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call my name or walk on by

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In the end, it’s her decision to call him.

It’s not her first choice – not by a long way, but their strategies are failing one after another, collapsing around them like dominoes, and she’s sure this case – strange marks on people’s skin accompanied by even stranger behaviour - is entirely within his remit. There are more things – more important things than her discomfort.

And, it’s not that Martha doesn’t want to see him, it’s just – well it’s been a while. He’d never been the type to make house calls, and she’d accepted that about him a long time ago, but there’s a chasm between them now – yawning and vast, years of motion for her; she can only assume the same for him. She’s not sure where they’ll meet – how their trajectories have changed them both. Would it be discordant? Unfamiliar? Like seeing pictures of family before you knew them and before they knew you?

Besides, she never knew which side of him she’d get. When she was young, and easily swept up in the maelstrom of chaos that was travelling with the Doctor, she took his irritability on the chin. Now – well now, she’s older. And, she suspects, less tolerant.

(And yes – a small part of her had wondered if he’d even pick up the phone. He had, that time, with the Sontarans, but that had been then. He’d had someone else at his side, someone good and kind to steer him straight, because Lord knows the Doctor, alone, is a terrible thing.)

But the strange behaviour in Pembrokeshire is becoming strange in different ways, in dangerous ways – and so at the final hour, she pushes aside her feelings and makes the responsible decision. The TARDIS arrives, not five minutes later, in her office, scattering papers across her floor. It lands with that familiar thwump, and the sound strikes itself deep into her heart.

(It’s been a long time, she thinks, but some things never change)

The door squeals open and out walks -

A man.

An unfamiliar man. Bow-tied and bow-legged. He’s flanked by a young woman with red hair and a smattering of freckles across her cheeks. The man’s eyes dart around the room, furiously taking in his surroundings, before they land slap-bang on her. And he surges forward, all arms and legs, grasping her by the shoulders.

“Dr Martha Jones,” he punctuates the words with air kisses either sides of her cheeks. “Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes?”

“Sorry,” she says. “What?”

“You look different,” he beams at her now. “In a nice way. I suppose I look different too – no rubbish suit and trainers, eh?”

She stares at him. “Doctor?”

“The very same,” he says with a flourish. “Well. Different – but the same. Same person, anyway. Pond, this is Martha Jones – Martha Jones, Amy Pond.” The red-haired woman smiles politely and extends a hand which Martha takes with a bemused nod.

“Now,” he says, clapping his hands together. “Mustn’t natter. We’ve got work to do, haven’t we, Jones?”

She’s not quite sure what to make of him – this new Doctor. He’s still got that same braggadocio, the same swagger in his walk that tells her, yes, this is the same being - the same being she’d travelled the stars with and walked the Earth for. He talks a mile a minute – endless bits of information as he works; but where her Doctor was old, she thinks that this one must be ancient. It’s his eyes that get her. Old and kind and wise, and totally incongruous to the rest of him.

She ends up working alongside him, analysing skin cells through her microscope (jerry-rigged by the Doctor, with some alien apparatus that helps drastically increase the magnification, which is just typical for the Doctor) while Amy helps Aurora and the others with the data collection.

She’s trying to keep her focus on the moment – the cool feel of the microscope; the rote mechanics of her work – sample, notes, sample, notes but she can feel the rustle of the Doctor’s tweed blazer beside her, his manic, nervous energy ---

“Sorry,” he says - a sudden non-sequitur in ill-at-ease silence.

She stops at that. “What for?”

The Doctor is quiet for a long, withdrawn moment. “Didn’t explain regeneration, did I?”

Martha leans against the table, grounding herself. That wasn’t what she was expecting – and she suspects the Doctor knows it too.

“I think I get it,” she says, eventually. “Same person – renewed cells?”

“Martha Jones,” he says, and he hears the smile in his voice. “I’ve forgotten how good you are.”

She hazards a glance up at him now. He’s leaning against the table, watching her with an indiscernible expression, but his eyes are soft, fond.

“Why?” she says. “Why did it happen?”

“When we get close to the end, Time Lords get a choice,” he says. “End it or change. I chose change.”

Martha’s jaw sets. “The end?” Of course, he didn’t bother to tell her – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. “How?”

“Old friends,” says the Doctor with a tight-lipped smile, as if he doesn’t quite find it amusing. “Old family. You can’t choose them, can you?”

She looks at him. “Your people are back.”

