And Your Burning Memoirs Rest Here

by cuban_sombrero [Reviews - 0]

  • All Ages
  • None
  • Angst, Character Study, General

Author's Notes:

Donna can feel the Doctor’s fingers on her face and hear his hearts thudding — both of them in time like a clock, tick-tock, tick-tock, and isn’t it strange what you remember — and the searing pain he promised only comes when she realises what he’s doing. No, she shouts, no, no, no, but her words disappear like her memories and she can feel them being siphoned out and then she’s at home in her own bed and she forgets.

Slowly they came back, building and building and building until her mind is flooded and Donna thinks she might topple over with the weight of them all. There she is, the Doctor by her side, running, laughing, escaping from libraries and kissing each other and kicking some Dalek arse. She captures a fleeting glance of her final memory, the Doctor tearing her mind apart until she fades away, and she wonders how it could all sneaking back until she remembers: she’s half the Doctor and he never forgets, no matter how much it hurts.

Donna steps into the life she once knew like a dress kept in the cupboard for too long, it’s dusty and faded and too tight in the hips and the bust. She forces her new life — her old life really, but it’s so different to what it was and the human inside her forgets insignificant details like these — over her head. She settles herself in as she remembers the intricacies of microwaves and gossip magazines, stories so immaterial compared to hers that they don’t excite her anymore.

It’s hard at first; alien or UFO sightings on the news and she’s biting her tongue to keep from muttering about inconsistencies and the time she met the Ood. The hardest thing about pretending you forget is knowing what you’re allowed to remember, and even with the Doctor’s superior intellect, she’s still balanced out, like yes and no or right and left.

And then she remembers Chinese fortune-tellers and her hands gripping the wheel — turn left Donna, turn left - and a blonde girl with a gun, smiling, laughing, running with a smile she only had when she saw the man who owned half her mind, and the news filters away as she bites down hard to stop from crying out again.

It doesn’t burn, an inferno in her mind the way he predicted. Instead, the pain just simmers like a slow heat and she can feel his mind straining against hers as she rings up her friends and talks about Brangelina’s new baby, and taps her freshly manicured nails against the phone once more.

She tries to forget for him, for the Doctor, because he lost someone else once, a thousand people caught outside the frame of the bigger picture, but one girl in particular, who hasn’t yet faded from the memories he tried so hard to wipe away. Rose, Rose, Rose. Sometimes, when Donna’s trying to sleep, she hears the name whistling through her mind, like the ocean trapped in a seashell, and she knows she doesn’t want him to go through that pain again.

It’s easier just to pretend that she’s forgotten, and in some ways, she has. The memories are more opaque now, finer details worn away by time, and oh didn’t I see a lot of that, she thinks, and then it hurts some more. Donna can’t quite remember the colour of the shirt she wore when she met his daughter or the name of the journalist investigating Adipose, but she can remember the gentle whirr of the TARDIS and the way his eyebrows rose when she said all the cute ones were gay and all the other, little things that mattered.

The Doctor only tried to wipe the bigger picture, but she can piece together the little pieces like a jigsaw puzzle and remember everything. The part of him that occupies her mind is disassociated, unattached, and she just waits for her mind to implode, protesting that she shouldn’t know. But the Doctor’s moved on now, a new companion, new adventures, possibly even a brand new face, and the only thing that keeps him moving is that little voice in the back of his mind, whispering Rose, Martha, Donna, they’re okay.

Donna can’t deny him that. Not after everything he’s done for her.

So she remembers to forget, opening her big fat gob like the ignorant girl she used to be every time she accidentally mentions something she shouldn’t — oh, you’re reading Agatha Christie! I met her once — and lives with the idea that if she’s half the Doctor, then everything in the universe is hers to know, and one day, she’ll be able to use that and find him again.

(and even if she doesn’t, she’s still got all the memories he never wanted her to have, and while she’s half him, she’ll never forget)