Title: Marked for Eternity
Word Count: 6821 [in Microsoft Word]
Genre: Angsty Romance?
Rating: R [nothing too dirty, really]
Spoilers: S4’s “Journey’s End” and then some random references to earlier serials – including classic!Who – such as “City of Death.”
Summary: The Doctor is in a very dark place after the events of “Journey’s End” and, while Martha finally gets to be with him, sometimes getting what you want is not quite how you fantasized it might be. A dysfunctional love story in seven parts.
Warnings: Infant [newborn] death, [secondary] character death
All your Doctor Who are belong to us
Sadly, I own nothing related to Doctor Who et al. I am just playing around in their sandbox for a bit of fun.
Author Notes: This fic was directly inspired by an LJ-comment discussion
I was having with prof_pangaea
yesterday. In fact, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head and churned the whole thing out in what was, pretty much, one sitting [well, with a dinner break] – much to the annoyance of my body and mind, amusingly enough, as I pretty much stayed up all night to do so, leaving me a fatigued mess today. Anyway, I am not sure if this is the sort of thing that he wanted, but I was so happy that after days and days of writer’s block I had a story grab me so strongly that I wrote it anyway. Thanks so much to persiflage_1
who beta’d this piece. Any other mistakes are all mine. Feedback is happy-making, so please leave a word or two [even if I am a bit slack in responding, your comments always make my day].
The Doctor was at her door, his clothes still wet from the rain – sticking to him as they, like his sorrow, weighed him down – and his body feeling numb.
All he wanted was to feel
again – feel something other than the encroaching darkness that threatened to take hold of him – and, then suddenly, images of fingertips brushing against skin and lips on lips and ancient sensual movements of flesh against flesh had rushed into his mind unbidden.
He’d been surprised by the sudden surge of desire that had rushed through him like a bolt, but even more surprised how it had all led him to her.
The lock on the door clicked, bringing his thoughts back to the present, as the door swung open before him, letting the light from her home fill some color into his body’s dark outline.
“Martha Jones,” he breathed.---
“How long have you been outside in the rain? Where is Donna? What brings you here in the middle of the night? Is someone hurt?”
Her battery of questions hung in the air around them as she circled him, trying to help him peel off the layers of wet clothing.
She had blushed once he’d bared his chest – he’d noticed, he’d always
noticed – but then averted her eyes as she handed him a man’s dressing gown. “You can take care of the rest, I presume?” she offered awkwardly, gesturing toward his trousers.
He stepped closer to her, so close that he could feel the heat of her body and smell her delicious arousal. “But I thought you
could help me, Dr. Jones,” he said softly, his words caressing her ear.
Martha stepped back abruptly from him, looking up at him as a range of emotions crossed her features. “You are not yourself tonight,” she said, her tone suddenly clipped and professional with him, “I should check on the tea.”
She started to turn to leave him, but he grabbed her arm. “Oh, Dr. Jones, to the contrary, I am more
myself than ever tonight. It’s just more than you’ve ever seen and haven’t you always,” he asked, moving close to her again as he kissed her neck and then let his lips just linger there, taking her hand in his. He then slowly drew that hand lightly across the button of his trousers, delighting in the way she was trembling, “wanted
to see more of me?”
“Doctor…please,” she pleaded, her voice almost a whimper.
“Martha Jones, you are mine and you always will be mine. Can’t you smell it?” he breathed in deeply against her neck, “The scent of time is all over you. I’ve marked you for an eternity.”
“Oh yes, that simple human man you want to marry, that simple human man that you try to fill that void inside yourself with. But it’s never enough, is it?”
“Doctor, I’m over you. I loved you once, but no more,”
she countered, though he could tell the strength behind those words were fading, that there was obviously a part of herself that didn’t believe what she was saying.
“Is that what you say to yourself so that you can sleep at night? So that you can have all this?” he leaned back to look exaggeratedly around them and then back at her. “You are more than this whole mundane existence and you know it. You’ve saved the world, the universe, and here you are making tea and…getting married.”
“Maybe I want this…'mundane existence.' Maybe I want Tom.”
