Stargazers by enchantment



Summary: Dining out followed by a night under the stars with their best friends, it couldn't be a more perfect night for the Doctor and Rose's engagement party. Then again, since when has perfect ever applied to the Doctor and Rose? **Thirteenth of the Forever After series**
Rating: Teen
Categories: Tenth Doctor
Characters: Donna Noble, Jack Harkness, Rose Tyler, The Doctor (Duplicate 10th)
Genres: Alternate Universe, Het, Humor, Romance, Series
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: Forever After
Published: 2013.11.26
Updated: 2013.11.26


Index

Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Chapter 2: Chapter 2


Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Author's Notes: A special thanks to my daughter who helped me pick out stars from her book of constellations. :)

I LOVE KISS! My favorite rock band ever! So just like with Jack and Donna's first date, you will see mentions of KISS and the KISS Army now and then. I just totally see this universe's Jack having the fun wild side to be a member. :)

I'm sure that anyone who's seen the Human Nature story with the Tenth Doctor will recognize Tim's description of the Doctor with a slight switch up of pronouns. No plagiarism intended, I just really liked that description for the context for which I'm using it.

Worzel Gummidge is a children's show about a scarecrow that was filmed in both England and Australia (for Worzel Gummidge Down Under). There's nothing more he enjoyed than a cup of tea or a slice of cake, or actually, as much cake as he could eat. Incidentally, the character of Worzel was portrayed by Jon Pertwee aka the Third Doctor. ;)

The three Fates of Greek mythology were Clotho who spun the thread, Lachesis measured the thread and Atropos cut the thread. This knowledge is integral for some pretty lame humor coming up, or you know, what I'm generally best at. ;)

The Soup Dragon was a dragon who made soup for the Clangers (a British children's show) and they whistled instead of spoke. Incidentally, when Roger Delgado's Master was incarcerated, he saw one of their episodes on television and thought they were actual alien life forms. He was basically mortified when he was told that they were puppets. :D

Disclaimer: I do not own anything in relation to Dr. Who.


Dining Out

The evening is warm and a soft breeze wafts pleasantly through the air as the foursome of Donna, Jack, Rose and the Doctor wait patiently in line at Jack's favorite Chinese restaurant.

Unable to remain still for very long, the Doctor is soon rocking back and forth on his heels and sticking his hands in his pockets when he makes a discovery. "What's this?"

Rose watches him withdraw an envelope and asks in astonishment, "It's still sealed? Honestly, Doctor, you've been here long enough to accumulate more than a few paychecks. When are you finally going to open your wages envelopes?"

Accepting that he'll finally have to cope with something so mundane that not even sonic can make it better, he relents with a grumble. "Fine! I'll take a look right now!" He makes a huge showing of opening the envelope before thrusting it Rose's face. "See? I opened it."

When she pushes the envelope back at him, he glances at it and declares, "Wow, will you look at that?" He gleefully waves his check stub in the air and boasts, "It looks like I'm finally being acknowledged for my genius and universe saving skills!"

Donna inquires suspiciously, "What are you on about, Spaceman?"

The Doctor replies in mock humility, "Well, I don't want to brag but check out how much I've made so far!"

Donna, well aware of how much the Doctor makes, takes a quick peek to verify that the accounting department hasn't made a mistake before giving him a pitying smile. "I hate to break it to you, Doctor, but that's not what you've made so far, that's what you've paid out in taxes."

"What?" squeaks the Doctor. "But…but…but that's an enormous amount of money? What could they possibly be using that much money for?"

Rose teases, "Most likely to pay for the repairs for all of the damage that your universe saving skills cause."

The Doctor shoots her a dry look and retorts, "Very funny, Rose Tyler. I'll have you know that I have mad universe saving skills."

"More like maddening," quips Donna. "Or have you forgotten about the Sheffield incident?"

The Doctor avoids their accusing gazes as he glances away from the group and clears his throat to stubbornly reply, "I happen to know for a fact that the residents of Sheffield greatly missed having a Hole in the Road and were very appreciate in showing their gratitude."

"Yeah," ribs Rose, "they were so grateful that they were very quick to send us a lovely thank you note." At his glare, she modifies, "Oh, no sorry, I meant an incredibly huge bill."

Jack enters the conversation by noting, "Actually, Doc, it's true what Rose said earlier. All employees of Torchwood or UNIT have taxes taken out of their wages every payday that goes towards paying for any destruction that's caused during an invasion or any type of alien contact. Otherwise, we would just pay taxes annually like everyone else."

The Doctor glowers down at the envelope before shoving it back into his pocket. "I am definitely confiscating some alien tech for this."

"What's that?" questions Donna tersely.

"Nothing," denies the Doctor innocently. He turns away from Donna's mistrustful gaze and notices Jack staring at something inside the restaurant. "What are you looking at, Jack?"

Jack's gaze doesn't falter and he continues to fixate on the restaurant's interior and wonders aloud, "I was just checking out the new signs that Mr. Yu has put up on his wall. I wonder if I can use their military discount."

The Doctor looks at Jack disbelievingly and scoffs, "I don't think that your nickname of 'Captain Jack' applies to this situation, Harkness."

Before Jack can respond, Donna comments, "No, Spaceman, I believe that Jack was referring to his membership in the KISS Army. Right, Jack?"

