gracie_musica: Good Omens (yeah, go over to a friend's house) (do not attempt)
[personal profile] gracie_musica
Title: Second Fiddle (6/10)
Date Written: 5/3/11
Rating: PG-13/T
Word Count: 2,899
Fandom: BBC's Sherlock/Doctor Who
Disclaimer: Not mine, property of their respective owners
Characters/Pairings: John Watson/Donna Noble (yes. you read that right), Sherlock Holmes, the Doctor
Spoilers: Up through The Great Game (Sherlock) and up through The Unicorn and the Wasp (Doctor Who)
Warnings: None
Author's Notes: I blame [profile] midassa_in_gold for this, completely, utterly, and entirely. All of this. Thanks, as always, to my betas: [personal profile] totally4ryo, [profile] k8stamps, and [personal profile] gingerlr. So, uh, those of you waiting for the other shoe to drop? Here goes. Because really, like I couldn't do a bit of drama? (also, a note on the posting schedule: I've been doing Mon/Wed/Fri, but due to Real Life going all pear shaped and going out of town for Mother's Day weekend, I'm going to post Tues/Thurs for the last for chapters of this fic.)

'Today, I discovered that my girlfriend is best mates with an alien that can travel through space and time.'

John Watson glares at the words on his screen. That will go over so well on the blog. His sister will ask if he was high, and his therapist will have him sectioned.

Even if every word was the truth.

"I have something I need to tell you."

Donna had been nervous about something all night. John's no master of deduction like the Holmes brothers, but it doesn't take one to see how on edge she's been, how quiet and withdrawn. The smiles she would usually shower on him have been scaled back to simple little pulls of the mouth.

"What is it?"

"I'm not sure how to tell you this. It's why I've been putting it off."

He took her hand, squeezing it reassuringly. Her smile was a bit warmer than it has been in a while. "I'm sure it's not as bad as you're thinking it'll be," he reassured her.

That gets an actual laugh out of her. "You have no idea."

They walked together in silence for a few shops, giving Donna time to gather her thoughts, John patiently waiting for her to speak. What she said, in the end, caught him off guard. "Will you promise me that you won't jump to any conclusions, that you'll listen to me the whole way through before we decide what to do?"

He stopped dead in his tracks. People grumbled as they were forced to walk around him. Donna stopped as well, not letting go of his hand. "John?"

"Donna. You're not..." He pointed towards his stomach. She couldn't be. They've been careful. More than careful. They can't afford not to be.

It took her a moment to catch on. "Oh! Oh God no!"

He let go of her hand to put it over his heart. He could feel it thumping against his chest, double time. "Oh, thank God." The redhead looked at him and he started laughing a little, relief making him lightheaded and disbelief that the possibility of Donna being pregnant had excited-scared-thrown him so badly. It's so mundane, so normal.

She saw the humor and laughed as well, thankfully. "I just... Don't want you to run out halfway through explaining," she said, taking his hand again.

John pulled her in close and kissed her, releasing her hand to wrap his arm around her waist. His other hand slid into her hair, cradling and tilting her head just so, and she made a happy little surprised noise in the back of her throat and kissed him back. Some passersby tutted at the public display of affection, but they both ignored them, the world spiraling down to just the two of them.

He loved this woman. This loud, sarcastic, sometimes infuriating creature. And he had the sneaking suspicion that she loved him too.

The words were on the tip of his tongue when they parted, but he didn't say them. Not yet, at any rate. Let her say what she has to say first, then he'd say his piece.

"It'll be fine," he reassured her, cupping her face in his hands and smiling at her. "I promise."

John jabs at the keyboard's delete button like it has personally affronted him, watching the type wipe off the screen. He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes, thinking.

He'd started the blog as therapy for his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which he did have, despite the odd inversion. His therapist had said it would help, and, once John had had things to start writing about, it actually had.

He can feel himself working through issues sometimes, even if he usually ends up erasing what he writes before posting it. He's put it down in black and white, reveals the truth to himself. No one else needs to know; those parts are no one else's business.

This isn't new to him, this kind of writer's block. It's not that there isn't anything to write. It's that there is too much to put down. It's all fighting to be told first. He just doesn't know where to begin.

Maybe one of Sherlock's nicotine patches will calm him down enough? He vaguely toys with the idea, but the medic in him wins out and he resists the temptation.

'So there's this box, right? And it's got a cat in it. And a vial of poison and something radioactive.

Then you seal the box up. While the box is sealed, you don't know if the cat's alive or dead. So it can, potentially, be both alive AND dead.

Or maybe the box leads to a different dimension. You don't know. You can't quantify it as either one or the other.

Or maybe I'm making shite up and should have paid more attention in class.'

When she told him, he thought she was joking.

When she produced the key to the police box (parked three streets over from the flat, how come he'd never noticed it before?), he thought she was being kinky.

When she opened the door and pulled him inside, he was speechless.

