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): 2239
It took Donna a few minutes to find the files Jon requested and send them off to him, and then, grabbing her notes, she set off to find Lance. Striding out of the office and toward the lift, her hair swept back and forth with the force of her steps. She tapped her foot impatiently as she waited for the carriage to arrive, and then again as it took her up to the executive offices. As soon as she walked into the human resources suite, Lina, one of the other HR people, shot her a dirty look. Oh, get over it, you daft bimbo, she spat at her silently as she favoured the woman with a friendly smile. I’m over it, he’s over it, so you can just forget it all ever happened. “Hoi, Lina, is he in?”
The woman placed a leisurely hand on her mouse and glanced at her screen. “I’ll see if he has some time open in his schedule,” she drawled.
“Oh, put a sock in it,” Donna snapped as she strode past the woman’s desk to Lance’s closed office door. “He’s HR, not an exec.” She tapped the rhythm she used to use when she knocked on the door to his flat then slipped in, closing the door behind her.
Bent over some paperwork, Lance betrayed no surprise as he looked up at the woman stepping into his office. “Hi, Donna. I thought you’d come here eventually.”
Donna glanced behind her to make sure the door was securely closed then approached, leaning close to speak softly. “Did you find out what’s going on? They’re still down in shipping, far as I know.”
“I checked,” he told her with a reassuring nod. “It’s nothing, turns out. The owner of Keller Environmentals-”
“Harold Saxon,” Donna filled in for him.
“Yes. Mr. Saxon. He needed immediate delivery of his order and having Kathica carry it was more efficient than having it boxed up and loaded into a lorry.” Lance’s tone was reasonable and final, and it grated on Donna’s sensibilities.
“But the contract wasn’t finished. It was held up in legal and Keller hasn’t paid.” When Lance didn’t seem to have any problem with that information, Donna summed it up for him, jabbing a finger down on the surface of his desk. “We don’t deliver until everything is all lined up.”
Lance waved away her protest. “Oh, Nerys took care of that. She said everything’s on the level.”
This wasn’t adding up. Donna set her fists on her hips. “And Crimson Angel?”
“What about her?”
Why was Lance being so thick? After seeing eye-to-eye on everything with Jon, this was like… well, it was like discussing something with an ex-boyfriend. “What is she here for? She’s an energy blaster. She can’t help Mr. Saxon here in any way.”
Lance shrugged. “Apparently, she just came along with Kathica. They work together, you know.”
“Kathica? Work with another woman?” Donna barely restrained herself from shrieking that out. “Don’t be daft, Lance! None of you work together except by chance, Kathica especially.”
“Donna.” Lance flashed her a mollifying smile. “It’s all sorted. Sure, the entrance was a bit flashy, but it’s all done now.”
Donna stared at Lance, trying to recognise in him either the man she thought he’d been for the last two years or the superhero who fought villains and protected the innocent. “Doesn’t this seem suspicious at all to you? The man’s a politician. What does he need whatever that thing is for?”
Lance shrugged, completely unconcerned. “Everything’s copacetic. We’re not in the business of judging what our clients do with the things they order from us. And besides, his company ordered it, not him. Why would you think that he’s using it for his political career?”
“Because his company doesn’t exist. It’s a front.” Frustrated, Donna stomped her foot and set her fists on her hips again. “Lance, think like a hero, not like an employee. Doesn’t this set off any alarms?”
Pursing his lips, Lance shook his head, fixing Donna with a sad stare. “Nope. Doesn’t seem to be anything wrong. I don’t care to go looking for problems that just aren’t there. I’ve got enough to worry about as it is.”
Donna drew in a breath to argue, then sighed. “All right. Thanks for listening.” Trying to mask how defeated she felt, she flashed a smile at him and slipped out, ignoring Lina, who sniffed superciliously as she passed.
After everything she’d heard from Jon and Lance, Donna was sure that something strange was going on here and she mulled it over in her mind as she returned to her desk. Nothing made sense, and she had no idea where to take her suspicions. She couldn’t take this outside the company: since her evidence about Keller Environmentals was private information, normal law enforcement couldn’t help. There was no one within the company who had any ability to do anything except one person, and he flatly refused to believe anything might be wrong. The only hope she had was to leak information to a prime who might choose to follow the leads, but how could she do that?
At her desk, Donna plopped into her chair and stared at the pile of papers in her inbox, then dug her handbag out of the bottom desk drawer and strode out. It was Friday, and no one would care if she left early, if they even noticed at all. Her mind was whirling too much for her to do useful work anyway.
When the early spring sunlight flashed in her eyes as she stepped out of the front door of the building, Donna realised that she had no idea what she should do. As her feet took her by habit on the route toward the Tube station, she tried to come up with any way to attract the attention of a prime. It couldn’t be any of the big three, of course: without Lance, that left Kathica and Crimson Angel, and even if she knew how to contact them, they were already involved. The only prime she had any knowledge of was the Doctor, but she had no way of contacting him.
Changing her route to meander around the city, she stopped several times to scan the sky above but none of the lessers were flying overhead and she’d never before seen a costumed prime walking among the regular denizens of the city, except for the Doctor, if that silly mask could be counted as a costume. WIth no other ideas forthcoming, she began considering how she might entice someone to mug her on the hopes of attracting a hero.
