She really is a proper best mate.
Odd, that, especially considering all she did when she first met him was slap him around. She called him names and eventually turned him down flat when he asked her to come with him. He was miserable and she was disagreeable. He should've hated her. Well, at the very least resented her. His cheek certainly did.
But no, no, that terrible Christmas endeared her to him if nothing else. They both had a Christmas with an adventure and heartbreak. He lost Rose and she lost Lance. In a way, he figures her loss was far worse than his. Rose loved him until the end and Lance stomped all over her heart. She choked back her sobs as she stood in the console room in the same place where he'd been crying hours earlier. It wasn't the same, but it still felt shared.
But now she's traveling with him. Learning the ropes of flying the TARDIS, demanding he take her to Earth to buy cream cheese for the refrigerator, and driving him generally insane. It's wonderful. Refreshing. Having her around keeps him active and excited. Where Rose would pat his back when he was in a funk and pretend to understand it and Martha would leave him alone, Donna simply won't stand for that nonsense so he can't indulge in self-pity.
Also, she likes reruns of the West Wing, a very minor obsession of his that he couldn't manage to get a single companion prior to her into. Adric would watch it to count the number of pedeconferences per episode, Peri would watch it to talk about what business suits they were wearing, and Martha would watch it to watch the Doctor (as if his reaction to his favorite show would answer all of her many many questions about him). Donna enjoys watching it simply because she enjoys watching it. She watched it back at home, apparently. When she found his three collector's editions of the complete boxed set it was like she had found a soul mate.
They lie together on her bed in the TARDIS, watching his DVDs on a tiny television set balanced precariously on a stack of books. It's become a sort of weekend tradition for them, relaxing after a hard days' adventuring.
"I could've been Donna," she says, tossing a piece of popcorn into his mouth.
He tosses one towards her mouth but misses. It lands in her hair and she doesn't bother getting it out. "Are you saying your name isn't really Donna? All this time has been a lie and you're…Margaret or something?"
"Don't be a prat. I'd have loved to have been her."
"So you could've had a chance with Bradley Whitford?"
"Yeah, yeah, you laugh."
"I do, actually. You're most certainly not blonde enough."
"It's all in the attitude, Space Man. You walk the walk and you don't need to be blonde."
The Doctor snorts. "Yeah, but it helps."
"You've just got a blonde fixation," Donna replies very matter-of-factly. "I've seen those Madonna posters."
"Symbols of my childhood."
"A blonde lover from way back then?" Donna grins widely at him and he can't help but grin back. Ginger women from here on out, he decides. They make much better friends. Of course, it could just be Donna, she makes everything rather simple and easy. No complicated emotions, nothing but traveling and adventuring and watching good television.
"We're going to Cambridge tomorrow," he tells her. "I'll buy you lunch."
"Does that mean we're really going to the planet Zoroff?"
"No, that's a different part of the universe."
"And since when have we started landing in the right part of the universe you're aiming for. We seem to head straight for Mandyville, unless you've got booty waiting where we're going."
The Doctor snorts loudly. "Boot-what?"
"Martha. Managed to get to her all right. Right through all that fog of the 1980s, too. But you can't get us to meet Bradley, why's that?"
"I dread what will happen if you do."
She points a finger at him, "I knew it was intentional! You're trying to stop me from---"
He reaches over and plucks the popcorn from Donna's hair. "Destroying the timeline so you can attempt to flirt with a celebrity crush?"
"I never attempt. I have my womanly wiles."
"Yes, I've seen them. Terrifying things."
"Right, you know, I was drunk. Those were drunken wiles and should never, ever, ever, ever have been turned in your direction. I didn't have to go to Haalis and try their alcohol, you insisted! I think you were just trying to boost your ego. It's big enough already, I'm not makin' it larger."
He laughs at that. She'd been so completely humiliated the next morning that she tried to pretend she didn't remember. She was about as good a liar as she was a drunken flirt, so the Doctor had to convince her he really didn't mind. It was flattering, if nothing else. And that was what made it so easy to deal with. It really was nothing else.
She's a friend. She doesn't want anything but that and he doesn't either.
"Should get you one of those ties, I think," she says. "The blue one he's got there? That'd look nice with your brown suit."
He turns to look at her and raises an eyebrow. "I thought you said that suit made me look drab."
"I only said that because you were being all emo at the time. The suit isn't that bad."
"Still don't think we're going to be able to get it properly clean. Who knew that ginger beer stains like that?"
"I know a good tailor in 3222 that'll clean it right up."
"Friend of yours, then?"
"Well, he was trying to command, conquer, and all that; I wound up getting him imprisoned in a tailor's shop but he ended up enjoying it."
"Do you actually have any friends besides Charity Martha? Or are the only people you know great big nutters out to destroy the universe?"
"I know Agatha Christie."
"She doesn't know you."
After that night in 1928, he wondered if he should talk to Donna about what happened in the kitchen. She, of course, said that if she wanted walnuts and anchovies she'd go to a proper restaurant. Great big space men weren't her type. That was good, he'd replied, because overbearing loudmouthed women weren't his type, either. Really they were, but Donna wasn't nearly blonde enough and if she was she'd probably be more like Jackie than anything.
A terrifying thought.
"Quit thinking," she barks, tossing a piece of popcorn at him.
"When you internalize your face gets all scrunchy and I'm trying to pay attention to my boy."
"Donna's, you mean."
"The name fits, wear it."
She yawns. It's a pity she sleeps so much, he thinks. She'll be falling asleep soon and that'll mean he has to stay quiet in order to stay in her room. The first time she fell asleep while they talked he kept on talking and eventually found himself locked out of her room for the next few days. Which was really no fun at all.
"You're doing it again."
She leans to the side, her head dropping to his shoulder. If it had been Rose, the Doctor would never have been able to stop his mind chattering away. If it had been Martha, he would've confused her by moving. But with Donna, well, it's simple. She's sleepy, his shoulder is conveniently there. In a few minutes she'll be snoring and he'll be unable to hear the show. That's all right, though, he knows it all by hearts anyway.
"How long do you want to stay with me?" he asks quietly as he feels her head loll against him.
Her cheek moves against his shoulder and he imagines she's smiling.
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 1,312