Donna hurried down the alley and out towards the street where some people were still gathered, chatting confusedly about the white blob things that had been walking down the street just a few minutes ago. It certainly wasn't something you saw everyday, white blobs in the street. At least, not on Earth.
But now that she had finally found the Doctor, and was going off traveling with him, she would probably see things that she could never have imagined.
When they had been talking outside the TARDIS, he had turned to listen to her chatter, but his eyes looked like they weren't quite seeing her. This was a look she remembered from this past Christmas. He was thinking about that girl again, Rose. It had made her afraid that he was scared off from taking someone along again.
That she wouldn't be able to come with him.
But then, the moment had passed and he said she could go with him... and all of a sudden she felt like her life had finally found the meaning she'd been searching for.
All she had to do was to drop off her car keys, and then they'd be off.
Now out in the street, she scanned the throng of people to notice a bottle blonde in the street, looking somewhat lost.
"Oi. You," Donna waved at her, holding up her keys.
The blonde turned, and Donna found herself distracted for a moment by the girl's appearance. She wasn't anything special really; brown eyes, blonde bleached hair, young… she looked exhausted for her age, though. Like she hadn't slept for days.
Donna shook her head; she must be letting the days events get to her. She started talking to the girl again.
"Listen, there's this woman that's going to come along, a tall blond woman called Sylvia. Tell her that bin there. Right, it'll all make sense. That bin there." Donna raised an inquiring eyebrow at the girl. "Got it?"
The blonde nodded, still not saying a word, so Donna turned back down the street and tossed the keys in the bin she had pointed out to the girl. Then with that taken care of, Donna turned back in the direction of the TARDIS and hurried back down the street, eager to get back to the Doctor.
A few minutes later she burst into the TARDIS with what she was sure was the largest grin on her face, and strode up the ramp. "Off we go then!" Donna announced to the Doctor who was standing next to the console.
"Keys are safely stored in a bin for my mum to find, and if she doesn't find them I told a girl nearby where they were." She frowned, reflecting, "Didn't look too trustworthy though; really young, and who was she kidding with that hair? It's so obvious it's dyed. Plus being all awful with that leather jacket and those big, sad, brown Bambi eyes. She looked exhausted… maybe it wasn't such a good idea leaving my keys with her after all, she's more likely to steal it or something."
Donna was about to go on and ask him where they were going, and should she go back for her car? When she realized that he'd gone very, very still and had that look on his face again.
"No, no, it can't be," he whispered to himself, as if she weren't there, and then ran towards the doors and out into the alley. As he passed her Donna heard him say, "I can't get to her, and she can't come back. It's impossible."
But by the time she turned to look after him he was gone out of sight down the street the way she'd come from.
The Doctor rushed down the street, ignoring the other people still gathered in the sidewalks, hearts pounding in his ears as he ran as fast as if he was on an alien planet with a monster after him.
It was likely to just be a coincidence, that his mind was just jumping tracks to make him believe what he wanted to believe. But Donna's description of the girl she'd told about her keys had sounded so much like Rose, once you got past Donna's skewed perception of her, that for just a few seconds he had believed that maybe, just maybe….
The Doctor skidded to a halt just past the far edges of the crowd and the barrier the police had put up in a hopeless attempt to organize the people, for his eyes to lock on a single lone figure walking away from him down the street.
He couldn't tell much from just looking at the woman's back, but from the way she was walking and that shoulder-length blonde hair with the roots just beginning to show… it could be, it just possibly could be….
"Rose?" The Doctor called softly, barely realizing he had even said the name. It couldn't have been louder than a whisper, and there was no way she could have heard him, but as he stood there just staring and hoping, the woman stopped in her tracks and, after a moment, slowly turned around.
Rose held the button in her hand, finger poised over the surface as she wondered how much longer she could do this, jumping around universes without any idea of what she was doing, looking for the Doctor so he could save the universe just like he always did.
She had hoped that this was the time she would find him, that this was the last jump she would make. But it seemed like she had just gotten it wrong, again.
Taking one last look around her Rose began pushing down on the button in her hand, leaving once again, when she heard an impossible sound behind her. The sound of her name being said, in the unique way that only one person she knew said it.
She hadn't heard her name like that for two long years.
Rose turned on her heel to face the direction she had come.
"Doctor?" She breathed. She could hardly believe it. That she had found him, after all this time…
The two of them ran, covering several yards in the course of just mere seconds to finally tumble into each other's arms and reassure each other that they were alive, that they were really together again.
Disentangling himself, he grasped her shoulders, looking at her in wonder.
"You're here," he said, like he couldn't believe it. "You're really here." He traced the lines of her face with his hand, as if he were trying to rememorize her features. She smiled up at him happily under his hands.
"Through time and space," Rose murmured.
"Doctor? What's going on?" An out of breath Donna approached the pair in the middle of the street, having run after the Doctor soon after he left. "Who's that… oh!" Her eyes widened in surprise as she recognized the woman she had met in the street just a few minutes ago.
Donna looked at the Doctor, and then back at the woman again. Her eyes darted between them for a few moments, taking in the way they were looking at and holding each other. Then she said, understanding, "This'd be Rose, then?"
The Doctor tightened his arms around her, pulling her protectively back against his side.
"Yes, this is," He said simply, holding her tight. Rose looked confused, and then attempted to struggle her way out of his arms.
