Summary: Set a short time after JE, Donna is visiting Wilf in hospital when a strange woman insists she knows her.
Disclaimer: I tried paying for these with my credit card, but they refused my request.
A/N: I originally wrote this as I sat in the X-ray Department waiting room. Nope, can't see where I got the inspiration for this slightly angsty fic from.
This place felt like a second home for some reason. The calming painted walls and vibrant posters welcomed her in as she headed for a particular ward. "So... what's it like in here?" Donna sat down in the solitary seat on offer and placed a consoling hand on the bed.
"Not too bad. There's a few nutters about; you know, the usual Napoleons and that!" Wilf chuckled. He sat back against his pillows with a weary sigh.
Donna watched as he gradually fell back to sleep, then sat wondering what to do until the visiting time was up; she was determined to wait there until then.
A young nurse sidled up to check Wilf's heart rate and blood pressure; and then grinned enthusiastically at Donna. "Hello again!" she beamed. "I haven't seen you in ages. How have you been?"
There was a slight sense of déjà vu about this as Donna looked at her with a puzzled expression for a split second. "Fine," Donna automatically answered, wondering who the hell she was and when she'd met her. The name badge declared her to be Nurse Claire Evans. "I'm just visiting Gramps here."
"He's a lovely man," Nurse Evans smiled. "Almost as lovely as that husband of yours."
"My what?" Donna gasped.
"I see he's not here with you today. That's why I didn't recognise you at first. You're always here together," Nurse Evans laughed softly, "unless we drag him away for some emergency! Good job he's a doctor, huh?"
"Yeah," Donna reluctantly agreed. This woman obviously wasn't a real nurse, but one of those delusional people you hear about who pretend to be staff. Husband indeed! This woman had her act down to a fine art though, what with the uniform and all. 'Best to keep her happy for the time being' Donna thought. "I don't know where I'd be without him. Carries that flipping briefcase everywhere."
"What briefcase?" Nurse Evans frowned at her. "I've never seen him with a briefcase."
"Ah… well… you wouldn't," Donna decided to agree in order to fend this woman off. Though the absurdity of discussing this non-existent husband wasn't lost on her.
"I wish I could bag myself a man like that," Nurse Evans sighed. "Especially one that would love me like that."
Her interest roused, Donna found herself asking, "You think he loves me lots?"
"Of yes!" Nurse Evans nodded in agreement. "Not many men would behave like that in public. My boyfriend certainly doesn't."
"Sorry," she found herself responding out of kindness.
"Don't be," Nurse Evans flashed her lovely smile again, and checked on Wilf one more time. "It's nice to know one of the lucky ones. Do you live far from Wilf?"
Donna chuckled, "No distance at all. I'm living back home for the time being."
"Aw! Isn't that lovely? It must put a strain on your marriage though. Your husband is wonderful letting you do that." This nurse didn't seem to be in any hurry to leave her be.
"I'm not sure he had a choice in it," Donna vaguely answered.
Nurse Evans looked at her with concern. "Is he not staying with you? He didn't go with you?"
"No. I'm living there on my own," she supplied; though why she did to this strange woman was a mystery to her.
Nurse Evans face crumpled in sympathy. "I'm so sorry. It must be hard to be without him all the time. I'm really surprised though; I thought he'd never…"
"Never what?" Donna asked, unusually eager to hear about this phantom husband.
"I never thought he would leave your side for even a second," Nurse Evans told her with a sigh. "He just didn't seem the sort." She gave a little defeated shrug, "Perhaps I didn't want him to be the sort? I don't know. It's just that… you're the honey in his worker bee life. Does that sound daft?" She gave a snorted laugh, to which Donna merely smiled wryly. "I see I'm upsetting you, talking about him all the time. You must miss him terribly."
Donna watched the nurse pat her arm in consolation, and suddenly wished she really did have this magical husband she kept on about. To her horror she felt tears prickle at her eyelids. "I'm just being silly…," she began to explain. For one awful moment she thought the nurse was going to hug her, but instead Nurse Evans clasped her hand.
"I've never seen you do anything remotely silly. I think it's grand that you're looking after Wilf in this way, and I'm sure your husband knows and understands that." Her head whipped round suddenly, before turning slowly back to Donna, "I could have sworn… I thought I saw him just then, but it must have been a shadow. You look after yourself, okay? Give my love to that husband of yours when you see him; and remind him he still owes me a new stopwatch!" She squeezed Donna's hand one more time before making her way to another part of the ward.
Donna watched her go, wondering how much of that conversation was real and how much she had personally just made up. It had been bizarre, that much was true. As she turned her attention back to the still sleeping Wilf she could have sworn she heard a faintly familiar sound far off in the distance. A sound that was just like… and then the thought slipped away from her. She shook her head in bafflement. What was she like? She'd forget her own head if it wasn't screwed on.