The entire inside was done in varying shades of brown: wood colored struts and supports, tan walls curving in to loom overhead, rust colored metal grating floors and railings, and octagon, porthole-like lights running up the walls sections in pairs. The only bits of color were knobs and dials on the round center console and the large, glass column in the center of that. Even the Doctor, leaning against one of the willowy-support beams, was dressed in brown pinstripes and tan trainers. The entire thing was so organic, so alive, John half expected the room to start breathing.

Then he realized that he couldn't breathe. Despite the huge interior, he was suddenly claustrophobic.

He stumbled outside, Donna's voice ringing hollowly in his ears. The London evening air was cool and soothing and he filled his lungs with it, leaning back against the painted blue box. He'd almost got his breath back when he realized the wood was vibrating against his back.

It took him less than twenty steps to walk around the entire thing. He kept one hand on the wood as he went round.

Donna was standing in the doorway when he'd made the circuit. Her face was pale, worry painted across it in big brushstrokes.

"... Okay. Show me more."

He'd promised to keep an open mind.

And was pretty sure he'd seen this film before.

John scrubs at his face before erasing his words again.

Madness. That's what this all is. Complete and utter madness.

"So the TARDIS got stuck, and you just fell in with us?"

"More or less," Donna nods. They are sitting on the jumpseat, drinking beers while Donna explained what had happened, helped by the Doctor from time to time.

"Why'd you stay?"

The Doctor jumped in and answered that question. "That, Doctor Watson, is because of you," he informed them with a smile.


"Yup." The Time Lord bounced on his toes, rocking back and forth, a child on a sugar rush. "The TARDIS is sentient. She likes to make her passengers happy. She saw what started between the pair of you and spatially locked us in. Can't get off-world."

"Oh, don't sound so upset," Donna teased. "You love Earth, despite your complaints about the slow path. Being stuck here for a while, having a little down time, no problem at all."

John had seen the Doctor and Donna interact enough to expect a barb back from the brown-haired man. The way he ducked his head and fiddled with knobs on the console was surprising at first. Next to him, Donna frowned.

Then the penny dropped for John. "Doctor..."

The Time Lord looked up at his title, but he didn't meet John's gaze. He looked straight at Donna. "I think now it's my turn to come clean."

'So my girlfriend's an alien and '

That line he erases before he can finish it up. He can already see Harry's comment about Donna having green skin.

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN THIS ISN'T EARTH?!" Donna roared. Both men cowered under her full fury.

"It's not that this isn't an Earth," the Doctor clarified. "It's that this isn't your Earth, Donna. We're four thousand years into your linear future here."

She shook her head in disbelief. John's own was swimming, trying to make sense of it. How, exactly, does this work out? "I don't believe you," she said succinctly, crossed her arms over her stomach and glared the Doctor down.

He doesn't back down from her gaze. "Doctor Watson," he called over Donna's shoulder. "Who's the Prime Minister of England?"

They looked over at John, still sitting in shock on the jumpseat. Both of them carried the same intensity in their eyes that John almost flinched. It was just like dealing with the Holmes brothers, except they needed him to solve a puzzle instead of puzzling him out. "Lily Anderson."

Donna turned back to the Doctor. "We could have missed an election," she argued.

" And before that?" the Doctor asked. He doesn't look away from Donna, face carefully neutral, but the question was clearly meant for John.

"Truman Myers."

The redhead frowned. "No, it was Harold Saxon. And Harriet Jones before that."

"No, Anderson's the first female PM we've ever had," John said slowly. "And trust me, I remember the name of the man who shipped me off to war."

"The war. Why'd you go?"

John frowned at the Doctor. "Because I was in the army and they told me to go." The 'duh' was left unsaid, but was still tacked on to the end of the statement.

The brunet rolls his eyes. "Not that," he said sarcastically. "Why'd you join up? Why was the military sent?"

"Afghan terrorists hijacked an airplane out of Heathrow and crashed it into One Canada Square." John was pretty damn sure everyone in the entire world knew that. Then again, here he is inside a police box that wasn't really a police box. "A bunch of my mates and I joined the service after we finished at Bart's."

Donna looked from John to the Doctor and back. "Canary Wharf?"

John nodded slowly.

"Not the World Trade Center in New York?"

He shook his head.

"But it's so similar," Donna argues. "I can use tech here without problems. Money, government. Place names. Geography."

"Language," John jumped in. The two time travelers shared a look, and he sighed. "What?"

"Language isn't so much a barrier for us," the Doctor replied. "I'm speaking in a completely different tongue right now." He patted the console of the TARDIS lovingly. "She gets in your head, translates for you."

John firmly pushed aside the thought of a spaceship probing his mind. "Doctor, I've treated Donna. I... well, I know her physical makeup pretty well." Donna blushed prettily, and the Doctor's eyebrows rose like the overbearing guardian John suspected he could become. "She's got red blood, she doesn't react poorly to medications, and she's got one heart and all the right number of appendages."

"Evolution, my dear Watson, is not the game of chance that everyone likes to imagine it to be." He smiled like he'd just told a joke. Donna rolled her eyes. "There's a great deal of chance involved in this set-up, I quite admit, but... similar conditions give us similar results." He beamed. "You could probably even have children with little difficulty. Human DNA is amazingly resilient."