"Rose Tyler, former companion," Rose introduced herself with a hesitant smile as she held her hand out to Donna.
"Donna Noble. And I daresay, from all he's said, you're more than that," she replied, glancing at the Doctor who had been unusually quiet up until now. When he didn't say a word in the silence that followed, Donna walked up to him and poked him harshly in the suited side that was exposed to her, saying, "Oi, aren't you going to say anything to her?"
He turned towards her, loosening his arms from around Rose a little, to stare at her with wide confused brown eyes. "What? But, I did say things to her! I talked with her!"
Donna scoffed, rolling her eyes, "Yeah, what was it- two words? Just two words after all I've heard about her? Come on Spaceman, say hello properly."
As usual when he was around Donna, the Doctor found himself staring at the ginger-haired woman, mouth gaping like a fish. Finally he managed to say, "I did say hello properly!" The Time Lord turned back to Rose, looking slightly unsure of himself, "I did, didn't I?" He asked.
Rose gave a tired chuckle, flashing a strained smile as she leaned against him, "Yeah, you did. And I'd say it was just fine, Doctor."
A few feet away from them, Donna shook her head, crossing her arms as she was once again confused by how thick-headed the Doctor could be sometimes. All this time he'd been waiting and working to find a way back to this Rose, but now that they were together again it was as if they'd only been apart for a few minutes. They'd only said a handful of words to each other, embraced, and now were acting as if everything was fine between them- as if that was enough.
Donna shook her head; the Doctor could be such a bloke sometimes. Especially when it came to matters of the heart, even if he had two of them.
"All right you two lovebirds, it's back to the TARDIS," Donna announced, turning back down the street towards the TARDIS. "Come on!" She called, beginning to walk away from them.
The Doctor and Rose turned to look at each other for a long moment before he held out his hand to her, and asked softly, a gentle smile gracing his face, "Allons-y?"
Rose laughed and took his hand tightly in her own. "Allons-y," She agreed.
Inside the TARDIS, as soon as he and Rose were level with where Donna was standing next to the console, the Doctor opened his mouth and began his usual speech, a happy smile on his face.
"Here it is, the TARDIS. Bigger on the inside..."
Donna shook her head, "Oh I know that part." She glanced around her, sneaking a glance at Rose. "Although frankly, you could turn the heat up a bit."
Rose chose that moment to voice her agreement, "It is a bit chilly in here Doctor."
He turned to first look at Rose with barely contained amusement in his eyes and then at Donna, before he sighed and said, as if to himself, "So this is what I have to look forward to, eh?"
Hoping to quickly change the subject, and stop them from continuing to gang up on him, the Doctor turned to Donna and asked, "So, whole wide universe, where do you want to go?"
Donna smiled softly, "Oh, I know exactly the place."
The Doctor tilted his head curiously, glancing at Rose before he asked, "Which is?"
"About two and a half miles, that way," Donna told him, raising her hand to point off to her left. The Doctor didn't bother telling her that directions were a moot point in the TARDIS.
"Off we go, then!" He cried, and with a flourish, hit at least two levers and a button in one graceful movement. The TARDIS then started shaking violently. Feeling alarmed, Donna grasped the railing.
Rose, on the other hand, looked overjoyed. She held onto the edge of the console, laughing wildly as the TARDIS quaked and rumbled around them. She had missed this, oh, how she had missed this.
The TARDIS gave a particularly fierce shake, and knocked all three inhabitants off their feet. Donna landed near a bicycle pump, and, after cursing the Doctor for his positively awful driving, wondered what it was for.
Rose however, landed somewhere rather soft; that is, on top of the Doctor. They both shook with laughter, reflecting back on old times, and then went silent as the TARDIS suddenly stopped.
The Doctor blinked; surprised that Rose was so close to him all of a sudden.
"Come on, you two!" Shouted Donna, already halfway out the door. The other two scrambled to their feet, brushing each other off before following the redhead out the door.
"Donna! That's… that's the … the box!" Wilf Mott grinned at his granddaughter, staring at the big blue box in amazement.
"I know granddad. And I'm not coming back, not for a while," Donna told him gently, smiling back at him.
"Well… I… I suppose you're too old to need my permission now, aren't you?" He gazed sadly at his granddaughter, remembering a tiny firecracker of a girl, terrified to go to her first day of school. He shook his head to remove the image, and Rose and the Doctor caught his eye where they stood a ways off together, whispering in low tones.
"Aren't you afraid you'll be, you know..." he gestured aimlessly, "The third wheel?" Donna smirked.
"Someone's got to stop them from—"
A sound of a slap rang in the air.
"Bastard!" Shouted Rose. She stomped back to the TARDIS, not looking back at the Doctor, who looked almost overjoyed despite himself.
Donna rolled her eyes.
"Rest assured, granddad, I won't be a third wheel," She said, hugging him tightly. "Don't forget to look for the TARDIS, yeah?" She whispered, and then went over to grab the Doctor by the arm.
"C'mon, space man, time to go appease your girlfriend," she told him. This seemed to snap him out of his daze enough for him to try to protest.
"Save it," snapped Donna, as they disappeared into the TARDIS.
Wilf watched the TARDIS disappear from his view, and smiled to himself.
"Go get up there, Donna," he murmured, and ambled down the hill to the house. Time to justify her disappearance to his daughter.