Author's Note: Hi there. I meant to get back this this earlier but I've been juggling a few dozen things :)
So continuing here with Donna's POV. I know I'd said originally this would just be a two shot, but I'm making it three. This has more "live bit" than the narrative style of the first chapter so it got a little long. Another break was better for the flow.
Thanks everybody who reviewed and alerted on chapter one, hopefully you'll enjoy the continuation. It will become apparent that this goes AU now because what happens here definitely wasn't covered in EOT.
Twitter Announcement On All Postings - New account for writing updates: ffsienna27
Sea Foam & Magical Mobiles
Donna stood in the kitchen of her mother's house, shivering in her ratty wool jumper as she slowly measured out the cream and sugar for her fourth cup of tea that day.
Even with the heat on full, the house was ridiculously cold and drafty and it wasn't helping Donna's mood any. She was having another one of her days. Another one of her sad days.
She'd been crying off and on since she'd awoken early that morning.
It was a few months past that Shaun had slipped the lovely, 'just big enough to make Nerys jealous, but not so big that Donna was afraid it was fake,' diamond on her finger. But even staring down now at the shiny little band glittering on her hand . . . that reminder of the wedding and new life to come . . . wasn't enough to perk up her mood. Perhaps if there'd been some other distractions she'd have pulled herself together by then. But it was Sunday, and with Mum shopping, Shaun working and Gramps up on the hill (that's where he always was these days) the house had been too quiet, too lonely.
Just too much.
How did people live like this? Just getting up and watching telly and boiling the kettle, then sitting down and starting the whole cycle again an hour later. Yes, these were normal things . . . things Donna had been doing her whole life without question . . . but now they seemed, well . . . her eyes started to sting again . . . small. Her life seemed small.
Small and pathetic.
It wasn't the first time that she'd had these types of thoughts, but it was the longest that they'd stayed with her in a while. At this point it was nearing two o'clock and that ache in her chest was showing no signs of abatement. It was like a stone pressing down on her lungs.
Not just her physical self though, it was crushing her spirit. All of her hopes and plans for the future . . . that shiny little band on her finger . . . they seemed diminished. And though she tried to tell herself that it was just the bad day, that tomorrow would be better. Really . . . one hand came up to wipe her leaking eye as the other lifted the mug to her lips . . . that was bollocks.
The bad days were coming closer and closer together now. Actually the closer Donna got to the wedding . . . four and a half months . . . the worse she felt overall.
It made no sense.
Of course . . . she huffed humorlessly . . . her whole bleeding life had stopped making sense, so why would the wedding be any different?
Still though, she knew that was no reason for her to be sodding about like a lump feeling sorry for herself. Whether she was happy about it or not, life was marching forward and it was dragging her along with it.
There were things to do besides cry into a tissue.
So with a weary sigh Donna went over to take the box of chocolate biscuits down from the cupboard. Then as she choked back another pathetic sniffle, she tucked the biscuits under her arm, her tea cup into her hand, and headed off to her bedroom.
It was time to start packing up her life.
All right . . . she slowly climbed the stairs . . . perhaps it was a little early to be packing up her life. But it was a task that needed to be done eventually, and part of her hoped that if she made herself begin today that it would help her mood. It was a physical reminder to hold onto.
The proof that there new beginnings on the horizon.
That was the plan anyway. But . . . she stepped through the doorway of her bedroom . . . God knows how it would really go. The way her mind was working these days, she could be sobbing in the corner by half past.
But in anticipation of a long . . . dusty . . . afternoon, Donna trudged into her room and placed the tea and biscuits on the dresser. Then she reached over to pick up the warped ceramic plate leaning up and against the side wall. She'd made the plate for her grandmother when she was five . . . Gramps had returned it to her after Nan had died . . . and after she'd blown the faint layer of dust off of it, Donna dumped half of the biscuits out for easy access.
As she stood there slowly munching on one of the store bought sweets, her eyes began to fill again as her finger traced the edge of the slightly chipped ceramic. This plate was one of the things that she was taking with her when she left. Though Nan had loved the plate, Mum didn't much care for it and Donna knew that she didn't want it in the house. She'd even said as much to her face when she was a little girl . . . "honestly Donna, who draws flowers on a dinner plate. It's so tacky."
'Mean, hateful witch.'
