Chapter 1: Precious Little Bundle
When she was late, she didn't think anything of it. Not at first. She was a doctor (almost); she understood how the human body could shut down by piecemeal, prioritizing and conserving energy. She hadn't had a period in eight months already, not since she'd crossed Russia, and if it took a while for her body to get back on track once time reset, it was hardly surprising.
But then a second month went by, and she knew her body was properly nourished now, and she was starting to panic.
Martha sat in the bathroom, head in her hands and blue stick on the sink. She felt her body trying to make her breath come in short gasps, but she'd fought her body as much as the Master for that year and defeated it easily. Instead, she made herself think. She'd seen Tom Milligan a few times, but never slept with him. They were, she reflected somewhat bitterly as she rubbed at her stomach, taking it slow. That left the time before. Martha took a deep breath and let her mind reach back, back, slipping deftly through holocausts and disasters and faces and smells and rocks and rivers and faces and cities and stories and riots she'd caused and faces.
There'd only been two. The first, a fellow resistance member, had been just a warm body, just desperate, life-affirming sex with every cliché in attendance. Sure enough, they hadn't used protection, but it had also been nine and a half months ago. If she ever had been pregnant, she'd probably miscarried when she and Adaobi had taken that long fall into the quarry.
The second had been recent enough, all right. But somehow Martha didn't think Professor Docherty was to blame.
That didn't leave a lot of options, and all the possibilities Martha could think of made her skin crawl. The thought that someone else in the resistance, someone on her side, could have—
Martha got up off the toilet hastily and was sick.
She looked all right from the outside. She knew she did. She was proud of it. But she was a long damned way from being all right, and she couldn't do this. She couldn't handle another person needing her, not with her family hanging together by a thread; she couldn't handle all of her choices being ripped from her yet again; and above all, she couldn't handle not knowing the history of her own child. She couldn't, and she shouldn't fucking have to.
So Martha went to a clinic.
It took a couple visits to get everything arranged, but when she found out she was only just finishing the first trimester, she wanted to keep it that way. Shortly, then, she found herself lying in a hospital gown in a bright, functional room, waiting for a nurse to dilate her.
Nothing could make this pleasant, but she was more relaxed than she'd expected to be. She felt good about the clinic—it was clean, it was professional, the staff made it plain they cared about their patients. So when a nurse in soft pink scrubs entered, Martha glanced up and smiled at her before going back to staring at her hands.
"Hello," the nurse said, as she opened cabinets and set things out on a tray with quiet, metallic sounds, "it's Martha, isn't it?" She had a sweet, melodious voice.
Then there was the sound of the chair rolling across the floor, and the nurse was by her bedside. She smiled at Martha. Martha scrabbled back.
"Hello, Martha Jones," said Lucy, with a smile of perfect joy.
"It can't be," Martha said hoarsely. "God, no, it's a trick of my mind, I've gone 'round the twist."
Lucy took her hand in one of hers and stroked Martha's hair back with her other. "Shh, shh, it's all right, Martha! You don't know how I've wanted to see you again."
Martha squeezed her eyes shut and felt something break. "You can't be her, you can't be, Lucy Saxon is not working as a candy striper in a women's clinic—"
Martha opened her eyes.
Lucy's smile erupted again. She was practically beaming, almost—proud. "I'm not her. I'm him."
Martha just stared at her. "Right."
"No, really!" Lucy pouted a bit. "Honestly, Martha, your lack of faith in me is dismaying. You must have gathered that I'm not that easy to kill."
"I don't know," said Martha coldly, "seemed pretty easy to me."
Lucy paused, then fixed Martha with a look that left little room for doubt. "Believe me, Martha, and you should be honored, when I say that I will never forget that day, or the dance you lead me before." She leaned forward and took Martha's hands between both her own. Martha was too stunned to pull away. "That's why I'm here, Martha. Oh, but you're special. I knew you were when I saw you cause all of Tokyo to riot just to test how fast you could spread a message. Such a good scientist, and an amazing propagandist. That's why I chose you."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"That cold night, with Professor Docherty. Can you really have forgotten it? I never shall. The camp bed, the moonlight, me watching from the video link… nice show, by the way."
Now Martha did snatch her hands back. "She—" She broke off, inarticulate with fury.
