Fandom(s): Doctor Who
Characters: Tenth Doctor, Donna Noble, Braxiatel
Word Count: 10914 total
Summary: (Blue Rain AU) The evening Donna has dreaded for the past six months has arrived. It's time to meet Jon's parents.
This story is too long for LJ, so I had to cut it into two parts. You really should read Part 1 first.
As Eliza related an amusing (and rather telling) anecdote of their grandfather attempting to teach the young girls the conventions of formal debate, Donna glanced at Jon only to realise he was no longer paying attention to the conversation, turned instead toward the front of the restaurant. Twisting in her seat, she spotted the maitre d’ speaking with a waiter, leaning close to keep their words private. Guests at the two tables near the front window craned their heads to look out, two of them standing to circle around to a better vantage point. The restaurant fell silent as people noticed the odd behaviour.
Grasping Jon’s sleeve, she tugged to pull him closer. “Jon?”
He leant in. “There are primes outside, fighting. Just a block down.” He twitched and clenched his hands, wanting to investigate and help but unable to without revealing his powers to his family.
Donna patted his arm to acknowledge his internal battle and glanced at his father, who stared off towards the window like everyone else.
“What the devil is going on?” Henry murmured as he leant over to wrap a protective arm around his wife’s shoulders.
“It’s a prime battle outside,” Brax declared, clearly enough that the word “prime” bounced around the room as the people at each subsequent table echoed his statement.
“How do you know that?” his father demanded.
Brax pointed at Jon. “That’s what he just said. How did you know?”
“Oh, er,” Jon stammered as he tried to think of a plausible reason, “lots of prime encounters in the city these days and that’s the way they always go. Everyone loves to watch primes, despite the risks. Nothing else gets their attention anymore.” He pointed at the guests leaving their tables to go outside and spectate. “See?”
“I’d no idea it was this bad.” Eliza frowned as she watched.
“And that just illustrates what I was saying,” Henry stated, nodding with self-satisfaction. “Businesses in high incident areas suffer. Their customers either leave like this to watch the primes or avoid the area altogether for fear of their safety.”
“That’s tosh, that is,” Donna spat. “Some might, but lots of others see increased traffic because of primes. It’s almost like a sport.”
“Yes, a sport. It’s like a sport,” agreed Brax, to everyone’s surprise. “And you know, I’d like to see this. Come on.” He rose and beckoned to everyone to follow him out.
“Don’t need to ask me twice,” Donna grinned and grabbed her handbag as she got up. Jon, she knew, would also leap at the opportunity; he might not be able join the fight, but he’d want to observe.
“Oh, no, Chris,” pleaded Eliza, tugging on his sleeve, “don’t go out there. It’s too dangerous.”
“We’ll be fine, Mum,” he replied with an airy wave of his hand. “Don’t worry.”
Henry stood up with his sons. “I should see this as well. Might be very educational. Why don’t you stay inside, Eliza? We’ll return presently..”
She sighed. “Oh, all right. Just… don’t get out in front, all right?”
“Of course not, dear.”
Spectators lined the pavement up and down the block, watching Silver Falcon and Crimson Angel hovering above a lone figure standing in the center of the far intersection and tacitly leaving the road clear as their arena. Traffic had already diverted itself, so Donna and Brax had no trouble finding a clear view from a spot on the kerb, and Henry came up next to his son while Jon stood behind Donna, his hands on her shoulders. She wondered if he was preparing to throw her behind him if trouble came their way.
The woman defiantly brandishing a sign reading “PRIME RIGHTS” at the hovering heroes wore a nondescript windbreaker and loose blue jeans and concealed her face with a masquerade mask. “That’s all we want!” she was yelling. “We want to be left alone!”
“And you thought the best way to deliver that message was to walk right into Buckingham Palace with your sign?” Falcon jeered, crossing his arms across his strong chest as he floated above her. “Not the best plan, love.”
“You see?” Henry asked Donna. “They are lawless. They need to be managed.”
“She’s one woman,” she pointed out. “She’s not all primes.”
“It got people’s attention,” insisted the woman. “The Queen for one, at least. And look at this.” She gestured at the crowd. “All these people here are listening, and the press will be here soon. How else can we stand up for ourselves? No one’s listening to what we have to say. They just want to get rid of us.” She turned and chanted toward the onlookers, “The government cannot take away our rights. They cannot label us and lock us away.”
