He doesn’t want to do this. But he has to. The universes are dying - they are dying, again - and somehow, she is involved. Again.
He dials her number.
He takes a deep breath when the line engages. Just three words in Gallifreyan - three words and she’ll remember, three words and the clock will start ticking and he will have minutes, maybe less, to save her again.
But there’s no other way.
He hates this.
“Donna,” he says, I miss you, he thinks; then he rattles off the code that will slowly, painfully, but slowly unlock the part of her mind he sealed off so many months ago.
He can hear her breath catch on the other end of the line and he knows she would be yelling at him right now if all the memories and lost days and pure golden fire weren’t spilling like poison into her brain.
“Donna. Focus. Come back to me. Come back, please. Something’s wrong,” his words trip over his tongue, over themselves, “There’s no time to explain. Is anyone with you?”
“Doc-Doctor,” she starts, and he can hear the tears in her voice, “No. I’m all on my own.”
“Okay,” he tries to sound calm, “Just… wait for me. I’m coming to get you. I’ll be there in a heartbeat, once I get out of here. Two seconds.” Less, he promises himself, less if he can help it when he gets back to the TARDIS. No margin for error. Not this time.
He waits an eternity, one heartbeat then another, and he tries not to cry when he presses her, urgently, “Donna. Trust me. Please.”
“Okay,” she manages, through gritted teeth, and he knows how hard she is fighting to keep the rush of memories and pain from destroying her completely, “I will. But hurry, Doctor. Please. Hurry.” [x]