Warning: There are scenes of personal embarrassment. And a mention of a Monty Python film. Oh, and the odd innuendo.

Summary: The Doctor and Donna have to hide from some bad guys in a forest. Prompt from louiecat68

Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who the BBC TV series but I do own Doctor Who the little plastic figurines.

Fire in the Dark


How the hell did they get into this scrape? Hiding in the middle of a forest from a gang of no-good foul smelling vagabonds who thought it would be a laugh to stretch them from their fingertips at the top of a gallows configured from a tree.

When the Doctor had said "Hey Donna, how d'you fancy visiting Medieval England?" she had immediately visualised knights in shining armour, ladies in frothy dresses with long pointy hats, trailing behind swags of cloth, and monks merrily making mead. The reality had been filth, mud, stench and excrement. It was absolutely everywhere! Okay the food wasn't too bad, very spicy or honey flavoured, but the trouble was that it basically came with its own strain of food poisoning. She had been as sick as a dog, on the point of welcoming death, when the Doctor had found her a wonderful cure in tablet form (from somewhere in his pocket), that melted away the suffering. She might have accidentally told him she loved him when she felt better. She was sure he could live with the revelation, for what it was worth.

That didn't help them now, trapped in this forest, on the edge of God knows where, in the year God knew when. She tried not to think about the fact that her stomach was empty and that she'd kill for a hot shower followed by a nice cup of tea. They do say it's the little things you miss, don't they. And the Doctor kept looking at her funny. Normally she could read him like a book, but this expression had her puzzled. Was he going to trade her in for a packet of Jammie Dodgers some time soon? She wouldn't blame him, though her lower limit might be a MacDonald's Big Mac, or perhaps a box of Jaffa Cakes if they didn't escape those thugs pretty damn quickly.

To top it all, it was getting dark, and she felt flipping cold! Could it get any better?

They had holed out in a small clearing, waiting for the gang to get fed up searching for them, hoping against hope that they would be able to get back to the TARDIS by nightfall. But it increasingly began to look as though the gang were going to wait it out in the forest too. The Doctor and Donna could see the faint light of a fire and smell cooking fumes. The aroma was beginning to make Donna feel very hungry indeed. She looked at the Doctor to check if he was showing signs of hunger too, but he seemed to have closed himself off. They had sat in near silence for what seemed like hours; no doubt the Doctor knew exactly how long it had been, but Donna didn't care enough to ask him. Instead, she whispered the question, "Is there anyway or anywhere we could sit that would help us get warmer?"

Thankfully, the Doctor answered her, "We could get beneath that fallen dead tree over there." He looked at her closely, and added with a hint of nervousness, "We'll have to snuggle up together if we… you… want to stay warm. Are you okay with that?"

"Me? I'm fine; though I may start to chew your arm off if I get too hungry," she joked. He seemed a little relieved when she did. "So you don't think they're likely to give up the ghost then?"

"No," he whispered back, next to her ear. "Are you cold enough to need warming up now?"

Donna threw him a quizzical look. He was acting strange again, as if he… nah! That couldn't be it! "I'm pretty cold. What were you proposing exactly?" she leant her mouth next to his ear to whisper back.

"I was thinking," he took a deep breath, "we could… sit closer… erm… and…"

"Collect fire wood!" Donna finished. "That's an excellent idea! I'll go this way, and you go that." She moved away from him, keeping low, and began picking up random pieces of wood. Within minutes, she had quite a healthy collection of dead wood. She hastily returned to the Doctor with her bundle, looking at him expectantly. "What's the matter, Spaceman? You haven't collected much," she pointed out as she sat down next to him again.

"I'm not sure they'll move far enough away for us to be able to light it," he confided in low tones, "We might have to get warm by other means."

"If you can cope, then I'm sure I can," she told him confidently. "I just wish they'd hurry up and finish eating. In the mean time, what shall we do?"

"Got a monopoly board on you?" he joked, "I think we'd better avoid 'truth or dare'."

