Fandom(s): Doctor Who (modern)
Characters: AU - Tenth Doctor, Donna Noble, Sylvia Noble, Wilfred Mott, Lance Bennett, Nerys
Pairing(s): Tenth Doctor/Donna Noble
Rating: R (well, probably more PG-13)
Genre: Sci-fi, adventure
Summary: Original AU. A normal human in a world in which a handful of individuals have suddenly developed superpowers, Donna lives her mundane life whilst always keeping one eye to the skies to catch a glimpse of the city's new heroes.
Word count (chapter): 5886
After a full day of toiling under Sylvia’s supervision to make sure that Sylvia’s club party went well, Donna was eager to get away for a day and spend it with her lovely Lance. It was still dark when she got out of bed and, once she’d dressed and gulped down some toast and tea, she hopped on the Tube into the city before the rest of the house had gotten up. Normally, Donna slept as late as she could, but today, she wasn’t going to waste a minute of time that could be spent on the town with Lance.
The moment she let herself into Lance’s fancy flat, she knew he was still asleep; the entire flat was wired with speakers hooked to his mobile’s dock and he kept music playing every moment he was awake. Dropping her purse on the overstuffed couch, she crossed the wide living room into his bedroom and sat down on the edge of the king-sized bed.
“Oi, sweetheart,” she called softly. “I know you’re faking.”
Lance, who’d been snuggled under the thick down duvet with his back to her, flopped back and gazed at her with bleary eyes. “How do you always know?”
“I didn’t hear you snoring all the way down in the lobby.”
He tunneled an arm out and slapped her thigh.
“Oi!” she cried and pushed him back.
“Oh, is that how it’s going to be?” he grinned and pulled her down into his arms. Rolling over her, he pinned her with the duvet and dove in to smother her mouth with his. “You are just so luscious,” he murmured against her lips.
Donna relaxed into the plush satin sheets and let him probe her lips with his tongue then nibble along her jaw as she ran her hands down the back of his pyjamas. Always delighted with the feel of his strong muscles under her fingers, she expected that no one in the company would expect the head of HR to be so toned and buff, and she smiled that he was hers, all hers. However, when Lance began to grind his hips into hers through the blanket, she ducked her head away from his and pushed up on his shoulders.
“Oh, no, love, not now,” she crooned.
“Aww,” he groaned and found her mouth again, the lingering end of the complaint muffled. “Why not? I want you, Donna.”
With a light laugh, she pushed him away again. “Because I know you. Because once we’re done, you don’t like to move and you’ll convince me to spend the rest of the day right here.” He pulled back and pouted at her, but they both knew she was right. “No way, sunshine. You promised me a day of London and Harrod’s. Then we’ll see…” Though her tone was light, there was a sultry promise in her voice; after all, she wanted him, too - she just wanted him after the glorious day she’d been looking forward to.
He grabbed her wrists and pinned her down, spearing her with a seductive, dominating leer. “I could take what I want, you know.”
“Ooh,” she moaned, “hold that thought for later.”
“Oh, all right,” he finally conceded, rolling off her onto the bed. She immediately jumped up and positioned herself over him, grinding her hips into his and giving him a good look down her blouse.
“Just so you know what’ll be yours later,” she murmured, licking a trail from collarbone to his ear as he growled deep in his throat. She then hopped off the bed and grinned at him mischievously. “Come on. We don’t have all day.”
“Yeah,” he said, his eyes flicking up and down her body. “About that. I’ll be up when I can walk again.”
Donna made the coffee whilst Lance washed and got dressed, and after enjoying a cup together, she dragged him out as he protested loudly with a bright grin at her enthusiasm. The day was made for wandering and shopping, and hand in hand, they went everywhere Donna fancied, starting at Harrod’s and including Buckingham Palace, lunch at the cosiest hole-in-the-wall they could find, and strolling through Soho. In the mid-afternoon, they turned back toward Lance’s flat, so that Donna could keep her promise before the dinner and show that night. As they neared the area where Lance lived, they passed through a wide square in which a crowd had gathered, brandishing signs and cheering occasionally as they listened to their leader speak from atop a low wall.
