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Speaking his Language

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“Hold on.  You have wolves?”


Eight gave a nod.  “A mated pair of Dahrama.”  He could see his TARDIS in the distance and projected a desperate will toward her to have the most potent kind of caffeinated tea available when they got there.


“How in Rassilon did we get a pair of…”  Ten paused his words and frowned an expression of incredulity.  “And how do I not remember that?”


“The same way you don’t remember anything else we got up to in the past two years living on Gallifrey,” he muttered with a shrug in his shoulders.  “And when this adventure of ours is over, I’d really like to get into your head and find out just why it is that you don’t.”


“Do it now,” he commanded with an impatient sneer as they walked.  “Contact, Doctor.  Go ahead.”


“When the adventure is over,” he repeated.  “Quite frankly, Doctor, I’m really not in the mood for telepathic contact right now – especially as we are in the wilderness with Dalek forces all around us.”  He rubbed a kink forming in the back of his neck.  “That, and something tells me I might need a strong beverage to prepare myself to get into your head.”


“Like yours would be any more pleasant.”


“You might be surprised.”


Martha sighed a long suffering breath.  “Watching the two of you is like watching a pair of siblings go at it.”  Beside her, Leela chuckled.  “Really, Doctor.  Both of you.  My brother and sister can go at it like there’s no tomorrow, but even as kids they weren’t as bad as you are.”  She shook her head.  “You’d think at 900, you’d be a bit more mature than them.”


Eight’s brows lifted and he looked at the man beside him.  “900?”


Ten shrugged.  “Give or take.”


“I was 1,150 when I regenerated in this body.  Just what are your metric parameters for give or take?”  He then smirked.  “Oh, I get it.  Like a Human woman that never ages beyond 29, refusing to hit her thirties even though she’s pushing 40.”


Martha sniffed indignantly.  “I’d take offence to that very sexist remark, Doctor… If it wasn’t true.”


“My apology if I offended you, Martha,” he crooned with honesty.  “It wasn’t intentional.”  He looked back to his counterpart with a chuckle.  “A bit vain this time around, are we?”


His hands were deep in his pockets, and his arms were held straight.  His shoulders slumped just slightly.  “Yep,” he popped.  “Seems that way, doesn’t it?  Happens when you regenerate into a pretty man trying to impress a pretty woman.”  He breathed out.  “Still.  Best that I make the best of it, I suppose.  Stuck with this me for now.”


Eight had one fist covering a yawn as he pushed his hand against the TARDIS door.  He stepped back to politely let everyone else on board before him, smiling at a gesture of affection from Leela, who touched at his arm on her way past.  “You need some sleep,” she cautioned him.


“Sleep is for the tortoises,” he answered back with a wink and a smile.


“And Time Lords,” she added as they both stepped inside.  “Especially those who just became a new…”


Anything else may have wanted to say was halted by the loud gasp and then reverent sigh from the other human on board the TARDIS.  Martha walked with a twirl as she took in the cavernous majesty of the younger TARDIS.   “Oh my God, Doctor.  This TARDIS is amazing!”


Eight gave her a broad grin.  “Thank you, Martha.  I’m sure the TARDIS will be very pleased to hear you say that.”  He looked up.  “Isn’t that right, old girl.  Love a good compliment, don’t you? Now be a dear, will you, and make sure that this lovely young lady has a good steaming cup of hot tea.”  He smiled.  “And while you’re at it, how about one for me as well?”


Ten was near the console.  He looked up at the ceiling, tracing each line, arch, and curve with his eyes.  “Yes.  I do miss this layout,” he breathed.  “She really was beautiful.”


Eight joined him by the console.  “How does she look now?”


“Recovering,” he answered with a sigh.  His head lowered.  “Gone back to her bare bones right now.”


“Recovering from what?”


“Everything,” he breathed out sadly.  He blinked, and then shook himself.  “But now’s not the time for reminiscing and getting all misty eyed about time passed.”  He clapped his hands.  “We have a Dalek fleet to hijack.  Let’s get on that, shall we?”