Only Donna and the Doctor are laughing as Jack suddenly exhibits a defiant stare which causes Rose to instantly realize that Donna's little taunt has hit the nail right on the head. The Doctor's fleeting look immediately alerts him that something's up and he attempts to control his laughter as he asks, "What's wrong? Why aren't you laughing?"

Rose smiles widely and replies, "Hello? Because KISS rocks! Best rock group ever! And I for one think that membership in the KISS Army should be recognized by everyone, including those offering military discounts."

The Doctor stares at her incredulously and queries, "By any chance, did you happen to join the KISS Army before I arrived here?"

Rose digs into her purse and promptly pulls out a key chain displaying the KISS logo. "I've been a member since our original universe, actually. Thankfully, I had this in my pocket when Dad caught me."

Jack grins widely and throws his arm around Rose's shoulder and hugs her to his side. "That's why I love Rose so much!" He then turns to her and proudly informs her, "And for that very reason, you can have an extra piece of cake tonight, on me!" Rose giggles her appreciation before they high five each other and start singing 'Rock And Roll All Nite' to the amusement of the other patrons waiting in line behind them.

The Doctor leans toward Donna and whispers, "These are the people that we've chosen to spend the rest of our lives with." As their soul mates begin the chorus, he adds resignedly, "Oh, well, they say that love is blind."

Donna quips, "Yeah, well I wish it was deaf too." Noticing the owner waving them through the front door, she announces, "Oh, look, here's our host! Everybody belt up!"

Mr. Yu walks over to the group as they reach the front doors and enthusiastically greets, "Welcome to Fok Yu's! We hope that you enjoy your stay!" As they enter, Mr. Yu notes, "Ah, Mr. Harkness, I saw you inspecting out latest d├ęcor. Let me show you the latest treasure that has become my pride and joy."

He tugs Jack over to the section of wall alongside Mr. Yu's podium and shows him the new proprietor certificate proudly displayed on the wall. "My son and namesake has finally joined our family business." The foursome stand in awe of the documentation and are very grateful for their combined good manners and Torchwood resistance training as they read that the proprietors of the family restaurant are Fok Yu and Fok Yu II.

As they make their way to their table, Rose gushes, "Jack, thank you so much for the wonderful surprise of treating us to an engagement dinner, it was so sweet of you." She hugs him tightly before the Doctor offers his own manly embrace.

When the Doctor hugs him, Jack jumps back in horror and the Doctor instantly interprets the cause of his distress. "Idiot! It's not what you think, that's a banana in my pocket!"

Jack still looks doubtful as he questions, "Why do you have a banana in your pocket?"

The Doctor's tone is superior as he advises, "Always carry a banana, Jack Harkness, they're an excellent source of potassium."

Donna quietly confides to Rose, "I had the same problem with Jack when I hugged him earlier." When Rose's eyebrows rise in surprise and interest, Donna tells her, "Don't look so excited, I'm pretty sure that it was just his coupon book."

Rose reiterates, "Well, I still think it's nice of Jack to treat us to dinner." She gazes at him adoringly. "It's very sweet of you, Jack."

The Doctor's eyes narrow warily and he verifies, "You are treating us, right, Jack? No big surprises when the check arrives and you announce that we're going dutch? Because I don't have any money on me…"

Jack mutters, "What a surprise," and then more loudly, "No, tonight I'm definitely treating you. It's a celebration, after all, with two of my best friends getting married! This evening is 100% on me!"

While the women comment on Jack's unusual display of generosity, the Doctor leans in close and whispers knowingly, "More two for one coupons, Jack?"

Jack nods excitedly as he shares, "That's right, Doc, a whole book full of them! Mr. Mott got them for me. Do me a favor though and try to make sure that Rose avoids the right side of the menu, that side tends to be a little pricey and I'll do the same with Donna."

The Doctor's smile contains a trace of disdain as he promises, "I'll do my best."

They sit themselves at their table and begin to peruse their menus while the Doctor casually remarks, "I hear the right side of the menu is the tastiest." Ignoring Jack's heated gaze, he adds, "And that was a pleasant drive in that we had, especially since we didn't take Jack's car. Thanks for that, Jack."

Jack makes a face and Rose cuts in, "You know, Jack, I've been meaning to get you a gift to thank you for helping us with moving all of our stuff into the hotel. Is there anything you'd like?"

Donna interrupts Jack's response with her own suggestion. "Well he has a new car that he absolutely loves, so why don't you get him a paraffin lamp?"

Jack grimaces and pleads, "I told you that I was sorry! I was only trying to help!"

Donna snorts, "Well, that's all well and good but just remember our group motto," as she and the Doctor state in unison, "Don't touch my car!" Jack hazards a glance at Rose but she sends him an apologetic look as she nods her agreement with the other two.

The Doctor turns to Jack and gripes, "I still can't believe that you're keeping the Mini as well as the Whistle."

Jack replies, "I thought I'd keep it for when I needed to move larger stuff."

The Doctor laughs derisively, "Like what? A passenger?"

Jack growls angrily, "Oh, here it comes, The Oncoming Scorn!"

The Doctor responds haughtily, "That's The Oncoming Storm! And I'm not scornful, just honest and highly accurate and well…frankly, I'm also magnificent." His eyes seem to glow and his smile goes manic as his candid declaration turns to prose. "I'm like fire and ice and rage. I'm like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun. I'm ancient and forever. I burn at the centre of time and can see the turn of the universe and... I'm wonderful."

