Living the High Life - Part 4 @ 11:06 pm
Rating: PG -PG13
Genre: Drama, Comedy (or trying for anyway), and some Angst
Characters: Ten, Donna, implied Ten/Rose
Word Count: 5,384
Summary: While traveling with Donna, Ten accidentally ingests an alien hallucinogenic that makes him believe Donna is actually Rose. Forced into an awkward situation with a suddenly happy and bestotted Time Lord, she will have to make a decision that could involve breaking his heart all over again.
Notes: Halloween party pushed back my work on this but a big thank you to my roommate who let me bounce ideas off of him for this section, and for reminding me on how I'd wanted to start the second scene last night. ^_^
Traveling with the Doctor was everything and nothing like Donna Noble had ever imagined. It has been dangerous, it has been strange, it has been awkward, and it all usually starts out as a fun, simple idea that typically spirals out of control. Not exactly what she'd wanted on that fateful wedding day over a year ago, but she wouldn't trade anything for a moment of it now.
Today's destination seemed a bit different from the nicer spots the Doctor normally took her to, but that was to be expected she supposed. After having a night to process everything, Donna had decided that she wasn't going to let this whole hallucination business stand in the way of a good time. She may not be Rose, but she could certainly appreciate walking on clouds after all.
The Doctor's ridiculously early wake-up call had almost made her reconsider that decision, but standing just inside the Tardis doors and looking out upon the sea of clouds before her feet at dawn took her breath away. The sun this planet orbited was red and bathed with the fluffy white objects in a riot of crimsons, burgundies and deep violets. The closest thing she could liken it too was finding a sky full of leaves in the late fall, but there was a quality of light mixed in with it that just couldn't be described.
"Oh," Donna breathed and clutched at her chest, "It's so…I don't have the words really."
The Doctor moved to stand slightly behind her on the right. "Yes, I know the feeling," he softly remarked.
She struggled not to look at the Doctor's face after those words, but he laced his hand through hers and she couldn't stop the involuntary turn in his direction that action caused. There was such tenderness and unspoken devotion in his eyes then that Donna had to fight the impulse to look away from such emotions that weren't really meant for her. She gave him a smile instead that was swiftly returned.
"Come on then! We didn't come all this way just stand there and look at things now, did we?" The Doctor teased before pulling Donna out the Tardis doors. Her stomach clenched involuntarily in that second between stepping off the metal and standing out on the cloud when Donna feared she might fall right through the puffy display. Decades of ingrained knowledge warred with what she'd been told just moments ago, and adrenaline flooded her system. It took a full three seconds of staring down at her feet, as the clouds held her and swirled over the tops of them as if she was standing on the edge of a moor, for her to realize she was actually doing it. She was standing on a cloud.
"Oh my god," she breathed; looking back and forth between the white, and slightly see through 'floor' and the grinning Time Lord at her side. "I'm on a cloud. I'm standing on a flippin' cloud!" Donna giggled like a little girl at the end, causing the Doctor to laugh loudly, before she gave a quick excited jump in the air.
When the cloud didn't immediately catch her like she thought it would on her landing, Donna gripped the arm beside her tightly in a moment of panic. Thoughts of falling to her death flooding her mind again. The resistance was slowly met however, leaving her a foot shorter than she used to be. "Careful now," the Doctor cautioned as he assisted Donna in stepping back on top of the cloud, "They're only semi-tangible after all."
"Semi-tangible?" Donna protested, "That's not what you said the other day."
The Doctor looked a bit sheepish for a moment before rambling on, "Oh, well, slip of the tongue I'm sure. Wouldn't be able to serve their purpose in this planets water-cycle if they were fully tangible, now could they? The molecules are composed differently here and have a higher density when they bond with the sodium in the air during the winter, allowing us to walk upon their surface if they're large enough." He smiled at her then, clearly expecting praise at his knowledge.
"Be a bit more impressive if I'd not had a scare thinking I was about to fall through them," Donna casually replied as she straightened herself out. She peaked at him out of the corner of her eye and had to bite her inner cheek to keep from grinning. He could make armies collapse in giggles with a pout that pathetic. "So," she cared on, "No runnin' and jumpin' then yeah?"
"Well," the Doctor tugged on his ear in thought, "you cloud try if you like, but it would be a bit like moving quickly on jell-o. You're likely to either slip due to the lack of proper friction, or sink up to your knees if you land too hard or get to close to the edge.
Donna had figured as much by that point, but had thought it best to make sure before doing any crazy stunts again. She took a handful of carefully placed steps forward before stopping and looking around her. Some of the clouds were separating, and she could just barely make out the dark ground below. Turning around, her breath caught in her throat once more at the vision of the blue Police Box just sitting there, and she couldn't help but think upon how surreal and dream like it all seemed. Seeming to read her thoughts, the Doctor smiled at her again and gave her hand a small squeeze before pulling her down into a crouch with him.
