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Not much to say about this piece. Hope you like it! Spoilers for the end of S3.

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Waiting

By JayTheNerdKid

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The damned thing never rang.

He kept it in his pocket when he was awake and under his pillow when he slept. He told himself he was stupid for doing so, stupid for waiting for a call that might never come, because surely Miss Martha Jones had moved on with life, put everything behind her, forgotten about him. He wondered when being stupid had ceased to matter to him and decided he didn't care.

When it rang, he had promised he'd come running.

He was just waiting for the call to run.

--

She couldn't muster the courage to call.

It was so very, very tempting, especially when she'd had a bad day at work and all she wanted was just to escape, to leave behind this life and take back the one she'd walked out on. It was tempting when she woke up sweating from nightmares of fire and blood and madness (for a year that never was, it was horrifyingly real in her dreams). It was tempting when she was all alone and longed for the feel of his arms around her, for the sight of that infectious grin, for the sparkle in those warm brown eyes.

He'd promised he'd come running at a word from her.

She just didn't know how to ask.

--

The aliens came on Christmas Day.

He sent them running back, fought to save a world not his own and people who didn't even know who he was (and probably didn't care, when it came down to it), and he couldn't help but remember a human girl who had fought for them all even though it nearly cost her everything. As he watched another spaceship flee for the stars, he wondered if Miss Martha Jones was watching.

She had saved them all with words, once.

He wished she was there to do it again.

--

The ship left and she smiled sadly.

The Doctor was up there, saving them all again, just like he'd saved them before, just like he'd saved her before. She imagined him talking the aliens into leaving, finding the right words at the right time to stop the world from being destroyed. In her mind's eye he stood there, hair sticking up every which way and eyes bright with inhuman energy, fighting for a world that wasn't even his to protect.

He had saved them all so many times.

She wished she was there to see him do it again.

--

Today was Martha's birthday.

Well, the Doctor reasoned, any day could be Martha's birthday for him (any one of her birthdays, in fact), but as he walked through a crowded London street, phone still in his pocket (and still silent, always silent), he realised that this was the day she celebrated turning twenty-four. The child, Martha Jones (though not really a child, he supposed), who had lived through the world ending and then seen it saved, was one year older.

He knew it was silly to expect it to ring today.

He waited all day anyway.

--

Her twenty-fourth birthday came.

The whole family was there, this time (and none of them arguing, a miracle in itself), congratulating her, demanding to know how she was, if she was having a good day, had she made a wish when she blew out the candles, to which she replied that she was no longer a child and didn't make wishes. That was a lie, of course. There was one thing she wished more than anything else. She wondered if thinking it as she blew out the candles would help.

She knew it was silly to want him there.

She almost called him anyway.

--

He knew when she became Doctor Jones.

He almost visited her, then, almost set the TARDIS' coordinates to materialise inside her apartment, almost gave in to the longing that had been with him since she left. Just one visit, he thought, just a hello and a congratulations and a good luck for the future, and that would be it. No harm done at all, really, and if she decided (and he knew he was silly for even considering this) that she wanted to come with him again, that was just a bonus, really.

He didn't end up visiting her.

He realised he didn't want to hear her say no.

--

That day, she became a doctor.

It felt so strange, after so many years of hard work and sacrifice, to have her friends and family call her Doctor Jones and to know that the title was finally, rightfully hers. She'd been working towards this for so very long, it was hard to believe she'd made it. And yet, even amidst the celebrations and congratulations, she couldn't help but think of another doctor and the way he'd changed her life. One phone call and he'd be there; he'd promised, and she'd never seen him break a promise.

She didn't end up calling him.

She realised she was scared he wouldn't come.

--

The damned thing still hadn't rung.

He kept it with him anyway, slept with it under his pillow, in the hope that someday it would ring and he'd pick it up to hear Martha Jones' voice calling him back. Even now, even after so long, he woke up every day and waited for the call to run.

He almost didn't expect her to call.

And then, one day, the phone rang.

--

She still hadn't called him.

It was just a matter of pressing a button. She'd done harder things than this before; she'd sat exams and watched people die and then, sometimes, stopped them from dying; she'd saved the world with words alone (and given a man the word to save them all, when even the Doctor had none). It was just a matter of finding the right words.

She almost didn't ring him.

When she did, she hoped he'd still come running.

--

They both kept their promises, in the end.

For what seemed like forever, they both just stood there, staring, neither knowing what to say (because maybe there was nothing to say, not when they could see each other's hearts in their eyes). Then they collided in a hug that was a mess of arms finding the right places again and heads resting on shoulders and closeness and tightness and overwhelming relief.

The hopes and fears and doubts were gone, now, replaced by the sort of happiness born only of despair endured alone. They clung to each other like the world was ending (and it could have been, but neither of them would have cared), neither speaking, because this was beyond words. And when they finally broke apart and looked at each other, eyes dancing (oh, how he'd missed those eyes), grinning like fools (oh, how she'd missed that smile), they knew that things were right again.

She'd called, just like she'd promised.

He'd come running, just like he'd said.