Title: The Key
Characters: Donna Noble
Author's Note: I was just sitting here, minding my own business, when I started wondering about whatever happens to the keys the Doctor gives to his companions. We never see him take them back. So, of course, my brain went all depressing on me.
There is a key in Donna’s bedside drawer. She has no idea what it’s to, but every time she goes to toss it out, a niggling feeling in the back of her mind makes her hesitate. So, there it sits.
Sometimes, she finds herself taking it out and just holding it. Just staring at it. It’s a simple key, really. It could almost be mistaken for a house key, but…there’s something different about it. Something…not normal, not every day, but so subtle, it can’t be placed. She doesn’t know what makes it so special, but as she sits there, gently turning it over in her hands, such sadness comes up in her, washing over her in waves. She feels as if she is slowly washing away, as if she’s losing herself in a great sea under a dark, dark sky with no stars to guide her way.
She never holds the key for long.
One night, she wakes from a dream. It leaves her in such a mix of emotions that she doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. So she lies there, gazing blankly toward that stupid drawer, grasping for the wisps left by the dream. She feels she almost has them within her reach when the drawer starts…
The unexpected happiness that fills her surprises her so much, she doesn’t even notice sitting up and reaching for the drawer. As she opens it, the glow fades for a moment, and she’s worried that it’s gone out until it revives again, this time brighter, filling the room with soft golden light. Somehow, impossibly, the glow is emanating from the key.
The moment her fingers touch that key, she feels the glow spread into her, warming her. Suddenly, it’s as if that dark sky exploded and filled with stars, and she can name every one. For that moment, she can see worlds she’s never been to. For that moment, she can feel the turn of the very ground beneath her, the universe itself expanding and shrinking and moving all around her. For one shining, glorious, terrifying moment, she remembers—
There is a key in Donna’s bedside drawer. She has no idea what it’s to, but every time she goes to toss it out, a niggling feeling in the back of her mind makes her hesitate. So, there it sits. Waiting.
....sneaks away again....