The hot water beats down on his shoulders, easing the tension left over from trying to keep the timelines intact after the demise of one Pete Tyler. He had given in to Rose's begging to see her father, and really, he's more angry at himself than her. He should know better than to put that type of temptation in front of a human. Yet, he'd had the highest hopes that Rose would understand, would follow his simple rules, and take him seriously about the damage to the timelines if she interfered. But in the end her sentimentality had almost destroyed them all.

The truth is, he needs to do a better job reminding himself that she is barely past adolescence, in human years. Mind, to him, all humans are just so young that, as long as they aren't child-sized, he tends to lump them all together.

The Doctor steps out of the shower into a bathroom filled with steam. The TARDIS automatically shuts off the water for him, and warm air begins to circulate rround the room to dry him off.

He moves to the sink, rooting in the medicine cabinet for the face lotion from Hericrux 3, guaranteed to keep a Time Lord's skin hydrated well into his 1300'th year.

When he closes the medicine cabinet, the condensation on the glass is disturbed.

"I can see you," the words form slowly in the foggy mirror, and the Doctor stumbles back in surprise. The words sound like a threat; he feels a cold chill crawl up his back How could something threatening have gotten into the TARDIS?!

His hearts racing, he holds the bottle of Hericrux lotion in his hand like a grenade.

"Y–" forms slowly on the mirror, condensation streaking. The Doctor braces a hand on the doorknob, ready to run and regroup if necessary.

"You're…" the word completes, and he waits breathlessly.

"naked."

His hand goes limp, the bottle of lotion falling to the floor, as he blinks at the mirror in confusion.

"Naked naked naked," new ghostly words stress.

He gapes at the glass, breath finally kicking back into gear, before looking around wildly. He doesn't have a bath sheet. He doesn't use them - he prefers to air dry!

He grabs the next best thing – a hand towel – and presses it over his front.

The words on the mirror slowly fog over, as if a gentle breath is streaming over them.

"That," begins to form over the new expanse of condensation, "is a very small towel."

More breath, more words drawn on glass. "Hardly covers anything."

The Doctor is, at this point, torn between being petrified, intrigued, and possibly….flattered?

"Kudos!" ends the sentence.

Okay, he's flattered.

But then reality intrudes, that somehow, something has gotten into his TARDIS, uninvited! "No, wait, who's doing that? How is this–" he blusters, before an idea pings through his mind.

He rushes out to his room, roots around in his trouser pockets, reaches deep until the anomaly detector is back in his hands. He swings it around wildly and Donna deigns to step closer, making sure the screen captures her again.

"YOU!" shouts the Doctor.

Donna waves, and the blurry Donna onscreen copies her. "Yes, hello!" she says enthusiastically.

"You followed me here? But that was weeks ago!" the Doctor exclaims.

He looks around, all the odd little pieces clicking into place – all those times he felt like someone was hovering over his shoulder, all those times he felt not quite alone. "I knew there was something off! Why didn't you tell me?" he directs at the TARDIS at large.

There's a kind of distracted gurgle that Donna now recognizes is the TARDIS equivalent of a shoulder shrug.

The Doctor swings the doohikey around some more, and Donna stands still so he can keep her on the screen. She gives him a peace sign, which, in her blurriness, doesn't transfer well to the screen. Kind of sorta looks like she's flipping him off.

The Doctor looks affronted. "Why are you here?" demands the Doctor at high volume.

"You told me to leave my old place!" responds Donna reasonably.

"How did you manage to get in here!" he reiterates, slowly and even louder, as though speaking to someone hearing impaired.

She floats towards him. "I dunno if you've noticed but YOU CAN'T HEAR ME BUT I CAN HEAR YOU FINE SO WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING!" she screams in his face. Why does he keep asking questions he can't get answers to?

She tries to pluck at one of his ears to get his attention, and he bats away at the cold air that wafts by his face. "So that's been you all along!" he cries when he feels the familiar press of cool air and cobwebs pass his face.

"Well I need you to come here, you moron," Donna says, wafting backwards. She gets back in range of his camera again, and tries to make a "come here" gesture with her hand. The intent of it at least comes through on the screen.

Getting her drift, the Doctor follows her back to the bathroom. He has, Donna realizes with a giggle, completely forgotten that he's nude. He stopped using the hand towel ages ago.

Back at the bathroom mirror, Donna fogs up the glass — damn but this is taking a lot out of her! – and concentrates hard to write, slowly, "I'm Donna Noble…since u didn't ask."

