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Fic: Some Sort of Time Lord Code (The Preamble Remix)

July 9th, 2009 (02:59 am)

Remix Title: Some Sort of Time Lord Code (The Preamble Remix)
Remixed fic: Some Sort of Time Lord Code, here.
Remixed author: _thirty2flavors 
Characters/Pairings: Ten/Rose, Donna
Rating: P
Disclaimer: I own nothing, not even the fic idea!
Warnings: None, except slight spoilers for S4.
Summary: Donna and the Doctor discuss what happened to Rose. Written for the chips_remixed  challenge.

A/N: It was so hard to even choose which fic to remix, here – I am such a fan of _thirty2flavors , and I honestly think this writer is one of the best going on LJ - the sort of writer who makes you read something you may otherwise have skipped past, just because their name is attached to it. So yes – very, very difficult, but I eventually chose this one, took a direct quote from the end and ran with it. The original focused more on the actual conversation; I worked more on the build-up to it. I hope it's not too terrible!

"I'm not really one for beaches,” he says, nose wrinkled a little too casually, voice a little too light. He half-claps, half-rubs his hands together in a gesture that doesn't suit him. “Come on! Shall we try again?”


And with that, he's back through the TARDIS door, already programming her for a new, random destination before Donna has seen even stepped foot in half an inch of Alzar Four's famed blue sand.




It's not the first time.


For weeks, she's been finding various girly items scattered across the TARDIS. Once upon a time, she used to tease him about it –


“Nice tie,” she'd laugh as he came into the console room, another adventure hovering at his fingertips.


He would pout and scowl like a twelve-year-old and tug on it awkwardly. “What's wrong with it?!”


“Nothing. Isn't pink more your colour?” And she'd press her lips together, suppressing a howl of laughter, before swinging some pink stilettos out from behind her back. “Found them in the bathroom past that cupboard with all the giant rubber ducks – what have you been doing in there, practising your catwalk?”


The look on his face took all the air from her laugh.


The next day, when she'd found a 31st century copy of Hello! open on the floor in one of the lesser used libraries, she'd simply shut it and folded it away quietly, under the sofa, out of sight.




It's his room that's the worst.


She found it by accident, she swears.


Honestly, she'd been beginning to doubt he even had one considering she'd only ever seen him sleeping in the library (and once in the shower, but that's a totally different story she will never ever tell). She was constantly reprimanding him about it –


You're telling me this spaceship's got an aquarium and a 1940s Woolworths – ”


I couldn't let it go,” he says sheepishly, tugging his ear,


“– but you haven't got a bed?”


But he never would go to it. Once she had ushered him out of the library, complete with the blanket he'd been dribbling all over like a great big baby only minutes before, he'd always head off to another part of the ship, wake himself up with some sort of weird alien tea and tinker around the console.


Then one day, utterly by accident, she stumbled into his room.


The half-empty hair dye bottle open on the sink, the dye crusting purple around the rim. The soft bear on the blue-sheeted bed that Donna's willing to bet didn't come from Mars. The stuffed rail behind the open wardrobe door; full of shirts, pinstripe trousers and the occasional flash of pink.


A girl's ring.


A tie on the floor that she has never seen him wear.


It only took one sad, quick sweep of the room to realise why he never came in here anymore, why he found a more peaceful night's rest on a lumpy sofa in a musty room surrounded by impersonal, generic furniture and classical books in languages his companions would never have understood.


The lipstick kiss on the mirror, laughingly placed above a post-it note covered in wonky, practise Gallifreyan symbols and that name, over and over, half-covering a photo of a blonde girl and smiling, beaming, pinstriped man (there is a green finger obscuring part of the lens) ...


Nowadays, she just lets him sleep.




His face lights up, just for a second, if ever he goes to talk about her.


“I've been to weddings!” he tells Donna indignantly when she asks to go to Nerys' wedding, adding that he's not invited – he might get his screwdriver out on the canapés or start talking about Mars to her Aunt Mabel. “I'm good at weddings. Unless they're my own.”


He doesn't even give her pause to think about that one.