“You want excitement, Martha. I can give you more excitement than any of this
The Doctor lifted her hand to his lips. “Not as much as I do, I’d wager,” he countered, kissing her curled fingers, lightly caressing her skin with his tongue.
He stopped suddenly, looking down at her. There was a twinge inside him, feeling like a vice-grip coiling inside his belly at her words. He wasn’t one to feel much jealousy, or feel territorial, or –
“And where is he now, eh?” he snapped.
“Africa. Still in Africa.”
“How convenient that he’s away then. Do you like being left alone, Martha?”
“It’s for his work.”
“Do you like being left alone, Martha?” he repeated, his tone still even, still penetrating.
“It’s what he needed to do.”
“Do you like being left alone, Martha?”
“Stop it! It’s not as if you
never left me alone, Doctor! Get off that high horse of yours. You aren’t any better!”
“But I’m here,
aren’t I?” he replied, his calm voice running counter to the growing anger in hers.
“Now is all that matters.”
“I thought all of time was important, Time Lord,”
“Yes, it is, but now,” he slid his arms around her, drawing her against him, “now is the time of action, the time we do things or don’t do things, the time where we grasp opportunities handed to us or we don’t. Are you going to grab that opportunity, Martha? Or will you just let it slip into the past, forever untouched.”
“But I love him,” she whispered.
“Well, then he is a lucky man indeed,” he said, leading her over to the couch.
Clothes were slowly discarded and soon she was on top of him, moving against him, fulfilling his desires with each moan of his name and twist of her body. Finally receptive to him, she’d asked him to stay with her in her bed, but once she was asleep he had quietly slipped away into the night and back to the TARDIS.
As he flipped the switches to ascend into the vortex, he stopped to run his hand through his hair with a shuddering sigh, swallowing hard and speaking aloud, “I may have just made her hate me.”+ + +
Four Months Later. Relative Time. Martha’s Wedding Rehearsals.
“I see you’re getting married after all.”
He was leaning against a column in the courtyard of the church, his hands deep in his pockets. He’d watched her as she exited the back of the church, looking a bit harried, as if she were running from the chaos. He’d smirked at that – his Martha Jones, so much like him in so many ways.
Her eyes had widened upon noticing him and she quickly walked over to him, her expression more determined and angry than happy to see him. He’d seen that look before -- in her mother’s eyes outside of LazLabs.
He half-expected her to slap him (and, to be honest, he wouldn’t have blamed her if she had).
“It’s not as if you stayed around. You ran
“Always on the run, this life, Martha. Always have to move on and on. That is just how it is. The planets don’t stop spinning, stars don’t stop floating through space, time never stops passing…so I can’t stop.”
“Is that what you say to yourself so that you can sleep at night?”
Her words echoed his own from the last time they were together – a clever barb to try and gouge him, to turn his own words against him. She had always been good, his Martha, but he’d not expected her to be so acerbic with him. Perhaps he had
“Why, Martha, you know that’s easily avoided for me. I just rarely ever sleep,” he offered in feigned nonchalance, knowing his smile was more menacing than he wanted it to be.
“It’s seems everything
is easy for you to avoid then. Bravo.”
“Not everything.” He stood up straight and moved to close the distance between them.
He started to wrap his arms around her, but she swatted them angrily away. This hurt him more than he cared to admit. “What happened between us that night, it can never ever
happen again,” she said evenly.
“I don’t think you believe that.”
“Well, I do. I just…had a moment of weakness, that’s all.”
He sarcastically laughed at her response -- he couldn’t help it, he was never good with his impulses. “Moment of weakness? I’d say the opposite. You showed strength in the sheer rebellion of your actions. You went with what you wanted
instead of what is expected of you. That is not weakness, Martha. That is what I love about you.”
“So, does the groom know about our last evening together?”
“Of course not!”
“Good. I’ve already had your mother slap me, that last thing I need is some imbecile trying to have a punch-up with me over you. I quite like this face,” he reached up to rub his cheek, “I wouldn’t want it ruined.”
“I hate you,” she spat.
“Oh Martha, such romantic overtures. What would your family think?”
He was trying not to cry. He refused to let her see him cry over this.
“Doctor, why are you here? Why do you keep bothering me? Can’t you leave me alone? Rose is back, go to her or something. Isn’t she the one you want?”
