He thinks about the vortex, the spiral spire of a billion lightyears of movement. He thinks about the vast array of stars, infinity twisting out through the cosmos. All of those planets he's seen and never seen---brilliant crystal endings, beginnings, worlds with rooms that go on forever, infinite possibilities through a mirror. He thinks about all of this.
He knows about all of this.
So when, in a tiny shop on Mall Planet in the late 67th century, he's asked which color of dress Donna should get, it's little wonder that all she gets in reply is a snort.
"Donna, they're both completely impractical," he says, crossing his arms.
"Yeah, but they're gonna be what I’m wearin', Spaceman, so help me pick one out."
"The one you have on now is fine."
"Is it better than the blue? Did you even look at the blue? What about the red, should I try it on again?"
"If I beg you not to, will you listen?"
"The blue one," says the voice behind him. Their not-son, born-from-a-hand, and shouldn’t-be-there, the half-human Doctor, has been trying on a variety of trainers in different colors because, apparently, fashion has passed on from Donna to him.
"See, someone cares about what I wear," she says, pointing irritably at the Doctor. She rushes back into the dressing room. Donna has taken to calling the half-human Doctor "George" (as in "George Clooney"), though the Doctor can't possibly think of him by that name.
"Showing off, are we?" the Doctor asks, irritably.
"She's going to buy all of them, might as well just pick one," the half-human Doctor says. "What do you think, blue or red?"
"Are you just going to buy both of them?"
"Probably not. You give her a bigger allowance than me."
"You'll spend it all on sweets."
"I'm only a year old physically. Could try treating me like a person. Answering my questions, first off."
"Well, then, the red."
"See, you're learning."
"You know what?" Donna says, reemerging from the dressing room. "I like your suggestion, George, but I think I'll get them all. Just in case I need a red sundress later."
"You know what?" the half-human Doctor says with the exact same enunciation as his not-mother. "I think that's a brilliant idea. I haven't got enough for both these pairs of shoes. Can you help?"
"Oh, Doctor," Donna looks down at the Time Lord. "Stop being like that and give the lad some money for his shoes."
The half-human Doctor looks at him expectantly.
"He only needs one pair. And you always get furious when I call you 'lad' or 'boy' or whatever, how come she gets to call you that?" the Doctor crosses his arms.
"Because I'm his mother, that's why," Donna says, bobbing her head a little as if that put more emphasis on her words.
"You're not actually his mother, you know," the Doctor attempts.
Donna is unimpressed. "Give him more money before I use one of those shoes to bop you upside the head."
The Doctor sighs and pulls a few extra bills out of his wallet. The half-human Doctor grins over at him triumphantly, and the Doctor is immediately reminded of a toddler with an ice-cream cone. An ice-cream cone that happens to be several bills worth of money.
"Now don't spend it all on sweets," Donna calls after him.
"Kids," the Doctor mutters, leaning back in his chair. "They never listen."
Donna laughs, and then smacks the side of his arm. "It's not so bad, you know. He's a lot like you, too. All that bouncing about, loving technology, having ridiculous hair maintenance regimens."
The Doctor makes a noncommittal mutter in reply.
"I'm serious," Donna says, sitting next to him, her sundresses in her lap. "You could at least try. He's trying."
"How's that supposed to be---"
"Never had a son, did you?"
"As a matter---"
"Well, get a clue, bucko. That boy's half yours, too."
The Doctor stares incredulously at her. "I think you're taking this parenthood business far too seriously."
"I don't think you're taking it seriously enough."
"I beg your pardon," one of the robot attendants comes up to them. "Doctor Noble, Mrs. Noble? Your son, George Noble---"
"We're not married," Donna insists.
"He's not really our son," the Doctor says.
The robot attendant tilts its head. "Well, there's a George Noble that has just been the cause of a fire on the upper end of this establish---"
The Doctor and Donna are up and off to catch him before the machine's finished speaking.
"So, what do you think of parenting?" Donna calls, later, as the three of them are running from Mall Planet Security.
"Hardly the time vortex," the Doctor calls back. "But still! Never a dull moment!"
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 791
For galeforcehero who wanted: "I want to read The Adventures Of The Doctor And Donna And Their Unintentional Offspring Handy, with no emo or serious business involved." here.