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"Blue Rain", chapter 11

Title: Blue Rain, chapter 11
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): 2813

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Whenever Donna had broken up with a boyfriend, she’d never found it difficult to find a confidante for compassion, comfort, and commiseration. That person was never her mother, as she was as likely to point out to Donna how she’d driven the man away as ply her with blankets and ice cream. Her usual choice for a shoulder to cry on was Nerys, her best friend since, well, since longer than she would ever admit to anyone. Nerys had never failed to bundle her off to a pub and helped her drown the memories of the relationship under a flood of ale whilst listening, just listening. Everyone was amazed that Donna could tolerate Nerys’ sarcasm and cynicism, but they never realised that her frosty shell was the way she expressed her friendship and that she honestly cared and understood - she was just very picky about whom she cared and understood.

However, it just didn’t seem right to seek out Nerys this time. Her best friend was now her boss and the broken relationship had been with a coworker. Donna knew it wouldn’t be appropriate to head out drinking with the boss to complain about the head of HR, and she wasn’t sure that, with a couple of pints in her, she’d be able to resist spilling the beans on what had really happened and whom Lance had turned out to be. Her mind was clouded by the shocking revelations of the day and the destruction of a love that she’d thought was the one, but not enough that she couldn’t clearly see that keeping Lance’s secrets were paramount. She also knew that Nerys’ sympathy would wane once she heard that the Doctor had been involved. Thus, by the time Donna dragged herself through the door at home, she’d decided to keep mum on the events of the day and break the news to her family a bit later in the week, when she could concoct a story that involved breaking up at work.

Sylvia and Wilf were surprised at Donna’s return, having expected that she would be spending the entire day and then the night with Lance, returning home the next day after work. Keeping a tight rein on her anger at her former boyfriend, she wove them a tolerably believable tale about arriving at his flat and finding that having forgotten about his promise to her, he’d already headed out with some mates. He’d returned when she called to find out where he was, but the ensuing argument had so discoloured the mood that after they’d gone out for a bit, she’d decided she’d rather be at home.

“Oh, sweetheart,” Sylvia exclaimed and motioned Donna toward the kitchen. “You want a cuppa? Let me put the kettle on.”

“A coffee,” Donna murmured as she and Wilf preceded her mother and sat down at the table.

“Anything you’d like. I’ve got in some of those biscuits you like, too.” She protested as Donna stood to help her fetch the biscuits and start the beverages. “Oh, no, sit down, Donna. I’ve got this.”

“What are you on about?” asked Donna as she sat back down, suspicious that Sylvia was actually being nice for once.

“I’m just trying to help you feel better. Yes, Dad, I’ll bring you one, too,” she shot at Wilf, who was timidly raising a hand to catch her attention.

Donna sighed. “What do you want?”

“I don’t want anything.” On her way to the pantry, Sylvia stopped and glowered at her daughter. “I’m not so old that I don’t remember what it’s like to be stood up. Not much I can do but supply the biscuits and be here if you want to talk, but I was about to go over to Suzette’s. I promised to help her with her garden today - she just doesn’t understand how to deal with the pests - but I thought, if you’d like, when I got back, we could all go out for a nice dinner. We haven’t had a family dinner in donkey’s years. Yes, you too,” she assured her father, “you can go off the diet for a day.”

With a soft smile, Donna accepted. Her mum really could be very sweet and caring when she wanted to be. To a point, anyway.

As she prepared the refreshments, Sylvia attempted to get Donna to open up with a few gentle questions, but as Donna had very little truthful to say about what had happened, she insisted that she didn’t want to talk about it and turned the conversation toward Suzette’s garden. The neutral topic gave her a chance to relax and let go of her anger a little. By the time Sylvia left for Suzette’s, Donna was simply broody.

“That was almost worse than being nagged at,” Donna sighed as soon as Sylvia was out of the house. “It makes me nervous when she’s that nice.”

“Your mother’s not blind, you know,” Wilf said, placing his cup down and leaning toward his granddaughter. “She’s been there before, so she knows what it’s like, and she can tell there’s something else going on.” He paused. “Isn’t there?”

Turning to stare out of the window at the garden where the new plants were just breaking ground, Donna refused to answer, and Wilf wagged a finger at her. “Neither of my girls’d come back from a ruined date with her tail between her legs. Not Sylvia nor you. You’d’ve whipped Lance into shape, so it must’ve been something else.”

