Chapter 1: Preface
Martha Jones is an amazing character that is often unappreciated by the fandom at large. Story-wise, Martha plays a very important role in shaping who the 10th Doctor is. While Rose and Donna are the Doctor's lover and friend, respectively, Martha is his own mirrored reflection. Her journey parallels that of the Doctor's. She is a doctor and a traveller through time and space who survives the brutal extermination and enslavement of her people. She becomes a legend, much in the same way that the Doctor is. Even her unrequited love for the Doctor mirrors his own; while Martha pines for the Doctor, he pines for Rose. However, it is the choices she makes that show us just who she truly is and the strength she carries within her. For while the Doctor must always be on the run - running away, running toward, running off - Martha decides that she is going to stop travelling and take care of her family. It would be easier to continue the cycle, but when the Doctor offers her a chance to escape she declines. She takes on responsibility in ways that the Doctor cannot. She puts her past and her love behind her and moves on with her life, while the Doctor merely attempts to bury his feelings of guilt and grief with each new adventure.
So here is my love letter to Martha Jones, a 50-chapter character study dedicated to the moments that helped create the woman we know and love. I hope you enjoy the story.
Chapter 2: June 14, 1969
Martha trudged along the streets, ignoring the suspicious looks thrown at her from all the shining, white faces that passed her by.
How was it that she could rage against a Dalek, but still be cowed by a mere human? Maybe it was their expressions, the way they pulled their mouths down in shock and disappointment. Daleks had no faces, she didn't have to see what they truly thought reflected in their eyes. She had never been able to withstand her mother's looks. Martha had always been the "good" child, never complained, always did what her parents told her. She had never so much as snuck out of her house as a teenager. There had been times when she had wanted to rebel, but in the end she never did. Martha remembered leaving her mother behind when she ran off to help the Doctor fight Lazarus. She had felt so guilty afterwards, and then felt stupid for feeling guilty. What was she supposed to say? Of course, Mum, I'll do whatever you tell me even though my friend is about to get eaten by a monster. She wanted to scream, to beat her fists against a table, to tell everyone what she really thought and feel. But she choked it down, kept it bottled up, and continued to smile. She didn't want them to be disappointed.
Her experiences in 1913 had made her feel even worse. She hadn't even felt like a person most of the time. No one had ever made her feel ashamed for being black before. But after three months of being forced to bear the verbal abuse silently, without even the Doctor there to comfort her… and then there was the Doctor himself. He never said anything that was meant to be deliberately hurtful during his time as John Smith; he merely thought her a simpleton, ignorant in the ways of civilization, dismissive of her ideas and thoughts. Hearing those words come from the Doctor's mouth had hurt her a great deal more than she had thought they could. It was the little wounds that killed her.
Martha and the Doctor had been stuck in 1969 for four days now. When they first arrived the Doctor had immediately run off, abandoning her on a street corner to fend off the curious and hostile looks from the strangers jostling around her. It was hours before he returned with a brown paper bag full of money. She had idly wondered if he'd held up a bank with that banana he kept in his pocket, but in the end she didn't ask and the Doctor never offered an explanation. She was probably better off not knowing.
They rented a room from a little, white-haired lady who smelled of cheap chypre perfume and never bothered to shave her legs. The Doctor had rambled something about bakelite as he scurried about the tiny two-room flat, leaving Martha to deal with their new landlady. She had reached out to shake hands, but the woman jerked back quickly, clutching her wrists protectively in her lap as though she was a rabid dog. Martha tried to ignore the looks she gave them – gave her – like the Doctor did. The Doctor never seemed to notice things like that. She didn't know whether or not the Doctor was truly oblivious or if he was just really good at hiding it.
After four days, though, the money had run out and Martha was forced to seek employment. When Martha had asked why the Doctor wasn't getting a job, he had given her a long-winded speech about needing to utilize his time in creating a Timey-Wimey device, which Martha had interpreted as "I don't wanna." She made a mental promise not to fall for that kicked puppy look again.
Martha was slowly making her way back to their little flat after a successful job interview. She had seen the flyer for a salesgirl in the window of a little shop that tried to be Mary Quant but ended up being more along the lines of cheap thrift store. The manager was enthusiastic about hiring her, pleased by Martha's cheerful attitude and eagerness to work. It should have been a good day, and yet here she was, feeling lower than dirt. Martha had been feeling rather proud by the time she shook hands with the manager. The woman had smiled at her, congratulated her on getting the job, and said, "You really are very articulate for a black girl."
It had been like a punch to the gut, but she simply smiled and thanked the woman. She had thanked her!
Martha came to a stop in front of a store selling televisions, staring at the sets that sat in the window. They all reflected the same image in black and white and color. David Frost was interviewing John Lennon and Yoko Ono. "If people did interviews for jobs in a bag they wouldn’t get turned away because they were black or green or long hair, you know, it’s total communication," Lennon said. Martha wondered if she could talk the Doctor into taking her to see a live concert when they got the TARDIS back.
"They'd get turned away because they were in a bag," Frost quipped. The audience laughed.
"Martha! There you are!"
Martha turned to see the Doctor running towards her, his great coat flapping at his heels, holding what looked like the lovechild of a telephone and an egg beater high above his head. "I've been looking all over for you! I've finished it! The Timey-Wimey Detector!"
"So, we'll be able to get back to the TARDIS then?" Thank God she didn't have to actually face that manager again.
"Well, err, no. It hasn't gone 'ding' yet. It goes 'ding' when there's stuff."
Martha felt her hope crash down to her feet and turned back around. "Well, you let me know when that happens."
"Don't you want to hear about the Detector?" The Doctor demanded, looking extremely put out by Martha's lackadaisical attitude.
"At the moment? Not really."
The Doctor pouted and, true to her promise, Martha ignored the big-eyed look the Doctor gave her and continued to watch the program. As much as she loved the Doctor, she couldn't deal with his childishness right now. Not when she felt so horrible.
For a few seconds it was quiet.
"Why are you watching this here in the middle of the sidewalk?"
"Because you cut open our telly and ripped its insides out to make your Timey-Wimey device."
The Doctor grimaced. "You make it sound so brutal."
Martha didn't reply and continued to stare stonily ahead.
"I didn't know you were a Beatles fan," the Doctor began again, hoping to somehow catch her attention. "I'll have you know I was the one who introduced Ono to John Lennon during her art exhibit. She's an alien, you know, from the planet Uxofilia. Lovely place, wonderful people, really should visit there again."
That pulled Martha away from the screen. "Seriously? Yoko Ono is an alien?"
The Doctor grinned. "She travelled with me for a bit."
Martha shook her head. "I don't believe this."
"Oh, the Beatles and I go way back," the Doctor hummed. Suddenly the Doctor cocked his head to one side, an amused look crossing his face. "You know, last time I ran into Paul McCartney he thanked me for helping him write a song. I had no idea what he was talking about at the time, but-"
"Wait!" Martha screeched. "You helped write a Beatles song? Which one?"
The Doctor grabbed her hand, snaking the other around her waist as he did so. "This one, apparently," he whispered into her ear before opening his mouth and bellowing, "Martha, my dear, though I spend my days in conversation, please, remember me! Martha my love, don't forget me, Martha my dear!"
Martha shrieked in laughter as the Doctor twirled her across the sidewalk. The Doctor's horrible caterwauling filled the street, drawing a crowd that stared and pointed at the couple, but Martha didn't care. She didn't notice the people gawking, the whispers, or the raised eyebrows. All she cared about was the Doctor.
"Hold your head up, you silly girl! Look what you've done! When you find yourself in the thick of it, help yourself to a bit of what is all around you, silly girl! Take a good look around you! Take a good look you're bound to see that you and me were meant to be for each other, silly girl! Hold your hand out, you silly girl, see what you've done! When you find yourself in the thick of it, help yourself to a bit of what is all around you, you silly girl!"
Tears were streaming from the corners of her eyes, her laughter nearly drowning out the Doctor's 'singing.' "Martha my dear, you have always been my inspiration! Please, be good to me, Martha my love! Don't forget me, Martha my dear!" The Doctor dipped her before bringing her back onto her feet.
Martha was still laughing a little when the Doctor linked his arm with hers and began walking, swinging the Timey-Wimey Detector back and forth with his other hand. She didn't know whether or not the Doctor was lying about her being the inspiration for the song, but she found she didn't care. She didn't care about any of it anymore, not the manager, not the school, not being stuck in the 1960s. Because she had the Doctor back and nothing was going to stop her or bring her down.
Chapter 3: October 9, 1996
Martha was ten when she lost her best friend.
She didn't realize it at the time. They had been friends for as far back as Martha could remember; she just assumed they would always be friends no matter their differences. Sarah was the kind of girl who liked dolls and the color pink and dresses. She was beautiful and fussy and tender-hearted. She liked to play pretend. Sometimes they would play "House" and Sarah would be the mommy and Martha was the daddy. Other times they played "Princesses", but really there was only ever one princess. As Sarah explained, a princess needed her knight and Sarah would throw a tantrum if Martha dared to suggest she be the princess this time. Martha didn't mind, usually; she rather liked jumping about dramatically and running through Sarah's house fighting invisible dragons. Besides, Sarah had long blonde hair, which Martha figured made her look more like a princess.
They were inseparable.
Martha knew she wasn't like Sarah or any of the other girls in her class. She read a lot and liked science and played with bugs. She enjoyed digging through the flowers in search of ladybirds in their small garden. She'd put them in containers and watched them eat and run around until they either died or she let them go. Sarah didn't like her bugs. She thought they were gross. Tish thought they were gross too, but Martha didn't care as much about what Tish thought. Sarah's opinions mattered a great deal to her; she never wanted to offend her.
Martha had noticed how quiet Sarah had become since the start of their sixth year. She didn't seem as interested in their games anymore. Martha was aware that Sarah had recently become friends with a group of girls that didn't like Martha. They teased her and called her weird. It wasn't the bullying that hurt her the most, though, it was the fact that Sarah was friends with them. What was worse was that she never once asked her to hang out with them; so long as they were around, Martha might as well be invisible. It didn't matter. She thought they were boring. They spent their time gossiping and swapping nail polish and glitter like it was interesting. Martha would much rather be outside playing, and if that made her weird then at least she would still be havingfun.
But she couldn't help but wonder if Sarah thought she was weird too. Sarah was her best friend. Martha didn't want her friend to think badly of her.
"Come out to the garden!" Martha exclaimed as she and Sarah rushed through her house. "I can do a cartwheel now! Come see!"
They came to a dead stop the moment they ran through the door and into the bright sunlight.
Lying in the grass in front of them was a dead bird. Martha edged closer at the same time Sarah pulled back. It was lying on its back; its wings outstretched like it had been crucified. The shiny gray feathers had been torn from its body and Martha could see a bit of bone peeking out from its chest. She dimly wondered if her Mum's cat had killed it as she leaned forward to get a closer look.
Martha was utterly fascinated by the sight, although if asked she wouldn't be able to explain why. She found the decaying flesh captivating and strange and unknowable. She felt compelled to see more, to understand what the bird was going through.
"That is disgusting," Sarah spat. "Get back, Martha. Don't be gross."
Martha couldn't help but laugh teasingly at her. What was Sarah so worried about? Martha picked up a stick that had fallen from the old rowan tree. She reached down and prodded the bird slightly with the tip of her stick, moving it over so she could see the wound that had killed it. "Why are you so upset? It's just a dead bird." Martha stated nonchalantly, not bothering to look up.
She didn't notice that Sarah was crying until her friend yelled out hotly, "Just leave it alone! It's horrible poking at it like that!"
Martha dropped her stick in an instant and hurried over to her friend, reaching out to soothe away the tears that were streaming down her face. "What's wrong, Sarah? It's nothing to be afraid of!"
Sarah, however, just pushed away Martha's outstretched hand away. "Why do you always have to be so strange?" She demanded, before taking off through the house.
Sarah didn't talk to her after that, not even when her new friends would tease and pick on Martha. They might as well have been strangers, let alone friends.
Chapter 4: The Year That Never Was, Part I
Martha threw a glance at Tom, just in time to see him flush and hurriedly turn away to look at his feet.
He had been staring at her again.
It wasn't like she was offended. It was flattering, Martha supposed, but also a bit confusing. She wondered what Tom saw when he looked at her. She had changed so much in the past year. She barely recognized herself. She was thin – too thin – all sinew and muscle and bone. No more shapely curves, just hard skin over sharp bone. Her skin was rough and weather-beaten from the wind whipping her face and the sand digging into her flesh. Then there were her feet. Dear God, her feet! Hours and hours, day in and day out, of walking and standing and running. There was hardly ever a time when she wasn't on her feet. She'd maybe sit down for about ten minutes for supper and maybe lunch if she could get it, sleep for four hours, if she was lucky, and then she was on the move again. Her feet had changed so much; they were covered in calluses and cuts. Looking at them bare she wouldn't even have guessed that they belonged to a young woman. What she wouldn't give for a bit of lotion.
It was her eyes that changed the most, though. Even when she smiled, they looked so old and worn. Haunted. She had seen that look before, on the Doctor's handsome face. "And they lost," he had said. "We lost. Everyone lost. They're all gone now. My family. My friends." Hearing the Doctor's story then… it was like reading about Darfur or some other faraway place. It was terrible and she had always felt very sorry for those people, she would even donate money, but she hadn't understood. That sort of tragedy had been completely foreign to her. Her life had been untouched by horror and fear and pain. She understood now. She had lived through massacres. She understood the pain he had felt, the terror of it all. She wondered if the Doctor would recognize himself in her if he saw her now.
Martha looked at Tom again. Only this time he didn't look away. He smiled slightly and blushed a little. She thought it was cute. "We'll be entering Bexley soon. It's one of the few parts of London that hasn't been destroyed."
She nodded and looked back out at the makeshift road. Really the only thing that constituted it as a road was that it had slightly less rubble than the surrounding area. She could see green shoots springing up from in-between the broken concrete and stone, even now desperately trying to cling to life.
Martha heard Tom sigh next to her. "Just think of it. London, all that history, gone."
She smirked as a playful thought entered her head. "I suppose London, circa 2008, has its charm for some people," she mused lightly, a hint of a joke in her tone. "Of course, I prefer the London of the 17th century myself. Great century, ton of culture. A lot of people say that you've got to visit the Globe Theatre, but my opinion? Tourist trap. I recommend that you find yourself a good pub, really immerse yourself in the time. Though be sure not to overstay your visit, or you'll wind up in the Cromwellian Protectorate."
"Wait, what?" Tom demanded, coming to a stop.
"What's the matter, Tom?" Martha inquired, her voice sugary sweet and innocent. "Never met a time traveler before?"
Tom shook his head in disbelief. "There's no way that you're a time traveler."
Martha just grinned. "Where do you think I got all these nifty gadgets from?" She asked, pulling at the TARDIS key that hung from around her neck, the same object that had made her invisible to the Toclafane. Tom had seen its power with his own eyes.
All of the fun and humor was gone from his expression. "You're really serious, aren't you?" He whispered, looking at her like she was some sort of mythical goddess, a woman to revere. She realized then why he kept looking at her. He was in awe of her. He looked at her the same way she looked at the Doctor.
She felt a sudden rush of caring for this man, who had been a stranger to her just yesterday. He had so much faith in her and he didn't even know her. He looked at her like she was something good and strong and powerful. She had to protect him. She couldn't let him down.
Now Martha could truly say she understood the Doctor.
"Well, come on, still got a ways to go," Martha quickly said and turned away, unable to look at those wide, artless eyes any longer. "I'm starving. I wonder if they'll have bananas at the shelter?"
"Bananas?" Tom asked.
Martha shrugged. "I miss bananas. Good source of potassium. The breakfast of champions, bananas are."
Tom laughed and followed, always one step behind.
Chapter 5: April 26, 2009
Martha traced the numbers on her mobile with her thumb.
She could do this. This was nothing. She's faced down strange and terrifying creatures, looked death in the eye and still didn't back down. And here she was getting worked up over a simple phone call!
She and the Doctor hadn't parted on the best of terms. The Doctor was… he was damaged. Martha could see the signs now. She had been so blinded by his smile, his energetic personality, the things he showed her… she hadn't realized that he was near incapable of forming deep personal relationships. Even after he had told her his story, he had kept her close but never too close. He had never been too interested in learning about her family, or her past, or her hopes for the future. It was always the next adventure, the next planet, the next time. He deliberately kept her at a distance. He wanted to be able to walk away. He wanted her to be able to walk away.
And she had. She hurt so much after The Year That Never Was. She needed a safe place to land, to rest. She had been so weary of it all. Not only of the running and the fear and the pain, but not being able to touch anyone, to get close to them. That was what it was like with the Doctor. Always moving from one place to another, meeting people but never getting to know them. Never letting them get to know you. There would only be the Doctor, and Martha knew he couldn't be what she needed him to be. It wasn't even the fact that he couldn't love her the way she loved him. During the Year, she had accepted that the Doctor would never feel that way towards her.
It was because he couldn't stay, and she needed to just stay. Unmoving, feeling what was done to her, what was done to the entire world, accepting it. She doubted the Doctor had ever stood still long enough to process what had happened to him in the Time War. He was always running, as though he was still trying to outrun his memories. If he doesn't think about it, then it didn't happen, right? He couldn't even help himself, so how could he possibly help her? If she had left with him she never would have healed. She would have run away with him, never looking back because she would be too afraid of what she would see. She would have run until she died.
She was better now. She still had nightmares, but they weren't as frequent as they were before. She still couldn't stop herself from hoarding food, however. Martha knew that Tom suspected something had happened to her, especially after he found that bag of rice hidden in their closet behind her shoes. That had been an awkward and embarrassing conversation. Tom hadn't press the issue though – bless him – giving her the time to tell him on her own.
As Martha stared at the numbers on her phone she couldn't help but think of his face when she told him she was leaving. He looked so hurt. She knew the Doctor had been prepared for it, had anticipated it. Hell, he'd orchestrated it. Her talks with Jack only confirmed that the Doctor seemed to prefer his companions leaving him before they got too close. But she wondered if maybe the Doctor had changed his mind, the look in his eyes when she had told him no…
Martha pressed the dial button. She couldn't travel with him again. She belonged here, but she still wanted to be a part of his life in some way. She always wanted to be a part of his life. It's why she had given him the mobile. And, she thought, maybe the Doctor still wants to be a part of my life too.