While that thought percolated in their heads, the Doctor rounded on Donna. "Okay, I will give you supreme ignorance -- you have been rather occupied as of late -- but really? Sherlock Holmes? Doctor Watson? Really, Noble?"

"Whoa, wait, what?" John stammered.

"At first I thought it was a joke," Donna admitted. "Then I thought it was a coincidence."

"This is scuba diving during the Cyberman invasion all over again. Mrs. Hudson, the housekeeper? Lestrade? Mycroft?" They were both now firmly ignoring John, having an argument that he couldn't keep up with.

"I've never heard of them."

"You what?"

"I've never read Doyle!"

The Doctor opened and closed his mouth in shock. "You've. Never. Read. Doyle?" he asked incredulously.

"I prefer Agatha Christie."

"But he's a classic -- !"

"What the BLOODY HELL are you two going on about?!" John demanded.

The Doctor and Donna jumped at his outburst, then looked at him guiltily. "Where I'm from," Donna explained. "Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson are characters in a book series." There was a dreadful pause, and she quickly added, "I prefer you like this."

"Oh, so do I," the Doctor agreed. "Much more exciting to be running about with than to be reading about it."

"I'm sorry, I'm a what now?"

"A literary character, but here's the thing." The Doctor rushed to explain, words almost tripping over each other. "Holmes and Watson's techniques influenced generations of police officers, inspired and heavily influenced the field of forensics, and their stories still inspire creative minds, and will for centuries to come. Doyle's characters were so influential on human culture that they pretty much have to exist. Because that hole wasn't filled by a book, here, on your Earth, you were all produced literally, in flesh and bone."

John nodded to himself. It was quite flattering, to be honest, to think that he was so important. "I don't feel quite so bad telling you this, then."

"What's that?" the Doctor tilted his head to one side.

"Here, you're a movie franchise. Professor Who. Travels around in a magic phone box, righting wrongs and saving the world. It’s one of my favorites, but Sherlock has a fit every time it comes on the telly, because he it’s not realistic."

John closes his laptop with a huff. "God."

"Yes?" Sherlock drawls from across the room.

"You're an admitted sociopath, not a solipsist," the doctor counters, tossing his laptop onto the couch next to him. He rubs his eyes again and sighs.

When he looks up again, Sherlock has his hands folded in front of him, watching him intently. "And how was your date?" he asks, feigned interest painfully obvious.

"Piss off," John shoots back.

Sherlock shrugs. "Isn't that what normal people ask their friends after going out?"

"Yeah, well, we're pretty firmly entrenched on the other side of normal, aren't we?" It isn't fair, he knows. Sherlock, for once, hasn't done anything to deserve his foul temper. "Sorry."

The consulting detective waves a hand, dismissing the apology. No harm, no foul.

"So when did you suss it out?"

"Before you started having sex."

John throws his hands up in disgust. "And you didn't think to give me a head's up?"

Sherlock shrugs. "You wouldn't have believed me," he says simply.

"I still don't know if I believe it," the older man mutters, almost to himself.

"It's still just you she's looking at," the younger man points out.

John looks at his flatmate for a long moment. "... You like her."

"You both distract me when I'm bored," Sherlock corrects.

"I think that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me."

The curly-haired man's lips quirk up slightly. "Don't get used to it."

The blonde chuckles and rubs the back of his neck. Without thinking, he reaches for his laptop again and starts typing.

"I could kill him," the ginger haired woman growled yet again. "Just kill him. Didn't think it was important to tell me that this -- " she waved her hand around, at the streets and buildings and taxi cars of London, " -- wasn't my Earth."

John, for his part, is quiet. It's a lot to process.

Her hand is warm in his coat pocket. Comforting.


They came to a stop in front of 221b Baker, and Donna gave him a little bit of a smile. "I'll see you tomorrow?" she ventured. "Or should I wait for you to call me?"

"I'll call you," he promised. "I just need a little bit of time to myself to think."

Donna laughed and leaned up on tiptoe to kiss him in the corner of his mouth. "Don't worry, John."
She rubbed the smudge of lipstick off his face with her thumb. "The one thing I've got is time."

'Tonight, my girlfriend told me something that I didn't see coming.

Before you lot start: No, we're not expecting, and no, it's not scandalous. It was a big thing, though, an important part of her life that she hadn't told me because she was afraid of how I'd react.

Ultimately, however, this revelation wasn't as Earth shattering as she thought it would be. It will, of course, change some things; but the big things, the things that matter, aren't affected. Leaving me sitting here in my flat wondering why I'm not out telling her this in person, but instead putting it out for friends, colleagues, and who knows else to read first.'

John is reaching for his mobile when it rings. Donna calling. He grins and pushes the answer button. "What, are you stalking my blog?" he teases in greeting.

"Of course, Johnny boy." The voice on the other end isn't Donna's; it's soft, male, slightly-Irish shaped, and still features in more than a few nightmares. "And curiously enough, I was wondering the same thing you were."
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