“No one is trying to lock us away,” stated Angel.
Donna sidled closer to Brax and Henry to murmur, “People know that’s what you’re trying to do.”
Brax shook his head. “They completely misunderstand the intention.”
The woman shouted up at the costumed heroes, “Yes, they are! They’ve been trying to do that since we first appeared. The people in power, they’re afraid we’ll take their control away, so they’re backing the Downers, cos it’s not their fault if that’s what the people want, right? This is oppression. History repeats itself time and again, for every new minority. You’re both primes. Is that what you really want?”
Falcon shrugged. “What I want is unimportant. We can argue all day about rights, but the fact is, breaking and entering is a crime. Time to come with us, love.” He started to descend toward the woman.
Though she continued to stand tall and proud, the woman backed up a few steps as Falcon approached and the crowd shifted uneasily; though they had no idea what might happen, they all knew that things could get dangerous without notice. The woman’s resolve hardened and, throwing her sign down, she planted her feet and thrust her chest out, her fists on her hips. “You can’t stop me, Silver Falcon,” the woman hissed. “You can’t touch me, and you can’t hold me. I am Whisper, and I’ll slip right out of your grasp like the wind.”
Jon gasped. “She’s…” he murmured under his breath.
Donna leant in. “She’s what?”
“Oh, we’ll see about that.” Falcon streaked down and as soon as his feet touched the ground, he swung hard at her stomach. His fist swished right through her and he lost his balance, staggering off to the side before he caught himself. Whisper laughed.
“Didn’t you even wonder how I got in and out of the palace? When I said you can’t touch me, I meant it quite literally.” She flicked her hand dismissively at him. “Go on. Run along.”
“Why, you…” snarled Falcon as he turned to have a go at her again and Donna smirked. Lance was nothing if not stubborn.
“She’s a, whatchacallem?” She asked Jon.
“A phaser. Like the Phantom,” he replied.
“That’s the one that cleared out Notre Dame’s treasury?” asked Brax. He craned his neck to get a better look, then moved away, a few meters past his father down the pavement.
Silver Falcon had taken another swing at the woman, who wagged a finger at him like he was a naughty child. He took a step back and circled her whilst reassessing the situation, obviously fuming behind his mask.
Donna nodded. “Le Fantôme. Except he went all see-through when he phased. Thing is,” and her eyes flicked upward, “wasn’t it Crimson Angel that brought him down?”
The hero in red had her hands stretched in front of her, her sparkling crimson energy vines snaking from her fingers toward the protesting prime. Whisper mocked her flying adversary as the ropes encircled her, then squawked in surprise as they bound her tight. “What the-?”
“You didn’t do your homework, did you?” asked Angel with a saccharine lilt. “My energy cancels phasing. I’m the only person in the world who could catch you, and you didn’t even know.”
In a panic, Whisper struggled against the ropes. “You can’t hold me forever!” she screamed. “Let them down for a second and I’m gone.”
Angel pulled the ropes a touch tighter, making Whisper wince, and crooned, “Then we’ll have to make sure you don’t get the chance. Falcon?”
“Oh, with pleasure.” He stepped up to the bound prime, pulled his fist back, and swung.
“Move!” shouted Jon. He knew from personal experience that Angel’s ropes weren’t unbreakable, and under the force of the angered and humiliated Falcon’s punch, they would shatter, sending Whisper flying and landing somewhere between himself and where his brother stood in front of the next restaurant. Throwing Donna aside as gently as he could given his haste, he jumped in front of his father and instantly recalculated the now-airborne Whisper’s trajectory by her sounds. She was heading almost straight for Brax, and he wasn’t sure if he could make it in time.
He leapt to intercept, quite aware that Brax and everyone around him were frozen in momentary surprise, unable to react as quickly as a super-agile prime. Whisper was flying much too fast, and whilst Brax was starting to react, to jump out of the way, it wouldn’t be far or fast enough. Jon could tackle him and probably do just a bit less damage than the flying body would, or he could knock Whisper off her path; he would clip Brax as well, but with any luck his brother would come out of this with only a bad bruise. Adjusting his path toward the better option, he lowered his head and curled to ram Whisper with his shoulder, then screwed his eyes closed. He could maneuver perfectly without them, and though he couldn’t stop from hearing (and feeling) himself colliding with his own brother, at least he didn’t have to see it.
