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To Err is Human

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Prologue - How Donna Finds Herself in an Uncomfortable Situation

There were many, many things Donna hated about the year 1913. She was keeping a list:

1. Corsets. Damn the Doctor that they couldn't have landed just a few short years later and she would have missed this torture. Yeah they made her breasts look truly fantastic if she did say so herself, but they were bloody uncomfortable!

2. The men were jackasses. Like, more than usual. She was constantly fighting the urge to throttle these "gentlemen" she was surrounded by. And the snooty upper-class boys at the school were little better.

3. Bloomers! The most ridiculous undergarment (second only to corsets) ever invented. Why the hell did a woman need knee-length underwear for, anyway, and with a split crotch, at that?

4. Total and complete lack of entertainment.  She would give just about anything for a television!

5. Nurse Redfern kept giving doe-y "woe is me" glances at the Doctor. She thought Donna hadn't noticed, but, c'mon, she wasn't blind.  Donna figured the good nurse would be well served by getting laid (by someone other than the Doctor, naturally), then maybe she wouldn't follow an oblivious Doctor around like a bitch in heat.

But the worst...the absolute WORST part of 1913:
6. The Doctor kept giving doe-y "woe is me" glances at Donna.

Donna sat contemplating these myriad troubles as she completed some mending (mending! blergh) by the window, bored out of her flippin' mind. The Doctor - no, sorry, John Smith - had been in classes all day. There were no ipods (there was a gramophone with a collection of scratchy, maudlin music to play, but she hoped she never got that desperate), no movies, no magazines, no anything to keep her occupied other than the tasks expected of a lady of her class. These included the aforementioned mending, needlepoint, reading (though the Doctor's collection tended towards textbooks), and long walks on the hills she didn't take lest she leave the Doctor - no, wait, John Smith, aaarrrgh! - alone to some tragedy.

They (i.e. Nurse Redfern) didn't approve of her speaking to the "help" who were, in Donna's opinion, the only interesting people around here. Normally Donna would have told Joan just where she could stick her disapproval, but the whole point of this little foray into Edwardian torture was to not make waves. So she really didn't made the effort, too afraid to interact much with other people lest she give the whole game away. Which, by the way, would be a hell of a lot easier to do if the Doctor had though to make her a maid in this little charade, or a school teacher, or his sister, or his sister's cousin's brother's childhood friend, or anything other than--

Her musings were interrupted by fumbling noises at the flat's door. Then the door swung open and the Doctor - for god's sake, Donna, John Smith! - tumbled in under a stack of books.

"John," she squeaked, surprised. "You're here early."

The Doctor grinned at her from around his stack of books, setting them down carefully so he could hurry to her.

"I couldn't stay away," he murmured, leaning over her chair and fully invading her personal space.

"I've missed you, wife," and he kissed her.

Donna hated the year 1913.

-A few days ago-

The Doctor was pulling down some kind of helmet-looking thingy from the ceiling, and babbling on about DNA signatures and the like.

"For the record," she cut in, loudly enough to make him shut up, "I think this is a horrendously bad idea. One of epically bad proportions."

"It's the only way, Donna! I don't know how else to explain it. I need to hide from the Family of Blood and the vortex isn't safe; they can follow my genetic signature, quite literally sniff me out. Only way to fix that is to change my signature to human."

She settled her hands on her hips, tried to radiate all her misgivings in one concentrated glare. "And what am I supposed to do while you swan around as a human with no memory of anything, including me."

"Oh, I'll remember you. Of course I will. The TARDIS will take care of all of it, set us down somewhere and sometime on earth that will be easier for us to blend into, fabricate memories of a human life that would make sense to me, and make sure to find a reason for you to be there. You won't have to worry about a thing. You can just sit back and enjoy peace and quiet for three months; like a holiday!"

"Then is the TARDIS guaranteeing we're going to end up in Hawaii?"

" Not that it couldn't  be Hawaii, but when you think of all the land mass on Earth in all of time - and Hawaii being a tiny island, really, when you compare it to, oh, Greenland, for example - then the odds of us landing in Hawaii become rather astronomical."

"So what you're saying in too many unnecessary words is that, with our luck, we're going to end up somewhere not tropical and fantastic. Wow, you are SO not selling me on this plan."

