Disclaimer: this was spewed out over the course of a few hours on a whim. All credit for the characters belongs to the Beeb; all the blame for what I've done with them belongs to the Benedryl.
There was a soft knock on Donna's door. Donna ignored it—not to be petty, but because she was a deep sleeper and it had been a very tentative knock.
The knock was repeated, this time with more confidence. Donna twitched, but stubbornly clung to sleep. Her door swung open a few inches, emitting a sliver of light that landed on her eyelids with an almost audible whap! Groaning, Donna turned her face into her pillow.
The sliver of light widened by a few inches. Much to Donna's dismay, this made it too wide to be effectively blocked by the long streak of alien nothing that was hovering just outside her room.
"Donna?" the Doctor ventured. She responded with something very close to a growl, but it didn't have the desired effect: instead of beating a hasty retreat, the Doctor hopefully inquired, "Are you awake?"
Donna turned her head just enough to free her mouth from her pillow's muffling influence. "I bloody well am now."
Her tone had not been inviting, but the Doctor bounded into her room and landed on her bed with the heedless enthusiasm of a Newfoundland puppy. "Oh, good," he said, sounding much relieved.
Donna clung to her pillow as the bed bobbed. Once it had stilled, she lifted her head, too groggy to be furious—yet. "What time is it?" The Doctor face lit up as he opened his mouth to reply. Recalling the explanation that had followed the last time she'd made the mistake of asking the time, she hastily cut him off. "Never mind. Just… tell me you have a good reason for barging in here and waking me—a very good reason."
Wilting a little, the Doctor studied the ceiling. "Well… I think it's a good reason."
Donna balled her pillow up under her chin and gave the Doctor her third best no-nonsense glare. She was rewarded by the sight of him wilting a bit more. It was nice to know that she hadn't lost her touch despite only being half awake.
The Doctor cleared his throat and addressed the duvet. "I hardly ever sleep. Time Lords don't need to—not as much as you humans do, at any rate."
Donna's brain began to sluggishly churn out choice comments about how wonderful it was that he had a working understanding of how much humans needed sleep, and how much more wonderful it would be if he applied those theories to everyday situations, but she was too tired to mold her general sense of indignation into a proper, scathing retort. She settled for a bitterly sarcastic, "How nice for you."
The Doctor nodded, oblivious. "Yes, it really is. I can get a lot more done without having to worry about meeting some pesky REM-cycle quota every evening."
"Yes, and speaking of REM-cycle quotas…"
"But I got bored, you see," the Doctor continued. "So I took a nap." Going off her baffled look, he elaborated, "It had been quite a while since I last slept. I thought it might be fun." He fixed her with a wide-eyed, innocuous stare and fell silent.
After a lengthy pause, Donna growled, "If you don't get to the point in the next five seconds, I'm walloping you with the nearest blunt object."
The Doctor's face crumpled into a pout. "But it wasn't fun," he said.
"How can a nap not be…" Donna trailed off as realization struck. "Did you have a nightmare?" she asked, not quite believing her hunch could be correct. Surely he wouldn't have woken her for something so trivial.
The Doctor nodded. "It was awful."
Donna hesitated, then let out a sigh and pushed herself up into a sitting position. Making an effort to sound sympathetic (as opposed to sounding like she was nearing the end of her fraying patience), she asked, "Do you want to talk about it?"
"Not really," the Doctor replied. "I just wanted to reassure myself that you hadn't really died."
Donna blinked, speechless, as a good portion of her ill will dissolved.
"Because accidentally strangling yourself with a clothes hanger in the wardrobe room seems like the sort of thing that could conceivably happen," the Doctor nattered on, "so I found it—"
"Excuse me?" Donna snapped, a good portion of her ill will growing right back. "A clothes hanger?"
"I'm not sure how you managed it—in the nightmare, I mean. I'd gone into the wardrobe room to look for my purple fedora, and I found you…" he paused, swallowing. "It was very upsetting."
"A clothes hanger?"
The Doctor looked pained (though not, Donna thought, as pained as he was going to look in a minute). "Please don't remind me; it was all rather traumatic."
Donna gripped her pillow. "You honestly think I'm capable of strangling myself with a clothes hanger?"
The Doctor blinked at her. "Not on purpose. I said it was an accid—oof!" he finished as Donna introduced her pillow to his face at high speed.
"Get," said Donna, "out."
"But," the Doctor gave her a wounded look, "I thought I might get a hug."
"Out!" Donna hefted the pillow meaningfully.
"It would make me feel better!"
"All right, all right…" The Doctor hastily slid off the bed and out of pillow-swinging range. "No need for violence." He paused in the doorway and looked back at her, his expression reproachful. "You know, if you ever had a nightmare and needed a reassuring hug, I would—"
"If I have a nightmare," Donna snapped, "I'll bloody well get over it without disturbing anyone else!"
After a pause, the Doctor sniffed. "Well, I can see there's no talking to you until you've had your requisite eight hours of rest."
Donna considered a sharp retort, but decided it wouldn't be worth wasting an opportunity to end the conversation. "You're probably right," she said instead. Then, with a bit more emphasis, "Good night, Doctor."
"Good night," he replied loftily, shutting the door.
Donna had just enough time to let out a sigh of relief before the door opened again and the Doctor poked his head inside.
"What?" Donna asked, her tone dangerous.
"I was just thinking that the next time you needed something from the wardrobe room, I'd be happy to get it for you, so you needn't go in there yours—oy!" he said as the accurately hurled pillow bopped him in the nose. "I was only trying to be considerate! It would save you a trip!"
"Doctor!" Donna all but shouted. "I am not—nor will I ever be—in any danger of snuffing it in the wardrobe room, all right? It was just a nightmare; I'm fine!"
The Doctor stared at her for a moment. Then, to her surprise, he grinned. "You're quite right! I'm being silly, aren't I?"
"Yes," Donna said meaningfully.
"Well," the Doctor picked up her pillow and lobbed it back onto the bed, "sorry to bother you, Donna. Go back to sleep."
"Thank you." Donna grabbed the pillow and bundled it back under her head, where it belonged. The door clicked shut.
And if Donna had any unsettling dreams that night involving the Doctor and fatal wardrobe room malfunctions, she didn't tell a single soul.
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