Preferred Title: Displacement
Genre/Fandom: SGA/DW crossover
Pairings: Rodney McKay/Donna Noble, plus canon pairs and suggestions
Rating: PG for language?
(Other headings at Part 1.)
Summary: Another day, another "science conference" gone horribly wrong. For once, Dr. Rodney McKay gets help saving the world … but then Donna Noble remembers.
"Busy," Rodney answered. Sheppard really needed to find a better hobby than dropping by the lab and pestering him. Some of this equipment was very … delicate ….
"Yeah, I know. Find a stopping place."
That … wasn't how this went. Rodney looked up at him, confused. "Seriously. Busy."
Sheppard wasn't giving him the usual smart grin. "You … do know Donna's offworld today, right?"
"No, no, no, do not tell me details." If he didn't know, he couldn't worry. Well, he could, but not effectively. It made a difference.
Except … except that didn't explain why Sheppard was suddenly bringing it up.
Oh, he could worry, all right. He could worry just fine. "What? What is it?"
Sheppard was starting to get that wary expression that meant he was eyeing a possibly explosive device or scientist. "They've missed two check-ins, and … we can't establish a wormhole."
Which meant Wraith. Or, well, sudden volcano, but those were pretty rare, so: Wraith.
Rodney stared at him hopelessly. He was supposed to do something. He really should be doing something, right away. Yes, definitely something.
Kusanagi edged in beside him. "I will finish this," she offered. Sheppard nodded and pulled at Rodney's arm.
"Be careful with that," Rodney said, forcing himself to find his voice. "If you let it get past the line, I'll — well, I won't have to kill you, it'll —" It was very hard to instill the necessary fear in his minions when Sheppard was hauling him from the room. He pulled his arm free, because he could damn well steer himself.
Sheppard took him right to the equipment room. Within a few minutes, Ronon and then Teyla came in as well. Sheppard could just have sent him with any team, they didn't all have to go, he didn't have to get their team all together particularly for this — he bent to retie his boots. The laces wouldn't quite cooperate, so he worked up an epic rant about their quality and design and general existence. Normally he had higher rant standards than that, but he was a bit desperate.
And they all just let him, so he moved on to the boots themselves. Their weight. Their height, calibrated precisely to be too low to keep out muck and high enough to chafe exactly the most annoying part of the leg. Their … their color, and their stiffness, which honestly they weren't by now, but he bitched about it anyway, and —
"You're just weak, McKay," Ronon interrupted. "They're fine."
If Rodney wasn't promptly too busy mocking the critical faculties of the last seven generations of Ronon's family, he might seriously have considered hugging him. Arguing with someone whose comebacks were almost monosyllables wasn't exactly satisfying, but at least Ronon got that he needed something.
Sheppard brought a jumper into the gateroom but then left it open, just in front of the gate, so that they could wait outside it but still leave quickly. Unfortunately, that meant Rodney had to put up with a chatty Woolsey, who tried to reassure him that the group knew their emergency plans and would be fine. Rodney got into it with him, a little, but Woolsey just kept being understanding at him. He'd rather just go back to arguing with Ronon.
They finally got through, sooner than he had really expected. Which meant a raid, a quick raid, not a full culling, not a wiping-out. Probably. He was too tense to argue and just kept his mouth firmly shut as they hurried into the jumper, even when Sheppard muttered an "Oh, thank god" for the relative quiet.
They cloaked swiftly as they went through and scanned for Wraith. The jumper's scanners showed no signs of them, so Sheppard called out over the radio. "Atlantis units, this is Sheppard. All units report."
Silence. Rodney stared forward at the silent woods, the empty paths, the first few solitary huts.
"Atlantis teams, repeat, this is Sheppard. All units report."
Silence again — "Captain Velazquez reporting. No Marine casualties. We tried to draw them away, sir. Got a few drones. No darts though."
"Copy that. Good work, Captain. Civilian units report." The plan was pretty simple: the Marines would try to draw the Wraith away from the settlement, and the civilians would break up and escort locals to various hiding places. The ones who were armed would serve as extra protection, and the radios would make finding everyone afterwards easier.
If they would just answer. "… Civilian units, report —"
"Oh, right, sorry. I mean, unit one, Biro, here, we're fine. About ten people, plus me I mean. Just one casualty, looks like a broken arm, no fatalities —"
"Copy that, unit one." Sheppard went on through the list.