The Doctor frowns at the mirror. "Well, Donna Noble - not that I care - I repeat, why the hell are you on my ship?"

"Where was I," she writes, lets him read, then refogs the mirror. Its slower going this time, as what little energy she has starts to flag. "S'posed to go." Fog, writes, "U outerspace dunce."

The Doctor rears back at the insult, though a bit of humor edges his thin lips. "Mouthy thing, aren't you," he asks.

Fog. Write. "Y. & I'm staying. TARDIS sez ok. S'there."

He crosses his arms over his bare chest. "Does she, now." He screws his face in thought for a second, reviewing his options.

As impossible as it seemed, looked like this Donna Noble had been around for a few weeks already. She hadn't caused any problems (other than the fact that she apparently liked to mess with his ears!) and the TARDIS liked her here. And to be honest, keeping the TARDIS happy was more important than whether or not the trapped soul of a traveler from the 4th dimension had managed to hitch a ride.

"If the TARDIS has no quarrel with you, then I guess you can stay until we find out what to do with you," he concedes.

Donna radiates triumph. Like she'd leave even if he told her to! She likes it here, and the TARDIS likes her here, too.

"Mind, no more sneaking into my bathroom!" the Doctor commands roughly, sensing her air of victory. "I don't need some wispy woman spying on me."

Fog. Write. "K. No prob."

He harrumphs at her. "There better not be, or I'll throw you right off my ship!"

What a little smug shit he is! Donna's exhausted by now, truly, but she refuses to let him have the last word. "U'r still naked," she writes, and laughs long and loud when he blanches and runs back into his room to throw on some clothes.


Rose doesn't take the news well. But Donna muses that it's largely the Doctor's fault, for being absolute rubbish at explaining things.

He ambushes Rose one morning at breakfast, as she blearily spoons cereal into her mouth.

"We have a traveler from the fourth dimension in the TARDIS with us," he tells her in lieu of a "good morning." Donna floats in after him, ready for a good show.

Rose's spoon halts in mid air, and she blinks at him in confusion and a little bit of ill-concealed hurt. "We have another traveler with us and you didn't tell me? Did you pick them up while I was asleep last night?"

"No, several weeks back when you went to visit your mum," says the oblivious Doctor.

The spoon lands in her bowl with a splash. "WEEKS!" Rose demands, gripping the kitchen table with fingertips white with tension. "You've had someone on-board for weeks and you didn't think it was something you should tell me?! Who is it? Why have you kept him hidden?" Another idea occurs to Roe, and she looks a little ill. "Or, is it a woman?"

Donna snickers while the Doctor frowns in confusion. "Why would that matter?"

"Is she human? Is she… pretty?" asks Rose, looking down into her cereal so the Doctor won't see how this really upsets her.

"How the hell should I know?" grumbles the Doctor.

"Well, can I meet her? How come I haven't gotten to see her all this time?"

"You probably have," muses the Doctor, scratching behind one ear. "In fact she's probably around here already. Donna, are you here?"

"Yes I am! And girl, have I got some fashion tips for you," interjects Donna, settling onto the chair beside Rose.

Rose looks at the Doctor, confused, and then glances around the room again. "Huh?"

"What do you mean, 'huh'?" asks the Doctor.

"I mean, 'huh, there's no one else here but you and me, Doctor.'"

He sighs, reminded once more how slow on the uptake humans are. "Well of course you can't see her Rose, didn't I just say she's a traveler stuck in the fourth dimension?"

"But what does that even mean?" Rose demands, while Donna leans over carefully and tries to stick her finger in the milk of Rose's cereal.

"It means, Rose," the Doctor says with a roll of his eyes, "that you can't see her or hear her or anything else because her soul is stuck IN THE FOURTH DIMENSION."

Roses frowns at his snippy tone, but a second later her brow clears and she looks a bit gobsmacked. "Wait, are you saying ... a soul ... is this ... do we have a ghost on-board?!"

"I don't believe in ghosts."

"Then how did you find out it was here!?" Rose demands.

"She wrote on my bathroom mirror in the steam."

"OH MY GOD, we do have a ghost!" Rose leaps up from her chair and backs up closer to the Doctor, visions of horror movies circling through her brain. "What does it want?!" she shrieks.

"Boo?" Donna says off-hand, still concerned with trying to dip her finger in the milk. If she concentrates really hard she can make a tiny ripple.

