Disclaimer: I'd had a lot of caffeine, and I was in a bad mood because of the utter no-sense-makey-ness of the finale. This is the result. Doctor Who is the property of the BBC, and if you accused them of having anything to do with this fanfic, they'd probably hit you with a stick. If you accused me of having anything to do with them, I would laugh right heartily.
Donna Noble decided she needed a drink.
She'd apparently missed another alien crisis, but that was par on the course; it would have been more unbelievable if she'd actually been involved for once. But ever since then, her mum and granddad had been acting a bit... off. Her mum had been suspiciously silent on the you-really-ought-to-quit-temping-and-make-something-of-yourself front, which would have been weird enough without her also saying on no less than two occasions that she loved Donna and was proud of her. Proud! That's a laugh. Donna had laughed, in fact, but then she'd caught her granddad looking at her like she'd broken his heart or something, and she'd stopped.
She kept catching those little looks from him, sad looks. She might have called him out on it, but she didn't want to hear that he was starting to think her a disappointment. Maybe he and her mum had switched bodies or something. Maybe aliens were responsible for that. Well, if they were, she'd like a word with them. She could deal with her mum being a harpy, but it bothered her to no end when her granddad wouldn't look her in the eye.
She'd considered ringing a few of her mates and heading to the pub, but then decided that walking to Tesco and buying a bottle of something was more in keeping with the pathetic, self-pitying mood she was in. She'd make a lonely drunk out of herself. That was better than making nothing out of herself at all, wasn't it?
A wry smile twisted her lips as she walked down the rain-slicked street. She'd be a lonely drunk--and since she'd decided to walk, this made her a lonely drunk with no car. How much worse could it get? It had stopped raining an hour ago, but maybe it would kick back in and she could get drenched. How fitting would that be? She smothered a giggle.
Donna started in the middle of the Tesco's parking lot, then looked around until she'd located the speaker. A gorgeous man in a long coat was standing about ten yards away and beaming at her like she was his personal Jesus. That's all right, then, Donna thought, one of her eyebrows quirking itself without her permission. Did she know him? He did seem awfully familiar, but she couldn't quite place him... which was very weird. His wasn't a face you'd forget in a hurry. Damn, but he was pretty. She flashed him a smile that she hoped was more flirtatious than uncertain, and said, "Hiiiiii!" as if greeting an old friend. She'd just pretend she knew who he was until she actually figured it out.
"Donna Noble!" the man said, rubbing in the fact that he knew exactly who she was, at any rate. His grin widened as he came striding towards her.
"That's me," Donna said, trying not to feel too stupid. He had an American accent, something else that stood out and made her even more frustrated that she couldn't quite remember who he was. How could she have forgotten? Had she been really drunk when they'd met? Her frustration increased exponentially as the man enveloped her in an enthusiastic hug. He'd gone for the hug! They were on hugging terms! At some point, she had hugged this man and then forgot. Not possible. Not fair, at that. She returned the hug with only a little less enthusiasm, mind racing. Sheri's birthday bash, maybe? Nah, couldn't have been. Oooh, he was fit. She could feel his muscles through his coat. Then he kissed her on the cheek with a flamboyant "mwah!", and she couldn't help making a sort of incredulous whuffle of glee.
The man laughed and pulled back, holding her at arm's length and taking her in. "Look at you," he said, and Donna had to bite her cheek to stop herself telling him he was welcome to look all he liked. "Still traveling?"
Traveling? Had she met him in Egypt? But surely she would have gotten a photo--even if she'd had to be discreet and kind of pervy and take one on her mobile while he wasn't looking, she would have gotten a photo. "Oh, hardly! Bit of a homebody, really," she said, trying to sound good-natured and not at all bitter. No, not one bit.
"Really?" Puzzlement crept across his features. "But you and the Doctor got along so well."
The Doctor? Donna's head began to ache. There must be a reason, she decided, a specific reason that she wasn't following this conversation half as well as she should have been able to do. And it was just there. Her brain felt like it had grown a million little claws and was frantically scrabbling at the edge of something slippery. "Sorry?" she said.
The man tightened his grip on her shoulders, staring at her. "The Doctor. You traveled with him."
Smiling nervously, Donna resisted the urge to try and shake the man off. "There were a lot of people in my tour group," she said apologetically. "If one of 'em was a doctor or a lawyer or whatever, I wouldn't know. And they kept us so busy shuttling us from site to site," she added, aware that she was beginning to babble and unable to stop, "we didn't really get to chat much with everyone, did we?" She was reaching, she knew, and judging by the man's expression, she'd guessed wrong. Not Egypt, then.
"Donna," the man said after an awkward pause, "what's my name?"
She felt like crying. She felt like kicking him and running away and sobbing her eyes out like a little kid. "I don't know!" she wailed, panic swelling in her chest. "I should know, but I don't!" Why don't I know?
"Captain Jack Harkness," he said, slow and reassuring. "Ring any bells?"
"I know you." Contrary to her impulse to run away, she now found herself gripping his arms so tightly she was vaguely surprised that he didn't complain. "I know I know you."
--"You can hug me if you want. No, really, you can hug me."--
"Someone must have wiped your memory," Jack said, giving her shoulders a sympathetic squeeze. "But don't worry, I'm sure the Doctor's looking for you. He'll fix it. And if he doesn't, I will." He smiled at her, but she barely saw it before her eyes slipped out of focus, her own heartbeat pounding in her ears.