“She’s gone, Martha. Back in the parallel world with the other me. I doubt they are fairing better than us, honestly. I was never a very good matchmaker, I’m afraid.”
“Doctor,” she breathed, the tension in her body softening. She then surprised him by wrapping her arms around him. “All that time without her, only to lose her again.”
“It was for the best,” he whispered, tentatively letting himself embrace her, not ready to let her see how much power she had over him.
“I don’t really hate you,” she said, her words muffled against the fabric of his jacket lapel.
“That’s good,” he replied with a mirthless laugh, “Can’t have pretty girls like you hating me, well, no more than usual at least.”
She quietly held him, the proximity of her – smelling of the universe, of time and space, and lust overwhelming his senses – stirred him. “I need you. I need to be with you. Right now.”
“We can’t do this again, Doctor. Not if you are going to leave again.”
“I always have to leave, Martha. That is just how it goes.”
“But…the rehearsal, my family, my friends…Tom.”
“You are mine, Martha Jones. Always mine.”
She pulled from him and looked up at him, her eyes dark and penetrating. When had that darkness settled there? When had he made her a monster?
“I know a place,” she offered, pulling him by the hand across the courtyard into a gathering of nearby trees.
“And what will they think of your absence?” he asked, feeling suddenly nervous in her presence.
“They think I’m out taking a walk. I’d said I’d wanted to be alone and they will respect that.”
He lifted her against a tree, slipping her dress up to her waist and he opened the zip of his trousers. “And do you, Martha? Do you want to be alone?”
“Never,” she breathed against him, gasping as he pushed himself inside her.+ + +
Eight Months Later. Relative Time. A Café Near London.
“A little different than you’re used to seeing me, yeah?” Martha asked him, proudly rubbing the rise of her belly as she sat across him in a café.
He’d been surprised that she’d agreed so easily to meet up with him -- knowing the proverbial tangled web they were weaving – but he had been even more surprised to see her with child.
“You are definitely glowing, Dr. Jones.”
“I can’t believe it some days. I mean, me as a mother?”
“And is it…Tom’s?”
Confusion clouded her expression. “I…never thought. Do you think – ?” she stammered.
“No, no,” he assured her. “Very doubtful. Incompatible species and all that.”
He held his breath, trying to hide his concern from her. Could it be his? Certainly not…
“He…it is a boy, by the way…he has had some medical problems. They think he has a weak heart, but Tom is a pediatrician and assures me that everything will be just fine. I am sure with two doctors for parents, he is in good hands.”
“Good, good,” he replied, chewing on his lip before plastering a wide smile on his face. “So, a boy, then?”
“Yes,” she said, mirroring his smile.
“And have you thought of what you will call him?”
“John Smith, yes.”
“Martha – ”
“Oh, don’t get an ego about it. Who’s to say we won’t just refer to him by the nickname of Jack, anyway,” she replied with a wink.---
She was above him as he sprawled on his mattress in the TARDIS. He couldn’t believe the sight of her – so utterly beautiful as she carried a life within her. He could almost feel the child, as he bumped up against her uterus as he moved within her – trying in some way to touch it, trying to see if maybe, just maybe,
the child might be his after all –
He pressed fingertips against her belly, trying to make some sort of connection, desperate to be proven wrong (or right). There was nothing though, only stillness and silence punctuated by the faint whooshing weak heartbeat and the staccato of Martha’s gratified moans.
His fingers slipped down her belly, now caressing her clitoris with one as the other hand held her steady by her hip. She called out loudly, her body moving harder against him, against his caresses, and he lay back and marveled at the beauty of life and how it simply rested within her, ready to be given to the world as an amazing gift.
He could feel the tension mounting within her and as her climax peaked, he suddenly felt the shocking glimmer of the child’s consciousness hit him, only to fade back into silence. And he knew – oh, he knew
– in that fleeting moment, who the father truly was.
He knew, but swore to himself to never tell her.
Maybe, on some level, he’d wanted her to have that illusion of a mundane life as well.
A few months later though – after a pleasant day of several hours spent exploring the Caves of Hartythos on Trioditis – he returned to the TARDIS to discover a brief, but tearful message on Martha’s mobile left for him: The baby died at birth from heart failure.