Eight nodded.  Now that he was in the relative safety of his ship, his tiredness was settling in.  His movement to the console was slower than his usual energetic skip and jump.  He rather patiently shifted his fingers across the keyboard in front of a low-seated monitor.  “Before I reach out to Romana, I would like to make sure that all of the connections to the other ship are stable, and that the Daleks weren’t smart enough to put in a few redundancies in the event someone might try this.”


“Who could get close enough to even try?” Ten said with a shrug.  “No one but us, really.”


Eight smirked.  “I think it’s quite safe to suggest that when the Daleks design anything, they’ve factored the Doctor into their plans.”  The smirk shifted to a grin.  “Doctor-proofing.”


Ten blurted out an incredulous laugh.  “No such thing as Doctor-proofing anything.  It’s just a minor challenge.  A mere annoyance in my day.”  He leaned over his younger self’s shoulder.  “So-o-o?” he drawled.  “How did we do?”


Eight yawned into his fist.  “Holding steady for now, just running a few more diagnostics to make sure we haven’t had anything hijack us in the process.”


Leela appeared at his side with a cup of strong black tea in one hand, and a slice of pie in the other.  “Drink, and eat,” she commanded.  “And if we have time, then you should rest.”


“I’m fine,” he assured her with a tip of the cup.  “And thank you.”


Martha stood beside her own Doctor, a cup of tea in one hand, a plate with pie in the other – but neither of them were for him.  When he looked at her in question, she took a forkful of pie into her mouth.  “You’ve got legs and a heartbeat, Doctor. You can get your own.”


He looked down at the pie with a petulant expression.  “I don’t like pie, anyway.”


She grinned at him, her usually white smile full of crumbs and orange-yellow slush.  Her lips closed to cover the mess and she swallowed with a long moan.  “Oh, what you’re missing, then.  This is out of this world.”  She set her plate on the console edge and looked across the Eight.  “Everything okay?”


He nodded in reply.  “I can’t see that we’ve managed to trigger any alarms across the Dalek networks, and the TARDIS has a stable connection to the ship.”  He forked a mouthful of pie.  He then let out a very short moan of appreciation and swallowed before speaking again.  “I’ll find a way to transfer the feed protocols to the Capitol on Gallifrey to free up my TARDIS, and will let Romana and her teams work as much damage as they possibly can.”


“First things first,”  Leela injected.  “The Askolians trapped in the Arks need to be released and their planet made secure.”


Eight agreed.  “We can’t do that from in here, and as we do need to be at site to coordinate their rescue and the defeat of the Daleks…”  His lips pursed and he hummed in thought.


Martha slapped away Ten’s hand as it moved toward her plate of pie.  “Is there any way you can set up a remote control kind’ve thing?  Something that links back to the TARDIS, but can be controlled from the outside?”  She swatted at her Doctor’s wandering hand as it walked with fingers across the console toward her plate.  “Do you mind?”


His eyes fixed hard on her, indignance and petulance settling in.  “Building a remote control is a great idea,” he half cheered in a voice that completely betrayed his expression.  “I’m sure that he and I can cobble something together that’ll do the trick.”  With his eyes on hers, he flicked a smile and then stabbed his second and middle fingers into the meatiest part of the pie.  He gave those fingers a good swirl in the fruit and popped them back out.  He immediately thrust those fingers into his mouth and made an overt show of sucking them clean.


Martha’s eyes narrowed.  She shook her head in slow controlled movements as she dropped the plate with a clutter on the console.  “You’re a child,” she snarled.  “A 900 year old child.”


“Probably closer to thirteen hundred,’ Eight corrected softly with a shake in his head.  “Which doesn’t make it any better.”  His eyes lifted to his elder self.  “That wasn’t very nice, Doctor.”


What?” he sang back innocently as he used the hook of his second finger to slide the plate across the console toward him.  He then picked it up, plate in one hand, fork in the other.   “This is actually really very good.”


“Yes,” Eight drawled slowly.  “It is, quite.”