--Earth and the Adipose and the Lost Moon of Poosh and Davros and Caan and Rose and Martha and Midnight and Agatha Christie and the Library and Pompeii and there's something on her back, and planet of the hats, she's ready, and the blue box, and the DoctortheDoctortheDoctor--
"Donna!" Jack was shouting at her. How long had he been doing that? And why couldn't she see him?
Donna opened her eyes.
All she could see at first was the front of Jack's coat; she must have briefly diverted brain power away from her motor functions during the memory recovery process; good of Jack to catch her. It was quite nice just leaning against him with his arms around her, actually, but she didn't have time to enjoy it. She straightened abruptly, and Jack stared at her.
"Donna? Are you all right?"
"He wiped my memory!" She was elated, then just as quickly she was furious. "The skinny little git! He didn't even ask me--did the opposite of asking, just went ahead and did it over my protests--that's... that's mind-rape, that is!"
Jack's arms fell to his sides. "The Doctor wiped your memory?!"
"Because his brain and my body can't coexist, right? The consciousness doesn't match the biology, but he could have--" and she keeled over again as knowledge only a Time Lord could have hit her brain like a brick. There were quite a few things he could have done, even discounting the option of letting her die, and even if he had insisted on the memory wipe, he'd been so bloody stupid about it, no wonder her head was pounding. Jack was holding her up again; she clung to his shoulder and stared up at him. "He didn't tell you? Any of you?"
Jack scowled; evidently, it didn't even take the brain of a Time Lord to comprehend the magnitude of that particular error. "I'm going to throttle him."
"Ladies first," Donna growled before another wave of pain hit her. "It was only a matter of time before something triggered it," she gasped out once it had subsided, "but now it's all back in my head and I won't last, I can't--" she took a ragged breath "--it was only a matter of time." She was going to die, she knew. His brain was going to overwhelm hers yet again, and she was going to die before she even got a chance to give the Doctor a piece of her mind. It just wasn't fair. But Jack would rip him a new one for her--that was some comfort.
She felt his hand pass over her forehead, smoothing back her hair. "You're burning up," Jack muttered. He half carried, half dragged her across the lot and into the relative privacy of the loading dock. At least fewer passers-by would bear witness to whatever display was about to happen. She didn't think it would involve an actual explosion, but she couldn't be sure, and trying to think was starting to hurt rather a lot.
"Tell him," Donna murmured as Jack lowered her to the ground, propping her back up against the brickwork, "tell him..." she trailed off, at a loss. She had more she wanted to tell the Doctor than her ebbing strength would allow her to express. She shut her eyes. Tell him that even though I'm dying, I at least know who I bloody well am...
"Tell you what," Jack said, cupping her face in his hands, "you can tell him yourself."
No, she wanted to patiently explain, I can't, because I'm dying, we've been through this. But she didn't think she was capable of speech. And that was just as well, because she quite suddenly found her mouth otherwise occupied.
It took a few moments, after the rush of light and heat had subsided, before she realized Jack was kissing her. More than that, he was snogging the ever-living daylights out of her. Seemed a funny time for it, unless this was his way of saying goodbye. There were worse ways to go, she supposed, worse last impressions to have.
It took her a few more moments to realize that this impression wasn't so much last as it was lasting. And that even disregarding the fact that Captain Jack Harkness was kissing her, she was feeling a good deal better than she had just previously. In fact, she was feeling fit enough to shove him off of her, so she tried it. It worked.
"Oof," Jack said, throwing a hand back to steady himself. Donna folded her arms, and he grinned at her. "Feeling better?"
"What the hell did you just do to me?!" She didn't sound half as grateful as she probably should have done, but Jack didn't seem to mind.
"I hit you with a jolt of regenerative energy--a parting gift from Rose Tyler," he explained when she continued to stare at him in utter incomprehension. "It's saved me from just about every kind of death you could imagine, and a few you couldn't." He stood, then offered Donna a hand up. After a moment's hesitation, she took it. Other than a brief wobble, she felt surprisingly steady on her feet.
"And did this transfer of 'regenerative energy' really require snogging?" Donna asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
Jack tipped her a wink. "Does it matter?"
After considering this a moment, Donna answered, "No. S'pose not."
Jack's smile faded as he gave her an anxious once-over. "Memories intact?"
Donna smiled. "All present and accounted for, Captain."
"And no residual Time Lord consciousness?"
Donna frowned and rubbed her forehead. "Say that again?"
"Never mind; that answers my question." Jack grinned and offered her his arm, which she took to be companionable and not at all because she still felt a bit wobbly. "So, Donna Noble, what were you up to before I accidentally almost killed you with conversation?" he asked as they strolled away from the loading dock and back across the lot.
"I was gonna get a drink, actually."
"Any interest in salvaging those plans?" Donna pursed her lips, and Jack added, "I'm buying."
"Well, all right, then."
"And after that, we can find the Doctor and kick his ass."
Donna grinned. "You sure know how to butter a girl up."
"We might find time for that, too."
"Oh, shut up."
I may or may not write an epilogue where they find the Doctor and kick his ass... leaning heavily towards the "may." This is my first stab at writing Donna, so do let me know what you thought!