Follow the piper

By Marisha

"Did you hear that?" Donna tilted her head.

"What?" The Doctor poked his head out from under the console.

Donna stepped to the door. "Singing," she called over her shoulder.

The Doctor got up. "I don't hear anything."

"But it's so— clear, so— I don't know. So beautiful," Donna said, her eyes alit with a warm fire.

"Um, Donna—" The Doctor hovered by the console as she opened the door. "We're in space."

She nodded excited before turning to the stars swirling around them.

"There's nothing out there – well," he scratched his temple. "No singing."

She turned her head slowly towards him. "But I can hear it! Don't you?" Her eyebrows rose hopefully.

The Doctor studied her for a moment deciding what was wrong. "You know there is no air out there." He said carefully.

Donna nodded still gazing at the stars.

The Doctor edged closer with caution. "So you know – there can't be any singing without air. No voice can breathe and no sound can be transmitted."

"I know, I know," Donna waved her hand impatiently. "But can't you hear it? With your alien super ears, you must have heard it long before me!"

He stopped behind her and tilted his head. "Of course, I would! My hearing is so much more evolved than humans."

Donna glanced over her shoulder and rolled her eyes. "Of course it is. So why didn't you tell me about the music?"

"Which music?" He shook his head. "Donna – there is nothing to hear."

"Oh, of course there is," Donna leant against the door. "You just don't want to admit it." She bobbed her hand in rhythm to a silent orchestra.

"Why would I do that?" The Doctor frowned. "There is no reason to hide music from you, if there was any."

"Oh, the usual stuff," Donna said with a dismissive gesture. "You being so superior, protector of the universe stuff – a five minute speech included." She peeked over her shoulder at his huffing and grinned. "You know what I mean – you protecting me from the universe sirens, the piper or something Martian like that."

"The who and what?" He wrinkled his nose in confusion as he squeezed his eyes together to read her.

Donna shrugged. "Old human history. Sirens kept calling seafaring travelers onto cliffs, so they shipwrecked."

"Donna, I know what sirens are, met a few - thank you very much," the Doctor injected. "But what has that to do with the piper? Or Martians? And-," he held up a hand as Donna opened her mouth. "I am familiar with the human piper legend as well. But we are in the middle of space."

"I'm sure the universe has something like them, too." Donna said dreamily. "Some might even call you that."

"ME?" the Doctor stretched the word incredulously. "What do I have to do with anything?"

Donna grinned. "Well, you lure maidens away, don't you?"

The Doctor opened and closed his mouth in protest a couple of times before answering. "I do, kind of, don't I?" He scratched his head, embarrassed. "Not on purpose, though. I don't plan to. They follow me. YOU wanted to come!"

"I did," Donna said with a fond smile. "Wouldn't miss it for anything."

The Doctor grinned.

Donna nudged him. "So why shouldn't - out there be some sirens ready to call me, then?"

The Doctor stepped beside her. "I'm pretty sure there's no such being out there."

Donna just raised her eyebrow.

"No air? Remember? No air to sing," the Doctor said very slowly.

"Maybe you just haven't met them yet," Donna tapped her cheek. "Better be careful, spaceman."

The Doctor shook his head.

"Okay, the Piper then," Donna added carelessly and turned her head back to the stars. "He has lured thousands of people and animals away from home."

"Again he would have no air to play his pipe," the Doctor said, exasperated, feeling he was losing this argument somehow.

Donna sighed.

"It's so beautiful, so eerie." She smiled at the stars.

"It is?" Intrigued he leant out and peeked into space.

Donna turned to him, beaming. "So exciting, eclectic, romantic, enthralling."

His eyes grew wider with every word as he stared out.

"So ABBA," Donna breathed.

His head shot around. "WHAT?"

"Gottacha, spaceboy!" Donna said as she boxed his arm.

"Oh! No!" Realization dawned on his face. "You wouldn't dare…"

"What?" She turned around with laughter. "Make it ALL UP?" She wiggled her index finger with every word like a Metronome.

His eyes turned to slits as he stared her down.

"'Cause, I was bored while you're doing your spaceboy repair shop?" Donna put her hands on her hips and swung back to the bench.

"Of course I would!"

The end