“No, Gramps,” she lied. There was just too much that she couldn’t say and she had to figure it out on her own. “That’s all that happened. Lance wasn’t there when he said he would and we had a row. I don’t… I’m not sure I like the way he’s been treating me lately, and this was just more of the same.”

“How’s that?”

She shrugged. “He takes me for granted, treats me like I’m barely there. I don’t know. I know I’m getting too old for this, but I can do better. Find someone who respects me.” She declined to voice what was going through her head: Someone who thinks I’m brilliant.

“You sound like you’ve given up on Lance.”

“Yeah.” Her breathy agreement was resigned. “I think I have.”

Wilf peered at her. His granddaughter was upset, but not as upset as she should be, as any of the Mott women would be in these circumstances. He’d lived through three generations of them - four, if you counted the mother of his beloved Eileen (bless her), though she technically wasn’t a Mott - and they all shared the same fiery nature. There was only one reason why Donna wouldn’t be tearing the house apart just now. “That ‘someone’, you already found him, hey?”

It was not easy to embarrass Donna, but this time she could feel the warm flush of her cheeks. “No,” she said with a laugh, though she really didn’t find it funny, “not really.”

“Tell me about him,” Wilf pressed. He’d seen the brief sparkle in her eye before she’d ducked her head to conceal her blush.

“There’s nothing to tell, Gramps. He’s out of my league.”

“Oh, now, where’s my Donna, eh? No one’s too good for her. When you see something you want, you go out and get it, eh?” With an encouraging smile, Wilf reached over and knocked Donna on the shoulder, and she rocked with the gentle push.

“It’s not that. It’s just, well…” She signed. “Do you remember, Gramps, that man that helped me home when I twisted my ankle? It’s him.”

“Oh, ho!” With a big smile, Wilf clapped and pointed at his granddaughter. “That’s what you mean, out of your league. That doctor bloke!”

“No, actually,” and she gave him a sheepish smile, “he’s not a doctor, that I know of anyway. I lied just to give Mum a story she’d believe. I didn’t want to tell her that he’s a prime. You see, he attacked those men and checked me over using his powers.”

Wilf nodded in agreement. “Fair dos. I wouldn’t tell her that myself.”

“Yeah. But there’s more.” Donna picked at her fingernails as she explained. “That night, I told him that he was good at the hero business, and so he’s gone and done it. He’s got a mask and everything. Well, except he just wears regular clothes and looks daft with them and the mask. But he’s a real hero. There was a riot in the city today, and he saved so many lives.”

“Sounds like a fine young man. What’s he called?”

Her head bowed, Donna peered up at her grandfather through her fringe. “The Doctor.”

“The Doctor? That’s rubbish!” he exclaimed with a laugh.

“Yeah, that was my fault, too. It started out as a joke and he hadn’t chosen a name for himself, so...” She shrugged. “So, yeah, he’s not real.”

Wilf frowned. “Donna, he’s a prime, but that doesn’t make him not real. They’re human, too, you know. He’s as real as any other man.”

“No, he’s not.” She resisted the urge to jump up and pace. She didn’t want Wilf to see just how upset she was over the Doctor. “He’s made it perfectly clear that the hero I’m talking to isn’t real.”

“I’m sure when you get to know each other better -”

“No, Gramps! He said no!” she pouted, then immediately apologised with a soft smile. “I’m sorry. I’m just, welI, I don’t know. I don’t know what to think about him.” She shrugged. “He’s a rebound, Gramps. With Lance standing me up today, the Doctor was just the next bloke to pay attention to me. That’s all.”

“It don’t sound like that, sweetheart -” Wilf began, but Donna cut him off again.

“No, Gramps, that’s all it is,” she stated with finality. She was deluding herself, reading too much into the three conversations she’d had with the man, and she couldn’t allow herself to even think of starting down that path when he’d insisted on keeping her at arm’s length. Switching her attitude to force the end of the discussion, she asked, “Please don’t tell Mum about me and Lance yet. I’ll tell her when I’m ready.”

Will replied, “Of course, sweetheart…” and he dropped the conversation according to her tacit request, but he couldn’t help worrying for her. She was arguing herself out of her budding interest in this man, and she was always at her worst when going against what was in her heart. However, there was nothing he could do to help her; she needed to figure out what she wanted on her own.