There was a part of him that had honestly not been surprised, however devastated he was. The weak heart had worried him, the biology and medical problems of the child had worried him, but he’d dared to let himself hope that – as Martha had said – the baby was in good hands, that the child of “two doctors” (only in this case, a doctor and the Doctor)
would somehow be safe from harm --
He went back to the caves that night and held his own small, personal memorial – with a small candle burning beside him as he knelt on the ground and forgotten words from Gallifreyan scrolls falling from his lips in grief. Then, digging a small hole before him by clawing angrily at the ground with his fingers, he’d buried a small bundle consisting of a tiny shirt – a gift he was going to give to the baby, a shirt that had the words “Out of this World Baby” on it that he’d once found amusing, but now found too painful to think about – as he buried any hopes of becoming a father again with the now-tattered fabric.
He would not go to visit Martha for two more years.+ + +
Two Years Later. Relative Time. Rannoch Moor, Scotland.
“Martha Jones, have I ever told you how intoxicating you look in that para-military garb? I’m not usually one for anything reminiscent of the brutality of soldiers, but – “
“Doctor, there is a time and a place.”
The two of them were in Scotland, running -- hand in hand – across the edge of Rannoch Moor, from a fugitive Hoix. It had originally come to the attention of authorities near Glasgow and, from numerous accounts, was causing the locals along the A82 quite a bit of trouble as it made its way
North. UNIT had tracked it to the Moor – apparently including Martha on the mission to help tend to the wounded who’d attempted -- and failed – to subdue it.
The Doctor, tipped off about the incident in Glasgow by Torchwood (Jack Harkness, respectively), had also made his way to Rannoch Moor – much to the surprise of both UNIT personnel and, later, Dr. Martha Jones.
In fact, Martha had to been tending to a fatally wounded field officer when he’d found her – just in time to see her obviously startled by the nearby growling Hoix. Before she could react, he’d quickly run up behind her and grabbed her by the hand. She’d gasped in surprise when she saw it was him, and though his hearts leapt a bit at her jubilant expression, it was no time for heartfelt greetings.
“Now, run!” he’d ordered her as they began to run, the angry shrieking Hoix hot on their trail.
“You know, we really must stop meeting like this, Dr. Jones,” the Doctor said moments later.
“Well, you know, aliens and you just seem to go hand in hand, don’t they?”
“Just like us,” he observed, squeezing her hand a bit.
“So, this thing?”
“Yes, a Hoix. What will it do if it catches us?”
“Well, it does like to eat, so, well, you can probably guess.”
“Great and I thought I was just going to have a quiet Sunday afternoon,” Martha panted, pulling her walkie-talkie from the clip of her belt, warning UNIT base-camp they were – rather unintentionally – bringing the Hoix to them.
They soon crested the hill to the base-camp, the mud of the moor starting to slow them more and more, making it harder and harder for them to run.
“Doctor, I’m not sure I can – “
“Martha, we can make it. We are so close. I’ve got you.”
The Doctor could feel her struggling, but knew if they stopped, they would only have seconds before the Hoix started to get too close. “My back, get on my back.”
“Martha, this is no time to argue. I’m going to stop, but I need you to get onto my back as quickly as you can.”
“Whatever you say.” She sounded hesitant, but he had to trust she would follow his direction. He was not about to let her get hurt.
“On the count of three. One…two…three.” He stopped himself, trying to not topple over from the momentum. “Now, Martha, now!”
Martha scrambled up his back, wrapping her arms and legs around him. Once she was settled, he took off into another sprint, frowning a bit at the wetness seeping through his trainers from the heavier weight, but strangely excited by having her so near to him again after so long.
UNIT soldiers began to run toward them in the distance, tranquilizer guns at the ready. Before he’d found Martha, he’d already discussed with the Brigadier that he would not help them if they’d made any attempts to kill the Hoix. He was honestly not much more pleased with the idea of them using tranquilizer guns, or the fact that Torchwood was on their way to take it back to one of their holding cells, but he also knew the aggressive beast was one who could not be bargained with and needed to be subdued, and would try to kill or maim everyone around it before he could bring it back to its homeworld.
