Title: Ardor in Binary
Characters/Pairings: 10.5/alt!Martha, Ten/Martha
Word Count: 11,738 total | 5,966 part one
Genre: Smutty romance with a heaping side of angst
Spoilers: Post-S4 new!Who
Summary: As 10.5 [Handy] shyly tries to become part of alt!Martha’s life in the alt!verse, he finds himself reminiscing about the relationship between the Doctor and the other universe’s Martha.
Warning: Vague dub-con in one scene
All your Doctor Who are belong to us
Sadly, I own nothing related to Doctor Who. I am just playing around in their sandbox for a bit of fun.
Author Notes: This fic was written for persiflage_1
’s birthday present. She requested Ten/Martha or 10.5/alt!Martha, so I decided to give her both! I also designed a wallpaper based on the story banner for a bonus gift that anyone can feel free to grab here: 800 x 600
| 1024 x 768As an aside, the way 10.5/Handy looks in this fic is like David does in the wallpaper/banner, with an addition of a grey hoodie [which could be interpreted as one like this].
Thank you to fourzoas
for the tremendous work as my beta. She really helped so much with keeping me both on track and sane during the whole process!
Feedback is happy-making, so please leave a word or two if so inclined [even if I am a bit slack in responding, your comments always make my day].===
[Fic banner by radiantbaby]
+ + +
part one | part two
+ + +
He walked down the street, hands shoved deep in his pockets – denim, he wasn’t sure he’d ever get used to the rough texture of denim – as he tried to keep warm.
He always felt so damned cold in this body. Was this how humans always felt?
he thought bitterly, Always cold, always aching for – no, needing – the warmth of another pressed against his skin.
Skin against skin.
He laughed lightly to himself how he – as his other (alien) self – was always surprised how much humans fixated on such pleasures of the flesh. Now, with fresh senses stretched within the confines of this near-human body, he finally understood, and was surprised instead by how much he’d
begun to fixate on such things as well. Skin against skin.
Oh, it was certainly times like this where another man’s memories pressed into his thoughts and another man’s emotions layered upon his own, both entwining themselves to where it was so very hard for him to truly know where he began and He
ended. Perhaps that is why he ached for her, he wondered. His other self was always able to push that aside, push it down,
drown it out with all his other (Time Lord) senses, but, no, not in this body. In this body he didn’t have that luxury --
In this body, he only had that need.+ + +Martha touched his skin – so much colder then – with trembling fingertips and he knew, without question, from the look in her eyes exactly what she wanted from him.
He wasn’t sure what terrified him more in that moment as the ticking of time slowed and lengthened around them – that she had desired him or that he, despite his own ardent mental protests, desired her back.
As she pressed herself against his chest, she almost felt too warm against him, her human skin burning against his, but instead of wanting to pull back, it made him feel even more drawn to her fire – wanting to become absolutely consumed by that heat, that blazing desire.
(Months later when that body held the power and heat of a sun inside, frightened as he burned at both ends, consumed by its thick and overpowering heat, when the words ‘Burn with me, Martha’ pushed themselves hotly up through his throat and past his lips, he would remember that first time with her, when her own heat had almost consumed him.
He’d almost lost himself completely to her that first time and, somehow, she had burned so brightly before him that it was as if she had seared her name into his hearts, forever marking him with fire.)
He pressed his lips against hers, sighing deeply as the electric connection sparked between them, and then moved his kisses down across her cheek, her jaw, and her neck, whispering against her skin, whispering the words he’d said to her earlier that very evening when she agreed to rejoin his (same old) life:
“You were never just a passenger.”+ + +
He pulled the hood of his thick grey sweatshirt over his head as he stood in the cold, trying to hide in shadows as he watched Martha exiting the Tube station to make her way down the road along the pavement. A few people that passed him gave him harsh disapproving looks – likely for his perceived lumpenproletariat
appearance – but mostly he was just invisible to the world around him, fading into the shadows of the streets of London.
Sometimes he wished he had a perception filter to wear around his neck, just as she – or her counterpart on that other world, that is
– had, but it was times like this that reminded him, with a stark and painful insistence, that he didn’t really need it -- No one saw him, no one cared, he was nothing on this world and, therefore, no one gave notice of him.