“No,” says the Doctor softly, looking away now. “Not this time, I’m afraid.”

She’s not quite sure what do with his response. If the Time Lords were anything like the Master, she’s glad of it – but she still sees the pain pinched around his eyes – hidden, but not well enough. Instead she returns to her work, content to let the Doctor’s eyes remain fixed on her.

“Sorry,” he says again. And this time, he says it like air leaving a balloon, a gust from deep inside himself. “About when you travelled with me.”

Martha straightens up and looks at him. “What?”

He wrings his hands, bouncing slightly on his feet. “Back then, back when I was right in the middle of things I couldn’t see past my own nose. And there you were, Martha Jones, being brilliant and asking all the right questions, and I never saw it,” he says. “I don’t think you ever quite got your dues.”

Martha regards him for a long moment; this new Doctor, bashful and uncomfortable, as if he wanted to crawl inside his own skin and looking - even just for the briefest of moments – every bit the age he physically presents. Then she reaches down to adjust the microscope. “Don’t worry about it.”

The Doctor blinks at her.

“About not telling me you regenerated,” she continues. “I’ll overlook it if you promise to explain it to me properly, one day. The biology of it sounds fascinating.”

The Doctor beams at her, all shining eyes – and she pretends not to notice the slight touch of disquiet in his expression.

They get to the bottom of it – together, ‘just like old times’ the Doctor had laughed. Pembrokeshire’s saved, the aliens chastised, and Amy hugs her goodbye, but the Doctor lingers for a moment or two.

“Lovely catching up, Doctor Jones,” he says, with a nod.

She smiles back at him. “Don’t be stranger.”

He falters for a moment or two. And with a grin, he’s gone.

-

 

She’s sat on her bedroom carpet, pulling out old plastic boxes covered in dust when she hears the ping of her phone on the bedside table.

She expects it to be a colleague of hers, Sam or Aurora or someone, trying to rope her in for drinks at the local (like the devil himself, whispering in her ear, knowing full well she’s locked into her annual spring cleaning session for the entire weekend) or mum, or Tish, or practically anyone but -

She’d honestly thought that phone she gave him was tucked in some long-forgotten corner of the TARDIS or left on some barren planet by accident. But there his name is, beneath the message icon. She frowns as she stares down at it – as if it were some aberration, some mistake. The Doctor and texting? She swipes her phone open, heart in her mouth.

Ran into our old friends, the Weeping Angels again. Forgotten how un-fun they are. Is un-fun a word? It should be.

She’s still staring at the phone when the second message comes in.

Remember that?

She snorts and begins to type back: Do I remember it? Doctor, we were stuck in 1969 for three months!

What is three months to a Time Lord, anyway? Like leaves on the wind? Or perhaps, she thinks, it’s all relative. She remembers how badly domesticity had agreed with him - all that frenetic energy. The way he paced their flat so often he’d worn tracks into the dingy carpet. It was like trapping a butterfly inside a jar, and watching its delicate wings desperately bang against the sides -

The next reply comes in seconds.

Oh honestly, Jones. When are you going to let that one go?

‘Jones’. She imagines her name in his tone, wry and comradely, just as it had been in Pembroke. And it clears up one of the bigger questions buzzing through her mind. Of course, she’d had her suspicions, mostly because she couldn’t ever imagine her Doctor, the other Doctor, focusing long enough to compose a text.

It answered the who, but not the why. If he barely made house calls, he seldom ever communicated out of anything but sheer necessity. Her eyes skip up a few lines, scanning the Doctor’s opening text for clues. The Weeping Angels, statues that could move within a blink of an eye. The concept had chilled her to her core, and she wonders whether it did the Doctor too.

Had he lost somebody today? Is that why he was texting her?

And had he come to her not for commiseration, but for levity? Distraction?

She begins to type again. When you apologise for trapping me in the sixties and not even once offering to take me to Woodstock!! The 60s, Doctor! And not a hippy in sight.

Oh, come off it. You saw the moon landing, didn’t you? How many people can say that? Alright, yes, millions. But you saw it live in '60s. History as it happened. Doesn't that count for something?

She grins as she reads his text, leaning against her doorframe. Compared to 1913, ‘69 had been a holiday – albeit a holiday mired in bad weather and casual racism. The Doctor had known it too. She supposes he’d tried in his own, unique way – his desperate, tireless effort to track down the TARDIS and free them both; that was him helping in the only way he truly knew how to.