The next thing he knew, he was on the ground, sprawled over something warm and squishy, staring at a patch of concrete in a daze. A voice called, “Jon! Jon!” from a million miles away, sounding very much like his brother Chris, but what was Chris doing here in Chiswick, on the pavement outside the Nobles’ back door? A hand grasped his arm and tried to roll him off the squishy thing.
“Jon? Are you all right?” Brax’s face finally came into focus in front of him.
“Yeah, fine. Just... just give me a mo’.” He pushed himself up, off the mass he now remembered as the phasing prime Whisper. Oh. Right. Primes. Dinner. Dad. Bloody hell. Sitting back on the pavement, he gulped down some fresh air to gather his wits. He needed to come up with a good excuse for this one, and quickly.
“You saved my life,” Brax breathed as Henry and Donna ran up. “Or at least some serious hurt. You’re all right, yes?”
As Donna settled beside him and laid a gentle hand on his arm, Jon made a show of checking himself over. “I’m okay, actually. Just a tad fuzzed. Oh.” He flicked at the shoulder of his jacket, the silvery lining peeking out where the sleeve had torn. “My good suit,” he groaned.
Brax broke into the grandest smile and threw his arms around him. “Thank God, Jon!”
“Oh, give over, Chris!” Jon extricated himself, annoyed at being fussed over and still not particularly comfortable with close contact, even after all these months of working with his powers. “But what about you? Are you all right?”
“Perfect,” Brax replied as he checked over his brother again, not quite ready to believe he hadn’t hurt himself. “You blocked her off entirely. Don’t worry about me.”
Jon frowned. “But I hit you. I had to have.”
“No, not at all.” Brax leant back to let his brother have a good look to convince him he was unharmed. “Bloody close, but not even a scrape.”
Jon stared, not quite believing his eyes or ears. He was sure he’d catch Brax hard on the arm, or possibly the face, but his brother knelt right there, whole, smiling, and relaxed. His superhearing - his bat sense, as Donna called it, bless her - usually gave him precise understanding of the movements of everything around him and he’d been sure he would collide with his brother, but all evidence suggested that he had been mistaken. He twisted in place. “And Donna, love? Are you okay? Sorry for tossing you, but...”
She hugged him, pecking him on the cheek. “I’m fine, Ears. Bit surprised, is all.”
“I have never seen anyone move so quickly,” commented Henry. “Good show, Jonathan.”
Jon shrugged. “I just saw what I had to do.”
“And you did it well. Thanks for the assist.” boomed a voice behind him. They all looked up to see Silver Falcon standing over them. “Jon, Donna, we’ve got to stop meeting like this,” he greeted them with a jaunty salute.
As Jon silently thanked Falcon for distracting his father’s attention away from his own performance, Donna grunted up at the hero, “Falcon.” Jumping to her feet, she strode over and slapped him across the silver and red face mask. “What the bloody hell was that, birdboy? You coulda killed someone!” She glanced over at Crimson Angel, who knelt on the pavement tending the still-unconscious Whisper. “Look what you did!”
Abashed, Falcon ducked his head and gestured feebly at his disabled opponent. “Sorry. I guess she pushed my buttons. She’ll be fine. We’ll take her to A&E, but she’s a prime. She’ll bounce back.”
Donna jabbed a finger toward Brax. “He wouldn’t have. You’re lucky Jon’s fast on his feet. No excuses,” she scolded. “You keep those buttons unpushed, you hear me?” As she turned and knelt next to Jon again, the crowd gathering around them rumbled with laughter at the way the feisty ginger schooled Britain’s most prominent prime.
“You really do know him,” exclaimed Brax, biting back a grin. “Better than you said, in fact.”
“Honest truth,” replied Donna.
Jon gestured at his family. “Falcon, this is my brother, Chris, and my father, Henry. Dad, Chris, this is Silver Falcon, and Crimson Angel over there.” He waved a shy greeting to her.