(It was what she -- his ‘intended’ -- had said once during a heated argument between them months before, all fiery eyes and blonde hair swirling about in the wind, looking almost as she did that very day she’d killed his other self with a time-laden kiss.
Sometimes he thought she wanted to simply wish his new, near-human-self away, overwhelmed by the burden of him. He often wonders if, now that he is gone from her, she ever regrets such thoughts.)
It was Wednesday though and that was enough to cheer him a bit. He liked Wednesdays, liked the little ritual Martha had of going to the pub with friends after work, liked that amongst the crowd of people and the blaring televisions, he could get close to her as she laughed, drank, and just smiled with those friends at her table there.
It had only been a few sporadic weeks that he’d watched her, but he loved seeing her bright and innocent expression during such times, something – he mused sadly – perhaps never to be seen again in that other world
after what He
had done to her.
He flinched at the thought, disgust rumbling hard and tight in his belly over Him – the man who abandoned him, the man who abandons them all.“Don’t let me abandon you.”+ + +He lifted her up onto the kitchen counter once she got home from her job at the shop, desperate for some sort of distraction from the incessant -- day in, day out, day in, day out – waiting for the two of them to escape that wretched year and finally be free again to travel throughout time and space.
His fingers were tired from hours upon hours of working the small bits and bobs of the (timey-wimey) detector he was making, but they still gracefully found their way down to caress her breasts and pull and pinch her nipples. His back and legs were aching from curling up on the floor in awkward positions and bending over the evolution of his creation for long stretches of time, but he still began to move against her despite any pain – hips pressing against hips, as he rolled and pressed his arousal between her legs, the fabric of their clothes the only obstacle to pushing himself inside her right then and there.
“Steady on,” she said with a laugh, trying to help them both disrobe, somehow sensing that in that desperate moment he was too swallowed up in his more carnal desires to concentrate on any task so mundane.
He likened himself to a Venusian Paphian as he looked down at her – drinking her in, ready to worship the Earth-bound goddess before him with rites and movements more antediluvian than himself.
In minutes their clothes were piled on the floor in a heap and he was slipping his hard length inside her, trembling a bit as she clawed against the skin of his back and whimpered near his ear. He loved those moments, pressed as deeply inside her as he could, their bodies joined – hot pressed against cold, human pressed against alien. Diametrically opposed opposites strung and pulled tight together, linking them at the most base level, deeper than simple physicality, yes, galvanizing the array of all the (expansive) senses within him instead --
Oh, in those moments he could see that luminescent string of time that spun out from her and weaved itself throughout her future in flickering flashes and knew that she would soon leave him to be -- as he was always in the end – alone.
He moved quickly against her, her moans now a sweet symphony of sound surrounding them, echoing off the linoleum and wood of the kitchen, echoing in his head like the beating of his hearts. Her legs wrapped around him, drawing him against her again and again and again, drawing him deeper and deeper inside her – to know her, to love her, to touch that human consciousness that swelled within her with such fierce beauty --
He suddenly felt himself filled with awe for her – much as he often (no, always) did, but so much more pronounced in these more primal moments of need and desire and compulsion. And then his release surged through him, forcefully breaking that connection, leaving him in the dark again.
He swiftly pulled from her -- his essence trailing along her skin in curls of white, left behind – and dropped to his knees before her, prostrate as if in prayer, desperately longing to taste time on her, longing for some re-connection to the vortex he so sorely missed, some re-connection to her and to Her (his machine).
He drew his tongue along her thigh, tasting himself there along with the sweetness of her skin, her own essence mixed with the scent of the vortex, a taste he found positively addictive. She mewled as he curled his tongued against her, trailing it along her skin slowly, closer and closer to her sex, before burying it within her to drink all she had to give.
Soon her body shuddered against him -- her cries of the name he’d given her – ‘Doctor’ – punctuated with repetitious moans until her body finally stilled before him.
He stood quickly, pressed a soft kiss to her forehead and then secured his mask in place again as he turned to the refrigerator, his manner now as cold as his flesh. “So, what's for dinner, then?”