"Yeah," she chuckled, "I tend to get quite loud when I play that! And it helps if you're slightly drunk too. At least I won't have to kiss all the blokes without wearing a bra, like I did last time I played it."

"What? You went topless?" his amazement came out as a low hiss.

"No, you daft ha'pence, I managed to get my bra off without removing anything else! Getting it back on again was trickier." She noticed his gaze had crept below eye-line for a moment as she said that, "So what is your party trick?"

"Me? I don't have one, really. I used to be able to play the recorder quite well," he moved closer to her again.

"Call that a party trick," Donna scoffed, "I learnt the recorder in junior school, along with almost every other girl I knew. We had to form a mini orchestra, and play along with the hymns during assembly. I'm sure you wanted to know that!"

The Doctor smiled indulgently at her, "Everything you do interests me, Donna."

She shoved his shoulder with her's playfully, and he shoved back, still grinning. She looked towards where the gang still evidently were, and unconsciously rubbed her hands up her arms. "I wish they'd just bugger off, but I can't see that happening soon. Any idea why they're so fascinated with us?" she asked.

"Could be our natural attraction? Or the fact we are dressed in what they would see as fine clothes?" he offered as an explanation.

"What these things?" she looked down at her attire, "I don't think Topshop or George at Asda can be thought of as classy."

"Oh, you'd be surprised what they think of as classy," he leant in and told her.

Donna had a sudden mental image of a scene from 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail', the one that explains how the peasant knew Arthur was a king, and she began to chuckle. She had to hide her face in the Doctor's chest in the end to try and stifle the sound of her mirth, eventually grinning up at him as she gained control. "You are such a bad influence on me! All I can see are Monty Python references everywhere, do you realise that?" she put to him.

"I thought my influence was beneficial as well," he grinned down at her. "Seems like I'll have to re-evaluate that one." He lightly threw his arm around her. "I'll try and resist doing… saying anything that might make you giggle more," he had brought his mouth closer to her ear, whispering low and intently. It sent goosebumps down her spine, and she fought down a shivering reaction. What was he playing at?

She lifted her head to admonish him in no uncertain terms, but found herself almost nose to nose with him. His breath tickled the fine hairs on her chin, and the warm scent of him filled her head. What caught her off guard though were his eyes, which were looking so intently at her mouth, causing her to unconsciously lick them in a nervous gesture. There was a startled reaction on his face, so she quickly pulled away in her haste to stop causing offence.

"So, should we do it then?" she asked him.

He jerked. "Pardon?" he queried.

"Light the fire wood?" Donna added, "Do you think we can light it yet?"

"Oh, the wood, well…," the Doctor looked in the direction of the baddies, "if we set it up this side of that fallen tree trunk it should be shielded enough for us not to be seen." He gestured to her to follow him towards the tree trunk, and they made a small pile of wood there before he brought out his sonic screwdriver to ignite it.

The little fire blazed away wonderfully, giving out a low heat that warmed Donna immediately. She beamed at the Doctor, "Thank you!"

They both stuck out their hands and rubbed their palms together, like some sort of synchronized team or the Bisto Kids, and grinned at each other. Well, they did, until the wood spat sparks that ignited the dead tree trunk they were leaning against. Donna did her best to muffle a shriek as the whole tree trunk began to glow alarmingly.

From behind them there were shouts of, "They're over there!" and whoops of joy. The Doctor blindly grabbed Donna's hand and ordered, "Run!"

It was one of the few times Donna was ecstatic that the Doctor had extra senses, since he nimbly evaded getting them pummelled by low hanging branches or running splat into any trees. She followed him faithfully, clear in the knowledge that he would lead them to safety. At the very least, he gave her someone to blame if she landed face down in the bracken. That's why she loved him, as a friend, nothing more; though she had been tempted by his 'come hither' look earlier.

He suddenly pulled her sideways, and she almost had to bite her tongue in order not to demand, good and loudly, what the hell he thought he was playing at! They landed in the base of a hollow that some tree creature had vacated at some point in the past and moss and bracken now inhabited. It turned out to be a good choice because they completely disappeared from view. They could hear the gang looking for them further on in the distance; and then there was silence. Donna waited for the Doctor to find her ear rather than the other way round since her vision told her there wasn't much beyond blackness where they lay.