She heard the click and smiled. "Doctor?" She asked. "It's Martha and I'm bringing you back to Earth."
Chapter 6: May 1, 2004
This wasn't really her type of place, but Dave was happy and they had hardly spent any time together these past couple of weeks.
He had spent days studying non-stop for an exam; he had practically banished himself from all human contact. He had passed, just like she had said he would, and had dragged her to some club for celebrating. The music pounded through the air, bodies swarming across the dance floor. She could barely hear anything Dave said; she had wanted to go someplace a bit quieter, more intimate. She was tired and she missed her boyfriend. Her first year at university had been downright exhausting and chaotic. She wanted to collapse onto a nice, soft bed and sleep for a week with Dave wrapped up in her arms next to her, like an overgrown teddy bear. But Dave was happy; Martha couldn't find it in her heart to drag him away. She could put up with annoying music and the continual string of weaving drunks bumping into her, as long as she got to spend some time with Dave.
"Did I ever tell you how sexy you look in a leather jacket?" Dave slurred into her ear, the stench of alcohol nearly overwhelming her.
Martha rolled her eyes. "I see you've already reached your limit," she commented as she watched the moving bodies dance on the floor.
Dave waved his hand emphatically. "Doesn't matter. That's why I have you. Responsible Martha. God, you're like my grandmother…" Martha laughed as Dave wrinkled his nose in disgust, the full weight of his comment sinking in. "That came out wrong," Dave murmured. "Very, very wrong."
Martha patted his chest. "It's okay," she soothed. "I know what you meant."
Dave nodded and returned his attention to his drink. Martha looked back at the crowd, scanning the sea of bodies. Her gaze fell upon a tall brunette, teetering on her high heels. She was lanky, with legs for miles, and pretty. She was also very, very drunk. She was having a hard time walking, but there was a man holding on to her, holding her up. Her head lolled to one side, coming to rest on his shoulder. He pulled her close to him, his hand wrapped possessively on her hip. Obviously her boyfriend, Martha assumed. But there was something about them – something about him – that kept Martha from looking away. He seemed a little too happy, she seemed a little too drunk, and his hand kept wandering lower…
Dave pulled her attention away from the pair, cracking jokes in a too loud voice, completely unaware of the volume of his voice. Martha laughed out loud. She wouldn't call Dave a funny guy when sober, but give him a few drinks and he was a riot. By the time Dave wandered off to find the bathroom, the couple had disappeared.
Martha felt her stomach grow cold with fear and apprehension. Her eyes flitted from face to face, trying to find them. It was silly. She didn't know why she was getting so worked up. He was probably her boyfriend and he was just taking her home to sleep it off. She was being paranoid; there was no proof, no evidence that he had done something wrong. It wasn't any of her business anyway.
There! She watched the glossy dark hair of the brunette bounce as she wandered out the door, the man pulling her along every step of the way. Martha stood there, shifting from foot to foot, wandering what she should do. Should she do anything at all? It wasn't like she knew for certain, it was just a feeling in her gut. Maybe she could call the police? And tell them what? Should she wait for Dave to get back? She didn't know what to do. She'd never been in this sort of situation before.
Martha stood there for a few more seconds, wavering, before finally deciding she was going to confront the two. She may end up looking like an idiot, but it was better to be safe than sorry, right?
Martha pushed through the crowd, out through the exit's double doors. It was cold out and the streets were empty. Where could they have gone? Martha stood on the sidewalk, frantically turning her head to look up and down the street, trying to catch some glimpse of them. She didn't see them. They weren't there anymore. The woman had left with that man, leaving Martha to wonder if she had gone on her own free will.
Martha chose a direction and began to wander up the street before coming to a stop after a few steps. What was she going to do? Walk all over London until she found them? She had no name, no car description, no address, and could only vaguely describe what they looked like. They were gone.
"Martha? What are you doing out here?"
Martha didn't bother to turn around to look at Dave as he came to stand behind her. With a wrenching sob Martha began to weep. She couldn't help but feel that she had failed that woman. Martha should have done something. She had seen all the signs. She was too drunk and he was far too grabby, far too pleased with himself. What would happen to her tonight? Would she even survive the encounter? Martha knew something bad was going to happen and she had done nothing to stop it. She had just watched and let it happen, because she had been too afraid, too unsure, too worried that she would end up looking like a fool.
Martha allowed Dave to pull her into a tight hug, his confusion evident in his whispered soothing. She buried her face into his chest and she vowed that she would never again just simply stand back and watch. She would do something, she would help. She wouldn't let something like this happen again, not if she could help it.
Chapter 7: November 30, 2008
Pressing her hand against the violet flesh, Martha tried to stem the tide of cerulean blood.
She didn't know what sort of alien he was, or even if he actually was a "he" for that matter, but Martha remained calm and collected. She could do this. She was a doctor. Her patient wasn't human, but she would do her best to heal him. She wasn't worried. He was different, yes, but there was so much that was the same. He had bones and skin and blood. It didn't take a genius to figure out that the blue liquid pouring out of him was meant to be stay inside his body. The creature needed a tourniquet.
Martha set the work, her hands as steady as always despite the sounds of gunfire singing through the air and the flashing lights descending from the sky. She pushed the sounds from her mind and her fear and her uncertainty. All she could see was her patient, nothing else mattered. Martha could tune out the excess, a handy trick she picked up during the Year That Never Was. Her first few months on the run had been rough; she could barely sleep with the threat of the Toclafane hanging over her head. Whenever she heard that metallic screeching her heart would thunder in her chest and fear would seize her even though she knew her key would keep her safe, but that didn't stop the adrenaline from flooding her veins and the wild, animal part of her telling her to run, hide. Eventually, she learned to ignore it, to snatch whatever sleep she could, to only focus on what needed to be done. What she needed to do now was save her patient.
It was her first mission with UNIT. She remembered wanting to leave the Doctor, to settle down somewhere and feel a sense of home, of belonging. She wanted that, but no matter how hard she looked she couldn't seem to find it. She had moved out of her apartment, back into her mother's house. It had been her childhood home, and yet it didn't feel like it anymore. She felt like a stranger in her own life, there was just this... emptiness. Martha had felt at loose ends after her time with the Doctor had ended, unsure of what she should do. It was a struggle to complete university, to become the doctor she had always dreamed of being. It had all just seemed so... frivolous. Useless.
So, she joined the RAMC. It had been such a relief to finally be given a purpose again. It was strange how Martha could feel more at ease in the middle of a conflict than she did when she was with Tom doing some mundane, domestic chore. She wondered if she should start to worry.
After training she was contacted by UNIT who somehow knew all about her travels with the Doctor. They offered her a chance to work with alien species once more. To combat global threats. To help humanity reach the stars. She took it without so much as a second thought.
So here she was, on her knees in the black Ukrainian soil, trying to save the life of an alien who had come to Earth seeking amnesty while his pursuers battled UNIT soldiers all around her. She wasn't afraid of dying. She'd lost that fear when she knelt before the Master and smiled at him. This was she was meant to do. This was her destiny.
Chapter 8: July 20, 2008
"Are you sure you're up to doing this?"
Martha had smiled at Leo, told him that it was fine. Of course she could babysit Keisha. He could rely on her any time.
She was starting to reassess that statement.
Leo was the only one who had no memory of what had happened during the Toclafane invasion. He and his wife and child remained blissfully unaware. She envied him a little for that. Their Mum didn't want to burden him with the knowledge of it, not to mention he'd probably think they were all loonies if they started talking about flying metal spheres and aliens taking over the planet. He suspected that something had happened to them though. How could he not when his whole family had suddenly grown fearful and meek? He couldn't even figure out what they were afraid of. Tish, who had always been the social butterfly, could barely be convinced to leave the house at all. Annalise had haltingly confessed to her that she had seen their dad weep at the strangest times and never once would he tell her why. And their Mum... she just looked so defeated. She was never one to give up, but now... all she seemed to do was clean. She swept the floors, wiped down the counters, dusted the shelves, washed the dishes, and when she was done she would do it all over again. The Master had liked a clean ship.
Martha thought she had been handling it better than the others. She had survived so much, how could she fall apart now when everyone was safe? It didn't make any sense.
Martha watched Keisha play with her squishy blocks, but all she could see was her beautiful little niece lying dead on some street, one of the Toclafane hovering over her. She had walked the Earth for a year, met thousands of people, but never once did she see Leo or Shonara or Keisha. No one had heard anything about them or knew where they were, if they knew them at all. The day the Master took control he ordered the execution of a tenth of the world's population. The Master killed six million that day. Martha never saw the bodies, never met anyone who saw them die, but she just knew deep in her gut that her brother and his family had been three of those unlucky six million. At least, she tried to comfort herself, they hadn't suffered long.
Shaking the dark thoughts from her mind, Martha took one of Keisha's dolls and made it do the moonwalk, complete with Michael Jackson's "Thriller" as provided by Martha, to the absolute delight of the two year old.
And then Keisha sneezed.
Suddenly Martha no longer found herself in Leo's flat, but at hospital waiting for the pediatrician to arrive. Every time she looked at Keisha she could no longer see her niece – her beautiful, happy, healthy niece – but the body of a dying infant that she had cradled in her arms. She was in Poland, walking and walking and walking, always walking, and saw him abandoned on the side of the road. He had already been too far gone, his movements were slow and lethargic, the heavy, wet noises a clear indicator of the pneumonia that had settled deep in his lungs. All Martha could do was hold him, comfort him, as he slipped away. When he was dead she placed him back down on the road and pressed on without looking back.
Martha knew she was being utterly ridiculous, but she just had to be sure. She needed to know that Keisha was safe.
The door opened and there he was: Tom. Martha could feel the blood drain out of her body as he entered the examination room. She nearly leapt to her feet and hugged him. She never thought she would see him again. It was so strange finding him here now. Almost like a dream.
He was so nonchalant and happy, completely unaware of all that he had done. "Well, I think it's safe to say that the sneeze was just a sneeze," He stated with a grin as he finished his brief exam, discreetly slipping Keisha a lollipop as he straightened up to look at Martha. "Don't worry about being embarrassed. I know how hard it must be for new mothers."
"Oh, no," Martha said with a strained laugh, grateful that her dark skin hid her deep blush. "I'm her aunt. It's just… I'm a doctor as well and I suppose I'm just starting to see my work everywhere."
Tom laughed as Martha scooped Keisha up. She was just about to leave when she turned to look back at Tom, the words already spilling from her mouth before she could think about how silly and impulsive she was being. "I know I must seem like some crazy, paranoid lady, but…" She took a deep breath. "Do you want to get a drink later or something?"
Tom smiled. "I'd like that."
Chapter 9: December 13, 2004
Dave was her very first boyfriend.
She met him her first year at university. He had asked to borrow her notes and just kept right on chatting. He asked her out. She had never been on a date before, had never even been kissed. How embarrassing was that? Dave wasn't especially good-looking, rather average actually. He was a little overweight, but he was really sweet. So, she said yes. Why not?
It wasn't anything like how she thought it would be. They went to a movie. It was Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. She admitted that she might have paid more attention to the screen than she had him, but to be fair it was a great movie. She noticed how he kept turning to glance at her as though he were waiting for something. Something she was supposed to do. She didn't know what it was. Was she supposed to hold his hand? Make out? Didn't he realize that Frodo was about to throw the ring into Mount Doom?
She didn't know how to act on a date. She suspected she acted like a complete dork. Of course, she acted that way in class too so Martha felt he should have known what he was getting into when he asked her out.
Martha wondered what it was like to fall in love. It had never happened to her before. Tish seemed to fall in love once a month and Leo has never had eyes for anyone but Shonara. She didn't know why she couldn't feel it, why she had never found somebody that she really liked. Dave liked her. Why couldn't she like Dave back? She didn't expect to suddenly meet someone, stare into his eyes, and fall instantly in love. She didn't believe in love at first sight. That was merely lust stimulated by endorphins and sex hormones. She was a doctor, after all. Or, will be.
Maybe she just needed time. Maybe one day she would fall in love with Dave, she just had to learn to love him. Maybe it just didn't come as easily or naturally to her. Martha sighed as she thought about it. She didn't want to be alone forever; she didn't want to end up like her Mum, bitter and angry at being abandoned. She wanted to get married someday, have a couple of kids, and grow old with someone. Since starting university she had begun volunteering at a nursing home. The thought of being like her patients - old and desperately lonely with no one to care if she lived or died - chilled her to the bone.
Martha and Dave walked away from the restaurant. It was a chilly night and, looking up, Martha could see the moon, full and round. Dave slipped his hand into hers and she smiled up at him.
"So, do you have to get back?" He asked.
"No, why? You want to go somewhere?" Martha asked.
Dave shrugged, almost self-consciously. "I was just thinking that maybe you'd like to come hang out at my flat. My roommate's gone to visit his parents for the weekend. We could watch a movie or something."
Martha knew instantly that Dave was hoping more for "the something". She didn't know what to say at first. It would be her first time doing anything like that after all. And yet she didn't feel nervous or worried. Hell, she didn't even feel excited. Mostly she was just kind of curious. That probably wasn't the appropriate emotion she should be feeling when faced with this prospect. Tish had always told her that she should wait until she met the right guy and apparently, according to Tish, she would know it right away. Martha once created the perfect equation on determining if it was the "right guy" or night. First, one must determine how hot the guy using the Mr. Darcy Scale, then multiply that answer by the amount of butterflies one experienced with the resulting number being equal or greater to that of any Disney prince (Martha had even presented her Virginity Equation to Tish upon completion, but her sister just seemed exasperated by it).
"Well, what do you think?" Dave prompted. He appeared much more anxious about the whole thing than Martha was.
Martha wondered if she would ever get another chance like this. She knew she was good looking and smart, and yet she didn't really have a lot close friends and before Dave no one had wanted to date her before. Or if they had, they never asked her. She was just a little too strange, she supposed. She might never fall in love and never get married and she was curious, so why not?
"Sure," she said with a smile.
Chapter 10: March 31, 2008
The first time she met him she thought he was a crazy person. A good-looking crazy person, but still a crazy person.
The second time she met him she was beginning to think she was the one that was crazy. She didn't understand what she was hearing. She put her stethoscope up against his chest and heard the sound of one heartbeat, echoing in tandem against another, second heartbeat.
Martha had looked into his eyes, unsure and worried. He winked at her, a smile tugging at his lips. That close to his face she could see just how handsome he was and how unusual. There was definitely something strange about him. Something not quite human. And he... He looked at her like he knew the funniest joke in the world.
"Ahh," the Doctor groaned. "She's as clever as me. Almost." He continued to stare at the hospital wall. What was he seeing? What had he figured out? She wanted to know. Martha hadn't understood most of what the Doctor had said to her but she wanted to. He was so different and interesting, like nothing she had ever encountered before. He knew so much, it was almost overwhelming. She wanted to know what he knew. She wanted to know him.
Screaming interrupted her thoughts as the Judoon came tearing down the hall. The Doctor suddenly took her by the arms, bending down to look into her eyes. "Martha, stay here. I need time. You've got to hold them up." He looked so earnest.
"How do I do that?" Martha demanded, unable to keep from looking back at the terrifying creatures. What did he expect her to do? Fight them? She would be killed.
"Just… forgive me for this. It could save a thousand lives, it means nothing." The way he looked at her could have convinced Martha of anything. She nodded her head. "Honestly," the Doctor said. "Nothing."
Then his hands were cupping her face, his lips on hers. He kissed her like it was the last thing he was about to do, stealing what was left of her breath. Then he was gone.
Martha blearily opened her eyes only to find he was no longer there. She smiled, gasping as she whispered "That was nothing?"
The kiss had left her dizzy and a little lightheaded. Of course, that could have just been the thinning oxygen.
Chapter 11: June 29, 2009
It was 2 o'clock in the morning and Martha had just sat down, drink in hand, at some pub Jack swore by in London Town. All around her was a sea of faces, full of confused and weary acceptance, chugging down their drinks in hopes of drowning out the songs of birds and the bright, cheery sun beaming down on its missing planet. The Doctor always did have a habit of missing the details. He had forgotten to put the Earth back in its original rotation, hence why it was mid-afternoon when it should have still been night. Oh well, Martha supposed the world governments would just tell everyone set their clocks about thirteen hours ahead. All in all, it was a small price to pay to have their planet back.
"So, this UNIT is a lot like Torchwood, yeah?" Mickey asked as soon as Martha sat down.
Martha hadn't known about Mickey Smith until they had found themselves driving the TARDIS. Of course she knew Jack and Donna, having met them before, and she had heard more than she would have liked to about Rose. She was even told a few stories about Sarah Jane Smith. The Doctor even mentioned Jackie Tyler on one occasion. Well, it was less "mentioning" and more "complaining". The Doctor had whined about Martha's mother slapping him for days after the fight with Richard Lazarus, which sort of segued into him telling her about every mother that had ever slapped him. There were quite a few surprisingly.
But not a word about Mickey Smith.
Martha found it rather odd that the Doctor would forget about him. She thought he was rather brave and unforgettable herself. Or maybe the Doctor had some other reason for not wanting to talk about Mickey?
Jack scoffed at Mickey's question. "UNIT? It's like watching a bunch of children try to mash square pegs into a round hole."
"Hey!" Martha interjected.
Jack ignored her as he continued. "Now, Torchwood is where all the action is," He said conspiratorially. "And it just so happens that we're looking for new recruits."
"Yeah, but that means I'd have to see your face every day, Captain Cheesecake." Mickey jabbed back playfully.
"I don't see where that's a bad thing." Jack grinned.
"As much as I love watching two cute boys flirt, I have to correct Jack. UNIT is a great place to work," Martha broke in, trying to steer the conversation back to its original topic. "They're always looking for people who've traveled with the Doctor. You're guaranteed to go in with a high rank."
Mickey shot her a smile. "Would we be working together?"
"Real smooth moves, you got there."
