There is a story behind this. I saw a hilarious cartoon the other day that featured a random redhead suffering from cramps and trying to use a sonic screwdriver to get rid of them. Her exasperated husband reminds her, again, that it doesn't work on cramps. Her response: "SHUT UP!" That's me to a tee. However, the redhead reminded me of Donna and I cracked up laughing, just knowing I had to write a short fic about it.
I'm a screenwriter IRL, so don't have time to write chapter length stories. All I can manage is 1-2 hours of writing when I'm taking a break writing about morally dubious situations, nuns, and archaeology...in space. My job is weird, but it's great!
This is silly, goofy, and a lot of fun. Also, the cheesecake with salt and vinegar crisps/potato chips on top is all me for reals (oh hush, it's tasty). Preferably washed down with a nice red wine.
The B&B Treatment
"Uuuuuuurrrrrrghnnnngh," Donna groaned, wrapping her arms around her middle and doubling over in pain. Her back hit the cool metal walls of one of the TARDIS corridors and her eyes slid shut. She wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed with the biggest piece of cheesecake covered in salt and vinegar crisps topped with two large Ibuprofen.
As the pain subsided and she straightened up, Donna wondered if she could convince the Doctor to stop off somewhere so she could pop into a chemist's to get some pain reliever. He probably had something in that intimidating room he called the medical bay. Donna had been in there once, briefly, to look for a sticking plaster for a cut finger and the mass of bizarre alien diagnostic equipment had spooked her into vowing she'd never willingly set foot in there again. At least, not while she was conscious. Unfortunately, they were stuck in the Pleistocene Era so the Doctor could make some emergency repairs to the ship. He'd cautioned her against opening the outer doors in case she came face to face with a giant sloth or "one of your Neanderthal cousins...that would make for an interesting family reunion, wouldn't it?" She'd shuddered, imagining herself knocked over the head and dragged off to a cave by some caveman named Ogg, even though the Doctor had assured her that "early humans and their ilk didn't actually shelter in caves for the most part. I should know, I've met a few."
So they were stuck in the prehistoric era and she had cramps. Bad cramps. Cramps that made her want to simultaneously kill something and curl up into a tiny ball and cry. Something had to give if she was going to find pain relief.
There was nothing for it, Donna realized. She was going to have to ask the Doctor for some pain pills. She started back down the corridor for the control room. The corner of her mouth quirked up as she realized he was probably going to pull the concerned-Martian routine on her and ask all kinds of...questions. Donna's footsteps slowed and she flushed. There was no way she was going to tell the Doctor what was wrong with her. She couldn't. It'd be too embarrassing, for both them. He'd go all pink in the cheeks like he did when he was flustered, making his freckles stand out. Then he'd look around and do that little nervous dance he did, bouncing from right to left on the balls of his feet, not quite able to meet her eyes. She'd stare at the ceiling and make snarky remarks the whole time.
Right. Headache. She had a headache. That was common enough not to be alarming and anything he gave her to make a headache go away would work on her rebellious girly bits.
Donna blew out a breath of relief, congratulated herself on her cleverness, and continued on her way. She entered the control room and immediately saw a pair of cream colored Converse trainers sticking out from under the central console. The rest of the Doctor wasn't visible. Banging, muttering, and the occasional spark drifted up from under the grating. Donna opened her mouth to call the Doctor's name when her eyes spotted his brown pinstripe jacket slung over the captain's chair. His sonic screwdriver stuck out of the inside pocket.
She eyed the screwdriver and a thought struck her. She'd seen that weird little alien tool work on all kinds of things and solve lots of different problems. The Doctor had told her that it didn't work on wood, but it seemed to work on everything else. What if...?
Before she even realized what she was doing, Donna sprang onto the deck, snatched the screwdriver, and tore off down the corridor.
There was a pause and the Doctor called, "Donna? Is that you?" When there was no reply, he shimmied out from under the console and looked around. The Doctor scratched his already wildly tousled head and frowned. "Funny, I could have sworn I heard...oh well." He reached up to grab his jacket to fetch his screwdriver and noticed it was missing. A frantic search of all his pockets ensued and no screwdriver came up. The Doctor clambered to his feet and thought hard. He remembered sticking the screwdriver in his pocket that morning. Maybe it had fallen out.
He set off down the corridor to retrace his steps, carefully checking all the corners in case it had rolled away. Nothing came up. He was almost to the door of the library where he'd fallen asleep the prior night over his 1,567th attempt to read all of James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake when his sensitive Time Lord ears picked up the distant but distinct sound of his sonic screwdriver.