He could feel her angry gaze burning into his back – again, so much fire – willing him to look at her again as an object of desire, as someone he might even love, but the moment had passed and he had to move forward as he always did.+ + +
He settled at the bar and ordered a drink – a Harvey Wallbanger, on recommendation from the bartender.
The Doctor rarely drank alcohol (and when he did, it generally involved bananas), but Donna always fancied a nice cocktail, complete with a garishly colored umbrella, usually in the form of a Screwdriver. He still had to figure where he
fell along the spectrum of taste and palate when it came to such things, but was, as always, open to experimentation. Upon asking for something akin to a Screwdriver from the bartender, this was what he was given. He accepted the drink with a shrug and a smile.
As he handed the bartender the money, he tried his best not to let the name of the drink draw him back too much to that day his other self was kissed by Donna in Lady Eddison’s kitchen – a kiss that was much to the surprise of them both.
The thing was he missed Donna desperately and, no matter how amusing that memory was, thinking of her was often so very bittersweet.
(As memories of Donna momentarily flickered through his thoughts despite his resistance, he found himself wishing that they -- Donna and the Doctor -- had talked more. So much went unsaid between them – feelings culled from the two of them locked deep within himself and given a special cognizance for him – so much that haunted his own thoughts in the dark hours of the night as he slept.)
He shut his eyes tight against the onslaught of emotions threatening to consume him in a blanket of depression and despair (something, it seemed, that he was always running from in this new life). No, this was not the time for such melancholy, not when he was feeling so very hopeful instead.
So then, after a deep cleansing breath, he regarded the drink before him and pushed all his focus on the present instead. He lifted the drink to his lips and scrunched his face up a bit at the sharp acidic taste of the orange juice, but soon enjoyed the infusion of vanilla and anise that followed and seemed to blend well with the juice. It was always interesting, he thought, how even if his senses were not as acute as His
were, they still seemed somewhat more sensitive to new tastes and sensations.
It was one thing he actually truly loved about this existence -- the simple pleasure of just enjoying something new, something that was his.
Sitting there at the bar, despite his past attempting to haunt him, he honestly thought he couldn’t be happier – no matter how fleeting it might be – enjoying a new drink amidst the throng of loud revelers in the pub and smiling inwardly as he knew that Martha was just across the room from him, safe and happy and so alive.
He looked across to the mirror before him, half-obscured behind liquor bottles, and gazed at his appearance. Though his hair was slightly disheveled from the wind outside (he self-consciously ran a hand through it to straighten it somewhat) and his skin was a bit more pale than usual, there was a shining glimmer in his eyes that warmed his heart a bit.
In fact, there was a lightness he felt being so close to Martha, truth be told, even if she wasn’t His Martha or even his
Martha. It was as if for one night, he didn’t need to dwell on absent friends, trying (and failing) to balance a chequebook, getting the rent paid on time, navigating a supermarket --
It’s what drew him here again and again, that lure – that draw -- to a happiness that seemed so often just beyond his reach, yet somehow achievable with her around.
“Hello there.” The voice came from beside him, startling him a bit, a voice that was so familiar.
He turned his head to his left –
“How'd you know my name?” she asked, furrowing her brow in confusion, as she looked him up and down.
“Oh, I, well, I…” Think of something.
“I overheard someone call you by your name when I came in. Just remembered it, is all. Had an old friend called Tish, so it stuck in my head. I’m good with names, well, sometimes, well, almost never really, but this time, yes, I remembered.” He tapped his forehead.
She was eyeing him curiously and then turned to order something called a Dragonfly. “Not seen you around here before,” she observed, now smiling at him, half-turned toward the bar and half- turned toward him.
“I’ve only been a few times. I live across town.”
“Across town. I see,” she said, still smiling at him, a smile that -- Wait, is she flirting with me?
he pondered with amused surprise. Is Tish actually chatting me up?
He tried to not laugh at the absurdity of the thought.
