Epilogue, Part 4
To right the unrightable wrong
"Would it surprise you to know that I already knew all this?" Finch asked. He hadn't been going to tell her, but he had to talk to fight off pain and drowsiness.
"What do you mean? No one knows, except my family and Mickey. No one remembers. You didn't remember when we met in 2012."
"No. But you have a very remarkable cell phone, Miss Jones. Dr. J—Sm—" He was losing track of everything.
"Martha," she said gently.
"Please give me water. Thank you. And then squeeze my hand."
"If you need to sleep, you should sleep."
"I'm not going to sleep!" he said angrily. "Please, Martha."
She sighed and took his hand again.
"Thank you. If you see me nodding off, squeeze hard. I'm not wasting the time I have left with sleeping. What I was saying was, it was very foolish of you to take your cell phone with you while you were running from the Master for that year."
"It was turned off! I even took the battery out. I just—it was my only connection to—to the past."
He couldn't shake his head, so he rolled his eyes. "Apparently you learned nothing about surveillance in our little adventure in 2012. My phone was still force-paired with yours. I listened to you for that entire year."
Martha's mouth dropped open.
"Mr. Reese never knew, so don't you tell him. I can only assume that the Doctor did something to your phone to make it work no matter where and when you were. It worked even while you were in an alternate timeline that now never happened. I listened to you experiencing a 2008 that I don't remember while I was in 2013."
"Why, Mr. Finch?" she asked softly. "Why did you listen?"
"Because I could. Because I'm a sucker for surveillance."
"No, it's true. I am."
"No, I believe that. I don't believe you listened because you have a compulsion to eavesdrop. You cared, didn't you?"
He stared at the ceiling.
"It won't kill you to admit it, Mr. Finch. Not now that—"
"That I'm dying?" he said deliberately. "You're a doctor. You can say it. Well, Miss Jones, the truth is that you were alone, and you are not a person who is designed to be alone. I am. It suits me. But you aren't. So I listened because, though I am not a fanciful man, I know now that there is more in heaven and on earth than my philosophy once allowed me to dream, and I thought perhaps on occasion you would sense that someone was with you."
Tears stood on Martha's eyelashes. "I don't know if I did, Mr. Finch. It was a lonely year. But I never lost my purpose, and I was stronger than I would ever have imagined. I thought it was all the Doctor, but maybe it was you too. We both traveled in the TARDIS. Anything's possible. Are you still listening?"
"No. I heard you tell the Doctor it was time for you to have your own life, and that was my signal that it was time to stop eavesdropping. I destroyed that phone as I should have done a year and a half before."
"I'm glad you didn't."
"But now for the rest…" His eyes drooped. A squeeze of his hand roused him again. "Thank you. The rest."
"You have told me about one year that I already knew about. There are seven more…"
"And I have to tell you about Mickey. Would you believe he was Rose's boyfriend?"
"I am not acquainted with Rose."
"The bane of my existence, or so I thought. Mickey was recovering from her, I was recovering from the Doctor, we met, and it was magic, Mr. Finch. We were both running from the same alien, he was carrying this huge gun, I mean, really massive, and I had this hypodermic that was supposed to knock it out, and we ran into each other—literally—and nearly used them on each other."
"Oh, yes, sounds like magic to me."
"Well, it was," Martha laughed. "Once we decided not to kill each other."
"Now, who would you be killing, Martha Jones?" came a soft voice from across the room.
Martha sprang out of her seat. "Reese!"
"Don't touch me. I mean it, Martha. Don't touch me. Welcome, by the way. I could use your help."
Martha stared at him. "You're as friendly as always, Mr. Reese."
"Thank you. I met a mutual friend, Harold."
"I hope you haven't invited Detective Carter to come hold vigil, Mr. Reese."
"No, though she has come to see you, you know. No, this was a mutual friend to the three of us."
"The Doctor?" Martha cried. "How was he? I haven't seen him in years—"
"He wasn't the Doctor you knew, Martha. He was earlier than your Doctor. He regenerated right in front of me—and then he still wasn't the Doctor we knew. But he gave me a gift."
Reese came up to the side of the bed and held out his hands so Finch could see them. They were glowing. "Regenerative energy. Massively dangerous to humans in large doses, but this is just a drop. Just enough for one human. Harold, this is probably going to hurt. Martha, will you roll him onto his side?"
By the look on Martha's face, she knew what was going to happen. She stripped back the blankets.
"Nice pajamas, Harold," Reese said, snarky as ever. "Just what one would expect of you."
Finch closed his eyes as Martha's professional hands turned him on his side. He was trembling with pain, fear, and hope.
Reese bent down and put his hands on his friend's spine. A golden warmth entered Finch's mind and washed from his brain to the end of his spine. And then, for the first time in more than five years, there was no pain.
He felt Reese take his hands away and Martha return him to his back. He lay with his eyes closed, feeling that warm painlessness, while outside he could hear Martha saying, "How long will it take?" and Reese answering, "I don't know."
Finch opened his eyes. Slowly and awkwardly—the pins were still there in his neck and back, but they didn't hurt, and he knew that the tumor was gone—he sat up and brought his feet over the side of the bed, sitting there stiffly and primly in his neat pajamas.
"Mr. Reese, will you fetch my laptop? I want to see if a new number has come in. Martha, if it has, would you and Mr. Smith care to join us?"