Warning: this is quite angsty.
Summary: Donna has been left behind; but why?
Disclaimer: If I owned these characters I'd have made their life far happier than this.
A/N: Written in response to the Travellers' Tales Prompt #52 – 'evidence' at doctor_donna.
Waiting For Tomorrow
There could not be a quieter place. The huge sky was a mass of dark, looming clouds that didn't quite threaten rain but merely hid the sun away from sight. Chill air bit at her skin as she sat there contemplating the sight before her, but Donna was determined to stay put.
Another gust swept up the hillside and onto the rock she was perched on, so she wrapped her coat more firmly around her body to keep what little warmth she had to herself.
Why did this place fascinate her so? It didn't have much going for it in the conventional sense. The railway line at the bottom of the hill noisily punctuated the audible landscape, but she paid it no heed. It was all white noise to her. Instead she was paying careful attention to the nearby road. Hardly anybody was travelling along it now; there had been lots of traffic earlier when she had first arrived. All there was in the slowly growing darkness was the odd set of headlights, and a swift punch of brake lights when they hit the bend.
He said he would meet her here. It had been said quite distinctly, but she hadn't believed him. There had been that sudden wide-eyed inflection that normally gave him away when he was unsure of his reply as he spoke the words. That had been such a long time ago; a lifetime ago. Well, somebody's lifetime, and she knew who to measure it against. And purely because of that she was going to kill him when he finally appeared. If he appeared…
The negative thought hung in the air of her inner thoughts; like a bad smell. Sylvia had started that bad thought as soon as Donna had turned up on her doorstep. "Dump you here, has he? Thought he would!" she had stated smugly. Too smugly for Donna's current tastes, and she had surprised herself by wanting to smack the smile right off her mother's face.
Instead she had forced herself to smile as sweetly as she could, and curtly replied, "No, Mum. He said he was coming back, so he will come back." She had said it much more firmly than she had felt at the time, but that was neither here nor there. She had defended him; that was all that mattered, and all Sylvia had deserved.
Sylvia had snorted before answering, "We'll see." She could not have ladled on more scorn if she had tried. "Perhaps he will bother to come back for you if he doesn't get waylaid by another blonde."
Oh how Donna's heart had dipped then. She was half convinced by her mother's words without even trying. All it had taken was a little bit of criticism and she was right back where she started two years ago; the Doctor's good work totally dashed. So Donna had merely sighed before offering to make some tea. She knew how to make decent tea by now. It had almost been drilled into her. Thank goodness something had stuck.
"Don't you listen to her, sweetheart!" Wilf had said, rushing to her aid. "I know that Doctor of yours will be turning up on the doorstep before you know it. Looking like a gormless idiot, like he normally does."
It had been on the tip of her tongue to deny he was hers to own, but she had instantly thought better of it. Let him believe. It made him so happy, and Donna didn't want to take that away from him. "Okay, Gramps," she had replied instead.
She hadn't known how upset he was for her as he watched her walk into the kitchen. Where was his girl's bounce? She had been so content the last time he'd seen her; so something had obviously happened to take that away.
Sylvia had pulled him out of his thoughts. "What do you think, Dad? Do you really think he will come back?" she had asked him.
Wilf shook his head sadly. "I don't know, Sylve. I honestly don't know. I hope so for her sake."
"Yeah!" Sylvia had almost sniffed. Try as she might, she couldn't convince herself to give the Doctor one iota of the benefit of the doubt. Why had he dumped Donna back with them? Why go off somewhere without her? What was he playing at? She had every intention of giving him a piece of her mind. That was if she didn't beat him black and blue for doing what she suspected him of doing.
Yes, she had strong suspicions. They had started a couple of weeks ago when she had heard Donna throwing up in the bathroom. Those were not ordinary reactions! Her thoughts were compounded by the fact Donna had been secretive about it happening more than once; and not just in the morning. Should she tell Wilf what she had heard? Best not to until Donna came clean and/or it was confirmed. No good would come from dishonouring the Doctor for him like that; and contrary to common belief, Sylvia Noble did not spread idle gossip.
"Penny for them?" Wilf suddenly asked her, and Sylvia had to backtrack on what she was thinking.
"Oh, nothing much, Dad. Just worried about Donna," she reluctantly admitted, and left it at that. She then busied herself making sure Donna had something clean and warm to wear when she inevitably made her way back up that hill to wait for the Doctor.
So Donna had allowed her mother to momentarily fuss over her as she got ready to make her daily trek; wishing, hoping and praying that he would appear that night. She even allowed Sylvia to press a flask of hot coffee into her hands, as something to keep her warm as she waited.
Sitting as dusk descended, Donna remembered the flask, and gratefully drank from it. Just another hour, she decided, and she would go home. Not that she considered her mother's house as her true home anymore, but it would do for now.
The sound of a distant ambulance startled her, and she tried not to think of the poor person it was rushing to deal with. 'Please let them be okay,' she mentally asked, and then laid her head on her raised knees; her arms were wrapped tightly around her bent legs to keep her in place. Perhaps she looked like some weird leprechaun? You never knew.
"Why don't you come in out of the cold?" asked a soft, familiar voice.
Donna looked up to see Wilf gazing at her with deep concern. She hadn't even realised she was crying until he handed her a large white hanky. "I will, Gramps," she instantly promised. "Just give me a little bit longer."
Wilf stumbled about, trying to sit down gracefully next to her. "He's not coming, is he?" Wilf asked, placing a comforting arm around her shoulders.
She tried to stay defiant and positive, but how could she when even he didn't believe the Doctor would come back? "Oh Gramps!" she wailed instead, throwing herself into his welcoming embrace. "I've lost him."
"There, there, my girl. I'd say it's more like he has lost you," he consoled her. "I hope he knows what he is doing," he added grimly.
"Doesn't look like I'll get the chance to find out," Donna mumbled from somewhere next to his chest. Gramps had always given her the best hugs before the Doctor…
She blinked hard to try and push away that thought. It didn't work, and tears welled up, threatening to overwhelm her. Not only did they threaten, they carried out the threat, and quite painfully until she could bear it no more.
Wilf silently held her while Donna howled with grief. The evidence was all too clear: the Doctor had left her life forever.