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Title: The Humming Doctor
Author: [ profile] redknightalex
Fandom: Doctor Who
Rating: PG
Characters: Ten, Donna
Warnings: None
Spoilers/Setting: Slight for “Fire of Pompeii” and, if you look hard for it, the end of S4.
Word Count: ~2,300
Disclaimer: I own positively nothing. BBC owns 'em all.
Summary: A sequel to my previous story (The Doctor Hums), the Doctor keeps his promise and hums Donna to sleep.

Originally posted here.

Donna felt absolutely, positively ridiculous.

Here she was, laying in bed, nestled safely inside, body tense like a rod, with the Doctor sitting beside her, his hands calm on the blue duvet. And, furthermore, he was about to hum her to sleep.

Humming! What an absurd idea...even for an alien from Mars...or something.

Yet, here they were, and she about to run out of her own room while he was warming up his vocal cords.

The Doctor massaged his throat gently, his face completely serious.

Suddenly, Donna had had enough. She slammed her fists on her bed and exclaimed, in no meager voice, “this is completely bonkers!”

The Doctor seemed unfazed and continued to rub his neck. “I don't see why you're in such a twist about it,” he remarked casually. He stuck his tongue out and waggled it a bit. “You said you couldn't sleep so I thought I'd help you.”

“By humming?!”

He quicked a glance over to her, his expression puzzled. “Well, you had no objections before.”

Donna rolled her eyes. “I didn't have time to make any objections! You just grabbed my hand and threw me into bed without a word!” She tore aware the duvet to reveal her slippers still resting neatly on her feet. “I didn't even have time to take them off properly!”

The Doctor made a hissing sound through his clenched teeth. “Yeah, sorry 'bout that”

Donna flipped her slippers off, giving each slipper and good kick into the far corners of her new (and still humming) bedroom, before stuffing her feet back underneath. She covered herself up and refused, with absolute certainty, to look at the Doctor who, she was sure, was still wagging his tongue about like a rabid dog. You had to be either mad or alien to do that.

He was, most assuredly, mad.

After a few moments of awkward not-looking, Donna turned her head back to him. He was still stretching his tongue out. And what did that have to do with humming anyway? Weren't your lips closed and your tongue inside when you hummed? Maybe spacemen did it differently.

“What's gotten you so worked up about humming anyway?” Donna asked, rather annoyed at the pre-humming workout. “You act like it's some sort of sport or something.”

The Doctor snapped his tongue back into his mouth. “Well, it is. Humming is a big sport in other corners of the universe.”

“Oh, is that so?” Donna asked, crossing her arms over her chest, the sound in her voice one of immense disbelief.

“Why yes it is,” the Doctor explained with his normal flare. “On Humiphilia IV they have humming contests every decade. The greatest hummers from around the nearest three systems work their way over for each competition to take place in this contest.” He huffed up his chest slightly. “I took part in it the last time around.”

“Oh, ya did, did ya?” Donna asked laughingly. At his glare she burst out in a full-on bout.

“Why yes, I did, and I came in second!” he replied with a satisfied nod.

Donna started to laugh even harder, her body twisting, trying to relieve the pain that had started to spread from the sides of her stomach. When she had composed herself enough to speak, she managed to squeak out a, “second?”

The Doctor shifted slightly on the bed. “There was a previous champion there, Ompelaxinop Chlon Stelez was her name I believe, and she bested me by eleven points.”

Donna's laugh had subsided to a chuckle at this point, her eyes close to tears as her body rocked with happiness. “A Time Lord coming in second at something! That's brilliant!”

The Doctor suddenly shot off from his position on the bed, crossed his arms, and asked (only moderately politely), “well, do you want this decade's second best hummer to hum you to sleep or not? Because I could easily walk out that door and let you stay in here, all wide awake and bothered.” He turned towards the door. “And don't even think about coming back and asking for help sleeping again 'cause I won't have it! Nope, none of it!”

She sighed and decided that as ridiculous as this all might be (although, to be fair, he was pretty much the definition of all things ridiculous and, well, alien) she might as well indulge him. Just this one time, of course.

“Alright, alright,” she conceded, “but just this once!”

His smile lit up the room and with a large flop he bounced back onto the bed, legs tucked underneath him. She noticed that he tried hard not to let his dirty trainers touch the bed. How thoughtful of him and, really, did he ever take those things off?

She made herself comfortable, squirming her body to and fro, adjusted her head upon the pillow, and folded her hands neatly across her stomach. Once she was ready, she nodded to the Doctor. She had better enjoy this and, more importantly, it had better put her to sleep and not give her horrid nightmares.

Then, without any warning, he started to hum. At first it was a low rumble of a noise, coming from deep in his throat, before it stopped completely. He apologized quickly as he gave his throat a slight slap. “Wrong tune,” he explained matter-of-factly.

The Doctor closed his eyes then and tilted his head up slightly, a bit to the right side. His lips parted slightly, his eyes furrowed in deep concentrated, and Donna, entranced by the sight, just watched in curious wonderment. What could the Doctor possible be doing, she thought, as didn't humming require a closed mouth? And even if it made her slightly unnerved, she stayed with it, with him, and waited.

Suddenly, the Doctor quickly, without any thought, took Donna's left hand and held it in-between the two of his. His hands, large and calloused, felt cold to her but all thought left her mind when he started to rub gentle circles into the palm of her hand with his thumb. The calming motion sent tingles up her arm. Then, with a deep breath, the Doctor closed his lips and began humming again.