By the time Sylvia returned from her errand, Donna had brightened into a considerably better mood, or at least had put on a tolerably cheery attitude, and the three of them went out for the promised dinner, a bit early to avoid the crowds. Sylvia managed to refrain from antagonising her daughter through the meal, and after the enjoyable evening out, they returned home to their normal activities, mother and daughter settling in front of the telly to make snide comments about the reality programmes whilst Wilf pored over his star charts to plan his evening’s stargazing.

Once the twilight settled into full darkness and Wilf began to gather his things to head up the hill to watch the stars, the doorbell rang. “Donna, will you get that?” Sylvia asked without taking her eyes off the screen. “It’s one of the Millers’ kids, I’m sure, selling their biscuits and whatnots. They’re always about on a Sunday night, and I tell them every time, they shouldn’t be out after the sun goes down.”

Rolling her eyes, Donna hopped up and pulled open the door, prepared to greet a nervous little girl with an armful of samples, but instead of a pair of hopeful eyes peering up at her, she found herself staring at faded jeans around a pair of long, skinny legs.

“Oh!” she exclaimed, her eyes snapping up to Jon’s astonished face. “Jon! Hi!”

Stumbling back a step, he clutched his arms around a brown paper bag peeking out of his grey hoodie and gaped like a goldfish for a moment. “Donna, er, hello,” he stammered. “I’ve, er, I’m, well, is your grandfather home?”

Suppressing a giggle at his discomfiture, Donna replied with a welcoming smile, “Of course he is. Come in!” She stepped back to hold the door open for him, and as soon as he was right in front of her, she bellowed toward the kitchen, “Gramps! Jon’s here to see you!” just to watch the man jerk like a startled cat.

“Donna!” Sylvia reprimanded her as she rose from the couch. “Behave yourself, won’t you? It’s good to see you again, Jon,” she smiled at their guest.

“Likewise, Mrs. Noble.” With a nervous smile, he glanced at the kitchen. “Don’t worry. I won’t touch your china again.”

“Oh, don’t even think about that. I’ve already forgotten it. Can I get you some tea?” she asked as Donna closed the door and joined them.

“Oh, no, thank you. Please don’t make a fuss. I’m just here to see Wilf.”

The old man came bustling out of the kitchen. “Good to see you, my boy! Back so soon?”

“Yeah, I’ve, er…” Jon glanced nervously at both Donna and Sylvia before continuing. “I brought that part for your telescope.” Bringing out the paper bag, he dug in it and pulled out a shiny brass object, its smooth surfaces and sharp edges glinting in under the lounge lights.

“Oh, you shouldn’t have! Come on in here. I’ve got it out on the table.” As they retreated into the kitchen, Donna and Sylvia grinned at each other, and as soon as she saw the opportunity, Donna crept to the door to listen in.

Donna! Sylvia mouthed to her eavesdropping daughter in horror, who shot a Shhh! motion back at her with a finger to her lips.

“How much do I owe ya for that thingummy?” Wilf was asking.

“Nothing at all. I couldn’t find the right part for this model, but I thought it would work a lot better if, well, you see, this bit here, on the original part, it faces this way and that bit’s up here. So I made this one at work. Should be a lot easier to use. Let me put it in and see.”

“You was at work today to make this for me?”

“Oh, no, that was yesterday. Today, I got these.” There was a bit of rustling paper and gentle clunks on the table. “I picked up a book on optics and it recommended these for minimising the chromatic aberration. Thing is, I’ll have to bring up some other tools to open the casing and mount them.”

“Oh, no, this is too much. I can’t take this.”

“No, please. She’s a beautiful instrument. She just needs a bit of care and she’ll bring the stars down for you.”

Pressing a hand over her mouth, Donna snuck over to sit next to her mother, her eyes wide. “What is it?” Sylvia whispered. “What’d you hear?”

“I never thought!” breathed Donna. “That Jon, you saw what he’s like, a squirrel in a skating rink. He just told Gramps that the fixes he’s making on the telescope will bring the stars down for him.”

“Oh, now that’s poetic,” murmured Sylvia. “Just goes to show, you never know what people are really like deep down, do you? We just get to see the surface, what they want us to see.” She settled back to watch the telly again. “He seems like such a nice young man.”