She wonders what it says about her, about the things she’s seen and done, that she jokes about it now so readily.

You’re right. Though I could watch the moon landing on YouTube right this minute without the pleasure of being stuck for months on end. Not sure how to weigh that one up.

Never satisfied. They’re never satisfied.

Right, well, if you stop going on about 1969, I’ll take you to Woodstock. There. Is that fair?

She looks at the screen for a long moment, considering it.

Promises, Doctor?

The Doctor’s reply bubble disappears and reappears for several agonising seconds, and then -

Only ones I intend to keep.

-

They called it Athelred’s Hill, though she’s not quite sure who ‘they’ are. She can see it from her flat, blanketed in a canopy of trees; the slight crest peeking ever so slightly above. Athelred’s Hill had once been something of a ritual with friends from UNIT. Every now and then they’d gather with drinks and food and watch the sky. It was a de-stressor, a moment of bittersweet calm like an oasis in the desert, but as the team had drifted apart and moved on, it’d become Martha’s ritual solely. Not that she minded. She still got that burst of something, like putting on pajamas at the end of the workday, one great big deep breath.

It’s midwinter now, and she drinks from a thermos of hot toddy and wraps herself tighter in the blankets as she stares up above, transfixed by the night. She thinks, if she squints a bit, she can see Orion from here.

That’s when she hears that unmistakable sound - that wheeze she has committed to memory, and she chuckles as she takes another sip, revelling in the pleasant, dull, hum of ever-so-slight inebriation.

“Did you have me fitted with a chip?” she asks, when she hears his footfall.

“Don’t need to, he says as he takes a seat beside her on her picnic blanket. “It’s called having a space-and-time machine.”

He looks slightly different, this time. Older, maybe. His hair is cut neater, that floppy fringe pushed back.

“When I said ‘don’t be a stranger’…” she starts, grinning at him toothily as he pretends to look put out.  “Not like that. I just mean it isn’t like you to drop in.”

He reaches for her thermos, and she lets him. “You’re right,” he says, suddenly serious. “Perhaps I should’ve done it more. It’s not always easy, you know. Coming back.”

She frowns at him as he takes a sip. And when she peers ever so slightly closer, she sees something new on his face. If she didn’t know any better, she’d call it resignation.

“Doctor,” she says, careful. “Why are you here?”

He glances at her now. “I’m on a bit of a tour.”

“Oh,” she says. “What kind of tour?”

“A goodbye tour.”

Martha stares at him, and the Doctor offers the thermos back, as if he hadn’t quite noticed the sudden chill in the air. He leans on his elbows, stretching his long legs out in front of him.

She struggles to keep her voice level. “Going somewhere nice?”

“Lake Silencio, Utah,” he says, drawing out the ‘ah’.

“Okay,” she tries again. “Why?”

Why? I don’t know the why, I’m afraid. I know the ‘when’, oh boy, do I know the when. Not so sure about the why.”

“So, you’re just going? You’re not even bothering to question it?”

The Doctor’s smile is wry and sad. “It’d be like questioning the sun. It just is.

“But it’s Utah, Doctor. It’s specific. Can’t you just, I don’t know, avoid it?”

“Fixed point,” he says with deceptive ease. Shrugs his shoulders, as if he were merely relaying to her the weather. “It’d create too much of a ripple.”

“No," she starts. "I’ve seen you turn back time itself. I’ve seen you do the impossible – I’ve done the impossible. You can’t just tell me – "

“It doesn’t work like that way,” he says, and she doesn’t miss the glint of steel in his voice, if ever so slightly wearied. “It’d unravel the fabric of time itself. The damage it’d do - you know me better than that, Martha -”

(She wants to tell him, firmly, that no, she truly does not.)

“Anyway,” his gaze falls back on the naked sky above. “It’s already written in the stars. Like the ending of a fairy-tale.”

“But it’s not a story, though, is it Doctor? It’s real, this is real.”

“All stories are real,” he says, without pause. “Every single one of them. This one more than most. I’ve run, Martha, I’ve run for so long. I’ve seen and I’ve done and I’ve been. But this is it – this is where I have to stop. This is the end. The proper end.”

“Says who?” she fires back, ignoring the way the cold has worked its way into her bones. “Who makes the rules? Who writes the book?”

The Doctor’s jaw sets as he assesses her.