Jack rolled his eyes at their antics. "Well, I'm off to Cardiff," He announced as he stood up, grabbing his coat. Before he left, however, Jack pointed a finger a Mickey and said, "You. Keep your hands off my girl." And with that he swept out the door.
"I should be heading home too. Mum's probably losing her mind as we speak," Martha said as she stood up, pulling her mobile from her pocket. "What's your number? We can meet up later and I can tell you a little more about UNIT. If you like, that is, I mean. Well, you know." She finished lamely, grateful that her skin was dark enough to hide her blush.
Mickey smiled, but shook his head. "I haven't got one."
"What do you mean you haven't got one?" Martha demanded. "One what? You haven't got a telephone?"
"I've just returned from a parallel universe," he said with a shrug, clearly embarrassed. "I haven't got much of anything."
Martha stood there for a second before rolling her eyes. She went over and pulled him up by the arm. "Come on," she said. "You can stay with me for a bit." She linked their arms, walking him out of the pub.
"You sure your boyfriend won't mind?"
"I haven't got a boyfriend," she answered simply. He seemed surprised when she said that, like he couldn't believe it.
"Well, then, lead on, Ms Jones."
"Certainly, Mr Smith."
Martha and Mickey walked down the streets of London, arm-in-arm.
Chapter 12: 100,000,000,000,000
"But she was human. Everything she did was so human."
Martha stared at the blank screen as their words continued to filter through.
They talked about Rose like she was some sort of angel, not fit to be touched by mortal hands. She was so good, so pure, so innocent. All the Doctor seemed to think about was Rose. Martha supposed it was wrong to hate her - she didn't even know her, really - but she couldn't help but resent this girl she had never met.
It was just… the Doctor would never talk that way about her. Martha just wanted him to tell her that she was good and beautiful and strong. But he wouldn't. He would never.
Sometimes the way he acted... she thought she might be his friend, that the Doctor could trust her with anything. Most of the time, however, she felt like she was merely his assistant. A convenient body to talk at. All she needed was to fetch him tea and take down his phone calls and the act would be complete.
The Doctor allowed her to tag along because of… Because of what? Because having her around was better than being alone?
If Rose was to show up today Martha knew she'd be dropped back on her doorstep as quick as he pleased.
Oh, and isn't it typical that she's blonde! Martha sneered at the thought. Of course she was. She probably had "alabaster" skin and "sapphire" eyes and all those other pretty words people used to describe white girls. Blonde like all those models and actresses she saw on television. Blonde like Annalise. Blonde like Joan Redfern.
He didn't have to tell her she was beautiful if he didn't want to. She doubted the Doctor would ever love her like she loved him. But he could tell her that she wasn't a replacement, that she wasn't second best. That was all she wanted.
Rose's perfect, pretty blonde hair was probably a dye job anyway.
Chapter 13: November 28, 2008
Martha entered the flat, groceries in hand.
She set the bags on the counter and started putting away the food, idly wondering where Tom was. Martha wrinkled her nose as she pulled out the bag of onions from the fridge to make room for more vegetables. Tom was absolutely convinced that any meal could be improved with application of more onions. A lot of them. It didn't matter what was cooking, he always insisted on adding onions to it. The man was insane.
They ended up eating out a lot.
Martha pushed the onions to the back of the refrigerator – he can't cook with them if he couldn't find them, now could he? – before finishing up. "Tom, I got those biscuits you wanted!" Martha called out as wandered into the living room. No answer. Martha looked about the den, her nose wrinkled in confusion. Where could he be? She started to wander through the flat, winding her way upstairs, in search of her missing boyfriend.
"No, no everything's going good."
Martha smiled to herself as she heard Tom's muffled voice from behind their bedroom door. He was talking to someone on the phone. Most likely his Mum. She tended to call this time of day. Martha would even go so far as to say that she was a nosy, overprotective busybody, but then that seemed rather hypocritical. Not when Martha had a mother like Francine.
"Well, yeah, she's different," Tom's voice sounded irritated. "That's what I love about her."
Martha grinned as she put her ear against the door. So, he was talking to his Mum about her. Of course she was going to listen in!
"No, I don't think we're taking things too fast… I know we haven't been dating long… Well, I think the move was a good idea."
She could hear him sigh.
"Sometimes, I don't know. It's hard to understand her sometimes. She… something happened to her. Sometimes she'll wake up screaming and I'll hold her and ask her what's wrong, but she never tells me anything. She's got a friend, a guy friend, and he knows- whatever it is. He's a good-looking bloke too. I've never had the courage to ask if she dated him. They'll talk in these hush tones and I know they're talking about that thing and I get so jealous that she can talk to him about it but not me, not her boyfriend…"
Slowly, Martha backed away from the door. She didn't want to hear anymore.
Chapter 14: April 2, 2008
Martha heaved a sigh as she crossed the threshold, not daring to look back as the TARDIS twinkled out of existence. She was free. Or was she trapped? She hardly knew.
There was no undoing it though and... it needed to be done. She would not be travelling with the Doctor again. She couldn't. Martha had agonized over the decision for days after the Master's funeral, when there was nothing left to do but think. She hadn't wanted to hurt the Doctor's feelings, but she needed this. She had to stay.
Martha walked inside the house, catching her mother's eye briefly. Francine looked like she wanted to hug her, comfort her. Reach out and pull her into her arms like she had when she was child. Martha didn't want comfort. She just wanted to be left alone.
Martha raced upstairs before her mother could say anything. She locked herself inside the old bedroom that she and Tish had shared as children. Everything was exactly the same as she had left it. Her piles of books, Tish's dolls… It was almost like she was a little girl again and that nothing bad had ever happened to her. She could make believe that boys were still gross and the only worries she had involved school exams. Pretend that she had never seen men die, that she had never used a weapon, that... she had never traveled across the galaxy...
Martha fell onto her bed, almost landing on a book. Picking it up she began to idly thumb through it, wondering which one it was. It was old and leather-bound. How odd, she didn't remember it. Most of her books here were paperbacks, the sort of childish fantasies and epic adventures she had adored as a little girl. Then she saw the title: Shakespeare's Sonnets. That was strange. It wasn't one of hers and it definitely wasn't Tish's. Martha opened the cover, her eyes falling on a hand-written inscription on the front page.
Thank you for putting up with me for so long.
Martha smiled a little to herself and wiped her face. She could feel tears running down her cheeks. The Doctor, of course. Martha flipped through the book, landing on the page bookmarked by the book's silk ribbon. He wanted her to read this.
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red, than her lips red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,
As any she belied with false compare.
Martha laughed and wept.
Chapter 15: March 6, 2003
Martha sat alone.
It's not like she was particularly bothered by it. She chose this after all. Martha looked up from her book to stare at all the smiling kids around her, chatting animatedly with one another or jokingly pushing each other around. Except for Martha. Oh, she could get up and join them anytime. It wasn't like she was some kind of social pariah or anything.
She just didn't want to. She knew that some her classmates thought it was strange that she didn't have many friends- they teased her about it often enough. It was just… she didn't feel much of a connection with any of them. She had a few acquaintances, people she talked to occasionally about school or the latest gossip, but no one she felt comfortable enough with sharing something personal. She just couldn't understand most of them. What was the point of bullying other kids? Or obsessing over some oblivious actor who didn't even know they existed? Or acting the clown in class? She couldn't wait to get to university, to finally meet people who wanted to learn and were not ashamed of their own intelligence.
She knew her Mum was worried about her lack of friends. She kept blaming it on the divorce (despite Tish's not-so-helpful comments on how Martha was incredibly unpopular even before then). She knew that some of her teachers were worried about it as well. It was difficult to get them to understand that she wasn't shy or depressed. She just didn't want to make friends with somebody just because she felt like she had to. Like having friends would validate her "normality." Martha wasn't at all bothered by being alone. She could be alone and still not be lonely.
Martha's eyes fell on the pretty girl across from her as she talked to a large group of people. Emily was nice and incredibly sweet. They talked occasionally and if there was one person that Martha had to be friends with she would choose Emily.
But Emily was also friends with people who were not so nice, who were cruel and mean and thought it was perfectly fine to bully other people. They could say terrible things and not be bothered by the pain it caused. Martha herself had been on the receiving end of that a couple of times. And then there was Emily, her expression pained and unhappy from all the heartache her friends have caused, but never once did she do anything to stop it. She was so afraid of being by herself that she was willing to put up with almost anything. It was like Emily's least favorite person of all was Emily herself and she would do almost anything not to be alone with her. Martha sometimes wondered what Emily was so afraid of. Was it her own thoughts, flowing freely with no one there to distract her? Or was it simpler than that? Was she just bored?
Martha saw Emily's group part ways, leaving Emily standing there all by herself. They caught each other's eyes and Emily smiled.
It was an invitation to join her, to be with someone. Martha only contemplated the offer for a second before politely smiling back and turning once more to her book. Martha couldn't be friends with her. It was okay, she could handle being by herself. She didn't need anyone. She was stronger than that.
Chapter 16: October 15, 1599
Martha sensually slid into the bed beside the Doctor. Or, well, she hoped it was sensual. It probably wasn't sensual at all. More awkward and gawky, especially since it did nothing to attract the Doctor's attention. He continued to lie there, staring up at the ceiling as he contemplated the mystery on his hands.
She had entertained thoughts of getting into bed with the Doctor ever since that kiss, but she never thought that he would be so oblivious about the whole affair. Or that they'd be in the 16th century, but she was mainly perturbed by the fact that the Doctor just seemed so… unaffected! She understood; he was still trying to get over this Rose girl he was always talking about, but to not react at all? It was like he was a monk! Or, she was completely unappealing. Though that couldn't be it, could it? People liked her, guys liked her. Well, nerdy guys, but the Doctor was nothing if not the nerdy.
"Sorry," Martha said as the Doctor moved over. "There's not much room. Us two here, same bed. Tongues will wag."
"There's such a thing as psychic energy but a human couldn't channel it like that," the Doctor continued on, completely unaware of the feel of Martha's body pressing against his side. He wasn't even looking at her.
Martha could feel herself growing irritated as the Doctor continued talking about things she couldn't comprehend. She understood if he wasn't attracted to her, but he acted as though he didn't want her around half the time! Were they even friends? Or was he simply taking her along because he felt like he owed her for helping him with the Judoon? She hadn't felt like this since Sarah stopped being her friend when she was ten. What right did he have to make her feel this way? She was in the 16th century. She had just met William Shakespeare and she couldn't even enjoy it properly because the bloke she was with could barely tolerate her presence.
The Doctor slid down to face Martha and she turned onto her side to meet him. They were so close to one another. She could feel his breath puff against her lips at every word he spoke. They were close enough to kiss. "No. There's something I'm missing, Martha." He gazed at her softly. "Something really close, staring me right in the face and I can't see it. Rose would know."
Martha felt like she had been punched in the gut.
"Right now," the Doctor went on, completely oblivious to the slight. "She'd say exactly the right thing." He then flipped onto his back, breaking off the stare. "Still, can't be helped. You're a novice, never mind. I'll take you back home tomorrow."
"Great," Martha bit out, rolling over. So that was it then. All this meant nothing. That was fine. She had a great life back in the 21st century. Good friends, good family. She didn't need the Doctor or the universe.
How could she ever go back to being just simply Martha Jones after this?
Chapter 17: Earth: April 1, 2008
"And back again. See? It just shifts your perception a tiny little bit. Doesn't make us invisible, just unnoticed. Oh, I know what it's like. It's like- it's like when you fancy someone and they don't even know you exist. That's what it's like. Come on!"
The Doctor ran off, leaving the two of them behind. Jack gave her a sad, knowing smile. "You too, huh?" He asked. They followed.
Isn't that what they always do? Follow? Martha frowned a little as she, Jack, and the Doctor went back out into the city in search of the Master, the keys around their necks keeping them safe from any unwanted attention.
Martha used to have a best friend before she got swept up in the Doctor and his mad adventures. Her name was Vicky and they met during their first year of university. It seemed like such a lifetime ago. She hadn't thought about Vicky in a while, or the guys at student housing. They used to be her friends. What happened to her?
Martha threw a glance at Jack whose eyes never seemed to leave the Doctor's face. Is that what she looked like? Jack had waited a century for the Doctor. With a sinking feeling Martha suspected that she would do the same thing. The Doctor had completely taken over her life. She had no friends, her family had been taken away from her, no degree. Those things had mattered to her before.
Again Martha thought about Vicky. She was beautiful and strong and confident. But there was this boy, Sean, and Vicky just seemed to lose all of her senses. She seemed to lose herself. Martha had tried to convince her to let him go, to move on, but nothing could tear her away. Back then, Martha had known that she would never be like Vicky. She would never be like Jack.
This would be it. This would be her last adventure with the Doctor. She would help him defeat the Master and get her family back. Then she was done.
Chapter 18: Earth: The Year That Never Was, Part II
Martha was awake and on her feet before she even knew what had roused her from her sleep.
It was Ai, the little girl that had brought Martha to the shelter, fed her, and gave her a place to sleep. If Martha had to guess she would say that Ai was about twelve. Her face was dirty, her hair was in pigtails, and she still wore her old school uniform, now filthy and threadbare. She looked like a typical little girl, but there was this sad, feral look to her eyes that Martha didn't like.
Martha put her hands on her knees, bending down to look her in the eye. "What's the matter?" She asked. "Has something happened?" Martha couldn't speak a word of Japanese, but she had found out a month after leaving the Doctor and Jack behind on the Valiant that she didn't need to. The TARDIS still translated everything for her, despite the distance and the paradox machine. The thought comforted her. It made her feel as though the Doctor was still looking out for her.
Ai nodded solemnly. "The Toclafane have disappeared."
Martha jerked upright. "What?" She demanded. "I don't understand. Are you sure?" Ai shot her a dirty look. "Okay, okay," Martha held up her hands in supplication. "Let's go outside."
Martha and Ai made their way around the sleeping bodies and out of the warehouse into the dark night. Martha had always wanted to visit Tokyo, but this ruined city hardly resembled the photographs she had seen in so many magazines. Most of the electricity was out, leaving the once bright metropolis in total darkness. Only those buildings that the Master and the Toclafane used were allowed to use electricity.
"Martha, look!" Ai tugged on Martha's sleeve, pointing up at the night sky.
Martha gasped. She could see something glinting, something waving up in the black sky. It looked like a sea of bats, covering the city in a thick blanket. Yet they didn't swoop down or make any noise. It was eerily quiet.
Suddenly the street was flooded with a bright light. Martha looked up to see a building – one of the few remaining intact – flicker on like a giant television screen. Or was it a lot of smaller screens put together to make one big one? Martha promptly forgot her idle question as the Master's beaming face appeared before them. She felt Ai slip her hand into hers. She squeezed tightly.
Out of the corner of her eye Martha could see the still sleep-laden citizens emerge from their desolate buildings and into the streets around Martha and Ai. Their confusion soon turned to fear as they saw just who exactly had summoned them.
"Good morning, Japan!" The Master crowed at them. "I have got a special surprise just for you! The other day I decided to treat the wife to dinner for our anniversary. Say hello, Lucy!"
The camera suddenly turned to reveal the beautiful blonde sitting limply behind him. She waved, empty-eyed like a china doll, back at the camera. Just as quickly the screen was once again filled with the Master's face like a true narcissist. "I decided that we would try Japanese. I never had sushi in this regeneration before! So I kidnapped a chef world famous for his Japanese cuisine. Well, it was awful! It ruined my whole evening! So I've decided to destroy your entire country and everyone in it. Say hello, Japan!" The Master grinned like a maniac. "The whole world is watching."
Martha heard Ai scream and looking up she saw the black sky descend. Hundreds of thousands of Toclafane came raining down towards them, shooting at everything they saw and laughing all the while. Within seconds the entire city became a blazing inferno. Martha shut her eyes as the light and heat burned her retinas. She could feel her skin begin to sizzle and crack.
Martha kept her grip on Ai as she tried to pull the little girl to safety but there was nowhere to turn. Everywhere she went there was a wall of fire. Thick smoke filled her lungs. She couldn't breathe! Everywhere she heard the people scream.
In a panic Martha pressed a button – any button – on Jack's vortex manipulator, praying that it would take her some place safe and not in the middle of an ocean. With a gasp Martha felt herself collapse onto cool grass, the wet dew soothing her blistered skin. She hesitantly cracked an eye open and saw that she was in the middle of a field. The sun beamed down from overhead, bright and cheery. There were birds singing.
Martha pushed herself until she was sitting up. She could see that she had some minor burns, but luckily she wasn't that hurt. Now what about Ai?
With a jolt Martha realized that Ai was nowhere to be seen. Martha scrambled to her feet as fear seized her heart. "AI!" She screamed in the empty field. "AI!" There was nothing. Ai wasn't there.
Thoughts of what could have happened raced through Martha's head. Had she accidentally let go? Had they gotten lost in the crowd? No matter how hard Martha tried to remember she couldn't figure out what had happened.
With dry, scorched eyes Martha chose a direction and began to walk. It didn't matter how or why. Ai was dead, but like a ghost she haunted her memory.
Chapter 19: Earth: January 22, 2016
Martha walked bleary-eyed through her front door.
She shuffled inside the kitchen and began to half-heartedly pull out boxes and cans from the cabinets, searching for dinner but not really seeing what she pulled out. She hadn't eaten in over fourteen hours. She should have been hungry, but she wasn't. She moved away from the counter and sat down at the table with a sigh, finally giving up on trying to find the energy to care.
She barely noticed the shadow that passed by her or the rattling of pans, only lifting her head up at the smell wafting from the stove. She saw Mickey standing in the kitchen clad in only his boxers making eggs. "What are you doing?" She mumbled.
"Making breakfast," he answered simply. "It is technically morning."
"You should be in bed."
Mickey didn't bother to answer. He scooped the eggs onto a plate and set it down in front of his wife. Martha listlessly picked at the eggs with her fork. She didn't have the heart to tell them they tasted awful.
"Wanna talk about it?"
Martha shrugged, trying to look nonchalant. "There's not much to say. We tried to save him… her… it… whatever. But its body was like nothing I'd ever seen before. I couldn't make heads or tails of it. We lost it on the table."
"I'm sorry," he said. Martha thought he looked awkward and unsure. Mickey never seemed to know what to do in situations like this. He reached out touch her hand but she pulled away.