An uncomfortable silence quickly fell between them and she began to look around or, more specifically, no longer at him. He really didn’t know how to play this game, not in the least. He certainly didn’t ‘pull women’ as his flat mate Owen called it, and though he wasn’t looking to ‘pull’ Tish at all, he didn’t want to lose this opportunity to speak with her (and possibly, admittedly, in all honesty, yes,
speak to Martha as well).
Thankfully, the bartender broke the tension hanging in the air between them by handing Tish her drink. She began to reach into her purse to pay, but he stopped her. “Wait, I’ll get that,” he said, nervously reaching into his pocket to hand the bartender a few bills.
“Thanks,” she said, her smile and attention returning. “What’s your name?”
“John. John Smith.”+ + +“John Smith,” he introduced himself to the Pyanespian Ambassador, psychic paper in hand and smiling brightly, again his manic self after several months of being his more staid human counterpart, John Smith at Farringham, instead.
He glanced over and noticed Martha flinch at his words, but he kept on with his charade nonetheless. “And this is my companion, Ms. Martha Jones.”
Charming, but rather uninteresting conversation followed over a meal of fish and various vegetables with the Ambassador -- and many other dignitaries, he supposed, though he wasn’t sure – and then the two travelers were graciously shown to their accommodations for the evening.
“Quite nice, if I do say so myself,” he said with a jovial laugh as he looked around the room. “Especially for a planet that shares its name with the ancient Greek word for boiled beans.”
“Yeah,” Martha said simply, quietly.
“How about,” he moved closer to her, using his weight to slowly push her back against the door he’d just closed behind them, “we test out the bed?”
“Yeah, good idea, I should think some sleep is in order.”
That was certainly not the answer he was expecting -- her tone was even and she was barely looking him in the eye. He was, with much certainty, finding her behavior very perplexing.
She shifted from him and walked away, across the room. “Yes, sleep.”
“But…but at dinner you ate roasted maca, Lepidium meyenii. It’s an aphrodisiac on Earth, yes, but on Pyanespian, well, let’s just say it has quite a reputation in this galaxy.”
“Lovely.” She shrugged, pulling off her vest top, jeans, and shoes before settling in the bed in just her undergarments.
Hurt, he stared at her for a long moment, her back toward him, as she lay facing the window. Unsure of what else to do, he pulled off his own clothes – naked before her, emotionally and physically, he mused – and slowly made his way closer to her. He took in a deep breath and then turned off the light and sank down onto the bed, curling up behind her.
He had desperately hoped to feel her heat against him again, hoped to fill that void he’d felt after two months of being separated from her, trapped in the mind of a man who didn’t need her the way he did. Her body only felt cold and tense to him now, though, as if she were recoiling from him as she – he could tell -- pretended to sleep.
“Don't you want me?” he whispered, feeling strangely shaken and vulnerable suddenly.
It was difficult enough to get used to his old skin again – extending his consciousness along all its contours to truly be himself again and not just that simple man with his simple ideas – but he had expected, perhaps naively, that she would be there waiting for him when he returned.
“Trying to sleep,” she murmured and he felt anger now welling up within him, knowing she was wide-awake in the darkness and obviously trying to push him away, abandoning him.
“Have you abandoned me?” he asked, wounded, his voice breaking a bit more than he wanted it to. “Shall I take you back home?”
She turned abruptly toward him, that fire suddenly returning, its blaze now threatening to consume him not with her desire, but with her rage instead. He wasn’t sure if it was right that he should be so relieved to feel those flames licking his skin again, at least not like this – but he was. Oh, he was.
“Abandoned you? You've got to be – ” she paused, breathing heavily before him as if to try to calm herself. He could almost make her out in the soft moonslight -- from the two red moons of Pyanepsian – coming through the window, the slight rubicund tint to her skin, again like fire, always fire with her. “Doctor, you abandoned me.
me. And while we're on the subject, I’ll be happy if I don’t have to remember John Smith ever again. Can’t you use a different name? I hate the sound of it now. That name's so rubbish anyway -- ”
“That wasn’t me,” he said, his teeth gritted as his own fury raged within him.
“Whatever you say,” she said dismissively, only fueling his fury even more.