Hanging onto Lance’s arm as he toted the bag with all of her treasures, Donna glanced in the direction of the mob. “What’s that about?” she wondered.
“Don’t know,” replied Lance after trying to see what the signs said. They were too far away to hear what the speaker was talking about. “Wanna get closer?”
“Sure.” They circled around a bit to read one of the signs and Donna gasped. “Oh! That’s a Power Down rally, isn’t it?”
“Yeah.” Lance wrinkled his nose in distaste. “Let’s go. I don’t want to be associated with them.”
Donna frowned. Though he teased her about her prime-worship, Lance had never expressed any opinion for or against primes and she’d assumed that he was tacitly tolerant of them. His firm display of dislike of the anti-prime movement surprised her. “Is something wrong? You think they’re dangerous?”
“Nah. Well, any group has its fringe elements, so they’re no more dangerous than most. I just… Well, some of their ideas bother me. The prime registry, for one. Some of them favour deporting primes. And of course, the biggest nutters want to kill them.” Watching the speaker rile the crowd, he shook his head. “Government’s not moving fast enough to deal with these problems.”
Donna nodded. “Well, I don’t like them either, of course.” Lance was well aware of her stance from the arguments she had about primes with her mother. “Let’s go.”
To get through the square on their path toward Lance’s flat, they needed to go around the crowd, close enough to hear the speaker’s exhortations to do something about this “threat to society and life”. He enumerated the crimes that the evil primes had perpetrated and punctuated his claims repeatedly with Lord Acton’s famous quote. Donna wanted to turn and ask him what he thought about the fact that there had only been two major supervillain incidents in all of Britain since the Blue Rain and that the heroes spent most of their time dealing with normal human crime, but a squeeze of Lance’s hand calmed her. It really wouldn’t help, and it might even turn the mob against the two of them.
As they exited the square, cries of wonder made them turn back to see what the commotion was. People in the crowd were point up at a figure high in the sky, floating down to the front of the demonstration, the sun glinting off her gold outfit.
“Kathica,” Lance breathed before Donna could open her mouth. Donna whirled on him in surprise and a bit of jealousy, as Lance had never before shown any interest or awe at the primes before, but she clamped her mouth shut as she saw that his brow was creased with worry.
Squeezing his hand like he had hers half a minute before, she laid her other hand on his shoulder to comfort him. “What’s wrong?”
“She is. What does she think she’s doing?” The prime landed in front of the crowd with a gracious, winning smile. Lance glanced at Donna. “She’s been afraid of this whole movement for a while now, but she’s an idiot. I mean, a real one. She assumes everyone loves her, and if she thinks she can calm this lot down…” As he turned to assess the situation again, Donna stared at him. She’d no idea he knew this much about the primes. Without turning back to her, Lance urged her, “Come on. I’ve got to see this.” Pulling his hand from hers, he jogged back to the rear of the crowd, Donna suppressing her misgivings as she followed. If this blew up, she didn’t want to be anywhere near it.
Standing at the back of the crowd, they could hear Kathica very clearly, and Donna wondered if she had voice amplification abilities. The woman stood above the crowd, speaking like she was a goddess descended from heaven to present herself to her followers, and Donna couldn’t help but roll her eyes at the woman’s cheery, airy delivery.
“...given these abilities to protect you all, to protect this way of life we all enjoy,” Kathica announced with a magnanimous wave of her hand.
“Sounds more like you’re just here to lord it over us,” mumbled a man near Lance, and more than a few people nearby muttered their agreement.
“There are always a few bad apples in any bunch, certainly, but we will take care of them when they appear.” Puffing out her chest, she planted her fists on her hips in the classic superhero pose, ignoring the growing wave of discontented murmurs. “We are heroes. You don’t need to worry about who we serve and where our loyalties lie. We’re all devoted to you. Silver Falcon, Crimson Angel, the Shard, Apparo - all of us.”