"I made the call to operate," Martha explained harshly. She had to make him understand. "I should have examined his skin more thoroughly. I should have tried calling the Doctor again. It was like cutting into wet paper. He bled out within seconds of the first nick."
"Martha-" Mickey began, but Martha just shook her head. She didn't want to hear him tell her it wasn't her fault or she did the best she could. She knew that already. She just… she didn't know what she wanted.
Mickey suddenly reached out and grabbed her hand again, refusing to let her pull away. "You don't have to be strong all the time," Mickey said, a little desperately. "Not for me. Let me do this for you."
He led Martha out of the chair and into the bedroom. He helped her into a nightshirt and laid her down, curling up behind her and wrapping his arms around her. If she cried, he didn't say anything. He just held her.
Chapter 20: Earth: August 10, 2011
Martha held her head high as she strode through the Mexican hospital. Over the years she had learned to exude a confident air as though she knew exactly what she was doing even if she didn't have a clue. Her serious expression and quick steps announced to all that she belonged there, that she was important and no one had better distract her, even if her mind was frantically trying to remember the Spanish phrases she had hastily memorized on the flight over.
There were heavily armed guards everywhere. One of them shot Martha a curious glance.
Yo soy Dr. Jones, Martha thought frantically. Was that right? Or was it 'me llamo Dr. Jones'? Una doctora por… por… What was the Spanish word for government again?
Too late. Martha saw the room she was looking for. It was flanked by two soldiers. They looked young and nervous and determined, ready to protect the world from what was inside that room. Martha realized that if she opened her mouth the game would be up.
Martha approached the door with a nonchalant expression. The two guards immediately drew their weapons, but Martha just flashed Jack's psychic paper, not bothering to give the two men a glance as she pulled open the door. It worked. The two stepped down and returned to their posts. Martha wondered briefly what the paper said as she entered the room.
Lying on the hospital bed was a man. He was unconscious and hooked up to various machines. He… he wasn't what Martha expected. He looked very young. He was handsome, but in an odd sort of way. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but there was definitely something strange about him. Martha shook her head as images of someone else came to her. She had prepared for this. Mickey had warned her that he might not be the same, but it was still so bizarre. There was a file lying beside his bed, no doubt left by the terrified doctor who had tried to examine him. She quickly picked it up and began to look through it, not understanding any of the words. She saw the x-rays. Two hearts. It was definitely him.
The man on the bed groaned as he struggled to awake from his drug-induced sleep. His hand flopped around above him, patting his hair numbly. "They shook my fesh?" He mumbled blearily.
Martha folded her arms, trying to quash the protectiveness that welled up inside her at the sight. It was adorable, but she was angry with him, remember? Martha walked up to stand beside the brown-haired man and glared down at him.
He looked up at her with glassy eyes. "You're not Amy."
"No, no I'm not," Martha agreed. "I'm your doctor."
The Doctor groaned. "Oh, no."
The Doctor looked at her hesitantly. "Just what are you going to do to me, Martha?"
Martha poked him in the arm. "It's Dr. Jones and first we're going to have to get you out of here. The doctor panicked when he saw your x-rays and called the police. Government agents are on their way now to dissect you. Of course, we could have skipped step one if someone had bothered to use their mobile and called - oh, I don't know maybe a doctor friend with an expertise in alien anatomy – instead of wandering around Mexico City, ill, until they passed out."
The Doctor pouted as he sat up. "I was saving the planet! I do do that sometimes."
Martha snorted as she pushed a wheelchair towards him. "Yes, yes. Everyone in this room has saved the planet before. Now into the chair!"
"I can stand," the Doctor insisted as he planted his shaking legs on the floor and stood up. He promptly threw up rainbow-colored vomit all over Martha's shoes.
Martha looked down at the mess and then back at the Doctor who had sheepishly sat down in the chair. "That's it, mister. When we get to the TARDIS I'm doing a full work up. Keep pushing it and I'll insist on a prostate exam too."
"But Time Lords don't have prostates."
Martha pushed the Doctor along, biting back a laugh as he reached over and snatched up a discarded lab coat on the way out with an insistent "Lab coats are cool."
Chapter 21: Earth: September 30, 2004
The smell of formaldehyde hit her like a wall.
Martha could feel herself shaking slightly. She didn't know why. She didn't feel nervous or scared. But she was shaking. She was supposed to be strong, right? Things like this never bothered her before. She hadn't flinched at the vomit or the excrement or the nudity; it was the human body at work. Bodies had always fascinated her. She would find herself drawn to a woman's frantic gesturing as she talked on her mobile, watching as her fingers went limp and then pull tight in frustration, the bones moving to and fro at the bidding of the tiny red muscles and firing nerves that surrounded them. Or, sometimes, she would watch as a man turned to look behind him as he walked down the street, the skin pulled tight and revealing the blood vessels pumping away just underneath the surface as his Adam's apple bobbed up and down as he spoke. The human condition was fascinating.
She could handle this as well. She wasn't a coward.
She and her fellow students crowded around their instructor. Some of them looked as though they were about to faint, others had an expression of grim determination. Martha looked down.
Whoever said that the dead looked like they were asleep was a liar. Martha felt herself pull back at the sight of the corpse.
It was a man. He looked like he was in his fifties; his gray hair blended in with the chalk white complexion of his skin. He had died while lying on his back. Martha could tell by what appeared to be bruising on the underside of his arms and back; it was where the blood had pooled after his heart had stopped pumping. She wondered who he was and if he had a family and if he was a nice person. She tried to take in the details of his face, memorize the planes and curves, but it was hard. There was no expression, no movement. Nothing.
Martha had never seen a dead human body before. She had seen dead birds and the occasional hapless cat or dog that had been struck by a car in various states of decomposition, but never a dead human. She had never personally known someone who had died before.
Their instructor was now slicing open his chest and suddenly the white had been replaced by red. The teacher pointed out the enlarged heart. Ventricular hypertrophy due to hypertension. Cause of death: arterial aneurysm. Martha supposed he had been lying in bed, asleep, when the rupture occurred, or he could have been standing and simply collapsed onto his back. The pain must have been overwhelming. At least, he didn't suffer long. Death was usually quick in the occurrence of an aneurysm.
She watched as the instructor pointed out various things, pointing out the organs and muscles and bones. She kept calm and collected throughout the entire demonstration. Then it was over. The body was being taken away and Martha was walking back towards the student housing.
As she approached her door she felt her knees begin to buckle. She had barely made it inside before she collapsed onto a chair and dizzily put her head between her knees.
Chapter 22: Space: Time Not Applicable, Part I
Martha grinned wildly at Jack as she gripped the TARDIS controls tightly in her hands. She couldn't believe she was helping the Doctor fly the TARDIS! "Oh, I've missed having my hands on her," Jack stated, beaming back before throwing the Doctor a wink as the Time Lord guided Jack's hands back into the proper position. The Doctor rolled his eyes in mock exasperation and bounced over to the good-looking man in the dark jacket – Mickey, Martha's mind supplied – to ensure everything was going smoothly. After all, they were only hauling the entire planet behind them.
As the TARDIS smoothly flew through space, the planet trailing after them, Martha spared a glance at the blonde girl on the other side of the console. This was Rose Tyler. She hadn't had much time to dwell on her before, but now that she could… she didn't really know what to think. Martha was over the Doctor and she was happy that he was finally able to reunite with her, but she supposed she couldn't help but feel a little embarrassed and awkward. This was the girl that she had resented for the better part of a year. And… she was pretty. Martha glanced away, laughing along as Donna and the Doctor fell into their usual battle of quips and barbs. However, she couldn't help if her eyes occasionally darted back to Rose's face.
It took her a few moments to realize that Rose was stealing glances of her as well.
"Martha! Jack! Turn those blue knobby things!" The Doctor commanded.
Martha and Jack immediately began twisting the knobs. As they worked she could hear Rose's quiet voice across from her. "So, that's Martha Jones, right?" Rose whispered to the new blue-suited Doctor. "She travelled with you, yeah?"
"Oh, yeah, it was brilliant. We met Shakespeare!" The newly-born Doctor stated loudly, completely unaware that Rose hadn't wanted him to announce to the whole room that they were discussing her. Whatever he got from Donna it apparently wasn't an understanding of the human female's emotions. Martha could see from the corner of her eye Rose's wince. She knew Rose was looking at her but she kept her head down; no point in making her feel even more embarrassed.
"She's pretty," Rose mumbled to the Doctor in blue.
At that Martha's head shot up, locking eyes with the blonde girl across from her. Rose blushed fiercely at having been caught. For a second they stared awkwardly at each other before Martha gave the girl an assuring smile. Rose giggled and grinned back, her face still a brilliant red.
"Next stop: that empty spot two planets down!" The Doctor bellowed as the TARDIS flew towards their solar system.
Chapter 23: Earth: October 18, 1913
Martha groaned as she felt a hand gently shake her shoulder.
"Come on," Jenny cooed. "Time to get up."
Martha opened her eyes to see Jenny's beaming face. She just groaned and rolled over, pulling the quilt tighter around her body in an effort to keep the cold out. It was dark and the entire school was still asleep. With a sigh Martha reluctantly threw the quilt off and shuffled out of bed. She made her way over to the porcelain bowl that sat on their dresser and poured water into it from the pitcher. She splashed the icy water onto her face, her arms, and underarms; this was the only sort of washing she'd get until the weekend.
"I think we should switch jobs today," Martha stated as she buttoned up the front of her corset. Only half way done and already she could feel it crushing her lungs.
Jenny laughed. "I don't think so! You're the new girl!"
"You're a terrible friend."
"I know." Jenny grinned as she fixed her apron.
Martha placed the white cap on top of her head, scowling at her reflection as she did. Her roots were showing. Martha futilely tried patting down the tight curls in hope that it would magically straighten the unruly strands.
"Come on, time to go."
Martha followed Jenny down the stairs. As Jenny turned right to head towards the kitchens Martha made her way to the dormitories. Martha entered each room as quietly as she could so as not to wake the sleeping teacher or student. Her mouth pressed into a thin line as she retrieved each chamber pot to be emptied. It wasn't like she hadn't had to deal with this sort of thing before. She was training to be a doctor after all. Still, it was just… different somehow than changing a bedpan.
She had just finished emptying the last pot when she realized that it was nearly seven o'clock. Martha hurriedly walked to the kitchen. She couldn't miss this! It was her favorite time of the day. The cook, Mrs. Bucket, rolled her eyes at Martha's obvious earnestness but didn't comment on it. She merely gestured to the lone serving tray waiting for her on the table. Martha smiled her thanks and took it to the Doctor's room.
"Breakfast!" Martha called out cheerfully.
The Doctor was already up and haphazardly trying to do his necktie. "Martha! Have a good morning?"
"Yes, Mr. Smith," Martha lied as she set up the tray on his table. She shooed his tangled hands away from his neck and began to do the tie herself. The Doctor stood perfectly still like a good little boy as Martha righted his clothes. It was all so domestic. She sighed blissfully.
"You know, I just wanted to say thank you for coming with me," The Doctor mumbled quietly. Martha looked up to see he was avoiding her gaze, his skin tinged with pink. For a moment Martha thought that this was the Doctor – her Doctor – thanking her for being his companion. "I know you'd be able to find better work in the city, but…" No, it was John Smith thanking her for being his servant.
"Think nothing of it, sir." Martha smiled up at him. "I'd follow you anywhere."
Then Martha was rushing the Doctor out the door before he was late for class – again – and Martha was hurrying off to the kitchen to do the washing.
Martha wiped her brow as she scrubbed the linen shirts against the washing board that sat between her knees. Gasping for breath Martha sat up from where she was hunched over the basin, trying to breathe through the restrictive corset. It made her work so difficult. "Martha!" The girl nearly jumped out of her skin as the sound of Mrs. Bucket's voice coming from the kitchen where the woman was cooking lunch. "Stop taking so many breaks!" Under her breath Martha could hear her mumble, "Lazy girl."
Martha scowled as she bent back over her washing. It wasn't her fault she wasn't use to this!
The tinkling of a bell sounded. Martha finished dumping the dirty water into the field and headed back towards the school. She entered the kitchen and stood in front of her chair, waiting for Mrs. Bucket to give the signal to start breakfast. Mrs. Bucket nodded her head and the three of them sat down and began to eat. Martha nearly sighed as the porridge hit her empty stomach. She thoughtlessly tore off a piece of bread before she had even finished swallowing. Martha could feel the condescending look that Mrs. Bucket shot her. Great, Martha grumbled in her head, now she thinks I have bad manners to go along with every other stereotype about black people she's ever heard. Martha suspected that no matter what she said or did she'd never be able to convince Mrs. Bucket otherwise.
After breakfast Martha set to washing the pans and pots, trying to keep up with Mrs. Bucket as she finished the boys' lunch. The room was boiling hot from the oven and Martha longingly looked out the open kitchen door at the bright field while she scrubbed. After everyone had eaten lunch, Martha found herself scrubbing all the dirty plates and dishes. There was roughly a hundred people at the school and the mountains of dishes looked to Martha like they'd never get done. At least she had help this time. Two maids appeared – Mrs. Jennings and Mrs. Worth, two widows who lived in town and worked at the school part time – and stoically began their work beside her. Mrs. Bucket started cooking dinner.
It went by quicker than Martha would have expected and by late afternoon she's helping Jenny with her work. They work quickly, laughing and chatting all the while. If they finished their cleaning before supper they'd be able to have a few hours to themselves. They were scrubbing the tiled floors when Martha heard the high-pitched laughter of the boys. She could feel the hairs on the back of her neck rise at the sound.
"Why bother with a rag?" One of the boys snidely asked her as he passed her by. "Your hair already looks like it'd make a good scrub brush."
Martha bit the inside of her cheek to keep from retorting. She focused on her work. She couldn't say anything. If she said anything she'd be forced to leave and then where would the Doctor be?
The servants had supper in the kitchen while the rest of the school ate in the mess. Afterwards, Martha once again was scrubbing dishes. This time not only did she have Mrs. Jennings and Mrs. Worth, but Mrs. Bucket and Jenny as well. It was still almost eleven o'clock by the time they finished cleaning and putting everything away.
Martha trudged up the stairs to the room she shared with Jenny. She was exhausted. She opened the door to find Jenny standing there in the middle of their room and holding two bottles in her hand. "I got these from Madam Redfern, just like you asked."
Martha smiled and shucked off her black dress, standing there in only her corset, chemise and bloomers. Martha sat on the chair as Jenny prepared the mixture. She closed her eyes as she felt Jenny begin to apply the lye onto the roots of her hair. Within a minute she could feel the burn start. Martha gritted her teeth and waited patiently for the next couple of minutes. Then she was up, rushing towards the porcelain bowl filled with water and soap to wash the relaxer out before it could damage her hair. She didn't want it to fall out. Jenny handed her the other bottle, this one filled with oil instead of lye. Martha poured some into her hands and massaged it into her hair. She smiled as she thought about how she would be brushing her nice, straight hair in the morning.
By midnight she was crawling into bed, ready to wake up at six o'clock and begin everything all over again.
Chapter 24: Earth: April 28, 2009
Martha wearily piled the dirty dishes in the sink. She rested her hands against the counter and watched as the sunlight from the window reflected against the diamond in her ring. Martha knew she should start the washing, but she just couldn't bring herself to do it.
She had been so happy to see Tom again after what had happened with the Sontarans and Jenny. She needed somewhere normal and safe and Tom was all of those things. All the tension and miscommunication that had building between them for the past few months had just melted away when she threw herself into his arms with the sound of the TARDIS still ringing in her ears.
She hated herself for loosing that bit of happiness. It had only been two days. Where did it go? The worst part was that she knew it was her fault. If she just told Tom everything then there wouldn't be all this tension. He wouldn't be so suspicious and she wouldn't have to hide anything. But she didn't want to. Tom was just so innocent and she wanted to keep it that way. She wanted to protect him from all the scary aliens and treacherous battles, to keep her double life a secret. Martha wondered if she was being selfish.
"Hey, you," Tom greeted as he came up behind her and slid his arms around her waist. "What are you brooding about?"
"Oh, nothing really," Martha lied, her voice cheerful and happy.
"Does it have to do with what happened to the sky a few days ago?"
Martha sighed as the smile slipped from her face. She had told Tom that she was doctor in the military, but he had figured out on his own that whenever something strange happened his fiancée was probably right there in the middle of it. She didn't like him knowing even that little bit.
"So, what do you think of James and Tabitha?" Tom suddenly asked, the unexpected good cheer obviously forced, as he slid around to lean against the counter.
Martha blinked confusedly at the man beside her. "James and Tabitha who? Do I know these people?"
Tom gave out a laugh, a real one. "No, I was just trying to think of some names that we might both like for our future kids."
That knocked Martha off her feet. "Um," Martha stuttered, trying desperately to organize her thoughts. "You're thinking about kids? Isn't that a bit too soon?"
"Martha, we're going to be married in four months," Tom said slowly as he gave her a calculating look. "Don't you think we should talk about our future together as a family?"
"Um, yeah, I suppose you're right," Martha reluctantly admitted. How in the world did she not realize that Tom might want to have children? "So, you want kids then?"
Tom continued to look at her with that carefully blank expression. "I've always wanted kids. That's why I became a pediatrician. You?"
"I don't know," she said while shaking her head. "I used to think I might want children, but... My job is dangerous. I don't know when would be a good time."
"Yeah, about that… I was thinking…" Tom began before stopping. He seemed to be choosing his words very carefully. "I was thinking that when the time came to start a family you'd quit or take a desk-"
"No." Martha surprised herself at how quickly she just cut him off, but she couldn't deny that what he was suggesting made her angry. She could feel the heat rising to her cheeks. She couldn't believe he would ask her to just quit her job. It was her whole life.
"Martha, it wouldn't be fair to any kids we might have if you're constantly in danger! If they were constantly in danger!" Tom protested.
"I don't care," Martha snapped back. "My job is important! I can't just get some comfy desk job! You have no idea about the kind of work that I do!"
