Again, I'm not an audiologist, or a speech therapist, so I don't really know how fast speech would be picked up, but I'm pretty sure Belle wouldn't be entirely fluent yet. So that is why she talks the way she does. After the misunderstanding with the finger spelling, I thought it best to move on as quickly as possible.
This takes place around the time Sounds does, a little before it actually.
In case you hadn't noticed, I'm not in the greatest of moods. I'm angry, exhausted, in hella pain from near constant insomnia caused headaches, and stressed in general. I really really want to rant and as soon as I have posted this, I will be doing just that on my personal journal. I'd love to go back to being able to rant on this journal but I remember only too well what happened when I did that two years ago and it damn near ruined my life. So yeah.
As always, I don't own Ten, Donna, Doctor Who, Wilf, or Sylvia. The BBC does. Please read and enjoy...
In the months following the turning on of the cochlear implants, Belle had heard many things. Voices, music, traffic, television shows, birds, and many other things. When the implants had first been turned on, she’d heard the voices of the two most important people in her life. First Donna, then the Doctor. They’d spoken softly, and she really didn’t recognize the sounds as she’d been so young when she’d lost her hearing. The therapists had told them that she had most likely lost speech comprehension. It would be possible to get it back though, the sounds she made while still deaf, proved her vocal cords could and would work, and from scans performed before surgery, the part of her brain that dealt with language didn’t appear damaged in any way.
At first, communication continued as before, with the spelling of words in hands. Then the therapists began re-introducing spoken words. Much as she learned to finger spell when her hearing had been taken, she learned to speak when it had been returned. An object would be placed in her hand, the word spelled, then spoken. Belle would touch the therapist’s lips to feel how the mouth should be shaped to help make the sound. She worked with Donna and the Doctor on this while at home as well, home being either the TARDIS or Wilf and Sylvia’s house. Belle preferred the TARDIS. She appreciated the puffs of warm air and soothing hum she received from the ship when she was correct.
The very first words she had been taught were her name, Donna’s and the Doctor’s. The therapists has assumed they were her parents biologically, so without asking, they’d called the Doctor and Donna, Dad, and Mum. This was changed quickly. Belle insisted they were Miss Donna, and Mr. Doctor. She didn’t have a concept of “father” or “dad”, nor did she really want one, and she’d already had a Mama. She didn’t want another one. She wasn’t trying to be rude, or hurtful, that was just the way her thought process worked. And the Doctor and Donna didn’t mind.
The move to intangible objects was a bit harder. You can’t put a feeling, or a sound, into the hand and touch it after all. How would it be explained? Only Donna, Sylvia, and Wilf knew of the Doctor’s telepathic abilities, and those of the TARDIS, and they weren’t going to be discussing that with the therapists. It was more of an accident, the first time the Doctor touched Belle’s mind. She’d had a headache, and not wanting to just medicate her, the Doctor thought he’d try to lessen the pain a little. While she sat on the edge of her bed, the Doctor placed his fingers against her temple. The headache dissipated and then to both their surprises some words that went with faint images appeared. A woman with long hair, singing in a room with all sorts of objects, flashed the brightest and clearest, and upon the sound of the voice, “Miss Donna!” had issued forth from Belle’s mouth.
The Doctor carefully withdrew, and shared a look of surprise with Donna, who’d heard her name and came into Belle’s room. Belle faced toward the sound of footsteps, and at the shimmer that she identified as Donna. “I see you. In head,” her voice was quiet. “Was you. Was your sound.”
This happened more often as the Doctor tested this link. She learned that Donna had ginger hair, and blue eyes. She learned that the Doctor had brown hair and brown eyes. And his hair tended to stick up wildly, and she now understood why Sylvia sometimes greeted him with a hello, and a comb. These forays into each other’s minds were limited, as they caused Belle mild headaches, and made her a little tired.
Now there were plenty of times that the Doctor and Donna took Belle with them on trips, plenty where she stayed behind with Sylvia, and Wilf, and even a few where the Doctor went on his own. When Donna stayed behind, Wilf and Belle would sometimes go up the hill, thus avoiding the rather frequent bickering between Donna and Sylvia, to the allotment where they’d just sit and talk quietly, sometimes about the stars, sometimes about nature, Earth’s or otherwise, though usually Earth’s, and sometimes nothing at all.
It was one of those afternoons where Donna had stayed, that Wilf thought it would be interesting to try to see if Belle could dance. Sylvia perked up a little, mentioning learning a waltz. When Donna had asked what was so significant about a waltz, she’d been shocked into silence when Sylvia said it would come in handy at a wedding reception should the Doctor ever get the courage to propose.
“We’re not getting married,” Donna had said as she pulled Sylvia from the living room into the kitchen. “We’re not even…together like that.”
“Oh, piffle. You live together. You’re always together. You’re always touching each other…ah!” she stopped Donna from interrupting her. “I’ve seen the way that man looks at you. And you look at him. You’re only in denial. The way he kisses and hugs you frequently for heaven’s sake. And you certainly don’t discourage him. You initiate it as much as he does. Though what you see in that man I really couldn’t tell you.”
“Mum,” Donna hissed again. “Besides the fact that he’s a good father figure to Belle, and he’s good to me?” her eyes widened and she went on quickly. “But nothing like that is happening nor is likely to happen, so let’s just drop it, shall we?”
Sylvia only rolled her eyes, and returned to the living room where Wilf had started a slow waltz and was guiding Belle around the room carefully. Donna followed, sat on the couch and watched the two dance, while Sylvia claimed an armchair, and continued the discussion much to Donna’s annoyance.
This was still going on when the Doctor entered after being gone most of the day. He sat next to Donna after taking off his coat, and gave her a hug and a kiss on her cheek, rather suspiciously close to her mouth. This resulted in Sylvia raising her eyebrows and mouthing “See? I told you.” To which Donna responded with a glare. “What are we doing then?” the Doctor asked.
“Mr. Wilf show me dance,” Belle explained. “Miss Sylvia say it is good for wedding.”
“Wedding? Who’s wedding. Who’s getting married?”
“Miss Sylvia say you and Miss Donna.”
“You and Donna,” Sylvia said.
“Well you don’t have to act like it’s a horrible idea,” Donna muttered.
“Three gray geese in the green grass grazing, gray were the geese and green was the grazing!” Wilf shouted, silencing the room. “There now. That’s done it. Couldn’t hear the music,” he continued to circle the room with Belle.
Nothing more was said on the subject, instead when the music ended, Donna suggested she, the Doctor and Belle go back to the TARDIS for the evening. When Sylvia asked why, she pointed at the Doctor and said he had talked about going over some books about Gallifrey with Belle that she hadn’t read yet as they’d only just been put into Braille by the TARDIS and the Doctor. Belle grew excited at that, and after giving Sylvia and Wilf hugs, had all but dragged the Doctor to the TARDIS.
By the time Donna had made it into the TARDIS quite a bit more irritated than just a few minutes earlier (Sylvia had grabbed her and tried to bring up the whole wedding thing again, Donna had told her that nothing was going on, and to please mind her own business), she could hear strains of the Canon in D playing, and going to the library, she found the Doctor and Belle sitting on the carpet in front of the fire, a few open books surrounding them. She joined them and listened quietly as the Doctor spoke of his lost homeworld. The combination of the music and the Doctor’s voice soothed her nerves and along with Belle, she found herself leaning on the Doctor’s shoulder and slowly falling asleep.