The words popped into Donna's head from out of nowhere, but she quickly pushed them aside. There was no point in focusing in on her mother's faults . . . not when she had so many of her own. At least that's what Mum always had said when Donna had tried to stand up to her. "Oh Miss High and Mighty. So perfect, so wonderful, so capable of telling everyone else their business rather than just minding her own."
After a few years of that, Donna just stopped trying to be more than she was.
But her grandmother . . . Donna sniffled as she went over to pick up another tissue . . . she'd loved Donna despite what a mess she was. Though she'd loved her parents simply because they were her parents, Donna's feelings for her grandparents had been different. More genuine, perhaps. But Nan and Gramps had always been the most loving and supportive figures in Donna's life. They loved her without critique or condition.
Nan's loss had been a real blow.
Though more so to Gramps than to her of course. The two of them had been so happy together, and after she'd died Mum had insisted that he move in with the family. Not that Donna felt her mother's offer had been an act of loving generosity, it was more or less portrayed as the expected burden of a "good daughter."
She was keeping up appearances.
Then shortly after his arrival . . . after the initial six month mourning period had begun to pass . . . the "good daughter" began to morph into something else. Slowly and systematically, Donna saw her mother begin to bitterly chip away at her grandfather in the same way that she had previously just done to Donna's father, and to Donna herself.
'She's nothing but a bully.'
Donna's eyes widened as she lifted her head . . . and there was that voice again. It sounded something like her own voice, but like it came from a different version of her. Someone more confident, more worldly.
Funny . . . again she huffed to herself . . . what was it like to have purpose? She didn't know. Well, some days she thought she did. She was supposed to get up and go to work, go to the pub on Friday nights, sleep in on Saturday mornings, marry the handsome man and then pop out a baby or two before she hit the ripe old age of forty. That was the purpose of most people.
To live an ordinary life.
But often . . . on the days like today which were, again, coming closer and closer together . . . even an ordinary life seemed beyond her. On these days it was more like she was just drifting along . . . drifting like foam on the ocean. Foam was another thing that served no purpose. It was just along for the ride. And then one day . . . bam! It slammed into the rocks.
And it was gone.
That was her. That was her life now . . . just waiting to slam into the rocks.
Realizing, this train of thought was doing nothing for her awful mood, Donna shook her head slightly as she turned away from the plate of biscuits and picked up her cup of tea. Then she started over to the bed.
Though she was truly tempted to just curl back up under the covers again, she knew that would be giving in to the depression that had settled over her. And honestly she was afraid that if she started doing that, she'd never get up again.
So instead of hiding the day away, Donna took another sip of tea. The warm liquid slipped down her throat, taking off some of the chill of the day. Then she placed the cup onto the bedside table, buttoned up her old jumper and went over to start unloading the little shelves of her bookcase.
With a job like this . . . packing up her whole life . . . she figured it was best to break it up into pieces. The closet alone would take a whole weekend by itself, but the bookcase . . . Donna sneezed as a cloud of dust went up her nose . . . that was a good project for the afternoon. It was an attainable goal.
One that would give her a sense of accomplishment when it was done.
Or at least that was the hope going into it. But time passed slowly for Donna as she began sorting out all the little bits and pieces that she'd accumulated over the years. And eventually . . . as her pieces and bits started to add up into little stacks around the bed . . . her grief started welling up as her eyes began to fill with tears once again.
This was a snapshot of her entire life to date . . . and there was little there worth saving.
All these things that she'd collected . . . cinema stubs from dates that she didn't want to remember, soda caps showing that she'd won more bottles of soda, fanzines of long forgotten idols . . . it was just a bunch of 'stuff.'
Yes there were a few good things . . . recent birthday cards from Gramps, old letters from Nan written when she was sick in hospital, a few pics of her dad . . . but in all it was a depressingly small pile of treasures to be found. Especially given the four shelves that she'd emptied.
And though it genuinely saddened Donna to see it, it really came as no surprise to her that the things that she wanted to keep, had absolutely nothing to do with her mother.
There weren't a lot of happy memories there.
Of course there weren't a lot of happy memories anywhere. They were just snippets interspersed throughout her life. Quick little flutters that flew by and she had to grab them before they were gone.
Lost . . . as the word came to Donna, a few tears started to leak down her cheeks . . . that was it, she was lost. It was like she'd been left on the side of the road, and she kept watching and waiting, expecting that somebody would come to find her again. But they didn't. She was all alone.
