FIC: In An Interstellar Burst
Doctor Who ; Donna, Rose/Martha ; PG-13 ; 3000 words ; 'Journey's End' AU
Donna's got a teleport, Rose has an aversion to beaches, and maybe Martha's not quite as done with all of this as she thought. Next stop: everywhere.
Earth safely home, Jack and Martha turned to head out of the TARDIS.
"Martha," Donna called. "Could you hang on a second?"
"Sure," Martha replied, frowning. "Everything all right?"
Donna beckoned her over, glancing at Rose. "See, here's the thing. The Doctor's a bit of an idiot. I've got inside his head, you see, and wow the boy's a bit lacking in the emotional IQ department."
Martha laughed. "Yeah, tell me about it."
"Anyway," Donna continued, "because he's an idiot and seems quite happy not to mention that my metacrisis is about to make my brain turn to jelly before it's too late, I'm taking matters into my own hands."
Rose nodded. "Not only that, but we think he's going to try and offload the other Doctor onto me. And frankly, I'm really developing an aversion to beaches by this point."
"Huh," said Martha. "So, the plan is . . . ?"
"Well, I've got a dimension cannon," Rose said, taking the disc out of her pocket.
"And I'm more than smart enough to tweak it around so it can travel between points in this space-time only," said Donna.
Martha's eyes widened. "You're doing a bunk."
"We're doing a bunk," Rose agreed with a grin. "And, well. We were just wondering, if you weren't doing anything, whether you fancied coming with?"
Rose's eyes were alight with mischief, and Donna was looking at her expectantly, and Martha really couldn't deny the idea was tempting. "I guess I wouldn't need to take time off," she said.
"So that's a yes?" Rose asked.
"I reckon it is, yeah."
Donna beamed. "Oh, marvellous. Now then, while we go suss out the rest of the talent, can you go and keep Tweedledee and Tweedledum over there occupied? We'd best not be interrupted."
"Yes, ma'am!" Fighting down her smile, she wandered over to the Doctors, who looked up at her with matching smiles. Heh, that was odd. "So . . ." she began, "what's it like, looking at yourself in the third person?"
"Bloody weird," the other Doctor admitted. "I mean, is my hair always quite this manic? I thought I'd been going for a stylishly rakish look myself, but . . ." He looked over at his original self with a sigh. "Apparently not."
"Oi!" The first Doctor looked indignant. "We look just fine, thank you."
Martha crossed her arms, satisfied. This was going to be easy.
"Sure we can't convince you to come on a little trip?" Donna asked Jack cajolingly.
"Go on, Captain, it'll be fun!" Rose added.
Jack let out a sad sigh. "Believe me, I really would love to. But Gwen and Ianto will most definitely eat me for breakfast if I ever go cavorting off through space and time without them again."
"Well, if you wanted to bring that Ianto along with, that'd be fine," Donna said quickly.
"And I'd really love to meet Gwen," Rose added.
Jack laughed. "Someone's got to try and keep this planet in one piece."
"Any time you feel like a field trip, though, do give us a ring, yeah?"
Jack smiled. (Donna may have gone a little weak at the knees. That was definitely her inner Doctor at work there.)
"Count on it," he said.
"What about you?" Rose asked Mickey, who was watching this conversation contemplatively.
"Nah, don't think so," he said.
"You sure?" Donna asked.
"Yeah," he answered, looking only at Rose. "I can't. Besides. Got stuff I want to do here, now I'm finally back home."
"Yeah," Rose said quietly. "Okay."
"Tell you what though, you can bring me back a souvenir." Mickey paused, considering. "A really big gun."
Rose laughed, and Mickey hugged her. "Take care of yourself."
"Always do," Rose told him.
Mickey laughed. "Yeah. Right."
"Sarah Jane?" Donna smiled invitingly.
"Oh, it's very appealing," Sarah Jane said. "But I've got to get back to my son."
"Maybe another time, then," said Rose.
Sarah Jane beamed. "Yes, you just shout."
