Chapter 1: Can I sit with you?
The woman looked up at the stranger who interrupted her reading; she was sitting at a bar, drinking tea and waiting for the Doctor to show up againg. It a was a really peaceful afternoon so far: no monsters, no running and currently that silly Martian was off to who-knows-where searching for who-knows-what ... but he said it was some piece of new technology he could not miss!
So, when this weird man approached, she really hoped he wasn't going to annoy her.
He seemed to be a middle aged man with wild gray hair and old fashioned style clothes...all in all he was kind of handsome or charming, dared she say? So she tried to manage her best smile after the sudden surprised expression at his interruption.
"Yes, Dear, what can I do for you?"
"Ah, yes I...I was just wondering if you could- no!.. if I could sit with you for a tea. The other tables outside seem to be occupied and...you got an extra chair" He said with a big smile.
She could clearly see that he was putting on a brave face just so not to let her see his agitation, but why she couldn't tell. She was not your ideal beautiful woman and certainly not a sight to look at... but if he wanted to try she could let him after all. How bad can this be? She was not sure about his intentions but she had nothing better to do right now and a bit of flirt couldn't hurt.
"Of course Dear! Have a sit"
"Thank you miss..?"
"Noble! Donna Noble. But just Donna will do"
She was smiling at him but he was not introducing himself...well duh! she needed a name!
"And...who are you, Dear?"
Jolting on the chair like he was being struck, he seemed to think about what to tell her. His gaze on her was intense.
Now was her turn to look puzzled.
Now yuo've done it! Couldn't you think about a different name!? But it was no use scolding himself now.
"It seems to be a rather common name...never mind"
Luckily she was giving him that beautiful smile again! She really was stunning.
"So, why a lady like you is here all alone?"
"Oh, I'm here with a friend, just so you know... I was waiting for him actually"
Grinning now, he was eager to know more about this so called "friend" of hers. How bad can this be? He wanted to entertain her after all.
"A 'friend'? Should I leave you then? I don't want to disturb your date"
Judging by the face she gave him, that spurred the exact reaction he was looking for. He could see the layer of embarassment well hidden behind her smiling mask.
"DATE!? Not a date at all! Don't worry about that silly Spaceman, he's just...my best friend"
"In this case" He said with a rather charming smile "Lucky me! I've always loved ginger, you know? But I'm sure your best friend does too, otherwise he wouldn't be there with you. Pity he's keeping you waiting"
At this point, she was really blushing.
"I'm really flattered Sunshine, but I wouldn't keep up your hope! Me and my friend are travelling and...I'm not really looking for a-"
"Oh! Don't minde me!" He interrupted her "Don't worry about me, I'm just an old fool. But I really cannot refrain from noticing what a beautiful contrast your hair makes with your eyes! But I'm out of time now!"
He could clearly see a running form behinde her dressed in a long coat.
"Please, do forgive my rudness" He kissed her hand "But I really ought to go. I'm a traveller too, I'm sure we will see each other again, Donna Noble"
She was too stunned by his sudden change of behavior to even utter a word.
Startled, she jumped from her seat to spun around and see what all the commotion was for.
"What now Martian?"
"We have to hurry to the TARDIS, I'll explain to you later!"
He grabbed her hand and started running toward the direction they have parked the Old Girl.
"So, Donna...who was that man with you?"
A little bit of conversation was never unwelcom during a rush, but she really had hoped to say goodbye to the Smith bloke and she was beginning to hear screams behinde them.
"I don't really know! NOW RUN MARTIAN! Just like you to enrage the locals!"
"Oh! They are rather fast!"
Reaching the TARDIS doors. the Doctor wasted no time to send them into the vortex and, panting hard, he turned toward Donna with a smug grin on his face.
"I may have taken a piece or two of that machine they were assembling"
Folding her arms, she gave him a stern look "You are incorrigible Doctor!"
"What about you?"
"Don't try to chang the subject!"
"But I wanna know! Who was that man!?"
"Listen here Spaceman, he was just some bloke keeping me company. We were just chatting while I was waiting for ya! His name is John Smith, can you believe it!? Such a common name! Anyway he disappeared..."
