Title: Dearer than Gold
Word Count: 4378
Genre: Angsty Romance
Rating: Hard R for sexual situations [nothing too graphic]
Spoilers: Post-S4 new!Who, pre-"The Next Doctor"
Summary: After a somewhat "wild" Holiday Party at Torchwood for Martha, the Doctor takes up the challenge to show Martha just how wild Winter festivities can really
be, when he takes her into the ancient past to celebrate a Roman Saturnalia.
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 the dreambythefire ficathon, combining the following prompts:
+ #1: "Ten and Martha travel back in time to celebrate a Roman Saturnalia"
+ #11: "Martha is at the Torchwood x-mas party, gets a little tipsy, and drunk-dials the Doctor. Bonus points if dirty secret Santa gifts are involved."
Things went in an admittedly different and somewhat darker direction than I expected, especially with such an emotionally withdrawn Doctor to deal with, but seeing as it is set so close to the events of "Journey’s End," it made sense to me in the end.
Thank you to fourzoas and persiflage_1 for their work as my betas. 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]. Concrit welcomed.===
Suns may set and rise again. + + +
For us, when the short light has once set,
remains to be slept the sleep of one unbroken night.
Give me a thousand kisses, then a hundred,
Then another thousand, then a second hundred,
then yet thousand, then a hundred.
Then, when we have made up many thousands,
we will confuse our counting, that we may not know the reckoning,
nor any malicious person blight them with evil eye,
when he knows that our kisses are so many.
Excerpt from Poem #5, Gaius Valerius Catullus
Martha could still hear the faint exaltations of revelers outside creeping like ghosts through the house, as her body began to succumb to the exhaustion from the evening’s events.
His nude cool skin against her and soft breaths against her neck as he slept were some of the last few remnants of what had transpired that evening -- though she could feel the small bruises forming on her skin and the growing ache in her limbs easing upon her as well.
She could still smell the sweet scent of the perfumed oils permeating her skin and she delighted in the soft silks of the cushions in their villa. She smiled to herself at it all, inhaling deeply one last time before she closed her eyes and drew herself closer to him in the darkness with a sigh.+ + +
One Day Earlier
“Martha?” he answered, the concern already evident in his voice.
She did her best to repress the burgeoning laugh threatening to overtake her words. She could imagine him dithering around the console as he spoke to her, perhaps working on something, always
working on something, his shock of hair probably as disheveled as his clothes --
The vision was somehow almost far too amusing for her to maintain a completely straight face.
“Doctor,” she said as flatly as she could.
“Is everything alright? I, well, I can hear yelling in the background.”
“Oh, that’s just Ianto.”
“Yes, there’s some drinking game going on right now. Right now he’s on the floor imitating a horse. Not really sure what is going on there, not really sure I want to know, actually.”
“I see,” he said and paused for a moment. “And this is why you called me?”
“Yes, well, no -- ”
The laugh that had remained carefully suppressed finally pushed itself up through her and she began to laugh almost uncontrollably.
“Martha?” the Doctor said, still sounding unsure as she tried to catch her breath.
“While I certainly am quite happy that you decided to phone me, Martha, I admit I am at a bit of a loss as to why you did so.”
Martha began to laugh again, his seriousness pushing her over the edge as tears streamed down her face now. She bent over in laughter, trying (and failing) to regain her composure, and then clicked the phone off without another word to him, disconnecting the call and rejoining the party.+ + +
“Martha?” he answered, his tone the same as before – though, for her, it had been several hours and drinks later.
“Doctor,” she said, her speech slurring a bit as she sat on the couch in the Hub, mobile in hand.
Things felt as if they were spinning a bit around her and she noted the blinking Christmas lights sprinkled around the Hub were actually somewhat disorienting in this state.
“Have you determined why you are calling me this time?” he asked. He still sounded a bit serious, though she could sense his smirk even without seeing him.
“Yes,” she said, drawing out the ‘s’ into an elongated hiss.
“Care to share?”
“What are you wearing?”
“You, what are you wearing?”
“My…blue suit, why?”
“Oh, you have another one, yeah?” she said, squealing a bit in delight. Even intoxicated, this outburst made her frown a bit at herself. “I thought the other…that other…the…you know, that he
got that suit.”
“No, I have more than one. Blue suit, that is.”
Martha laughed, leaning her head back. The cool tile of the wall felt nice against the back of her head and those blinking Christmas lights above her began to look a bit like stars.
She suddenly felt a knot twist in her stomach, a bad combination of nostalgia for the wonders of space and the ill effects of drinking apparently wreaking a bit of havoc there.
“What are you
wearing?” he asked softly, after a beat.
Her stomach suddenly lurched and she leaned forward, her stomach emptying its contents before her.
“You don’t want to know,” she said, frowning at the mess she made and rang off.+ + +
“Martha?” he answered, this time his tone was still the same, but she did not hear it.
Jack had found her soon after her last call, cleaned her up, dressed her in one of his shirts, and put her in his bed (surprisingly alone,
she thought, but then he rarely sleeps
). For some reason, she’d never let go of her mobile the entire time and ended up sleeping with it drawn against her chest, cupped in her hands.
She must have redialed his number in her sleep -- quite by accident, of course.
“Sweet dreams, Martha Jones,” he said softly, once he recognized her soft breathing as quiet slumber. “Sweet dreams.”+ + +
“Martha?” he answered, his tone – yet again – the same as usual, though it was now the next morning.