The Doctor looks down curiously at Rose as she latches on to his arm, pressing close. "I think she just wants a place to stay."

"But how do you know?! Maybe it's haunting us — maybe it wants revenge for something!"

The Doctor carefully disengages from Rose's strong grip, takes her shoulders, and settles her back into her seat. "She doesn't want anything and she isn't after revenge. The TARDIS likes her. She's been here for weeks and neither of us knew it. I can sense her every now and then, if I pay attention, but that's it."

At the Doctor's steady tone, Rose relaxes. She starts to look more curious than scared. "Are you sure?"

"Of course I am. I'll try to find this traveler in the TARDIS database, if it will make you feel better, and if she becomes a bother the TARDIS won't let her stay. I promise, I won't let anything happen to you, Rose."

And Rose goes mushy at that, staring at the Doctor with big glistening eyes. "Okay. I trust you. And maybe…maybe it'll be fun having a ghost!"

Donna looks at Rose with a raised brow. Damn, but this girl has it bad. "Yeah, it'll be a barrel of laughs." She abandons her quest for milk domination so she can address Rose earnestly. "Listen, honey, it's not that I'm trying to steal him or anything, but the bloke is simply not for you. You're still young, there are tons of men out there better for you. 'Cos this one, well, he's completely clueless about your feelings, for one. That whole 'I'm smarter than you' tone you let him get away with, when what he needs a good kick in the arse, it's just not a good sign."

"And, second, he's an alien. You remember that part, right?" Donna continues, concerned. "I don't think he really understands you, and you certainly don't understand him. Heck, you don't even know if you're, y'know, compatible." Donna politely points at the Doctor's crotch, just in case Rose isn't getting her drift. Which Rose isn't, obviously, since Rose can't hear her.

"Okay, actually, he is compatible, very compatible – but you don't know that. For all you know he could have ... he could have like a ... I dunno, have you seen the movie Alien? 'Cos he could have that. Down there." Donna adds another helpful indication towards the Doctor's crotch. "How would you feel, if you went in all unprepared, and then," she shoots her arm out suddenly, hand mimicking a biting head. "BAM! Certified biting alien penis. Enough to put you right off sex forever!"

Rose ignores this bit of brilliant advice. Donna sighs loudly and settles her chin on her hand. "But you haven't even thought of that, have you?Because you're young and he is showing you the universe and, heck, you don't know any better yet. And you're just going to keep making goo-goo eyes at him even if he's no good for you, because nobody listens to me anymore." It suddenly makes her really sad to realize this. No one listened to her when she was alive, and now no one can listen to her when she's dead. Nothing ever changes.

She reaches out to brush her ghostly fingers over Rose's eyelashes. "All right, go ahead and keep pining after him. But could you lay back on the mascara, at least?"

Rose brushes her hands over her face, plucking at her eyelashes, feeling like icy cobwebs are clinging to her eyes.

The Doctor recognizes the movement and frowns off into the general space around Rose. "Oi, get your spectral fingers off Rose!"

"OI," says Donna back, insulted at the reprimand. "We were just having a bit of girl chat!" She drifts from her chair and plucks at his ears instead, so that the Doctor bats at the air around him while Rose watches from the table with wide eyes.

"Quit that!"

"I'm not even really touching you! I can't touch anything, do anything! Stop being a big baby," Donna protests.

"You're being a nuisance, and it won't be tolerated," growls out the Doctor. "Stop it!"

"I'm not a nuisance! You stop telling me what to do!" cries Donna, hurt, and pushes him hard on the chest.

The Doctor's face registers some strange emotion as he stumbles back several steps, and his hand comes up to his chest where she pushed him.

Donna stares, and excitement begins to pump through her. "Oh my god, did you feel that? Did I move you?!" squeals Donna. Did she actually affect something other than steam or stupid milk? She's thrilled, and goes to try again, until she realizes that the look on the Doctor's and Rose's faces is fear, not excitement.

Her enthusiasm dies a quick death. Of course they would be scared. She's seen enough horror movies to know better. She's dead and they aren't and this is creepy for them. "Right. No one wants the ghost to get more powerful. Gotcha. Should have never let you know I was here. I just thought maybe... whatever. Nevermind." Resigned, she drifts sadly off to find some long-forgotten room where only the TARDIS, who isn't afraid of her no matter what, will be bothered by her. Where she won't be a nuisance.