Return to Gallifrey, Chapter 13

Boom. Boom. Boom.

The trio was frozen once again, silent. The sound of the war cannons resonated though the nighttime desert, and the Doctor winced as the cries of each fallen Time Lord echoed in the distance, knowing that with each man who spilled his blood, his fate worsened.

After another agonizing few minutes, he released a pent-up breath, signaling to his companions that it was okay to move again.

“Close one,” murmured the Doctor distractedly. The circles under his eyes were even darker now, and he looked ready to fall over any second.

Concerned, Martha inclined her head towards Aloysius and said, “I’d like to speak to the Doctor for a moment. Alone. May I…?”

Aloysius looked reluctant, but nodded in agreement. “I should start to settle our things down for the night, anyway…” he said, almost to himself. He walked off.

“Hello, Martha!” cried the Doctor, a little too heartily, “How are you?”

“Nevermind that,” said Martha hastily, “The more important question at the moment is how you are. What’s wrong with you? And don’t give me any of that false ‘what-are-you-talking-about’ bollocks. I know something is going on that you’re not telling me, and I want to know what.”

The Doctor sighed heavily and turned to face his friend with wistful, bloodshot eyes. “Martha,” he said, closing his eyes for a moment, “Going back to this planet has made me tired, almost too tired to stay the course.” He paused for a minute, as if saying that much had been a strain.

“Every step I take in this terrain reminds me of something new, something else I didn’t even know I remembered at all. It’s like digging through a memory chest that your parents kept locked up from you. Fatigue, Martha. That’s all it is. But look!” he pointed to the nearby Citadel, “We’re almost there! So close..”

Suddenly, his eyes rolled back into his head and he collapsed onto the ground in back of him.

Doctor!” shrieked Martha.

He didn’t respond.

“He’s not dead,” drawled an unpleasant voice from behind Martha.

She placed an ear to the Doctor’s chest. Sure enough, both hearts were still beating, albeit more slowly.

“What’s wrong with him?” she choked, her eyes red.

“Remember how he said that he didn’t sleep…unless he really, really had to? Well, that’s about now. He has no control over it at this point. Let him sleep,” replied Aloysius sagely.

Martha nodded, but suddenly something strange occurred to her. “Wait a minute,” she said slowly, “How could you possibly have known that he said that? Those were his exact words…but you were miles off when he told me! He said so just hours before we had to run from the…” she broke off. Everything was beginning to make sense.

“It was you,” she whispered, a fire in her voice, “You sent those ghosts after him. They chased us to you, and when we found you, you called them off! And now that we’re almost there…”

Aloysius’s extraordinarily handsome face suddenly twisted into a hideous grin. “Excellent! I must say,” he cackled awfully, “I’m impressed. You’re not nearly as stupid as you look, Martha Jones. But now, I’m afraid the Doctor must die.”



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