“Yeah, he is,” Donna agreed absently, distracted by another surface, another mask on her mind. She wondered if she’d ever meet the man inside that the Doctor was determined to hide.

Donna was still daydreaming when the two men finally emerged from the kitchen, the younger toting the telescope and a camping chair whilst the older carried the knapsack with his notebook, blanket, and thermoses of tea. “Takin’ the hill!” Wilf proclaimed as they paraded through the lounge.

“Aye aye, sir!” Jon responded with an eager smile before he cringed with embarrassment, avoiding eye contact with either Donna or her mother.

“Don’t wait up,” Wilf as he scurried out of the door.

“Dad!” Sylvia called after him. “It’s ten already. You can’t stay up… Dad!” Rolling her eyes, she jumped up to intercept Jon with a direct order. “You take care of him, young man. Make sure he keeps warm.”

Jon’s eyes were wide. “I will, Mrs. Noble. We’ll come back soon, I promise.”

“Oh, let him have his time up there,” she relented. “Just don’t let him overreach himself.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Saluting with the telescope, he flashed a shy smile at Donna and followed her grandfather out into the night.

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( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 16th, 2016 03:48 am (UTC)


Happy, happy happy dance ensues, and I dive in once more to re-reaed this..

I'm so proud of Donna for having the strength of character to not go about blabbing the truth of Lance's identity and yet for making up her mind that she wasn't going to cave in and return to him.

Happy, happy, happy dance continues that SYLVIA likes JON! And WILF likes JON! And DONNA likes teasing JON! And yeah, JON likes DONNA!

Excuse me while I collapse on the couch and try my best not to jump up and down as I wait as patiently as possible (Which, truth be told, isn't very patient. Really. Ask anyone who knows me.) for the next part.

(Oh, and BTW- so far, NC-17 is about as far as I'd go with the rating, and that's more for the adult situation and for Lance's duplicity than because it was graphic- which it wasn't. Bring on the Jon/Donna relationship and we'll reassess the rating, if necessary!!!)
Sep. 16th, 2016 05:19 pm (UTC)
Wow. Thank you! Just, thank you! :D

Sylvia just had to like Jon. Yes, he did break her china, but that was just an accident. And I figured, yes, Sylvia has the history of not liking the Doctor despite all of the wonderful things he did, but then, you know, every one of RTD's mothers had a good reason to hate the Doctor. I think any of them would have been more reasonable if their first encounter with him hadn't been bad. Given that, I didn't see why Sylvia wouldn't like Jon. Though, she might be like my mom - everyone's a nice young man until they started dating her daughter!

Thanks for the opinion on the rating! I think the consensus is that R is appropriate.
Sep. 16th, 2016 09:00 am (UTC)
Sep. 16th, 2016 05:19 pm (UTC)
Sep. 16th, 2016 07:39 pm (UTC)
It qualifies for R/M, and that's basically because of the bedroom stuff. Nothing is explicit enough to earn NC-17/MA.

Donna did the right thing in not telling the truth. But I feel she could've owned to finding out about another woman without saying anything she shouldn't. He lied to her, and it's about something she can't forget or forget. But she'll need something to say that'll keep the gossip to a minimum.

Hmm... had a thought. What if the Doctor ran into the mothers first? How would they react if their daughters then ran into the Doctor?
Sep. 16th, 2016 09:05 pm (UTC)
Now that's an interesting question! I wonder, for example, what Martha would think if, 25 years in the future, she finds that her (and Mickey's) son or daughter began traveling with the Doctor? A lot would depend on if the parent(s) had already told their children about their travels. I might have to think about that for a future story.

About the canon mothers, though...

I'd think that of the three, Francine would not like the Doctor no matter in what context she met him. She's very status-conscious and his informal, flippant attitude would turn her off right quick. I think both Jackie and Sylvia would notice that he's strange, but wouldn't dislike him. Then, if they were to find out that he's an alien that travels around and saves civilizations... Well, I think Jackie would first be horrified that he's an alien, but then she'd 180-flip to hero-worship. Sylvia would be much more level-headed and appreciate him.

THEN when their daughters meet him and want to travel with him. Well, nothing's going to change Francine's mind. After the Year That Never Was, while she appreciated that he saved the world, I do not believe that she still considered him safe for Martha to be around. Jackie wouldn't approve of Rose traveling with him, because she's extremely protective, but she wouldn't be able to stop her.

