thirty2flavors: (doctordonna friends)
[personal profile] thirty2flavors
Title: Rest & Relaxation
Rating: PG
Characters/Pairings: Donna, Ten
Genre: Gen, with hints of fluff and angst. And humour, but it's Donna and the Doctor, so... y'know, duh.
Spoilers?: Set shortly after "Midnight" (4x10)
Summary: The Doctor has a headache.
Excerpt: “You heard me. You want to wear a track in the floor, do it somewhere else. God knows the ship’s big enough.” She lifts her book with both hands and waves it back and forth. “I’ve got good aim, you know.”

Author's Note: In my head this fic takes place a little after Extraordinary, which is immediately post-ep, but I don't reference anything specific, so it's not really neccessary to read that first.


She watches him over the top of her book, her eyes following him back and forth rather than giving any attention to the page she’s been reading for the last four minutes.

She counts his steps. One, two, three, four, five, pause, turn. One, two, three, four, five –

“Either quit pacing or get out before I lob The Collected Works of Agatha Christie at your head,” she snaps finally, and the Doctor pauses in the middle of his second step.

“Sorry?”

“You heard me. You want to wear a track in the floor, do it somewhere else. God knows the ship’s big enough.” She lifts her book with both hands and waves it back and forth. “I’ve got good aim, you know.”

He stares at her like she’s said something nonsensical. “Are you kicking me out?”

Donna considers the semantics. “You might say that.”

He still looks at her as though she hasn’t made any sense this entire time, like she’s the one who’s been pacing back and forth with a maddening regularity. “But it’s my ship.”

Donna shrugs.

He stares at her, still puzzled, and then heaves a sigh and spins on his heel to leave the room. “Alright, alright, I’m going!” He waves a hand in the air to fend her off.

Donna can never quite tell when he’s intentionally digging for pity and when it just comes naturally. She wishes she could, so she knew when to smack him; as it is, she rolls her eyes and grabs him by the elbow as he walks past, jerking him towards her.

“Oh, sit down,” she mutters.

He stumbles rather than sinks into the sofa next to her, landing half on Donna’s foot and reminding her rather painfully that he’s quite bony. “I thought you wanted me gone,” he observes, sounding like every bloke who’s ever told her women are mad.

“You ought to wear a padded suit,” she complains, tugging her foot out from under him and rubbing her ankle. “For the safety of the public. I bet you could cut meat with your elbows if you tried.” She settles her book back into her lap and flips it back open. “I didn’t say I wanted you to leave, I said wanted you to stop pacing.”

“Oh,” is all he says, though he manages to make it sound more like Donna, you’re completely mad.

There follows a silence that stretches on long enough for Donna to read not one, but two whole pages of Christie undisturbed.

Which is exactly what tells her something is wrong.

Although it’d been her request that they simply hang in the Vortex for a day rather than find an alien civilization to liberate, Donna knows she isn’t the one who needs a break Most of her day had been spent sunbathing, and save for a few nauseous hours of worry and rage, the diamond planet left her untouched. It’s the Doctor, she knows, who needs a reprieve, but left to his own devices he’d simply keep running, running, running, and so it’s Donna who digs her heels into the sand and forces him to stand still. She figures it’s an integral part of the job description, something Martha and Rose must have done as well, and it scares her to imagine how he functions when he’s alone. He spends far too much time taking care of other people and planets and galaxies to properly take care of himself.

If he understands her motivation, he says nothing of it.

She nudges him with her foot and tries for casualness. “Everything okay?”

“Hmm?” He jolts and then, regaining composure, smiles. “Sure, yeah, fine.”

Please,” Donna says, keeping her eyes on her book, “I’ve been reading all this time and you’ve yet to ‘accidentally’ tell me how it ends. Something’s wrong.”

He opens his mouth to argue the accusation, but thinks better of it. “I’m fine,” he says again, in that flippant tone that drives her berserk. Seeing her irritated stare – or maybe the large book in her hands – he shrugs and looks away. “Just have a bit of a headache, that’s all.”

“Take a couple Aspirin,” she suggests.

“Oh, that’d be a bit melodramatic, don’t you think?”

With a sigh of resignation, Donna sets her book on her lap and reaches over, placing her hands on his shoulders and her thumbs at the base of his neck. Under her fingers the muscles are taut coils of tension, and she wonders why she’s surprised.

He flinches away from her touch, hunching his shoulders and sending her a wary glare. Donna rolls her eyes and persists, her inexpert fingers working away at whatever knots they can find.

