In the TARDIS console room, the phone began to ring.
Rory jumped. It always startled him when the TARDIS phone rang; a phone seemed too normal a thing for a time machine to have, and he tended to forget it existed.
The phone rang again. Rory looked expectantly at the Doctor. The Time Lord was standing right next to the phone, but he was making no move to answer it.
"Doctor?" said Rory finally, after the phone had rung for a third time.
"Get that for me, will you, Rory?" the Doctor answered, not looking up. He flipped a switch that was no more than three inches away from the phone, then pivoted to tap a dial, then flipped the same switch back again. Meanwhile, the phone rang for a fourth time.
Rory looked over to Amy, who was on the other side of the console. She gave him an amused smile, and shrugged her shoulders. Rory hurried over to where the phone was now on its fifth ring.
"Hello?" he said into it uncertainly.
"Doctor, is that you?" The woman's voice was unfamiliar. Rory thought she sounded as if she were upset about something.
"Um, no. It's Rory. Rory Williams. Er, sorry. You probably don't care about that," he stammered. "Shall I get the Doctor for you?"
"Thank you, yes, if you could. There's something important I have to tell him."
"Doctor?" said Rory, holding up the phone.
"What is it, Rory?" The Doctor was now on the other side of the console, standing next to Amy and staring intently into a monitor.
"Phone. For you."
"Who is it?"
"I don't know. She didn't say."
"Well, find out." The Doctor sounded irritated, as if this were something Rory should have figured out on his own.
Rory turned back to the phone. "Sorry, can I just ask who this is?"
"Tell him it's Martha Jones."
"It's Martha Jones," Rory called out to the Doctor.
A smile broke over his face. "Martha Jones!" he beamed. "That's nice. That's very nice. What does she want?" He leaned over and flipped another switch.
"She wants to talk to you. I expect that's why she's phoned."
The Doctor rolled his eyes. "Why does she want to talk to me?"
"She has something important to tell you."
"Good important, or bad important?"
"I don't know. She didn't say."
"Find out!" said the Doctor again, then he turned back to his monitor.
"Sorry, it's still me," Rory said into the phone. "Is the thing you have to tell the Doctor good important, or bad important?"
"It's bad news, I'm afraid." Martha paused. "A friend of his has passed away. A very close friend."
"Doctor, you really need to take this," said Rory, looking over to him again.
"What, Rory? I'm afraid I didn't catch that." The Doctor pulled a lever, and the TARDIS gave a sudden lurch. Rory went flying, as did the phone he had been holding.
"Hey, how about a little warning next time?" complained Amy.
"Sorry." The Doctor helped her up from the floor, then came over to Rory and assisted him, too. Then he picked up the phone from where it had landed and put it to his ear. "Nothing. Connection lost. Well, that's 21st century technology for you."
"There's some bad news . . ." began Rory.
"There's always bad news," interrupted the Doctor. "And there's always good news, somewhere." He ran to the TARDIS entrance and knocked on the door, then turned to face them, grinning. "Do you know what's behind this?"
"No," said Rory.
"Amy, do you?"
"No," she said. "Are you going to tell us?"
"A quaint English village. I bet there's good news in a quaint English village. Let's go find something to celebrate." Then he flung the door wide and strode out.
Rory stared after him.
"Come on," said Amy. "We don't want to let him get too far ahead."
"But he needs to ring Martha Jones back," said Rory. "I have to tell him."
Amy shushed him with a finger to his lips. "There's nothing you have to tell him," she said. "Can't you see that he already knows?"
She took his arm and led him out, following the Doctor.
Later, after the christening party, the Doctor left Amy and Rory chatting with the proud new parents, and stole quietly back to the TARDIS. He swung himself underneath the console, opened a hatch, then got out his sonic screwdriver. The changes only took a few minutes. Next he fished around until he found a small notebook that had been shoved into the access space, not far from the circuit he had just been adjusting. Opening it up, he saw the last date inscribed there: 22nd February, 2011. Just beneath it, he carefully drew the Gallifreyan symbols for the day known on Earth as 19th April, 2011. Then he put the notebook back, and closed the hatch up again.
There were certain days the TARDIS never landed on. Sundays, for example. And the days inscribed in a certain worn notebook stored in a nondescript access hatch underneath the console. As far as the TARDIS was concerned, those days no longer existed. Never again would it be 19th April, 2011 for the TARDIS, or for her pilot.
The Doctor sighed, then leaned back against the central column. For a moment his eyes grew dark, and his thoughts were far away: on Peladon, on Karn, on Kastria. He saw her face, eyes sparkling as they looked into his, and he remembered those eyes from an hour ago, when her mother had let him hold her in his arms. "Hello, Sarah Jane," he had whispered to her fondly, and her tiny hand had moved to grasp his fingers as he gave her a welcoming kiss.
He could tell her hello, but he will never tell her goodbye.
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