The Doctor quirked an eyebrow and followed the sound...right to the door of the kitchen. Curious, he pushed open the door and observed Donna lying down on one of the wooden benches that served as seats for the kitchen table. She was holding the sonic screwdriver above her stomach and had a look of sheer concentration and possibly pain on her face.
"Donna?" he asked, stepping into the room.
"Doctor!" Donna shot up straight and dropped the screwdriver onto the table. She instantly flushed a deep shade of red that rivaled her ginger hair.
"What are you doing?"
"Uh...um..." she faltered. "The bench..." she stammered, trying to think of a quick lie.
The Doctor picked up his screwdriver. "I told you the screwdriver doesn't work on wood."
Donna played along. "Yeah, I forgot. Sorry, Doctor, I should have asked before I took it. You were just so busy and all. Thought I'd fix it myself, didn't want to bother you. Thought I had the wrong setting."
The Doctor peered at the screwdriver and chuckled. "This is the setting that melts chocolate and pacifies rabid Australian koala bears." Before Donna could ask, he continued, "So how does fixing the bench involve lying on your back and aiming the sonic screwdriver your stomach?"
Crap. "Oh you know, just a bit tired and all that. Thought I'd take a rest," Donna fibbed.
He didn't buy it, not for a moment. "Donna, are you feeling ok?" he asked, sliding onto the bench next to her. Great...here came the concerned-Martian. And the questions.
"Headache," she replied. "Um, was wondering if you've got any pain relievers or something?"
"Of course," he answered. "Are you sure it's just a headache?"
"Positive," she replied, forcing a chipper smile onto her face. "Rest of me feels great, Spaceman! Ready to tackle the mysteries of the Plasticene...Pleximene..."
The Doctor didn't laugh. He tilted his head to one side and frowned, his eyes staring at her, the way he always did when he was trying to solve a difficult puzzle. Unnerved, Donna scooted away and tried to come up with a snarky comment. "Donna," the Doctor said slowly.
He propped his chin up in his hand, leaning onto the table as he looked at her, raising his eyebrows. "It's not just a headache, is it? Be honest with me."
Donna looked away to stare at a calendar from March 5007 on the wall. "No."
"I take it that it's something you'd rather not discuss with me? Something to do with being a human female of childbearing age, perhaps?"
"Bingo! Give the Time Lord a bloomin' cigar!"
The Doctor ignored her sarcasm. "This isn't the first time I've seen this, Donna."
He rubbed his forehead. "I've traveled time and space for centuries with most of my companions having been human females. I can't help but notice dysmenorrhea after a while, especially when we live in close quarters with each other."
He avoided giving her a sympathetic look because he knew that she wouldn't have welcomed it. He kept his expression neutral, but offered, "There are drugs in the medical bay that can alleviate your pain. Would you like me to get some for you?"
"Yeah, that'd be great, thanks." She was still staring at the calendar, which featured a picture of Captain Jack shirtless and a bunch of half naked humans and aliens playing what looked like Twister.
She sensed the Doctor getting up and heard the kitchen door open. Donna groaned and dropped her head into her hands while her lower half attempted to tie itself in knots. She wondered if the calendar picture had inspired her body to do evil, painful things to itself. It certainly had thought it was a good idea to steal the Doctor's screwdriver and try to make the pain go away. She could be positively barmy sometimes.
The kitchen door opened again and there was a slight thud on the table. Donna opened her eyes and saw a glass mason jar filled with a glittery powder that sparkled in the light. "You call that pain reliever?" she asked.
"Yes," the Doctor replied. "It's something that Ace picked up at a market someplace...Repubin Four, I think. She bought cases and cases of it and stored it in the medical bay. Anyway, it's supposed to work a treat for cramps. Not that I'd know. Um...she was fond of what she called the B&B treatment."
"Bed and Breakfast?" Donna asked hopefully. "That sounds lovely."
"Ah, no...I mean 'Bath and Booze.'" He tapped the jar's lid. "One scoop of that stuff in a bath and...oh, hang on. Be back in a tick!" He suddenly jogged to a door in the wall that led to the wine cellar. He tugged open the door, clambered down the stairs, and disappeared, Donna wasn't even sure why he had a wine cellar because she'd never seen him drink, but he had quite a nice collection. She'd been down there one day and he'd told her she could drink anything she wanted, except for stuff on the purple shelf. When pressed why, he answered, "You really don't want to know."