Lance pinched at the bridge of his nose. “No, no, you can’t do that, Kathica. You can’t pretend to speak for them. And none of this is reassuring anyone. You have no idea…”
The rumblings of the crowd grew steadily and someone yelled out, “Go home, freak!” punctuated by a rock that flew through the air and hit Kathica on the shoulder. Though she wasn’t invulnerable, she was certainly sturdy, so though it hadn’t likely hurt at all, it annoyed her and she turned a sickening sweet smile in the direction from which it had been thrown. “Now, children, let’s keep this civil, shall we?”
That was enough to set off the audience and they began pelting her with shouts of “Power down!” and “Go away! We don’t want you!” as well as more stones, completely drowning out her attempts to placate them. Stepping back to the rear edge of the low wall, she leapt into the sky to retreat and flew toward the rooftops. She had barely made it ten metres up and had settled into her usual flying stance when she suddenly stopped in the air, her face a mask of surprise and panic, then plummeted to the ground, crashing a jarring heap.
Deathly silence fell for a moment, broken only by the sounds of passing cars on the streets bordering the park, then the Downers’ ragged, mocking laughter rang out. Bruised and scratched and staring at her hands in confusion, Kathica climbed to her feet and clenched her fists as if she were testing them out, then rose a few feet into the air. Her face twisted into a furious, sneering smile; whatever had caused her momentary lapse, it was over and she was feeling her power again. “Which of you did that? What did you do?” she hissed.
The answer she received was a deafening crack! followed by a splash of claret blossoming on her gold sleeve. The entire crowd gasped, stunned by the turn of events, but another shot rang out and though apparently it went wide, it whipped the square into chaos. Kathica leapt down into the crowd toward where she thought the first shot came from. Many of the protestors took the opportunity to attack her directly or throw more rocks; others stood dumbfounded whilst the rest fled or searched for cover. The press of the retreating mob tore Lance from Donna’s side and she paused only to hear him yell, “Donna, run!” before she ran for cover herself, behind the trunk of a great tree.
This wasn’t how Donna had ever imagined a superhero fight going. She’d always pictured two primes, flying up high, trading punches, throwing each other around. Or perhaps with someone like Crimson Angel, blasting at the bad guys with her red energy bolts. But here she was, cowering behind a tree to hide herself from someone who was shooting, she suspected, at anyone they thought had powers. Real guns, the kind that leave real holes from which real blood flowed. There might even be more gunmen; she couldn’t tell in this mess. And then there was whatever it was that happened to Kathica. She’d fallen from the air, and she’d really hurt when she hit the ground. Those protesters now had an injured and angry Kathica to deal with, and many of them were now on the ground. What was happening?
Peering out from behind the wall, Donna saw two protesters lying not ten paces away, stunned and dazed, a sign torn and crumpled beneath them. Donna guessed that the angered superhero had thrown one of them into the other, and she wondered how long it would be before she noticed they were trying to get back up and decided to return for them. Glancing at the bank of militant Downers, Donna convinced herself that their attention was on bringing Kathica down and, taking a deep breath, she ran out from her cover to the closer person.
“Come on, you’ve got to get away. Can you get up?” she hissed at the woman. She received a barely conscious groan in reply.
“Well, try your best.” Pushing the woman up into a sitting position, she pulled her arm over her shoulder and tried to hoist her up. She was heavy, but on the second attempt, the woman tried her best to help with wobbly legs and Donna managed to get to a standing position with most of the woman’s weight on her. She dragged her behind the wall that encircled the square and dumped her there. “Sorry. No time. Gotta get your bash buddy.”
She dashed back out to the second person, who she realised was completely unconscious. He was a bit of a heavy bloke and she had no idea how she could budge him. As she contemplated rolling him on the ground, she heard something land on the ground behind her and she whirled in her crouching position to face it.
“Let me, Donna. You get back behind the wall,” said a very familiar voice.
“Doctor!” She grinned up at the masked man.
“Go on, go!” He squatted down and tried to manoeuvre the body over his shoulder. “Oh, heavy!” he groaned as he regained his feet, stumbling around as he adjusted for the weight. He bulled his way behind the wall and dropped the man next to the woman not particularly gently. “Oh, I’m not built for this.”