And nobody was coming for her.
At that realization, a small sob bubbled up and Donna clamped her hand over her mouth to keep it from spilling out. And knowing then that she was done sorting for the day . . . it would only lead to more tears . . . she leaned over to grab another tissue from the box.
As her weight on the mattress shifted, to Donna's dismay she saw the small stack of special keepsakes begin sliding off the edge of the comforter. And when she tried to reach over for them . . . the rest fell to the floor.
With a grunt of disgust at what a clumsy cow she was . . . that thought came in her mother's voice . . . Donna finished collecting her tissue. Then she blew her nose and wiped her face. And after she'd tossed the tissue into the rubbish, she got down on her hands and knees to clean up the spill on the floor.
After she'd collected everything in her field of vision, Donna noticed that one of the pictures of her dad appeared to be missing. It was one of the two of them when she was a small girl.
He was holding her hand and smiling down at her as they posed in their Easter best.
It was definitely a snapshot that she wanted to keep . . . it was one of those happy snippets . . . so after another quick check of the stack of mementos she'd put back on the bed . . . definitely not there . . . she got down on her belly and started blindly running her hand under the bed.
And . . . she smacked her hand around . . . nothing.
So with a groan of discomfort and a few choice curse words, Donna pushed herself down a bit more . . . squashed her tits flat really . . . so she could reach farther back into the dust bunnies.
It wasn't a flattering image . . . arse forward wasn't her best look . . . so she was really hoping that nobody would come home before she'd found the blessed picture.
And as though the gods had heard her plea, Donna's fingers suddenly brushed against something. Except . . . her brow wrinkled as she closed her hand around the item . . . it was definitely not the picture.
It was something else.
She yanked her arm back, pulling out the hard piece of plastic as she inched backwards on the carpet. Though she'd had an inkling from the shape as to what the object had appeared to be, that's really when she first saw what it actually was that she'd found.
Her old mobile.
And seeing it appear in her hand so unexpectedly out of the blue, Donna's eyes widened in surprise . . . so that's where it had gone off to. This was her last phone. The one she'd gotten early last year with the new plan. But she'd lost it . . . or she'd thought she'd lost it . . . so she'd cancelled the account and ordered a new one.
Hmm . . . she bit her lip . . . randomly lost and randomly found.
And as she rolled onto her back, continuing stare up at the dusty object in her hand, Donna felt the waves of grief and sadness rising up again.
Oh bloody hell!
Her chest was tightening and her eyes were burning all because of a stupid mobile. But why . . . she started blinking frantically as she rolled onto her side . . . why in God's name was it upsetting her so much?
Throw it away . . . a voice in her head suddenly yelled . . . just toss it in the bin! If it's making you feel this awful then nothing good can come of it!
Though Donna didn't know this voice . . . didn't recognize it anyway . . . it seemed to be giving her good advice. She should just throw it away . . . she nodded slowly to herself as she wiped the fresh trickle of unwelcome tears from her cheek . . . yeah, she should absolutely toss it.
But she didn't.
Instead she sat up, leaning against the side of the bed as she reached to grab another tissue from the box. And after she'd . . . for the umpteenth time that day . . . blown her nose and wiped her face, Donna took a breath and turned the little mobile device over in her hand. Despite what that strange voice had said, the evidence at hand was telling her that this phone very important.
Otherwise why would she have reacted so strongly to it?
She stared down at the dark screen.
And though Donna knew that the phone shouldn't work . . . the service had been cut seven or eight months earlier . . . still, for some reason she found her index finger moving over to press down on the little power button.
She just wanted to see what would happen.
A second later the screen lit up . . . it still had a charge . . . and two seconds after that, Donna saw something that should have been impossible.
Bars in the corner.
She had a signal . . . but that was nutters. It was a simple fact that you can't get a signal on a mobile with no account.
There was nothing to feed it.
Yet here she had one. And it wasn't Vodafone, it was something called . . . her brow wrinkled as she stared at the little grey letters . . . Universal Upgrade.
What the bloody hell was that?
When Donna tried to turn her mind inward to place the words . . . to answer her question . . . a wall came up. And with it . . . she winced . . . a flash of pain.
Her fingers rose to press against her temple.
