LOSS AND HEALING

Chapter Twelve

Ten, Eleven and River headed downstairs with the children and Rex following them. They let Ten lay on the sofa while Eleven and River stretched out on some blankets beside him. Rex came over to Eleven and Eleven rubbed his head while Ten doubled up the pillows under his head and stretched out. Michelle had brought her CD player with her and she plugged it in, set it beside the TV and turned on Backstreet Boys.

"What are you doing?" Ten asked her as I Want It That Way started playing.

"Soothing music," Michelle said as she, Tom and Mandy went around the sofa to the empty side.

"How is this soothing?" the Doctor said to them. "Classical music is soothing to me. Everybody, Backstreet's Back is not."

"I like them," Michelle said as the children sat on the sofa beside him.

Eleven sat up.

"Mandy, sing him the Break it Down Now song. He'll love Backstreet Boys after that."

"Huh?" Ten said while the children giggled.

"Lori gave me a tour of the surrounding area earlier and Mandy sang to us while we did it."

"She likes to sing this song," Michelle said. "She made it up."

"Break it down now!" Mandy said. "Boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom-break it down now!"

"That!" Eleven said, pointing to her, "is the song. Now imagine her repeating it over and over and over for a half hour straight."

"Blimey, I think I do prefer Backstreet Boys then," Ten said with wide eyes while the children laughed.

He smiled tenderly at Mandy and then looked at her panda bear.

"This is nice," he said, fingering its ear.

"The Doctor gave it to me," Mandy said, cuddling it close to her.

"The TARDIS gave it to her," Eleven said. "She asked if there were bears in the TARDIS and this was the old girl's response to her," he said, pointing to the bear.

"Are there bears?" Ten mused, glancing at him. "Blimey, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a menagerie in there somewhere by now. I have so much stuff accumulated through the years."

He made a face when Everybody, Backstreet's Back began playing. The children laughed when he began to move his hips around to the beat while he lay on the sofa. Then he began doing jazz hands while he mouthed, "Everyboooody, rock your booody!" Eleven nudged River and pointed to Ten while he continued to gyrate and mouth the lyrics. River sat up, looked at him and raised her eyebrow.

"Yup, he's definitely you," she said to Eleven.

They laughed when the children got up and danced by the sofa while Ten mouthed, "Am I original? Yeeeah! Am I the only one? Yeeeeah! Am I sexual? Yeeeeah!"

He stopped moving for a moment.

"This is one of the times when I'm glad Donna isn't here. I can just imagine her sarcastic comment about my gyrations and lip syncing. She'd probably tell me to grow up and act my age. Ah, well, gotta be immature sometimes," he said before he began to gyrate and lip sync again.

Eleven chuckled. He looked at River and began to lip sync the lyrics to her. River tried not to smile at that but a little upward turn at the corners of her mouth betrayed her. Rex got up, went around the sofa and sniffed at Tom's butt while he danced. He squealed when he felt Rex's nose on his butt and turned around. Rex wagged his tail while Tom danced beside him and stroked his back.

Then I'll Never Break Your Heart came on. The children bent over laughing when Ten snatched the panda bear off the sofa beside it and held it in front of him while he lip synced the song to it. They laughed harder when he hammed it up and stroked the bear's head while he proclaimed his undying love to it. Eleven chuckled and River cracked a smile.

"He's not gonna snog the bear, is he?" River said to her husband.

"Shush, you wanna give him ideas?" Eleven teased as he lightly smacked her arm.

The song ended and Ten smiled and gave the bear back to Mandy. He sighed contentedly while he put his hands on his brown pinstriped jacket and flicked his foot lazily while staring at the ceiling. The children sat back down and Rex went back around the sofa and lay back down by Eleven.

"Feel better?" Michelle asked him.

"A bit," Ten said to her. "Just weary. It's been a bit tiring lately."

"Who are you traveling with now?" Michelle asked.

"No one. Just me."

"How come?" Mandy said.

"I just can't take it at the moment," Ten said, putting his hand on Mandy's head. "I lost Donna and that was heartrending for me. I lost so many people or they left me that I just don't feel like being around other people at the moment, not while traveling, I mean."

"But you finally had to come here," Eleven said to him. "Losing Donna was a few weeks ago."

Ten stared at the ceiling and nodded.

"What happened to her?" Tom asked.

"She got filled with the Doctor's mind and memories and stuff and she was gonna die from it so the Doctor made her forget everything so she'd be safe," Michelle said.

"You told her?" Ten said to his counterpart.

"I told her only, no one else at the moment, although I have a feeling that's about to change since the others will want to know what happened to Donna," Eleven said.

"She got filled with your mind?" River said to Ten.

"She ended up with a Time Lord mind but had a human body and all that knowledge was too much for her. I had to wipe her mind or she would have burned up and perished," Ten said to her.