“There was this one in London, we weren't even invited, Rose and I, we – ”


Then he swallows, and the light is gone.


Over the weeks and months (she's not quite sure anymore) she has learnt to keep her mouth shut. Some people, sweetheart, her Grandad would tell her, they just like being alone. But today, today it is just too much, and Donna Noble has never been one to let sleeping dogs lie.


She slaps a mug of tea down in front of him, pushes him back down into his seat with firm hands on his shoulders when he tries to get away, and helps herself to some of his special Martian biscuits.


“Sit,” she says, simply but sternly over her own mug. “Sit. Drink. Talk.”


The Doctor gives her that weary look, the one that suggests she could never understand because she hasn't been losing lives and loves for nine hundred years, the one that tells her, in no uncertain terms, that he doesn't want to talk about it – and won't, if everyone would just continue to live quietly by his rules.


“I was in love with this guy called Pete once,” she says, a bit of a dreamy look on her face. She misses the Doctor's grimace. “He went off to be in the army. Never saw him again. Thought it'd be easier if I just... forgot. But you never do, do you?” It's a generic you, they both know that, but it doesn't stop him scratching his neck awkwardly. “Never spoke about him to anyone, then one day I broke down in Tesco in the middle of the pasta aisle and told the girl from checkout four all about it.”


She takes a sip of her tea, sneaking a crafty glance at him over the rim.


“Right,” he says slowly, weighing things up, knowing full well what game she's playing. His mouth is shut into such a straight line when he's not talking that she's worried she might push him too far. He gets that look in his eyes sometimes, like thunder, that crazy anger when someone crosses his personal lines – she's not been on receiving end yet, but the way they're going today, she thinks she might be. “I'll stay away from supermarkets, then.”


Sighing, Donna reaches out across the table and puts her hands over his. His fingers twitch a little, but otherwise he doesn't resist. “One day you're gonna have to stop hiding from this.”


It's none of your business, he doesn't say, like she expected.


She's no kind of therapist and she knows he has some incredibly deep-rooted emotional problems, but she's a friend and sometimes, that's as much as a lonely person can ever need. And, if she's honest, even though he's more than certain about what he wants to hear, she's probably a much better judge than him concerning what he needs to hear.


“You loved her,” she says gently – slowly, without patronising him, like she's explaining the idea to a child she's extremely fond of. “You're supposed to feel like this, dumbo.”


In all honesty, he looks a bit startled by the idea, his mug frozen halfway to his open mouth.


Then Donna laughs, and he almost smiles, and everything's OK again.


“She's not lost,” he says quietly a minute later, almost as though saying it any louder would be too frightening. His tone is soft, the echoes lost in the high rafters of his ship, floating up with the steam from his tea. “Every single time we make a choice, another universe is created...”




“Just for a little while – just for a teeny, tiny, minuscule little while, I almost thought she'd be here forever,” he tells her one night on a planet she can't pronounce the name of, Donna lying on her back looking up at this galaxy's equivalent of the Northern Lights, the Doctor leant thoughtfully back against the TARDIS, his feet crossed at the ankle, face tipped to the sky.


Donna doesn't need to ask who he's talking about. Almost afraid to say anything lest she scares this sudden openness off, she bites her tongue and stays silent for a good minute or two, until the sand underneath her back is starting to itch and she's more worried that the conversation has been driven away entirely.


Were you two...? she would have asked, another life, another time. But she's seen his room, she's witnessed his pain, both raw and healing. She knows the answer.


“Were you ever gonna, you know, pop the question?”


Well, she never was one for subtlety. And she's always sort of wondered if aliens get married.


His head snaps down to look at her for the first time in hours. He must be getting neck ache, she thinks. “Pop the... what?”


“Propose, dummy.”


Pushing her head further back into the sand, she can see the sky lights are making his face look green – like a proper Martian, especially upside down from her position on the floor. His expression is nothing but blank, though whether out of horror, avoidance or genuine confusion, she isn't sure.


She sits up and faces him, lumping for confusion if only because it gives her something to say.