But the Doctor wasn't paying attention to what she was saying anymore.
John Smith...bad choice Doctor! Bad choice! But now is too late, isn't it?
The Doctor was now looking fondly at Donna and his past self running from an angry crowd.
Something never change!
She was really a sight to behold with her beautiful shining red hair, just like fire in the sun.
I really miss you Donna Noble....I'm really sorry.
He will meet her again like this, he swore to himself, the only problem was once again his face. I'll have to think about something...
And with a last glance he was back in the TARDIS, ready to go!
Chapter 2: In the TARDIS
"DOCTOR! That's the last time I- Who the hell are you!?"
Donna stopped in her trek to the console, she had just brusted from the TARDIS doors looking for her Doctor, ready to give him a piece of her mind on what was going on outside but...she never expected to find a strange man with a bow-tie ( yes! A bow-tie! ) looking like a dear caught in the headlights!
With a shocked expression, the tall man tentatively twitched his fingers to her.
Donna closed her mouth with a loud sound, trying to find an explanation to this odd situation.
"Hello, tweed-boy! Are you a friend of the Doctor? Has he forgotten to tell me he was taking you along?"
For a moment he looked baffled before trying to splutter an answer.
"A friend of the Doctor!? Donna, I AM the Do- A friend! Yes, yes! I'm his friend!"
She obviously noticed his slip of tongue. And now she was looking around and clearly, she was not missing the big picture!
"Wait...the TARDIS. She's different"
"Look me in the eyes Tweed-boy and tell me that, for some odd reason....you are not the Doctor!"
And of course he was silent.
"How? How can you be him? Are you from the future? You must be...after all, you know me "
His expression changed from panicked fear to sadness and Donna did not like it one bit.
"Donna, you know, I cannot tell you anything and neither cross my own time line. I need to go and you need to find the other me"
Donna took a step closer to him, she wanted to know more but she knew that was wrong and not fair. She could clearly see the sorrow in his eyes; that was the moment she understood: much has changed and she was not there for him.
"I'm not with you"; that was not a question but a statement."River Song, she told me it was spoiler back in the library but ..."
"I cannot tell you"
She was so close now that she could see the truth in his eyes and the tears that treatened to spill from them.
"River, yes" He tried to smirk " Good old River"
"She was important for you"
Now he was properly smiling at her.
"Oh, Donna Noble, you always read me so well"
She hugged him on impulse and he did not pull back instead he welcomed it with such passion that she started wondering how bad her end had been or, in her case, will be.
"I really need to go, don't I?"
Oh, how would he keep her safe in the TARDIS with him just like the good old days! But he needed to resist ...
"There is another me out there who needs you more than you can possibly imagine"
"And what about you? Do you have someone ?"
"Oh, yes I...I think I needed you so much that the univers blessed me with another fiery ginger!"
They both started to laugh at that. Donna was happy for him if not a tiney bit jealous not to be the one travelling with him.
"So you...change face!? You look younger! And look at your clothes, really...bow-ties!?"
"Oi! Bow-ties are cool!"
"Didn't say the countraire!"
There! That beautiful smile of hers again!
He matched hers with one of his own but he was loosing track of time and he could not risk his other self to find them.
"Donna, you really need to go and...you cannot tell the other me you've met me"
"Donna, this could change many events of your future and so my past and-"
"We could use your knowledge-"
"No. I'm sorry. You know we can't but believe me, I would love to"
She didn't know what to think but of course, she could not be so selfish, not with her best friend. It pained her to leave him but he was right and she had to be strong for them both.
"Do you...do you want me to erase this encounter ?"
"No! Please don't!"
"Oh, Donna. I'm so sorry but, we had the best of times...."
It was the only thing the Doctor could say too absorbed in the memory of that horrible moment. He was pulled out of that by another hug and her soft body pressed to his.
She spoke in his ear then, sending chill to his spine.
"I swear, I will not tell him about us...Spaceman"
And with a kiss to his cheek she was gone.
"To the next time, my Donna, the most important woman in the whole of Creation"