"Are you okay?" he whispered close to her right ear, leaving a trail of goosebumps on her flesh yet again. Donna merely nodded, fearful that any sound she uttered would be too loud. She turned her head to ask him how long they should wait, but her lips accidentally bumped against his, causing an unexpected thrill to course through her. The effect made her open her mouth in an O, but that was her last cognitive thought for a few seconds as his mouth pressed against hers. His hand came up and tenderly grasped her head, threading his fingers through her hair.

The moment ended as quickly as it had started, his fingers whipped away so suddenly that Donna wondered if she had completely made it up. "We need to get out of here," he whispered to her again, as though nothing had happened, so she decided she must have dreamt it. A weird, walking, slightly erotic daydream type of dream caused by exhaustion.

He took hold of her hand and pulled her gently from their hiding place. They didn't say very much to each other after that, keeping a companionable silence, and he led her to walk along a lane where they eventually heard a horse-drawn cart in the light of the breaking dawn. The Doctor bartered with the driver to give them a lift back towards where the TARDIS sat waiting patiently, trading a yoyo he found in his pocket, claiming it was the latest way to kill rabbits down a warren.

He and Donna than climbed onto the back of the cart, which was partially empty due to a delivery the man had made to a hostelry earlier, and they slumped together in a tired mess. The motion of the cart almost allowed for being soothed into slumber except the condition of the lane had a lot to be desired and made the journey slightly painful in places.

Other places, as the Doctor found out, were painful for different reasons. He'd mentally kicked himself for acting that way in the forest. He'd allowed himself to be mesmerised, and that was a situation that didn't normally happen. And what had possessed him to kiss Donna back there? Was he mad? He checked himself for the umpteenth time, and could still find no trace of an alien possession within him. In fact he was more than a little disgusted with himself for the lack of personal control. It wasn't something he normally had to contend with. But this situation wasn't normal, not even for them! Donna was now pressed up against him, forced there by the movement of the cart, half asleep. Her warmth radiated out from her, and he basked in its glow.

Donna slipped into slumber; it didn't last long, but for the time it did, it was blissful. She roused to find her head snuggled up next to the Doctor's stomach, having slipped down from the booming of his chest. Her hand was wrapped around the top of his thigh for some reason. Feeling suddenly too embarrassed to keep it there, she made a movement to remove it to a safer position, and accidentally brushed him. The Doctor let out an involuntary gasp, but she determinedly didn't look up at his face. She couldn't, however, help thinking 'Blimey! That was a big surprise! In more ways than one!' before placing the offending hand safely around his waist as she replaced her head back on his chest. She thought it best not to mention the cacophony of noise emanating from his chest for the next minute or two.

What she didn't know was that the Doctor had begun to hastily recite all the ways he could think of to diagnose the possible death of a murder suspect in several galaxies. It calmed him down reasonably quickly, so he hoped he'd got away with his shocked reaction. He kept telling himself it was a perfectly natural reaction, which it was, but that didn't stop it being an unwanted reaction. He sighed with relief once he'd brought his body back under control.

Having reached the small town where they'd left the TARDIS, they gave the driver their tired thanks, and almost limped back to the safety of home. "I think bed is a good idea right now, don't you Doctor?" Donna sleepily asked him.

"What? Bed? Yes, very good idea. Do you need any help with that?" he asked her and then unexpectedly blushed.

Donna gave him a fond smile, which in the circumstances should have been a sneer, "I learnt how to go to bed a long time ago, Doctor. Though there is something I'm desperate to do first."

"You do?" his shocked expression would have made her giggle if she didn't feel so tired right now.

"Yeah, I'm dying for a cup of tea and sandwich. Is there anything you fancy?" she asked as she stumbled elegantly towards the kitchen.

"You… er… could do me one too while you're there… please!" he called out after her. And then he deliberately thumped his head against the doorframe, twice.