“Yes,” he answered.  “Now if you’d please focus.  I can split the signal from the TARDIS to send one to Gallifrey, and the other toward a remote console if that’s the way we want to take it.”  He shot a tired, pointed look toward his elder self.  “Would you mind cobbling something together while I speak with Romana?”


He nodded, while shovelling pie into his mouth and gestured to the side with a tipoff his head.  “I’ll go see what we’ve got available to get all jiggery pokey with.”


Martha leaned backward from where she remained at the console to look at him down over her shoulder.  “Need my help?”


He waved her off as he walked – pie plate in hand.  “Not unless you’re knowledgeable about application programming interface and object-orientated programming and how to properly marry it within an integrated development environment to perfectly settle within the near field communications of the Dalek ship..”  He spun in his walk to face her and walk backward at the same time.  “And if you have a working knowledge of Kaled language, that would help immensely.”  He grinned a wide smile at her.  “Do you?”


“No,” she sang back with cheek.  “But do remember that as a Medical student, I have rather intimate knowledge in how to remove your organs in alphabetical order.”  Her smile fell to seriousness.  “So sleep with one eye open.”


Leela let up a laugh.   The Tenth Doctor pointed a finger at her, then back toward Martha.  “You two aren’t allowed to play together anymore.”  He spun on his heel, shoveling a forkful of pie into his mouth, and disappeared through a door.


The Eighth Doctor blew out what appeared to be a breath of relief.  “I thought he’d never leave,” he muttered with a lean forward and a flick of a switch.


“Do you have any reason to not want him here.”  Leela moved to stand beside him, and in view of the camera feed.  She signalled for Martha to join them.


“Romana is at the hospital,” he answered with a flick of his eyes upward toward the door.  “And as I assume you’ve already gathered, there are things he doesn’t need to see right now.”  He looked toward the monitor as it flickered to life.  “Best we sterilize the feed before he returns.”  


“Understood,” she agreed under her breath.  She looked to her left toward Martha.  “It’s important that anything you may see or hear right now, you can never speak of it to your Doctor.  I need your vow on that.”


Martha nodded, unsure of just what could be so incredibly sensitive that it couldn’t be shared.  She would not argue, though – at least not yet.  “You have my word.”




The monitor flashed to life, and the image of a beautiful woman, with deep green eyes edged with dark brows and lashes, long and shiny black-raven hair, and a full set of glossy red lips appeared on screen.   Martha gaped at her beauty.


“Lady Romana,” the Doctor greeted with a smile.


“Doctor,” she breathed with a thankful smile.  “I didn’t expect to hear from you so quickly.”


“I didn’t expect to have to contact you before we were ready to return,” he answered with a rub of his hand at the back of his neck.  “But, it seems that I need to ask you for some assistance in order to get this assignment of yours completed satisfactorily.”


“I see,” she answered back as she juggled a small crimson-coloured bundle from one side of her chest to another.  Her eyes were downcast toward the little thing.  “What do you need?  Additional support?” 


He smiled.  “No support, thanks.  I already have far too many Time Lords here for my liking.”


Her eyes lifted quicky, wide with hope.  “Does that mean you’ve found survivors from the battle capsule fleet?”


Guilt crossed his face at the question.  Honestly, they hadn’t even looked.  “Well.  No.  I can’t say that we have, however, we haven’t exactly scanned the entire area.  The possibility – while low – is still a possibility.”


“Then I admit it scares me to ask what you mean by too many Time Lords.”


“Your fears are founded,” he said with a sigh and a flick of his eyes back up to the doorway.  “Are you with Rose?”  He ignored the gasp from Martha.  “And is she okay?”


She turned her head to look over her shoulder.  “Rose is sleeping right now, and is well,” she answered.  “Your brother and I are taking turns in taking care of the little one.”  She displayed the tiny little face hidden within the soft crimson blanket.  “Although I do challenge Braxiatel in being able to take him from me. Such a precious little darling he is.”