“Will they be okay?” asked Donna.
“I don’t know. Don’t have time to check. Too many other people in harm’s way.” He glanced over his shoulder at the main altercation. “Not much I can do to stop that. Kathica’d eat me for lunch.” He hopped over next to Donna and grasped her shoulder. “You go on. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I can’t just leave,” she protested. “This is horrible. Those people out there need help.”
Donna found herself pulled into a rough hug, the Doctor planting a kiss on the top of her head through his mask. “Oh, Donna Noble, you are brilliant!” he breathed. “Never a thought for yourself. All right. Let me get the ones still out in the square. You keep to the sides, find anyone that’s hiding and show them out. There’s plenty of them, and they should be able to at least get behind the outer wall.” Without another word, sprang out to his task.
Donna found that the Doctor was right: every possible space that could hide a person had someone cowering in it. Each one she found, she encouraged them out, assuring them that getting outside the park would be far safer. With the few that refused to move, panic-stricken and frozen, she spent extra time to calm them down and try to get them to see reason. She managed to get some of them moving, though she eventually had to abandon two of them; there were just too many others she couldn’t ignore.
As she moved around, she caught glimpses of the Doctor bounding across the open square, more or less doing the same for people caught out there still searching for safety, but providing himself as a distraction for the combatants whilst the people ran. Though Donna had immediately seen the flaw in his plan, it was the best they had, and the moment she dreaded came quickly: one of the militant Downers realised the man with the black mask was a prime and focused on him.
The Doctor spotted him, too, There was one person left in the open, a lone teenage girl standing in an open space watching everything with a sullen, detached air; the rest were at least hidden behind things. He sprang up and over the park bench next to him, then tumbled and rolled his way toward her, trying to give the gunman a difficult target to hit. He couldn’t chance getting near the girl, though, afraid she might get hit by stray fire.
“Come on!” he called. “This way! It’s safe over here!” She didn’t move or respond, watching the protesters silently. “Come on!” he yelled again, desperation in his voice. She ignored him again, and he leapt toward her, ready to do what he didn’t want: get close to her, grab her, and physically drag her toward safety.
The girl brought her hands up, palms facing forward, and a clear sphere appeared around her, glimmering in the sunlight. Twisting in mid-air, the Doctor landed with both palms against it and sprung off, somersaulting over the girl. Landing on the ground, he was about to bound back to test the force field again, but the ping! of a bullet told him just how robust it was.
“Oh, brilliant,” he breathed as he scurried away.
Watching from the side, Donna stepped out and called to the girl. “Oi! That’s flippin’ fantastic! Come on! Help me get everyone to safety.” The girl stood there ignoring her, fixated on the angry mob around Kathica. A sudden movement in the sky caught her attention and her eyes flicked up to watch Silver Falcon descending from above, but she remained as impassive as before. The Downer whose bullet had hit her shield was consulting with the man next to him about what to do about her.
Astonished, Donna had to find her tongue to call again, “Oi, shield girl! Come on! You could save so many lives here. Shake yourself out of it!” This time the girl seemed to hear her. She turned slowly to gaze at Donna, her eyes fearful, then turned and dashed off.
Without thinking, Donna ran out of her cover after her. “Oi, come back! I’ll help you! We need you!” In a moment, she was knocked breathless as the Doctor charged and almost tackled her, dragging her back behind the wall.
“Let her go,” he murmured as he steadied her and let her catch her breath.
“But she can save everyone,” Donna gasped and coughed. “Doctor, we have to get her back.”
“No, Donna. She doesn’t want to. Just forget about her.” At Donna’s confused stare, he took a deep breath to explain, though his words tumbled out almost too quickly for comprehension. “You think these powers are wonderful, but really, they aren’t, not to everyone. They can be very dangerous, and they make you an instant freak.”
“But, Doctor,” she protested, “you can do so much with them -”
“Only if you can deal with how they ruin your life.” A hint of realisation flickered through Donna’s eyes, and he nodded. “I had enough of a problem dealing with mine. Must have been a hundred times worse for that girl, on top of all the usual teenage drama.”