Well . . . slowly she exhaled as her hand fell down . . . that was unexpected. And it happened just as an image started to appear in her mind. It wasn't the first time that she'd found real gaps in her memory . . . Gramps and Mum told her that she'd been in hospital for a few weeks last winter, something to do with a high fever . . . but mostly that's all they were, gaps.
Just spaces in her memories.
This was the first time that she'd felt like an answer to a question was there . . . but it was beyond her reach. And though that little jab of pain might have . . . on a different day . . . put her off exploring further, today wasn't a different day. Today was today. And today was one of those days where her hours were already filled with sadness and tears.
So much worse could things really get?
And with that thought in mind . . . that her life had started a downward spiral . . . Donna slowly moved her finger back to the keypad. Then she pressed down on Contacts.
With that act, she started to feel slightly emboldened . . . slightly more purposeful . . . so she began to methodically scroll down the list of names and numbers. Though she was operating solely on instinct, somehow . . . based on the little push that she was feeling in the back of her brain . . . she felt like what she was doing was right.
And as she moved further and further down the list, the more right it felt.
Finally Donna started to understand that she was looking for something . . . something very particular . . . but she didn't know quite what. Somehow though . . . her upper teeth began to nervously nibble on her lower lip . . . she sensed that she'd know this thing when she saw it. So far nothing looked out of sorts though. Or at least all the names and numbers were familiar. They were the same ones that she had in her new phone.
But then she got to the "M"s and stopped. Her eyes were locked on one word.
Donna's brow wrinkled . . . funny, she didn't know anybody named Martha. Or at least she didn't think she did. For a moment she stared down in confusion, her finger hovering as she tried to decide if she should let it fall. But then she shook her head.
That wasn't it.
It wasn't quite right . . . she knew much that from the little buzzing coming from the back her brain . . . but still, that wasn't the thing that she was looking for.
It was something else.
So she kept going, further and further down the list. On down through neighbor Nancy and cousin Ned and frenemy Nerys. Then over Uncle Otto and through the pizza deliveries and restaurants she liked for take away. There were a lot of numbers in there.
A lot of nights eating alone in her room.
Finally she moved beyond the reminders of her bouts of depressive eating over the years. That's when she reached S. First there was old school friend Sally, then her work friend Samantha, and then of course her fiancé.
Once more Donna's eyes prickled with hot tears. The reaction wasn't for seeing Shaun's name though . . . not really. It was more like . . . she was seeing passed him. Seeing something beyond him. So the grief there was born out of guilt. That her depression and sadness in that moment, were a betrayal of the love and generosity that he had shown her.
But that couldn't be helped.
Her feelings were what they were. And more than that . . . she sniffled as she wiped her hand across her face . . . there was something else there beyond the guilt and the pain and the grief. It was anticipation.
And yes she loved Shaun but she hadn't been "excited" to see him since the early days of their courtship. Months and months ago. So that meant that whatever she was looking for, it was close. Close, but again . . . her finger started slowly scrolling down the list again . . . somewhere beyond Shaun.
And then she saw it . . . and she froze. It was a word. It was a name.
A funny name.
And in that instant that those eight letters appeared on the screen, all of that sadness and grief and depression simply washed away. A smile stretched across her face. She was happy.
It was the reverse of her usual emotional rollercoaster. Now she was ecstatic . . . though she had no idea why. She didn't know who this person was . . . what the hell kind of name was Spaceman anyway . . . or how she knew him, but still, she knew without the faintest of doubts that this had been what she was looking for all along.
And for a moment she sat there frozen, fresh . . . though this time happy . . . tears filling her eyes, as she tried to decide what to do. She was asking herself somewhat abstractly, just how much of a nutter would she look like if she called this man she couldn't remember, to ask him if he knew why she was so sad all the time.
No . . . her smile faded slightly as she shook her head . . . no she couldn't ask him that. That was just too, out there. Still though, given the reaction she had simply to seeing the man's name, it was obvious that he'd once meant something dear to her.
Perhaps . . . a theory came to her . . . he was one of the memories that had disappeared.
So as before, Donna tried to remember something that seemed lost. But this time when she pushed her brain for answers, she didn't come back with a jolt of pain, but instead a wave of warmth.
Concrete memories associated with this name seemed to be gone, but there were sensations there. Feelings. Good ones. Happiness . . . love.
