If you asked Donna about it, she would have said she never knew. Which, frankly, was true. Apparently, until today, the Doctor had kept it hidden from her, and if Donna was being honest, this was not the way she would have preferred for this crazy information to have been revealed to her.
This morning the Doctor and Donna landed themselves back across the street from Donna’s house in Chiswick so she could spend a day back at home with Wilf. She had fully expected the Doctor to either stay in the TARDIS while she was back at the house, or to run off doing who knows what. But, surprisingly, he offered to go along with her saying that he had always enjoyed her Gramps' company too. And she was happy he did, because if Donna was being honest, as much as she loved the adventures with him and understood why he preferred to keep all the domestics and family separate, she always enjoyed when he would come home with her. So, her and the Doctor had were able to happily chat with Wilf that morning as they told him about every crazy and insane thing they had been up to lately. Then, after a while, the Doctor eventually stood too run off again as expected.
However, as he did, Donna’s mother had come home from the shops and dragged both the Doctor and herself into sitting down with her for tea. The Doctor usually did pretty well when it came to getting himself out of things, but in the end, what got him to stay was when Sylvia had started spouting off things like “I never get to see my only daughter anymore,” and “she’s been travelling with a man I still know nothing about!”
Surprisingly though, it had all been fine, if not slightly awkward and uncomfortable at first as Donna and the Doctor sipped their tea and listened to Sylvia talk about whatever had come to her mind. But eventually everything went barmy when she brought up Donna’s love-life...again.
“Listen, Donna. All I’m saying is that you’re not getting any younger. And clearly you’re not meeting anybody on these...trips you’re taking,” Sylvia waved her hand dismissively, “You need to start thinking about these kinds of things. You’re never gonna end up married if you keep runnin’ off!”
Donna’s eyes flickered to the Doctor as she matched his grimace before she turned back to her mother. She had been about to respond when the Doctor interrupted her.
“Actually I rather think she’s taken for the time being.” he said, frowning at Sylvia.
Simultaneously, wide-eyed, both Donna and her mother turned to stare at the Doctor.
“Oi!” Sylvia shouted, “Well, what are you on about, then?”
Donna frowned, “Yeah, Sunshine! What are you on about?”
Suddenly the Doctor’s sour expression fell and his eyes widened as he realized he had said something he probably shouldn’t have.
“Uh, Donna. I need to talk to you.” he said, practically dropping his tea back onto the table as he stood and reached for Donna’s hand.
She yelled in surprise as the Doctor hauled her out of her seat and out the front door with Sylvia shouting after them the entire way.
“Doctor?” Donna asked, “Doctor! What is going on?” She squeezed his hand in an effort to get him to slow down as the two crossed the street in front of Donna’s house.
The Doctor hurriedly reached for the doors of the TARDIS with Donna still in tow, “Like I said,” he finally dropped her hand and stepped into the doorway before looking back at Donna with pleading eyes, “I need to talk to you.”
Still utterly confused and wanting to understand what was happening with her best friend, Donna stepped up into the TARDIS as the Doctor held the door for her and then promptly closed it once she was inside. She stood silently on the ramp and watched him for a moment.
She sighed,“Doctor what is happening? What did you mean by me being already taken?”
The Doctor closed his eyes briefly and walked up the ramp to stand behind her next to the console. Turning, Donna watched him fiddle with one of the levers for a moment before his eyes met hers and he sighed as well.
He almost immediately started babbling at her, “Listen, before I tell you, you should know that I didn’t know what was happening at the time, and I didn’t tell you because, well, it’s not as if it was important to anything that happened beyond that planet's culture, and it wasn’t as if we were ever planning on going back, so….” he winced as he reached up to tug on his earlobe nervously.
Donna walked closer to the console and raised an eyebrow, “What are you tryin’ to tell me, Spaceman?”