Martha whimpered in that terrifically stereotypically feminine manner when presented with a newborn.  “Oooh,” she cooed.  “A baby.  A little Time Lord baby.”


Leela had very much the same reaction, except that she dropped her head onto his shoulder.  “Oh, Doctor,” she breathed out.  “He’s absolutely beautiful.”


“He is,” he sighed with pride.  “And hopefully for him, nothing like his father.”


“Hold on,” Martha interrupted.  “Is he yours?”   Her head shook and her face creased.   “He never told me he was a dad…”


“Yes, well…”


Her hands flew to her mouth.  “This is what he’s forgotten, isn’t it?”


“Oh dear,” Romana breathed out over the link. “A future companion.  You’ve managed to meet up with an older one of you?”


“I have,” he answered.


“Is it at all possible for you not to encounter any form of monumental disaster on what should be a very simple assignment?”


“In my defence,” he defended.  “There was nothing simple about what you sent Leela and myself into.  Having him here – albeit a headache – has actually aided us in being able to pull this off with any kind of success.”


She nodded.  “Fine.  Which one?  Hers?” She asked worriedly.   She looked back over her shoulder, and then back.  “Wait, don’t answer that.   Give me a moment to surrender the child, and we’ll discuss.”  She cooed softly in Gallifreyan words that made both Leela and the Doctor smile as she handed the baby to someone off screen.  “Thank you, Brax.  Yes.  I promise to keep you informed.”  She appeared to be walking out of the room and into the corridor.  “There are no ears now, Doctor.  So tell me what I need to hear, and what damage control I may need to put in place.”


“None for now,” he answered.  “As to which of me I bumped into:  It’s the one she left.”


“Well this just got complicated, didn’t it?”  Her eyes flicked to one side, no doubt looking at Martha.  “I must ask for your confidence on this.  You cannot tell him what you’ve seen.”


“I don’t exactly know how you can ask me not to,” she argued on a light but very unnerved voice. 


“Timelines,” she warned.  “You could destabilise the timelines, and by association, all of reality if you do.”


“But he needs to know,” she pleaded.  “He should know that the woman he loves is still alive.”  She looked to the Doctor.  “You’ve seen it for yourself.  Her loss is torturing him.”  Her face creased.  “And in turn torturing those of us who come along after.”


He put his hand on her shoulder, wincing when she jerked free of his touch.  “I’m sorry, Martha,” he promised gently.  “There is obviously a reason that he was made to forget this time of our lives, and I will look into that once we have this planet free and her people safe from the Daleks.  Right now, that’s more important.”


Martha’s face was an expression of hostility, but she said nothing further.   She took a step back from the console’s edge and stood just shy of both Leela and the Doctor with her arms folded loosely across her chest.  Her head was low and her breathing shallow.


“Can she be trusted not to speak of this?” Romana asked unashamedly over the comms, fully aware that Martha was listening.


Leela lifted her nose.  “I believe that she is,” she answered firmly.  “Her obvious affection for the Doctor means that she will do what is best.”  She looked at the woman standing angrily just off to her side.  “Isn’t that right, Martha Jones?”


“I hope that we all don’t live to regret your benevolence, Leela,” Romana warned her.  “Just remember that I can order the Doctor to perform a telepathic memory regression if necessary.”


“Not necessary,” Martha breathed out.  She didn’t wholly understand what would be involved in a telepathic memory regression, and really didn’t want to find out.  “I’ll stay quiet – but only to the future one of him.”  She looked toward the younger man.  “Do be warned, Doctor, that I have several words that I’d like to say to you before this is all over.”


“I’ve no doubt about that,” he muttered.  “I’d be disappointed if you didn’t.”


Romana looked between the two of them in wonder if more words may be shared.  When silence fell instead, she cast her gaze to the Doctor.  “So, Doctor, tell me what you need from me?”


One side of his lips cut up into a smile.  “How’s your Kaled these days?”