So though Donna still didn't have a conscious clue as to who this Spaceman was, it was clear that some part of her mind remembered him still.
And that part remembered nothing but good things.
Feeling a burst of rare courage suddenly flow through her, Donna let her finger drop down to the green button before she lost her nerve. And with her breath now caught in her throat, she pushed herself up to the bed as she lifted the mobile to her ear.
And she waited as it rang once . . . and then twice . . . and as the third ring began, her courage started to fade as her spirits began to fall. That horrible grief began to rise up again, tenfold.
But then where was a click. And then a second after that, a question.
"Who is this?"
The words came softly . . . with a touch of wariness. But as soon as she heard them, Donna closed her eyes as the timbre and cadence of the voice echoed in her brain. Again, she was filled with an inexplicable joy.
This was right.
"Hello," she whispered as a tear slid down her cheek, "my name's Donna. Donna Noble."
This time she could hear the disbelief and confusion folded around the question.
So she tried again, tried harder.
"Donna," she repeated more urgently before he hung up, "my name's Donna Noble. I'm looking for Spaceman? Is that you?"
For a minute there was silence, and Donna was just about to speak again when she heard a sound. A sound that reminded her of someone weeping . . . then she realized it was weeping.
He was weeping.
Oh . . . her teeth began to worry her lip as her own eyes flooded in inexplicable sympathy . . . what's that about then?
"Oi mate," she asked softly, "what's wrong? Why are you crying?"
Though she no longer remembered her history with this man . . . why he was important to her . . . for some reason hearing him cry was making her chest ache in a way that ordinarily it only did on the worst of her bad days.
It was like they were connected somehow.
"I um . . ."
She heard him sniff and clear his throat, and then.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," another sniffle, "that's just . . . I didn't mean to, um . . ."
His watery voice faded out again. But then a split second later it came back in a bright . . . false . . . cheer.
She knew it was false because she could still hear the tears hovering.
"Donna Noble you say? Nice to talk to you Donna Noble, but can I ask," he cleared his throat, "how did you get this number?"
Suddenly feeling a calm filling her . . . it was something in his voice . . . Donna slowly leaned back on the mattress.
"Well," she started slowly, "you might think it's kind of daft. But I dropped something under my bed and then I just found this old mobile I thought I'd lost. Your number was in it." Then she paused for a second, her brow wrinkling as she stared at a crack in the ceiling, "at least I think it was your number. It was listed under Spaceman. That is you, right? You're Spaceman?"
"Uh," the answer was slow and soft . . . almost hesitant, "yes, yes I am."
"Well, what the hell kind of STUPID name is that?" She shot back in sudden irritation. "Were your parents slipping the mickey or something? You got a brother named Cloud Cover? What'd you name the dog in a family like that? Clive?"
Though Donna wasn't quite sure where the irritation had come from . . . or what she was expecting for a response to her dismissal of his name as anything less than utter drug induced idiocy . . . she was quite sure it wasn't what she got.
Gales of laughter.
He just wouldn't stop . . . and her lips started to twitch right before she began to giggle too. Her irritation had melted as quickly as it had formed. But then he made a weird strangling sound and she sobered up, thinking that he was going to choke.
Fortunately he pulled through that one.
Then finally there was a gasp, followed by a breathless murmur. "Oh my God, I've missed you so much!"
And hearing him say that, Donna felt another ridiculous jolt of happiness . . . it no longer mattered that she couldn't remember their past, what mattered was that he remembered her now.
"So you DO know me!" She exclaimed with a happy bounce as she rolled onto her side, "but how exactly? Because honestly, I don't know why I called this number. I was in hospital for a while last year and since then I've had these memory gaps, and well, sorry mate, but I don't remember you."
The laughter abruptly stopped and she suddenly felt the need to clarify.
"I really am sorry," she bit her lip, "I hope that doesn't hurt your feelings. And if it makes it any better, even though I don't remember you, I kind of remember these sensations that I associate with your name. But I don't have any pictures in my head to go with the emotions that are coming up. So could you help me with that maybe? The pictures I mean. Like how did we meet?"
Though she knew her gob was running on and she was rambling a bit . . . saying too much of what was in her head . . . she didn't feel foolish doing it. It was like it was okay with him.
It was okay to just be herself.