“If this is a fairy-tale, Doctor, then be the hero. The hero doesn’t lose,” she says, pushing back the sting in her eyes. “The hero makes it through to the very last page.”

The Doctor smiles at her again, full of contradictions – hope, and fondness, and pity, and self-pity, all of it displayed in a kind of symphony. She was just getting to know this face, just getting to appreciate its complexities, its depths.

“I always thought the very last page sounded like a lonely place to be,” he says, softly.

And when her head rests against his shoulder, he pulls her in tighter, pressing a kiss down on her hair. She won’t cry. Not here, not for this would-be-friend, this one time… something of hers who had made the improbable decision to reach back into her life, for reasons she still couldn’t quite understand. And yet, the prospect of the universe with no Doctor? Well, she’d never really believed in fairy-tales – she was a scientist down to her core – but with him, this unlikely stranger who took the time to be good in a vast and complicated universe, it was a near thing.

“As I said,” his voice is now a murmur, as if he were trying not to break a spell, and she hears it reverberating deep in his chest. “I’m on a bit of a tour. All the old hits,” he hesitates, "trying to make things right where I can.”

She looks up at him. “Is that what this is about?”

“Martha Jones,” he looks at her guiltily. “Isn’t it always?”

“Well then. You can make it up to me by not going. Sorted.”

His snort ruffles her curls. “I wish it were that simple.”

The Doctor walks her home that night, silent and wrapped up in his own thoughts. She feels the unease in the air – crisp, quiet, eerie, as if nature itself were holding its breath. When they get to her door, he stops, hands tucked inside his coat pockets.

 “Doctor Jones,” he salutes her. “It’s been a pleasure.”

Doctor,” she looks back at him, imploring him.

The Doctor's smile is small, sly, like he’s letting her in on a secret. And with a wink, he disappears back beneath the fluorescent yellow streetlight and out into the darkness.

-

Three weeks later she comes downstairs to a postcard slotted through her letterbox.

It’s a picture of a sprawling canyon captioned Zion National Park, Utah and beneath it, in messy script, it reads:

Jones,

Consider me a hero! Or maybe don’t – Amy says my head is big enough as it is.

Tardi(s)ly yours (ha!)

A friend.

And she pulls back her curtains just in time to spot a figure in a Stetson and a long, olive coat, striding down the street.

-

 

She has her feet tucked up beneath her on the sofa, the biggest bowl she owns stuffed full of sweet-and-salty popcorn and a glass of wine perched on the coffee table. It’s safe to say Martha Jones is enjoying herself.

Was enjoying herself. Up until seventeen seconds ago. Because that’s when the TARDIS had begun to materialise in her flat.

She stares up at the blue box now occupying the entire left-hand corner of her sitting room and says, “Oh you’ve got to be kidding me. What on Earth –"

“Now, now,” comes the Doctor’s voice – his voice - as the door squeals open. “You know better than that, Dr Jones. What in the universe, surely?”

“What are you doing in my flat?”

His face appears in the doorway, flushed and sheepish. “I wanted to hang out with my friend.”

Martha stares at him, astonished.

Hang out,” he continues, as he steps into her flat, inspecting her picture frames. “That is what humans say, isn’t it? The terms change all the time, and I always end up looking daft,” he turns now on his heel, clapping his hands together. “Anyway, I’ve come to say hello. I’m doing what I always get told off for not doing – honestly, if I don’t come back, people get cross at me, if I do come back, people still get cross at me –"

“Alright,” she says, weakly. “Alright. It’s just – Doctor, I’m watching a film.”

“I can do films,” he sniffs, indignant. Stepping forward, he peers at the television. “I can do… Star Wars.

Her stare becomes a glare. “Doctor, seriously?”

“I’m not the biggest fan of sci-fi.”

She guffaws as she launches a cushion at him, which he catches, deftly. “Ridiculous,” she says. “You are utterly, utterly, ridiculous.”

He beams at her, but there’s something desperately sad beneath his smile. It’s not just a spontaneous visit, it’s something else – it has to be. It seems there always is with this Doctor.

“Fine,” she says again. “You can stay, but,” she points a finger at him, “no talking over the film, and no complaining about the wonky physics.”

The Doctor mimes zipping his lips, and collapses on the couch beside her. “Play on.”

Their agreement lasts all of about five minutes. He gestures with his glass at the screen, sloshing chardonnay across her carpet, every time Han Solo and the crew jump to hyperspace, and Martha laughs so hard at his indignance she gets a stitch.