“Oh, calm down, you big baby,” she says, quite ignoring his occasional hisses of discomfort, “it’s just a massage. I live with my mother, I know headaches. It’ll help.”

“I suppose it might,” he admits, “if your intention is to distract me by pulverizing my shoulders.”

She relents long enough to give him a proper thud on the back.

“It’s not my fault you’re so bloody tense.” She pinches his left shoulder with her thumb and forefinger, and the Doctor makes a noise similar to a squeak. “Don’t you ever relax?”

He doesn’t answer the question; instead he says, “I don’t think the headache has anything to do with my shoulders, Donna.”

He says it like it’s nothing, but Donna knows better. Rumbling in her stomach she feels a reprise of her earlier anger – he’d needed someone today, like always, and what had she been doing? Sunbathing?

She loosens her grip and lets her hands fall from his shoulders. “Maybe you should try sleeping it off.”

He shrugs, reaching one hand up to rub away the soreness left from Donna’s ministrations. “Nah, don’t need sleep. I’ll be fine.”

Donna scoffs. “Oh, don’t give me that, I know you sleep sometimes, I’ve seen it.” She lifts her head higher and smirks. “You drool.”

“What?” He looks as though she’s accused him of high treason. “You have not, that’s ridiculous, Time Lords – I don’t – you’re lying.”

“Nope,” she goes on, smug. “Couldn’t sleep one night so I came out to suggest we go somewhere. You were asleep, and you were drooling.”

The Doctor shakes his head and does a commendable job of keeping the smile off his face. “Nope, sorry. Must’ve been someone else.”

“In the TARDIS? On the jump seat?”

The corners of his mouth twitch as he nods. “Yep. You should really let me know when you find stowaways sleeping in the console room, Donna.”

“Next time I’ll be sure to wake him up,” she says. “Bucket of ice water, maybe some cymbals.”

His poker face snaps and he chuckles at that, ducking his head the way he always does. It’s the first proper laugh she’s heard from him since the bus tour, and it generates a warm thrill of relief for Donna. For some time now she’s believed there isn’t a hole the universe can dream up that the two of them can’t climb out of. Sometimes she worries the universe takes that as a challenge.

She nudges him again with her foot. “Go on, then. It’s not like you’re missing anything exciting, I’ll be going to bed once I finish this chapter.”

“I’m all right, Donna.” His wrists pop as he stretches and stands. “Maybe I’ll go fix the alignment on –“

“Sit down,” she commands once more, grabbing the bottom of his jacket and giving a great tug. “You’re not fixing the anything, you need rest.” She stares at him incredulously. “You’re like a flippin’ child. Do I need to read you a bedtime story?”

“Donna–”

“D’you want me to check under your bed for monsters?”

“Donna,” he tries again.

“What about a night light?”

Donna.”

“Too much sugar?” She grins, on a roll now. “Watch too much television, gonna have nightmares?”

The words are barely past her lips before she regrets them. He smiles at her, but Donna feels her own grin flicker and fade as she mentally reprimands herself. Hasn’t she been haunted by some of the things they’ve seen? Hadn’t she spent that second night after Pompeii staring at the ceiling, wondering what it might be like if it was her whole planet she’d killed with the push of a button?

Honestly, how daft is she?

“Sorry,” she says, short and abrupt so he can’t wave it off. “Just... stay here and relax for a while.”

It isn’t the tone she usually uses, the one that leaves no room for argument, but it works just as well. “If you insist!” he acquiesces with a grin.

He heaves his legs up onto the sofa, crosses his ankles and resting them on the arm. He settles his back against her leg and side, a cool weight against half her body.

“Oh, get off,” she mutters, shifting, but the Doctor refuses to budge.

“I’m relaxing,” he says, making no attempt to hide his smirk.

Donna’s eyebrows lift up as she peers down at him. “You’re lucky I’m feeling nice, Spaceman. Have you forgotten I’m holding a very heavy book?”

“Nope.” He folds his hands across his stomach and closes his eyes. “It’s quite nice, actually, picked up that one in Chicago in the thirty-second century.”

Donna squirms again in futility, wondering how someone who seems to be comprised of little more than bone could possibly be so bloody heavy. “Are you trying to be irritating or is this just a happy coincidence?”

The Doctor grins.

Donna sighs and shakes her head, finally tuning her eyes back to the pages of her book. On a normal day, she thinks, she’d not have much difficulty mustering the strength it would take to roll him onto the floor. Today, she finds she’s merely glad he’s still around to annoy her.