"Unit two, Fitzhugh, six locals, minor injuries, no major casualties."
"—mit, unit three, Lille, two locals taken by a dart, eleven safe, no other casualties."
"Unit four, Noble, nine locals safe, no casualties —"
Rodney had no idea how many other civilians answered or even existed. Ronon's hand clapped him on the shoulder, and Teyla touched his other arm with a smile, but he was too busy melting into his seat. He eventually did hear Sheppard calling all units to assemble at their meeting point.
All of the Atlantis personnel were fine, aside from a few bumps and bruises. The locals had suffered losses, but they were grateful for what help the Atlantis group had provided. They made noises about offering a few extra loads of the tuber that was their claim to fame. Sheppard wasn't interested in the negotiation — the civilians could work out whether the offer should be politely refused or humbly accepted — so he just started rounding up whoever had to go back by jumper. There were a few casualties Biro thought would do better with a quick visit to the infirmary, so they were loaded on.
The rest of the civilian team wanted to stick around, to finish their medical thing and help the locals fix any damage from the raid, so Rodney just made sure Donna really was okay and then went and waited in the jumper.
Once he was back in Atlantis, he put away his equipment and then holed up for a few days.
It was easy enough to get time alone if he really needed to, when there wasn't some emergency. There were remote labs throughout the city, and he had stashed enough water bottles and MREs to last a few weeks if he had to. With radios and the computer networks, he could work on most things without having to see another person for several days at a time. The people who would bother to track him down generally understood when not to.
On the third day he went back to his usual lab. He got a few curious looks, but once he chewed out Simpson with only his usual degree of sarcasm they just went about their business. He ate in the lab and worked late.
The next day was a repeat, but he was pretty sure what would happen when Zelenka took particular note that he was the last except for Rodney as he left. Rodney took the good markers from their hiding place and brought one of the messier whiteboards close to the computer he was using.
As he expected, about fifteen minutes later Donna came in, because Zelenka was a predictable sneaky meddler. "Still hiding from me?" she demanded.
"I'm not hiding," he answered, careful to keep his tone mild. If he had wanted to hide, he would still be off in one of the remote labs. If a few more days had passed, he would have gone to her. He had just needed time to think. He took the markers and an eraser and went over to make the whiteboard readable.
"What's this, then? Sulking?" But he heard her pull out a nearby chair and take a seat.
"You remind me of Carson sometimes," he said thoughtfully, still working on the board, pausing frequently to consider the best way of rewriting the equations.
"That's Dr. Beckett, yeah?"
"Mmm. Back when we were first studying the outpost in Antarctica, he was the strongest gene user we had. So I kept pushing him to use the chair so we could study it, but he always hated it. He was scared of it, that he would accidentally break it or set off a weapon." He frowned at a sigma that didn't come out quite right, erased it, and wrote it out again. "Of course, the problem with worrying about something and a mind-controlled device …. Actually, that's how we ended up with Sheppard." He briefly flew the eraser through the air like — well, probably nothing like a helicopter being chased by a drone, but she probably got the idea. "And he was even better at it, so that worked out."
"I'm not scared of guns," she said, something odd in her voice.
He flapped his marker hand briefly. "No, I know. But he was worried about hurting anyone. And he wasn't really with us for the science research — he was doing his own research just fine back on Earth — and he definitely wasn't military." He erased a longer piece of the equation and started rewriting it. "I was actually surprised he agreed to come with us. And no, I know, you actually want to be here. I'm just saying, he was worried about hurting anyone, and he wasn't really here for research, and he certainly wasn't a fighter."
There was also the part where he had talked to her while she was in stasis, the way he had the new Beckett, but if she hadn't somehow heard about that through the rumor mill, he wasn't about to bring it up. There was a tiny chance she would find it romantic or something squishy like that, and a far greater chance she would find it creepy or think it meant he was a little crazy.
"He almost never went offworld." He could keep his hands perfectly steady even when he was buzzed on stimulants after days without sleep. His handwriting didn't show the slightest quiver as he carefully rewrote another line. "And this place killed him anyway."
"Pretty lively for a corpse," she said after a moment, puzzled.
He was really, really glad he wasn't facing her, because she didn't know, and he didn't want her to feel bad, but he couldn't help his expression. He waited until he had finished that particular part of the equation and could make his voice reasonably casual again. "No, the one you've met, he's a clone. Or a photocopy, whatever, I seriously think the life sciences people just make this stuff up as they go. He remembers the same things, mostly. But the one who was really with us in Antarctica, the one I was …. He died, a couple of years ago. Here, in the city, because of yet another psychotic Ancient experimental device."