"Wait, would that have happened to me if I'd been born like that?" River said to her husband.

"You weren't born like that. You're only part Time Lord anyway," Eleven said.

He could see Ten do a double take at that and rise up on his elbows while he stared at her intently. He knew what his counterpart was thinking since River hinted at being his wife in The Library and he was sure he was stunned at hearing she had Time Lord DNA mixed in with human. But Ten didn't say anything, only listened to them while Eleven continued the conversation.

"You're part Time Lord with a human mind," Eleven said, talking both to River and to Ten even though he was looking at his wife. "So it's not the same as Donna's situation."

"Thank God for that," River said. "So" River said, looking at Ten, "she can't ever remember you?"

"No. Because if she does, if the memories come back, the Time Lord mind will come back as well so to be on the safe side, I took that all away and I keep myself away from her."

"And there's no way to remedy this?" she said, looking at both Doctors. "You can't make it safe for her to remember?"

Eleven looked at Ten. Ten shrugged.

"Open to ideas if you have them, mate," Ten said.

"II'd have to think on that," Eleven said. "I thought it was impossible butI keep saying nothing is impossible. Perhaps there is some way, although I don't know what it'd be at the moment."

"What about bad people," Michelle said to Ten.

"What about them?" Ten said.

"What if bad people try to get her because they know she's with you?" Michelle said to him.

The Doctor could see his counterpart wince slightly at that and he guessed that had happened at some point to Donna. He turned his head with a questioning look.

"Has it? You just pulled a face when she asked that."

"It has but she isn't harmed," Eleven said. "That failsafe you put into her saves her."

"Huh?" Michelle said. "Failsafe? What's that?"

"You mean the one that kicks in if she does start to remember?" Ten said.

Eleven nodded and Ten looked at Michelle.

"When I took away her memories, I wasn't sure if I got them all," Ten said to the children. "It's a very tricky business, taking out a person's memories, so just in case that happened; I put in a mental safety device that would put her to sleep if she starts remembering me. Apparently, I was wise to do that then," he said, looking at his counterpart.

Michelle was fascinated by all this. She wondered if there really was a way to bring Donna back and if she might be able to help her adopted Uncles find a way to do it. For the moment though, she was still filled with questions about traveling with the Doctor and their adventures. She wasn't scared about being a companion if the Doctor ever allowed her to be one, just curious about the kind of risks she'd have to take if he did. Besides, she liked hearing the stories. It was far more interesting than her life in Indiana.

But they turned to making small talk until they heard the door open upstairs and Brittany announcing she was home. Rex tore off up the stairs, barking hello while Tom ran after him.

"Sissy, other Doctor is here now!" he squealed while Ten and Eleven chuckled.

Brittany came downstairs while Ten sat up. She squealed too and ran down the rest of the way, dropping her backpack on the floor as she ran to embrace him.

"Oh yes, I missed you!" Brittany said, hugging him tightly.

"And I missed you as well, all of you!" Ten said. "I better just go ahead and tell you thought that Donna is no longer traveling with me."

"Why not?" Brittany said.

Michelle repeated what she said earlier to her sister.

"So she's alive in the here and now?" Brittany said when her sister finished.

"She is but she can never remember me. At least until we find a solution, if one exists," Ten said.

Brittany sat down beside Ten in shock and Ten nodded sadly while he squeezed her shoulder.

"Do you think it could be done? Bringing her back?" Brittany said.

"I don't know, Brit. We'll try to find a way but I can't guarantee anything," Ten said. "Apparently, I never find a way because she's not traveling with him," he added, pointing to his counterpart. But I've had a rough time of it lately and I needed to see all of you."

"Well, Shelly's birthday's tomorrow and we're gonna go out and celebrate. Come with us," Brittany said.

"I'd love to," Ten said, smiling tenderly.

She looked over at Eleven when he tapped her arm.

"Sobeat up those jocks today like I suggested?" he said.

"No, because they weren't in the hallway when I was in the hallways," Brittany said.

"I'm sorry? Beat up the jocks?" Ten said, frowning.

"Yesterday, I arrived her with River and she came home and told me that two American football players at her school got into a fight in the corridor and the principal had to step in and stop it while she stood with the crowd and watched it and did nothing."

"What? Why didn't you stop them?" Ten teased Brittany while Eleven giggled.

"Because they probably both weighed at least 250 pounds," Brittany said.

"You see me? You see this?" he said, pointing to his body. "This body has taken on burly men and won. And, AND, I've been smaller than this and taken on Yeti which are huge, robotic furry things that lumber around. If I can do that, you can wipe the floor with a football jock."

They laughed when Brittany threw up her hands.

"Whatever," she said, holding up her hand to Ten while he tousled her hair and giggled.

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