Donna was still not convinced. “But you do such amazing things. Is that really how you see yourself, as a freak?”
The Doctor shrugged. “I’m wearing a full face mask, aren’t I?” He grasped her shoulder. “They’re coming. The bloke with the gun and a friend. Are you able to move?” He barely waited for Donna’s nod. “I’ve got to get you out of here. Let’s go. That way.” He pointed toward the street running past the square. “Over there. Let’s not lead them down toward everyone else. Go on. I’ll draw their fire.”
The Doctor pushed Donna in the right direction then leapt around behind her as she broke cover. The two protesters were still far away, but the unarmed one thrust a hand at the Doctor as he jumped and he flopped, skidding on the pavement in a jumble of long limbs. “Argh!” he grunted as he pushed himself onto his knees as if he suddenly weighed three times as much and grabbed at his head. “I can’t… I can’t…”
At his cry, Donna dove behind a bench and spun around. “Doctor!” she called, but, spying the man with the gun, didn’t dare dash out from her hiding place.
The Doctor groped around blindly, then touched something at the side of his mask. The lenses slid upward, revealing his eyes and he blinked rapidly at the bright sunlight. Dragging himself to his feet, he kept low as he stomped heavily toward Donna. “Go, go!” he urged her, and she dashed toward the street as he approached.
“What happened?” she called over her shoulder.
“That man,” he gasped as he stumbled on, moving to put a tree between himself and his pursuers, “he’s a prime. He took my powers away. Just for a bit and I can feel them coming back, but, oh, I felt like a deaf slug.” He was certainly moving a lot better now. “He… he must not be able to do it much, or he’d have kept me on the ground.”
“In there, Doctor, this way,” Donna announced as she took an opening in the traffic to run across the street into an alley.
“No, Donna, don’t!” But it was too late. She disappeared around the corner and he had to follow.
It only took a few seconds for Donna to find out why he’d tried to stop her, as she ran up to the back wall of the blind, littered alley. There was no way out, except back the way she came. She gasped out, “Oh, I’m sorry!” as he came up beside her. She noticed that he had slid his lenses back down into place, his eyes hidden behind the black glass.
He placed both hands on the wall, surveying the surface of the cement blocks. “There’s no other way out, except those windows up above, but I can’t carry you and climb. They’re going to be here in a moment. There’s no other way. Stand back.” Positioning his hands about waist-height on the wall, he took a deep breath and stood stock-still for about three seconds.
“Doctor, what -?” Donna’s question died on her lips as, with a rocky crack! the section of the wall around his hands crumbled into rough sand. Much of the grout on the inside of the blocks also fell away, revealing the naked vertical rebar, but the back wall was still intact, and the Doctor leaned in to position his hands against it. Again, in a couple of seconds, it shattered into coarse rubble, leaving a hole big enough for Donna to climb through. “How did you do that?” She stared at him with an amazed frown.
The Doctor ignored her question. “Get through that and go!” he urged her. “Keep running!” He turned to face the entrance to the alleyway.
“You’re not coming with me?” she shrieked.
“I”ve got to hold them off,” he grunted, waving her through frantically.
“I’m not leaving you behind,” she insisted, planting herself firmly in front of him.
“Grrrr!” he groaned, then snatched up a broken length of wood from the detritus on the ground and handed it to her. “Okay, okay, all right. Get through the wall and stay out of sight. Smack anyone that comes through that hole with that. Except me,” he added hastily. “Got it?”
He helped her climb through the hole into the small office beyond then, mumbling, “Here they come…” sprang up the left wall to give their pursuers a surprise from above.
As soon as they rounded the corner, the Doctor dropped down on the prime, aiming an elbow blow at the back of his head, which stunned him for a moment. Knowing that letting him get off another disabling attack would lose him the fight immediately, he kept on him, spinning around the man to keep him between himself and the man with the gun as he punched him repeatedly about the face until he finally collapsed. Ducking to keep the falling body between him and his other opponent, he rolled out and sprang toward the other man, who turned and fled. The Doctor scrambled up the wall to peer out of the alley to make sure that the man was still running, then doubled back to Donna.