The corner of the Doctor’s mouth turned upward slightly at the nickname before he looked nervously to Donna once again, “Do you remember the planet we landed on a while ago? The one with all those moons and the flowers that you thought looked like-”
Donna nodded before he could elaborate further. She remembered all the brilliant colors and beautiful moons, but also the people who had been put in so much danger. As always, Donna and the Doctor had done everything they could to help them.
“Well,” the Doctor continued, “that party everyone dragged us to before we left. It… it was actually a binding ceremony. For us.” he explained.
Donna frowned, her eyes darting back and forth between his and her eyebrows pulled together in confusion.
“A binding ceremo-” then her eyes widened, “You mean a wedding ceremony?!” She realized, “Are you tellin’ me that we got married?”
The Doctor winced again, “Well. Yeah.” he drawled.
Donna froze as she remembered the party. All the hand holding, closeness, and words the locals had said to them had seemed harmless and all in good fun at first, but now she understood. She saw how naive her and the Doctor had been in those moments.
“Oh, my god. We got married!” Donna exclaimed.
The Doctor’s eyebrows pulled together as he frowned at her, eyes once again pleading with her. She could tell he was clearly afraid she would be upset with him.
Donna met his eyes only briefly before she looked away, remembering what he had said before, “Wait, wait, wait. If it’s only… a thing there , then why did you say that to my mum?”
As the Doctor considered what to say in response, his mouth opened and closed several times before finally, he sighed and his expression softened, “Oh, Donna. You- You’re brilliant! But your mother….” he paused, “Oh, you must know. I… I don’t really fancy the way she talks to you sometimes.”
Donna faltered, “Spaceman….” That wasn’t what she had been expecting at all.
“And you know me. Got a giant gob on me, don’t I. So, I guess when she was talking in there, it kind of just… slipped out.” He looked away for a moment, before meeting Donna’s eyes again, “If it helps, I was trying to defend you.”
Suddenly all the tension had faded and Donna found herself laughing. Not just at this insane situation, but also at this lunatic of a man who seemingly cared about her enough to want to defend her in front of her mother. She watched as the tension slipped off the Doctor’s face as well, and soon enough he was smiling brilliantly back at her and the two were pulling each other in for a hug.
As their laughter died down and the Doctor squeezed Donna tightly to him, he sighed, “I’m sorry. I didn’t intend to tell you because it didn’t seem important, but I never would have preferred for you to find out like this.”
Donna scoffed and pulled away, “Oi, well me neither, you barmy alien.”
The Doctor rolled his eyes, but grinned at her anyway.
“Now, if you wanna make it up to me, then you can be a good Time Lord husband and take me out on a nice trip.” She teased, placing her hands on his shoulders.
“Hey, I rather think I am a good husband. I just tried to defend my wife from being nagged to death by her mother.” he told her, grabbing her waist and pulling her closer once again.
“Hmm, well I think good husbands actually tell their wives when they’ve just gotten married, Sunshine.” Donna sent back, quirking an eyebrow in a movement that was meant to say ‘gotcha!’
Nevertheless, the Doctor’s grin grew and his eyes were shining as he released her and bounded around the console. He was about to set new coordinates, when he froze, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but what about your mother?”
Donna raised an eyebrow as she walked around the console to stand next to him, "Well, this is a time machine, ain't it?” She smirked and nudged him playfully, “She’ll still be there when we get back. Besides, as much as I appreciate the sentiment, she’s bound to have a million more questions for us, and ‘m not really up for that now.”
The Doctor met her eyes and raised an eyebrow in return before he grinned, quickly grabbed her hand and dragged her around the console as he pressed a slew of buttons and pulled several levers, beginning the dematerialization sequence.
If you had asked Donna, she would have said she never knew about it. But then again, she also never would have admitted that she was completely fine with it. And if the two played up their accidental marriage as if it had been planned the next time Donna popped home to see Gramps and her mum, well that was just another thing she would be completely fine with. She had already planned on being with this man forever anyway.