Of the three, I think that Sylvia would be fine with Donna going off with him. I think that all of the objections she had in the show to Donna going off with him stemmed from her not trusting him. If Sylvia had known the Doctor beforehand and understood him, I think she would have approved of Donna going with him, while always still being concerned for her safety. After all, all Sylvia ever wanted was for Donna to work hard and realize her potential, and the Doctor would help her do that.
Sep. 17th, 2016 05:40 am (UTC)
Interesting thoughts. But one thing would change drastically from the Doctor meeting Jackie first; he'd learn to respect her much sooner. Which would mean he might not let Rose go with him unless a few things changed. If Jackie became his friend, I don't see him letting his friends be insulted or disrespected. Especially as Nine. (My two cents.)

Sylvia... Yeah. She also might've forced a different end to Journey's End had she known him before. I mean, can you imagine a phone call from Donna, checking in on them, and them learning about the Meta-Crisis Doctor? They'd want to meet him, for sure.

I might have to write something like this one day. Just as I might, as a lark, write a sort-of self-insert story that's been fluttering around in the back of my mind for a while. (Ever had the thought of 'what if you found yourself inside a favorite story and tried to change things'? Well, I thought it might deal with issues of time-lines and consequences.)
Sep. 17th, 2016 09:21 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, I do believe that if the Doctor and Jackie were actual friends first (as opposed to simply friendly acquaintances), Jackie would have attempted to school Rose into being more respectful. Not sure it would have worked, though - Rose tends to get worse when it's pointed out to her how horrible she's being.

It'd definitely be an interesting take on series 4, to start with Donna's family actually knowing the Doctor beforehand and being able to help him in Sontaran Stratagem and JE.

I've honestly never thought of a self-insert like that, if only because I have a tendency of writing it so that everything ends up worse rather than better. I seem to really like tragic endings, and well, JE is tragic enough as it is! :)
Sep. 18th, 2016 06:05 pm (UTC)
She did, didn't she? Which would work against her traveling with the Doctor as I don't see him putting up with her like that.

What about them knowing about him before The Runaway Bride? That's what I'm thinking about. :)

I've seen these fics from the Jane Austen fandom where a reader has somehow become part of the story, or even taken on the role of one of the characters, and then tries to make things work for their favorite. Given the potential for dire consequences if they do the wrong thing, I think there's plenty of tragic possibilities. You can still make JE tragic without Donna's canon fate, and I suspect the "self-insert" would try to avert one tragedy only to cause another.
Sep. 18th, 2016 07:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, oh! I would love to see a scene where Donna comes back to the reception with the Doctor, convinced that she needs to keep this alien secret, and Sylvia goes, "Oh, it's you!" and completely surprises Donna that she knows him.

Oh, yes, I've heard of those. Lost in Austen is one of those, as far as I know, though I haven't read or seen it yet - I've meant to. Interesting idea!
Sep. 18th, 2016 09:21 pm (UTC)
Okay, now I have to write that one. The Doctor would feel awful then about even suggesting that Donna wasn't special, and I wonder if he could keep that from Sylvia.

The idea is taking shape. But I want to get some other fics ready first.
Sep. 19th, 2016 12:11 am (UTC)
Great to hear that the idea has been planted! I just love the concept of expanding on Sylvia's character by having her be a friend/companion of the Doctor before Donna was.
Sep. 16th, 2016 08:24 pm (UTC)
Should they be reporting the Miller kids' parents to Social Services or the NSPCC? Sounds dodgy to me.

Anyway, our Donna is a star! She has the maturity to realise the amount of damage she would cause by reveal the exact nature of Lance's cheating behaviour.

And I can understand Sylvia liking Jon and being protective of him because who can resist someone who has shown himself to be a likeable underdog? Women of that age positively love them.

btw, you wouldn't believe how hard it has been to not only read this in peace but get the chance to write a comment without constant interruptions. If I was a bit different I'd swear it was a conspiracy.
Sep. 16th, 2016 09:08 pm (UTC)
Yeah, they probably should. There's always one of those families in every area, isn't there? Or is that just an American thing, where there's that one set of kids that are always allowed to stay outside into night?

(No worries. It'll always be here for you to return to! :)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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