He stopped fiddling with the helmet to stare at her beseechingly. "But, but I need you there! You'll be the only one who'll be able to snap me out of it when necessary. I can't trust anyone else to-"

"I'm not saying I won't go, Doctor! I'm not leaving you to your own devices for 3 minutes, much less 3 months. I'm just making it very clear, for when this all goes pear shaped, that this is a bad idea. And I reserve the right to say 'I told you so' as often as I like, later."

With a happy jump of pure adrenaline, the Doctor danced around the contraption one more time. "Ah, you worry too much. It's a great idea - one of my better ones, I must say! - and nothing's going to go wrong. Anyway, I've left you instructions for any possible hiccup that we may encounter."

Donna glared back, dubious. "If we land on Greenland, at least we won't have to worry about the homicidal aliens."

"Right, s'what I've been telling yo--wait, why not?"

Donna cocked a hip. "Because I'll bloody kill you myself!"

He rolled his eyes at her, giving her a friendly arm bump as he sped by her around the console one more time, pushing buttons and pulling levers. Finally he settled the helmet thing on his head and shot her one last, brilliant smile. "You'll see, three months will pass by before you know it and we'll be back here, having a good laugh." His hand reached up and alighted on a switch. "Now, don't fuss. This is going to get a little loud."

He flipped the switch and started screaming.


In short order she'd found herself with an unconscious "man" on her hands, two sets of antiquated-looking clothing, and packed bags sitting decisively by the TARDIS doors. She had changed quickly, cursing all the unfamiliar fastenings (laces, stockings, teeny-tiny didn't bode well, this lack of zippers!), then turned her attention to the Doctor. She'd fumbled him into his own clothes with a lot more cursing, huffing, and averted eyes.

She hauled the bags outside, finding herself in a musty barn. Not Hawaii, figured. Then more puffing and groaning as she dragged the surprisingly heavy Doctor the short distance out the door. As soon as she stepped out the TARDIS disappeared, safe behind its perception filter.

She left the Doctor in a heap, uncaring he was in a pile of hay, as she stormed out the barn doors to find - of course - landscape that looked depressingly like rural England. Holiday her ARSE! What could be worse? Okay, well, Greenland. But this wasn't much better!

Donna found the answer to that question a few hours later, after a dizzy Doctor had risen from the hay, chided her lightly for letting him fall asleep in such an undignified manner, and then led them to an academy of some sort. Donna had remained mute throughout the trek; with no knowledge of the TARDIS-supplied back story, she was too wary of sticking her foot in it.

It wasn't until they were let into the foyer of the Farringham School for Boys that the Doctor introduced himself as the new teacher, John Smith, and she, Donna, as his...wait for it... WIFE.

"WHAT?" she would have screamed, if she hadn't suddenly choked on her outrage and started a coughing fit. "John" had immediately turned to her, all solicitous "oh dear" and "are you quite all right, darling?", which only made her choke harder until she thought she'd die and, god, if that wouldn't have been a mercy.

Because, apparently, the TARDIS thought the most believable scenario was making them husband and wife; newlyweds, to be precise. And had gone beyond the call of duty and filled the Doctor's head with a suitably romantic courtship.

-Present - well, in's sort of a timey-whimey -

All this meant that Donna was now responsible for a besotted former Time Lord who seemed rather invested in getting under her skirts. She could put him off for a while with excuses: headaches, 'time of the month', ear infection, perhaps even the black plague if it got to that point... Thankfully, times still being especially prudish, he'd assumed she was actually just overly shy. He had reassured her (with such a patronizing "gentlemanly" mien she'd wanted to shove him back and show him just how 'shy' she was thank you) that he would never wish to rush her and her "'feminine sensibilities"; he'd be happy to wait until she was ready. 

This was, she quickly learned, code for "I'm not going to pressure you for sex, per se, but that won't stop me from oozing unfulfilled need your way every chance I get. Twice on Sundays."

It was ludicrous, that she'd find the Doctor hell bent on seducing her, of all things. And god forgive her, she would have sworn that would be a tall order, but in truth her Martian was becoming impossible to resist.

to be continued...

Up next, Mr. & Mrs. Smith's first night in 1913