A/N: I was suffering with dreadful writers block with an epic fic, so I started to write quick one shots for the 100prompts challenge on livejournal. This is in response to prompt 25: strangers. The title is less therefore than imaginative! Unbetaed and written in about two hours flat, but I do quite like the way it came out.
I miss Donna.
Disclaimer: The BBC owns all rights to Doctor Who, not I. I am making no money from this odd hobby of mine.
Fourteen times Donna Noble had applied to work in that office, and fourteen times she'd been refused before she'd even had an interview. They were very polite about it, of course, and recently her rejection letters had been addressed to Donna rather than Ms. Noble, but they always said the same thing. She was not a suitable candidate. Not for any bloody job they had going, not even for cleaning lady. Most people would, after perhaps the fifth or sixth rejection from the same company, have moved on and sought employment somewhere where the HR department didn't seem to think they were a leper, but not Donna Noble. Oh no. The more Torchwood tried to tell her they didn't want her, the more determined she was to get in.
She was bored, bored half out of her mind, with being a personal assistant to a key-maker with ridiculous taste in shoes, and although her mother's interest in it began and ended with the fact Donna brought in enough cash to pay half the bills, Donna herself couldn't help but think that she was destined for better things than that. More exciting things. Torchwood-y things. Ever since that wonderful day that the Tyler girl had turned up on the TV announcing everyone was safe, that a crisis had been averted, that they were defended, Donna had known exactly what it was she wanted to do with her life. She wanted to help save the world.
Torchwood obviously had different ideas.
She kicked an empty cigarette packet as she stormed through the park, hands deep in pockets and face in a fixed scowl, and was so busy concentrating on the little puffs of dust her shoes threw up as she walked that she didn't notice the man till she'd already walked into him.
He was considerably taller than her and her forehead struck his chest with enough force to make her stagger back slightly, and he had already put a hand out to steady her before they made eye-contact.
"Oh," he said.
"Sorry," she garbled, shrugging his hand off her shoulder, "wasn't looking where I was going, my fault, I –," she stopped, looked at him, and bit her lip, " um, you've spilt your tea."
The man, the tall, skinny man in the pin-striped suit with the Torchwood ID card – the Torchwood ID card oh god oh god – looked down at the slowly spreading damp patch down his right arm.
"So I have," he said.
Mentally Donna marked down at least another three rejections in her future job prospects. He was looking at her slightly oddly, making no move to step away and continue his journey, or even to take are of the remnants of his take-away cuppa that were dripping from the ends of his fingers. Frankly, he was a little bit weird. Still, they had walked into each other, she had done the polite British thing and apologised, and she was damned if she was going to stand there and just accept all the blame.
"You should look where you're going too, sunshine, wouldn't do for a bloke with a fancy job like yours to get his flash suit messed up."
"Job?" he asked, seeming genuinely confused and looking down at the card around his neck as if he'd never seen it before. He was beginning to remind Donna strongly of the sort of person she usually avoided sitting by on the bus.
"Look," she said, trying to extricate herself from the situation and fish some spare change from her pocket at the same time, "here's some money for another drink; just try to keep your head out of the stars next time mate, alright?"
She'd just about managed to push past him, leaving him standing with a crushed polystyrene cup and that weird look on his face, when he span round and called after her.
It was sort of plaintive, desperate, and might have been enough to make her turn round anyway, even if it weren't for the fact that she was absolutely, completely, one-hundred percent sure she had never told this man her name.
"How," she asked in her best don't-mess-with-me-tone, tossing her hair back for dramatic effect, "do you know my name?"
He took a step towards her and she made sure to clutch her keys in her pocket - if necessary she could cut him and run - but he didn't come any closer.
"I know," he said, squinting slightly like a man thinking on his feet, "because you applied to work with me, at my job I mean, I saw your applications. On a desk. Somewhere. At my job."
"Oh," said Donna, her previous irritation asserting itself over her current discomfort, "you can tell me why they keep on turning me down then. Not even good enough to clean their toilets apparently! Well let me tell you Mr. Bigshot; I could probably run that organisation better than any of you elitest, toffy-nosed…"
"Yes, yes," he agreed, waving his hands about in what he evidently hoped was a placating manner, "I have absolutely no doubt that you could, in fact, I'd go as far as to say that could be half the problem," he smiled brightly at her, "don't you think you're much too brilliant to be a secretary?"
Donna grunted noncommittally and loosened her grip on her keys; the man's smile widened even further.
"Keep going Donna Noble. You're brilliant."
She returned his grin without really knowing why - after all wasn't this whole situation just creepy? – and for a moment they stood beaming at each other like idiots.
"I should go," he said, suddenly starting to look awkward, "I have meet my – " he hesitated momentarily, "companion."
"Oooh, get you, is that what you tell your wife?" asked Donna, still smiling and suddenly unwilling to let him go.
"I don't have a wife," he said, "though I do seem to have one of those mother-in-laws from a Benny Hill sketch hanging about."
"You should get one – a wife I mean – someone to feed you up. I'm gonna have a black eye after running into that bony chest of yours. Not," she added as a strange sense of déjà vu overtook her, "that I'm volunteering."
He let out a shout of laughter, and she turned to walk away. By the time she could no longer hear his footsteps retreating in the other direction it was too late to ask his name.