But for a moment there he was quiet again, and she started to wonder if maybe she wasn't the only one that was having memory problems.
"Still there Spaceman?" She asked cautiously, to which he suddenly blurted in response.
And hearing the questioning . . . somewhat girlish . . . inflection of his tone, Donna's lower lip came out in a slight pout.
"Pub?" She repeated in a slightly irritated confusion. "Sorry, are you asking me if we met in the pub? Because I just told you Dumbo, I don't remember you. And also," she started getting a good head of steam over all the things that had nothing to do with him but yet somehow she'd just decided were his fault entirely. "I don't know how this bloody mobile is working with no service! And again, I don't know why the hell I called this bloody NUMBER!" she began to holler in the way that she had since was a girl, "So why the bloody . . ."
"I'm not asking, I'm telling you," he responded calmly, cutting into her rant like he'd done it a thousand times before. "We met in the pub. Yep," he said with a pop of the P, "it was the pub. Half price drinks. Trivia night. You were sloshed, tripped over a chair leg nearly busted your head."
Before she could process the pictures he was painting in her mind . . . to see if she could place them . . . he came back again much more frenetically, "pub, pub, pub! I do so love a good pub Donna Noble!"
There was no venom in her tone . . . she was simply stating a fact. A fact that she didn't know how she knew . . . but she did. He was lying through his teeth about the pub. It wasn't just that she didn't remember the night . . . she didn't remember lots of things . . . it was just a fact that she knew.
Like the sky being blue.
And then . . . as she somehow expected he would . . . he denied the lie.
"I am not lying," he sputtered back, "I do love a good pub!"
"Not about that you idiot," Donna rolled her eyes in exasperation, "you're lying about how we met."
"YOU. ARE. LY. ING."
Yes, she knew she was being obnoxious . . . but again, he was in fact lying, so she didn't feel too badly about calling him on it. But she could tell that he was thrown for a second . . . almost like he wasn't used to being questioned by anyone . . . but then he started in again even more indignantly.
"I am not."
"Yes, you are." She stated emphatically.
Suddenly they both stopped . . . and Donna's head started to spin. But in a good way. It was like having taken a ride on the carousel . . . and there were more happy feelings there.
But still no pictures to go with them.
"Donna!" Came the slightly panicked voice through the line, "Donna, are you all right!"
"Yeah," she slowly exhaled, "sorry, weird kind of déjà vu. It was like I remembered doing that before . . . but not really. I don't know," she flapped her hand slightly though he couldn't see it, "like I said, it was weird."
Then she was quiet for a moment, just listening to his slightly frantic breathing. Suddenly it didn't matter to her how they'd met, it just mattered that they had. And if he wanted to keep the details of that meeting to himself for now, well . . . she took a breath . . . that was okay too. He must have his reasons.
Someday maybe he'd tell her what they were.
"I'm sorry I called you a liar," she said softly.
"It's okay," he said in a similarly subdued tone, "sometimes I am a liar. Sometimes I'm a lot of things that I wish I wasn't."
The admission was a bit of a surprise to Donna. But it also emboldened her as she continued in a whisper. "Me too. Sometimes I pretend that I'm happy . . . but I'm not. I'm sad all the time."
And she stopped. Though she had a hundred more questions for this man, that pronouncement . . . finally speaking those taboo words aloud . . . silenced all of the other thoughts in her head.
There was no more to say on that day.
Still though . . . her fingernails clenched into her palm . . . this couldn't be the end either. So she took a breath . . . and another leap.
"I have to go now. But I was wondering, would it be all right if I called you again sometime?"
It was silly . . . virtual stranger with a completely batty name and all . . . but it just seemed imperative that they talk again.
"I'm very sorry that you're so sad Donna. But I don't, well . . ."
His voice started to get thick and he paused for a moment. When he came back his tone was more pointed . . . more urgent.
"How do you feel right now?" He asked worriedly, "Do you have a headache?"
Donna snorted in surprise.
"That's a strange question Spaceman," she responded with an amused chuckle, "but now that you mention it, I feel good," she smiled into the phone, "happy. But I don't really know why. You see, I've been having these funny feelings for months now, where I'd wake up crying for no reason. But this is the first time I've been happy for no reason . . . I like being happy for no reason."
A faint blush started to climb Donna's cheeks as she realized that she was once again spilling her guts to this man.