"We will, we will. Right then." Donna drew herself up a little. "Time to go sort all this out." She walked round the TARDIS. "Doctor," she began. "Doctors. It's been fun. Really, it has. But seeing as this bloody metacrisis is about to trigger a fatal chain reaction in my brain, I think we can safely say we've come to the end of an era."
They both looked horrified.
"Donna," the other Doctor began (the DonnaDoctor, as Donna was taking to calling him internally - only seemed fair), "I'm so sorry, I should have said something."
"Yes, idiot spaceboy, you should have." Donna sighed dramatically. "I know, I know, you two have serious issues with accepting reality pretty much ever, much less when something bad is going to happen to one of your friends. But you're both so busy mentally preparing yourselves for the worst that you've failed to consider the possibility there's a way of fixing this."
"Actually, Donna," the first Doctor said, "there is - you're not going to like it, but I can suppress your Time Lord consciousness, make you forget, keep you safe --"
"Oh no, you stop right there." Donna held up her hands, and both Doctors fell silent. "Right. Doctor," she said, turning to the one in the blue suit. "You don't really want to be half human, do you?"
"Not particularly - actually, really no," he replied.
"And it's not as though the super genius brain isn't appreciated and all, but honestly I could do without all the accompanying cosmic angst, thank you - seriously, I don't think there is therapy for what's going on in your head. So. Time we do a bit of a swap, yeah?"
"Donna, what are you talking about--"
Donna grabbed onto to the jacket of her metacritical partner in crime. "Now, don't just stand there and think of Gallifrey, all right?"
"I'll do my best," he answered, a wicked glint developing in his eyes.
"Yes, thank you, now you've got it!" And with that, Donna took a deep breath, summoning the best of her Time Lord genetic manipulation abilities, and gave the Doctor the best kiss of his newly-generated life. There may even have been tongue, because really, given the circumstances, why not? Donna saw stars in the most literal of ways, constellations bursting as all her ill-gotten new knowledge coalesced and crystallised until it was ready to be poured out of her, into someone who really wanted it, would draw the energy in and form a brand new heart. Donna let the last of the metacrisis leave her, still kissing the Doctor, before pulling away.
"Oh yes, that's much better," Donna said. "Much tidier in here without all your Martian mumbo-jumbo."
"Uh," said the Doctor, wide-eyed and open-mouthed.
"All sorted?" Rose asked.
"Reckon so," said Donna.
"Right," Rose continued, "time we were heading off, then." She looked both Doctors up and down. "You two, get it together, sort yourselves out, and once you've done that -- Paris."
"Paris?" they asked, looking confused.
"Paris. Always fancied Paris in the spring. You can meet us there, first of May - when, and only when, you've got your act together."
"Rose?" Jackie was looking worried.
"Doctor'll take you home, Mum," said Rose. "And don't worry, I'll come back - reckon I know a thing or two about crossing universes now."
The Doctor looked as though he were about to launch into a long and involved protest, but his new counterpart was rubbing his chest and smiling. "Two hearts," he said. "Thank you, Donna."
Donna nodded. "We'll see you, then."
"Paris," he agreed.
"Right, time to skedaddle." With a grin, Donna raced out of the TARDIS, Rose and Martha following after her.
"He's not going to like this much, is he?" Martha said.
Rose laughed. "No, probably not." She pulled out her teleport. "So, where are we going?"
"Anywhere!" Donna declared.
Rose tossed her the teleport, and Donna programmed in the co-ordinates, pleased to find that yeah, maybe she couldn't calculate astronomical equations in her head any more, but anything she learned during her brief flirtation with an alien consciousness had stayed.
"Next stop: everywhere," she said, held out a hand to hold onto the others, and activated the teleport.
Beside her, Rose was laughing.
"See, the thing is," Donna said firmly, wine glass in hand, "We don't even need the Doctor. I mean sure, he's great and all, and the TARDIS is pretty spectacular, but it's fun and games until suddenly, bam, there are the aliens that want to kill us horribly or some ex crops up from his future or past or whatever and really, I'd quite fancy space and time without all the baggage, thank you."
"I feel bad, though," said Martha, glancing at her phone. "I mean, he's tried to call three times just in the last half-hour."
