”

“I’ll take a position on the high council, probably, and be stuck here forever.”

“Well now, is that your only choice? What if, after you graduated, you could do anything you wanted. What would you do?”

His eyes light up. “Travel. I want to see everything that’s out there.”

The Doctor chuckles, and Donna smiles at him. “Somehow I knew you’d say that. Well, after you’ve learned everything they can teach you, you could do whatever you wanted with that knowledge, couldn’t you?”

The boy looks at her, and she can see him considering her words. “I hadn’t thought of it that way.”

Donna looks nervously at the Doctor, wondering if she’s taken this too far. She knew the Doctor had in fact gone to the Academy – he’d told her as much – but did it need to be his decision? He smiles encouragingly at her. “You’re doing fine,” he says quietly.

She turns back to the young Doctor. “There you are, then. Feeling better?”

He nods. “Yes. But what if—once I’m there...”

“What if you get lonely, or scared?” She thinks for a moment. “Then, just remember that the people we love are never far away, as long as we can think of them.”

The Doctor stands, reaching down to help Donna to her feet. He clears his throat. “Right then, you’d best be off home, and we’ll be on our way.”

Donna stands, keeping hold of his hand. “It was nice to meet you,” she says to the boy, who scrambles out from under the table.

“Who are you?”

“Just some friends,” Donna answers. She looks back over her shoulder to smile at him as they walk away.

#

They walk down the street again, hand in hand. “So, what was that back there? Didn’t we just change your own history?” Donna asks, watching him curiously.

“That’s the thing, Donna, we didn’t. I had forgotten, after all these years, but what happened that day, when I ran away, was that two strangers found me, and convinced me to go to the Academy.”

“What? You’re saying you remember this? You remember me talking to you?”

“I remember a beautiful woman with ginger hair, who was very kind to me, and knew exactly what I needed to hear. She didn’t tell me her name, and her friend who was with her said he was John Smith.”

Donna stops, stunned. “But, that’s impossible!”

“No, definitely not. I told you before, our lives are connected. I just didn’t realize until now how far back that connection went.”

“But, you hated the Academy. Why did you want me to convince you to go?”

“It made me what I am, and made the life I’m living now, possible. I learned things there I needed to learn, and then put them to my own use. Just as you said.” He reached his hand up to cup her cheek. “So thank you, once again.”

“Don’t go getting all sentimental, spaceman,” she says, but her voice breaks as she speaks, and she can feel tears prickling behind her eyes.

“There’s one more thing I’d like to show you, if you’re up for a walk, that is,” he says, turning and tucking her arm through his again.

#

“When you said ‘walk’ you really meant ‘hike up a steep mountain,’ didn’t you?”

He grins at her. “Yeah, sorry about that.”

“Well, what’s up here then.”

They climb over yet another rise, and the Doctor sweeps his arm out. “This is where I grew up.”

The house seemed a part of the mountain, rising organically from the side of it and blending with the surrounding rock and vegetation. The view was breathtaking, and Donna thought how wonderful it must have been to grow up here, so far away from the city.

“It’s wonderful,” she says, sliding her arm around his waist.

He smiles down at her. “Worth the walk?”

“Definitely.”

He turns to her, taking her hands in his. “Donna, I don’t know how we ended up here, of all places, but I think I know why.”

“To convince you to go to school?” she offers.

“More than that. Our lives are connected, in ways we may ever understand. But even more than that, now you will remember this place, my home.”

She thinks how hard that will be, to be one of only two people who remember this beautiful place, the place that created him, and all he is.

“When I had to take my memories from you, part of me wanted to leave you these memories, so I wouldn’t be the only one who knew how the mountains looked in the sunlight, or what the air smells like, or the faces of the people on the streets.”

“I would never have believed those ridiculous looking collar things, I can tell you that,” she says.

He smiles briefly. “I mean it. I’m glad to share this with you.”

“I’m glad, too.” She squeezes his hands. She turns to look back over the way they came, at the sun glinting off the dome of the citadel, and he puts his arm around her shoulders.

“How long can we stay?” she asks, finally. She wonders how he’ll be able to bear leaving this place again, for what must surely be the last time.

“Not long. If the council knows we’re here, they’ll be looking for us. But we have some time before we have to leave.”

She puts her arm around his waist again and leans against him. “Good.”

fin


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 Post subject: Re: Doctor Who Fic: Homecoming (Donna, Tenth Doctor)
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:57 am 
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That was nice! :cheers

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