The Doctor reappeared, hauling a dusty old wine bottle and fished in his pockets for a corkscrew. "Nero d'Avola from 2344," he announced. "Great stuff, you'll love it."
"That ain't from the purple shelf, is it?"
"Now why would I want you to grow another head?" he asked. "One's more than enough, believe me."
"I heard that! And I'd be smacking you if I felt better!"
The Doctor grinned at her as he found the corkscrew and opened the bottle for her, then fetched a wineglass from the hutch against the wall and poured her a glass.
"Better just pass me the bottle. I think it's gonna take more than one glass."
He shook his head. "No, only one. This is pretty potent."
"Are you implying that I can't hold my liquor, Doctor?" she asked, crossing her arms to glare at him.
"I know you can't."
"Oi! I'm not the one who got plastered from only one banana daiquiri at that gay karaoke bar in Hamburg and wound up singing "Five Hundred Miles" with all those chaps from the ice cream parlor next door!"
The Doctor groaned. "Jack is going to regret the day he told you about his bachelor party." He handed her the glass. "This is all you get."
"What if it doesn't work?" she asked.
"It will, but I put a bottle of pain reliever in your bathroom on my way back," the Doctor told her. "Now off you go, enjoy the B&B treatment."
Donna picked up the jar from the table. "Thanks, Doctor."
"Anytime, Donna." He crossed his arms and beamed at her, bouncing a little from foot to foot in a way that reminded her vaguely of Tigger.
The Doctor waited until Donna had left before he took a cautious sip from the wine bottle. "Bleh!" he declared, spitting it out into the sink and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "Never knew what humans saw in that stuff." He recorked the bottle and stuck it into the fridge in case Donna wanted more later. His eye landed on the blender and the ever-present stack of bananas on the counter. Grinning, he yanked open the liquor cabinet and rummaged for a bottle of rum. Rum...now rum was different. You could make daiquiris with rum...
The Doctor staggered happily down the corridor. "Sweeeeet Caroline!" he sang off key, his voice slurring slightly. "Good times never seemed so good. I feel inclined to believe they never would!" He noticed that he was outside of Donna's room. Oh yeah. He'd probably better check up on her. "Donna!" he called. "Donnadonnadonna...oh, blimey." He shook his head and hiccuped loudly. Probably about time he stopped being drunk.
He jumped up and down a few times and then blinked as the hazy fog of inebriation cleared itself. One of the benefits of being a Time Lord was the ability to instantly dismiss the side effects of alcohol. He got drunk for the lark, but nothing more.
Clearing his throat, he knocked on her door. "Donna?"
There was no answer. He hesitated and then tried the door. It swung open a few inches and he stuck his head in. Donna was swathed in a a pink bathrobe and curled up on her bed. She had a vague but contented smile on her face and was blinking at the ceiling. The Doctor went in and walked over to her. "Hey," he asked, "how are you feeling?"
Her head lolled to the side as she looked at him, then she grinned lazily. She lifted a heavy hand and gave him a sleepy thumbs-up. "Marvelous," she slurred. "Stuff's great. Can't feel a thing."
He grinned. "Told you so."
"You should probably get some sleep. The B&B treatment lasts until morning."
"Flipping brilliant. I love that stuff. I want..want a whole...planet-worth."
He patted her shoulder. "Let's just start with what's in the medical bay, ok? Sleep well. Tomorrow we'll go explore the Pleistocene and look for the ancestor of the modern carrot!"
Now he knew she was tired. Donna hated carrots.
He left the room and headed back to the control room to finish his repairs. The Doctor pulled his sonic screwdriver out of his pocket and looked at it. The thing was, there actually was a setting that could alleviate minor muscular cramps. It would have worked on Donna, but he also knew that he needed to get her to trust him enough to ask for help when she needed it. He hoped that his actions tonight helped forge some trust between the two of them and showed her that he cared about her.
The Doctor flipped the screwdriver up into the air and caught it with his other hand before clambering down under the console, whistling contentedly to himself. As he started to repair some loose wires, he remembered that he'd forgotten to tell her that the B&B treatment sometimes caused strange dreams. Oh well, he'd surely hear about it in the morning.
Down the corridor, Donna was enjoying a painless sleep, though her dreams were filled with Captain Jack wearing nothing but a Twister board and singing "Only the Good Die Young" using the sonic screwdriver as a microphone with a bunch of Neanderthals as backup singers.