Grumbling under her breath in frustration, a desperate thought came to her and, stopping dead in the middle of the pavement, she cupped her hands around her mouth and, turning in place to call in all directions, screamed out, “Doctor! Doctor! This is Donna! I need you! Doctor!” startling everyone nearby. Passersby stared at the crazy woman and she sneered back at them, “Mind your own flippin’ beeswax!” There, Ears, she thought, that should get you if you’re within a mile.
A woman strode up with a concerned look. “I’m a doctor. Are you all right? What do you need?”
Realising what people must have thought she was doing, Donna smiled gratefully. “Oh, I’m fine. I’m calling for a specific Doctor. If he’s around, he’ll have heard me.”
Frowning in confusion, the woman glanced up and down the street though she had no idea who she was looking for, then asked again, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yes, thank you,” Donna replied. The woman threw one last quizzical look at her then walked on.
Moving to the side of the pavement, Donna waited for a minute, then, with a dejected and embarrassed sigh, resumed walking. The chance that the Doctor would be here, of all places in the greater London metro area, was miniscule. Thus, she nearly leapt out of her skin when she spotted a masked figure in a jacket, tie, and trousers scramble around a corner into view on the ledge of a building, one level above the street. With a huge grin, she stopped and drew in breath to yell again to get his attention, but it was obvious he was coming for her, so she waved, bouncing on her toes.
With a few well-placed leaps, the Doctor closed the distance and landed lightly in front of her. Even without seeing his face, Donna could tell by the way he looked around that he was amused at the shocked gasps and startled cries of “A prime!” usually followed by a low “Who is that?” coming from the people around them. Then he turned to her.
“Blimey, you can shout!” he teased.
Flipping her hair over her shoulder, she straightened proudly. “I thought you might hear me if you were anywhere nearby.”
“I would have heard you if I’d been in Glasgow.”
“Oi!” she snapped in mock irritation. “Can it, flea boy. What took you so long?”
“This mask is not easy to get on quickly, you know.” To demonstrate, he fiddled with the strap buckle beneath his left ear.
“Oh ho!” she chortled. “So you work around here, do you?”
“I happened to be in the area,” he clarified.
Donna could feel his glare through the mask, though she knew he wasn’t serious, and she grinned at his evasive equivocation. “I’m sure you were.”
Clasping his hands behind his back, he adopted a friendly posture, his feet wide apart. “What do you need, Donna? It sounded urgent.”
“Yes. Well, no.” She groaned. “I don’t know.” She pulled him to the side, under the awning of a shop and out of the pedestrian traffic. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I thought maybe you could figure it out.”
“It might be. I’m not sure.” She told him, in abbreviated form, about Kathica and Crimson Angel’s visit to her company with Harold Saxon to fetch the machine they had built, then her subsequent investigations with Jon into Saxon’s dummy company and mayoral campaign. As she handed him her notes, she added that Saxon intended to markedly step up his campaign efforts, starting with the Sunday rally, and it seemed an interesting coincidence that he demanded the delivery of his project at the same time.
“Hm.” The Doctor rubbed at his chin under the mask as he perused the papers. “I’m sure you told Lance about this. What did he say?”
“That’s the thing. He said everything looked fine to him. He didn’t care that the machine was delivered in breach of contract, or that Saxon’s company was just a front.” She suddenly realised why Lance’s reaction bothered her so much: she’d thought that he’d be willing to take a stab at looking into this just because she asked. Though she had no interest in rekindling a relationship with him, the fact that she could no longer influence him was sobering.
“And your friend, the engineer…” He paused to tacitly ask his name.
“Jon?” she offered.
“Yes, Jon. What did he say the thing was?”
“Energy amplifier, but he didn’t know for what.” Donna peered up at the Doctor, wishing he didn’t wear a mask, though for once it wasn’t to find out who he was, but because she wanted to figure out what he was thinking.
“I think,” he murmured after nearly a minute of silence, “I think this certainly sounds suspicious. I’m hesitant to suspect anything’s wrong, since he has two reputable primes supporting him, but I can’t see how this all fits together. The only thing I can think of is to be at that rally and see if he’s indeed using the machine there, and then for what.”
“Oh, thank you!” Donna sighed. She’d been holding her breath waiting for his decision, and let it all out in relief. “I was afraid I was just being paranoid, like my friend Jaycee. She says aliens came down and made you primes to take over the world.”
He laughed and shook his head. “That could very well be true. But don’t thank me yet. I doubt I’ll be able to do much, especially if he’s got primes working for him. They’d grind me into the pavement in a second.”
Donna was horrified. “Oh, no! I don’t want you to get hurt!”
“I won’t,” he promised. “Just get in, find out what’s going on and get out. Sunday afternoon, yes?”
Handing her back her notes, the Doctor paused for a moment and Donna could feel him scrutinising her. “I don’t want you going there, Donna. I’ve no idea what might happen, but whatever it is, I don’t want you in the middle of it. Stay at home.”
“Oh, no!” She shook her head slowly, her eyes wide with apprehension. “I’m not going anywhere near that rally. I know better than that.”
“Good.” He grasped her shoulder. “It will be a lot easier if I don’t have to worry about you. Now, I’ve got to go.”
“Boss yelling for you?” Her eyes twinkled mischievously.
The Doctor groaned. “No, certainly not. Take care of yourself, Donna Noble.” And with a leap, he was gone. With a relieved smile, Donna glanced around to determine the direction to the nearest Tube station, then disappeared into the stream of pedestrians, her promised dinner date completely forgotten.