"Except it's gone critical," the Doctor says sadly, and Wilf's smile falls. He understands. "Touch one control and it floods. Even this would set it off," he says, holding up his screwdriver. Wilf gets scared. "I'm sorry. Look, just leave me." The Doctor grins angrily, tears in his eyes. Not a chance. "Okay, right then," he jokes, and turns away.
"Because you had to go in there, didn't you? You had to go and get stuck, oh yes! Because that's who you are, Wilfred. You were always this. Waiting for me all this time."
Wilf waves his arms, frantically trying to stop him going there: "Oh really, just leave me. I'm an old man, Doctor. I've had my time."
"Well, exactly," the Doctor spits. "Look at you. Not remotely important. But me! I could do so much more," he shouts, pounding his chest. Disgusted with his fear. "So much more! But this is what I get. My reward." The Doctor shoves some shit off a table, then realizes he's embarrassing himself. There's a sweet old man in there, and no chance he isn't going to save him. He shudders, in his shame: "Lived too long."
Wilf begins to scream.
The Doctor won't listen, can't, as Wilf begs him not to die. Over and over again, screaming and weeping, full of love.
"Wilfred," the Doctor says, as he opens up his cage, "It's my honor."
He thinks he's being brave; he's not. He's beautiful, and lonely, and exactly what it says on the tin: An angel and a God of Loneliness, and Kindness, and strength. A lonely boy, who learned to worship dancing, before he lost his shoes. A boy who has to make this work on his own, alone from even memory. A man, like any other: A nearly unchartable, a technically unmappable, labyrinth of corridors, and mirrors, and doors, and gates, and tapestries. And fireplaces.
The Doctor's cage goes red, all around him; it hits his stomach, first, and he doubles over and collapses. He groans, on the floor of his cage, as his body burns. The world catches fire.
The bolt shuts itself off in due time; the Doctor unknots his fingers from his own hair. He pushes himself to standing as Wilf stares and says a quiet hello. He stares around, like he's just woken: "Hi." The system's gone; he absorbed all the radiation, the door pops open at a touch, which gives him a bitter little life. Wilf points at the scratches across his face and with a touch he puts them right. His unblemished face falls, as his heart breaks: It's started.