Ada bit her lip to stop herself from crying. Seeing her grandmother like this, so frail, so empty of the life that had once filled her. Her hair, drained of all colour, flopped lifelessly on the pillow around a face that looked more like a mask.
"I'm glad you came," Gran said. Her voice was hoarse, croaking.
"I'm glad I came, too." Ada tried to smile.
"You're not missing any lectures, are you?"
"It's all streamed on the Grid these days, Gran. I can catch up any time."
"Oh, OK, then." She sighed. "I had a good innings, though, didn't I?"
"You were brilliant, Gran. Changed the world, you did." Ada wasn't exaggerating; two whole lectures of her Modern History unit had been given over to how Donna Noble's campaigning had improved the lot of workers on temporary contracts, which was to say, everyone in the modern world. At the time she'd been glad she didn't share the surname, it would have been too embarrassing. But right now, she wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
Her grandmother smiled. "Supertemp, that's me. It's all your great-granddad's doing, really. He was the one who made sure I didn't waste my potential." Gran could go on about Great-Granddad Wilf for hours; Ada often wished she could have met him.
"I'm learning to type, you know," Ada said. Suddenly, it seemed like the most important thing in the world to tell her.
"What do you wanna go and do that for? You've got a perfectly good neural link thingy."
"Nanonic thought transcriber," Ada corrected automatically. "But it's for fun, you know, a hobby. There's an Antique Technology Club at uni."
Gran was silent for a moment. "And there's a boy in the Antique Technology Club, is there?"
"You know me too well, Gran," Ada said.
"How many words a minute can you do?" Gran asked her suddenly.
Ada smiled. "Thirty six. Not quite up to your standard--"
"Ah, you'll get there," Gran said. "You've got the Noble genes, after all. Come 'ere, Ada." Ada got up and walked to the bedside. "Closer. Closer." Eventually, Ada was bent over her Gran's head. Gran whispered in her ear, "You were always my favourite grandchild."
"I bet you said that to all the others."
Gran was about to protest, but her body was overtaken by a coughing fit. "Are you all right, Gran? Do you want me to go and get the others?" The rest of Ada's family were having dinner.
"I'm all right. This old body of mine is wearing a bit thin, that's all." She sank back onto the bed.
Ada could tell somehow that the final moments were approaching. "No, Gran, you can't--"
She said no more, because suddenly, something unbelievable was happening. Gran's head was eclipsed in some sort of golden energy that flowed from her neck, wrists and ankles. Ada stepped back in shock, horror mingled with fascination. What on earth was going on?
The energy swirled, then faded. Behind it, her Gran was there. But not the Gran she'd been so upset to see a few minutes ago, or even the warmth-filled old lady she'd grown up with. No, this was her grandmother as she appeared in all those old photos. This was Donna Noble, Supertemp. "Gran?" Ada said.
Gran -- if it was her -- didn't seem to notice Ada speaking, or even her presence. In fact, she seemed to be talking to herself with great rapidity. "Oh, very clever, I don't think, Doctor. Seal away the memories--" she tapped the side of her head "--oh great, yeah, perfect, but don't do anything about the traces of Time Lord biology. No, that'd be far too clever!" She stopped for a moment, pulling faces. "Huh, same teeth. That's weird. Makes sense, though, doesn't it, Ada?"
"Nothing makes sense right now, Gran," Ada said.
"Well, trust me, it does. Turns out I've got the regenerative ability but not the flexibility about the biopatterns. But the process jiggled my neurons around just enough to unlock all those memories. And I think -- I think -- it'll have adjusted the architecture of my brain accordingly. Well, let's hope so anyway." She grinned, dangerously.
"Ada! Do you fancy a quick trip round time and space? I bet that Antique Technology Club of yours can get hold of a Kartz-Reimer module; we can work up from there. Rescue a few planets from evil dictators, and then we can go and find the Doctor and ask him some serious questions."
"Gran, none of this-- Wait a minute, just assuming for the sake of argument that you can travel round time and space, you want to do it with your granddaughter?"
"Of course I do, love. After all, that's how it all started."
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