He shows up just before exams and it's all Martha can do not to fall under his spell and go with him wherever he asks. Time is very real though, however bendy, and people are going to start noticing her aging, even if he does put her back down 5 minutes from when they leave chronologically.
"Come on, there's this great nebula I think you are the only person in the universe who could truly enjoy…"
He's in top form and she knows he's offering something truly amazing. She shakes her head though. Exams must be completed and at this rate she'll be 50 by the time she goes into practice.
"I can't, you know that."
"You called though."
"To say hello and ask you quantum physics question, not to be taken away from it all for an indefinite amount of time."
"Martha Jones I miss you." He sounds humbled but this is the most manipulative part of it all.
"Come back in a month. I'll be done with exams and can take some time off. I'll say I'm going to the Himalayas or something and I promise we'll go wherever you want then."
It physically hurts her not to run after him. She's gotten used to the ache by now, though.
She almost expects him not to show. But he does, almost exactly a month later, and his hair is exactly the same as are his clothes and she knows that he came straight here. Partly her heart jumps at the thought, but she also feels bitter that those long torturous nights didn't even exist for him. Time and space bend to his will and waiting, for him, is completely relative. No wonder he's so impatient and unaccustomed it.
She kisses him. It's probably not her best idea, but absence hasn't made it any better and he's warm and surprised and she can feel both his hearts beating against her chest. He doesn't back away though, doesn't retreat to his mental solitude.
"Don't leave me again."
He sounds as if he's the one losing sleep and weeks off his life. He sounds like one of the small boys of the pediatrics ward. She wants to tell him she never will. She can't though.
"I love you."
It's too easy to say it, knowing she can no more stay than he can.
Martha looks at the date on her watch resentfully. The months have flown by in a frenzy of saving dozens of worlds from destruction and making love on three times as many. The year has sped past her, and the Doctor is still by her side. She watches the time tick away and thinks about the bet she has almost lost to Jack. She never thought he'd stay focused this long.
Only minutes remain.
The Doctor is sleeping, serene as ever, and Martha worries that, if he wakes and she's not there, he might just forget she was supposed to be.
She leaves a note by the bed, and crawls in with him, wrapping herself around him until the tug of her own time drags her away. The watch is an anchor, tied to the specific time and place. One year; it counted the time and then dragged her back to a year after when she'd left.
She lets it take her, because a year is not eternity, and if she stays she will be subsumed sooner or later, devoured or forgotten.
Jack's driving something shiny and Martha wants to make a joke but instead she slinks down against the leather and sobs. He lets her.
Martha has been in Venice for three days before he shows up. He's poorly shaven and the circles under his eyes seem deeper. His coat smells of another woman's perfume. Five years for her, clearly he didn't come straight here but how long he waited is a mystery.
"Where to, Doctor Jones?" His smile matches the way he leans against the TARDIS.
"Actually, I was thinking of staying right here and now."
He looks at her quizzically, but steps away from the door, reaching out his hand.
Venetian beds creak, and the Doctor has too much to say about the sites to see that isn't in the history books; it's two weeks before he starts playing with the TARDIS key, though.
"Won't you come with me?"
She kisses him, bringing him down on top of her on the bed, but they both know now that she isn't going anywhere only the TARDIS can take her.
This time she says goodbye.
"There's this organization and they really need me…" He should understand being needed. Why else was he the Doctor?
"And I don't?"
Jack had warned her it would happen this way. She hadn't listened this time either.
"You don't need me. You need someone, and I love being that someone, but that's not all there is to me, Doctor. My lifespan may be the blink of an eye for you, but it's all I've got and I need to be where that matters."
"And there isn't anything I can do?"
"Ten years, London."
Where they first met. These kisses and the memory of stolen time will have to suffice. She's been lying to herself with all her protests and rules. Her life has bent around him just as the universe does; she is succeeding merely in tearing herself in two.
It is time to commit, time to do what she's been holding out for, otherwise why not let herself be lost to his greater force.
There are days now, when she doesn't even think about him really. She keeps busy with work she believes in, a daughter curious as the universe is wide, and a husband that maybe she'll never give herself to the way she left the Doctor consume her, but who is a good man, father, lover, and humanitarian. She's never told him that, the first time she met him, he took a bullet for her.
She tries to be a good wife, and they are mostly happy. She never forgets the clock she's set ticking, though. Two weeks before the date she set, she's pulling at the strands of grey in her hair while reminding herself that the Doctor probably won't come, at least not when he's supposed to.