Her voice was soft. "I'm sorry. I didn't know."
"No, I know. It's okay. And, you know, clone, which was unexpected. To say the least. We found him about a year later. It's not the same, but … it's close." He started cleaning up a new line of the equation. "You told me once about something you did early on when you were traveling — you had to sneak onto a spaceship, alone, and fix a teleport system. The Sontarans," he added, leaning really hard on the middle syllable to amuse her, because her friend had given her a hard time about the pronunciation. He relaxed a little at her quiet laugh. "You were scared, and it made me think about the first time I was on a Wraith ship." Actually, his first thought was that he totally could have done that, but the Wraith ship thing was a close second. "And you had to knock out one of the guards, and when it worked … I know what that was like, you know?"
He paused for a bit, in case she wanted to say something and so he could make sure he knew exactly what Zelenka's chicken-scratch contribution was before he erased it, but she just waited.
"You stopped being scared pretty soon after that, I think. Mostly, anyway." He knew her stories weren't about fear. They weren't even about finding common ground, though that was part of it. They were about exploring, and having fun, and saving people or entire worlds, and running, and living. He had gotten glimpses of that in his own life, but that wasn't what it had been about for him. "And it's not like this place isn't just as dangerous. I was thinking … if you're willing, maybe we could try New Athos again. I'm not saying I'd go unarmed, because that's just not happening, but I think I could keep my hands off my gun. Maybe even enjoy being there. I mean, I'd try, I really would."
He waited, fiddling with a radical. She took a lot longer to answer than he had thought she would, and there was definitely something wrong with her voice when she said, "Yeah. Yeah, I'd like that."
He turned to look and, dammit, he hadn't meant to make her cry. He put the marker and eraser down hastily. "I'm sorry, I didn't — what did I —?"
She shook her head briefly, so he bit back the words and gave her a minute. She wasn't actually crying, but she was really close. Whatever it was, it wasn't tears of joy.
After a minute or two she said, "The Wraith. I saw one of them —" She reached her hand towards his chest, though he wasn't quite close enough for her to touch and she didn't try.
"You saw one of them feed."
She nodded, dropping her hand. "One of the villagers. He didn't even do anything, he was just trying to get away, and … and I couldn't do anything. Even if I'd had a gun," she added, a little of her spirit returning, "it wouldn't have mattered. There were so many, it just would have drawn them to us, and then our whole group would have been taken. I'm not used to that, to just having to stay back and watch it happen. But … it's different, like this."
He edged closer. "I'm sorry." He thought maybe he should hold her, but she wasn't shy about making it clear when she wanted space.
She made a face at him. "Get over here, you." She pulled him closer and nestled against him. "Maybe they can't help how they are. But that doesn't mean they're … right. Natural." She sighed. "I think … I'm not going to carry a gun. That wouldn't have helped, and they … change things. But I think I should learn how to handle one. Just in case. I don't know." She pushed away to give him a firm look. "But I am not carrying one."
Maybe this would have felt like victory once. "Okay. We can talk to Sheppard."
She gave him a look. "What, is he an actual pilot of guns, too?"
"What? No, he's military. The head of the military. They specialize in guns, and if you're going to learn something you should go to an expert. He would have to know anyway — he'd have to assign someone, unless he decides to do it himself. I can go with you, if you want, I should probably practice more —" He finally realized she had been thinking of his jealous little tantrum in the jumper bay their first day — or three-week day, whatever. He rolled his eyes. "How did you not just slap me?"
"It was a near thing," she grinned. She went back to hugging him. "But you're not so bad."
Rodney's team was pretty close. Some of the gate teams only worked together, but Rodney's team were friends besides. They ate together and tended to sit together at the city's movie nights. They also had "team nights" every now and then, and sometimes those were "just team" but sometimes they invited others to join them.
Teyla generally brought Kanaan if they had someone to watch the baby. Ronon sometimes invited Amelia, and sometimes Keller, though whenever Keller was there Rodney always sat at the opposite end of the group from her and any conversations were a little more strained, even though — or maybe because — they were both so carefully polite. Rodney always invited Donna. Sometimes people like Lorne or Zelenka dropped in for a bit.