Straightening himself into a classic proud superhero stance, Falcon stepped forward and offered a hand to the older man. “A pleasure, sir.”
“Likewise.” Donna noticed that whilst Henry did not hesitate to shake the prime’s hand, his response was short and clipped. He turned and nodded politely to Angel.
“And you as well,” said Falcon, turning to shake Brax’s hand. “I apologise for…” and he gestured at the unconscious Whisper. “That was inexcusable.”
“No harm done. And it gave my brother a chance to play the hero. Keep up the good work.” He shook his head and smiled, but Donna could read his mind through the predatory glint in his eye: Now I’ve got personal experience to back my arguments.
Falcon stepped back, clapping his hands together. “Sorry to meet and run, but we need to tend to her.” He bowed to Jon and Donna and spun to wave at the crowd, then strode over to gently gather Whisper into his arms. Together, Crimson Angel and Silver Falcon rose into the sky and flew off.
If Donna had been proud of shaming Falcon for endangering the spectators of this minor encounter, it paled in comparison to Eliza’s reaction when they all returned to the table. Alerted by the tear in Jon’s jacket that something had happened, she sat still as a statue as Brax related to her the events out in the street, her warm brown eyes chilling to ice as he described Falcon’s punch and Jon’s quick reaction. When his tale was finished, she turned to her husband and described, quietly and in no uncertain terms, what would happen to him if he ever took her boys into a dangerous situation like that again. When he protested that it had not been his idea to go out to watch the fight and that both ‘boys’ were grown men capable of making their own decisions, she informed him that as he was head of the family, she held him fully responsible, and that she considered any requisite discipline of her sons to be the province of their partners.
“As such, for Jon,” Eliza addressed Donna with a gracious smile, “I defer to you. I apologize for such a display, but I believe this incident warranted immediate attention.” She shot a black look at her husband.
Donna’s eyes sparkled with laughter as she took Jon’s hand and squeezed it. “Yeah, we’ll have a chat about this, won’t we?”
“I’m sure we will,” Jon replied, equally amused.
Henry cleared his throat. “Eliza, I do apologise, my dear. However, we are all safe, and I shall endeavour to preserve that.” He covered her hand on the table and squeezed it. “I will say that it was, as I suspected, all very informative.”
“Oh, I can’t wait,” Donna breathed to herself and glanced at Jon to see the reprimand in his eyes.
“Silver Falcon was perfectly pleasant and civil face-to-face,” Henry continued, “but in the heat of the moment, he has no control and that is exactly when he must. And that new prime, Whisper, well, I don’t see that there’s anything to say about her at all. She was quite proud to admit she’d broken into the palace.”
“In protest of all of the things that you’re proposing,” Donna pointed out.
“There are acceptable and unacceptable forms of protest. Which she chose illustrates her character.” He sat back, confident in his judgment of the woman.
Donna pursed her lips to hold back her first reaction to his assessment. “You’re just looking for what you want to see. Silver Falcon was trying to talk her down before she taunted him and he lashed out like anyone might. Whisper may have broken into the palace, but only as a protest. She wasn’t intending to do anything bad. And you forget Crimson Angel. She did nothing wrong at all.”
Brax shook his head. “All I know is that if it wasn’t for the quick actions of a human,” and he glanced at his brother, “I’d be at A&E right now. I, for one, don’t think that we can afford to let this go on and figure out who’s dangerous and who’s safe by the body count.”
Donna drew in a breath to argue but stopped at Jon’s warm hand on hers. The tiny shake of his head told her to drop it, that the argument had gone on long enough and was not helping, not now. She swallowed her pique and turned to his father. “No invite for the Doctor, then, I guess.”
“Oh, no, I’ve not changed my mind on that,” Henry replied. “I look forward to meeting him and hearing his opinions, if he cares to give them. There is no such thing as too much research. I shall send you the invitation first thing Monday morning.”
Donna nodded at that but couldn’t smile. “Well, that’s good to hear. I’ll do my best to convince him to meet with you, but no promises.”
“Oh, yes, I understand.”