The other three stare at him mutely, their individual expressions a mix of amusement, incredulity and flat out disbelief. Rose shakes her head and proclaims, "What you are is full of it."

Donna mumbles, "He's full of something," before changing the subject. She reminds them, "Well, I've been gone for two weeks at the most boring conference in my life." She looks around the table hopefully and prods, "So, tell me all the news, I want to hear everything that I missed while I was away. So, Spaceman, how did the Torchwood seminar go?"

He tugs on his ear as he reluctantly tells his tale. "Well…"

**FLASHBACK**

Not having asked for directions before he left the office, the Doctor is running late for the Torchwood Agent seminar for new recruits who are nervous about going into the field for the first time. Thinking that he's found the right room, he bolts inside the auditorium and without further ado, jumps up on stage and introduces himself as Dr. Smith, their guest speaker.

"I know that you're all very nervous about the subject that we're discussing but don't be, it's a perfectly normal and understandable reaction. The fact of the matter is gentlemen, is that you just can't over think this situation when it arises. You're going to have simply steel yourself and dive right in. It's daunting, I know, but there's nothing for it. You are going to need to take control of the situation. Don't let it control you! You set the pace! Remember, don't stop and think about it, just go with what you're feeling! Go in there, fast and hard! It's going to be messy, it's going to be sweaty, but when you climb that final peak and let loose with your cry of victory, that's when you'll see that it will have all been worth it!"

He receives a standing ovation before turning around to see a HUGE banner that states HEADS UP SEMINAR — SOCIETY TO FIGHT IMPOTENCE! He hastily glances back at the crowd still cheering him and smiles half heartedly while muttering, "Oh, bugger." The Doctor stares wonderingly at the sign and ponders, Now how did I manage to miss that?

**END OF FLASHBACK**

Donna can't stop laughing and Rose grins and urges, "Tell her what happened with the Torchwood meeting."

The Doctor amusedly replies, "I used the same speech. Apparently it works quite well for whether you're trying to bring somebody down or keep something up."

Amidst their laughter, Fok Yu and his staff unexpectedly come over to their table praising, "I'm so glad that the birthday girl is having such a great time!"

Donna barely manages to utter, "What?" before they all break into singing 'Happy Birthday' while presenting Donna with a cake.

She tries to protest that it's not her birthday but Jack shushes her with a kiss and grits between clenched teeth, "Now, now, sweetheart, no need to be embarrassed. You still look great for your age."

"Gee, thanks," replies Donna dryly as she doesn't want to create a scene in front of the restaurant staff and their customers who have decided to join in. When they're finished and all of the applause has died down, she hisses in a whisper, "What the bloody hell was all that about?"

Jack responds slyly, "Thanks to," he gestures with air quotes, "'Donna's birthday', we now have a free cake." Donna snorts in disgust and the Doctor rolls his eyes at Jack's extravagant attempts to save money.

Jack defends, "Unlike you two, I happen to appreciate the value of money and besides, I notice that Rose never complains about my frugality."

Donna turns to her and quizzes, "Does she even know what it means?"

Rose gives her a withering gaze and states, "I totally understand, Jack. I may be the Vitex Heiress now, but I remember having to pinch every pence back on the Powell Estates."

The Doctor chastises, "I can't believe the hair-brained schemes that you come up with to save money, which I can't even understand since you've always been very well off due to your father's successful business. It simply boggles my mind how you could have been raised in that type of environment and still be so cheap."

Before taking another mouthful, Jack replies sincerely, "How else do you think that we managed to keep all of that money?"

Donna watches the Doctor refill his plate before he's even started on his first slice of cake. "Hey, Worzel Gummidge, why are you cutting two slices of cake for yourself?"

The Doctor merrily answers, "Isn't it obvious? I'm having my cake and eating it too!" When nobody laughs he grouses, "Nobody appreciates historical humor."

Rose points out, "Actually Doctor, what Marie Antoinette said was 'Let them eat cake."

The Doctor clarifies, "She did?" He thinks about it a bit and soon recalls, "Oh, yeah, she did say that."

Donna asks, "You want historical humor, how's this then? I wish that Atropos were here so that we could cut this conversation short." Rose adds, "Donna doesn't need to be Lachesis to know the true measure of a man," and Jack asks, "So who wants to be Clotho and spin us a tale?"

The Doctor leans back in his chair and applauds, "The three Fates of Greek mythology, very impressive."

Donna smirks, "Well somebody at this table had to be," causing the Doctor to bolt upright in his chair and shout, "Oi!"

Donna cuts herself a slice of cake as she observes, "First dinner and then a night under the stars. This is the most unusual engagement party that I've ever been to. Is this one of your weirdo alien takes for life on the slow path?"

"Actually, I was going to have a stag night with just a few of the guys at Jack's place but it didn't go quite like we planned."

Donna looks around the table in confusion. "Why not? What happened?"

The Doctor stares silently at Jack who just glares at him in return. The Doctor finally breaks his gaze to ask, "Jack didn't tell you? Me, Jack, Pete, Jake and," he displays a little shiver of revulsion at the mere mention of the name, "McDonald, who Jake so considerately thought to bring along were going to stay in for a night of cards. The refreshments were at hand, the cards had been dealt and being the generous sort of man that I am, I allow Jack to go first."