He wiggled his hand at her before setting down on top of the cloud, and then slowly pushing it through the surface until it looked like it had been cut off completely. Fascinated, Donna repeated his actions with her free left hand. His description earlier had been very accurate as it felt much like reaching inside a jell-o mold, and she gasped when she'd finally submerged her hand. "It's so cold," she remarked, pulling back so that only her finger tips slowly wiggled about the top.
The Doctor didn't comment, just smiled softly at her as he was want to do lately while removing his own hand completely for the cloud. Donna opened her mouth to ask him a question about the clouds when a curious buzzing started to sound from underneath them, and all she could get out was 'Doctor' when a hovercraft (as best as she could figure) pulled up in front of them.
Donna sighed at the familiar sight of flashing mauve lights and an enhanced voice that demanded that they remain still for processing as a shadowy form quickly slid towards them. It had all been going so nicely too. She supposed she should have known better.
"Snakes," Donna shuddered, "Why'd it have to be bloody snakes?"
She was surrounded on all sides by the towering snake creatures as they led herself and the Doctor to their jail cell for trespassing on the clouds. The Doctor of course having landed them during a time after tourists had almost destroyed Helitrophe 4's water cycle; the romping around causing the clouds to disperse and were therefore unable to form much needed rain clouds.
"Actually," the spaceman in question spoke up, "The Vipetions aren't snakes as you know them. Much more lizard like really. Think…think evolved dinosaur I suppose."
Donna scoffed, "Right, cause that makes me feel loads better thanks. Imprisoned by evolved dinosaurs and not giant snakes – don't' see how that's gonna help our situation any."
The Doctor gave her a smile and a wink over his shoulder, "Oh, I'm sure the two of us will think something." Whatever that something was, Donna would never know as they came upon a 'T' junction in the hallway and the Doctor was led down the opposite side from herself, as apparently they didn't approve of sharing cells with the opposite sex here. He started yelling at her to keep calm while protesting that this was all a misunderstanding (yes, cause that had worked so well when they'd been caught), but the first doorway she was led through immediately cut off all sound once they'd passed with some sort of force field. So Donna figured she was stuck figuring out how to escape on her own.
The scaly creatures gently pushed her inside a small cell that sealed with another force field once she was inside. Donna shuddered involuntarily from their touch and rubbed her arms where they'd had contact to try and get rid of the feeling. "I bloody hate snakes," she stated to the empty cell. It looked much like any other cell she'd been locked up inside since traveling with the Doctor. Bench like thing for a bed, barred window so high up that one couldn't see out of it properly, and no immediate way to escape that she could see.
The combo sink and loo were a step up from the bucket she'd last had so, silver lining there she supposed.
It was a bit odd to have advanced force field doors with stone walls though. Must be upgrading. Donna shook her head at thought, "Now I know I've been traveling with that dumbo for too long. I get arrested and the first thing I do is critique the design of the prison."
After another glance around the small cell failed to reveal any brilliant escape plans, Donna started examining the walls for maybe a loose brick or hidden control panel that she could smash. Half way through inspecting the right side, she heard a hissing noise coming from a tiny gap between the stones. Donna bent down slowly to try and get a view through the few centimeters wide gap, but couldn't quite bend her back comfortably to do so; so she gave in and got on her knees instead. Jumping back with a gasp when she saw a brown eye staring back at her through the hole.
"Sorry!" the owner of the eye apologized, "Didn' mean to scare ya. Thought I heard them bringing someone else in, you alrigh'?"
Donna let out a breath and got close to the gap again, "'S alright. Just wasn't expecting to see just your eye was all." Enough light was coming through the windows that Donna could tell the woman had pulled back slightly now, and that along with the brown eyes had human looking skin at least. "So," Donna lightly asked, "What're you in for then?"
The eye on the other side crinkled in amusement, "Oh ya know, property damage, non-authorized form of travel…s' just another Thursday for me. You?"
"Walking on the clouds," Donna shrugged.
"What? Seriously?" the other voice questioned, "Bit harsh to sentence you to death for somethin' like that innit?"
"Could say the same for you," Donna rebutted with a smile, enjoying the easy camaraderie she already felt with the other woman.
Giving a sigh, Donna leaned back on her heels to look about the cell once more, "Don't see how either of us are getting out of here though. Bit hard to try picking a lock when one doesn't exist." The woman on the other side was quiet long enough for Donna to wonder if maybe she hadn't heard her, since she wasn't right up next to the gap, and leaned forward just in time to see a hand brush aside a lock of blonde hair to reveal the brown eye in profile this time.
"Have you got any hair clips or anythin'?" the woman finally asked rather randomly.
Donna furrowed her brow in confusion, "Just the one. You need it for something?"
"Might be able to trip the circuit on the doors if it's long enough," the blonde answered.
"Seriously?" Donna gasped, already moving her hands to remove the hair clip.
The eye crinkled in a smile again, "Like I said, this happens to me a bit more often than I'd like. Was given a crash course on electronics not too long ago and I found a weak section where they've attached the equipment for the field projection in here. If I had even a bobby pin in my hair I'd have been out ages ago."