One of those nights was supposed to be for a movie, but they were being more social than attentive. The movie played on, half-ignored in the background, until Rodney suddenly stiffened beside her. She looked over at him, but he was staring at the screen … where the Monty Python guys were fleeing the killer rabbit.
She looked at Rodney again. He was fighting to keep his mouth straight. But when he saw her expression, he suddenly snorted, and then the two of them were laughing hysterically. The others just watched them, bewildered, and Sheppard said, "It's not that funny, guys," and they laughed until they were almost crying. They never explained.
She told him, late one night, what she'd lost.
She remembered her time in the TARDIS, and she remembered the basics of what had happened with the Daleks. But she had been a Time Lord, and she had understood so much, and now she knew that she had understood it but the actual understanding was all gone for her now.
He held her for a long time. Then he dug deep into a box and pulled out some papers covered in complete gibberish, and he told her about the Ascension machine properly for the first time. He explained how his mind had just grown, so much, and he had understood everything, and he had created all of this … and now he didn't understand any of it. It was all gone, all that knowledge and understanding, sacrificed for the chance to live, and it was worse because he remembered what it was like to know so much.
They didn't talk about it again, after that night. They didn't need to.
Donna stretched as she entered her quarters, trying to loosen her back after hours of typing. It still amazed her how much demand there was for her services here.
Rodney had just shrugged when she mentioned it over lunch a few weeks earlier. "Lot of bureaucracy, lot of paperwork, even if it's mostly electronic." He took a bite of his sandwich and added, "And a lot of people think you make me nicer, so they want you to stick around." His tone was offhand, but his eyes gave away his hidden smile.
She knew he was personally responsible for a huge pile of "if you run out of other stuff" work on her desk. "Oh, really?" she teased. She waited for him to swallow before kissing him.
The Colonel made a gagging noise as he joined them. Rodney threw a pea at him, his cheeks pink, but he kept smiling. He smiled a lot, now.
As her doors slid shut behind her, she wondered if she should see if he was around. He had gone offworld earlier in the day, and she knew he had gotten back safely, but they didn't always manage to find each other free.
He had been by, though, because there was a box on her desk, with a note. She took the note and smiled. He wrote the way he talked, at least when he wrote to her.
Okay, so, it's probably sappy. But I thought I saw you, just your hair, but it was actually this, and I thought you might like it.
She opened the box to find a beautiful pendant. It was a twist of something she would have called rosewood, highly polished, about four inches long. She held it up at the mirror, and it looked just right with her hair.
She headed down to the labs, because it was pretty much always a safe bet he would be there. He held up a finger for her to wait as he finished something on his computer, but then he gave her his full attention.
“That mission you had today,” she said. “It was a proper mission, yeah? Not a stealth shopping trip or something like that?”
“What? No, there was supposed to be an old Ancient installation of some kind outside —” He noticed the pendant in her hand and turned a bit pink. “We had to pass through this sort of trading outpost thing on the way, and we were just going to kind of keep our heads down because they didn’t actually like us much for some reason. Probably not wearing enough animal parts or something. But then I, you know, and when I asked, Teyla did some secret handshake thing or something so the guy would talk to me, and ….” He gestured aimlessly. “It’s okay if you don’t like it, I mean, I just —”
She put her hand over his mouth briefly. “Hush, I like it. I was just wondering, should we get engaged?”
The lab fell completely silent, the nosy Parkers. He looked up at her in confusion. "Do you want to be?"
"Yeah, I think I do. If you do."
"Oh. Okay. Then, yes?"
She held the pendant out to him. He took it, still looking confused, but when she turned and lifted her hair he worked it out and fastened the cord behind her neck. She turned back to him, beaming, but he was looking at her very seriously. "Are you sure?" he asked quietly.
"I'm sure," she told him. His entire face lit with a delighted smile and he kissed her.
The others in the lab applauded and whistled, and he pulled away to snap, "Oh, get back to work," but his heart was barely in it at all, and then he kissed her again.
Rodney actually suggested a castle. He was almost entirely serious.
He still wasn't certain exactly what had possessed him, no matter how briefly. He had actually been in castles. He knew they were wretched places — drafty, dank, prone to falling on your head if you sneezed, and that wasn't even mentioning the plumbing, which they usually entirely lacked. They were just bad ideas all around.