"Well, maybe if you actually told me something… anything … I'd have a better understanding," Tom replied snidely. Suddenly Tom took a step back, raising his hands in the air as though in defeat. "You know what? I don't really want to do this right now. I'm glad you're back and you're safe, but I need to leave right now." And with that he was gone.
Martha groaned in frustration. Why did every conversation they have turn into a fight these days? She remembered acting so happy in front of the Doctor, eager to show him how she had moved on. It had been easy without Tom there. Isn't that a strange thing to think? Martha looked down at her ring, absently twisting it around her finger. She needed to stop lying to herself.
It wasn't going to work.
Chapter 25: New Earth: 5,000,000,053
You are not alone.
"But what did he mean? The Face of Boe… You are not alone?" Martha asked as the Doctor began to walk away.
The Doctor turned back around to look at her with that carefully constructed apathetic look. Martha wasn't fooled by it. She had seen his face when the Face of Boe had been dying, when he told the Doctor that they were the last of their kind. "I don't know," the Doctor replied. He sounded so nonchalant, like it didn't matter. Martha was starting to learn that everything mattered to the Doctor. He could get excited about shops for God's sake, so she knew that something like this meant a great deal to him.
Martha would not be deterred by the Doctor's standoffish attitude, however. She approached him, smiling softly. "You've got me. Is that what he meant?"
And then he gave her the most patronizing look and said "I don't think so." He looked so amused, like Martha was just this precious little child who said the cutest things. "Sorry."
"Then what?" Martha said, frowning up at the man before her.
The Doctor shook his head lightly. "Doesn't matter. Back to the TARDIS, off we go."
There it was. That casual dismissal. Martha couldn't believe he was doing that to her, here, again. Reigning in her anger Martha picked up a strewn chair and sat down, crossing her arms and legs to regard the Doctor coolly.
"Alright, you staying?" The Doctor demanded. He didn't seem too pleased by her defiance.
"'Til you talk to me properly, yes," Martha replied. "He said 'last of your kind.' What does that mean?"
"It really doesn't matter!" The Doctor insisted.
Martha could feel the anger bubbling up inside her at the Doctor's stubborn refusal. "You don't talk, you never say- why not?" She stuttered out, her irritation making the words difficult. Suddenly the Doctor's guarded expression fell, leaving him open. It wasn't because of what she had said, though. Martha suddenly sat up as she noticed the sound of music for the first time. "It's the city. They're singing."
"I lied to you."
Martha looked at the Doctor. He seemed unsure and worried and hopeful.
"Because I liked it," he went on. "I could pretend, just for a bit, I could imagine they were still alive underneath the burnt orange sky. I'm not just a Time Lord: I'm the last of the Time Lords. The Face of Boe was wrong. There's no one else."
The Doctor went over and got a chair. He sat down across from her, looking her in the eye. It was almost like the Doctor was giving a confession. "There was a war. A Time War. The last great Time War. My people fought a race called the Daleks for the sake of all creation, and they lost. They lost. Everyone lost. They're all gone now: my family, my friends, even that sky. Ah, you should have seen it, that old planet. The second sun would rise in the south, the mountains would shine. The leaves on the trees were silver. When they caught the light every morning, they lit the forest on fire. We always had…"
Martha let the words wash over her. She could almost see that planet. She could almost see the Doctor as a child, playing on that red grass. Eventually the Doctor trailed off, lost deep in thought.
"And… there was no other survivors?" Martha asked hesitantly.
"The Face of Boe sounded pretty confident that there was someone else…" The Doctor looked away at that. Martha pressed on. "You survived."
"Martha, Gallifrey is in a Time Lock. They've literally disappeared from time and space. I survived because… because I'm the one that created the Time Lock," the Doctor stated. He sounded like his heart was breaking. "I'm the one that killed them."
Martha felt herself reel back in shock. She couldn't believe… she couldn't understand that the Doctor had committed genocide. Twice. It was almost unthinkable to her, like she was unable to comprehend it. She couldn't even begin to imagine the pain the Doctor must be going through every single day. What would it be like if she had to destroy Earth and the human race to save the universe? Could she do it? Looking at the Doctor's broken face Martha knew that if the day ever came she wouldn't be able to go through with it. If she was faced with that choice she would crumble.
Martha grasped his hand. "Still, you said that the Time Lock only occurred around the planet Gallifrey," she pressed on. She wanted to comfort him, to give him some hope. Even if it was a false hope. Anything was better than that shattered look in his eyes. "Maybe there was a Time Lord that didn't respond to the call. Maybe they were safe somewhere far away."
The Doctor looked away. He bit his lip, as though thinking about something very troubling. "There was…" he began haltingly. "I had a granddaughter… Susan… As far as I know she was on Earth. She didn't have a TARDIS. I never saw her during any of the battles. But there's been no trace of her since." The Doctor frowned, looking hard. "If she was still alive, I'd be able to feel her. In here." The Doctor tapped the side of his head.
Martha smiled hopefully. "But the Face of Boe said there was someone else. She might still be alive."
The Doctor nodded hesitantly, hope and stubborn refusal warred across his face. Martha's smile grew wide. It wasn't much, but it was something. Even a little hope was better than nothing. And it was Martha who had given him that hope. She felt proud and happy as she squeezed his hand.
Later, during the Year That Never Was, Martha would often dream about the terrified look on the Doctor's face when he heard the Master's voice ring out from the TARDIS on Utopia. She would always wake up hating herself for it.
Chapter 26: Earth: August 31, 2009
She had been dating Mickey for officially two months now and it was going… really nice actually. Great even. Martha hadn't had this much fun since… she couldn't even remember. Long before the Year That Never Was.
Mickey groaned. "I cannot believe you had a crush on the Doctor. Seriously am I the only one who's not in love with him?"
"I was never in love with the Doctor," Martha protested. Mickey shot her a clearly disbelieving look. Martha could feel the heat in her cheeks as she blushed. "Okay, there might have been some love. Platonic love, though, just platonic love… Now, anyway."
Mickey made a noise that was halfway between a snort and a laugh. Martha elbowed him lightly in the ribs. Everything seemed so easy when she was with Mickey. With him she could be herself. What a clichéd line, Martha thought wryly. She had always rolled her eyes when she heard someone say something like that before. It was true, though. It was subtle, but still there: she was a little more relaxed, a little more at ease, a little more happy than she had ever been with Dave or Tom or the Doctor. She didn't care if Mickey saw her with unshaved legs or made her laugh so hard her drink came up through her nose. She would have been mortified if the Doctor had seen her do any of that.
Mickey stole one of her chips and she batted his hand away. "Besides, it wasn't all about the Doctor," Martha quipped. "I'll have you know that William Shakespeare wrote love poetry about me."
"Never actually read any Shakespeare," Mickey replied breezily. "I just skimmed the Cliff Notes while in school."
Martha just shook her head and lamented his lack academic interest. For a while neither said anything, just quietly enjoyed each other's company as they occasionally glanced out the window at all the people passing by.
"I'm nothing like the Doctor or Shakespeare," Mickey said quietly after a while. "I'm just Mickey Smith, nothing special."
"Well, I'm nothing like Rose Tyler," Martha replied.
Mickey gave her a big smile. "I know. That's what I like about you."
Martha smiled back, happy. "Besides, Shakespeare wasn't all that great. I kind of think he wanted a threesome with the Doctor and me."
Martha laughed out loud when Mickey nearly spat out his beer all over the table.
Chapter 27: Earth: June 10, 2006
"Stop crying!" Jill yelled in frustration as she dabbed at Shonara's cheeks with a tissue. "You're ruining your make-up."
Martha stood dutifully by Shonara's best friend, mascara in hand like a nurse with a scalpel in the operating room, ready for the flustered redhead to take it from her. Jill snatched up the mascara and began to rapidly re-apply it the bride's long lashes.
"I'm fine, really. I'm just nervous! I can't believe I'm getting married in a few minutes!" Shonara exclaimed as she tried to wipe away a tear only to have her hand slapped away by Jill.
Francine made a noise in the back of her throat as she shifted Keisha on her lap. Martha could see her mother roll her eyes slightly at the flustered bride. Everyone knew that Francine was a hard woman to please; she had never liked Shonara or Dave or any of Tish's boyfriends. Shonara, however, was especially disliked ever since she and Leo had gotten pregnant and had decided to wait until after the birth to get married. For her conservative mother, there were just some things that weren't done.
Jill had also caught sight of Francine rolling her eyes and had just opened her mouth to say something when Martha spoke up. "I'm just going to go see if everyone's arrived," she said, maybe a little too loudly. Finally Jill shrugged unhappily and went back to redoing Shonara's make-up. Martha breathed a sigh of relief as she moved towards the door, peeking out into the church. Shonara was already emotional, no need to add a row between the maid of honor and the mother of the groom on top of it. Martha watched as the guests began filing in, taking their seats among the pews. She saw Tish flirting with the groomsman that was to lead her down the aisle. Shonara's brother was pushing their grandfather's wheelchair near the front of the church. As Martha scanned the crowd her eyes fell on her father. There was a blonde woman wearing an atrocious shade of pink sitting next to him, laughing lightly as they cuddled in their seats.
"Oh, no," Martha breathed.
"What? What is it?" Martha nearly squeaked when she heard her mother come up behind her to look out as well.
"Nothing! It's nothing!" She tried to close the door but it was too late. Francine was already pushing Keisha into Jill's arms and hurrying out of the side door into the church courtyard.
Martha took off after her, pulling up her long pale blue bride maid's dress as she went. She found her mother standing by the little rundown graveyard, ancient and overgrown. Her back was shaking and she could see that her hand was pressed against her mouth in anguish.
Martha hovered nearby, unsure of what she should do. She had never seen her mother cry before, not even when her father left. Francine had always dealt with her pain privately; she never wanted any of her children to see her weak. She had always prided herself on her strength and endurance. Now Martha was seeing her at her most vulnerable and she didn't know what she should do. Would it be better to walk away, let her mother save face? Should she try to comfort her?
"How could he bring her here?" Her mother wailed out as the sobs suddenly broke free.
Martha rushed over before she even knew what she was doing. She threw her arms around her mother and held on tight as the older woman wept.
Chapter 28: Earth: September 1, 1913
Martha pulled the door closed on the old building, hoping that no one came peeking around inside. She pinched at the bodice of her gray, drab dress in a vain attempt to make it feel like it wasn't trying to squeeze the life out of her as she turned around, away from that magnificent blue box.
The Doctor was attempting to walk and listing hard to the right. Martha rushed forward, tripping over her long skirts, to grasp the Doctor's shoulder. He was already falling though and Martha landed on her knees as the Doctor collapsed onto his side. "Doctor! Say something!" She commanded as she turned his face up to look at hers. His face was chalk white and his eyes were fluttering in wild directions. Martha's first thought was that he was having some type of seizure. What did that machine do to him?
Then it stopped. The Doctor blinked owlishly up at her a few times as though he had never seen her before in his life. "Martha," he blurted out in that petulant tone he sometimes used when he wanted something. Martha beamed down at him, happy that he was back. "What are you doing here? Weren't we just-" He broke off, his mouth turning down in confusion.
"Weren't we just what, Doctor?" Martha prompted.
The Doctor shook his head, looking completely unsure. "I don't know. We were somewhere. It was so loud and bright… and amazing." The Doctor frowned. "Who's a doctor?"
Martha felt her stomach churn at that and helped the Doctor into a sitting position. "Never mind, Mr. Smith," she said. "Are you alright?"
"Yes. What happened? Why am I on the ground?"
Martha mentally cringed at her obviously fake laugh and brushed some errant leaves from the Doctor's jacket. "Oh, you just had a bit of a spell. You know, your health…"
The Doctor nodded as he stood up, Martha still holding on to him just in case. "Right. That's why I'm here in Herefordshire. Doctor's orders." He sounded like he had memorized that. Which he had.
"Doctor's orders," Martha agreed. Together the two picked up their suitcases and made their way towards the village.
It didn't take them long to reach the school, quicker than Martha would have liked. Every step they made took them farther and farther away from the TARDIS. The Doctor looked down at her and smiled reassuringly. Martha only gave a fleeting grimace in return before staring stonily ahead; her apprehension must have been more obvious than she thought. Martha felt a large, warm hand take her own and this time she looked up to give him a grin, happy and wide. The Doctor's smile only got bigger and he started to hum as they walked down the path.
They came up to the large doors that opened up into the school just as a man was stepping out. "Yes?" He demanded, scrutinizing the pair over his glasses. His eyes fell upon their joined hands. "What do you want?"
Martha felt the Doctor hastily wrench his hand from hers, dropping his suitcase and blushing as he stammered out a greeting. Martha looked up at him. No, it wasn't the Doctor, not anymore. It was John Smith. She thought she could grow to hate John Smith.
"You're John Smith?" The man asked, clearly not impressed with what he saw.
"Yes, I- I have a letter from Mr. Atherton. He founded the school, you know," John Smith blathered as he patted down his jacket in search for the nonexistent letter.
"Yes, I know. I am the Headmaster."
"Yes, yes, right. Um, Martha, do you know-?"
"It's right here… sir." She would have to remember to say that from now on. Martha pulled out the psychic paper from her pocket and showed it to the Headmaster before hastily shoving it back into her pocket. There was no way she was going to let it go. The man frowned but nodded and John Smith beamed.
Then the Headmaster turned his sights onto her. "And what about you? What are you doing here?"
"Oh, she's my servant," John Smith quickly supplied.
"I hardly doubt that you'll be able to afford a servant on a teacher's salary, Mr. Smith."
"Oh, but I thought you might be looking for a new maid." John Smith rubbed his neck nervously. "Didn't one of your own just recently won a lottery of some kind?"
"That's true..." The Headmaster admitted reluctantly, sounding completely puzzled by the strange turn of events that took one of their servants from them. Yet still he continued to look her up and down as though she wasn't even worth his time. Martha hated the way they talked about her as though she weren't standing right there in front of them. They talked like she was some kind of idiot. Really, just who was the doctor here? Well, Martha thought to herself, other than THE Doctor. Of course, he wasn't really there anymore. It was his face, but the person behind those eyes was a complete stranger to Martha.
"She's worked for my family for several years!" John Smith insisted. "She's very hardworking and quiet. You won't regret it!" He sounded so desperate. Martha didn't know if it was a little piece of the Doctor still inside him somewhere telling John Smith not to leave her behind or if John Smith was simply too scared to start a new job in a new place all by himself.
Either way he was helpless and Martha would defend him with her life. She grabbed both her suitcase and John Smith's as she followed the pair inside, always a step behind them.
Chapter 29: Earth: February 25, 2051
Martha already found herself staring at her ceiling when her bedside clock finally went off at 7 am. She had officially retired but she still found herself waking up early each morning out of force of habit. She rolled over and poked Mickey in the back. Her husband continued to snore, completely oblivious to the world. Martha pouted to herself; he had no trouble adjusting to his retirement. He had always been more of a homebody than Martha. He had his house, his television, his friends, his favorite pub… What did Martha have? She had her job. She loved her job.
With a sigh Martha pulled herself from her bed, wincing at the deep ache that flared in her joints at each movement. She was up; she might as well do something. Martha shuffled into the kitchen, pulling out pots and pans and not caring one bit if she made too much noise. Mickey slept in too much anyway as far she was concerned. Besides, she was bored and wanted someone to talk to, so waking Mickey seemed to be a perfectly reasonable option. It wasn't like she had anyone else to talk to; all her other friends were either at work, saving the world, or dead. She wasn't like her husband; she couldn't form the same deep friendships with all the normal people that surrounded them, those who remained blissfully unaware of what was really out there. She couldn't hide her past away like he could. She wished Donna hadn't lost her memory, or that Gwen hadn't died, or that Jack hadn't left. Of course, she doubted Jack would want to visit her even if he was still on Earth. She and Mickey had gotten so old; they both didn't have much time left. Jack, of course, would still be young and immortal. It would just be too painful for all of them.
Martha patted her hair away from her face. It was completely gray now. Mickey's hair was still mostly black, but at least his hairline was receding. She wouldn't be able to put up with his teasing if she didn't have something to throw back at him.
Speak of the Devil. "Martha, do you have to do that now?" Mickey mumbled as he came in, hunched over like an old man, his body stiff from sleep and cold. He sniffed the air and peered over her shoulder as she stirred in her eggs and vegetables. "Just omelets? No bacon?" He asked.
"This isn't for you, it's for me. You can't eat eggs, remember? Too high in cholesterol. I'm going to fix you a nice healthy breakfast," Martha chirped as she added in salt and pepper.
Mickey grumbled as he took a seat at the table. "I hate being married to a doctor," he muttered. "I'm going to divorce you and marry a chef."
Martha laughed. "You can't do that. I bought the television, remember? I'll take it with me in the divorce."
"Resorting to hostages now, are we?"
For a while they didn't say anything. Martha quietly watched over her skillet while Mickey stared out the window at the rising sun. Finally, he said, "I think we should take a trip. Go to Rome or some place."
Martha snorted. "You hate traveling."
"I hated travelling in those UNIT helicopters," Mickey corrected. "Even the TARDIS had doors."
"When do you want to go?"
"I was thinking today."
That made Martha take notice. "We can't just leave!"
"Because," Martha replied childishly. "Anyway, we've been to Rome before."
"We were only there for four hours."
"We saw the Coliseum."
"We fought aliens in the Coliseum."
Martha threw up her hands and turned to face her husband, not caring if she ended up burning her omelet. "Why do you want to go so badly? You never want to travel. Why now?"
"Because you're pouting, you're bored, you haven't left the house since you retired, and you keep giving me these mean looks whenever I decide to spend the day watching television," Mickey replied. "You need to get out and remember what it was like to have some fun. Besides, I already bought the tickets. Our flight leaves at 8 in the evening. You can either come with me or I'm going to take Jeff and we'll have a very lovely, romantic week without you."
Martha stared at him for a few seconds. "I'm going to go pack," she said as she turned off the stove and headed back to their bedroom.
"What did the Doctor used to always say? Alonso?" Mickey asked as he trailed after his wife.
"Allons-y, Mickey! Allons-y!"
Chapter 30: Earth: January 3, 2006
Life was a complete wonder to Martha.