"Well you'll have to pardon my saying I'm glad you didn't have one," Donna quipped and the woman let out a guffaw of laughter.
"Can't say I blame ya, yeah," the woman chuckled, "That mean you're up for a little bustin' out then?"
"Oh yes!" Donna smiled, adjusting the hold on her hair clip so that she just held it by the tips of her fingers. "I've got it by the ends so just be careful when you to grab it, alright?"
The woman answered in the affirmative and Donna inserted the fingers of her hand inside the gap as far as they could reach. She held her breath in anticipation as she felt warm human like hands brush against her own and grope about for the clip. They both swore when it fell from her fingers.
Donna heard a muffled sorry as she removed her hand to look inside the gap. It was dark with only her window providing light, but she could just make out a hand ghosting about the bottom of the hole for the clip. She helped guide the woman's fingers towards the clip as best as she could, exclaiming in triumph when the blonde finally got a good hold of it and removed it. "Ta. Should just be a mo'."
Several tense minutes passed for Donna after that. She couldn't hear the other woman working, and the one time she asked how things were coming along there was only a terse 'Workin' on it' in reply. When she called out again after the ten minute mark and didn't receive a reply at all, Donna started to panic that maybe something had happened to her new ally. Either that or she'd been left behind.
Her fears were soothed not seconds later though as the force field to her cell flickered three times before shutting off. Not taking any chances of it coming back on, Donna rushed out of her cell with a smile on her face. She opened her mouth to thank her new friend, but a quick look in either direction showed the same thing, emptiness.
"Hello?" her voice echoed down the long corridor but no one emerged to answer her call. She hesitated where she was for a long minute before coming to a decision.
Not wanting to be caught out in the open trying to find the mysterious woman, Donna let out a mental prayer that the blonde was alright as she set off back down the way she'd entered at a run. A quick plan forming in her mind as she tried to think of a way to free the Doctor along the way; an act that proved to be wholly unnecessary as she quite literally ran into the alien where she'd last seen him at the 'T' junction split. "Rose!" he exclaimed in delight and swept her up in a quick hug, "I was just coming to get you."
Donna smirked and tossed her unbound ginger locks over her shoulder, "You'll do well to remember I don't always need you to rescue me."
The Doctor smiled and went to reply before an alarm started to shrill loudly above their heads and the pair of them winced at the sound. He recovered first though and with a wide grin, grabbed Donna's hand and stated, "Run."
Bursting through the Tardis doors with a bout of laughter, the Doctor sprinted to the console and quickly went about moving them into the vortex. "That was genius, Rose Tyler, pure genius!" he exclaimed proudly. Looking over at the doors after pulling the final lever, he saw her blush under his praise but walked confidently over to his side.
"Tiny dinosaurs or not, I don't know anyone who can run properly through a custard covered floor," she grinned coyly back at him and seeing that pink tongue peak out from the side of her mouth, the Doctor didn't bother to stop his first impulse as he quickly moved in to kiss her. He felt Rose tense in his hold for a second before softly returning the press of her lips against his. His tongue gently traced along her bottom lip to deepen the kiss, and chase after that mischievous pink tongue of hers, when she pulled away abruptly.
"Um, I should…probably shower," Rose fumbled out as she took another step back. "Custard back splash and err, dirty knees from the cell. I no doubt look a right mess."
The Doctor didn't even have a chance to object as she quickly took off out of the console room and down the hall. He frowned as he stared at her exit and he swept his tongue out to catch what was left of her taste on his lips. Something was off about it that he couldn't quite his mental finger on. She hadn't quite tasted like he expected Rose to taste, and thinking about that led him to recalling the other odd things about Rose he'd noticed over the last few days.
It had only been a handful of small events – a flicker of red when he'd catch sight of her hair out of the corner of his eye or when it moved, avoiding his affections and flirting banter half the time, her clothing looking completely different from her normal style at a distance– and he'd dismissed each one at the time as an isolated incident or a trick of the light. Taking it all into account with her backing away from him affections just now however, and the Time Lord became concerned at what might be going on.
He searched his memory for the first time Rose had begun acting strange and recalled his fuzzy event from just a few days back when he'd woken up in the med bay. The memories before that were hazy and out of reach in a way that immediately disturbed the Doctor. Hadn't Rose been worried about something she'd said he eaten? He couldn't recall ever checking himself over for any toxins as he'd felt perfectly fine in a few minutes, but perhaps she had reason to be concerned. It didn't explain everything that was bothering him of course, but if whatever he'd ingested was causing his brain chemistry to be thrown off enough to alter his memories then it warranted a further look in to.
Mind made up not a minute later, the Doctor made sure the Tardis was on a holding pattern in the vortex for the next couple of hours before heading off to his chambers. He'd start with a quick healing nap to allow his brain the chance to correct the possible issue on it's own before running a blood analysis on himself.