But he had seen a brochure in with her planning paperwork — which said something right there about their viability, if they had to be rented out to generate any income — and he wanted to do something impressive for her. For her people, really, because he had an idea what they were like and it was only money.
Luckily she didn't think it was very practical and he soon came to his senses. "Hard to find a taxi or a cashpoint out in the middle of a heath," she pointed out. She might have meant that in consideration of their guests or as a reference to her previous wedding day. "And a bit far for everyone to travel."
They ended up deciding on a hotel just outside London. He left all that up to her, because he didn't know anything about the area and there were certain places she flatly refused to consider, while he was happy with pretty much any of them since they weren't Oxford. Being near London was much more convenient for just about everyone on her side, but that started her thinking. "What about your side? Won't that be far for them?"
He scoffed that he could manage to afford to fly three people from Canada. Sheppard was coming with them from Atlantis, to do the best-man thing, along with Teyla and Ronon, and pretty much anyone else he cared about was back in Atlantis, where they would have a second reception-thing for his people. Their people. And, well, some offworld dignitaries Woolsey pressed them into inviting, and Rodney had gritted his teeth and agreed to that part. Eventually.
Donna looked at him sadly and never said another word about his side. Somehow he ended up with a few more people than he had expected, though, because Carter ended up attending, and O'Neill, and the rest of SG-1, even though he had been pretty sure they hated him.
Carter was nice to him, kissing him on the cheek and looking honestly happy for him. Vala just winked at him and whispered something to Donna that made them both chuckle. The four men attending them looked from Donna to him, and he tried to work out which one looked the most disbelieving — Teal'c's whole "impassive" thing was an insurmountable handicap, so it was probably a toss-up between Jackson and Mitchell, though O'Neill kept making valiant little stabs at the lead. He smirked as they stared.
The hotel they ended up with was nice enough — at least going by the comments he kept overhearing. It was draftier than he expected for something built within the past three centuries, and it was profoundly generic, but Donna was happy, and architectural character didn't count for much against indoor plumbing.
Jeannie still looked a little stunned, as did Kaleb. Madison stuck her lip out and wouldn't look at him, because she had overheard about the rabbit stew and cried about the poor bunnies, even though he had gone out of his way to make sure the three of them got something vegetarian to avoid exactly that kind of scene. He thought Jeannie still didn't entirely approve of Donna, but she had been pushing him to get married for years, and Donna snapped at her every time she called him Meredith, so he was content.
Sheppard was off to one side, apparently trying to explain something and failing miserably, judging by Ronon's confused look and Teyla's laughter.
Wilf had given Donna away. He approved of Rodney, and Rodney liked him a lot. They talked about stars and space travel up on the hill during their visits as Rodney avoided Donna's mother, who reminded him uncomfortably of his own mother in a lot of ways. On top of that, she couldn't complain about Rodney's lack of station or wealth, so she made little digs about his hairline and whispered "but what about the children?" as if Canadian was some kind of disability or exotic disease rather than a perfectly good nationality. Donna usually ended up joining them on the hill before long, and those were nice times.
In the line now, Donna's mother was crying, "But sweetheart, it's so far away!" — as if Atlantis had somehow magically been just down the block until an hour ago — and Donna was tearily assuring her it wasn't so bad. It wasn't, now, ever since he'd gotten Carter to help push through a modified version of the gate bridge. It was a couple of days either way now, across Fortification Station — not the official name for the transit point, of course, but no one could stop him from calling it that since it was his idea — so it wasn't like they just stepped over for a gallon of milk all the time, but that was a lot better than losing a minimum of three weeks getting back from Earth. Donna had hugged him fiercely the first time they were able to use the new connection to visit her family. Their families.
Donna had a lot more people than he did, and that was fine. Most of them seemed to be extended family or friends from her life before Atlantis, but a few of them were a little different, though Rodney still wasn't any good at remembering names. There was an older woman, still gorgeous, with a teenage boy, and a young woman with Teyla's "don't mess with me" look in her eyes and a bemused guy in tow, and a slightly awkward young man who made Rodney think of an even dorkier Ford if such a thing were even possible. With their congratulations they leaned in to Donna and quietly asked things like is he …? or did he …? and every time Donna shook her head and looked sad.
Captain Harkness did the same thing, and Rodney really wished they'd stop depressing her at her damn wedding. Then he came over to congratulate Rodney and added quietly, "Told you not to let her find out your net worth," smirking.