As the UNIT soldiers closed in, he could hear the whizzing sound of the tranquilizer as it shot past them and the agonized shriek of the Hoix as it struck its neck. There was a loud thump as it fell to the ground behind them and soon the Doctor stopped his race to the encampment.
The Doctor let Martha down behind some of the UNIT vehicles and bent over at his sides, heaving slightly.
“I thought you had a respiratory bypass system,” Martha offered, running a soothing hand over his upper back.
“I do,” he panted, “but running that far, in the thick mud, and then carrying a beautiful damsel is enough to exhaust even a Time Lord such as myself.”
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
“Whatever for?” he asked, looking over at her worried expression.
“You didn’t have to carry me, you know?”
“My Martha, as stubborn as ever.”
“You didn’t,” she reiterated, hands now on her hips.
“I know, and you didn’t have to give me a ‘thank you’ kiss either, did you?”
“Wha -- ?” she began, but was cut off by his lips suddenly pressed against hers.
He felt her hands pressing against his chest, pushing him from her. “Not here,” she replied, obviously reading his confused expression as their kiss abruptly ended. “People here know I’m married.”---
Martha took a sip of her tea as she sat across from the Doctor in the TARDIS kitchen -- her wet hair rolled in a towel and wearing only a soft dressing gown. After she had made a few statements to her superiors regarding the details of what had happened with the Hoix and the wounded soldier, the Doctor had graciously offered to take her back to London himself on his way back to the Hoix homeworld.
The two of them had played things innocently amongst the UNIT officers (many of whom knew they were friends and were honestly too awestruck by his presence to question things), but that innocence had quickly dissipated once inside his ship, as they’d practically torn off their muddied clothes and made passionate love in the shower.
“So, two years?” Martha asked, setting her cup down on the table.
“Yes,” the Doctor answered simply, taking a sip of his own tea.
“This is the longest you’ve been away,” she paused, looking down at her tea, “I was starting to wonder if I’d ever see you again.”
He reached over to take her hand. “I’m sorry. I honestly didn’t know what to say about…your son,” he heaved a heavy sigh, “so I did what I always do in such situations – I didn’t say anything at all.”
“You know that you can be a real bastard, don’t you?” she said, though her harsh words carried the faint flicker of a smile.
come to my attention, yes.”
Martha took a long sip of her tea, her eyes now sad as she regarded him as though deep in thought. “It was hard, very hard, after John’s death, but Tom and I are at the point now where we are trying again.”
“I wish you both the best, I do,” he offered, trying to push down any resentment that she might carry another man’s child, knowing full well that he had no right to feel that way.
“What are we doing? You come and visit me again and again, knowing that I can hardly say no to you, making me feel as if you might actually care for me, and then you wander off to not be seen for months or even years later.”
He ran his hand through his wet hair, setting down his tea as he blew out a deep, staggered breath. “I don’t know, Martha. I really don’t.”
“Do you love me?”
“Martha – “
“Do you? It’s a simple question.”
“Nothing is simple with me, Martha. You know that.”
“Doctor, do you love me?”
“Why do you need to know? Does it even matter? All you humans, obsessing about such words instead of just reveling in the moment. It’s happened before, with Rose, and now you, and I -- ”
“Doctor,” she interrupted him. “I do need to know.”
“Is trying to understand why I feel the need to cheat on a man who is absolutely devoted to me not enough? Is trying to understand why, no matter how much I resist, that at the drop of a hat, I am yours completely not enough? Maybe I am going insane, I don’t know. I just know that the only time I feel truly alive
is when I am in your arms and that scares the hell out of me.”
“I can’t be what you want, Martha.”
“And what is that? Because I know that I surely would like to figure that out myself.”
“Martha…can’t we just…be here, now, together,
without all the complications?”
“No, Doctor. I can’t do this anymore, not if this is just some game you are playing with me. It’s not fair to Tom and it’s not fair to me.”
“Martha – “
She stood and walked quickly out of the kitchen, leaving him stunned. He shut his eyes tightly for a moment, trying to compose himself against the crashing heartache threatening to smack into him, and then stood to find her.