"I don't know why I just told you that," she huffed in a slight embarrassment, "but really," her amusement fled as she asked again, "would it be okay if I called again? Just to say hi."
There was a long pause . . . so long that even though she could still hear him breathing, Donna could have believed that the conversation was done. But then finally he spoke, his voice heavy with emotion.
"That would be fantastic."
"Okay then," she smiled a watery smile into the phone, "we'll talk again and maybe then you can tell me about this night that I was so pissed that I agreed to give my number to a bloke with the stupidest name ever."
There was a snort through the phone, and then he chuckled her name quietly to himself in a little chant, of "Donna, Donna, Donna."
It made her smile.
"Well," he suddenly cleared his throat, "I should be off."
"Right, okay then. Don't want to keep you," then Donna's fingers clenched tightly around the phone. "Bye Spaceman," she whispered softly.
"Goodbye Donna Noble."
The way he said her name . . . the happiness and pride in his tone . . . she felt another burst of joy in her heart even as she hung up the phone.
Poor man . . . she huffed to herself a second later . . . if he was this excited to hear from her, his life must be even more boring than hers was. And for a moment that amusement stuck with her.
But then she realized that she was again holding a darkened phone.
Their connection was gone.
But . . . her hand came up to splay across her chest . . . it wasn't. Somehow she could still feel him. It didn't make sense, but nothing about the last twenty minutes . . . or eight months . . . had made a lick of sense to her.
She was still just sea foam.
But . . . she stared down at the little plastic device in her hand . . . she no longer felt like she was waiting to smash against the rocks. And that was something. So whatever it was that had just happened with this man . . . whatever connection they'd made . . . she desperately needed for it to continue.
So she quickly slipped the phone into the top drawer of her night table, then hurriedly pulled on a pair of trainers and her winter coat. And once she was all bundled up, she hurried out to buy a new phone battery and a charger before the shops closed.
She didn't want to tempt fate on that magic charge holding on much longer.
When she got home from her errand, the house was still empty . . . still quiet . . . so she tucked everything away, and did exactly as she was expected to do.
She started supper.
Because on this day in particular . . . she began cutting up potatoes for the stew . . . she didn't want to hear any critiques from her mother. It would ruin her memories of the afternoon.
The afternoon when her life started to turn around.
Because from then on, whenever Donna had one of those days . . . one of those days when she suddenly felt like her world was about to end . . . as soon as she was alone, she'd dig out her old red mobile from the hiding spot in the night table. She had no idea why she felt the need to hide the phone, but that didn't matter.
All that mattered was that the phone kept working.
Because as long as it kept working, then she could keep calling her Spaceman. The second time they spoke, she asked him his real name . . . but he said that was it, Spaceman. Like Cher but cooler. Again, she had that sensation like he was lying, but that time she didn't call him on it.
It didn't matter. Spaceman was fine with her.
It was a silly name but it seemed to suit him.
She also asked him why the phone still worked even though she'd taken it off her calling plan. He said that it was his plan . . . a special long distance plan . . . and that she wasn't to think about that again. It would keep working so long as the phone had a charge. Then he changed the subject.
Asked her if she'd seen the new Harry Potter movie yet.
So they moved on to that, and she stopped worrying about the phone suddenly losing their connection. Because if he told her it would keep working, then she believed it.
She believed almost everything he said.
There was just something about him that she trusted. And no matter what time of day she rung him, he always answered. Sometimes it would sound like he was out . . . like he was running or something . . . but that didn't stop him from taking her call.
Though on the days when he was running (or whatever he was doing, she never asked for fear he was in the midst of shag or something) then he'd usually pant in her ear to "hold on a tick" and he'd disappear for a few minutes . . . sometimes five or ten, still, she always waited . . . but when he came back he always said the same words, with the same smile in his voice.
"All better. Now where were we?"
And she'd know then that she had his undivided attention. And if she'd spent half her day crying, suddenly things were as he said . . . all better. She couldn't explain it. It made no sense that this man . . . this essentially nameless, totally faceless voice, on a telephone would have such an effect on her.
Not once did she consider stopping the calls though.
This man with no face and no name understood her in a way that nobody else in her life did. How that was possible she'd never know. But it was as true, again, as the sky was blue.
He quickly became her closest friend.
And so she'd find herself telling him everything about everything. Her mother, her friends . . . her job.