Twenty minutes before the end of the film, the Doctor helps her tidy – which turns out to mean standing in her kitchen as she loads the dishwasher and topping their glasses all the way up to the top. As he sips, he watches her.

“Martha Jones,” his smile is a slow one. “All domestic.”

Martha grins at him over her shoulder. She supposes that's true. Leaving UNIT hadn’t been the easiest decision, but it hadn’t been a good fit, and she knew it. She was a doctor at heart – a doctor with a flat and a busy work schedule and yoga class on a Wednesday evening. For the first time in a long time, things were normal. But she'd found that normalcy had agreed with her more than she had anticipated.

“Do you miss it?” he says, after a moment or two. And from the look on his face, she knows he isn’t talking about UNIT anymore.

She’s spent a lot of years trying not to ask herself that question. She’d thrown herself at her work, and she’d been bloody good at it, busying herself with knowledge and tactics and instinct. But they were always there – the Doctor and the TARDIS – in a that special draw tucked inside her mind, and sometimes in the slow moments – when it rained, when she looked out at a full moon - she found herself opening it up and flicking through the memories.

She wipes her hand on her towel and leans back against the kitchen counter. “Not always,” she says. “The feeling never goes away though – that being back on Earth is all just for the moment.”

“Would you leave?” he says as if it were a dare, a deliberate provocation. “If you could?”

“You can’t ask me that question,” she says. “It’s too difficult.”

The Doctor nods, but she suspects he doesn’t quite understand. Or maybe, she thinks, this ancient man who’d almost certainly had more faces and more experiences than he let on, understands all too well.

There's a question on her mind though, it had appeared the moment he had, listless and forlorn. She looks at him and asks, “Where are the Ponds?”

The Doctor is silent for a long moment.

“They’re taking a break,” he says, eventually. “From me. They’ve got each other, and a house and a life and responsibilities, and all those other things humans inexplicably want. They’re growing up.”

“And that’s a bad thing?”

The Doctor’s eyes slip away from hers, catching on the walls.

“They’ll leave me,” he murmurs after a moment.

“Maybe,” she says. “But isn’t that always true of the people you’ve travelled with?”

“Like you,” his eyes land on hers again.

She lets out a breath. “Like me.”

“You left.”

 “I did.”

“You were right to,” he continues, drawing closer. “I am sorry for not seeing you.”

She sees the kiss coming from a mile away, but it still manages to startle her. She indulges – out of curiosity more than anything else. With the other Doctor, her other Doctor, he tasted like lightening itself, chaos incarnate. With this one, she feels his sadness, his solitude, his desperation. And as she draws back after a beat too long, putting space between them, fury bites at the edges of her.

“Do you really think so little of me?”

The Doctor stares back at her, every bit bemused.

“You can’t just fling yourself at me like that,” she says. “I’m not twenty-two anymore.”

He furrows his eyebrows, as if he can’t quite work her out.  “You,” he starts, “Me - Martha, we’re the same person. Me and the other Doctor.”

“I know,” she says. “I can definitely, definitely see that now.”

“Before,” he says. “You fancied me.”

“Yes,” she admits. “Then I grew up and realised I was never going to get what I wanted.”

He looks at her, uncertain. “I’m giving it now.”

“But you’re not though,” she feels a bitter laugh working its way up her throat. “Are you? You never understood – not then and not now. It’s not about attraction or romance it’s about respect, Doctor. It’s about being seen. It’s about being more than an afterthought every single time. I deserved that then and I certainly do now.”

The Doctor’s eyes don’t leave hers. “That’s not what I meant.”

Oh, but I think it is,” she says. “I think you’re scared. You’re scared your friends are going to do what I did, and you’ll be left alone in that great big TARDIS of yours. And so, you come to me, and you think if you can say the right combination of words, you can get me to come back and then you won’t be by yourself anymore.”

The Doctor stares down at the ground, cowed, fidgeting ever so slightly with the sleeves of his tweed jacket.

She turns her back on him, spreading her hands on the counter as she steadies herself. “I’m very sorry about your friends,” she says. “I really am. But you need to find someone else because it’s not good for you – travelling alone.”

She doesn’t hear him leave, but she does hear the TARDIS engine, and she closes her eyes under the weight of it bearing down on her.