Rodney glared at him and then leaned over to Donna. "Can I hit him for insulting you, or would that make you mad?"
Harkness realized his mistake too late, because Donna demanded to know how he had insulted her and then ripped him a new one when Rodney told her. Rodney grinned, because this was much more satisfying than just punching the guy.
Harkness got out of it somehow, the slippery bastard, laughing as her swats turned into playful shoves and she laughed too. Then he swept Donna into an entirely inappropriate kiss, and she obviously got into it, and hello, married woman now, and when she pulled away she looked a bit dazed. Rodney stared at her.
Then Jack turned to him, with the same look in his eyes as back on the Daedalus, and Rodney backed away hastily. "You keep that tongue to yourself!" he demanded as he half-tripped over some kind of potted plant that some idiot had left in the way.
"Yes, I think that's a very good idea," a quiet young man murmured, drawing Jack away. Jack just winked at Rodney and laughed.
"Something I should know?" Donna asked as she helped him out of the plant.
Donna laughed softly. "Don't worry, Jack likes to kiss all the boys and girls." She helped him dust off his jacket, which didn't really need it, and kissed him lightly. Then she turned back to the room — and gasped, grabbing his hand hard enough to hurt and maybe break something.
Rodney manfully suppressed a yelp, but his "What's wrong?" came out a bit unsteady. He looked the same direction and saw a man leaning against a doorframe at the other side of the room. The guy was tall and skinny, with Sheppard hair and a long coat. When they had both seen him, he wheeled to vanish into the room beyond.
Her expression turned that particular version of thunderous that sent his lackeys running to him for protection. "I am going to kill him," she declared, letting go to ball her hands into fists and marching away.
He hurried after her, suddenly grateful that she had insisted they both wear shoes suitable for running, even though that meant she made better time than he did.
By the time he caught up, Donna was standing on one side of a table, furious, and the stranger was eyeing her warily from the other side. "No, ta, I've been slapped by you before," he was telling her.
"You left me," Donna exploded. "You sent me back."
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, honestly, I am, but there wasn't time, and you were destabilizing, and I couldn't let that happen, and it worked, and it was all I could do, and did I mention I'm sorry? I can't know of every experimental device tucked away in some basement somewhere. Besides, I checked in to see how you were doing and you were good, you were fine, you were great." He gestured to Rodney and gave her a tentative smile. "Congratulations, both of you, really."
"You're the Doctor," Rodney realized. Of course, Jack had described him as someone who headed for the thing that was going to blow up, and he was keeping well clear of Donna, but Rodney couldn't exactly blame him for that, because he wouldn't have tried to approach her either. He liked all his body parts.
The man nodded slightly, acknowledging him, but he kept his eyes on Donna anxiously.
She glared at him a bit longer but then slumped. "I was going to stay with you forever, you git," she said, her voice breaking.
"Yeah. Yeah, I know." He started edging around the table carefully until he was on the same side they were, though he made sure to keep out of arm's reach.
Donna straightened. "So what are you doing here now, then?" she demanded. "Come to kidnap me on my wedding day again?"
"Us," Rodney corrected, because a, no one was taking her anywhere without him, and b, hello, time machine. She flashed him a watery smile.
"Yeah, no. Two of you got into my TARDIS, I don't think I'd ever prise you back out again. And look at you, you've got lives to lead — science to do, worlds to save, family to raise. Things you've waited for long enough, you don't want to put them off even further, rattling around with me. Oh, that reminds, me, Dr. McKay — congratulations."
"You already said that," Rodney muttered, even though he knew he was supposed to just take excess compliments as a tribute to Donna.
"No, that one's for later. Can't say how much later, that's no fun, but you'll like it." He winked, and seriously, what was with all the winking? "Anyway, I'd better be off. Just popped in to wish you two well and say a proper goodbye. Trying to be better about that sort of thing." He hugged Donna tenderly, giving Rodney A Look over her shoulder, and then swept out of the room.
Donna stood there looking after him, so Rodney went over and took her hand. "Are you sorry?"
She sighed. "A bit, yeah. You?"
He blinked. "It's a time machine. Of course. But …." He looked down at their hands. "This is good, too. I mean … isn't it?"
"Yeah." She put her other hand under his chin and lifted his head to smile at him. "Yeah, this is good." Her smile brightened. "It's brilliant. So what are we waiting for?" She pulled him back towards the reception hall, their hands joined, and he followed her willingly, holding tight.