Minutes later she’s read three whole pages of Christie with no interruption, and this time when Donna looks over her shoulder she sees the Doctor’s eyes still closed, his head to the side, nestled between her arm and the sofa. She watches his chest rise and fall in slow, even intervals, and she hopes whatever sleep he gets is enough to kick the headache, perhaps even dull the edges of the diamond planet. It feels like a victory, getting him to sleep, though Donna is horrified by how much that makes her sound like the mother of an infant.

It’s strange, though, she thinks. For the first time in her life, she feels as though she’s done things of consequence. She likes it, that strange knowledge of responsibility, even if at times the responsibility boils down to being a pillow for a stubborn Time Lord. The universe may not need Donna Noble, but there are times now and then that the Doctor does. As far as causes go, she thinks that stopping a best mate from being a self-destructive git is a pretty good one.

Smiling to herself, Donna flips the page of her thirty-second century print of the collected works of the most popular novelist of all time. She can stand to read a few more chapters, even if it means running the risk of being drooled on.

Date: 2009-03-03 12:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hysteriagalore.livejournal.com
Hee! This is so good. Your Donna... omfg! Stuff like this always makes me want to re-watch s.4 and go hunting for Donna-post-JE fics.


Date: 2009-03-03 07:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_thirty2flavors/
I wish Donna post-JE fics didn't have a tendency to bleed together, because we need moar Donna. I wish she'd gotten to finish Ten's run with him.

Thanks!

Date: 2009-03-03 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hysteriagalore.livejournal.com
WORD! More Donna for the people. It's hard to find really good post-JE fics revolving around Donna. I guess it's difficult to say how her life will be like after forgetting everything that happened. It could go in any direction really.

Yeah me too, one season was far too little for her. Perhaps they made her so awesome so she'd be missed even more and really make people see that even though the Doctor is wonderful he's also dangerous to know.

It would've been amazing to see her in the specials, even though I don't know how they'd say goodbye to her after the regeneration. Probably remark on how unfair it is that the older he gets the younger he looks.

Date: 2009-03-03 02:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dark-aegis.livejournal.com
I adore this fic. Love how Donna convinced the Doctor to rest, and love how he ended up using her as a pillow. I had a big smile on my face at the end. Gorgeous work, as always. I do so very much love your Donna. Thanks for sharing!

Date: 2009-03-03 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_thirty2flavors/
I think Donna would mother him a lot, but being Donna, she would not be exactly gentle about it, haha. Thanks!

Date: 2009-03-03 07:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shining-moment.livejournal.com
Wonderful stuff :)

Date: 2009-03-03 08:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] washingtonmaid.livejournal.com
that was so cute

Date: 2009-03-03 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hence-the-name.livejournal.com
Aaaaaw. This is lovely. I love a little bit of Doctor Donna hurt/comfort, friendship style, and you have such a perfect handle on their relationship. I really enjoyed this!

Date: 2009-03-04 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_thirty2flavors/
I think I may have a bit of a thing for it, too.

Thanks!

Date: 2009-03-03 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_medley_/
Oh, this is a lovely, lovely thing. *snuggles them both*

Date: 2009-03-04 02:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladypredator.livejournal.com
Sweet - and perfectly them.

Date: 2009-03-11 05:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fey-spirit.livejournal.com
Wow Great story!

It’s strange, though, she thinks. For the first time in her life, she feels as though she’s done things of consequence

Oh Donna, if you only knew.

Date: 2009-03-12 02:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_thirty2flavors/
Thank you!

Poor Donna has no idea.

Date: 2009-03-19 02:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-sibyl.livejournal.com
You really do have a talent for writing Donna, I can practically hear her, in my head. Donna's in my head. I hope I don't... you know... explode or something.

Donna can never quite tell when he’s intentionally digging for pity and when it just comes naturally.

And that, up there, that's brilliant (and true).

Date: 2009-03-19 03:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_thirty2flavors/
Yes it would be sad if your brain metacrisised.

He is very good at looking pitiful, whether or not he is totally aware of that.

Thanks! Donna is fun to write. At first she was a challenge but now I think she might come easiest of all of them.

Date: 2009-03-21 07:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] isaysquee.livejournal.com
Your characterizations are just beautiful and perfect. Plus, this was a really cute Doctor-Donna friendship piece. :]

PLEASE WRITE MORE! :D

Date: 2009-03-22 01:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_thirty2flavors/
Thank you! I do love Donna's mothering of someone thirty times her age, lol.

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