“All right, go, go!” he ordered as he dove through the hole. Dropping the board, Donna ran out into the hallway and, checking both ways quickly, charged to the right towards what she guessed was the front of the building, muttering her gratitude that it was Sunday and the building was empty. After turning to the left, the corridor led directly to what was obviously a reception area, but as Donna dashed through it to the front door, the Doctor called her back.
“No, no, let’s not go out yet. I’ll attract too much attention. In here.” He beckoned her back and they locked themselves in the mail room. “Okay,” he sighed. “We need to get you safe. Where can you go?”
“No, no, no,” breathed Donna, holding up both index fingers to catch his attention. “First, you tell me what it was you did back there, blowing that hole in the wall.”
“That’s not important,” countered the Doctor. “You’re not safe here and we’ve got to get you out.”
Cocking her hands on her hips, Donna settled into a firm stance, letting the man know she wasn’t going to move. “I’m plenty safe. That’s a mob out there, and they’re after Kathica and Falcon. They’re not going to chase down people who got away. I’m not moving until you tell me what you just did. I thought you were an acrobat like that girl in the park and a healer.”
“No, I”m not a healer at all.” Spinning away, he rubbed the side of his head as if he were used to running his fingers through his hair and paced across the room. “All right. Fine. I’ll tell you. If I were just an acrobat, I’d be fine with being a prime, really I would. But no, there’s more.” He took a deep breath, obviously trying to compose himself. “I’m… well… I… How to explain? My powers, well, I’ve got enhanced dexterity -”
“Super dexterity, you mean,” corrected Donna.
The adjective embarrassed him and he faltered for a moment. “Yes, I suppose, but that’s only a part of it. I… I use sound.” He wriggled and stretched the fingers of both hands as he talked. “I can create a sonic field around myself, any type of sound - normal, ultrasound, infrasound. I used it back there to set up a resonance that shattered the concrete. Anything brittle will shatter like that, like stone or wood or plastic or glass. A ductile material might soften if I can find the right frequency, though with metal, it could go either way, depending on how I use it. One time I tried it on a piece of chicken and I shattered the bone inside the drumstick. Never do that, by the way. Had to pick the bone shards out of my dinner.”
Donna stared at him in awe, her jaw hanging loose. “You can create sound. Intense sound.”
Clasping his hands behind his back, he settled into an even, serious stance. “Yes.”
“But I didn’t hear anything when you did that back there,” she pointed out. “Just the sound of the wall breaking.”
“Yeah. That’s the strange thing. It’s a field around me, not very deep, and the sound doesn’t travel beyond that. But you can hear it like this.” Reaching for her, he cupped her cheek, his fingers lightly brushing her ear. A swell of music, a violin solo from some classical concerto, filled her head.
“That’s music!” she exclaimed.
He withdrew his hand. “Modulating the frequencies. I play, so I’ve a pretty good ear and I can make it sound like a violin. And, well, this takes a lot less practice than actually playing. But I can’t do anything more complicated. I’ve tried to mimic a song I had playing on my mobile, and that didn’t work. It was just noise.” He shrugged.
“And is that what you did with my ankle?” she asked, pointing down at her leg. “Used your sound whatsis to check it?”
“Ultrasound, yes. I can hear and feel sound, more than what’s natural. I can feel the feedback from my ultrasound just like the hospital machines do. And I can hear… well…” He seemed almost apologetic. “I can hear almost everything. I… I know where you are, and where everything in this room is, because I can hear how my voice and the sounds from my movements bounces off of it all. And… and I can hear your heartbeat, Donna.”
Donna’s mouth dropped open again, and her voice caught in her throat. “That’s how you copied that prime in the park!”
“Yes. I concentrated on her and could hear how she was moving as soon as she decided to do it.” He returned to ranging around the room, radiating nervous energy.