"Oh, you mustn't blame Professor Docherty," she said (he said), "she wasn't to know she was giving you a bit of myself. She just thought it was a good old-fashioned tracking device."
"What do you want, Saxon?"
Lucy smiled compassionately, resting a gentle hand on Martha's belly. "I want what any of us wants—though I suppose I've always been a bit keener than average. I want a continuation."
Chapter 2: Frankly Epic
Flashfic: the result of a meme where players invite others to give them prompts for fics they think they'll never, ever write… and then attempt to do so.
moon_blitz asked for "Shakespeare/Donna." 100 words exactly.
22 May, 1599, the Blue Coxcomb Tavern
Donna's eyes travelled all the way up the figure before her, then all the way back down. "What," she said, "you're Shakespeare?"
Will bristled. "Of course I'm Shakespeare."
Donna tossed back the contents of her tankard. "Bollocks," she said succintly.
"I am! I can prove it!"
"Oh?" She turned to face him squarely. "Let's have a sonnet on my breasts, then."
Christ Church College, Oxford, 2009
The lecture hall echoed with students' coughing.
"Regrettably," the visiting tutor rambled on, "the evidence suggests that Shakespeare's greatest poem of all is lost to us…"
Chapter 3: Three-Voice Canon on the Fourth
Crossover with Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach. A bit of giftfic, originally hatched for Eponymous Rose: The Doctor and Leela chat with Achilles' skeptical Tortoise.
100% silliness. You probably won't get it if you don't know the book, and if you do get it, you'll likely wish you hadn't.
"Life is a pretty good thing," said the Doctor. To round off his thought, he shook the crumbs out of his hat.
"So I've often heard it said," the Tortoise admitted. "But it seems to me, you know, that it makes several assumptions."
"Of course life is good," said Leela, subdominant only to the Doctor (if then). She, as so often was the case, underscored her opinion by frowning.
" 'Life is a pretty good thing,' " said the Tortoise, in the same serene tone as the Doctor's. "Hmm. What about the dissonance of fear, pain, and suffering? They all seem to be intrinsic to life, you know."
"I said it was a pretty good thing. I never said it didn't have its faults."
"What is your opinion about it, then, Scaly One?" Leela demanded.
"Well," said the Tortoise placidly, "first I'd want to ask, What is the good? A lot of deep thinkers ask that."
"Goodness is life," said the Doctor.
"Goodness is an honorable life," Leela rejoined.
"I think perhaps you have it the wrong way around," demurred the Tortoise.
"Another way is not always the wrong way," said Leela a bit floridly.
"Part of the beauty of any good truth," said the Doctor, "is its flexibility."
Leela looked like she was about to vehemently object.
"Is it as flexible as all that?" said the Tortoise, talking over her. "If we invert it, will it still be recognizable? 'Death is a pretty evil thing.' Hmm. Perhaps we're running up against a wall between art and philosophy."
"Life is a pretty good thing," the Doctor reiterated, twice as slowly for emphasis. "The company of friends, say—it's what life's all about. Toppling dictators with style and aplomb isn't bad either. And then there's food. Tea is a pretty good thing, and so is toast and jam. And jelly babies, naturally, and Scotch eggs, and chocolate, and roe—"
"Roe?" asked Leela.
"Roe," repeated the Doctor firmly.
"Your bloat," said the Tortoise with a chelonian sort of shrug. "Anyway, life is but a dream."
"This isn't that sort of canon," said the Doctor severely.
"It still seems to me, you know, that you make a lot of assumptions. What about all the philosophers who think that probably life isn't much good?"
"I do not heed the words of those who are paid only to talk," said Leela, ever the free element.
"What about Proteus, Doctor, and some of the more dour Greeks? What about the optimists who keep springing leaks? And a lot of people listen when Schopenhauer speaks."
"I think tea is a much more compelling argument than Schopenhauer, don't you?"
"Haven't you both elaborated enough?" said Leela with a glower.
"I suppose so," said the Tortoise. "After all, I've enjoyed our talk. That says something."
"Are we in accord, then?" asked Leela.
"More or less," said the Doctor.
"Yes," said the Tortoise, "I really think we are."
"And that," said the Doctor, "is one of the things that makes me say: Life is a pretty good thing." And as if to put a cap on the whole affair, he clapped his hat on his head. "Do come along, everyone."
And they did.