Donna waits a bit before urging, "So? What happened?"

The Doctor replies succinctly. "He went." Jack turns away from the Doctor's condescending glare as he explains, "He turned right to me and asked 'Do you have any fours'?"

Donna nearly chokes on her laughter and sputters, "You were playing Go Fish?"

The Doctor insists, "That's going to play, not playing. There's no way that I was playing Go Fish at my stag night, especially not with those cards."

At this remark, Jack turns back to the table and concurs, "Now on that point, I agree with you."

Donna manages to stifle her laughter enough to ask, "What was wrong with the cards?" She's especially curious as Rose has continued to snicker throughout their entire conversation.

Jack stares shamefacedly down at the table as he admits, "Jake brought them especially for the party. The people on them were naked."

Donna snorts, "Is that all? What's the big deal? Plenty of people have those types of cards of at their stag nights."

Both the Doctor and Jack answer in unison, "Naked men?"

Rose finally speaks up, "Well, it was Jake after all! What else were you expecting?" Knowing that the men weren't willing to concede that point, she offers, "Well at least you got a great gift out of the evening."

Jack blushes hotly and the Doctor spits out, "I thought that we weren't going to talk about that, Rose, ever!"

Rose giggles hysterically, "I'm sorry, Doctor, but that's just too good to let go!"

Donna continues to stare at him and asks, "Okay, so what am I missing?"

Jack fills her in, "Well, you know how my uncle, the Brig, likes a lot of women?"

Donna nods her head and Jack carries on, "He also likes a lot of woman."

Rose snickers while the Doctor glares at her and Donna demands, "And what does that mean when it's at home?"

One last fierce look at Rose and the Doctor enlightens, "Apparently, the Brig has a fondness for ample women."

***FLASHBACK***

"You know," David remarks to the group of men gathered around the round dining table in Jack's flat, "I was more than a little surprised to be invited here tonight."

"Oh?" inquires Pete interestedly while happily munching on Jack's famous fish and chips, "Why's that?"

David teases, "I was so sure that Rose would have come to her senses by now."

The Doctor simply darts a look of loathing at David and Jack pipes up, "Oh, I almost forgot!" before reaching over to a side table to grab a small box and hand it to the Doctor. "Here Doc," he hands him the wrapped gift, "this is for you from the Brig."

Always eager to receive a present, the Doctor quickly seizes it and chirps, "How thoughtful! Perhaps I misjudged your uncle."

He rips off the wrapping and opens the box to reveal an embossed card that states 'Congratulations! You are the lucky recipient of an online magazine subscription to Wham! Bam! That's A Lot Of Maam! Please be sure to view in full screen when you log in with the enclosed code. Enjoy!'

Seeing the Doctor's exasperated features, Jake leans over the table and snatches the card from the box and laughs aloud while he shares the information with the others. There's a knock at the door which Jack goes to answer while Jake grins evilly, "That will go perfectly with the dvd that we brought. Show him, David."

David reluctantly pulls out the dvd from a bag under his chair and tosses it on top of the table. "I can't believe that you made me bring this."

Pete glimpses the cover and chortles, "Debbie Does Dallas! I remember this at my bachelor party. It's Jake's preferred offering for occasions like these."

All eyes turn to Jake. "What? I happen to know that it's standard viewing fare at bachelor parties and besides," he chuckles at the mere thought, "men and women together? That just cracks me up!"

Jack returns to the table with Liane Piper in tow, who has brought over a special order of banana cream cake for the Doctor's party. The Doctor jumps up and gushes, "Ooohh! Is that for me?" He grabs the box and swipes some frosting onto his finger, "Mmmmm…delicious! Thanks so much for bringing this by Liane!"

She smiles sweetly and replies, "It was my pleasure Mr. Smith," and then she notices the dvd at the same time as Jack.

Jack inquires, "Debbie Does Dallas? Cool, I love travel documentaries! Oh, and it's marked triple X! That's for extra kisses, how sweet! Let me go put it in the dvd player while you guys cut the cake."

The Doctor lays a hand on Jack's arm to stop him from rushing off and implores, "Jack, don't…just don't."

David's been rendered into a speechless dreamlike state by Liane's sudden appearance until he instantly comes back to reality at Liane's harsh tone. "I'm shocked, Jack Harkness, that you of all people that would have such a film like that in your possession!"

Jack's brow furrows in consternation and before he can respond, the Doctor inserts, "Oh, it's not Jack's film, Liane, McDonald brought it." He turns to David with an evil grin. "Didn't you, McDonald?"

David's eyes widen in panic and Liane grimaces in disgust while he sputters, "Wh-wh-what? No! It's not what you thinking, lass! Jake told me to bring it!"

Liane gives him a disbelieving glare while he vows, "I swear it's not mine! If I even had a movie like that then it would be set in Ireland because…," he trails off at Liane's look of horror while Pete, Jack and Jake all imitate the hand gestures of the three monkeys that see, hear and speak no evil and the Doctor looks on in malicious glee.

Liane's Irish brogue thickens to the point that it's barely decipherable and she huffs, "Please don't say anymore, Mr. McDonald. In fact, the only thing that I want to hear from you is 'goodbye'."

She hurriedly leaves the flat while muttering her farewells to the others. The silence is broken when the Doctor remarks, "Well, that could have went better." He throws his arms out wide and queries excitedly, "So, who's up for some cake?" His answer is in the form of his field of vision becoming filled with a very angry oncoming Scot.

