Title: Mostly Brilliant
Fandom: Doctor Who SPOILERS THROUGH 4X13 JOURNEY'S END
Characters: Donna, Wilf
Summary: Donna discovers what brilliance can be.
Notes: This might be the start of something bigger. But, I don't know. My take on a popular theme. Comments are never required, but, always appreciated.
Wilf watched his granddaughter revert to her old self: the self-absorbed, nattering, shrill woman who screeched indignantly and yelled to fix all her problems.
It broke his heart.
"Donna, you want to come up the hill with me?" He waved his flask enticingly. "I've got the last of that good brandy your mother's been hiding from me." He smiled, triumphantly.
Donna smiled. "Yeah. I'll go. But, I can't stay long. I'm going to meet up with some friends at the pub. It's quiz night." She paused. "And I've been getting a lot of those answers right. I seem to know things I don't even remember learning."
"That's because, my girl, you're brilliant, you are!"
Donna shook her head as though she were trying to free something from her mind. She pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed. "It doesn't sound right when you say it. The 'r' - there's not trill ... no - why would I think that?"
Wilf watched Donna's face fall. The gaps were becoming more noticeable to her as time went on. The gaps were becoming more noticeable to him, too - more painful to watch knowing that with two words - The Doctor - he could save her from this pain, repair the damage losing her self had caused. "Oh, don't worry about that. Come on, the stars won't wait all night. I want you to see all the constellations. They're miraculous, they are! And spectacular."
He was going to say brilliant; but he didn't. He made a mental note to discuss removing that word from the common language of the Noble house. It seemed to work as a trigger.
"Spectacular, huh? What do the stars do? Dance? Because from here they look like white spots. Ordinary white spots."
Wilf brushed her comment aside. "They look better through the fog of brandy and the lens of a telescope. Come on. Before your mother finds out the brandy's gone and that I didn't take my pills so I could drink it."
Donna laughed. "And to think you called me the 'Little General' when I was a kid."
Wilf froze and looked back at his granddaughter, panic etched in the deep lines of his face. She shouldn't remember that should she? He'd said that in front of The Doctor ... .
"Oi, Gramps," she shouted when she walked right into him. "I thought we were going up the hill. Can't do that if we're standing around all day." When Wilf didn't move, Donna grabbed his arm gently. "Are you all right?"
Her head hadn't exploded, or whatever it was that would happen to her if she remembered, and she was worrying over him and reaching for the flask. His hand clamped down on it. "That's mine. I'm fine! Let's go, stars to see!"
Donna followed him up the hill quietly. The air was tense with the worry each one had for the other. As Donna leaned into the telescope - "Still look like white dots to me," she said, cheekily - Wilf watched her for signs of death or implosion. When Wilf regarded his cherished stars, Donna watched him as though it might be his last night on Earth.
The shared the flask of brandy and talked of football. Donna kept her gaze fixed upon the stars as Wilf kept his gaze fixed on Donna. They sat there until the greyish hues of dusk pushed the stars from the sky, blotting out the ordinary whiteness one dot at a time. "Now, Gramps, that's brilliant."
And Wilf saw a flash of the woman she had become when she was with The Doctor. It was wrong, oh, so very wrong to deny her. He knew it the moment The Doctor said she had resisted.
He thought this moment would kill him because, inevitably, it would kill her. But, he had been wrong. They had all been wrong. This moment would let her live - would let her be Donna. "Yeah, The Doctor, he thought you were brilliant, too. He showed you that even the most ordinary things are extraordinary. Like you."
"What are you on about? Are you talking rubbish? Did you have a stroke?" She stared at him for a moment. "Oh, my head. It hurts -"
Wilf grabbed her in his arms and clutched her to his chest as though she were a helpless child. He started to cry; but this was right, it had to be because it certainly wasn't easy.
"The Doctor. The TARDIS. Daleks. DoctorDonna. DonnaDoctor," she fired off. Her hands clutched her head and then she stilled.
Wilf brushed Donna's hair and repeated, "I love you," over and over until the grey hues of dawn blossomed into the colors of morning.
And then, Donna bolted up right in his arms. "I am going to kill that bloody Martian. You just wait until I get my hands on him!"
"You're not dead!" Wilf said, surprised.
"Of course I'm not dead. I'm too angry to be dead. I'll give him TARDIS, Time Lord, yeah right up his nose." She pushed away from her grandfather. "Who does he think he is to go around making choices? He needs someone to stop him, Gramps. I'm the only one who knows how!"
"But he said you'd die!" Wilf said. He cursed the Doctor under his breath. Donna had been living as a shadow of her former, brilliant self for months and months and all it took was two words and - well, she was herself again. Herself and decidedly not dead.
"I will die," she said, matter of factly. "We all will. But, today's not that day, Gramps. It's not."
"Well good. I was worried about telling your mother what I'd done."