She closed her eyes and breathed a deep inhale.  When they opened again they were tired.  “If you want me to try and negotiate, I’m sorry.  You won’t get that help from me.  I tried that with Davros in the past and was unable to come to any form of agreement.”  She shook her head.  “Skaro and the Kaled culture are too far gone now.  And quite frankly, after all they’ve inflicted upon the universe over the past several centuries, I’d much rather call war than try peace.”  She sniffed and lifted her nose in an arrogant and regal manner.  “So come up with something else, Doctor.  I’m more than happy to send our entire battle fleet and destroy the lot of them if you wish.”


Martha’s anger seemed to flail somewhat at the vehemence in Romana’s voice.  This was a woman who didn’t want to ponce around and play nice for nice’s sake.  She finally lifted her head to listen.


“No need for that,” the Doctor answered with a light laugh.  “I must admit that I’m disappointed, Romana.  Why would you think I’d want to negotiate?”


“Because you’re too soft at heart not to want to try,” she answered with affection. 


“Shhhh,” he hissed.  “Don’t let that rumour get out.  I do have a reputation to uphold you know.”   At her laugh, he tapped at the keyboard.  “I’m sending through some signal codes to access the main communications systems on the Dalek ship.  We – my future and myself – were thinking that with your fluency in Kaled, you could take over communications to the other ships with orders to vacate the constellation, get lost.  Go die.  Whatever you think will be most effective.”


She rubbed at her jaw.  “That’s actually quite a good idea, Doctor.  Is it a signal that we can permanently monitor going forward, do you think?   It could be quite beneficial to have access like this given their propensity to skulk across the universe on their eternal mission of exterminating complete planets one at a time.”


He gave a short smile as his eyes traced along the pathways of his fingers across the keyboard.  “Don’t know that I can make that promise, dear.  As much as I do hate to admit it, the Daleks are quite clever.  I don’t imagine it would take them too long to discover that the Time Lords have managed to attach themselves to their communications signals.”  He lifted his eyes.  “So have as much fun as possible while you do have access.  You’re welcome.”


“I’ll head to the Capitol now, and work with our comms team to put out some communications to get other ships out of your area, and hopefully out of the rest of the universe as well.”  She looked off to one side and then back.  “That will only leave Brax to stay with Rose.”


“Are our Dahramas there?”


She shook her head.  “No, much to the chagrin of both, we can’t get permissions to allow them into the maternity ward.  Not even my office can help with that.”


“They need to be fed…”


She gave him a flat stare.  “Is there anything else you’d like to ask of your president, Doctor?  Do you also have fish to feed and plants to water?”


He smirked.  “Now that you mention it.”


Her head swung left to right in an amused shake.  “I trust you have the rescue of the Askolians in hand, and won’t be needing my assistance with that as well.”


His eyes lifted as the Tenth Doctor walked into the console room holding up a not-as-crude-as-usual control box in his hand.  “I think I’ve got it…”  He paused at the image of Romana on the screen and let out a peep.  “By Rassilon, Romana?”


“Much rather not be put into the same category as old Rassilon,” she answered with a blink of her eyes in greeting to him.  “But hello, Doctor.  I must say, I do like the new body – very dashing and debonair, much like your brother.  Brax would be most chuffed.”


He looked quite offended.  “I do not look like him, thank you very much.”  He looked at Martha with a pained furrow in his brow.  “Should I just ditch the brown and stick with the blue do you think?”


“You look perfectly fine,” Romana crooned with a smile.  She looked back to the Eighth verson of the man.  “I’ll head to the Capitol now and pull together a trustworthy team to hold back any further Dalek forces, hopefully for much longer than just today.  I’ll see you when you return.”  Her eyes flicked to the elder version, who had stilled in place and looked upon the Time Lady with a gaze of longing.  “And to you, Doctor.  Hope to see you again in your future.”


With that parting comment, the screen flicked to darkened static snow.  The Doctor shut it off with the flick of a switch.  He rubbed his hands on his hips and looked at the device held by his younger self.  “So?”