He grabbed her by the wrists and flipped her onto her back, his eyes adjusting more to the darkness to see more and more of her beautiful skin underneath him. She struggled against him, but he pushed his weight on top of her to stop her. “That wasn’t me,” he repeated, biting out each word with a growl.
“Then why, if you remember everything that happened with him, did you make me feel like a total fool for saying that I loved you that night? You and I both know that I didn’t just say it to get you to change.” She was crying now. Oh, he hated when she cried.
His chest tightened. “Because only fools love.”
“You don’t believe that.”
“You, Martha Jones, don’t know what I believe.”
“And you wanted to bring Joan into this life of yours?” She gave a sarcastic laugh. “It’s no wonder she ran when she saw what a monster you really are – ”
“Stop,” he shouted, startling them both. “I can hurt you Martha Jones -- ” he tightened his grip on her wrists. “ – if you don’t stop.”
“You already have hurt me. Your mere existence in my life hurts me.”
“You don’t mean that,” he said, softening his grip again, but still holding her still beneath him. He wasn’t sure, but he thought this might be what it felt like to have her break his hearts.
She silently looked up at him, anger burning in her eyes, and all he wanted was for things to stop, to go back to how they were before they’d run into The Family. He knew that he was far from perfect, even back then, and he knew that he could never be what she really wanted or needed, but this was much too much for him.
(He needed her to at least believe in him. She was all he had.)
He leaned down and kissed her, rough and passionate, more animal than practiced, as she struggled below him. Once he finally pulled from her, she growled, “I’ll never understand you as long as I live.”
“I say the same thing about myself every day.”
He shifted both her wrists to one hand, holding them both with his long slender fingers, and then trailed his other hand down to unclasp her bra, letting it fall open at her sides to expose her breasts. “You abandoned me,” she said, her voice very small.
“That wasn’t me,” he repeated, this time a whisper, this time more tender.
His hand then slowly drifted down, fingertips dancing along the skin of her belly, until his fingers dipped underneath the waistband of her knickers, to slip down and touch her sex. “That wasn’t me,” he whispered again, now releasing her wrists, which, to his surprise, remained crossed above her head.
He wondered if she no longer wanted to fight either.
Martha started to moan, letting him touch her, the heat of her wetness now spreading through her limbs -- that heat, that glorious heat, burning within her again, causing his hearts to ache and his cock to throb.
He used his free hand to pull her knickers down and shifted himself between her legs to push his hard length inside her. “That wasn’t me,” he whispered again and again, each word now a whimper near her ear as he lay atop her, moving himself in and out of her, trying to connect with her again in the (his) darkness.
His climax was approaching quickly, his senses overwhelmed with having her again, so he moved his hand between them, stroking the nub of her clit, urging on her own pleasure until she finally tensed up, legs tight around him, riding the waves of her climax beneath (and around) him. He called out with a loud grunt in response, his own release taking him, causing him to quake against her as he lost himself in her one more time.
He collapsed against her bonelessly, exhausted (from the arguing, the yelling, the lovemaking, the loving), and they simply laid there in silence for several long minutes. “I hate you sometimes,” Martha whispered from beneath him.
“Oh my Martha Jones, you are far from alone in that,” he said, swallowing hard, though trying to give a self-deprecating laugh, “I hate myself sometimes too.”+ + +
He squeezed himself into the booth, trying not to smile too much as he situated himself between Martha, Tish, and their two friends, Ian and Martin. It only took a moment, though, before that smile began to falter and the real nervousness kicked in.
His thoughts were soon filled with worries about not being fondly gregarious and affable enough with them, worries about making a bad first impression. You see, most days he was admittedly the socially awkward sort, and because of such struggles with his perceived social ineptitude, he often found himself wishing that he’d ended up with even half of His
This moment he felt that envy of Him even stronger than most.
“So, John, what do you do?” Ian asked.
“Do?” he asked, his palms now a bit sweaty as he pressed them against the seat cushion at his sides, feeling uncomfortable with the scrutiny. He was never one to like being the center of attention in all honesty; it always made him feel alien, even in his near-human skin. “Oh, as in work. I’m a scientist. I like science.”
He dared a glance at Martha beside him, his stomach coiling with nerves as he noted she now looked at him with a bit of interest.