***END OF FLASHBACK***

Jack sympathizes, "Too bad that you ended up wearing more of the cake than eating it."

The Doctor stares off into the distance as he recalls, "Yeah, but what I scraped off my face was still good cake though." Donna is only silent for a moment before she breaks into loud guffaws.

Jack darts a shrew look at the Doctor and inquires, "So, Doc, you never told me, did you try it out?"

He finishes another bite of cake before asking, "Try out what?"

Jack persists, "You know, Uncle Alastair's present. Did you go online and view it?"

The Doctor's expression fills with contempt before he counters, "What do you think?"

Jack replies blithely, "I don't know, that's why I asked."

Donna's laughter finally subsides to soft chuckles as she wipes some stray tears away. "Well, did you?"

The Doctor's cheeks flush crimson and he confesses, "One time! I was curious, okay? It was a gift that was meant to be viewed so I viewed it." At everyone's amused stare, he repeats, "One time!"

Rose snickers, "Yeah, too bad it was the one time that my mum walked in the room," and then adds with a giggle, "with my dad and Jake in tow," before throwing her head back in unrestrained laughter.

The Doctor frostily suggests, "I think that we've all had enough dinner conversation, don't you? This is an engagement dinner after all, aren't we supposed to be eating?"

With an amused shake of her head, Rose brings up the Torchwood fancy dress party that Donna also missed while she was away. Rose states, "Of course, Jack was his usual sweet self and was kind enough to pick out our costumes when we couldn't find the time to get away from work."

Donna chuckles, "Oh, that must have been something to see," when she notes Rose's broad smile and the Doctor's grimace. "Well, cough up then, what did he pick out for you two?"

Rose replies grandly, "I was Princess Leia."

The Doctor adds moodily, still obviously upset, "Yeah and they stared at her buns all night and I don't mean the ones from her hairstyle in the first movie."

Jack insists, "I didn't select the white outfit because that outfit is so boring and Rose is too hot to wear something so drab." When three pairs of eyes turn to stare at him in surprise, he states, "That's what Jake said when he helped me pick out everyone's outfits and besides, I meant it in a totally brotherly way." They continue to stare at him and Jack instantly apologizes. "Yeah, sorry, that sounded way better in my head."

The Doctor immediately demands to know, "Are you telling me that Jake is the reason that I got stuck with that outfit?"

Jack argues, "There was nothing wrong with that outfit! It was completely authentic and just what you wanted! Something with really great hair!"

The Doctor snarls, "I didn't say with really great hair, you idiot! I said to go with my really great hair! I should have been the one to be Han Solo, not Chewbacca!"

"I don't know, Doc," muses Jack. "I think I made a much better Han Solo than you would have." He flashes a cocky grin reminiscent of a former Time Agent in another universe to drive his point home.

Donna hoots, "I can't believe all that I've missed. It's so good to be home."

To Be Concluded…

Back to index


Chapter 2: Chapter 2

Author's Notes: Disclaimer: I do not own anything in relation to Doctor Who, Monopoly, Hawaii 5-O, Eastenders or the Clangers.


Under The Stars

A few hours later, the engagement party has moved on to the countryside where everyone is busy setting out their things to enjoy a night out under the stars. Always the gentleman, Jack places his blanket on the ground for Donna to sit on before he opens his new Hawaii 5-0 Monopoly game that his mother sent him in her last care package.

He's still setting up the board when both he and the Doctor reach for the Jack Lord game piece at the same time. "Hey!" protests Jack. "That's mine!"

The Doctor tilts his head wearing an expression of puzzlement as he contemplates, "And why should you be the one who gets to be Steve McGarret?"

"Because it's my game!" responds Jack, staring at the Doctor as if the answer should be obvious.

"And tonight I'm your guest!" declares the Doctor indignantly.

"Yeah, well, my first name is Jack so rightfully, it should go to me!" insists Jack huffily.

"Yeah, well," returns the Doctor, mimicking Jack's petulant tone, "his last name is Lord, I'm a Lord of Time and I have really great hair! So rightfully and truthfully, it should go to me!"

Knowing this ridiculous argument could very well last all night, Donna decides to take action and calmly walks over to kick the game board sending the pieces flying all over the place. "Oh, dear, it looks like nobody can play now."

Utterly appalled at Donna's actions, both men are unable to do more than shout, "Donna!" in unison before they swiftly bend down to retrieve the scattered pieces and put them back in the box. "Women!" mutters the Doctor. "They just don't appreciate the finer things in life."

"Yeah," agrees Jack readily. He scoops up one of the pieces and then proceeds to stalk over to Donna and shove it into her face. "This is a collectible board game, Donna Noble! Only ten thousand of them were released incorrectly displaying Danno with straight blonde hair and this particular game is one of them!"

Donna rolls her eyes and with the box set aside, the Doctor suggests, "Since it seems that we won't be playing Monopoly tonight," he darts a glare at Donna, "would everyone like some tea from my new thermos?"

Rose looks at him with more than a bit of mistrust and asks, "It's not sonic is it?"

The Doctor replies laughingly, "Well, yes, in fact it is sonic but not the kind that you're thinking about." He pulls out a Sonic the Hedgehog thermos from their picnic basket and explains, "Tony gave it to me, he said that it reminds him of the me."

