The Doctor is scared to go to sleep.
I can think of no other reason for him to be keeping me up. He won’t stop yammering on about nonsense, and every time I look as though I might be even considering the concept of getting some sleep, he makes a face that I can only compare to that of a wounded puppy. And I find myself staying longer.
Maybe I wouldn’t mind so much if he’d tell me what’s really going on in his head. But he doesn’t seem particularly eager to do that.
After Jenny, he ran. After River, he ran.
When is he going to stop?
Instead, he’s going on about planets and people—“Well, not all of them are people in the strictest sense, of course, as you and I are… Well, as you are.”—and places he must take me.
Eventually, though, I tire of it. “Doctor, I’m going to go to bed. You should too, you know; you look exhausted.”
“Oh,” he says. His face is expressionless, and I wonder what’s going through his mind. “Yes, of course, I’ve kept you up quite late, haven’t I? Go on then.” He smiles feebly at me.
Before I leave the room, I turn back and look at him. Sitting in the chair closest to the fireplace, simply… staring. I frown. “You should rest too, Doctor. Really.”
He waves me away. “Of course Donna. Soon. Off you go.”
If I weren’t quite so tired, I would lecture him for treating me like a child. As it is, I leave him alone.
Lying in bed, I toss and turn for several minutes. Even when I’m not with him, he’s keeping me awake.
Perhaps twenty minutes after I leave the Doctor, my door is opened slightly. Not much, but enough so that from the hall, the Doctor can see me lying in bed. Almost immediately, I hear him walk away, but my door stays open.
Why does the Doctor feel the need to check up on me? It’s as though he’s scared I’ll disappear.
He’s scared that I’m going to disappear and leave him all alone.
Leave him in silence.
Now, I do everything to stay awake, because I want to see if he’ll come back.
And he does. I hear his breathing more than his movements, now, even with the distance between us and the low humming of the TARDIS to drown him out.
The Doctor is checking up on me and I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry. But I do neither; I call out to him instead. “Join me or close the door, please.”
“What?” Oh, is he really going to pretend? I roll over to look at him to see that now he’s leaning in. “Sorry, Donna, I was just…”
“Spaceman, I swear to God. Don’t make me come over there.”
After a brief pause, he steps inside and closes the door. In complete darkness, he makes his way to the bed and crawls under the sheets.
“Tell me you’ll never leave me,” he whispers.
Never before has he said anything to me so earnestly. Even though I can’t see him, I turn in his direction. “How could I go on with another life after what I’ve seen? No, Doctor. I’ll stay with you. I’ll always be here.”
“Good.” Under the covers his hand finds mine, and I squeeze it tightly.
I don’t let go until I can tell that he’s fallen asleep.