A Mournful Rustling In the Dark

Title: A Mournful Rustling In the Dark
Fandom: Doctor Who
Character: Donna Noble
Warning: Spoilers for Journey’s End
Word Count: 900
Rating: General
Summary: Five things that might cause Donna to remember.
Notes: Playing drabble games. For .

1. But what about the bees?

There are holes in her memory. No one can really tell her why–not Nerys, not her mother, not her grandad. “You were gone for a while,” Nerys says with a shrug, “and then you came back. You missed everything, as usual.”

“Was I sick?” she asks her mum. “Was I in an accident?”

“No,” her mother says. “You were just–away.”

Donna ponders this, looking through her photo albums, her diary, the files on her computer.

At one time–Donna can remember this–the bees seemed terribly important. She can’t remember why she knows this, though, or where she’s got the idea. Was it something about bee pollen in a new weight loss program? A honey scrub for the skin?

“The bees, mum,” she says. “It was something about the bees.”

“Nonsense, dear,” her mother says. “They’re just bees.” She pats Donna’s back. “Don’t worry about it.

“But mum,” Donna says, frowning at her tea–but when she looks up her mother’s face is so frightened Donna lets it drop.

2. A man in a suit

She sees him sometimes, just out of the corner of her eye. A tall, thin man in a brown suit, his hair every which way, his eyes big. Sometimes she thinks she should say something, but every time she tries to approach him–in the shops or on her way to work or in the pub–it’s like–it’s like–it’s like she suddenly not only doesn’t see him, she doesn’t want to see him.

3. Whatever happened to Lance?

“Mum,” Donna says, looking up from her photo album, “wasn’t I engaged?”

“Yes, dear,” her mother says as she puts on her coat. “But you broke it off.” She pauses. “Don’t you remember?”

“No,” Donna says and turns another page. “Why did I break it off? I look so happy in the photographs.”

“He turned out not to be what you thought he was,” her mother says and then kisses the top of Donna’s head. “I’ll be back late. Take your grandfather his coffee, won’t you?”

“Yes, yes,” Donna says, and after turning another page–Lance abruptly disappears from the pictures, and she went on holiday to Egypt alone–she puts together a thermos of coffee for her grandfather.

4. Wilf

Her grandfather has watched the stars for as long as she can remember, but lately it seems like he doesn’t get the pleasure from it he used to. “Grandad,” Donna calls to him, and he’s not even looking through the telescope, he’s just sitting on the hill.

“Hello, sweetheart,” he says and it seems to Donna he’s never been so sad.

“I brought you some coffee.” She gives him the thermos and pulls over a chair. “What are we looking at tonight?”

“Venus,” he says as he unscrews the cap, even though the telescope isn’t pointed high enough to see beyond the crest of the hill. Donna leans over the eyepiece anyway and peers through–and abruptly her head aches like the worst migraine she’s ever had, and she backs away, her hand pressed to her forehead. “Donna?” her grandad says. “What’s wrong, sweetheart? Look at me, Donna.”

“Headache, Grandad,” she says softly. “I’m going back to the house.” She turns away from him, nearly blind from the pain, and as she walks down the hill the pain recedes to a dull ache.

She tells herself something must have caught her eye wrong, must have flashed in the optic nerve.

And then she asks herself how she knew that.

5. The man in the big grey coat

At the pub, there’s a handsome man in a big grey coat. He has dark hair and blue eyes, and when she stares hard at him, asking him silently what he’s looking at, he raises his glass to her in a salute.

“Oi,” Donna says tartly, “careful there, big boy.”

To her surprise, he laughs and rises from his table to join her at hers–conveniently when Nerys is at the bar. “Donna Noble,” he says warmly, “we meet again.”

“I have no idea who you are.”

“Not right now you don’t. But I need you too–the Earth needs you too.” He takes a slow breath. “Do you think you’re up to the task?”

“The Earth needs me,” she scoffs–when her eyes suddenly sting with tears and she feels–strange–warm–and her heart beating, beating, beating.

The tall man takes her hand and gently holds it, watching her face. “Donna,” he says softly. “Noble lady.”

She looks at him and smiles, even though her head is suddenly aching. “Jack,” she says softly. “You’re Jack. You’re Jack and I liked you.”

“I’m Jack,” he says in the same soft tone.

“Needs me again, does he? Helpless without me, that spaceman.” The lights in the pub feel unbearably bright and she takes his glass of water to have a sip, hoping the extra liquid will help the pain.

“I know. We have to act fast. And Donna–” He presses something into her hand, and she looks down. A small white pill. “When it gets too much–when you can’t bear it anymore–take that. It won’t solve everything but it’ll help.”

She palms the pill and slips it into her pocket. “He said it would kill me,” she says softly. “Remembering.”

“He may be right, which is why we have to go now.” He stands and holds out his hand to her. “But I’ll look after you, Donna Noble.”

“I know you will,” she says with complete trust, and follows him to whatever fate may bring.


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