Chapter One

(Two years later…)

Donna was sitting on the jump seat in the console room, relaxing while she stared at the rotor. When she first started traveling with the Doctor she noticed that he spent most of his time in here and she wondered what he did to occupy himself since there was only the console. She noticed that he often sat and stared at the rotor and she thought he was barmy until she tried it and realized that it was quite soothing in a meditative way. The sound of the rotor calmed her and she found herself staring at it and zoning out as it moved up and down inside the central column. She had relaxed so much and was paying so much attention to the rotor that she nearly jumped out of her skin when the Doctor bounded into the room carrying a large box in his arms.

"Donna! There you are!" he said while Donna put her hand over her rapidly beating heart.

"They need to put a bell on ya!" Donna growled as he came up to her.

"You mean like this?"

The Doctor sat the box down, opened it and picked up a large silver bell. The bell had a wooden handle with plastic holly and berries tied around it. The Doctor rang it and it made a tinkling sound.

"That's pretty," Donna said.

"It's Christmassy, which is what is needed around here. I feel like Christmas today," he said.

He paused when Donna made a face.

"Oh yeah, you don't like Christmas," he said. "But that's because you haven't spent Christmas with me! I'll jingle your bell like no one else!"

"Ugh!" Donna said. "But I s'pose you'll be takin' us to Planet of the Santas now?"

"I was hoping to take you somewhere Christmassy, yes."

"You do remember what happened to me on Christmas, right?"

"Oh, that was one Christmas, Donna. Christmas is not boring and daft, not when you're with me! I can show you wonders you'll never believe! I can make Christmas come alive in ways you never dreamed! So…will you indulge me and bring out the child within, just for today?"

Donna looked at his pleading face and her heart melted.

"Blimey, you're the biggest flippin' kid I've ever seen," she said, ruffling his hair affectionately. "Okay, I'll go along with ya and let you take me to Christmasland."

Her heart warmed when he beamed at that. She loved seeing his smile and boyish enthusiasm, especially since most of the time he didn't have a chance to show it. The Doctor put the bell in the box and picked up a little plush reindeer. He gave it to Donna before he walked over to the console. Donna smiled when she looked at the reindeer. It was brown with a red nose and a jingle bell collar. She held it to her chest while she stood and walked over to the box. It was filled with Christmas ornaments, some of them Donna thought might be antique. Donna was about to ask the Doctor where he got some of the ornaments when she heard a beeping coming from the monitor followed by the Doctor's groan. She walked over to the monitor and noticed something was flashing on the screen but all she saw was a series of concentric circles and she had no idea what it said. She noticed the Doctor was sullen though and she knew it couldn't be good.

"We have to cancel Christmas," the Doctor said, shaking his head.

"What? Why?"

"Distress signal," the Doctor said, pointing to the screen.

"Ignore it," Donna said, wanting to see the smile and enthusiasm return to his face.

"Can't. It's addressed to me," the Doctor said.

"You're in a time machine. Go celebrate Christmas and answer it when you get back."

"Can't. I can't ignore it. I swore to help where I could. This may be urgent. I'm sorry, Donna, we'll have to postpone it rather than cancel it. I want to celebrate Christmas but this has to come first. Okay?"

Donna wanted to protest but she knew this was what the Doctor did and she knew when she asked to come back that she'd be helping him fight evil in the universe. If the Doctor felt it was important who was she to argue with him. She nodded and the Doctor patted her shoulder.

"We will go, I promise, I just have to see what this distress signal is," he said.

Donna, to her surprise, actually was disappointed…severely disappointed. That was the Doctor though, he made everything seem like an adventure, even something she hated like Christmas. But maybe it was because she liked seeing him happy and now he wasn't. He was back to his serious self. Donna held the reindeer close to her while the Doctor hit a button near the monitor. The message stopped blinking and it changed to a different set of concentric circles. The Doctor read what it said and then suddenly he took a step back with a stricken look on his face.

"What's wrong? What does it say?" Donna said.

"Can't be," the Doctor murmured.

"Can't be, what?" Donna said. "What's wrong?"

"It…it's from Rose."

Donna raised an eyebrow.

"Your Rose?" she said.

The Doctor nodded.

"And that's bad?" Donna said. "Don't you want to see her again?"

"Yes, but…how did she get back?" the Doctor said. "That universe was sealed off."

"She's sending you a message from the other universe then?"

The Doctor shook his head.

"No. She says she's here in this universe."

"But…why is it in your writing? It is your writing, isn't it?"

"The TARDIS did that. It translates important messages into Gallifreyan for privacy," he said to her.

"So what does she say then?" Donna said, gesturing to the monitor.

"It says, when I last saw you on Bad Wolf Bay, I vowed I would find you again someday. I missed you, Doctor, with all my heart. I was tormented when we were apart. Now I'm back and fulfilled my vow but I'm in trouble, I need you now."

"So she sent the distress signal as a poem?" Donna said.

"Rose was feeling a bit creative, I s'pose," the Doctor said with a shrug.

"She didn't say where she was though."

"Yes, she did. She gave the place and planet after the poem," the Doctor said, pointing to a tiny concentric circle near the bottom of the monitor.

"And where is she?" Donna said.


"Is that good or bad?"

"Well, last time we visited Atalantia, her and me, the Atalantians were trying to broker a peace treaty with the Morgo. But it fell apart after a plot was uncovered where the Morgos would have been able to take over the kingdom. We were asked to leave after that and I've never been back. Why would Rose be there?"

"Maybe as proof that she's really back?"

The Doctor thought that over.

"Perhaps…if this is a distress signal, perhaps she was abducted by the Atalantians or Morgo and being held by them until I come back. I can't wait, Donna, I have to see what's wrong."

"Yes, go to her," Donna said, hoping this meant that Rose would come back to him and make him happy again.

The Doctor entered the coordinates for Atalantia in his computer while Donna put the reindeer back in the box.

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