Donna continued to gape. Somehow, super strength, flight, super dexterity, energy blasts… they all seemed so normal in a superhero, but manipulation of sound? She’d never imagined anyone could do that, or put it to such use. And being able to hear almost anything? That sounded… To be totally honest, it sounds bloody awful, she thought. “Your world must be so noisy, if you can hear all of that.”
He stopped pacing and turned to look at her. She couldn’t see his expression behind his mask and wondered what she’d said to offend him.
“Yes, my world is very noisy,” he finally pronounced. “It’s difficult, sometimes, but I’ve learned to tune a lot of it out. Like when you look around,” and he swept his arm around the room, “you don’t notice most of it, just the general impression and the few details that are important to you. I do that a lot to filter what I hear.”
Covering her lips with a hand, she murmured, “Do I talk too loud for you?
Laughing, the Doctor took her hand from her mouth and squeezed it. “Everything’s too loud for me, in a way, but I love hearing your voice. Please don’t soften it.” He shook his head in amazement. “Your empathy is astonishing, Donna. No one ever thinks about what it must be like for us.”
“Only because you told me about that girl, the one out there with the shield.” In a careful, lowered voice, she asked, “Is it really that difficult?”
The Doctor turned away for a moment, and she saw his shoulders tighten. When he turned back, though, his voice was light, though still serious. “It can be. It was for me. Very hard to adjust to. It still is.”
“I never thought,” Donna breathed. “It all looks so glamourous and empowering, I never thought how much it must have upset your life. I hope your family and your friends helped you.”
His surprise was evident in the way his head jerked up and his fingers twitched. “Oh! Oh, no. I’ve never told a soul about this. Except you. I couldn’t.”
“Oh my lord! Why not?”
He flung an arm out the direction from which they had come. “Did you see that out there? My dad, if he lived in the city, he would’ve been right there, chanting along with the rest of that mob. My mum and my brother, they’re a bit better, but if they knew, they’d hate me. And even if they didn’t, you see what happens when you’re around a prime? You’re in the line of fire and you get hurt. I couldn’t do that to them.!” As Donna stammered an apology for her failure to realise how his admission might ruin his family and endanger his loved ones, he spun away, striding to the door and pulling it open. “We’ve got to go and get you safe. Now.”
“Doctor, I’m sorry, really I am! This is all so new to me,” she protested. “I thought, I thought your world would be so glorious, with all that power. I never thought…”
“Shush.” Walking back over to her, he grasped her shoulder, and she could see his smile in the flex of his jaw, visible behind the edge of his mask. “It’s I who should apologise. You can’t know, and I shouldn’t have gotten angry. But it’s time you went home, and I’ve got to get back out there. I’m sure there are people still trying to escape the riot.”
Donna clapped her hands to her mouth in horror. “Oh my god, Lance! I don’t know what happened to him! He could be still out there!” Digging in her handbag, she pulled out her mobile and dialed him up, pacing back and forth with increasing apprehension as she waited. When the call transferred to voicemail, she left a quick message, then cried, “He’s not answering! We’ve got to go back!” as she stuffed the mobile in her pocket. She dashed out the door, but stopped as the Doctor called her back.
“Donna, I’m sure he’s fine,” he stated as he came up behind her.
“How can you say that?” she cried, aghast. “He’s in the middle of that -”
“Donna,” the Doctor explained, “most of the crowd got away. He probably didn’t hear the ringer in all the noise.”
He grasped her shoulders. “But I’ll go look for him, after we get you safe. All right?”
He was right. There was little she could do to find him, and if the riot was still going, she’d be a liability in the search. “Yeah, okay,” she agreed, though she couldn’t help pouting.
“Now, where can we take you?” he pondered. “We can get you to the Tube station so you could go home, but I think you’d rather stay around here and wait for Lance.”
“His flat’s not far. Well, it’s a bit of a jog, but…” She shrugged. “I’ve got the key. Unless you can walk through walls.”
“That, I can’t do,” he said, an amused lilt in his voice. “But that sounds like the perfect place. Let’s go.”
They trotted through the reception area and out of the main doors of the building in the direction that Donna indicated. “Now, tell me what he looks like, and what he was wearing…”