There was something about the way a body was designed, how it evolved, how it lived and thought and dreamed that proved to be a never ending fascination to her. Even the dead, their bodies completely motionless and empty of that elusive thing they called a soul, still called to Martha, urged her to study and learn.
Martha traced a finger around her newborn niece's tiny, fragile hand as her family talked quietly around Shonara's bed. Martha couldn't be bothered to pay attention to the conversation; she was enthralled by the tiny creature she held in her arms. Objectively, newborn infants were not beautiful. They were strange beings with wrinkled old-man faces and splotchy, bald skin, making them look almost like aliens in Martha's opinion. Keisha was no different, and yet there was something fascinating about her. Everything about her from her diminutive, translucent fingernails to the tiny little veins in her eyelids simply mesmerized Martha. She watched as Keisha's big, dark eyes moved rapidly beneath the closed lids in sleep. Keisha absolutely refused to open her eyes. She had been born, looked around, screamed, pooped, and closed her eyes and would not under any circumstance open them again. Martha didn't blame her for it; she had a rather taxing day after all. For nine months this little girl had been happily dreaming away inside the only place she had ever known until she had been violently pushed out into a brave new world. It must have been like stepping out onto a new planet for the first time. Martha wondered what Keisha must be thinking about all of this.
Leo quickly swooped in and took his new child from Martha's arms, cradling her close to his chest. He still had that same goofy grin that he had been wearing since Shonara first went into labor hours ago. Martha didn't know if it was possible for someone's facial muscles to cramp up, but she suspected Leo would soon find out. Martha watched Leo rock Keisha against him, his happy energy nearly palpable. The product of euphoria and an ungodly amount of coffee, no doubt. Shonara, meanwhile, looked as though she was about to fall asleep mid-sentence. Their mother held out her arms to Leo and her brother gently deposited the tiny being into her grandmother's waiting embrace. Francine smiled down at the girl, her severe façade melting away to reveal the woman underneath. She looked so happy, a rare sight these days. Martha nudged Tish, but her sister barely stirred in her chair, her head flopping to the side as she slept on. She was still wearing her evening dress and pumps from the PR soiree that she had helped orchestrate the night before. She hadn't bothered to change when she had gotten the call. Tish's mouth opened slightly and suddenly there was a soft, wheezing snore. Martha, Leo, and Shonara's brother immediately erupted into giggles, only to be shushed by Francine. Martha caught her father's eye as he grinned at them; he stood farther back, away from the small party, as though the moment would be ruined if he took that one step that separated them.
Martha leaned back in her chair and blearily watched the cozy domestic scene in front of her before they were all shooed out of the unit, leaving Shonara and Keisha to rest.
Chapter 31: Earth: November 1, 1930
"We're going to get slaughtered!"
Martha could feel her heart beating wildly in her chest. She couldn't breathe. Every breath she took burned her lungs as she stood watching the elevator slowly ascend. They were going to be killed and the Doctor wasn't there. He had left. There was no one to save them. Martha's brain raced through her skull, desperately grasping at every idea that could possibly help them that floated to her mind. They could hide and then spring on them with their makeshift weapons – they'll still be killed – they could run – the Doctor would die – they could descend onto the elevator, pushing them into a corner – they would soon be overwhelmed.
A sudden crash of lightening jolted Martha from her thoughts, her jittery muscles shaking at the sound. "Wait a minute…" Martha breathed. "Lightening." Martha took off running and it wasn't long before she could hear Frank trailing after her, asking her what she was doing. There were metal pipes everywhere; they could do this. "Grab that," Martha commanded to Frank. "We need to connect the metal to the elevator. Hurry!"
They had less than a minute to complete it and yet, somehow, they managed it. Martha couldn't feel the weight of the metal or the passage of time; adrenaline some helpful voice in her mind supplied. The four of them huddled together on the floor, away from the metal. She clutched Laszlo's arm while Frank enveloped her back in an attempt to protect her. The elevator doors open and there were the pig slaves. Before they could step inside there was a bright flash of lightening. Martha flinched from the explosion of light as she felt her ears pop.
Then she heard a sound that would haunt her dreams for years to come. It was a strange high-pitched sound, like a scream but not quite. There was something animalistic about it. Martha opened her eyes and saw the pig slaves jerking and writhing like they were having a seizure as the electricity shot through their bodies. Martha ducked her head back down and shut her eyes tight against the pained crying.
Martha hesitantly opened her eyes after it was all over. She saw the pig slaves sprawled on the floor and in seconds she was on her feet, rushing towards them. They did it! They killed them! They- Martha came to a sudden stop as the smell of bacon sudden flooded her senses. She felt her stomach heave as she came down from the adrenaline. The pig slaves – the people – were lifeless, limp like ragdolls. Her mind immediately brought her back to school when she watched her instructor cut open a man who had been alive once but was dead now, showing her how his body had once worked. Another memory – only half-remembered – of a dead bird, lying crucified on the grass rose in her mind unbidden. She had killed them. They had been alive and now they were dead because of her. They were people. They were like Laszlo. Oh, God, oh God, oh God…
"You did it, Martha."
Chapter 32: Earth: June 28, 2009
Martha was not afraid of Hell. She was not afraid of guns or Daleks or renegade Time Lords. She was not afraid to die, especially if she died doing what was right.
This wasn't right.
She could sacrifice herself, she'd been willing to do that time and again, but could she sacrifice – could she kill – to save the universe? She's killed before. Sometimes she still woke up in the middle of the night with the taste of ash in her mouth and the smell of bacon chasing her through her dreams. But this time it wouldn't be self-defense; she would be putting the human race down like a sick dog. Everything would be gone. There would be nothing left to show the universe that the humans had ever existed. It would be quick and painful.
Martha's stomach revolted at the very idea of destroying the Earth. She had walked this Earth. She knew every corner of it. It was beautiful. Somewhere out there was a little girl named Ai listening to the newest J-Pop sensation on her headphones.
As always during times like this, Martha's thoughts turned to the Doctor. What would he do? She knew the answer. He had done it. He had destroyed his planet and his people so that the universe could live. Could Martha do the same thing? Killing them… it had broken something deep inside the Doctor. She could see it in his eyes, recognized that frightened look that haunted the corner of his vision. He was hounded by his past, the Furies of Guilt. Could she live with the guilt? Martha had to bite back a dry, humorless laugh at that. Of course she couldn't. She'd be dead. Just like the rest of them. This was total destruction. No survivors. Not even one.
All that life…
Martha tried to swallow back the bile that rose in her throat. She was a doctor. She had sworn to protect life where she could and that was exactly what she was going to do. The universe was teeming with life. One planet to save the entire cosmos.
The Doctor had destroyed his planet, yes, but there was something else that the Doctor had done: he gave them a choice. He gave everyone a choice.
The girl on the screen in front of her couldn't have been any older than Martha herself. She looked at her round cheeks and wide, scared eyes. She looked… pure. "Do we do it?" She asked.
Martha stared at the key in her hands. "No… not yet."
Chapter 33: Earth: May 30, 2026
Mickey leaned in towards her and stated matter-of-factly, "I don't like him."
Martha shrugged. "Leo likes him."
"Your brother likes everybody." Mickey glanced back to where Keisha was telling some story about how she first met Daniel to her fiancé's parents. "How long have they been dating anyway? Eight months? I mean, how much can you learn about a man in eight months?"
"They dated longer than we did," Martha pointed out.
Mickey shook his head. "We're different, you and me."
They smiled at each other and almost didn't notice as Keisha slunk down the table to where they were sitting. She knelt on the floor in between them and propped her arms on the table. "Is your dinner alright, Uncle Mickey?" She whispered. "I know you don't care for seafood, but Aunt Martha said you're not allowed to have steak anymore."
Mickey smiled to put her at ease. "It's fine." Then he frowned and gestured to the small, futuristic mobile phone in her ear. "What's this?"
"What? My EarPod?"
"Yeah, your EarPod. Last time I checked your name wasn't Nichelle Nichols."
Keisha looked at him in confusion. "Who's Nichelle Nichols?"
"Don't worry about it," Martha soothed as Mickey lamented the youth of today.
Keisha rolled her eyes and got up to move back to her seat. "I forgot how weird Uncle Mickey could get about EarPods. Old people and technology, huh?" She teased, completely unaware of all the nightmares Mickey still had because of those EarPods. Martha asked him about the Cybermen before, but he didn't like to talk about them, just like she didn't like to talk about the Master. They all had their demons. "I best be getting back. Dad looks like he's going to start crying any minute now. See you at the wedding tomorrow." Then Keisha was gone, back to her mother and father.
Mickey folded his arms and pouted a little at not being taken seriously. Martha reached over and took his arm as they watched Keisha sit next to her parents and soon-to-be-husband. It was hard letting her go; she and Mickey had never had children. It was just never the right time, never felt safe enough, always another battle. They loved Keisha, but they weren't her parents. They were different, they didn't live in the same world as Keisha or Leo or Shonara. They were like Jack and Sarah Jane and the Doctor. Of the world, but not a part of it.
Martha stole a quick kiss. But they, at least, had each other.
Chapter 34: Earth: The Year That Never Was, Part III
Martha lingered in London for three weeks after the Master's ascension and the first Toclafane attack. She should have moved on by now and be well on her way to fulfilling the Doctor's plan, but she just couldn't bring herself to leave this city. She hadn't found Leo yet, and besides the Doctor would think of something. He always did. London is his city. When the Doctor cleverly rescues himself from the Valiant and saves the planet from the Master it will happen in London and Martha doesn't want to miss it. She doesn't want him to fly off in his TARDIS, good deed done, while she's stuck in some small village in Scotland and unable to say goodbye one last time.
Martha huddled next to Jan in what used to be a very nice living room in a well-to-do house, but had since become home to at least forty refugees. They were piled everywhere: in the hallway, in the pantry, even in the bathroom. There was one man that slept sitting up on the toilet with the lid down. Best off were the people who slept in the kitchen. Martha, herself, slept in a bed that had obviously belonged to a young girl if the princess sheets were any indication with an elderly woman, but she would gladly trade the bed for a place on the floor in the kitchen. Although spring had come, it was still cold at night and the heating had gone out. There were not enough blankets to go around and so Martha laid there shivering at night while those lucky people in the kitchen would turn on the oven and leave the door open. Martha smiled tightly as Jan handed her a plate of food. She felt terrible taking their rations like this without being able to properly contribute. Most of the squatters listened politely to her story and then ignored her, simply thinking that that the Toclafane had driven her insane, but Jan had taken to her. From what Martha could understand between his halting English and thick accent, helping her was a good way to anger the Master and the Czech immigrant liked the thought of thumbing his nose at him. She was considered an outlaw, after all. Martha smiled to herself at the thought; she liked thinking of herself as an outlaw. She should start going by the name Doc Jones.
Someone flipped on the old radio that sat perched on top of the useless television. Although the Master had forbidden all television broadcasts, he allowed at least one radio station in the UK to continue transmitting. Of course, all it played was that awful electric rock that the Master seemed so fond of. Martha sighed as the raucous noise started up. Oh, well; a distraction was a distraction.
Martha nearly choked on her peas when she heard the Master's voice break through. "We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a special report," his voice cheerfully chirped. "Someone has been very, very naughty."
Martha felt herself hold onto her fork in a death grip as she stared at the radio in horror. She could hear someone wheezing pitifully in the background. What had happened? Had he hurt someone? "Some of you may have been heard rumors about a certain woman leading a rebellion, all in the name of a man called the Doctor," the voice continued in a droll tone, as though mildly vexed by the whole situation. Martha felt herself grow cold at the words, her whole body shaking.
"Well, good news everybody!" The Master cheered. "After a failed attack, the terrorist Sarah Jane Smith has just been executed for high treason! So no worries! I'm still here, safe and sound. Of course, I think the Doctor owes you all an apology for starting this whole mess. So, go on, Doctor. Say you're sorry."
The wheezing grew louder.
"Say it, or I'll order one of my guards to put a bullet through Tish's pretty little head."
"… I'm sorry," the Doctor rasped. "I'm so sorry."
"See? Now that wasn't so hard, was it? And now back to your regularly scheduled programming!"
Martha let loose a breath she hadn't even known she was holding as noise once again filled her ears. It was time to stop deluding herself. The Doctor wasn't going to save her from this. He was a victim here, just another prisoner, same as they all were. He had no more tricks up his sleeves, no more clever plans. There was just this one last thing and she had to be the one to do it, no one else. There would be no one to help her, not the Doctor, not Leo, not her friends or her Mum or her sister. For the first time in her life, Martha felt truly alone as she sat there with those haunted-looking people.
Martha left London in the middle of the night while everyone slept. She didn't even bother to tell Jan she was leaving. She simply chose a road and began to walk.
Chapter 35: Earth: July 8, 2005
Annalise was a gaudy, stupid woman and incredibly embarrassing for the entire family.
Their mother caused the split. She had grown distant, always putting her career first, never caring about their father's thoughts or feelings. Now that their Dad had Annalise, she was just jealous.
Their father was the reason behind the divorce. He was simply going through a midlife crisis, a phase. He needed to stop acting like a child.
Their whole family was completely mad.
All of these opinions and facts and statements were floating around in Martha's head and none of them were her own. Not a single thought belonged to her.
Martha sat in her chair, put her "understanding" face on, and tried to calm the angry voices rising up from the dining room table. Her family had all gathered to her Uncle Ngozi's to celebrate Adeola's birthday. It was suppose to be a nice, happy get-together. Of course, most of their family members had all but disappeared the moment her Dad had shown up with Annalise and her Mum had narrowed her eyes in anger at the pair. Leo had made a helpless 'shooing' gesture at Martha before he darted into the kitchen after their cousin in a silent plea for her to do something about the brewing fight.
She watched as her Mum and Dad snapped at each other, Tish urging their mother on, and Annalise trying to come to Dad's defense. What was she supposed to do? Why did everyone come to her with these problems? Leo had once told her that it was because she was so empathetic and understanding. They just wanted to be heard, Leo said, and Martha was the only one who'd put up with their whining without strangling the whole lot. Well, perhaps Martha would like to be heard as well! She had loads of opinions just dying to get out. She couldn't wait to tell them what she really thought! She wanted to tell Tish to shut up and that she was just making things worse. She wanted to tell her mother that maybe if she stopped treating Dad like her fourth child and actually listened to what he had to say he would stop acting like one. She wanted to say to her father that he was being deliberately and knowingly hurtful and cruel by parading Annalise around the way he did. She wanted to tell Annalise to just stop… being Annalise, really.
But then she thought of their faces, how they would look hurt and angry and wounded all at the same time. Her family was important to her. She never could handle them being cross with her. Tish had been the wild one; she never backed down, not even when Mum threatened to punish her. She was going to do whatever she wanted whether Mum and Dad liked it or not. Martha always hated getting in trouble. It wasn't even because she knew she would be punished; it was because of the look Mum would always give her after she was done lecturing, the one that spoke of her disappointment even if she hadn't actually said the words out loud. That look always made her stomach twist nervously into painful knots.
Martha spoke soothingly, hoping to calm and appease her irate parents when all she really wanted was to give the all a good smack.
Chapter 36: Earth: The Year That Never Was, Part IV
Martha curled her legs up against her chest where she huddled in a small ravine and leaned back against the old stone bridge, trying desperately to think of anything else besides those terrified cries that echoed through the countryside. It had been hours since she had escaped the Valiant and landed just outside of London. This should have long been over by now. The Master had ordered the Toclafane to murder six million people; she knew it was a callous and cruel thing to think, but the Toclafane really should be finished by now. They seemed to be dragging out their orders, making it last for hours.
God, she just wanted the screaming to stop.
She thought it was hard, rushing into the middle of danger with fear and adrenaline pumping through her body. Now she knew that being thrown into a life or death situation was the easy part. No matter how frightening things became at least she still had the power to do something. She could fight back, outsmart her enemies, and help people. Nothing could take that away from her, not Daleks or Weeping Angels or Space Witches. In all her travels with the Doctor, there wasn't a single enemy she couldn't help him fight.
Except for the Toclafane.
She had never felt this helpless in her entire life. The Master had taken away something important from her, something intrinsic. She no longer felt like a whole person; she just wasn't quite Martha Jones anymore. Martha Jones wouldn't just sit here cringing underneath a bridge while people died all around her. She would be out there saving lives. Why wasn't she doing that? Because the only way to help them was to stay alive.
The idea that her life was more important than those of six million other people made her want to throw up. She felt weak and worthless, less than human. What had happened to her?
If only the screaming would stop…
With a sudden jerk Martha realized that it was morning. She must have dozed off for a couple of hours; the sky was already tinged a light gray as the sun slowly rose somewhere behind those dark, heavy rainclouds. With a pained grunt she slowly untangled her limbs from their cramped position and stretched her legs out. It was only then that she realized she couldn't hear the screaming anymore. The Toclafane had finished.
She should get out there, assess the damage and provide medical care as best she could. But she was afraid. Afraid of what she would find. Afraid of what she wouldn't find.
Martha shivered and tried to find that same courage she had always had. She feared she might have lost it. If she was no longer strong or brave, was she still Martha Jones? Could she change so much and still be the same person?
Martha crawled out from underneath the bridge, her heart pounding wildly in her chest. If she left this little bit of safety the Toclafane might kill her, but if she didn't she might as well die anyway. She wouldn't be Martha Jones anymore and that was all that she had right now.
Chapter 37: Earth: November 11, 2009
Martha stared at the extra toothbrush that sat in her bathroom and the only thing she could think was: Crap, Mickey's moved in with me.
It's not like that was necessarily a bad thing. She liked Mickey. She was smitten. Enamored. Dare she even say love, but she hadn't quite realized how serious their relationship had become until just this moment. Mickey had somehow wormed his way into her life and heart and flat. He had helped her pick out the place ("No, no, no, this is definitely the flat for you. Look at this living room! Do you know how big a television you could fit in here? What did that other place have to offer? A nice kitchen? Come on, really?"), he had helped her move in ("How many leather jackets do you really need?"), and at some point during all of this he had started staying over more and more ("But your place is so much nicer than mine.")
And he had apparently been sneaking in his stuff and leaving them all over her place without her noticing. Like his toothbrush.