“He’s a science geek. I should’ve known,” Tish said with a groan.
He smiled to himself, her words pulling up the memories of the night her other self said exactly that to, well, his
other self, on that first night He
made love to (His) Martha --
“What sort of science?” Martha asked, her eyes now bright and curious.
“Well – ”
“Oh, none of that boring stuff,” Martin interrupted with a dismissive wave of his hand, and, just like that, the conversation quickly shifted to more mundane topics, such as this week’s episode of EastEnders
and other random (useless) pop culture and bits of trivium.
In fact, the way things were going, he’d begun to give up hope of having any sort of real conversation with Martha that evening – mostly overrun by Martin whenever he tried to speak, causing him to want to shout him down, so much like Donna – until after about thirty minutes or so, Tish announced they were leaving to go dancing.
“I think I’ll sit this time out,” Martha replied, surprising him. “It’s getting late.”
“And you, John? Care to come dancing?” Tish asked, hand caressing his thigh as she smiled up at him.
“I think I’ll pass as well, Tish. Thank you for the offer though.”
“Suit yourselves,” she stood up with a flourish and then, almost like a whirlwind, she left with Ian and Martin at her side.
“I should go then,” he shyly offered to Martha, unsure of what to say when an awkward silence fell between them. He was
blocking her way out of the booth, after all. “You said it was getting late, I suppose that's my cue to get out of your hair.”
“You don’t have to. I mean, unless you want to, of course,” she said, her tone almost coy. “I was just saying that to get rid of them.”
he said, trying to hold back another big smile. “But I thought that perhaps you and Martin were, well, you know – ”
no,” she said, covering her face with her palm as she began to laugh. “Martin and Ian are together. Besides, can you imagine it? ‘Martha and Martin’, couples with similar names always sound like a bad soap opera to me.”
” he said with a cheeky smirk.
“Hey, I like EastEnders.
Perhaps not as much as them, but when I’ve seen it, I’ve thought it was pretty good.”
“Do you want to take a walk?” he asked suddenly, frowning a bit as he’d only just had the thought and hadn’t anticipated the words slipping from his mouth so easily.
“Yeah, you know, around the neighborhood, get some air. It’s a bit hard to hear you over the loud music in here and, well, I do want to hear you.” His near-human heart now pounded loudly in his ears. Did he have the power to lure her away like his other self did?
She looked at him for a moment, as if sizing him up, and then smiled sweetly at him. “That sounds like a great idea,” she said, finishing off her drink.---
They were almost around the block when his hand found hers and, to his delight, she threaded her fingers through his, pressing her warm palm against his.
“So, you never got to say, what sort of scientist are you?”
“Ah yes, I think Martin didn’t want me to speak about such things.”
“Martin likes all the attention. I think he was just jealous.”
“Yes, you. Handsome bloke, all eyes on you. He probably couldn’t stand you from the moment you sat down.”
“How nice of him.”
“Yeah, well. That’s Martin. He’s more Tish’s friend than mine,” she looked down at the pavement as she walked and then back up at him with curiosity. “So, again, you, scientist – ”
“Ah yes, well, I’m a bit of a freelance scientist, for the government. Hush-hush and all that.” “Freelance
scientist, not familiar with that line of work.”
“As I said, hush-hush and all that.”
“Like in James Bond?” Again, his memories pulled him toward that night with the other Martha, Him walking along the street with her –
“Yes, a bit like Q, actually,” he looked down at her and winked, “but better.”
“Not pompous at all, then?” she asked playfully, laughing.
He laughed along with her. It felt good
to laugh again. “Perhaps not.”
“Well, I’m a medical student now, but then I’ll be a doctor, if I ever pass my exams, that is.”
“Oh you will, just you wait, and you'll be a brilliant doctor, just brilliant,”
What are you, psychic?”
“No, just a…gut feeling.”
“Ah, so that's what your gut tells you about me.”
“That and that I’m hungry. Care to grab something to eat with me?”---
The two made their way to a trattoria nearby, sharing a nice late dinner of pasta, salad, and red wine. He admittedly felt a bit awkward at first, always challenged a bit by small talk (especially with someone who he’d been so enthusiastically to speak with), but overall – to his pleasant surprise – he was feeling mostly comfortable.