This time a hum filled the room with just a gentle, soothing noise and Donna gasped at the beautiful sound that now graced her ears, sinking into her body and touching her soul. She could hear him, his humming more like a gentle caress, and the TARDIS' own background hum come together into a symphony, a color of sounds, thoughts, and emotions that brought a threat of tears to her eyes. It was, without a doubt, the most wonderful thing she had ever heard, or felt, in her entire, dumb human life.

Oh god, she thought, she had forgotten to breathe! With a deep inward breath, she closed her eyes, sank into the mattress, and let the Doctor's and TARDIS' joined hum lull her into a deep, peaceful sleep.

Donna awake to the smell of coffee. No, wait, that was breakfast tea. And coffee.

With a deep breath, which later turned into a sigh and a stretch of her arms, she opened her eyes. The Doctor was standing by her bed, a tray of coffee, tea, toast, cereal, eggs, and some sort of weird, blue meat in his hands. He wore the same suit from the night before (did he ever change his clothing?) and the same, lazy smile.

“Mornin',” he said.

Her reply, as muffled as it was by a yawn, sounded like a respectable “mornin'” back.

“I brought you breakfast!” the Doctor exclaimed, raising the tray slightly to show it off to her. “I thought you could use some sustenance after your sleep.”

“You brought 'e breakfast?” she asked, slightly confused and still sleeping on some level. “Wha' ya do tha' for?”

Through her half-closed eyes, she saw his slightly embarrassed shrug. “Wanted to thank you.”

Donna, even though her brain was just beginning to turn, could still hear the worried and hurt tone in his voice. Then, her brain really got to working. “Wait, 'ow long was I asleep for? Did something happen? Did I sleepwalk?”

The Doctor sat back down on the bed, the duvet now gone, throw somehow to the bottom of the bed and tangled around Donna's legs, motioned with the tray for her to sit up. “Oh about fourteen hours,” he drawled. “And you didn't sleepwalk,” he added in hastily.

Donna was abruptly awake and sat straight up in bed, the coffee and tea sloshing closely to the rim of their respective cups. “Fourteen hours?!”

“Yeah,” the Doctor agreed, “you must of been tired.”

She sighed and hit her head against the bed frame. “I haven't slept that long since I was unemployed. Well, not that being a temp is much different than being unemployed.” She gave a sigh before shaking her head in disbelief. “Blimey, what's wrong with me?”

The Doctor, with a knowing smile on his face, placed the tray in her lap. As she glanced at the food offerings he had given her, he moved to sit beside her, his back against the frame. He placed his hands in his lap, drumming a slight tune, much like the humming one that had gotten her to sleep the night before, on his thigh.

She spied the blue meat, must more closely and this time with a heavy dose of disgust. As she pried at it with her fork she could hear the Doctor going on about whether or not she'd want coffee or tea.

“So I made both,” he finished with triumph.

“I got coffee and tea,” Donna began before the meat she had been poked hissed at her. She gave out a startled gasp, “but you gave me this!”

The Doctor looked over at her plate and the blue meat that had recently hissed. He let out a chuckle.

“Oh, that!”

Donna poked the meat again but this time she jabbed the fork right through it. The blue meat hissed once more, spitting just a little, before going limp on the plate. “Yeah, that! What the hell is it?!”

The Doctor thought for a moment before shrugging. “It doesn't come out very well in English. It roughly translates to 'meat of unknown origin'.”

Donna rolled her eyes, using a knife to pry the fork out of the “unknown origin” meat, and then her napkin to clean off the disgusting fork. “Unknown origin,” she mumbled. “That's brilliant. Fantastic even.”

The Doctor quickly grabbed the blue meat off of her tray and gobbled it down quickly. She stared at him, revolted at the sight, but waited patiently for him to finish it.

“Really, Donna,” he tsked at her as he grabbed one of her napkins, “you need to get used to foreign food. That's a delicacy on many worlds.”

She tsked right back at him. “Yeah, and I'd rather starve than eat hissing meat!”

The Doctor shrugged, his face completely blank. “Alright then, starve.”

He looked at her then, his face suddenly lit up in a huge smile. “It's ok, I'll find you some real food then. And the meat isn't that bad really, once you get past the hissing and spitting part. But, not to worry, I'll take care of you!”

He gave her shoulder a slight squeeze before letting her be to eat. Without a hint of hesitation, she dug into the eggs and toast with an easy grace and sighed at the pure pleasure of breakfast in bed, nevermind the crumbs that would inevitably get inside of it with her. When she had finished her breakfast, and every last portion of it, minus the blue, hissing meat of course, the Doctor took the tray away from her and made for the door.

“Thank you for the breakfast,” Donna called after him, “really.”

“Oh,” the Doctor said without turning, “it was nothing.”

Donna watched the Doctor leave before she blew gently on the still hot coffee. It was a pitch black roast too. And it tasted perfect. What a thoughtful man—no, alien. No, no: Time Lord. That was it.

She wondered briefly, strangely, inexplicably, where the Doctor would be if she had never known him. If she hadn't meet him when she had, all torn up and awash with grief, or what would have happened to him in Pompeii if she hadn't held his hands in hers as they made history. Furthermore, where would she be if she had never met him?

And then, for an even briefer moment, she heard the faintest noise, like the sound of a knock. Or perhaps a thud, a beat, or--

No, wait, it was gone.


She lifted her head from the steaming mug of coffee she cradled in her hands and cleared her eyes with a quick blink. She found him standing in the doorway, tray still clutched in his hands. “Yeah?”

“I'm glad you found me.”

She smiled and laid back on the pillows with closed eyes, the mug placed gently over her heart. “Yeah,” she muttered, “me too.”
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