"Oh, yeah," notes Jack as realization instantly hits him. "You mean because of your hair, the way it sticks up."

The Doctor growls, "No, you idiot, it's because of the sonic!" He chances a glance at the women and notices Donna wearing her infamous smirk and Rose biting her lip to keep herself from laughing. He runs his hand through his hair in exasperation causing his hair to stand up in every possible direction while quietly determining, Yeah, it's because of the sonic.

Donna remarks dryly, "First themed board games and now cartoon thermoses, I guess I really don't appreciate the finer things in life. Let me amend that right now." She turns to her best friend and queries hopefully, "Rose, would you like to see my Eastenders viewmaster reels?"

Rose smiles cheekily and responds in mock enthusiasm, "Only if I can show you my Soup Dragon teakettle, it whistles just like a Clanger when the tea's ready!"

The Doctor sends them each a withering glare before stating, "How very droll. You two are just jealous because nobody is thoughtful enough to buy you two any gifts."

Jack throws his arm around the Doctor's shoulder in a show of support and comments haughtily, "That's right!" Then in a whisper meant only for the Doctor to hear, he adds, "Good one, Doc!"

Both men stand there looking entirely too smug while the women simply stare at them in disbelief. Donna is the first to speak and pointedly inquires, "Yeah, because just who exactly do we know who would be thoughtful enough that we could expect gifts from them?"

Each man looks away guiltily before Jack unexpectedly questions, "Well, exactly how much are we talking about spending here? If you happen to recall, I did just treat all of you to dinner."

The Doctor elbows him in the ribs and silently shakes his head in the negative to prevent any further discussion on the topic. Grateful to move on, Rose and the Doctor put their own blanket out while Donna and Jack make themselves comfortable on their blanket.

They're not seated very long before Jack starts shifting all over the place on his blanket and Donna leans away and quizzes, "Oi! What's wrong with you?"

Unfortunately for Jack, he's just discovered that he's on an anthill and several of its inhabitants have just crawled up his leg. When batting at his clothing seems to have no effect, he immediately jumps to his feet and starts stripping off his trousers, quickly followed by the rest of his attire in an effort to get rid of them.

Jack yelps in a panic, "They're in my underwear now!" Help me brush them off!"

The Doctor and Rose each look at Donna and she instantly waves her hands in denial. "Don't look at me! We're not up to that level yet! I'm still gobsmacked that he kissed me at the restaurant!"

Jack begins pulling off his pants as he runs into the bushes to remove the rest of his clothes. Sympathetic to his plight, Donna shakes out their blanket and hands it to him through the bushes.

She takes the chance to peep at Jack as he wraps the blanket around himself and teases, "I didn't know that it was going to be a full moon tonight."

Jack squeaks back, "Donna, no peeking!" In a quieter tone he insists, "Besides it's not what you think, it's cold out."

Rose turns to the Doctor and laughs, "Well, there's another naked story."

The Doctor grunts, "Fantastic. Yet another story about Jack and his beanstalk."

Blushing profusely, Jack comes out wearing nothing but his blanket and sits down next to Donna, who always prepared for any contingency, had the foresight to bring a spare blanket.

Donna starts unpacking the picnic basket and comes across a six pack of Courtney's Concoctions Grade A Rootbeer. She turns to Jack in amazement and demands, "Are you kidding me? You brought rootbeer to an engagement party?"

Jack makes a face and defends, "The root beer is for me Donna. If you had kept looking in the basket then you would have found the wine for the rest of you."

Upon further inspection, she soon draws out the worst and cheapest generic liquor ever known to Pete's World, Shampagne by the Blue Box Wine Company. Its container is a blue cardboard box and written on its side is the company's slogan, 'Experience the full taste of fine wine at only half of the price!'

She shakes her head incredulously and asks, "Seriously, Jack? You know if we have to suffer drinking this then you should as well." Receiving a negative response from Jack, she coaxes, "You're not even going to have one glass of this to toast our best friends? Not even one tiny sip?"

Jack firmly insists, "No way, forget it. You know what happens whenever I take a drink and I refuse to force my attentions on you again. My mother taught me never to take advantage of a lady."

"Or Donna," mutters the Doctor under his breath. Donna retaliates by tossing a nearby rock at his head, "Oi! I heard that pencil neck!"

While the Doctor rubs his aching head, Donna and Jack work together to fill up the glasses and pass them around. Although still a bit miffed at the Doctor's slur on her femininity, she has grown accustomed to his rudeness by now and so it is with the true spirit of friendship that she wonders aloud, "Well, how's the night going so far, Spaceman? Is this another parallel disaster or a bit of fun from your weirdo viewpoint?"

The Doctor takes Donna's gibe in stride and responds by raising his glass in a toast. "Tonight has been absolutely exceptional and what has made it this way, besides the fact that I'm marrying my beautiful Rose, is that the two people who I consider my best friends, in either universe, are here with us tonight."

With a meaningful look at Jack from a long ago conversation, the Doctor confesses, "I know that I have made comparisons to your counterparts but I assure you with all of my heart that the only comparison that I could ever continue to make between you is the fact that you so readily accepted me for all that I am. Rose is the only other person that I know who has been able to accept me for me, not just the alien Timelord, the latest regeneration or the parallel meta-crisis, but just me."

