“When I was a kid,” said the Doctor, “I used to pretend I was fictional, and when stupid things happened to me I told myself that the author was stuck for a decent plot.”
“You must have been a weird kid,” said Donna. “Did you rip the wings off flies?”
He shook his head. “No, I used to try making them little splints for broken legs.”
“It never worked,” he said, glumly. “But my point was that it might help to tell yourself that somewhere out there is a godlike being that can't think of anything more plausible than this.”
Donna looked down at her latest wedding dress and then back up at the Doctor. “Do I really have to marry you?”
“Unless you want to be eaten by giant maggots.”
“You or giant maggots,” said Donna. “I feel like the choice should be easier than it is.”
The Doctor looked hurt. “I'd be a wonderful husband, and it's only until we leave.”
“Do we have to... you know?” She gestured crudely.
The Doctor's ears went red. “I shouldn't think so.”
“Yeah, but you didn't think we'd have to get married, so you're maybe not the expert in this situation.”
“I've never known spur-of-the-moment alien marriage ceremonies to demand consummation,” he said evenly.
“How many times has this happened to you?”
“Um. Once or twice? Not often. Not what you'd call often.”
Donna tugged at the purple satin of her dress. “Oh my God, you've got a space-harem.”
“I do not have a space-harem! I don't even have more than one friend at a time. Well, sometimes I have two. Or three. And there was one time when-”
“I want a divorce.”
“We're not even married yet!” The Doctor tugged at his hair. “Donna, why can't you just be sensible about this?”
“By pretending that we're fictional?”
“If it helps.”
“Is that what you're doing?”
“Yes,” lied the Doctor. He leaned against the wall and folded his arms across his chest. “You look nice in that dress.”
“It makes my arse look huge,” she said with a glance at the mirror behind her.
“That's just the bustle,” he assured her.
“Why don't you have to wear a dress?”
“Would you feel better if I asked for one?” he offered.
“Not really.” Donna pulled herself up a bit. “Right, let's go tie the knot.”
The Doctor woke up ginger.
More specifically, the Doctor woke up as Donna. He got to his new feet shakily and rounded the smoking machinery to look for her.
Donna was sitting up staring at her new, much more masculine, hands. She looked up at the Doctor and shook her head. “You have got to be kidding me.”
The Doctor held up his hands. “I can fix it.”
“You'd bloody better fix it.” Donna stood up and swayed slightly. “Bloody hell, you're tall.”
The Doctor held out a hand. “Give me the sonic screwdriver and I'll get us back to ourselves again.”
Donna searched her pockets and handed it over. “And don't look at my breasts.”
The Doctor managed not to look down. “I'll do my best.” He started fixing the completely stupid bodyswap machine. “You've got really small hands,” he said after a while.
“I don't have really small hands, you have really big hands.” She waved them about to emphasise her point. She leaned against the machine. “Hurry up, I need to pee.”
The Doctor didn't look up. “There's a bathroom down the corridor.”
“I'm not touching it!” cried Donna.
The Doctor looked up from the machine and blinked at her. “Oh. Right. I forgot about that.”
Donna glanced down. “How can you forget about it? Is it really small?”
The Doctor rushed to the defence of his own masculinity. “It's not really small. It's a perfectly average size. And while we're talking about things we don't usually talk about, your bra doesn't fit.” He adjusted the straps awkwardly.
“Don't you dare touch the girls.”
“I won't, but the next stop after this is somewhere we can get you measured properly.” He twisted round a bit. “I think the back size is too small. You know, vanity is much less important than properly-fitting underwear.”
“I mean it about needing to pee,” said Donna pointedly.
“Yes, right, won't be a minute.” He went back to his work, muttering.
“Although it's really tempting to try pissing up a wall,” said Donna contemplatively.
“I have a reputation to consider,” said the Doctor.
“Yeah, a reputation as a man obsessed with his friends' underwear. I don't think someone pissing up a wall in your body would really drag things down much further.”
He shook his head and fiddled with some wires. “People would find out. They'd think I was marking my territory or indulging in petty vandalism.”
Donna crossed her legs carefully. “I wasn't going to do it, I was just thinking it'd be a interesting to try. Men are so lucky.”
“Yes, Donna, you've got right to the root of the patriarchy there. It's all about urinating against walls. Look, this is going to take at least another fifteen minutes, you're going to have to... take matters into your own hands.”
She sighed and slumped her shoulders. “Do I just point and wait?”