He’d imagined the possibilities of their first conversations over and over in his head so many times up until that evening that, while things were nowhere near identical to his fantasies, he did at least have a bit of conversation fodder in his head to try and fill any gaps of silence.
The two chatted amiably – him feeling delicious sparks between them as hands occasionally brushed hands on the table and knees brushed knees underneath – until the restaurant began to close for the evening, sending them back out onto the street, now a bit tipsy and fully holding hands again.
“I suppose I should go, then. It’s almost time for the trains to stop running for the evening and I need make sure I get home,” Martha said with a small frown as she looked up at him.
He ran his free hand nervously through his hair, trying desperately to think of a way to extend their evening together. He just wasn’t ready for things to end yet.
“How about we share a cab? It can drop you off at your place and I’ll be on my way. I’ll pay the fare and everything, my treat.”
“You already bought dinner, I can’t ask you to pay for a cab ride as well.”
“I’d really like to, besides,” he looked down at his watch, “at this hour we’d have to practically run to the station for the last train out. Wouldn’t you prefer a more leisurely ride home instead?”
Martha looked down at her own watch and sighed. “You’ve got a point. Oh…alright.”
He smiled widely at her and then turned toward the road to start to hail a cab. The cold was starting to get to him now, the wind blowing down the street against him, and he was starting to shiver, much to his embarrassment. He gasped in surprise though when he felt the warmth of Martha pressing against him, wrapping her arms around his middle from behind.
“Sorry, you just seemed really cold,” she murmured against the fabric of his sweatshirt.
He kept one hand aloft for any passing cabs, but moved his other hand down to place on top of hers over his belly. He was glad for a moment that he was shivering from the cold because it helped hide the trembling now welling up inside him because of her proximity. “Thank you,” he whispered. “Yeah, I am
a bit cold.”
A cab stopped before them and the two of them jumped inside, Martha giving the driver the address to her house. “You really should have worn a jacket tonight. You don’t want to catch yourself a cold, do you?” she playfully chastised him as the cab began to move.
“Haven’t got one. I should probably remedy that, yeah?”
She laughed. “Yes, I should think so, especially with the weather turning. Come here,” she opened her arms. He just looked at her puzzled. “Come on, I don’t bite,” she added, “just trying to warm you up a bit is all. It’s the least I can do. Don’t want you ending up in hospital.”
He curled his body toward her, letting her wrap her arms around him so that he could settle against her. The soft wool of her coat and the slight rise and fall of her chest as she breathed felt so nice
as he cuddled against her. With his head tucked against her neck, he could really only hear a faint whooshing sound from his ear muffled against her shoulder, but the effect was so soothing that he honestly felt more at peace and safe than he had in a long, long time.
(For a moment, he could have sworn she’d sighed happily as he lay against her, but he wasn’t sure if that was his imagination or perhaps too much wine playing with his perceptions. Still, she seemed as relaxed as he was, the light patter of her heartbeat below him slow and steady, and that too made him glad.)
The two simply sat in silence throughout most of the drive, though he mused that their bodies might still be maintaining a conversation between them – with the slight adjustments in pressure as she gradually held him tighter and tighter to her and the way she shivered in response when he breathed against her neck –
“You should come inside for a cuppa,” she whispered.
“Sorry?” he asked, lifting his head slightly away from her to hear better, worried he might have misheard her.
“When we get to my flat, you should come inside for a cuppa,” she repeated, clearing her throat. Was she nervous?
“To warm up, I mean. Can’t have you staying cold, that'd make me a bad doctor-to-be.”
“I…well…if you insist,” he answered, a bit taken aback – though overjoyed – by her offer. “I’d hate to be a hassle though – ”
I wouldn’t have offered if I thought so. Besides, I’m not sure I’m ready for sleep just yet and honestly -- ” she paused, looking out the window for a moment, before turning to look back down at him, “ – I’d like the company.”
He smiled in response and nuzzled back into her neck, enjoying the warmth she had to give.
=========Click for Part Two