"He'll be fine," said Donna. "Both of them. It's not like we've abandoned him forever."
"No. S'weird, though," said Rose.
"Not what you were planning on coming back for?" Martha asked.
"Not so much."
Donna smiled, and raised her glass. "To new adventures."
They all drank to that.
Martha started keeping records.
Number of planets liberated: 4
Number of times mistaken for polyamorous lesbian threesome: 7 (and counting)
Number of times teleport has manifestly not taken us to correct destination: 10
(Oi! Don't see you volunteering to work it - D.N.)
Number of times Rose has got herself into trouble after 'just being nice': 5
(Number of times we've been kidnapped and taken to remote villages thanks to Martha's doctor skills: 8. Just saying. R.T.)
Number of forced inter-team marriages: 1 **
** That one went something like this:
Sensors had gone off everywhere as they'd walked into the city.
"What the --" Donna gaped as police officers rushed towards them. "But we haven't even done anything!"
Then they noticed the officials were smiling. They were also chanting.
"The children of time! The children of time!"
"You what now?" Rose asked in bemusement.
The three of them were borne up and carted down the street. They were taken into a great temple, there to be confronted with --
"Is that a cat?" Donna spluttered.
"Oh, that'll be a cat nun," Martha said casually. "They're pretty harmless."
"I dunno, there was that time they were using humans for horrific medical experimentation," said Rose.
"Wow, you'll have to tell me that story," said Martha.
"Oh my God," Donna interjected faintly.
"At last!" the cat priestess proclaimed. "The prophecies shall be fulfilled! Although," she added, voice dropping in volume and drama, "the prophecies did not specify a union of three. How . . . unusual."
"Our sensors detected only two, Priestess," one of the clerics piped up.
"Ah." She closed her eyes. "Yes, I can feel them." Two paws raised slowly. "You, and you," she announced querulously, pointing at Rose and Donna.
"Oh," said Martha, put out.
"Ever looked into the time vortex?" Rose answered, laughing.
"Ever absorbed a Time Lord consciousness?" Donna continued.
"Well, no, not as such. But I did save the world and erase a year that one time!" Martha protested.
Donna grinned. "Yeah, don't think it's about that. Although, if it was, I would win. All of creation, thank you very much," she informed their ever-growing audience.
"If you'd like to just step over here," the cleric said, resting a hand on Martha's shoulder.
"Yeah, yeah, fine," Martha muttered, moving away.
"What can we do for you?" Rose asked the priestess.
"Legend has it that the union of these two stood before me now will restore this city to its former glory," she explained to rousing cheers.
"Ohhh, right, okay," said Donna.
"What?" asked Rose.
"Well, you know. This must have happened with you and the Doctor."
"What must have happened?"
"You know - aliens made us get hitched."
"We are gathered here today," the priestess began, and so continued for the next hour, going on a meandering tour of the whole history of the planet, prophecies both fulfilled and yet to come.
All three of them had lost the will to live quite some time ago, and so when it was finally declared that the brides may kiss, it came as a bit of a shock all round.
"Yeah, pucker up, blondie," Donna said, tossing her hair back.
"For the good of the universe," Rose agreed solemnly.
And so Rose and Donna were married, with a reasonable amount of tongue by the looks of things. They broke off, laughing, and Martha had to go recover herself for a moment.
"Just like old times," said Donna.
"I'm really not sure I want to know what you and the Doctor got up to," Rose muttered.
"Martha! Thank God."
"Jack? What's wrong?"
"It's the Doctors. Both of them. They're just-- here. Lounging on the sofas, getting in everyone's way, eating all of our food and feeling sorry for themselves. Well, mark one is anyway. Donna's version is getting over-excited about our computers and hitting on me all the time."
"You . . . say that like it's a bad thing."
"Ianto is going to kill them."
"You're just going to have to kick them out. Tell them they clearly haven't got their act together yet, and we're not interested."
There was a crash on Jack's end of the phone. "Crap. I'd better go."
"Woman Wept! Oh, I love this place," said Rose with delight.
Donna frowned at the teleport. "Okay, not quite where I was aiming for here."
