Martha was being stubborn and knew it. She didn’t care. Even the TARDIS knew it and hummed an agreement in the back of her mind. She ignored that, too. In fact, she sat down on the floor of their yoga room and crossed her arms over her chest and yes…yes she did.
“No.” She glared at Rose as the other woman sat next to her.
It’d been only a week since they’d returned to the TARDIS. A week where the Doctor had taken them across the universe to see suns being born and stars dying, and nebulae, and comets racing across alien skies. Anything not planet bound. Any place that wasn’t Earth. Any when, and not once had he let Rose out of his sight.
Martha thought that achingly sweet.
A week where she and Jack had grown closer. Not just physically, but a week where he opened up to her more. More about his life prior to meeting the Doctor and Rose, more about John Hart, more about his lost two years’ worth of memories. More about his time with Torchwood and the calluses he’d grown over his heart working with them.
Her heart hurt for Jack, hurt for the boy he’d been and the man that he was forced to become. Hurt for the man betrayed and the one creating a new life for himself. The man who’d teetered on the brink of giving up and not caring and running away.
The man she’d almost missed.
The man she nearly hadn’t the chance to know.
Martha’d overheard the end of a conversation between the Doctor and Rose about the incredibly slim chances of Rose’s first leap across dimensions ending with her finding him—what were the chances Jack arrived in New York the same time?
What were the chances of her meeting Jack and being open to a relationship with him? If he hadn’t arrived—no, if Rose hadn’t arrived (if they hadn’t arrived at the same time?)—would Martha now be falling in love with Jack?
She’d so far avoided thinking of the L word. But now that it’d managed to sneak into her consciousness, she was afraid it was there to stay. For the moment Martha ignored it. And ignored the TARDIS’s hum of amusement.
Traitorous ship. The TARDIS hummed louder.
She’d think about Jack later. Right now, Martha focused on her family.
Because it’d also been a week where her previous life grew farther and farther away. A week where she’d wondered what her parents would’ve thought had she been trapped in 1969. Or if an older Martha would’ve found Francine and Clive and told them the truth before she died, like Billy Shipton had done with Sally Sparrow.
“Why don’t you want to tell them?” Rose asked. Curious-interested-soft-understanding.
They’d taken to doing 40 minutes of Omicron Yoga daily to keep limber along with all the running they usually found themselves doing. Every morning before breakfast they’d meet up in this room, try to ignore the other’s marks from the previous night’s love making, and get ready to start their day. Jack usually made breakfast for them afterwards.
Forty minutes of just them, she and Rose and the TARDIS, where they laughed and talked and shared secrets. Where Martha confessed a kinky side to herself she’d never have suspected until Jack.
(What happened to your wrists? Rose had asked one morning, nodding to the faint mark on her left wrist where Martha had tugged a little too harshly as Jack did amazing things to her body. At Martha’s blush, Rose also flushed a deep red. Oh. Ohhh. Then Rose tilted her head and grinned a tad more conspiratorially than Martha expected. Enjoy yourself did you? Martha’s blush and stammer of incoherency said it all.)
Where Rose tried to explain how the Doctor really could bend time around them (It’s not really bending time, but that’s as close as I can describe it to someone who isn’t there to experience it.) as they made love—and how utterly fantastic it was to feel each touch, each caress, each kiss expand and flow and continue on and on and on. She’d then suggested a form of sex that involved extending and expanding each sensation.
Martha had taken the book from the library, in total secret with the help of the TARDIS, but had yet to suggest it to Jack.
Their time together where the hum of the TARDIS soothed and made Martha feel more alive than she’d ever thought possible.
Currently, their time where Rose tried to convince her to tell her family about her travels with she and the Doctor. About her relationship with Jack.
“They wouldn’t understand,” Martha admitted in a rush, the secrets and knowledge and truth of the matter coming out so fast she couldn’t stop the words. “They have this little limited view of me that doesn’t include anything other than whose side I’m on in the current argument and if I’ve spoken to either mum or dad and what did they say?”
Martha huffed and finally admitted the truth of the matter, to herself, to Rose, and to the TARDIS. The hum in the back of her mind offered comfort and Martha was grateful. It hurt to be honest, to realize she wasn’t just Adventurous Martha but also Uncertain Martha who’d run from her previous life as surely and as quickly as she ever had with her friends.
That’s what Jack had called them, one night while they were in bed, still trapped before Billy arrived, before the TARDIS reappeared, before they’d left on their mad dash across the universe. His family—this family. Not the mother, father, brother he’d finally admitted to having. And losing. But the Doctor, Rose…and her. (And the TARDIS, that sexy old girl, he’d laughed and she had laughed along with him.)
And that was when Martha had realized the truth in his words and the niggling doubt of her own reasons shone brightly through.
“When the Doctor first asked me if I wanted a trip, I jumped at the chance,” she admitted slowly. Martha looked up as Rose stayed quiet next to her. “I’d just come from Leo’s twenty-first birthday and everyone was arguing. I’d been to the moon but no one believed me. No one really cared, all they wanted to do was shout at each other and keep circling in their own little worlds.”
Martha flopped back on the floor, feet dangling off her yoga mat onto the highly polished hardwood beneath. She had no idea what kind of wood it was but it definitely wasn’t native-Earth wood.
“So I ran. I leaped at the chance to do something and see things and be more than Martha in the Middle, the child who kept the peace, the one everyone used as a go-between. I wanted something for me, and the Doctor’s offer was it.”
“And you don’t want to tell them the truth because you’re afraid of what?” Rose asked gently. “That they’ll take it from you? That they won’t understand? That they’ll laugh at you?” She grimaced. “Yeah.”
