Humans Don't Dream of Gallifreyan Sheep
by Camilla Sandman
Disclaimer: Not my characters, just my words.
Author's Note: Originally I started writing on this a long time ago, however a prompt from gehayi made me go back to, rewrite and finish this story. Title is an obvious pun on "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", the book by Philip K. Dick.
There are these dreams Donna Noble has.
Stars, skies, songs, storms, all dancing through her head. Images, not faded as dreams should be, but vivid and almost like someone else's life passing through her mind. Passing, never staying. They never feel like dreams as she sleeps, but they must be, because she always wakes.
Until one day she wakes properly.
She sits on a park bench when he sits down next to her; a man in a pinstriped suit that she barely glances twice at.
"Donna," he says, her name spoken like slight longing. Her whole life she's wanted someone to say her name like that, like her mother never has.
"Donna," she agrees. Her head hurts fiercely.
"You remember," he says, a statement and not a question. Yes. She remembers. Fire, ice and time, the stuff of the Universe. Her world, until he took it away.
"You're the Doctor," she says, and he bows his head slightly. "You're also a wanker."
His smile is as fast as it is sad, and she wishes she hadn't seen it.
"You've been here before," she says, her mind burning, every memory like an ember.
"Every time," he says, his voice eerily calm, his fingers already at her temples. "Every time you remember, I'm here."
There are these memories Donna Noble has.
They never seem to last.
There are these dreams Donna Noble can't shake.
A park bench, always a park bench. A man, always a man, always a suit like a costume, always lines repeated like they're learned. Always memories, his and hers in her head, burning like a supernova. Always the black hole after, memories lost to his touch.
Always, until next time.
Not a park bench. She sits on a roof this time, rebelling a little but still sure he'll find her. He always does. Dozen of times she can remember now, maybe hundreds before that she can't.
The man in a pinstriped suit; the Doctor; the eye of a storm everyone else is caught in.
"Donna," he says. She slaps him this time; she thinks she's done so at least four times before. He certainly doesn't look surprised at it, merely rubs his cheek a little absently.
"You remember," he says.
He looks surprised and hopeful both, she wants to slap him more for that.
"I remember remembering," she says hesitantly, not sure how to explain it. "Like a mind removed – my mind before you took it from me. Like a dream of a dream."
"Memories of memories," he says, and his eyes light up a little.
"What does that mean?"
"It means what's in your head is finally deluded enough you can live with it. As a human."
"You had no right to take them from me in the first place," she says, not without bitterness. She knows what she could remember was wonderful; she remembers the pain of losing it every time. This is not the same as she had; this doesn't feel enough.
"You would have died, Donna," he says.
"You're so busy looking for something to live for you forget some things are worth dying for," she says, her mind filled with a memory of a memory of someone else telling him just the same.
"You could come with me again," the Doctor says after a moment.
"Not yet," Donna says, getting up and keeping her gaze on the people moving below. Like ants, like sheep, moving about unaware of so many greater things. She wishes she could show them, but she can barely see herself anymore.
"When?" he asks.
"I don't know," she says honestly. "I have to forgive you first."
She leaves; he doesn't follow.
There are these dreams Donna Noble has.
Stars, skies, songs, storms, all dancing through her head. They're faded, as dreams are. Not vivid, not a supernova in her mind but not a black hole either. A white dwarf, most of what it was gone, but just a little light still left in it. Faint, hard to remember when waking, but not impossible to.
There are these memories Donna Noble had.
She can remember having them.