The conversation drifted off but did not last much longer, as Jon’s parents wanted to start the long drive home before it got too late and Brax wished to get back to his family. As Henry settled the bill, Eliza rose from her seat and circled the table to hug both of her sons and then Donna. “It was so lovely to meet you at last, Donna, dear. I do hope that you will come with Jon to visit us up in Abingdon now and again. Oh, and I must insist that you come for the holidays next month. Jon normally stays with us Christmas Eve through Boxing Day.”
Donna sputtered with surprise. “Oh! No, I can’t, really. You know, holidays with my mum and Gramps, that’s how we do it. Maybe with new family, if you can spare him,” she added with a smile for Jon.
“Oh, new family, what a splendid idea! You must bring them out with you!” Eliza suggested. “I would love to meet them, and it will make for a warm, festive holiday. We’ve the room, if you don’t mind the fold-out bed in Henry’s office.”
“Okay with us, Mum,” Jon replied with an eager glint in his eye.
Donna guessed he’d prefer to have more people to distract his father’s attention off him, but it felt a bit premature to start participating in their family traditions. “I really don’t think so…” she began.
Eliza turned to her son. “Didn’t you tell me that you stargaze with Donna’s grandfather? I’m sure he would love a few nights out under the Oxfordshire sky. You can see so much more there than you can in town.”
“Yes, I’m sure he would,” agreed Jon, taking Donna’s hand to urge her to accept. “Do you still have my old telescope stored away? It would save having to pack his up.”
“Oh, no, we donated it when we moved out there.”
“Thought as much. I’m sure I can find a fairly inexpensive one to leave with you, if you don’t mind, Mum.” When she agreed, he winked at Donna, but she still wasn’t convinced.
“I don’t know,” she mused. She eyed Brax, standing next to his mother. “Won’t it be a full house, though, with your family as well?”
“Oh, no. During the day, perhaps, but we don’t stay there overnight. Christmas Eve with Romana’s father in Slough, then we drive to Dad’s on Christmas morning, and then after dinner, on to Sheffield for Boxing Day with her mum.” He smirked, his eyes dancing playfully. “I’m sorry I can’t provide the excuse you’re looking for.”
Out of ideas, Donna relented, heaving an exaggerated sigh. “All right, you’ve convinced me. Christmas at the Smith’s.” A squeeze of her hand communicated Jon’s approval. “And I’ll ask my mum. She might like the change-up, actually. Holidays have been pretty hard on her since my dad passed.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that,” said Eliza. “I hope we can provide some support and holiday cheer.”
“Did I hear that Miss Noble is coming home with Jonathan for Christmas?” Henry growled as he rose from the table after completing his business with the waiter.
Donna tensed, his gruff tone setting her wondering if she’d made the wrong decision. “Yes. Thank you so much for the invitation,” she replied with as much gratitude and anticipation as she could muster.
“Excellent!” he declared. “I look forward to further discussions with you, hopefully on a range of topics and not just prime issues, though I’m sure that we could debate that endlessly.”
Donna stared at him in disbelief. “You do?”
“Absolutely. It is difficult to find debate opponents who are clever, passionate, eloquent, and not afraid to say what they think. When I find one, I refuse to let her slip away.” As Donna gaped at that assessment of herself, he turned to Jon with a wicked gleam in his eye. “This one’ll push your limits and keep you honest. I approve.”
Spots of colour rose on Jon’s cheeks and, with a shy smile at Donna, he slipped an arm around her waist. “Thanks, Dad. I think she’s brilliant.”
“You’ve done quite well for yourself, Jonathan.” He sniffed. “This time.”
Before Jon could draw breath to retort, Eliza reprimanded her husband with a sharp, “Henry! You can’t ever say something nice to your son without following it up. Tch! Sometimes you behave like you’re eight years old. Perhaps it’s past someone’s bedtime,” she concluded in that sickly sweet tone that mothers use on recalcitrant children. Henry turned away, coughing into his fist to recover his dignity.
“Well,” interjected Brax, “the holidays will be that much brighter now and I’m looking forward to them. And to you,” he nodded at Jon, “visiting sooner to help Anna with her Legos. But for now, I must bid you all a good night.”
As Brax hugged his mother once more, Donna took the opportunity to thank Henry for the dinner and the evening and to make their goodbyes. The group left the restaurant together and parted ways on the pavement outside, Donna clinging to Jon’s elbow as they strolled toward St. James’ Park.