For the first time Martha wondered how Rose’s mum found out about aliens and travelling with the Doctor.
“I ran,” Martha sighed, not in answer to Rose’s question—in answer to her own internal questions. “I used the chance to run. Exploring and seeing history and the future and all those things was great. But I used the offer to run away.”
Rose nodded and licked her lips, slowly folding herself onto the mat next to Martha. “I didn’t at first, you know. I didn’t go with him. The first time the Doctor asked me, I let my fears hold me back. I wanted to. Oh, I wanted to. I wanted to be with the most amazing man in his fantastic ship and see everything. But I said no. Because I was scared.”
Rose stretched out next to her and the hum of the TARDIS changed. Martha looked up at the vaulted ceiling. Before a nondescript coral and grey, now it was one of the nebulas they’d seen, the four of them standing in the open doors of the TARDIS, simply watching the beauty of the universe.
Jack’s hard body behind her, one arm around her shoulders. She’d rested her head on his chest and had felt utterly content. There were no family arguments, no arrogantly bored doctors taking her around her internship, no other interns…no exams. Just them, the four of them staring out into space at one of the most beautiful scenes Martha’d ever witnessed.
“I didn’t tell my mum…” Rose paused and sighed. “I thought it’d be a short trip—or at least the Doctor promised that no matter what we did, to my mum it’d only be a few hours and no one would notice. But then her life was in danger because I hadn’t told her.” Rose stopped and shrugged, her clothing rustling on the 30th century all natural fiber yoga mat.
“She didn’t handle it well, I won’t lie to you. But it was better when she knew.”
“Because you didn’t have to lie?” Martha asked. She sighed and rested a hand on the hardwood floor and the warmth of the TARDIS melted through her. “I’m not very good a lying. I prefer to just avoid it all.”
“No,” Rose disagreed.
She didn’t sound angry or sad or much of anything—resigned. Quiet. Martha suddenly remembered her mum was in another universe and Rose couldn’t just ring her up and chat. Or stop by and pretend only a day or a few hours had passed.
Her heart twisted at the thought. Sure, she didn’t mind avoiding her family, but to know she’d never see them again? Martha reached out, still staring up at the nebula, and squeezed Rose’s hand. She couldn’t look at her, afraid the tears she felt on her friend’s behalf would spill over.
“Because.” Rose cleared her throat and squeezed her hand back. Martha felt the other woman relax beside her and then did turn just enough to make sure Rose was okay. Or as okay as she could be.
Rose took a deep breath and smiled up at the sky—the image the TARDIS offered them with Her warm glow and soft understanding. Martha relaxed again, her hand slipping from Rose’s.
“When my mum knew what to expect,” Rose continued, “she knew what to look out for. She wasn’t going to blindly walk into something she thought was human but was really alien. She didn’t always get it, but she was more aware.”
“She didn’t completely lose it?” Martha asked.
Suddenly she wanted to meet Jackie Tyler. Wanted to know Rose’s mum. And maybe wanted to use Jackie to ease things between her and her own mum. She was adult enough to admit that.
“Oh, she did!” Rose laughed now and folded her own hands behind her head. “She did. But later, once I’d said…once I was in that other universe for a while. Months. Nearly half a year.” She cleared her throat again.
“She told me and Mickey something. We were working on the cannon, the stars weren’t yet going out but it was all theoretical at that point anyway, going through the Void once it was completely closed.”
Rose paused and swallowed. Martha didn’t have to wonder if Rose would’ve jumped across dimensions if the stars hadn’t been going out—she knew. The answer was yes. Always yes. Would she do that for Jack?
“Anyway, Mum said something she told Elton, this kid who was looking for the Doctor. He wanted answers about something that had happened in his childhood but wasn’t real subtle about it. He tried to use Mum to get to me and through me, the Doctor.”
Rose sat up and looked at Martha, direct and confident and certain. “She said she’d told Elton she’d protect us, both of us—me and the Doctor—until the day she died. That’s who she became. Because the Doctor, he doesn’t force you to change, or make you, he makes you want to change. He…”
She paused and frowned, hands vaguely waving as she spoke. “The Doctor sees potential in you. He doesn’t ask just anyone to travel with him.” Rose grinned and Martha laughed in response. “He doesn’t change you, no that’s wrong. He…”
“Makes you reach deep inside yourself and find who you’re supposed to be,” Martha finished for her.
Rose nodded enthusiastically. “Yes!” She laughed and leaned forward just a bit. “And if my mum could change because of the Doctor, yours can, too.”
“My mum’s going to freak,” Martha sighed. She couldn’t even imagine her mum’s reaction. Didn’t want to. “For all intents and purposes all she’ll see is that I dropped out of school; I’m traveling with strangers; I’m sleeping with a guy who’s going to ruin my life and on top of that can never die.”
“You didn’t drop out of school,” Rose pointed out reasonably. “And we’re not strangers. We’re family.”
Martha laughed. Warmed and happy and accepting. “And Jack?”
“Well, it’s true—he’s not going to die for like five billion years.” Rose frowned. “Don’t tell her that. Let him charm your mum.” Rose laughed and stood. “I’ll keep the Doctor away until you and Jack can sort things out with your family. Then everyone can meet us, yeah?”
Martha found herself nodding before she realized she’d agreed. “Yeah. Okay.” She stood and took a deep breath—the scent of jasmine swept over her, fresh and soothing and just what she needed. It was a scent she hadn’t realized often accompanied her around the TARDIS until she’d missed it.
Was it the ship’s way of reassuring her? Martha didn’t know but liked to think so. She ran a hand over the wall to convey her thanks. The TARDIS hummed and the lights flickered ever so subtly in reply.
“Come on,” she told Rose. “Let’s go get breakfast.”