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): 2530
Once Harold Saxon was silenced and tethered to a sturdy piece of the remnants of the scaffolding, Jon pulled the neck of his jumper up over his nose and bounded over to the smashed machine. Rooting through the pieces, he began pocketing the most important components, to prevent someone from reverse-engineering the device from the wreckage. When he uncovered the tiny piece of Blue Rain, his eyes crinkled in distaste. He weighed the pebble, dark and shiny like glowing lapis, in his hand, then stuffed it in a pocket as he hopped up.
Dashing up behind him, Donna had stayed back to let him work, watching him with a proud smile and shining eyes, but her smile vanished as soon as he turned to face her. His eyes dark and miserable, he held her gaze with regret and an unspoken apology, then dashed off, out of the square and up the side of the nearest building. She called after him, “Jon! Jon! Come back! Please!” but he disappeared around a corner, out of sight.
As the other two primes trotted up to Donna, Crimson Angel offered, “Do you want me to go after him? I can bring him back.”
“No,” Donna replied without thinking. Why, Jon? Now that the secret’s out, why are you still running? Shaking her head to dispel those thoughts and pay attention to the here and now, she repeated, “No. Thank you, but no.” Catching sight of Silver Falcon beside Angel, she jabbed a finger at him. “Oh, you! Don’t you dare! Don’t you dare -”
Silver Falcon was quick to assure her. “No, Donna, I would never. It’s been a month now and he hasn’t outed me; it’s only fair that I protect him. Besides,” and he glanced at the masked woman beside him, “we have this unspoken rule: private lives stay private. It’s good for us all.”
“So, you all know each other?” Angel inquired.
“Yeah.” Falcon snorted. “As Saxon said, we have a history.” It was his turn to wag a finger at Donna. “A history I’m willing to let go. You obviously had no idea he was the Doctor. I don’t know what there is between you two, but whatever it is, I think you’ve got your work cut out for you.” Donna knew that beneath that mask, Lance was gazing at her with sympathy and concern.
“Yeah, I do,” she mumbled.
“The more pressing issue is, what to do with him?” Crossing his arms, Silver Falcon turned a disapproving gaze on Saxon. “He’s right, you know. There are no laws that I know of for dealing with malicious use of mind control. There’s just no precedent. Blow up a building, rob a bank, attempted murder - those are crimes we know how to deal with. How can we even prove what he’s done?”
Sighing, Crimson Angel rubbed a hand through her hair. “What’s even worse is that I still want to help him. His influence is still there, and I’m only doing this because I know rationally that he’s controlling me and has to be stopped.”
“Well, I’d say, take him to the police and explain it all,” Donna suggested. “Then it’ll be up to the lawmakers to come up with what’s needed to deal with him and any others with powers we’ve just never faced before.”
“It’s the only thing we can do,” Falcon agreed.
“Oh,” Angel groaned. “And here comes the press.” The other two turned to see the television reporter and his cameraman approaching. “This is always the worst part of this job.”
“Yeah.” Falcon shook his head. “Almost enough to put me off this line of work.”
“Let me take care of it.” Donna patted both of them on the arm and jerked her head toward Saxon. “You need to look after him, so get going. And make sure he doesn’t get to talk.”
“Oh, you’ve always been an angel, Donna,” Silver Falcon crooned, scooping her toward him and pecking her on the top of the head, then letting her go as he turned to the other prime. “Different kind of angel from you,” he explained.
“Shut it, Tiny Wings,” Crimson Angel snapped. “Don’t think I haven’t regretted this name since the day I chose it. The blokes think it means that I’m innocent or sexy, and the women complain that my energy isn’t actually crimson and doesn’t match my costume. I just can’t win.” She grinned at Donna and beckoned Falcon to accompany her to deal with Saxon.
“You could just go with your first name.” Falcon’s tone was mockingly helpful. “No pre-conceived expectations. Then you can change your costume as much as you want, like Kathica.”
“Take it from me: no one wants to be rescued by a hero named Margaret.”
That was the last Donna heard of their banter as she stepped in front of the approaching news crew. “I’m sorry,” she began, holding her hands out to her sides to let them know they weren’t to pass her, “Silver Falcon and Crimson Angel are busy at the moment. They aren’t available to talk.”
