Donna Noble, Plus One

by nostalgia [Reviews - 3]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Het, Humor


The trouble had started when they went to Donna's house to pick up her post and pay a brief visit to her family. The visit had gone fine, but Donna's mood had changed as she sat on the crash-seat making her way through the pile of envelopes that she had brought back to the TARDIS with her.

One item in particular seemed to be troubling her. It was an A6 piece of white card and she'd been staring at it for some time. She couldn't still be reading it, unless the letters were really tiny perhaps. Which didn't seem likely.

Maybe it was bad news. The Doctor was torn between wanting to ask if she was okay and wanting to give her some privacy.

Donna looked up from the card and met his gaze. She'd caught him staring again, but at least this time he had a good excuse. He mentally prepared to defend himself against any accusations of perversion.

Donna spoke. “Could you... nah, forget it.” She looked back at the card, biting her bottom lip.

“What?” he asked.

“Could you do me a favour?” she asked, hesitantly.

“Anything,” said the Doctor, and he meant it.

“This is going to sound mad.”

The Doctor waited.

“How are you at weddings?” she asked.

“That depends, who am I marrying?” He didn't really want to get married, but if it would somehow help Donna he'd at least think about it.

“Nobody, it's not your wedding.”

“Oh.” He was so very, very relieved. “Then I'm good at weddings.”

“Right. I need you to come to a wedding with me and pretend to be my boyfriend.”

The Doctor stared at her for some time, his mouth hanging slightly open. Finally he managed to speak. “What?”

Donna stood and crossed the console room to join him. “Look,” she said, showing him the card. “It says Donna Noble 'plus one'.”

“Plus one's don't have to be in romantic relationships with each other,” he said. “You don't even need to go with anyone, it's not compulsory, it's just if there's someone you want to go with.”

“I can't go on my own, people will think I'm single.”

The Doctor felt, not for the first time in this conversation, deeply confused. “But... aren't you?”

“I don't want them to know that!”

“Why not?”

“Doctor, I'm nearly forty.”

“So? I'm nine hundred and four.”

“It's different for men. And aliens. An alien man can remain single all his life and everyone just assumes he's in the closet.”

“There's a closet? At the wedding? With an alien in it?”

“Doctor, stop messing about!”

“I'm not! I don't understand any of this!”

“Look,” she said, “just take my word for it that I need a fake boyfriend.”

“Okay.”

“Everyone will probably assume we're a couple, like they usually do. It's just that this time we have to go along with it.”

“Donna, I'm not even human.”

“So? You look human, it's not like you've got tentacles! Who's going to know?”

“I'd know! Why does it have to be me? Don't you know any other men? What about Jack?”

“You can't take Jack to a wedding, he'd try to have sex with the bride. And the groom. At the same time.”

“They might like that?” he ventured.

“Why are you being so difficult?”

Because it would break my hearts to pretend to have that which I shall never have, thought the Doctor. He didn't say that, though, what he said was, “I'm not being difficult.”

“Please,” said Donna, “it's just for one afternoon. I'll make it up to you, I won't make fun of your hair for a week.”

The Doctor managed not to automatically touch his hair. “I'm not good at pretending to be human. I always forget how many hearts I'm supposed to have.”

“No one's going to ask about your hearts. Go on. Two weeks, I won't make fun of your hair for two weeks.”

“Okay, but just this once. Any more wedding invites and you're finding another fake boyfriend.”

Donna smiled her lovely smile, which was surely a reward in itself. The Doctor told himself that he could do this, he could survive an afternoon pretending to be in some sort of romantic relationship with Donna. What was the worst that could happen?




“Are you crying?” whispered Donna.

The Doctor shook his head, blinking rapidly to get rid of any rogue tears. “Hayfever,” he mumbled. “It's all these flowers.”

“You've never had hayfever before,” said Donna doubtfully.

“Well, I've got it now,” he snapped quietly.

Donna looked at him with obvious suspicion before turning her attention back to the ceremony. The Doctor searched his pockets for a tissue and had to make do with an old receipt for a pair of trainers. He wiped his eyes carefully and then sat up straight like his mother had always told him to. It was usually a good idea to be on one's best behaviour in places of worship, and to be ready to run in case they needed a sacrifice at the end.

The Doctor wasn't sure if Anglicans did blood sacrifices at weddings, but he was ready to intervene if necessary. He had a vague memory of... turning people into wine? Or was it turning wine into people? He really should have done a bit of research before agreeing to accompany Donna to a religious event.

The bride and groom kissed and the Doctor felt another renegade tear begin to swell in his left eye. He put a finger over it and pretended to be thinking about something important. Then Donna sniffed and wiped her own eyes, at which point the Doctor — concerned that she might be embarrassed — leaned towards her and asked “Do we clap now? I brought a vuvuzela as well, do we need one of those?”

“Have you seriously never been to a wedding before?” asked Donna.

“Not recently. Not where I was paying attention to the details.”

“I thought you knew everything,” she said.

“Most things, but not absolutely everything.”

“I was kidding,” said Donna. “Bloody hell, how big is your ego?”

The Doctor was hurt by this, but he didn't want her to know that in case she either felt bad (possible) or mocked him (equally possible). “Is this the end?” he asked, as people around them stood to leave.

“Next is the reception,” said Donna. “That's the important bit, because I'll have to introduce you to people.”

“As your boyfriend.”