Damn it, she had been living with her boyfriend for at least a month and didn't even realize it. This was going to make telling him about her new mission so much harder.
"Martha, you here?"
Speak of the devil.
Mickey called for her as he let himself in. Like he lived here, Martha thought with a sigh. She might as well get this over with. Martha shuffled out of the bathroom and into the living room where Mickey was taking off his coat and jumping up and down to warm himself up. "It's freezing out there. Turn the heat up, will you?"
"Mickey..." She began.
"Hm?" He turned to look up at her, only halfway out of his jacket.
"I got some bad news."
Mickey gave her a wary look and slipped his coat the rest of the way off. "What about?" His voice was closed off. He was already preparing for the worst.
"UNIT's shipping me out," she explained as she led him over to the coach to have a proper talk. "I have to leave."
Now Mickey looked downright alarmed. "Where?" He demanded. "Is there something going on that I need to know about?"
Martha was confused for a moment until she realized this was the first time she had ever needed to sit him down to have a serious conversation about her job before. God, he probably thought they were sending her off to stop an intergalactic war or something. "Oh, no, it's nothing like that!" She assured him. "I have to go to Johannesburg to train doctors in extraterrestrial anatomy."
"Okay, then what's the problem?"
"I'll be gone for at least a year. Maybe longer."
Mickey shrugged. "A year in nice, sunny Johannesburg? That's not so bad." He began to tug off his shoes, settling in to that comfortable Mickey-shaped spot that he had worn into the couch.
Martha spluttered. "But what about us?"
Mickey cocked an eyebrow at her. "Oh, I'll be there. You didn't think I was going to let you run off and have a year-long vacation in South Africa without me, did you? I'm your boyfriend, so you have to share all the cool stuff you get with me. It's a rule."
"You have your own work with UNIT. You can just run off with me."
"Sure I can," Mickey countered and flicked on the television. "You're Martha Jones. The Doctor's companion. The foremost human expert on alien biology. Martha, you've got all of UNIT eating out of the palm of your hand. If you told them you needed me, then they would send me. Just another perk of being your boyfriend."
Martha folded her arms. "You overestimate me. Besides, your specialty is computers and communications. I don't need a computer person to help me teach alien anatomy. There's no logical reason for you to come with me and 'boyfriend' doesn't count. Do you know how that would look if I had to write that down on an official request form? 'By providing sex on a regular basis, Mickey Smith would be an invaluable member to this training expedition.'"
"Fine." Mickey gave a dramatic sigh. "I guess you leave me with no choice. I'm going to have to marry you."
"I'm going to marry you. 'Husband' is a bit more legitimate than 'boyfriend.'" Mickey turned up the volume on the remote. "Now hush, woman. Show's on."
Martha snorted. "That is the worst marriage proposal I have ever heard."
Mickey grinned at her and flicked off the television before climbing off the couch and getting down on one knee before her. Martha could feel herself blushing hotly at the sight. She took it back. She liked the terrible proposal better. This one was just too... emotional. She was going to cry and then Mickey was going to make fun of her.
"Martha Jones," Mickey began, looking more serious than she had ever seen him before. "I want to be your companion on this crazy time-space adventure of love. Marry me?"
Martha groaned loudly. Trust Mickey to ruin a tender moment. "Okay, number one, never say 'time-space adventure of love' ever again, and second? I thought you said you didn't like being the Doctor's companion."
"Maybe I just needed to find the right Doctor."
Martha smiled and Mickey got up to sit next to her, kissing her lightly on the side of her mouth. "That was a good line," Martha admitted.
"Yeah, I've been sitting on that one for a while."
Martha turned to look at him, entwining her hand with his. "I leave the day after tomorrow."
"Then I'll follow."
Chapter 38: Earth: February 17, 2002
It happened while she was at school.
She knew it was going to happen soon; her parents had sat them down and calmly explained what was going on. They said no one was to blame, but from the way they avoided each other's eyes Martha knew it was a lie. It had been a surprise – she hadn't even known they were having troubles – but looking back on it she could see how Tish had been gently trying to break it to her and Leo, softening them up, for weeks now. So she was prepared, but she thought that when it did happen they would all be there. Together. Instead, she came home one day after school with Leo right beside her, pleading with her to talk to Shonara for him, only to stop dead in her tracks and gape at the empty place that had once been her home. Everything of her father's was gone, leaving large wide open holes where his presence used to be. Even the wedding pictures had been taken down, nothing left but blank blue walls. Leo physically recoiled from the sight before darting upstairs to his room without so much as another word to her. Martha could only stand there though and try to take it in.
She saw her mother sitting at the table, staring blearily into her tea, waiting for… something. Tears? A confrontation? Martha wasn't sure what. She wasn't going to give it to her, whatever it was she was looking for. She was angry, so angry. She had never been more enraged in her entire life. They should have waited, they should have done it together. Martha stormed over to the telephone, snatching it up and hastily dialing her Dad's work number. She had no idea what she was going to say to him though, and as the phone continued to ring she began to second guess herself. She anxious and unsure, which was ridiculous because she was the one who had been wronged here. Martha was just about to hang up when the line clicked and she heard her Dad's voice answer, "Hello?"
Whatever it was that he heard in her voice seemed to worry him because he immediately started whispering soothing words to her. She could hear him say, "It'll be okay, Martha, we still love you, nothing's really changed-"
"When will I see you again?" She demanded, cutting him off.
There was silence for a few good seconds before she heard him sigh. "I don't know. Your mother and I will work something out."
Martha allowed him to comfort her for a few more minutes, just taking in the simple sound of his voice, before hanging up. She raced upstairs where Leo was hiding without even bothering to give her Mum a backward glance.
It was the middle of the night when Tish came home. Martha was lying in bed, eyes closed but wide awake, when she felt Tish slip in beside her. Her older sister pulled her tight against her in a crushing hug. Martha sobbed into her dress, ruining the expensive fabric with her tears. "I just wanted to say goodbye," she wailed.
Tish patted her hair and whispered, "I know."
Chapter 39: Earth: July 28, 2013
Martha covered the torch with her hand, illuminating the blanket fort with a dim, reddish glow. Keisha leaned forward, enraptured by her aunt's grim face. Her fork still hovered near her mouth, half-forgotten. Martha could see that the piece of cake was about to fall on the floor, but she'll just have to deal with it later. Her story was just starting to get good.
"I fell to Uncle Mickey's side and searched for a pulse, but there was none," Martha whispered ominously. "Your Uncle Mickey was dead!"
"But he didn't stay dead!" Keisha hotly interjected.
Martha gave her niece a quelling look and Keisha hastily shoved her cake into her mouth.
"Uncle Mickey was dead," Martha insisted. "And so was every other member of our team… except for me. I was lost and alone deep within the cave. I could hear the inhuman wailing echoing off of the walls, but all I could see was miles and miles of darkness and then my torch… began… to… die."
Martha flicked off the torch and a scream was heard.
"DON'T DO THAT, AUNT MARTHA!"
Martha laughed as she turned the torch back on. Keisha glared at her. "This story better have a happy ending," she threatened.
Martha continued on as though she hadn't spoken, "As the light flickered I began to see the most fantastic images in my mind. I saw red grass and silver trees that shined like fire in the twin suns… Then I saw him. From a distance you might mistake him for human, but up close you could see the misshapen, bulbous head and the large black eyes. He was a deathly white color with wispy white whiskers around his tiny, sunken mouth. He shook with fear and cold and hunger as he crawled across the cavern floor, feeling his way around. He said he was a Sensorite and assured me that Uncle Mickey and the other members of my team were not truly dead. He was psychic and could control all functions of the brain. He could revive them whenever he wanted."
"But why did he do it in the first place?"
"Because of their guns," Martha explained. "He was afraid. But I didn't have a gun and when he looked into my mind he saw something familiar. He put his trust in me. He told me he was stranded on this planet and ran into the cave to hide from the humans, but became hopelessly lost. Sensorites are terrified of the darkness."
"What happened next?"
Martha smiled. "What your Uncle Mickey and I always do: we helped him. After I assured him that neither Mickey nor any other member of the team would hurt him he revived them and we took him to UNIT."
Keisha frowned. "He can't go home?"
"Not at the moment. I'm afraid his home planet is very far away and our special blue box taxi hasn't appeared anywhere on Earth for the last couple of months to give him a lift. But, he's doing very well. Bored, maybe, but well."
"I wish I could meet aliens," Keisha sighed. "I want to go on adventures like you and Uncle Mickey."
"Just a little too young for that, I'm afraid," Martha said. "Besides wouldn't you miss Mummy and Daddy?"
Keisha frowned and folded her arms. "No. They don't let me do anything. They don't let me decide anything for myself. I can't cut my hair the way I want or where the clothes I want or eat the food I want. I only get to eat sweets when I stay with you."
"Well, it's not like I have to deal with the sugar high fallout-"
"Why can't I stay with you?" Keisha demanded. "I'll be really good! I won't get in the way and I won't say a word when you and Uncle Mickey have to talk to aliens!"
"Keisha…" Martha sighed and she reached over and took her niece's small hands in her own. "I need you to big girl right now because I'm going to tell you something that might scare you, okay?"
"Not all the missions I go on with Uncle Mickey have happy endings. In most of them, people get hurt and when they die they stay dead. I've lost a lot of people over the years… friends who were very important to me – who I loved – and will never get to see again… We fight these scary monsters so nobody else will have to. Mickey and I decided long ago not to have any children, because we could never give them what they needed from us. We would be gone for most of the time. The work we do is dangerous, but we have to keep fighting, Keisha."
Martha pulled the girl into her lap and hugged her close. "But then there are the missions where everything goes right and we all get happy endings and I'm really happy that I have you to tell them to."
Chapter 40: Earth: May 2, 2009
Martha stood in front of Tiffany's, staring at the beautiful display of diamond necklaces and emerald rings, wishing she had a Danish, a cup of coffee, and a black evening gown to complete the look. What she had was a McDonald's sack under one arm and her favorite leather jacket. Not exactly Audrey Hepburn, but she still wanted to force some hapless local to take her picture anyway. It was probably a good thing she didn't have any of those things; it was incredibly cheesy, but then Martha always had been a bit of a nerd. Besides this was her first time in New York… in this century at least and she hadn't had time to play the tourist the last time she had visited.
Martha turned her head towards the Empire State Building, but she couldn't see it through the forest of skyscrapers. New York City seemed so odd and misplaced to her; everything was too tall and too new. For her, New York would always remain frozen as it was in the 1930s and it was disconcerting to see how much had changed. Wasn't that strange? New York hadn't looked that way for decades before her birth. But it was that New York that she had known intimately, not the one she had viewed through films and photographs as a child.
Martha pulled herself away from the display window, absently rubbing the bare skin of her left ring finger. Oh well, she thought. Martha could get her picture taken another day. She was here to stay, after all. She had never thought she would one day live in New York City. Her entire life was waiting for her back in London. But she needed a change and when she was offered the position of Medical Director on the Indigo Project she had jumped at the chance. She just needed to get away for a little while, to get some space between her and Tom so that she could learn to breathe again. A voice in her head that sounded suspiciously like Tish told her that she didn't need to be an entire ocean away to avoid running into an ex. Martha supposed it was true, but it certainly made things easier. She was starting to see why the Doctor never lingered in one place for too long. What was that old saying? A rolling stone gathers no moss. It felt so freeing to cut off old ties, almost euphoric.
The sudden thought made Martha realize just how much she was turning into the Doctor. Did she really want to be like him? Did she want her whole life to revolve around alien battles and conspiracies because that was all she would have left and she wouldn't know how to do anything else? Did she want to touch other people's lives, staying only long enough to abate the loneliness before fleeing like some runaway child in a desperate attempt to prevent herself from getting hurt? Did she really want to be like that? She had left the Doctor because she wanted to stay, remember?
It was too late now. She was already here.
Chapter 41: Earth: December 26, 2030
Martha strolled down the street, enjoying her Saturday. She had tried to get Mickey to join her, but he was having none of it. She was hard pressed to get him out of bed on most mornings, but after the Christmas dinner they had she'd be lucky if he hadn't slipped into a coma. Oh, well. If Mickey couldn't be bothered to wake up she would just have to enjoy the day by herself.
Martha walked by the shops and restaurants, most of them closed but some still open. A lone man in a ragged-looking tuxedo sat at one of the outdoor tables, mindlessly munching on chips and fish. Martha did a double-take when she realized it wasn't just any man, it was the Doctor.
"Doctor? What are you doing here?"
The Doctor nearly choked when he looked up and saw her. He quickly recovered and that charming, fake smile that she had grown to recognize lit up his face. But it was too late; she'd seen the wide, empty-eyed look he had before. "Just popping up here and there. Lovely year… this year… Blimey, you got old. What year is this?"
Martha rolled her eyes. "It's 2030."
"So, you're… fifty?"
"I'm forty-four, Doctor."
"You don't look a day over thirty!"
"For your sake I'm going to pretend that this little conversation never happened," Martha said as she slid into the chair next to him.
The Doctor nodded his head. "I like that idea. Best idea I've ever heard. Well, second-best after 'Let's go see what that noise is.'"
"In exchange though you have to tell me what's wrong."
The Doctor shrugged his shoulders and looked away. "Nothing's wrong. Why would you think something was wrong? Everything's brilliant. I had a great Christmas. I got to eat these little tiny cheese crackers on the Titanic."
"The Titanic?" Martha asked. "You were on the Titanic?"
"Yes- well, not that one. The flying one that nearly crashed into Buckingham Palace."
Martha blinked. "Doctor… that was about twenty-two Christmases ago."
"I told you I was doing a little popping here and there… and now I'm here. I think now's about the time I should be there."
Martha latched on to the Doctor's arm before he could get up. "Doctor… what happened? You're not acting like yourself. You shouldn't be sitting here alone; you should be running around on your next adventure."
"Well, I always wanted to see the green sun of Talosia." He sounded so nonchalant about it, but the way he looked at her… Those eyes were begging her. Ask me, they said. Ask me to come along. Be my companion again. "So, what do you say, Martha?" He asked, drawling out her name. He kicked her foot lightly with his, grinning that manic smile. "Want to see a green sun?"
Martha propped her head on her hand and smiled at him. "I think Mickey might have something to say about me running away with you."
The Doctor looked at her in confusion. "Mickey? What does he-" Then his eyes focused on the wedding ring on her finger. "Mickey?! You married Mickey the Idiot?"
Martha felt her eyebrows shoot up her forehead at that. Clearly she was dealing with an earlier Doctor. The Doctor seemed to realize his faux pas for once and quickly stuttered out an apology. "That's… that's good, I suppose. Martha and Mickey. Mickey and Martha. I like the alliteration."
After that neither one of them knew what to say. The Doctor kept glancing around, like he was trying to find a quick exit. There was this pained, worried expression across his face. He looked so lost.
"Doctor…" Martha said quietly and grabbed a hold of his hand. She squeezed his fingers tightly. "Please… just tell me what's wrong."
A shudder ran through the Doctor and he looked down at the table, tracing a lazy pattern onto the tablecloth. His other hand held on fast, though, like she was a lifeline. "Astrid's dead," he mumbled. Martha didn't know who this Astrid was but she assumed it was another companion. Then he breathed a sigh. "So is the Master."
Everything was so much clearer after that. How long had it been for him since she told him she no longer wanted to be his companion? Days? Weeks? For him, the Master's death was still a raw, open wound, however long ago it had been for her. She saw his eyes become wet with unshed tears and quickly pulled him into a crushing hug. Just let it go, she thought.
Her arms had barely been around him more than few seconds when he pushed her away and stood up on shaky legs, taking a few steps back to put as much space between them as possible. He shoved one of his hands into his pocket and pointed down the street. "Gotta get back to the TARDIS," he said, his face betraying just how uncomfortable and humiliated he felt. "Like you said, adventures and all that."
"Doctor!" She called out but it was too late. He was already running down the street. Martha had seen the broken man – just a man, nothing more – that hid underneath the façade that he liked to call The Doctor and because of that she knew she would never see him again.
Chapter 42: Earth: April 9, 2008
A week had gone by since the Master had been defeated. Martha looked over the remains of her broken family and wondered whether they would ever be like how they used to be. She hated feeling scared in her own home and she hated the way her mother and sister and father looked at her with wide, blank eyes and she just wanted to go back to being normal. She barely slept anymore. Sleep had been a luxury while on the run. Martha couldn't even doze for two hours straight without jerking awake with a sudden fear that she had been found and that it was all over.
They were the only ones that remembered. It was nice to know that when Martha felt like she was starting to crawl out of her skin, her paranoia making her wonder if it was real or if she was just crazy, she could always turn to her family.
At least she used to be able to.
Martha cautiously approached her mother. Francine had been sitting on the couch, silent and brooding, for little more than an hour now. Tish had locked herself away in her room. Martha thought she had heard her crying, but she knew better than to go to her. Tish had never liked it when her baby sister caught her crying.
Their Dad had left. Again.
In a way, Martha was glad that he was making the effort to start living his life. He had moved back into his apartment and was going to return to work in a few days. He was coping with what had happened much better than the rest of them. But in leaving he had pulled the rug out from underneath the three of them.
Martha sat down next to her mother and gently took her hand in her own. Without Dad, Martha knew she had to go back to being the strong one. She was so tired of it. Why couldn't she be weak for once? Why couldn't someone take care of her? Because they need me, she thought.
"Your father asked Annalise to marry him," Francine finally said. "After everything we had been through together I thought… I thought we would get back together. I thought he wanted to give our marriage another try." She let out a self-deprecating laugh. "I guess that was pretty stupid of me. Mutual trauma isn't exactly a good basis for a relationship, is it?"
Martha just shook her head sadly and squeezed her hand.
Chapter 43: Earth: February 8, 2011
"It was just amazing, watching him work. He was just so cool and collected about the whole thing too. I mean, he was cracking jokes while making some of the most precise incisions that I've ever seen. You know surgery isn't my area of expertise. I can do a decent job when the situation calls for it, but I'd rather be practicing internal medicine. It'll be a relief to have him on board."