“We’d just like a statement on what happened today. It shouldn’t take a moment.” He glanced over Donna’s head at the retreating primes.
“Well,” said Donna as she stood her ground, “you’ll just have to talk to me, then.”
The reporter’s eyes flicked over her as he realised who she was. “You were right down in the thick of all of that. You saw everything that happened and you know who that new prime is, don’t you?”
“Then can we do an interview?” The reporter jerked his head at his cameraman to get into position.
Donna smiled sweetly. She had full control over what got out about all of this. “I can tell you everything that went on here, but on one condition: you don’t mention the prime’s real name and you don’t show him unmasked in any way. He deserves respect and privacy, and I’m sure there’s already going to be too much of him on the Internet, but I want to stop it here as much as I can. If you’ve any footage of him without the mask, you destroy it, even if it’s only from the back.”
Considering the demand for a moment, the reporter turned to his cameraman. “Did you get any?”
He nodded. “Only at the end. I got back with the camera as he left.”
The reporter eyed Donna as he ordered, “Erase it.”
The cameraman fiddled with his equipment for a few minutes whilst his partner and Donna waited, then nodded. “It’s gone and I’m ready.”
“Okay. No mention of his real identity in any way. That’s the deal,” the reporter repeated to assure Donna that her concerns were being honoured in exchange for the scoop. “Now, before we film, tell me what happened, and then we’ll do the televised interview afterward.”
Nodding, Donna began. “All right. The new prime, he’s called the Doctor...”
Donna settled in to tell the tale of the Doctor and Harold Saxon whilst the primes carted the man away and the square slowly emptied. Hitting the most important events - the discovery of Saxon’s powers and what he intended to do with it, and the attempt to destroy the machine with which he’d hoped to capture large audiences - she managed to keep her own involvement out of it for the most part, saying that she’d previously known the Doctor and had come to the square to see if she could assist. After hearing the entire story, the reporter’s interview was even more abridged, focusing on Saxon and the danger his type of power represented.
That night, the incident was splashed across the evening news, with Donna’s statements to the press front and center and only one blurry image of the Doctor, still in his mask, facing down Harold Saxon, and Sylvia took special pride in her daughter’s role in revealing Saxon’s threat. Donna found herself smothered in frequent motherly hugs and offerings of tea and cake, and she found it to be almost as oppressive as the nagging and sarcasm she usually received. It all got worse once the phone calls started coming in.
“And that was Darla,” Sylvia announced, clapping her phone closed as she sat back down on the sofa. “They’re talking about you all the way up in York! She wanted to know if you managed to get Silver Falcon’s autograph. Leave it to her think of something like that at a time like this.”
Donna was curled up in the corner of the couch, trying not to watch herself on the telly. She wanted to lock herself in her room and try to sort out this very confusing day, but she knew that it was pointless to try. Her mother needed to bask in her reflected spotlight. “Silver Falcon’s just a regular bloke,” she grumped.
“Well, that’s a change in attitude,” Sylvia retorted. “No longer the be-all, end-all, is he, now that you know was working for this Saxon person?”
Donna rolled her eyes. “I told you, Mum. He was coerced. He’s normally a good man.”
“But you see, that just goes to show you what I’ve been saying.” She shook a finger at Donna. “You can’t trust these primes. It goes to their heads, it does, and then they think they don’t have to be accountable. They don’t worry about who they’re hurting.”
“That’s not true,” Donna replied immediately, but without her usual fervor. Somehow, she wasn’t quite sure about who she could trust anymore. “It’s just not true.”
“Oh, and this Doctor of yours,” Sylvia continued as she picked up her tea cup. “How did you get involved with him anyway?”
Donna shot her grandfather a silencing glare before answering. “I’m not ‘involved’ with him, Mother. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, when he was moving in to confront Saxon.”
“And he just put you right in the middle of all that fighting,” she stated, glaring at Donna over the rim of cup.
Donna groaned. “Mum, that’s enough. What happened to all the ‘now that’s my Donna on the telly’ and ‘I always knew you’d do great things’?”