-

Six weeks later she arrives home to a bouquet of floors waiting for her on the dining table. The blooms are striking, almost iridescent, and certainly not of this Earth – and she doesn’t have to check the accompanying card to know who it’s from, but she picks it up anyway:

Dr Jones,

I’m afraid I keep getting it wrong.

These flowers are from Caestilius, a planet in a constellation about seven point two billion light years away. They will never wilt as long as you take good care of them.

I haven’t forgotten my promise.

The second-hand on her antique wooden clock ticks on as she holds the card over the kitchen bin.

And then she turns, walks into her bedroom and tucks it in the bottom drawer of her dresser alongside her TARDIS key.

-

 

Six months later, she’s stood at a stall in Camden Market, holding a bouquet of chrysanthemums in one hand, and tulips in the other when a familiar voice pipes up from her left-hand side, “I thought I mentioned the flowers won’t wilt.”

He looks as if he’d been run ragged by the passage of time. The tweed has been replaced by a darker shade of navy blue and he’s smiling at her in that way that reminds her of Athelred’s Hill.

“Mother’s Day,” she says, squinting up at him through the morning sunshine. “Don’t worry, yours are still safe and sound at home.”

Yours,” he corrects her.

She looks at him sideways. “Do you fancy getting a cup of tea?”

Tea ends up being chips on a park bench, not that the Doctor complains. They watch the pigeons fly past, feasting off bits of dropped bread, in amiable silence.

Then the Doctor eventually says, “They’re gone.”

Martha glances over at him. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” he says, carefully mild. “They got their happily ever after.”

“And what about you?”

“Me?” his smile is so pained it hurts to look at him directly. “Well, I made it through to the last page of the book.”

She suspects she’d never be able to fathom both the enormity and the mundanity of the moment. And she’s not quite sure if there are words, any words, she can give him. Instead she lays a hand on his arm and watches the clouds roll lazily across the sky.

To be the Doctor, she thinks, sounds like a kind of tragedy.

“You were right,” he says after another long moment. “Before.”

“I know.”

He looks at her now, gaze imploring hers. “I really am very sorry.”

It’s her turn to smile now. “I know that too.” She’s not sure if it’s enough – but it’s a start. The Doctor, with all those years travelling, all those lives lived, and still with certain words, certain emotions, certain people, he seemed to stumble, as if he couldn’t quite bring himself to understand.

There’s uncertainty in his next words, a great labour, as if he were dragging them out from deep inside himself. “Martha,” he says, tentative. “I made you a promise, once.”

She shakes her head. “Doctor –"

“It isn’t out of obligation,” he says, not quite meeting her eyes. “I’m making a request.”

She looks at him.

“One trip?”

She’d often wondered if the word ‘friend’ applied to Doctor. He flung the word around so easily, it seemed almost careless. But what did friendship actually mean to him? In this incarnation and the other that she’d known, it’d been hard to pin him down straight in the cold light of day, to trust him enough to know that he cared.

And it had taken years after that year, when the Earth had burned to ash all around her, to rebuild herself from the foundation up – to take her dignity and wrap it tight around herself; to believe that she was brilliant and good, deep down in her barest bones. That hadn’t all been the Doctor – she knew – but it certainly hadn’t helped. Back when she was twenty-two and wide-eyed, and had encountered the cleverest, brightest person she’d ever known –to know he’d regarded her as little more than second-best had hurt her in ways she hadn’t even thought possible.

Long after, she’d understood that no matter how bright he shone; there was a darkness there. He was a myth, perhaps; a legend, certainly – but also a man.

An imperfect man.

She doesn’t owe him her all, her entire being. But if the Doctor is a friend (and she hopes someday, after everything they’ve been through, she’d be able to call him that with confidence) then perhaps she could give him her company, especially if he’s humble enough to ask.

She bites her lip. “One trip.”

And he laughs, his palpable joy drawing out her own grin.

“Woodstock, Doctor Jones. Oh, you’re going to love it.”

 

-

It had been one trip, at first.

But then two weeks later he’d popped up again, outside her door, holding a stick of glittery candyfloss and talking a mile a minute about a race of rhino-people who live on a world made up of different shades of purple, and of course she’d had to see that –

And four months after that, meeting Michelangelo.

And three and a half days after that, Roswell, New Mexico, 1947.

They don’t travel all the time – just now and then, when the mood suits. Sometimes it’s months before she hears from him again.

She’s not sure she knows this Doctor yet – then again, she’s not sure she’s ever known him, not properly. But she thinks, perhaps, she might take the time to try.