"So, he'll be at UNIT all the time then?" There was something about the way Mickey had asked that question. Or maybe it was the way he avoided her eyes, keeping his gaze trained on the plate of food in front of him? Somehow or another Martha got the sense that her husband wasn't pleased with this new turn of events, which was utterly ridiculous because UNIT needed a proper surgeon like Dr. James McAlister.
Martha nodded her head. "I'll begin training him on alien biology soon."
"You'll be training him?"
"Well, who else do you think is going to do it? There's only a handful of doctors on this planet who are qualified to do so. This is a high risk job-" don't think about Owen "-It's hard keeping any halfway decent surgeon around, let alone a sane one."
Mickey snorted in derision and stabbed at his meat with a little more gusto than was typical. Which was saying something since Mickey could get downright cave-like when it came to steak. "What is wrong with you?" Martha demanded, leaning back in her chair and folding her arms.
Mickey shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe you should as Dr. McAlister for a diagnosis."
"Are you- Are you jealous?"
He didn't say anything.
Martha wanted to roll her eyes at Mickey's petulance, but she understood what it was like to be jealous of someone. She remembered how angry she got every time the Doctor mentioned Rose. Martha had hated her, despite never even having met her. It was stupid and silly and thinking back on it now still filled Martha with a feeling of shame. So, instead of laughing or teasing him, Martha leaned over and reached for Mickey's hand, squeezing his fingers between her own. "We've been married for over a year now. You're the only guy for me."
Mickey shrugged again, but didn't pull away from Martha's grip. "Yeah, well, Rose and I had been dating for longer and she still left."
Martha leaned back and she suddenly realized that this went deeper than simple jealousy. "Mickey," she said. "I'm not going to leave you. Especially not for James."
"Why not? I've met the man. He's handsome, charming, smart… Doesn't have TARDIS, but he does have a corvette."
Martha leaned forward, willing Mickey to look her in the eye. "And you think I don't see all those things in you?"
Mickey barked out a laugh. "I'm not smart like you are. I didn't even finish secondary school. UNIT never would have taken me if it wasn't for the Doctor."
Martha narrowed her eyes. "I hope you mean, 'If it wasn't for the Doctor letting me stay in an alternate Earth where I became a freedom fighter battling Cybermen and saving the planet.' Mickey… Who cares if you dropped out? Think back on your classmates. Do you think any of them could have done the things you've done? You've helped me so many times – you've helped me by being smart and brave and funny."
Finally, she got a smile. "What? No 'handsome' in there?"
"Despite what you may think your good looks have never actually saved anyone's life. Though I do like to think of them as a perk."
Chapter 44: Space: Time Not Applicable, Part II
So, the episode "Smith and Jones" was aired in March of 2007, four months before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, but the story itself takes place in 2008, meaning that the book would have already been released in universe. Yet, in the next episode, "The Shakespeare Code", the Doctor tells her "Wait until you read Book 7. I cried." Which implies that Martha, who seems to be a fan of the series, has not read the last book despite it being out for at least five months already. So, I had to find some way to make this work. Um, spoilers for Deathly Hallows?
When the Doctor offered to take her along as his companion and not just some passenger he would kick out at the next available opportunity, Martha decided she needed to bring along a few supplies. A couple of outfits for one thing. She loved her leather jacket, but a girl needed variety. There was also a small bag filled with hair clips, tampons, and a toothbrush (Because although she appreciated the gesture, she refused to use the toothbrush he gave her in 1599. He had been carrying it around in his coat with who knows what else, for God's sake.)
She had also brought with her a book. Just something to read during her down time, because she had soon found out that despite the Doctor's restless energy they often inadvertently ended up drifting along in space. Usually because something had broken down. Martha was beginning to suspect that the Doctor had gotten the TARDIS from a shady used time machine salesman. One would think that a race called the Time Lords would be able to build a decent time machine that actually worked.
Martha cracked open Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as she leaned back against a large, wingback chair in the TARDIS's library. Martha had no idea that the TARDIS even had a library; she had just been wandering along, looking for a good place to read when she had somehow ended up here. She often wondered if the TARDIS was somehow psychic.
Martha had bought her copy of Harry Potter on midnight the day it was released, of course. She was an avid fan of the series and had devoured each book as they came out. At least, until she started medical school. She had struggled to finish Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince while juggling classes, friends, and Dave, who had been her boyfriend at the time. In the end, it took her nearly seven months to complete it. Deathly Hallows had proven to be just as much of a challenge. She had been literally reduced to sticking her fingers in her ears and humming to keep from being bombarded with spoilers. But now, with the TARDIS, she had all the time in the world to finish it.
Harry, Hermione, and Ron had just entered Gringotts when the Doctor entered the room. "There you are! Come and see- is that Deathly Hallows?" He grinned and tried to peek around her shoulder to see the text. "That one is my favorite. Did you get to the part where Fred dies?"
With a scream of rage Martha hurled the book at the Doctor.
Chapter 45: Earth: January 19, 2010
Martha stared stonily ahead at the house in front of her as she sat alone in the black SUV. She could see Donna and her mother moving around inside from behind the closed blinds. They seemed to be arguing – their voices were loud enough to where Martha could hear them all the way across the street – as they wrestled with the Christmas tree.
Martha and Mickey hadn't bothered with a Christmas tree this year. Neither of them had been in a state of mind to celebrate anyway. They had to drag themselves to her mother's house on Christmas Day and even then they had only stayed for an hour before leaving and crashing on the sofa for a nap. They were supposed to be in South Africa, having Christmas there. They hadn't even been gone for three weeks when the call came and Martha had to leave her work behind and take back her old post at UNIT. The amount of work was staggering, but it was to be expected. She and Mickey had barely had any time to themselves, let alone for each other. Really, though, they didn't mind. What else could they do? Without Torchwood, UNIT was all that was left.
That was what really hurt. Even now, almost two months after the 456 disaster, Martha still couldn't believe that Jack had really left. It was all too soon; first Tosh and Owen, and now Jack and Ianto? Martha knew that what they did was dangerous, but no one had expected Torchwood Three to be almost entirely wiped out. It was terrifying to think that if it could happen to Jack and his team then it could happen to anyone.
Mickey had been pretty upset when he learned that Jack was gone. He hadn't really known the others as well as Martha, but he and Jack had been good friends. Their faked animosity and good-natured jibes had always left Martha laughing.
Mickey still held out hope that he would come back to Earth. Martha doubted Mickey would live to see it if he ever did.
She should have been there. She should have never left for South Africa. If she had stayed maybe things would have turned out differently. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
It was too late now.
Martha was never going to let something like that happen again. She would make sure that everyone she loved would remain safe and alive. Nothing was going to harm her friends or family, not if she could stop it.
Martha had gotten the intelligence report earlier that day. A corporation headed by a man named John Culling was determined to get their hands on alien tech, no matter the cost. He had somehow learned that Donna Noble was no longer completely human. That her brain held the secrets of the Time Lords. Martha had been assembling a tactical strike team within an hour of receiving the report.
Culling's first mistake was going after Donna, but he'd learn soon enough.
Martha saw a group of armed men heading towards Donna's house. Culling was making his move. Martha nearly laughed at the pathetic human weapons they carried. "Let's bring out the big guns," Martha stated into the walkie talkie. "And show them some real alien tech."
Chapter 46: Earth: The Year That Never Was, Part V
Martha crouched low, keeping hidden below the broken, curtain-less windows of the old, rundown farmhouse. She could hear the Toclafane whizzing about in the sky outside. They were bored today, which always meant bad things. They would target people, shooting at random, letting some go and killing others on a simple whim. They would even play with their victims. Give them false hope.
Martha could feel the TARDIS key dangling from around her neck. She had protection. She could be invisible to them, so long as she remained still and unmoving. It wasn't always so easy though; yesterday she had been stuck out in the open, sitting with her back against an old country wall while Toclafane flew all around her. She had been forced to sit there for over a day, which no chance to eat or sleep or relieve herself.
When they finally moved on Martha began to roam the old fields, looking for something to eat. They hadn't been tended to since the invasion; Martha wasn't sure if the owners were killed or if they had simply been forced to abandon their farm. Either way, it didn't matter. One of these days she was going to be able to push those questions from her mind and focus on the matter at hand.
In between the meandering weeds vegetables still continued to grow. Martha had always been a city girl; the closest she had ever come to gardening was watering her mother's perpetually half-dead orchid. When she reached down to pull up the tufts of green sticking out of the ground she had been hoping for a carrot. Maybe a potato. Did potatoes have green tops to them?
Turnips. Martha made a face as every single vegetable she pulled up revealed itself to be a turnip. Her stomach rumbled in such a way that it reminded her of an echo bouncing off the walls of an empty cave. Martha looked up at the sun. It had been at least 36 hours since she had last had a bite to eat. She wasn't going to complain, even if it was turnips.
She was careful to remain hidden in the darkness as she spread out her prizes. She was just about to bite into one when she heard a soft creak. Instantly Martha froze, wary of what it could possibly be. She knew it wasn't the Toclafane; they floated, not walked, so there would be no reason for the floorboards to squeak like that if they had flown inside to investigate. This far out in the country it was most likely an animal. That made her nervous. She had run across packs of wild dogs before, dogs that had turned feral since their masters had died. They had been starving and vicious and from the way they had circled Martha she knew they had been contemplating eating her. Her key had worked on them just as well as it did on humans and Toclafane; the only problem was that they could still smell her. They had sniffed and pawed and growled for hours, trying to figure out where she had gone before finally giving up.
She'd rather not repeat that.
A figure crawled through the doorway into the room Martha was hiding in. It was a woman. Martha stared at her as the stranger looked around, her eyes sliding over her as though she wasn't there. The woman could have been anywhere from twenty to forty years of age; the stretched brown skin across her cheekbones and the sunken dark eyes made it difficult to determine her age beyond that. Martha examined her with a clinical eye. It wasn't hard to see that she was suffering from malnutrition, but then again they all were.
"Hello," Martha called out and shifted, breaking the spell of the TARDIS key. The woman's hand flew to her mouth and she jerked back by Martha's sudden appearance. "Don't be afraid," Martha said soothingly. It was a voice she had perfected during her training as a doctor. "I'm not going to hurt you. Are you hungry? I have some turnips."
Martha held out one to her. The woman glared at her warily, still unsure of what to make of her. She seemed to come to some decision as she scooted closer until she was crouching next to Martha, always ready to spring to her feet and run if she needed to, and took the offered food. Martha bit into her turnip and winced at the sharp flavor and the specks of dirt still on it. "I know everything seems bad now," Martha said in-between bites. "But trust me, everything is going to change soon. Have you heard of the Doctor?"
Chapter 47: Earth: October 23, 2019
"Martha, Martha, please, God, don't do this."
Mickey's voice sounded so wrecked. She had never known him to be so afraid before. He told her about his first encounter with the Doctor, how he had cowered and clutched at Rose. Martha had laughed at the time; it just sounded so ridiculous to her. She had never seen him as anything but the brave man he was now. But this...
Martha steeled herself against it and readied the spaceship. It was a prototype, a small one-man vehicle, the first human-crafted shuttle designed for interstellar travel.
"Martha, stop. It doesn't have to be you. Why do you always think it has to be you?"
His tone was sharp now and Martha grinded her teeth against the sound of it. If Mickey thought he could talk her out of this mission by scolding her like she was some sort of idiot child then he really was the idiot the Doctor claimed him to be. Of course it had to be her. She was a doctor; she wouldn't let anyone else sacrifice themselves if she could help it.
"Martha... I need you. I need you alive."
Martha reached over and shut off the communicator, her heart wrenching at her husband's heartbroken tone. She couldn't afford any distractions. This was her planet. She was going to protect it. And him.
Chapter 48: Earth: November 18, 2009
Martha had given Tish six days to put together a wedding. From the frustrated screams her sister left in her inbox almost daily Martha figured she might have been overestimating her sister's capabilities. Still, time was up, she had already scheduled her flight with UNIT, too late to turn back now.
The moment Martha stepped off the plane she was attacked by Tish. "We have to try on your dress now," she hissed. "It better fit. I will make it fit, even if it means breaking your ribs to squeeze you into it."
"Johannesburg was lovely, thank you for asking," Martha commented.
"Yes, of course, you get to go on vacation and I get all the hard work. 'Oh, Tish, I'm travelling across the universe while you have to work for a lecherous old man!' 'Oh, Tish, I'm seeing the world while you get to play maid to a psycho alien!' Typical!"
Martha was about to fire back her own sarcastic comment when she received a text from Mickey. "It's done," was all it said.
She giggled to herself at that.
The wedding was beautiful and lovely. It was like a fairy tale. Despite having been rushed, Tish had done a beautiful job. Martha really was grateful for everything she had done. But if Tish had known what she and Mickey were planning... well, she doubted she would ever hear the end of it.
Her mother was standing beside her father and Annalise. Her parents were crying and telling anyone who wandered near them stories about her childhood. Annalise just kept looking around in her hot pink outfit with a dumb expression on her face, preening. It hadn't taken Jack long to attract a small gathering of admirers, much to the irritation of Ianto. Keisha had lost her basket of flowers of somewhere and was crying about it, while Leo and Shonara kept trying to console her.
Martha didn't see the Doctor anywhere, but she wouldn't be surprised if he was secretly hiding somewhere. She wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't, either. She wasn't going to seek him out either way.
Mickey took her hand and grinned at her. It was the smile of a man who was about to do something very bad. Martha squeezed back and allowed him to lead her to the dance floor.
It was time for the bride and groom's first dance.
A chorus of sighs erupted when Mickey pulled her into his arms and the two slowly began to sway. Some mumblings broke out, however, when the words - Jack Rabbit Slim's Twist Contest! - broke out over the speakers.
Immediately the music changed to a fast tempo beat as Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell" blasted from the stereo. The newlyweds leapt away from each other and began to dance, horrendously out of beat and stepping all over the place. Martha dropped into the Batsui while Mickey did the Twist.
"Pulp Fiction?!" Tish's cry rose up from the crowd. "You're doing the dance scene from Pulp Fiction?! That's not romantic, Martha!"
Chapter 49: Earth: March 12, 2053
It had been over forty years since Martha had last stepped inside the TARDIS. The long decades didn't matter to her; even after the decades slipped past one by one she still made sure she always had her mobile and TARDIS key with her at all times. The ancient phone didn't even work any more, but Martha figured that if anyone could get it working again it would be the Doctor.
She missed him, but she honestly hoped she would never see him again. If he ever came back to her Martha knew that the situation would be dire. Someone would end up dying and Martha couldn't bear it if it was him.
She would still answer his call, however, no matter what. Because she was his Doctor.
Martha leaned against the cart as she walked slowly up and down the aisles. It was strange that no matter what changed, what new technologies they created, shopping for groceries would always remain the same. She eyed the rows and rows of cans in front of her, only dimly noting an oddly familiar jingle trilling in the background.
With a start she realized it was coming from inside her purse and with a desperate grab she pulled out the clunky, beaten mobile. Nobody used these old phones anymore. It could only be one person.
With a shaky breath she pressed the button and held the phone to her ear.
"Martha! The planet is in danger!"
The voice didn't sound familiar to her, but she knew it was him. That was all she needed to know. Martha yanked out her TARDIS key and threw it around her neck. Immediately the people around her seemed to unable to see her; she had become unnoticeable. No matter how many years passed, it still worked.
Martha abandoned her cart and ran out of the grocery, her gray hair flying behind her.
She didn't return.
Chapter 50: Earth: The Year That Never Was, Part VI
Martha was brought before the Master and forced to kneel. She tried to remain stoic as she listened to him talk - and did he ever like to hear himself talk! - but she couldn't hold back the laughter any longer.
"What's so funny?"
His expression for one thing. The thought that a human would ever dare laugh at him had never even crossed his mind. He could kill her in an instant.
"What about it?"
"A gun in four parts?"
"Yes. And I destroyed it."
"A gun in four parts scattered across the world? I mean, come on. Did you really believe that?"
Martha had so much faith in the Doctor. She knew that his plan would work. That everything was going to be alright. But she also knew that she was in a vulnerable position. She was on her knees in front of the Master, mocking him. She wasn't like Jack. If he killed her she wouldn't be coming back.
She didn't care. Because this was her family, her planet. If she died protecting it then it would have been worth it.
Chapter 51: Earth: July 6, 1990
Martha kept her eyes trained on her little red shoes as she wandered around outside the grocery store, following the imaginary trail she had created in her mind. She didn't know where her mother was and she didn't particularly care. She was far too busy to be worried or frightened. She had to reach the Wizard before the Wicked Witch of the West got her.
"Well, we're in London at least."
"Yes, Ian, but look at the cars. This isn't 1963. I wonder how far in the future we are?"
Martha stopped when a shadow crossed over her own make-believe yellow brick road. She looked up to see a man and a lady standing off to the side, looking about with a frown on their faces. But what caught her eye was the elderly man next to them. He was an imposing, white-haired figure and dressed exactly like the Wizard from The Wizard of Oz.
"You're here!" Martha called out.
The old man looked down at her in confusion. "What was that, child?" He asked. He sounded gruff and mean, but Martha wouldn't be put off.
"You're the Wizard," Martha insisted. "The Wizard of Oz."
That brought an amused chuckle from the old man. "Oh ho, am I now?" He bent down so that he was eye level with her. "Then you must be Dorothy, hm? Now let's see, what was it that Dorothy wanted from the Wizard again? Courage? Brains?"
Martha giggled. "She wanted to go home!" She corrected.
"Ah, I can definitely understand that," the young man commented with a fond smile at the pair of them.
"MARTHA! Martha, oh thank God!" Martha saw her Mum rushing towards her in a panic. The woman swooped down and gathered her up in her arms, hugging her tightly and chastising her all at the same time. "Don't you ever wander away from me like that again!"
The old man stood up with that same arrogant and imperious look on his face from before. "What were you doing that was so important that you couldn't keep an eye on your own child, hm?" He demanded. "She could have wandered out onto the street! See to it that you take better care of her in the future!"
He pivoted on his boot then, his cloak swishing behind him as the man and woman shot her mother an embarrassed and apologetic look. They ran up to catch up with the old man. She heard the elderly gentleman sigh and sadly say to his companions, "She reminds me of my Susan."
Years later they would meet again.