All the fears and worries . . . would she be a good mother or would she turn out like her own . . . all of it was an open book for him. There was just something about him that made Donna feel like she could unburden herself. Somehow she knew that he would never judge her, or make her feel foolish.
He just listened.
Nobody ever listened to her. That's why she yelled so much . . . she just wanted to be heard. But with her Spaceman, she knew that he heard even her whispers.
She no longer felt the need to shout.
And he could always make her laugh. And though his advice was generally quite good, sometimes his observations about her life bordered on the utterly ridiculous. And the man could go on for an hour about sunsets and snow storms or just the shades of black in a star filled sky. A discussion about shades of black should have been mind numbing . . . yet it wasn't. It was wonderful.
She loved it.
She loved him.
Not in a romantic way, just . . . in a pure way. The pure free flow of that emotion would rise up when they spoke. And quickly . . . after a few months . . . her bad days started coming further and further apart.
So she started calling him on good days too. It was fun to share happy news with him. To hear that squeal of excitement in his voice, first, that it was her on the line, and second, that she had something to tell him.
It didn't matter if what she wanted to tell him was that Shaun had bought her flowers for no reason, or that the girl at the coffee shop had given her a free cookie just because she liked ginger hair, he was just as thrilled for her either way. It was wonderful just to have someone who was constantly in her corner. And when she would try to think back if she'd ever had somebody in her life like that before . . . she'd always come up with a warm heart and a blank page. And that's how she knew . . . this is how it had been before.
Before her memories went away.
Spaceman had been her special bloke long before Shaun had come into her life. And sometimes she wondered why it was that he'd gone away . . . why it was that he'd never come to visit when she was sick . . . but then she'd start to get a little headache and she'd push away the questions.
She was just happy that he was back.
And though he traveled a lot . . . all the time apparently, he said he hadn't been to London in over a year . . . she had no complaints at all about their relationship. Though she still loved Shaun, Spaceman . . . just over the phone . . . was more there, than even the man whose bed she shared two nights a week.
That's when she started to wonder if it was time to give back the ring.
If that life that she'd felt obliged to live, was truly the one she was meant to live. It was a question that was rolling around in her head. And she was just waiting for the right opening to ask Spaceman what he thought.
But then one random Tuesday late in March, something happened.
She was on the phone listening to Spaceman tell her a story about a book that he'd read . . . one that sounded too hard for her but he wanted her to pick up anyway . . . when Shaun suddenly walked into her bedroom.
That's when she realized that she'd completely forgotten that he was coming over for dinner.
But as she heard him clear his throat and she turned to see him standing there, she could tell from the look on his face, that her ordinarily easy going boyfriend, was about ready to flip his lid.
She had no idea how much of their conversation he had heard, or how long he'd been listening . . . she'd been laughing a few minutes ago . . . but from the looks of it he'd been standing there too long and he'd heard too much.
And though Donna could still hear Spaceman's calm voice in her ear, her stomach began to churn as the color started to drain from her face.
Oh shit . . . she swallowed hard . . . this was going to be trouble.
A/N 2: This came about one day when I dropped my phone while watching Who. And as I picked it up I flashed on The Doctor sonic'ing all of the companions' cell phones for the "universal upgrade." And then considering whether he'd remember to UNsonic Donna's phone (never before a necessity) it seemed like it was a point that could have been forgotten in his grief over having to wipe her memory and leave her behind. It probably would have been in her pocket when he brought her back to the house, so I just suddenly pictured it falling under the bed and being forgotten. I thought it was a fairly legitimate means to help bring them back together again.
My theory here on getting around Donna's brain melting was that she wasn't actually getting her memories back. They were just sensations. Just like the feelings that she's getting that make her inexplicably sad, here she's found a voice on a telephone that makes her inexplicably happy. So like I said, a fix it, of sorts. She can't go back to that life again and remember all that she was, but they can still maintain a connection in a different way.
I also thought the only way to do this was to stick with Spaceman rather than Doctor. One would conjure up different emotions than the other. As he says, names have power. And Spaceman wasn't a real name, it was just an affectionate nickname for her best friend. Again, different emotional response so no brain melting. It's a theory anyway :) One I'd like to believe was plausible in a different world. Of course you may disagree, but hopefully you're enjoying the ride nonetheless :)