He gazes at the three of them with all of his one heart in his eyes as his grasp tightens on Rose's hand. "And for that, I am more grateful than you know and I always will be for the rest of this life. There is no one else that I would rather be celebrating this night with than the three of you, whether it be in a restaurant or under the stars." He gazes lovingly at Rose when he tells her, "I'm so glad that I met you." Then he turns to Donna and Jack and stresses, "I'm so glad that I met all of you."

Rose's kiss is gentle as she brushes her lips softly against the Doctor's mouth and Donna's smile is warm and sincere. Jack is sniffling softly as he recovers from the heartfelt speech and hiccups, "I think my allergies are acting up."

They all smile at Jack's infamous sensitivity and the Doctor gently inquires, "Jack?"

"Yes, Doc?" he queries with a sniffle.

"Could you please pull your blanket closed?" he requests flatly.

Jack swiftly pulls it tight with a huge blush and offers, "Sorry, Doc."

The Doctor rolls his eyes and sighs, "Come on Jack, let's go sonic the ants off of your clothes so you can get dressed." The Doctor and Jack promptly walk away leaving the women to talk freely.

Donna mentions, "So, Rose, did the Doctor tell you about David McDonald's origins?"

Rose nods and remarks, "You mean that he's from Owthtiwretteb? Yeah, that was quite the surprise! Except for you of course, being head of Alien Artifacts and all. But for me, it was a total surprise."

She pokes her tongue out between her teeth and purrs, "And very intriguing."

"Oh? Donna inquires excitedly, her eyes wide with interest, "How so?"

Rose replies with a cheeky glint in her eyes, "Well, from what I remember learning about Owthtiwretteb culture from when their Ambassadors first visited is that any Owthtiwretteb, male or female, is destined for just one mate for their entire lifespan. That means that they're only with that one person, ever.

Rose's trademark grin is back in place as she intones, "Think about all of that pent up passion and desire just waiting to be unleashed! Can you imagine how lucky Liane might be?"

Donna laughs in reply just as the Doctor returns. "Jack's dressing now. What was that last bit that I overheard? We're not talking about McDonald, are we?"

He crosses his arms across his chest in frustration. "I'm a little tired of hearing everyone sing his praises. What's the big deal about him anyway? So he's an alien with a binary cardiovascular system, astronomical intellect and telepathic."

He gives a snort of derision and opines, "He's so full of himself."

Jack steps out of the bushes fully dressed and quizzes, "Talking about yourself again, Doc?"

The Doctor spins around to face him and exclaims, "What? No! We were talking about…"

Donna hisses in a whisper, "Ixnay on the alien thing. Jack doesn't know yet, remember?"

The Doctor rapidly changes course and states, "We were talking about…someone else. Besides, I only have one heart and I didn't mention anything about really great hair."

Donna whispers snidely, "Nice cover, Dimbo."

The Doctor grimaces as he hates keeping secrets from Jack but he has promised to honor Jake's request that Jack would be kept in the dark about David's origins to give his and Liane's relationship a chance to progress. And seeing that Jack and Liane were best mates, he knew that particular secret wouldn't be kept for long.

He claps his hands to draw everyone's attention to himself and away from the subject of David McDonald. "So back to the original topic that I overheard you two discussing, you shouldn't be envious of anyone on that front, Rose Tyler! Not only was I 100% pure and untainted goods in this body, at least until you had your wicked way with me, but I still retain over nine hundred years of experience so I've still got game."

Jack and Donna both laugh hysterically and the Doctor huffs, "What's so funny?"

Donna scoffs, "You? You've got game?"

The Doctor gripes, "I've got game!"

Jack chuckles, "Yeah, Balderdash!"

Donna quips, "Really, I thought it would've been SORRY!"

The Doctor growls, "No, it's more like Yahtzee! Tell them, Rose!"

Rose smiles sweetly and clarifies, "Actually, it's more like Operation."

Donna stares at her curiously and asks, "How's that then?"

Rose gazes besotted at the Doctor as she replies, "Because I always need a Doctor."

The Doctor grins smugly and kisses Rose while Jack proclaims, "Aw, how sweet," and Donna moans, "Oh, please."

The Doctor pulls back from Rose's kiss with a smile that slowly becomes pensive causing Rose to ask, "What's wrong, love?"

The Doctor frowns severely and answers, "I was just thinking about McDonald."

Rose gasps in surprise, "Again? Doctor, what is your obsession with that man?"

The Doctor shrugs and sadly bemuses, "I don't know, maybe it's like when Jack thought that I was talking about myself because when I was a full Time Lord, I would have been."

He looks mournfully up at the sky and lamnents, "I'll never be able to take you to new worlds or forwards or backwards in time again." He turns his sad gaze onto her. "I can't take you to the stars…I'll never be able to show you the universe again, Rose Tyler."

Rose's gaze is sympathetic as she inquires, "Has this been bothering you long?"

The Doctor laughs mirthlessly, "Only since we were stranded here without a TARDIS."

Rose's heart and soul ache for him, for the suffering that he's endured all of this time in silence. "You never said, Doctor, not once. Why didn't you ever tell me?"

He rubs his neck and watches her with an apologetic expression. "It seems we had enough to work through, I didn't want to burden you with my failings as well."

The others gaze on in sympathy while Rose stares out at the sky for awhile before she extends her arm out and asks, "Doctor, what's the name of that star?"

