The Fear

by nostalgia [Reviews - 5]

  • Teen
  • None
  • Angst, Het

He tries to think of an excuse for kissing her, and realises with a stabbing fear that he doesn't have one. No detox, body-swaps or genetic transfers this time. He's kissing Donna because he wants to, and that's the worst reason he can think of.

She pulls him by his tie and he lands on top of her, pressing her against the mattress with his weight. Her hands work the buttons on his shirt and her fingers brushing his chest bring everything crashing down.

He pushes himself up over her. “I can't.”

She shifts beneath him. “Doesn't feel like you can't.”

“That's not what I mean.”

Donna looks at him, drops her hands and lets him sit up on the edge of her bed. He tries to think of something to say to lighten the mood. His mind goes treacherously blank.

“What is it?” she asks. “Is it Rose? Is it River?”

“It's me.” He turns his head to look at her. “I'm sorry, Donna, I really am.”

Donna sits up on her bed, pulling her knees up towards her chest. “Did I do something wrong?”

“How's it going to end?” he asks, saying it before he can stop himself.

“Doctor, it hasn't even started yet, why are you worrying about how it ends?”

“How long are you staying with me? And don't say forever.”

“Why not?” Donna pulls her shoulders back defiantly. “Rest of my life, if you'll let me.”

“Donna, I know what you lost in the Library. I know what you wanted.” He looks at her, feeling ancient. “I can't settle down with you. I can't give you children.”

“I wasn't thinking that far ahead.”

“Well, you have to. I don't want you to regret your life.”

“And this is only a problem if we have sex?”

“That would just make it worse.”

“I don't understand you,” says Donna.

“Yeah,” he says, “I know.”

He sneaks out that night to visit River. She's young, blonde, and he hasn't the slightest idea who she is.

“I kissed Donna,” he tells her.

“Oh,” she says. “It didn't go well,” she adds, a statement rather than a question.

“I turned her down.” He runs a hand through his unruly hair. “I didn't want to.”

River puts and hand on his arm. “So now you come to me. I hope I'm not a substitute.”

“You're not. It's different with you,” he says. You're already dead, he thinks, I can't lose you again. He clasps his fingers with hers. “Tell me it works out in the end.”

“You know I can't,” she says, and silences his next demand with a kiss.

Donna's waiting in the console room when he gets back to the TARDIS. He flings his coat over a support-column and sets about demateralising.

Donna watches him from the crash-seat. “Did you sleep with her?”

“Does it matter?” he asks, pretending to work at the controls.

“It matters to me.”

He looks up at her, considers his answer. “Yeah,” he says, finally.


He forces himself not to apologise. He can see how hurt she is. “It's complicated.”

“Apparently so.”

Donna doesn't show up for breakfast and he finds her in her room, sitting at the dressing-table looking miserable.

“I was thinking about leaving,” she tells him.

His hearts skip a few beats and the room feels suddenly cold. “Please don't.” He looks at her in the mirror. “I messed things up, I know I did. But you're still my best mate. There's so many places I want to take you to.”

“All the while wondering when I'm going to drop dead? Scheming to get rid of me in case my biological clock turns on you?” She stands up and steps towards him. “I don't even know you any more.”

“Maybe you never did,” he says before he can stop himself.

For once he's fast enough to catch her wrist before the slap reaches his face. Donna pulls her hand free. “The one adventure you can never have. That's what you called it. Why? Why can't you have it? What's stopping you?”

“It ends.”

“Everything ends! If I married a human there's a good chance he'd die before me, but I'm not going through life running away every time someone so much as looks at me.”

“I don't want to lose you.”

“I love you.”

“And I can't even say it!”

“What? The big bad Doctor's scared of his own feelings? Can't cope with loss so he never loves?”

“I don't want it to be that way,” he says.

“Then take a chance.”

“You were right,” he says. “You saved me from myself. Again.” He gives her the flowers, smiles. “Thank you, Donna Noble.”

He steps back from the grave, lets River take his hand. “It hurts,” he tells her.

“I know, Sweetie.”

“I don't regret it, though.”


They walk back to the TARDIS, back to time and space and a life the Doctor wasn't scared of.