THE BEGINNING OF FOREVER

By Enola Jones



The reception finally over, the newlyweds got into the car and drove away from St. Mary's. Shaun turned on the radio, and the lottery numbers were revealed.

When he heard Donna's shocked squeal, he grinned and drove right to the lottery's headquarters.

After collecting their prize money and depositing it evenly in their account, Wilf's and Sylvia's, Shaun drove them down a street called Bannerman Lane, where he pulled up into the driveway of a house that had the number '13' on it.

Donna frowned. "What are we doing here?"

Shaun smiled and kissed her. "I'll explain in a minute."

"You'll explain now."

He got out of the car and opened her door. "Inside. Please."

Snarling, "Oh, this had better be good, Mister!" Donna got out of the car and followed him inside.

They were met by a frowning older woman with dark hair. "What is the meaning of this?" the woman demanded. "Why did you bring her here?"

"That's what I'd like to know!" Donna snarled. Then she blinked at the other woman. "You look familiar. Have we met?"

"Yes. We've met. What--?"

"She's got amnesia," Shaun said, hugging Donna. "Donna, would you do something for me?"

"What?" she asked, still looking at the woman.

"That ring on your finger the big oval one? Would you please open it?"

Donna turned her right hand over, frowning at the large oval ring there. It seemed to pulse, and her left hand moved to it.

Shaun smiled and moved to stand by the other woman.

"Open it?" Donna asked. And her nail separated the gold. The ring flipped open.

Donna gasped as golden light enveloped her. Her body flared and she fell to her knees.

The woman moved to go to her, but Shaun grabbed her shoulders. "She's all right," he assured her. "It's natural."

The light faded, leaving Donna trembling and gasping for breath. "What," she gasped, her hand going to justbelow her troat. "What..." She looked at them. "Shaun....Sarah Jane? ...I-I remember....and I'm not dead!"

Donna crossed her arms over her chest in glee, but froze as her left palm felt somethng on the right side of her chest. "...a heartbeat?" she gulped. "Two hearts?"

"Donna?" Sarah Jane took a step forward.

"I've got two hearts!" Donna yelped.

Shaun stepped forward. "Donna, let me explain."

"Explain?" she yelped. "You're damned right you're going to explain! I've bloody got two hearts What have youdone to me?"

Shaun smiled at Sarah Jane. "You understand what's going on."

"Somewhat," Sarah Jane said. "Donna's Gallifreyan?"

"She didn't start out that way. She was human." Shaun smiled. "But then there was a two-way Time-Lord-Human biological metacrisis."

"I remember that," Sarah Jane nodded. "I was there. I saw the second Doctor."

"It wasn't just my mind," Donna suddenly realised. "It was altering my body, too, wasn't it? That's why I had the fever..."

"He didn't realise that, though," Shaun said. "He thought it was all your mind. He thought he was protecting you."

Donna looked at her open ring. "Amazing," she breathed. "All the energy went into this until my body had changed enough...."

"That it was safe for you to remember," Shaun nodded. "And it had slowly changed far enough that after the 'defence mechanism' kicked in it could finish without the fever and the pain."

Donna met his eyes. "Wait how can you possibly know all this?"

His smile vanished. "Shaun Temple never existed, Donna. I'm a clone created to help you remember and adjust. To help you survive. To be with you until you find the Doctor again."

"A clone?" Donna gulped. "Who cloned you?"

"The Ood," came the surprising reply. "This song of his may be ending soon yours was never to end. You were always to be by his side, through all of his songs. And now you can be."

Her hand moved to cover the second heart again. Her voice was filled with wonder. "You mean....I-I can regenerate?"

"If you can," Sarah Jane's voice was full of that same wonder. "If you can, why, then, you could potentially be with him for centuries!"

Donna broke into a delighted grin at that thought. Then she sobered. "But But he could be anywhere! Any time! I He thinks that I'm.... He'll not come back for me."

"Oh, he'll come back." Sarah Jane turned and mounted a set of stairs. "I'll see to that. Mister Smith! I need you!"

Donna and Shaun blinked at each other and then dashed after her. They stood by while K-9 and Mister Smith found the right frequency.

And at last, came his tired voice. "Yeah?"

Sarah Jane shot Donna a wink,then called out, "Doctor! I-I need you now!" Her voice was full of alarm.

"Sa-Sarah Jane? What--"

"Please! Come now!"

"I-I can't....I'm....I'm...."

"Doctor!" she wailed. "Please! You have to! It's Donna!"

"Donna?" There was a pained grunt, as if moving hurt. "I....I'll be right there." And the connection cut.

The TARDIS faded into view seconds later, and the door opened. The Doctor literally fell out, his skin faintly glowing.

And Donna moved forward like a shot, grabbing him and helping him sit up. "Doctor," she gasped, touching his cheek and feeling her hearts hammer in her chest from wory and fear. "Doctor, what happened?"

"Donna," he groaned. "You're... okay?"

"More than okay, Spaceman," she said, smiling down at im. "You're trying to regenerate on me, again?"

His mouth crooked slightly upward. "Radiation poisoning." The slight smile faded. "I... I don't want to go."

"Then don't," she whispered, leaning forward and sealing her mouth over his. First her eyes, then her skin, began to glow golden.

He was too far gone to refuse what she was offering.

Both of their forms vanished inside golden fire so bright that Sarah Jane and Shaun had to shield their eyes.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Across the galaxy, Ood Sigma tilted his head. "And thus," he intoned, "the prophecy reaches its fulfillment. His song comes to its end. The song of loneliness and agony ends."

Sigma reached his hands toward the sky. "The song of healing and love begins. His song alone ends. Their song together resumes."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The light faded, revealing two gasping figures. "Wow," Donna gasped, raising her head. "So that's what a respiratory bypass is for...."

His laughter was unchanged.

As they stood and turned to face Sarah Jane and Shaun, they saw that the only change in Donna was the green of her eyes had deepened. Sarah Jane worried when she saw his changed hair, but the face beneath was still the warm-faced young man she'd met in the school even though the freckles that sprinkled across his nose had now darkened to the point where they were visible.

"What did you do?" he asked Sarah Jane.

She smiled. "I did nothing but get you here."

The Doctor studied her eyes and nodded. He looked at Shaun.

Shaun spread his hands. "Go on," he said with a huge smile. "She belongs with you. She always has."

"But you're her husband...."

"No. I'm not. It'll be annulled by the end of the week." He made a 'go on' motion with both hands. "Go."

Donna took the Doctor's hand. "Yeah let's."

Hugs were exchanged all around, then the Doctor and Donna entered the TARDIS. Sarah Jane and Shaun beamed as it faded away.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Once in the vortex, the Doctor studied her. "So..."

"Did I change?" she asked. "My voice sounds the same...."

He shrugged. "Your eye colour. Maybe. We... We shared the regeneration energy and that must have diluted it enough that it healed us, but kept us...." He broke into a dazzling smile. "We're still us!"

"We are!" She laughed with him, then moved to a mirror. "Huh! I like the eyes and I love what happened to you."

"What?" he asked, frowning at her. "What happened to me?"

"Here. Come see." She tugged his wrist until he stood behind her and gazed into the mirror for himself.

The Doctor studied his reflection, and his jaw slammed open. "Cor, blimey!" he gasped, his hands rising to touch his unchanged if more freckled features and tangle into his altered har. "I --- Donna, I'm..."

"Yeah, Spaceman," she laughed. "You sure are."

He began to laugh in boyish glee. "I'm ginger!"

And The Song Continued....



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