Fandom(s): Doctor Who
Characters: Donna Noble, Tenth Doctor
Word Count: 500
Summary: Everyone has their hang-ups now and then.
Author's Note:Written for Flash Fan Fiction Friday in the Literary Fan Fiction community on deviantArt. Prompt is "Double Meaning".
If wiggling her fingers could save the Doctor, Donna would be a hero right now, but all she could do was strain against the ropes that bound her. Grandstanding in front of the alien tribunal in the courtroom below the gallery in which she was imprisoned, the Time Lord was, as usual, digging his grave deeper. With her mouth gagged, she couldn't even rake them with her usual acid tongue.
The lever that would release her from the frame on which she hung sat an inch beneath her toes, tantalisingly out of reach. Splaying her fingers, she gained purchase with her fingertips on the frame's metal bars, trying to pull herself down against the play in the ropes. She stretched one foot down, the tip of her shoe brushing the lever, but she couldn't move it. The other prisoners, the spaceship's crew, similarly trussed up, also failed in their attempts.
As the Doctor babbled on, the tribunes lost patience, growling menacingly. "Wait wait wait!" He held both hands up in panicked entreaty. "Listen!" He whirled, pacing to the opposite end of the courtroom from Donna. "You think they came to harm you, but they've a different frame of reference. The hook here is that they just wanted to learn about you. They mean you no harm." The tribunes glared at him, and the Doctor threw his arms up in theatrical frustration. "Oh, why won't you see the light?"
At that final oddly-emphasised word, Donna realised the Doctor was feeding her what she needed to know without clueing in their captors, whilst leading their gazes away. Light? What light? It was night, the courtroom far below her lit by torches that might as well have been miles away. The gallery itself was cast in shadow. I don't have light! What else did he say? 'Frame'? Okay, yeah, I'm on a frame. And 'hook'? Forcing her head back against the ropes, she glimpsed the hook she was hanging on: too small for the ropes looped on it. If I could shake myself off it. Oh! LIGHT!
Bracing her fingers on the bars, she pushed up, hard as she could, then twisted and squirmed. Two coils of rope slipped off the hook, loosening around her shoulders. As the Doctor launched into another brash argument, she shimmied her arms free and grabbed the bars to pull herself upwards, then lashed a hand up to knock the last loop off the hook and fell to the floor. Masked by the Doctor's volume, she stepped out of her bindings to the others to free them. As they snuck out, Donna called down. "Oi, Martian, we're done hanging about up here. Find us a better party next time, won't you?"
As the court whirled on her, the Doctor grinned, sprinting for the courtroom door. Donna was already on her way out of the gallery, and now that she was back to doing what they did best - running - she knew everything would be all right. Eventually.