Martha leaves that good man sleeping and walks out onto the patio. It's a clear night and she remembers the night she met the Doctor, the night they ended up on the moon. She was just beginning life then. Now, surrounded by the awards and accolades for her profession, she is almost more startled to hear the creaking of the TARDIS.
"Where are we?" The TARDIS has stilled; Martha hesitates at the door.
"Gallifrey." His tone is so light that she thinks he is kidding until she steps out onto a planet unlike any other.
"But I thought-"
"Well it's not the real Gallifrey. That can never be brought back, but it's a perfectly accurate recreation."
Martha has to admit that the place is stunning. The Doctor is smiling, like he made the whole thing just for her.
"That's not even the best part though. You see the process I used to make New Gallifrey is based off the crazy machinations of Dalek Sec and his genetic engineering, and I've figured it out. I can make you a Time Lady."
He's so brilliant that he probably can, but Martha is a mother now and a responsible member of society. A virtual eternity with the Doctor, an even playing field where she can play every trick that he can, the thought makes her pause. She has to say no though. It's more complex than that.
"I got married, Doctor. I made myself a life that wasn't about you. I can't just abandon my husband and children…"
Jack says yes.
He doesn't try again, but Sadie goes missing sometimes, and Martha is furious with him for taking her. She always returns in one piece with a gift more wondrous than the last though, for her mother. Martha keeps them locked up in a box hidden in her sweater drawer. Sometimes, she takes them out and lets the loneliness wash over her. She wonders if the others said yes. She misses Jack.
When Sadie is about 15, her disappearances become more mundane, and the gifts stop. Eventually Martha works up the courage to ask her daughter what has happened.
"It was time to grow up." She replies. Martha hugs her close.
The next week, Sadie brings home a boyfriend for dinner, serious and good looking. Her marks improve, and she starts talking about college. Martha is proud of her daughter, who has grown up strong enough to say no before it became too late.
She still sometimes finds oddities waiting for her in the strangest places. She knows he is watching, but it doesn't bother her anymore. If anything she kisses her husband more lovingly and saves more lives than before.
He shows up a few days after the funeral, when Sadie has gone back to her own family and Martha is left boxing up belongings. He looks different, but she knows it is him.
He kisses her as if she isn't wrinkled and sagging, and when they are lying there, naked among the boxes and household things, he once again offers her eternity.
Jack follows in the Doctor's wake after she sends him away. He doesn't understand why she's still resisting, with her daughter grown, career over, and husband dead. He is still charming. He still also loves the Doctor.
"What about when he finally dies?" She asks. This is something that's been plaguing her, "I mean he's got a finite set of regenerations and what about when he runs out and I'm still new, with this ridiculously long lifespan. A human life has always seemed like too long to go on missing him and this… I just can't."
It's the one thing she has; the Doctor holds all the rest of the cards.
"I never thought about it that way." Jack doesn't stop smiling.
"Don't worry. You were going to live forever, anyway." Martha tells him, but refuses to elaborate.
Jack doesn't give details, but Martha knows the Doctor must have said something to make Jack travel here.
"Will you take me to him?"
New Gallifrey is magnificent, and Martha suspects that Jack take her to a particularly picturesque moment. She notices that it is strangely empty, despite the splendor, and he's sitting there, just as much a lonely god as ever.
"Why if it isn't Martha Jones, back at last." His gaze makes her forget her arthritis and the pills she has to take every morning now.
"Jack chose the time frame, Doctor. Blame him for the delay if you want to."
It feels like he really has been waiting, all alone, contemplating the stars.
"I thought you were going to raise a new race of Time Lords, though. Where are your children, Doctor?"
He smiles at her tragically, and she understands now why he is alone.
"You were right, Martha. For all my brilliance, I forgot one simple thing. I forgot the rules of my people. And you remembered. For you it's been a few decades, but for me it's been two centuries, and I've remembered what I loved about you humans. You were right; out of love, I would have annihilated the human race in an attempt to better them and to undo the destruction of my own."
Her own words come ringing a back to her, harsher than she remembers them. She would almost feel sorry except that it was the right thing, and had the right effect.
"They say that Martha Jones disappeared shortly after the death of her husband. " She tells him, "Her daughter thought she went off on some sort of safari or vision quest, but no one really knows."
Now she can stay with him, until the end.