Summary: Lying alone in a hospital bed, praying for death to come, Donna Noble is visited by two familiar strangers and everything comes flooding back as she burns.
Warning: Character death. Two sorta
Wilf had set it up long before his death, a couple of years after Donna's return. He wasn't entirely sure he was doing the right thing and he was worried that she might not want it. He had asked her about it once. They had been sitting at the kitchen table. Wilf, having to give up talking to her about stars and aliens, didn't have much to say anymore. They usually sat in comfortable silence.
"Ok some trivia for you, Donna" He'd said and she'd looked up at him with that ever inquisitive look on her face.
"Would you rather have a couple of moments of fame and happiness, where everyone in the world knew your name, or the life you're living now?" Now that he'd voiced it, it sounded stupid. He was certain he knew what she'd say.
"I'm perfectly happy with my life, I don't need fame, especially not only a minute of it," She'd looked at him quizzically, looking for some meaning behind his question, maybe he was going to offer her fame?
"What about if you were dying and weren't going to live anyway. Would you rather a couple of minutes where you were really, truly happy and then die, or live for another couple of days and then die?"
She'd thought for a moment, really taking it into consideration. Then she looked up at him. "I suppose…" She'd began, slowly and hesitantly, "I'd like the happiness. If I was happy, I think it would be worth it."
That was all he'd needed to make up his mind. He'd contacted Torchwood, found the man that would never die and gave him the orders and a note. The man seemed hesitant and Wilf knew he didn't want to do it. But he'd assured the man that it was what she wanted, that it would be better for her. The man had nodded and he'd been on his way.
Donna Noble lay alone in a hospital bed. She had no one left now. Her friends had all drifted away, found husbands and had children and she hadn't pursued them, she'd let them go. It was stupid of her but she'd had her grandfather then and that was all she needed. Then her granddad had died, like she knew he always would. He was old, he died peacefully. She still had her mum. But her mum also passed away, again of old age and now Donna was alone to die. Of old age as well.
Remembering her mum and granddad were hard and for a while, the pain in her heart was able to overwhelm pain in her body. It was better that way. She was used to dealing with emotional pain, had been all her life. But this physical pain was new to her. It tore at her limbs and scratched at her bones. She didn't feel like holding on, there was nothing for her here, but the nurses wouldn't let her turn off the life-support. They said you needed a family member to give consent. Too bad she didn't have one.
Jack had been keeping an eye on Donna Noble all through her life. It was the least he could do. As his team grew older, retired and were replaced, she seemed to be the one constant thing in his life. But very soon she wouldn't be constant, she too was dying. Jack knew he had to keep his promise to her grandfather and as he watched Donna from the camera footage from the hospital, he knew Wilf had been right. She was alone and miserable. She was going to die anyway, why not give her some glory and happiness. He knew the Doctor wouldn't want to do it though.
Slowly, Jack stood from his chair and moved to the phone, ready to call the Doctor to Earth. The phone rang on the other end a couple of times before the Doctor picked it up.
"Hello?" he asked impatiently.
"Hey Doc, it's Jack." Jack's usual cheeky voice was subdued
"What's wrong Jack?"
"You're needed on Earth, now," Jack said. He heard the Doctor curse on the other end
"Alright, I'll be at the hub soon, give me a minute."
"Kay." Jack hung up the phone and sighed. He was about to enforce the death of one of his friends and he didn't feel too great about it.
The Doctor placed the phone on the console, a little perplexed about Jack's call. He turned to his latest traveling companion, Alyssa.
"Looks like I'll have to make a stop on Earth, do you mind staying in the Tardis while I'm out?" The Doctor didn't know what was wrong, but by the tone of Jack's voice, he could tell it was bad and most likely personal. He didn't want Alyssa to be a part of that. She nodded in answer to his question and walked away, most likely to the library to retrieve another book.
The Doctor flipped some controls on the console to get him to the hub and stepped outside as soon as he had landed. Jack greeted him. Jack spoke before he could say anything.
"C'mon, we've got somewhere to be." He thrust a crisp white envelope into the Doctor's hand. "You can read this on the way, and no buts, it's for the best," he said and the Doctor stayed silent. They hopped into a cab and Jack asked for the hospital, why they were going there, the Doctor had no idea.
Donna woke from another of her fitful sleeps, although she would really call them sleeps. She couldn't get any rest, the pain was too much, it overwhelmed her. She had just been given a drug to make her fall asleep and now she was awake again. She was bored out of her mind. She couldn't move to read a book and she was sick of television. There was no one to talk to. All she could do was lie there and wait for the darkness.
Suddenly, two dark haired young men burst into the room. The first one was exuding confidence as he strode towards her. The second one, slightly more reserved one, was shorter and walked unwillingly into her room. Donna couldn't help but notice that his dark brown eyes were wearied beyond his years and were undenyingly, heartbreakingly sad.
"We shouldn't be doing this, Jack," hissed the reserved one. Jack ignored him and sat down heavily next to her bed.
"Morning, Miss. Noble," he said. Confused, she returned his greeting. The room fell silent and she looked over at the unwilling, slightly older man. He was frozen in the centre of the room, staring intently at her. Something about him was familiar, something about both of them, yet she couldn't pinpoint what exactly. His stare made her uneasy and she had look away.
"It's been a long time, Donna Noble," he whispered, his voice laced with pain. Donna's heart broke for this man, she knew pain as well, she wanted to help him. But first she had to find out who these strangers were.
"I'm sorry but I don't know that I know you," she said, eyeing them both, but her gaze returned to the dark-eyed man.
"No, you wouldn't know. You shouldn't know." The dark-eyed man turned to glare at his friend. "I'm sorry, Donna, I'm so sorry, but I'm going to kill you."
She should have been afraid, she should have been terrified. But the way he spoke to her, so soft and kind, she trusted him.
"Oh, thank god." The two men looked at her in confusion so she explained. "I've been waiting for death for so long. I don't want to live anymore. I'm sick of life, I have no one left and the pain is too much. I want to die, it will be a welcome experience."
The expression on the older mans face was heartbreaking. He seriously looked like he had just died inside and the pain in his eyes had increased tenfold. Donna hated that she had caused him so much pain, although she had no idea why she had.
"Donna, my name's the Doctor, do you remember me?"
And then it all came flooding back.
The Doctor, the stars, time travel and the Tardis, the Ood and Pompeii, Agatha Christie, The Library, Jenny, Jack, Rose, Martha, the Sontarans and the Daleks!
Suddenly, she remembered everything. She remembered the greatest friend she had ever had, that amazing man. She remembered saving the world, the universe, many times over with his hand in hers. With him, she had done mountains of good. After all that time, her life wasn't completely pointless and stupid.
And for a brief moment, she was the most important person in the world. The Doctor held her in his arms and stoked her cheek while Jack held her hand. For that one moment, she was truly happy.
And then she burned.
Depressing huh? Oh, well, review!