Sylvia sniffed, pursing her lips superciliously. “I’m just saying that it was dangerous.”
“And I’m just saying that sometimes it’s worth the risk to do what’s right.”
“Well, missy!” Sylvia exclaimed as she stood up and planted her hands on her hips. “I suppose a mother’s not supposed to worry about her daughter. I know when I’m not wanted.” And she marched away, up the stairs.
“I can’t win! I just can’t win ever!” Donna breathed, flopping back on the couch. “I can save the city from a mind control nutter, and all she says is, could I have done it safer?”
“Sweetheart,” Wilf soothed. “You know she’s proud of you. She’s just worried, is all.”
“I know. It’s just…” She sighed, sinking further into the cushions. “I was queen of the world for a moment there. I just wished it lasted a few minutes longer.”
With a sympathetic smile, Wilf stood up and moved over to sit next to Donna on the couch, patting her on the thigh. “So, that was your Doctor, wasn’t it?”
“He’s not my Doctor. He’s not my anything.” She stared at the scenes of the square on the telly without seeing any of it.
Wilf frowned and pointed at the telly. “But you was with him there, right there in the middle of all them primes, weren’t you?”
“So what happened?”
Sitting up, she caught his gaze for a moment before pronouncing, “I know who he is, Gramps. His mask came off and I got to see him. I know him.”
Leaning back, Wilf put a hand to his mouth. “You know him. He’s a friend.”
“Yeah. And he ran off, soon as he could.” Donna paused, blinking back unbidden tears. “I don’t get it, Gramps. He knows me, from two different lives, and all I’ve done in both of them is try to help him. Why couldn’t he trust me?”
“Oh, sweetheart.” Wilf caught her hand and held it in both of his as he asked, “Is he a good man? Both of him, I mean. The man and the prime?”
“I think so. I mean, how can I tell? I thought Lance was a good man, and lookit the wanker he turned out to be.” She plopped back against the sofa again, hugging herself and staring off into the corner.
“You can tell, in your heart.”
Donna considered everything she knew about Jon, but she realised it really wasn’t much. Yes, she’d worked in the same department with him for two years, but their paths had rarely crossed. She’d only started getting to know him in the last month or so, and all she’d learned was that he was a brilliant engineer with career problems who was shy but kind. At the same time, she’d met him as the Doctor, and as a prime, he was brave and compassionate. Was that enough to tell her who he really was? She couldn’t ignore the fact that she’d dated Lance for two years and hadn’t known him at all. “I don’t know, Gramps. I think he tries to be, but I really don’t know.”
Wilf nodded, understanding her difficulty. “Well, then, think about it like this, sweetheart. He’s got two lives. He trusted you with both of them. No one else.”
“No, he didn’t,” said Donna, shaking her head. “I only found out when they unmasked him.”
“I’m not talking about that.” Jittering his hand, Wilf struggled to put his thoughts into words. “Look, look. You told him to be a hero and he did, and then, then he came back as that hero to find you. If he didn’t trust you, he wouldn’t have done that, and you never would have known. He sought you out as the Doctor because he already knew you in his real life.”
Donna shrugged. Perhaps that made sense, but it was the only thing that did. “But if he trusted me, then why wouldn’t he tell me? And after I already knew, why did he run off?”
“I think, darling, it’s that he doesn’t trust himself.”
Donna laughed. “What? That’s daft.”
“No, it’s not.” Wilf grasped her hand again, warm and comforting. “Maybe he’s afraid he’ll put you in more danger. Or maybe he doesn’t think he’s good enough for you. Wouldn’t be the first time a bloke thought that. But you hafta ask him. He’s the only one who can tell you for sure.”
Pulling her hand away, Donna threw both of them up in frustration. “I told you, he ran off. He doesn’t want to talk to me.”
“Never stopped you before.”
Donna grinned. Gramps knew her the best of everyone in the world. “No, it hasn’t, has it?”
He took her hand again and peered at her with wide eyes, nodding. “Go after him, sweetheart. You won’t have peace if you don’t.”
Cocking her head to the side, Donna gazed at her grandfather, her lips pursed in a tiny, sad smile. “Yeah.”