He points in the direction that Rose had and verifies, "That star?" At Rose's nod, the Doctor answers, "That's Pegasus. The story goes that he was tamed by Bellerophon with a golden bridle. They had the most fantastic adventures together until Bellerophon tried to ride Pegasus into the heavens. The gods refused to have a mere mortal visit their home so they made Bellerophon fall off of his mount. Pegasus continued his journey and remained with the gods."

Rose muses, "Sort of reminds me of you and the TARDIS." When he merely looks back at her in befuddlement, Rose expounds, "Pegasus is like the TARDIS and you're Bellerophon. You both had the most amazing adventures and then Bellerophon was forced to leave him because he was mortal, just like you."

The Doctor chuckles softly and agrees, "Yeah, I guess so."

Rose points to another star and questions, "What's that one?"

The Doctor squints as his gaze travels over to the section of sky that Rose is referring to. "That star is Leo. He was a lion who was so strong and fierce that his roar would make everyone tremble with fear in its wake."

"So a bit like The Oncoming Storm then?" teases Rose.

He smiles grandly and puffs up a bit with pride as he replies, "Maybe just a bit."

Rose selects another star and queries, "And that one?"

"That would be Virgo." He turns towards her and bears a manic grin as he remarks, "Now that one reminds me of you."

At her quizzical glance, he explains, "Astraea, the goddess of justice who the star was named after, was also known as the Maiden or Virgo. She moved from place to place searching for peace." His loving gaze slowly trails across her features like a caress as he informs her, "It reminds me of you crossing the void to find me."

He suddenly gives her a very pointed look along with a knowing smirk as he accuses, "Although, I would expect a woman who has a university degree in both Astronomy and Mythology to know that."

Rose smiles widely and asks, "Don't you see, Doctor? You still take me to the stars and show me the universe; you just do it in your own way now. The travel and adventures were wonderful and I wouldn't trade those experiences for the world, but the only reason that I will ever stay is because of you."

The Doctor smiles softly at her in response and reaches to interlace their fingers together. Rose holds up their linked hands and she declares, "See? Even with one heart and no TARDIS, we still fit."

The Doctor's smile quickly turns into a huge grin and he squeezes her hand as he assents, "Yes, we do. A perfect fit."

The Doctor lowers his head down to Rose's and they are lost in their kiss for quite some time before Jack clears his throat to draw their attention and mentions uncomfortably, "Uh…guys? We're still here."

When he not only doesn't receive a response but the pair actually start leaning backwards as if to lie down, Donna shouts, "Oi, you two, knock it off! Just because you two fit doesn't mean that I need to see proof of it right in front of me!"

Properly chastised, the pair hastily separate and adjust their clothing. The Doctor clears his throat before announcing, "Yes, well, fitting aside and all that," as he rubs his neck and flashes a wide grin at Rose, "I still have a trick or two of my very own up my sleeve."

He whips out his sonic screwdriver and with a quick press of a button and whir of the sonic, he produces an array of fireworks that illuminate the sky. Rose squeals, "Oh, Doctor, I love it! Thank you so much for doing this!" and she throws herself into his arms.

He embraces her tightly before leaning far back enough to waggle his eyebrows and suggest, "You can thank me later when the real fireworks begin."

The couple behind them watches the night sky light up with a rainbow of colors. Jack murmurs, "They're beautiful, huh, Donna?" Then shyly adds, "Of course, not as beautiful as you."

Donna smiles sweetly and then purrs, "How about you showing me your own brand of fireworks?"

Jack pouts, "Sorry, Donna, but I didn't bring any fireworks. Besides, I'm a little surprised that the Doctor's doing this without a permit or any special precautions. They can be a real fire hazard when left to chance."

Donna sighs, "Don't worry, Jack, you seem to be capable of putting out any type of fire."

Jack glows at her praise and beams, "Thanks, Donna!"

Donna's roving eye happens to notice the Doctor and Rose wiggling around again and she yells, "Oi! What did I tell you two about that while I'm here?"

Rose insists, "It's not that, Donna! There's something…," her voice trails off as she shifts around trying to move into a more comfortable position.

The Doctor and Rose start becoming even more restless and Donna questions, "Then why are you two so antsy?"

The Doctor shouts, "That's it exactly, Donna! It's ants!"

When Donna starts to twitch from something on her leg and notices Jack beginning to squirm around again she bellows, "Oh, bloody hell! The ants are back! Come on, everybody, time to leg it!"

They brush away the ants and gather their belongings as fast as they can and Jack sympathizes, "It's too bad that this had to happen, I hope it hasn't ruined your special night."

The Doctor replies giddily, "Are you kidding, Jack Harkness? This only makes it all the more perfect!"

Both Jack and Donna's bewildered gazes travel from the Doctor's manic smile to Rose's trademark grin. The Doctor enthuses, "What kind of adventure would it be without the running? Or as Donna so aptly put it, Come on, everybody, leg it!"

Rushing to leave the ants behind, they grab each others hands, trudging up the hill and catching each other as they fall, each one supporting the other, and extremely grateful that the only thing following them into the night was the echoing sounds of their laughter.

THE END

Next Story: The Great Escape!

You are cordially invited to attend the wedding of The Doctor and Rose Tyler, Forever After style! Please note that the wedding will be as much a surprise to the bride and groom as it will be to the guests. Hope to see you there! :)

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