"No no, this is great," Rose answered, racing down the path. "Come and see!"
Martha and Donna exchanged a grin and followed after her.
It proved to be a quiet part of the universe, off-season according to the woman at the inn they came across. Donna got them lodgings, money a combination of odd jobs, savings converted at an intergalactic bank, and some funds that were somewhat purloined, albeit from Very Very Bad people, so no one felt too cut up about it.
Donna confessed herself utterly beat - understandable, given that in the last 24 hours they'd been incarcerated, broken out again, stopped two assassination plots and a bomb, then had to make a quick getaway before the whole populace abased themselves at their feet in gratitude, which was frankly unnerving.
But Rose was bouncing, scornful at the idea of sleep, and insisted on dragging Martha out into the night.
"Came here with the Doctor," she explained as they set off. "Ages back, when he was still all--" she made a complicated and entirely meaningless hand gesture. "It's amazing at night, you wouldn't want to miss it."
Magnificent ice sculptures arched up before them as they walked down to the beach, all the ocean captured in one perfect, frozen moment.
"It's beautiful," Martha breathed. She'd never forgotten the bone-deep awe of these moments, but somehow she'd lost to precise cadence of the feeling, like a shiver in the heart.
Rose leaned on her shoulder, exhaling to watch the air crystallise in front of them.
"How can I ever walk away from this?" Martha asked softly.
Rose looked up at her.
"I have a fiancé, back on Earth," she said. "Tom. He's a doctor, he's saved my life, he's -- I love him. And still I ran away, left everything behind."
"Not forever," Rose said. "We'll go back."
"When? When will I be able to leave this behind?"
Rose nodded. "Gets under your skin, this life, I know. And nothing on Earth's quite like it, not UNIT or Torchwood or anything."
"I want a life on Earth. I want to do my job, save people, be there for my family. Hell, I want kids, one day. But being out here, deciding to stay with you and Donna . . ." she sighed. "I'd forgotten just how much I want to see every single star in the sky."
"It'll change," said Rose. "We'll change. Sarah Jane, Jack - we asked them and they stayed. They chose their lives on Earth over all the stars."
"I should have done that too," Martha said. "I should have--"
Rose leaned up and kissed her. Martha's eyes fell closed, all the tension she'd been holding quietly ebbing away. Then she took gentle hold of Rose's shoulders and stepped away.
"Sorry," Rose murmured. "I'm sorry, that was--"
"Don't," Martha started. "Not here, not somewhere you stood with the Doctor, because I really can't--"
"It's not about him, not any of this."
"So. So, somewhere you didn't go with him, somewhere else, then--"
"Yeah?" Rose asked, beginning to grin.
Martha couldn't stop the smile spreading across her face, and it was all the answer she needed to give.
They fell into patterns. Donna took the numbers, trying to make sure they weren't likely to starve to death at any given moment. Martha did the science, having passable amounts of alien physiological knowledge already and picking up ever more as they went along. Rose became their champion blagger, shoved forward whenever someone important looking wanted to know what exactly they were doing in this off-limits room. She could pretty much be guaranteed to keep anyone talking long enough for the others to wrench open a window or blast open a door.
It all worked beautifully, really.
It was sunrise on Athos Major, and Rose woke up to find Martha had already gone outside.
"Hey," she said as she walked out, Martha leaning over the balcony and looking out at the sky.
Martha's mouth was soft, her hands tangling briefly in Rose's hair before slipping down beneath her collar, there to push fabric aside and lay palms upon shoulders.
The balcony floor was smooth and already sun-warmed, and Rose arched up to kiss Martha again, one arm tight around her waist while she traced out the curve of Martha's hips.
As Martha kissed her, Rose could see everything.
"We will go back eventually, won't we?"
"Sure, of course."
"Not just yet, thought."
"No, when we're ready."
"We've got all the time in the world, really."
"So, where to next?"
"Oh, anywhere. Everywhere."
eta: and now with bonus Doctors-at-Torchwood comment!fic.
eta2: also now with polyamorous threeway mistaken identity shenanigans!