For the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky.

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Doctor Who: Cold Tea
DW Sontaran
Title: Cold Tea
Fandom:  Doctor Who
Rating: PG
Characters: Doctor and Donna
Summary:  She sipped slowly, the silence so profound that he could hear her swallowing.  After an eternity she said, "I've decided."
Category: Angst
Word Count:  739
Prompt:  20. fortitude  [from the 100 Theme Challenge]
Disclaimer: Characters are the property of the BBC.
Author's Note:  Follow-up to Simple.  Not essential to read that first to understand this one, I don't think; it explains just as little as this one does.
Thanks to caz963  for giving it a quick check over.

Warnings:  I didn't warn in the first story because it was so short and would've spoiled the whole thing, but I'll warn this time for very vague discussion of abortion.

She came back forty-seven minutes later.  He heard her pause just outside the door.

He looked up from his lukewarm tea as she finally came into the kitchen, slightly red eyes refusing to meet his.

She crossed straight to the kettle, filling it and setting it to boil without comment.  Pulling a mug from the cupboard, she set it down with a soft 'chink' and reached for the glass container with the teabags in.  She tapped her fingernails against the sides for a moment before pushing it back.

Opening up the cupboard above the kettle, she looked at the jumble of little boxes and bags and asked, "Is any of this decaf?"

He gave a slight nod, more to himself than to her.  After a beat he turned and replied to her back: "Twenty-three kinds of it."

"Any of it just plain, normal decaf?"

"Next to the Jaltha fruit tea, I think."

She surveyed the dozens of boxes on the shelf.  "Doesn't really help me."

He pushed back his chair to show her, but stopped as she said, "Never mind.  Found it."

He waited while she made her tea.  Waited while she sat down across from him and wrapped her hands around the mug.  Waited while she blew on the tea, waiting for him to speak first.  Waited, waited.

He didn't speak.

She sipped slowly, the silence so profound that he could hear her swallowing.  After an eternity she said, "I've decided."

He nodded shortly and tilted his head down to look into his own mug.

Two sips later, she asked him, "Do you want to know what I've decided?"

He swirled the dregs of his tea absently and finally looked up at her.  "Yeah."

She blew lightly over the surface of her own tea, eyes focused on the mug.  "I'm keeping it."

He studied the tranquillity of her features.  "Is that what you want?"

She gave a small shrug.  "Doesn't really matter what I want.  It's happened.  It's done."

"Donna..."  He lifted his hand and it hovered just above the table for a split second before he wrapped it around his mug.  "You don't have to do this.  I can—"

"Maybe you could."  She looked up at him for the first time since she'd come into the room.  "I can't."

"You shouldn't—"  He stopped himself, ran his tongue across his lower lip.  "This changes your whole life, Donna."

Her expression hardened and she spoke in a clipped tone.  "Do you think I don't know that?"

"Take another hour.  Think about it.  Take a few days—take a week."

"I have thought about it.  And I'm keeping it."

He sat back with a terse nod, lifting his mug to examine the remainder of his cold tea.

Another minute ticked by in silence.

She raised her head, drawing in a breath.  After a pause she let it out in a heavy sigh.  "I'm sorry."

He looked up at her, confusion crinkling his forehead.

"For what I said earlier," she said softly.  "It's not your fault."

He shook his head, the weight of the afternoon's events visible in his shoulders.  "I should've...  I shouldn't have taken you there.  I should've..."

"How could you have known?" She reached across the table and gently laid her hand on his wrist, her eyes seeking his.  "Hey?  You can't know everything."

He curled his hand around the tips of her fingers, brushing his thumb over her knuckles. He sat for a long moment with his eyes fixed on their hands, relishing the contact.  At length he spoke quietly, saying, "I'm sorry this happened, Donna."

"I know."  She gave his hand a slight squeeze, reassuring and warm.

After another moment she pushed back her chair, the dull scraping sound loud in the silence.  Rising, she crossed the distance between them and put her arms around his shoulders.

There was a slight stiffness in the way she held him.

He ran a tentative hand up and down her arm before she gave his shoulder a pat and pulled away from him.

She left the kitchen without another glance.

He let her go.

Pushing to his feet, he gathered up their mugs and returned the sugar to its place next to the kettle.

He tipped the last of her tea into the sink.  Decaf.

Turning to lean against the worktop, he rubbed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger.

Of course she would.

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When you wrote He let her go I admit to panicking slightly, wondering if that's a forever sort of thing!
Are you going to put us out of our misery at some point and explain this? I absolutely love the style of this, btw. (Perhaps because I'm in an angsty mood this morning? who knows?) Please write more soon.

Thank you, I'm really glad someone likes the style, because I was a bit worried it was really boring.

Actually, that might be a challenge in itself: to explain it somehow using characters that already know what happened and wouldn't really need it explained. Hmm... Thanks, you might have given me an idea there. :D

Well, I might write more eventually, but it's not really something I'm intending on working on regularly--sorry!

(Deleted comment)
Thank you so much! <3 I was pretty worried with this one, that it was really boring to read and was just bad writing, but it's really nice to hear that you thought it worked. (Checked with three different people and got one "yes, it's boring" and two "no, it's not"s.)

Yeaaaah, everywhere else I posted this (i.e. and Teaspoon) I made sure to say "This is not an on-going story and there probably won't be more", but I'm not sure why I didn't here... Probably because I didn't really figure anyone would read it, since I wasn't cross-posting to doctor_donna.

But anyway, thanks. :)

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