“Yeah.” She glanced around to make sure nobody was listening. “You'd better not do anything to embarrass me.”

“I won't,” he promised. “When have I ever let you down?”

“How are you at socialising?”

“I got on really well with Aneurin Bevan...” he began, before realising that he'd misheard her. “Oh, socialising. Don't worry, I've got a good supply of amusing anecdotes.”

“Are any of them about aliens?”

“Ah.”

“Just stand next to me and act like you think I'm interesting and pretty, okay?”

“Okay,” he said, since he did that most of the time anyway so doing it at a wedding reception shouldn't be that difficult.




“Donna! I haven't seen you in ages! Where have you been?”

Donna's friends were, if the Doctor was any judge, quite nosy.

“I've been travelling,” said Donna, which was more or less true. “I only came back for this, I wouldn't miss it for the world.”

The Doctor realised, belatedly, that he had no idea whose wedding he'd just attended. Presumably a friend of Donna's, but which one? He hoped nobody would ask. Was he supposed to know who her friends were? Were they were one of those annoying insular couples who didn't spend time with other people? He'd hate to be in one of those, it wasn't his sort of thing at all. Probably.

“I'm Donna's boyfriend,” he said suddenly, if only to stop anyone asking if he knew the bride or groom or vicar.

Donna's friend — also apparently nameless — looked him up and down semi-discreetly. “Sorry,” she said, “I didn't catch your name?”

“I'm.. everyone just calls me the Doctor.” He glanced at Donna to see if he had her approval to keep talking. He thought he saw her nod, so he went on. “I like Donna a lot. Donna's brilliant. She's the best girlfriend I've ever had.”

Donna took his hand and squeezed it just enough to hurt. He managed to stop talking before she felt the need to stick her fingernails into his skin.

“I'm so lucky to have you,” said Donna, looking only a bit annoyed.

The Doctor knew better than to say anything else, so he just smiled at her adoringly instead.

“Have you been together long?” asked Donna's friend.

“Ages,” said Donna. “I met him when I was in... Egypt. Cruising on the Nile.”

“Oh, how romantic!”

“Yes,” said the Doctor, “we were in Egypt. I'd just popped round to say hi to Cleo and-”

“Cleo?”

“Cleopa... no, wait she's dead, isn't she?”

“Very dead,” said Donna, dangerously.

“Well, maybe that was the time before I met Donna. It's all a bit of a muddle, you know what it's like when you get to my age.” This wasn't going at all well. “I'm older than I look,” he went on, somewhat desperately. “I use a lot of skin products. Not that I'm too old for Donna. And not that she's old.” If only someone would invade the planet and save him from this conversation.

“Doctor,” said Donna quite calmly, “why don't you go and get us something to drink?”

“Yes! Yes, that's a wonderful idea! I'll just... wander off. To find drinks. Yes.”

He hurried away, relieved and a bit disappointed in his own failure at polite chit-chat. Well, it wasn't his fault if Donna's friends had a linear relationship with time, was it? And if they had no imagination and didn't know about aliens despite all the recent and glaringly obvious invasions. Which, come to think of it, was a bit strange. He should probably look into that at some point.

Anyway, look, here was the bar. “Lemonade, please,” he said, “and...” What did Donna drink? “Something pink with a little umbrella in?” Surely she'd appreciate something pink with a little umbrella in? He'd be drinking those himself if he'd been able to hold his alcohol like he used to. Yes, he'd had quite the tolerance in his younger days.

He took the drinks and headed back to where he'd left Donna. She was alone now, and she looked annoyed. He handed her the drink with the little umbrella in. “I thought that went quite well,” he said, ever hopeful.

“I managed to convince her that I'm not dating a lunatic,” said Donna. “Eventually.”

“Oh.” He stared into his glass of lemonade, vaguely ashamed.

“This was a stupid idea,” said Donna. “I'd be better off telling people I'm single.”

“Sorry.”

Donna sighed. “It's okay, it was my idea. I should have realised you'd have trouble pretending to be normal.”

“I'm sure they're happy for you no matter how weird I am.”

“Maybe,” said Donna. She drank some of her pink concoction. “I just always feel like I have to prove I'm not pathetic. Like it's a competition to see who's best at being an adult.”

“Why are you friends with these people?” asked the Doctor, a bit confused.

“I don't know,” said Donna. She seemed suddenly sad.

The Doctor resisted the urge to hug her and instead just patted her shoulder a bit awkwardly. “I think you're a great friend and you deserve to have people around you who are also great.”

“Thanks,” she said, a bit gloomily. She finished her drink in one go, the little umbrella falling to the floor as though it were a metaphor for something. It probably wasn't, though.

“Do you want to dance?” he asked, trying to cheer her up by distracting her.

“With you?”

“Yeah?”

Can you dance?” asked Donna.

“Sort of,” he said. “If you don't mind losing the odd toe.”

Donna smiled. “It's sweet of you to ask, but no.” She sat her empty glass down on a nearby table. “Do you think I'll ever get married?” she asked.

“Half the universe seems to think you're already married to me.”

“God, that's depressing,” said Donna. “No offence,” she added, “but you're not my type.”

“It's okay,” lied the Doctor, “I'm not looking for a relationship at the moment.”

Donna looked at him a bit strangely. Then she said, “Is that dance offer still open?”

“Always.”

She held out her hand. “Come on, then. Any port in a storm.”

“I'm better than nothing,” he said.

Donna smiled. “Much better.”

And then they danced.