“One remote control device cobbled together a’la Docteur.”   He stepped up to the console, hipping his younger self out of the way.  He stooped to dig behind the monitor through wires.  “Just need to find a cable that fits to hook it up and download the software to get it functioning the way I need it to.  Do be a good fellow and stay out of my way for a few minutes.”


Martha broke from position on the other side of the console and walked to the other side.  On her way around, she clutched a tight hold on the bunched silken fabric at the Doctor’s throat.   “Great!  And you’re doing that, I need to speak with your younger self, is that okay?”


He lifted his eyes and his brows, and passed a look between the two of them.  “Ehm.  Yeah,’ he drawled cautiously.  “Go.  Knock yourself out.  Leave the hard stuff to me.”


Eight let himself be dragged by the much smaller Human girl.  He could easily have fought against it, but to what end?  She had something to say, and it was obviously far better done without the ears of his elder self flapping around trying to listen in.   He therefore followed without complaint ... at least none spoken outside of his mind.  Once they were in the kitchen, and Martha finally released him, he looked at the doorway.


“Don’t let him in here, no matter what,” he ordered the TARDIS.  He then looked to her and thrust his hands into his trouser pockets.  “Right.  You’ve got something to say, so say it.”


She folded her arms across her chest and pursed her lips as she considered the best starting point to launch into the rant that had been forming in her mind over the past few minutes.  Judging by his silence, his posture, his position, and the look in his eyes that dared her to let loose, she knew she had at least a moment to prepare.


“Well?”  he challenged her finally.  “Get on with it.  I’ve got things to do, and would much prefer to get to it sooner rather than later.”


“You know,” she began in a seething, but calm tone.  “In the time that I’ve known the Doctor – my Doctor,” she felt the need to clarify.  “I’ve known him to be careless, thoughtless, oblivious, and sometimes even completely ignorant.”


He had a comment to that, but he decided to remain silent.


“But never have I known him to be deliberately cruel.”


He opted to step in at that.  “And I suspect that’s what you think I’m being right now.”


A smile appeared on her face, but it wasn’t one that was friendly nor amused.  It was one that was judgmental and disgusted.   “I don’t even know that cruel can halfway sum up what you’re being…”


He lifted his eyes to the ceiling.


“And don’t you roll your eyes at me, thinking that I’m some pathetic little unevolved ape who doesn’t know any better.”


His eyes snapped back down to lock on hers.  He was intentionally hard with his gaze.  “Well?” he goaded her.  “Are you done?”


Her finger snapped up and at the tip of his nose.  “Not even close,” she growled.  “Now, I going to admit that I have absolutely no idea where to even start on you and what you’re playing at right now, but you need to tell him about Rose.”


“And just what do I need to tell him about?” He asked her with a tilt in his head. 


“That he is a husband and a father,” growled as she pointed to the doorway.  “And that the woman he’s been pining for since before I met him – thinking that she’s dead – is actually alive and living a life with a younger him…” her face screwed up with disbelief she was actually saying this, and worse, that it was actually happening.  “And I can’t believe you would do that to yourself!”


His mouth opened to speak, but he was held short of speaking when she continued.


“And, I get this self-hatred thing you’ve got going on with yourself.  I see it in your eyes every time we step out of the TARDIS, making you careless as though you couldn’t care less if you lived or died.”  She huffed.  “But this?  You’ve taken it to a whole new level of let’s make it as fucked up as possible.”


He tilted his head at her, one eye in a tic. 


“And let me see if I’ve got this straight.  Certainly correct me if I’m wrong at all,” she continued angrily.  “You somehow come in from the past and steal away your girlfriend from the future.  You take her back to Gallifrey, marry her, start a family with her…”  Her hands lifted to rake her hands through her hair. 


“To make the correction you asked for,” he snapped sharply.  “I did not steal her away.  She ended up on my TARDIS by mistake and I was already on Gallifrey before the TARDIS deemed it necessary to let me know she was here.”


“And you didn’t think it prudent to take her back into her proper timeline and return her to yourself?”


“Of course I did,” he snapped back.  “My immediate plan was to take her back, return her to me, and carry on with my life.”