She’d locked herself in the old room she’d used when she used to travel with him -- and while he knew that he could easily open the door with his sonic screwdriver – he also knew that would most likely only damage things further between them.
“Martha, please,” he pleaded, his words sure to be muffled by the door, though he didn’t care.
After several minutes of no response, he slid down the wall beside the door, pulling his knees up to his chest as he settled on the floor there. He caressed the door with shaking fingertips, his eyesight starting to blur from tears, and whispered, “I love you, Martha Jones.”
She would barely say anything to him before she angrily walked out the doors of the TARDIS the next morning to her house in London – back to Tom. He thought how the worst thing for him was watching her walk out those doors and how the painful realization of her departure had -- yet again – paralyzed him into inaction.
This was her, getting out. + + +
Five Years Later. Relative Time. A London Playground.
He watched her sitting on a park bench, smiling as she watched the children in the playground before her. He wondered if she was a mother now or if she was simply wishing to be one as she watched them play.
“The sea-saw was always my favorite,” he offered awkwardly, sitting down heavily on the bench next to her.
“Doctor?” she gasped.
“Then again, I do quite like the swings as well.”
Her brow furrowed at him and he tensed. There was a part of him that hoped that after so long, with such casual conversation, that things might be easier between them. He was now starting to think he’d perhaps made a mistake.
“What are you doing here?”
“Oh, just having a wander here and there, thought I would drop in. So,” he gestured toward the children, “any belong to you?”
Martha softened at the mention of children and smiled, pointing to a nearby boy on a slide. He looked about three years old with a head of thick dark curls. “That one. Thomas. He’s the spitting image of Tom, actually.”
The Doctor momentarily watched the boy, merrily smiling and laughing as he went to climb the steps to slide again. He had only met Tom face-to-face just once – and that was only briefly – but somehow it was enough to know there was no question that this was indeed his child.
His stomach turned, surprised a bit that the envy of her parenthood with Tom still had such a visceral effect on him. “Thomas,” he echoed, even as memories of John flickered in his mind.
“Five years, that’s a record.”
He turned back to her, watching her nervously chew her fingernail as she looked at him. “Yes, well, you know, always going and going, busy, busy, busy.”
She hummed in assent, turning to watch her son again.
“I wanted to,” he added, trying to fill the silence growing between them, “I just met someone. I mean, I’ve been traveling with someone.”
“No, no, no,
nothing like that,” he said with a mirthless laugh, “You’d like her. She’s a fiery redhead from Dublin – Margaret, she’s called – absolutely brilliant and always keeping me on my toes.”
“A fiery redhead? Like Donna?” Martha asked, sadly.
His breath hitched at Donna’s name. He’d drawn the obvious comparisons himself, of course, when he’d first met Margaret, but he’d done his best to not dwell too much on the memory of his lost friend. “No. No one will ever be like Donna.”
Another silence fell between them and the Doctor fought the urge to just run as quickly as he could from there. He couldn’t stand the feeling of unease between himself and Martha, especially as she was one of the few people he truly felt he could connect with.
Sure, Margaret was a wonderful companion, but she was also quite reserved and aloof when it came to emotions (much like him, if he were honest) – a trait that had honestly made her attractive as a companion when they’d first met, so soon after Martha had left him and he was still reeling from that pain. She was therefore not someone that he was particularly close to, outside of cerebral banter about Maths and having adventures together, that is.
“I see her sometimes, you know. I check up on her, try and make sure she is all right,” Martha added.
“And is she…all right I mean?” he stammered, suddenly noticing he was wringing his hands.
“Mostly, she’s got herself a bloke, moved into her own place, and seems to be temping from what I can tell. I don’t know much more as I can’t really speak to her, but I do speak to Wilf as I can and get updates from him.”
“Ah Wilf, always looking up at stars.”
“So, Doctor,” she turned to look squarely at him, “what brings you to me today?”
“Margaret is visiting her parents.”
“Oh, so you were just lonely, thought ‘Oh that Martha Jones, she’ll give me company’ or something astonishingly similar, I’d wager.”
“I missed you, Martha.”
“Well, I miss a lot of things too, but I let them go when it’s time to.”
“But…I love you,” he breathed, his heartsbeat loud in his ears with his confession.