“Basically, yes.” He shooed her with his hands. “Off you go then, I don't want to switch back into wet trousers.”
Donna hurried off down the corridor. While she was gone the Doctor risked a quick glance down at his chest. It was a shame this was someone else's body, he'd quite like a go at the clitoris to see what all the fuss was about. Maybe he should be a woman next time.
Donna returned with a disturbed expression. “No wonder you're so arrogant,” she muttered.
The Doctor ducked under the machine and smiled to himself happily where she couldn't see and therefore slap him.
The Doctor took his jacket off and settled down on the rather nice bed.
Donna coughed pointedly.
“What?” he asked, taking off his tie.
“Are you going to be gentlemanly and offer to sleep on the floor?”
The Doctor looked from Donna to the floor and then back at Donna. “It's dirty. I'd get dirt on me.”
“Yeah, which is why I'm not going to sleep on the floor.”
“Donna, I think we've been through enough together that we can sleep in the same bed.”
“People might talk.”
The Doctor sighed and ruffled his own hair. “Half the universe thinks we're married anyway.”
“We are. You never got that divorce you promised me.”
“Yeah, but we're not really married. My point is that if people are going to talk they're probably doing it already.”
Donna rolled her eyes. “Oh fine, you can sleep with me.”
They both blushed as they realised what she'd said.
“I didn't mean...”
“Of course not,” he said hurriedly.
“I would never...”
“I just meant...”
“I know that.”
“Don't even think about it, Spaceman,” she warned.
“Donna, will you shut up and get into bed!”
Donna sniffed. “If that's your best chat-up line no wonder you're lonely.”
The Doctor decided to extinguish some burning bridges. “I'm not as lonely with you here.”
Donna seemed satisfied with that. “Good.” She sat on her side of the bed. “Do you snore?”
“I don't know.”
“I bet you do. You can't shut up for five minutes.”
The Doctor turned onto his side. “I'll see you in the morning.”
Donna took off her shoes. “And no feeling me up.”
He didn't feel her up. She tried to feel him up, but he moved her hand away before it got embarrassing. He just wouldn't mention the whole waking-up-hugging-her thing. She wouldn't understand that it was entirely innocent.
“It's like the universe is trying to tell us something,” said Donna.
“No,” said the Doctor firmly, “the universe is not trying to tell us anything. It doesn't have opinions, for one thing.”
“It's that or we're trapped in a romantic comedy.”
The Doctor turned back to trying to open the door. “Who ever heard of aliens making people have sex anyway? That's just stupid.”
“It's cultural,” said Donna.
He gave up on the door and looked at her. “You're very calm about this.”
Donna shrugged. “I've got an idea to get out of this without having to shag you.”
“Oh, Donna. Oh, you brilliant, wonderful woman. What is it?”
“I can't really tell you if they're listening, can I? I'll start and you go along with it. Okay?”
The Doctor nodded, eager to avoid having to have sex with a woman he quite wanted to have sex with.
Donna took a deep breath. “Oh, Doctor,” she said loudly, “touch me there.”
The Doctor blinked. “What?”
“Yes,” said Donna with an annoyed expression, “you are a competent and generous lover.” She waggled her eyebrows at him and moaned loudly.
Finally he realised what she was doing. “Um,” he said, quietly. “Do I have to do this as well?”
Donna rolled her eyes. “You can try banging the bed against the wall if you're not up to acting,” she whispered.
And so the Doctor and Donna didn't have sex, even though it sounded more or less like they did.
“Why does it feel like this was inevitable?” asked Donna when she took a break from kissing the Doctor.
“We shouldn't be doing this,” he said, slightly more in control of what he was doing. But only slightly. His hands wandered up Donna's blouse seemingly of their own accord. “There's almost always an antidote to pollen infection, we should be looking for that instead of... acting on the symptoms.”
Donna started working on his tie. “That's a lot of effort for not much reward.”
“The reward would be that we didn't have sex.” He stared as Donna took her blouse off. “Actually, you're right, that's not much of a reward, is it?”
“I haven't had a decent shag since I met you,” she said, unfastening her jeans. “And I feel awkward wanking in your spaceship.”
“You're right, I do owe you an orgasm,” said the Doctor, dimly aware that this didn't make much sense.
“You owe me several.”
“Can you do several?”
“Let's find out, shall we?”
And out in the depths of space the universe sighed contentedly, having yet again played match-maker to people who needed a bit of encouragement.
Everyone needs a hobby, after all.