“And why didn’t it happen?”


“Because she didn’t want to go back,” he growled.  “Because that fool outside those doors who claims to be desperately in love with her, treated her like she was nothing and chased her off.”  He stepped toward her.  “You heard him, he admitted it himself.  When Rose stumbled into my TARDIS she was absolutely destroyed.  There was no way she was going to return to the life he was offering.”


“So what?” she charged, her eyes hardening and her slouch going from annoyed to indignant.  “You thought you’d just take her for yourself, instead?” 


“It’s complicated,” he said.  “I don’t expect you to understand.”  He tightened the pinch of his eyes.  “But I do expect you to keep it to yourself.”


Her eyes widened and she shook her head.  “No.  I don’t think I can do that.  He’s in pain, Doctor.  If he knows that she’s not dead, that she’s alive…”


“He will tear apart the entire universe to find her,” he argued.  His voice lessened in tone, but remained firm.  “He can’t enter Gallifrey in this timestream, Martha.”


“And why not?”


He shook his head.  “Because he can’t.  It’s impossible.  Gallifrey is time locked, it has been since the Untempered Schism was opened on my planet.  And if that man if locked out and unable to get her, he’ll destroy the entire fabric of reality to get to her.”


“How do you know he’d do that?”  she asked him quietly.  “Instead of just being happy that she’s still out there?”


“Because that’s what I’d do,” he answered.  “And that man out there, he’s me.  And based on what he’s said to me today, I don’t doubt at all that he’d try.”


“Bu if he’s you,” she began, anger fleeing and confusion settling right in.  “Then why can’t he remember?”


“I don’t know,” he answered honestly.  “And to be frank with you, Martha.  That scares me.”   He put his hand on her shoulder, thankful that she didn’t jerk away from him this time.  “Time, the universe, and all of the nuances they have … It makes things very complicated.”  He squeezed her shoulder, hoping that it would make her look up at him.  It really didn’t, but he continued talking anyway.  “Rose Tyler, well.  She has a big part to play in a fixed point that’s coming in the future.  We don’t know what part that is, or what’s going to happen to any of us when it does, all I know is that Time demands that she remain on Gallifrey.   I’m a time Lord.  I have to obey.”


She lifted her eyes to his.  They were red-rimmed and wet.  “But if you explain that to him?”


“I shouldn’t have to,” he said with a rueful smile.  “That man out there should have a full head of memories about this part of our lives,” his face tightened and he spoke passionately through his teeth.  “The most important and brilliant part of our lives.  But he doesn’t.”  His face loosened and his eyes sank with fear.  “And that is terrifying.   Something has forced those memories forgotten, and until I can be sure just what caused it, I can’t be giving him any reminders.”  He lowered his head to bring himself closer to her and softened his voice.  “And neither can you.”




“You love him, Martha…”


“Not I don’t,” she said with a shake in her head.


He nodded and held her face in his hands.  “You do.  I don’t know why you do, but it’s clear to me that you do.”  He ran his thumbs underneath her eyes.  “If you trust him, then trust me.  You can’t tell him.”


Caught up in the sincerity in his eyes, she couldn’t help but acquiesce to his command.  “Okay,” she breathed.  “I won’t.”


With that, he snapped an arm around her back and pulled her in for a tight hug.  He tucked her head underneath his neck and set his chin on her head.  ‘Thank you, Martha.  From both your Doctors.”


“Will he ever remember?”


“I don’t know, he breathed out with a shudder in his exhale.  “I really don’t.”


“Then I’ll be there for him,” she vowed.  “If she can’t, then I will.  I promise.”


“Thank you.”


She nestled inside his embrace.  “Congratulations by the way.”


The kitchen door suddenly hissed open in front of them, revealing a very annoyed looking man in pinstripes.  “This is where you go to?  I’ve been wandering around this ship looking for you.”  He held up his device.  “We’re ready to go if the both of you…”  He noticed them embracing.  “Oh hold on.  Just what is going on here?”