“Don’t you think you are a bit late for that?”
“I don’t believe in being too late, I’m a Time Lord.”
“Well, you have terrible timing, as usual,
for someone so linked to the flow of it.”
“But I need you, Martha.”
“Doctor, have you somehow forgotten that I’m a mother now? I’m not that young woman that can go running off with you anymore.”
“I’m not asking you to run off anywhere,” he said, his tone now exasperated, “I just want to be with you again.”
“Please leave me alone,” she said evenly, turning from him.---
The Doctor spent the rest of the day composing several drafts of a letter that might encapsulate his feelings for Martha. Still, while he’d met some of the greatest poets and writers during his many travels, he was certainly not one himself and therefore struggled immensely with finding the right words.
He knew that he needed to do this, though. It was a gesture far too overdue.
Tucked into the grip of the windshield wiper of her car, he left the letter for Martha the next morning, and then hid around the corner to anxiously watch for when she discovered it. She’d rushed outside soon after, kissing Tom and little Thomas goodbye at the front door, before stopping outside her car to read the mysterious letter.
After she was finished, she walked over to a nearby rubbish bin and crumpled it up, tossing it inside. He worried about what her reaction to his words might be, straining to see if he could spot any hint in her expression.
He did not miss the smile on her lips as she got inside her car and drove away.+ + +
Two and a Half Years Later. Relative Time. Paris.
Shortly after Martha had read his letter, she’d left him a voicemail on her mobile. She’d simply said, “Just give me a little time. I’ll call when I’m ready.”
If he could give Martha Jones anything, time
was the one thing he could give with certainty.
He’d waited and waited and it was honestly hard for him (never one to enjoy waiting for anything) – hard to not just rush forward in his TARDIS to see her later – but he was tethered to her timeline by her phone, just as his hearts were tethered to her. So, when her mobile rang almost three years later – in the middle of a hostage negotiation with some feuding Silurians and his newest companion, Erik (a spotty Essex lad), at his side – he’d rather quickly dropped everything and rushed off to the restaurant in Paris, where she’d asked him to meet up with her.
He turned around to see her standing a few feet from him near the entrance of the place. She was older now, of course, but to him she still looked just as stunning as the first day they’d met.
“Oh, give me a hug,” she said, her face brightening into a big smile as she rushed toward him. He picked her up and swung her around in circles, the two of them laughing in joyful reunion.
“I hope you weren’t busy,” she said as he set her down on the pavement.
“Nothing too vital. Chatting with old friends, dropping a companion off with the family, same old life,” he replied casually. She didn’t need to know the truth.
“No,” his took in a deep breath. “Margaret died.”
“Oh,” she reached down and took his hand, “I’m so sorry.”
“Yeah, well,” he reached behind his head with his free hand to scratch his neck, “As I said, same old life.”
“A nasty run-in with a Ogron energy weapon, I’m afraid. We’d been separated when she’d ended up too close to a brawl and got hit quite by accident. I was too late to save her, she was already dead when I found her.” He surprised even himself by answering so easily.
“I’m so very sorry for your loss,” she stretched upward, on her toes, and pressed a soft kiss to his cheek. “Why don’t we go inside?”
He was relieved at the change in subject. Martha had actually become quite adept at knowing when to push and when to hold back with him – and he was thankful for that.
“So, what brings you to Paris?” he asked her as they made their way inside and found a table.
“A project for UNIT. Same old life for me as well, I suppose.”
“And Tom and Thomas?”
He pushed inside her, delighting in the soft moans that he pulled from her as they made love on his bed in the TARDIS. Oh, he’d missed this -- missed her touch, her scent, her taste
– and quickly found himself attempting, as always, to memorize each detail to cherish for those long periods they were away from one another again.
“Paris always makes me think of love,” he sighed, lying back with Martha draped over his chest once they’d finished.
“That’s quite common, actually.”
“I fell in love here once. There was me, a pretty girl, a hothead, a Jagaroth, and several Mona Lisas. It was all really quite romantic.”
“Sounds like it,” Martha replied with a small laugh, “and what happened to this pretty girl?”
“Left me to stay in another universe, E-Space. As ever, I was quite ineffectual in a romantic relationship when it came down.”