“Marriage. Propose marriage. You know, dress, cake, church, all that stuff I was in the middle of when you zapped me outta nowhere?”


Before he can protest that that wasn't his fault and she knows it – “Tell me, are Time Lords actually that different or are you just a really, really thick one?”




It's still dwelling on his mind, that conversation, when he steps aboard a ship about to set sail to a planet made entirely of diamonds. I had a friend who went to another universe.


It's not long after when he begins to wonder if that was the last conversation he'd ever have with Donna Noble.



Posted by: madhowan (madhowan)
Posted at: July 9th, 2009 03:58 am (UTC)

Lovely, really lovely. I hadn't read _thirty2flavors' (I have now), but I really love that you've turned this one into one of your own.

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: July 12th, 2009 02:09 pm (UTC)

Thank you!!

Posted by: earlgreytea68 (earlgreytea68)
Posted at: July 9th, 2009 11:24 am (UTC)

I've not read the fic you re-mixed, which is inexcuseable, because she's lovely, but I adored this. Especially loved the little detail about the 1940s Woolworth's.

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: July 12th, 2009 02:09 pm (UTC)

It's a brilliant fic that I thoroughly recommend =)

Especially loved the little detail about the 1940s Woolworth's. - Haha, thanks! I couldn't resist.

Thanks so much, I'm glad you liked it =D

Posted by: silvia_duchessa (silvia_duchessa)
Posted at: July 9th, 2009 11:34 am (UTC)
10rose so far away

Oh Rach that was lovely. I read the original and had no idea how you'd remix something so wonderful, but what you've done is fantastic! It's so sad, but so lovely, with really, really funny one-liners thrown in, and you've captured both the Doctor and Donna's friendship and the Doctor's love for Rose beautifully :D

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: July 12th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)

I read the original and had no idea how you'd remix something so wonderful - Haha, seriously!! It was very, very hard to even know where to begin, really.

Thank you so much =)

Posted by: Kali (_thirty2flavors)
Posted at: July 9th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
doctordonna friends

First -- aww, thank you.

Second -- Oh this was awesome! Doctor/Donna BFF with a side of Doctor/Rose, I love it! The dynamic you have between the Doctor and Donna -- with her sort of forcibly dragging things out of him sometimes, and then quietly respecting his desire to keep to himself at other times -- was great, and you strike the balance between humour and understanding that I think really defines the Doctor and Donna's friendship. The way you describe the Doctor grieving for Rose in season 4 -- which was much less flash-bang-LOOK AT MY ANGST than season 3 -- and his pain as "both raw and healing" also felt really apt. And you tied it into Midnight at the end! Hee! I did really enjoy this, and I'm glad there is now more DoctorDonna BFF/Ten/Rose stuff in the world, because there can never be too much.

Posted by: Rach (hippiebanana132)
Posted at: July 12th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)

Oh, I am so relieved that you liked it. Really, I had such trouble because everything you write is so perfectly contained and finished off and there were no windows for improvement, so I sort of feel like I've just hacked this to bits. So thank you =)

I'm glad there is now more DoctorDonna BFF/Ten/Rose stuff in the world, because there can never be too much. - There really can't ever be! I miss them a lot.

Posted by: Salienne de Lioncourt (salienne)
Posted at: July 16th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC)

Yeek, I am really really sorry it took me so long to comment on this. I was going to much earlier, and then Torchwood broke me.

I really enjoyed this. I love your Donna and the back-and-forth she has with the Doctor, I love how much of an open book the Doctor is for her even as he holds back and, sometimes, opens up. Your characterization and writing style are, as always, impeccable.

And all the little (and big) things Donna finds of Rose's? Ouch.

Really really enjoyed this, and the beginning and the ending fit so well. I thought it was very great how you mirrored the fic you remixed, but made something all your own with it. :)

Posted by: helygen (helygen)
Posted at: July 17th, 2009 06:55 am (UTC)

This is a gorgeous remix, perfectly in character for both of them, and I love all the little unspoken observations that say so much about the Doctor's relationship with Rose

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