He still keeps the phone in his jacket pocket, even though it hasn’t rung in years.
It didn’t ring when all the children stopped in their tracks.
It didn’t even ring when people stopped dying.
But it’s ringing now - and he doesn’t want to answer it, but he has to.
It’s Martha. Of course it’s Martha.
“Doctor,” she says, “She remembered.”
His hearts catch in his chest.
No - he thinks - no, the defense mechanism was supposed to keep her safe. And now it’s one more thing he won’t be able to forgive himself for.
“Is she - ?” He chokes on the next word.
“Oh no. No. Doctor, she’s fine,” Martha quickly assures him, “I don’t know what happened but she’s fine. Her brain hasn’t exploded. She’s okay.”
He doesn’t know what to say, except to repeat to himself, She’s okay. Donna’s okay. She’s okay.
“She’s waiting for you, Doctor,” Martha tells him, and adds, after a few moments, with that quiet, uncanny intelligence he always wishes he’d been more openly appreciative about, “You can come back now. You can stop running.”
His fingers tremble as he sets the TARDIS controls for Chiswick.
WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME? I AM CRY STOP THIS NO
this is beautiful and i can’t stop crying