“I think you are too hard on yourself.”
He sighed, caressing Martha’s arm with his fingertips. “Maybe I am.”+ + +
Thirteen Years Later. Relative Time. The Milligan Home.
Martha’s mobile rang as he busily worked under the TARDIS console, but he rushed to answer it nevertheless. Over the years of seeing her on and off, she’d teased him that he still had her phone, calling it old fashioned while he called it sentimental. He’d refused to accept a replacement from her and after several tries, she’d stopped offering, only to laugh and shake her head at him.
Three years had passed since he’d last heard from her and he had to admit that he’d missed her terribly. “Dr. Martha Jones, to what do I owe this honor?” he said excitedly into the mouthpiece after flipping the phone open.
“Doctor, I need to see you now,” she replied, tears evident in her voice.
“I’ll be right there.”
The TARDIS groaned and wheezed as it materialized inside Martha’s home. As he exited, it immediately stuck him how different the large spacious house was in comparison to the colorful small flat she’d lived in when he’d first met her.
“Martha?” he called out, surprised she’d not met him upon arrival.
“In here,” he heard her voice softly reply and followed it’s sound into the living room.
Before him was Martha, sitting on a couch, dressed in black and crying. He rushed quickly to her side, taking her into his arms as he sat down beside her. “Oh, Martha, tell me what’s happened.”
“Tom,” she paused, letting out a sob, “he’s dead.”
He let her cry against him, knowing the pain of losing a loved one far too well himself. He wasn’t sure what comfort he could offer her, so he gave her what he could.
“It was an automobile accident,” she added a few minutes later, her voice horse and laden with sorrow. “They said he likely died instantly from the impact, but I still can’t believe that he’s gone.”
“How long has it been?” he asked her softly, stroking her back as he continued to hold her.
“A month ago. I thought the deep pain would mostly be alleviated by now, I thought I could move on, but I just – “
“How do you do it, Doctor? How do you keep moving forward?”
“I wish I knew. I suppose I just keep going because if I were to stop and look back – “
“It would hurt too much.”
Martha pulled from him, reaching up to lightly stroke his face. “Look at you. I keep getting older and you keep looking the same, how rude of you.”
“Another woman I loved once said that to me as well.”
“Do you even age?”
“Not enough for you to notice, I’m afraid.”
“And how must I look to you now,” she said, looking down at her lap.
He pulled up her chin with a curled finger to look at him. “My dearest Martha, you look absolutely beautiful, as ever.”
“But I’m fifty years old now.”
“And I’m over nine hundred years old. We both look really good, if I do say so myself.”
Martha bit her lip as she regarded him, fear flashing in her eyes. “Take me away, Doctor. I can’t be in this house anymore.”
“What about Thomas?”
“He’s moved out, attending University, for music of all things. Two doctors for parents and he wants to be a rock star!”
“Can’t blame him, we both know how alluring the stage can be,” he replied, winking at her as he wistfully remembered their first trip together to Elizabethan England.
“Please, Doctor, can I come with you?” she asked him sadly, her hands now clinging to his arms.
“You needed only to ask. You are always welcome with me.”
“Even at my age?”
He leaned forward to capture her lips in a kiss, reaching up to caress her neck. Once they parted, he smiled down at her, his love for her rushing through his senses as he gazed down at her softly parted lips. “Where would you like to go, Dr. Jones? We can go anywhere you please.”
He smiled again, looking down at the soft dazed expression in her eyes as she’d looked up at him. It reminded him of the first kiss they’d ever shared, at Royal Hope with the platoon of Judoon on the Moon (the rhyme still made him chuckle) and he suddenly knew where he wanted to take her.
He stood, offering his hand to her to join him and then she stood beside him, that same sparkle from her youth now gleaming in her eyes again.
“They say when you don’t know where to go, go back to the beginning,” he offered his arm to her, “Martha Jones, might you accompany me to the Moon?”
“Yes, Mr, Smith, I will,” she replied, taking his arm, her face now alight with a newfound excitement.
He wasn’t sure how long they’d have together, but honestly he didn’t care to ponder it. No, all that mattered to him was that they were finally traveling with one another again:
Smith and Jones, across time and space.