“Doctor,” she said a bit shortly, feeling a bit embarrassed about her drunken calls the previous evening, but feeling the need to call him again nonetheless. “Hello.”
“Feeling better, I hope.”
“If better is feeling like hammers are constantly pounding in your head, then yes.”
“Wild night, then?”
“The wildest.” She held her head and moaned as a sharp pain pressed behind her eyes. “Torchwood sure knows how to throw a party.”
“I suppose they do, especially as Jack probably fancies himself a bit Dionysian at times.”
“I’m sorry I called so many times last night,” she said quickly, knowing that if she didn’t say it soon, she never would.
“No problem. Really. It was nice to hear from you. In fact, I know a great cure for hangovers if you’d like me to come round. The TARDIS could use a bit of a refueling.”+ + +
“How are you feeling?”
“I feel like I’m dying, honestly” Martha groaned as she leaned forward, her head pressed against her folded arms on the table in the TARDIS kitchen.
“Take this,” the Doctor said, sitting down across from her and handing her a mug of dark grey liquid. “It looks quite bad and tastes, well, it doesn’t taste very good, either, but trust me, it works.”
“Dare I even ask what is in this?”
“You…probably shouldn’t. Now drink up. Oh, and it will probably be better if you drink it as fast as you can. ‘Bottoms up’ and all that. Trust me.”
Martha raised an eyebrow at him, but then breathed deeply before downing the thick, syrupy liquid in one go. “I hope that was worth it,” she said, coughing and scrunching her face up in disgust.
“Oh, it will be. Just give it some time. Trust me, I’m a Doctor,” he said with a click of his tongue and a wink.
Martha handed him the mug back and laid her head back down.
(She could have sworn that she felt his fingers lightly caressing her hair as she nodded off to sleep.)
It was nice to have him around again, she’d thought as soon as she’d seen him earlier. He’d been alone since things had happened with all that business of the Daleks and Davros and Donna and Rose and he really only spoke to her occasionally these days, usually to share a spot of tea a local café to chat about how things were going in their lives.
He’d been at her wedding, as dapper as ever in his dinner jacket. And he’d also been there (as a shoulder to cry on) when things finally ended soon after between her and Tom, where they’d ended as good friends, but deciding that their lives were just too different to make things work romantically in the end. But it was when she saw the lonely distant look in his eyes as he stood before the TARDIS in the Plass that afternoon, that she wondered if he’d ever truly been there
(at least metaphorically, that is) those times at all?
The thing was, there was something even more lost, more different about him than she’d ever seen in him before, like it wasn’t even really him
sometimes. His manner was a bit less manic, and his words were fewer and more clipped. It was not as if he wasn’t nice or cordial to her, of course, but he seemed to also be more preoccupied with his thoughts that usual, perhaps even hiding away from the universe in his head for a bit.
She supposed everyone did that at some point and perhaps he -- of all beings in the universe -- deserved to do the same for once.+ + +
“Martha?” he said, waking her up from her sleep.
“Doctor,” she replied blearily, still tired as she looked up at him, though her body was admittedly starting to feel a bit better.
“You probably shouldn’t sleep here for much longer. You’ll be having a go at me for letting you hurt your back or neck that way once you wake up. Your room, well, your old room, is still here, same as always. You are welcome to go there and have a lie down if you need,” he paused, nervously scratching the back of his neck. “Or you could just go back to the Hub instead, of course. Anything you’d like.”
“I’d hate to be a bother.”
“No, no, you’re not a bother, never Martha, not at all. In fact,” he looked down at the table, his expression a bit sheepish as he watched his fingers draw patterns on the wood, “I think I’d quite enjoy the company.”+ + +
“Tell me if you need more blankets, you know how cold the TARDIS can get.”
The Doctor pulled the thick duvet over her as she settled into her old bed. Since traveling with
him, she’d lived both in London and Cardiff, but there was always still a deep feeling of home
every time she found herself back on his ship. She smiled at the sweet familiarity of it all and the way everything around her seemed to welcome her back.
“Where did you come up with that concoction you made me drink, by the way?” she asked him, blinking away the sleep that was starting to consume her limbs again.
“Catullus? As in the Roman poet?”
“Yes, very good. Anyway, he taught me the recipe just after a particularly wild Saturnalia once, well, ages ago now. Said he used it on all of his friends and himself when he’d had quite a lot to drink. It didn’t work for me, of course, different biology and all that, but I’ve found it works on my human friends quite well. So, I trust it is working for you then?”
“Yes, I think so, my headache has gone away at least. Of course, I barely slept last night, so now I am just terribly sleepy.”
“Well, you are my welcome guest as long as you need, Dr. Jones,” he said with a sweet smile. “Sleep well.”
The Doctor stood and began to walk out of the room, stopping when Martha called after him. “Doctor?”
“Yes?” he replied, turning around to look at her again.
“I can’t imagine you at a Saturnalia, were you really at one or are you just having me on?”
“Of course I was,” he said, his hand on his chest in mock offense. “I’ve been to quite a few actually and I dare say they make Torchwood parties look a bit like child’s play.”
She shook her head at him, smiling as she tried to imagine him – the Doctor
– at a wild debaucherous party. “Is that so?”
“It is, indeed,” he said, winking at her playfully.
Martha laughed and then began to shut her eyes, letting the sleep finally begin to take her again.
“I think I should like to go to one sometime,” she murmured before succumbing completely to her exhaustion.
She never even heard him leave after that.+ + +
“Martha?” he said, threading his fingers with hers as they walked through the crowded streets of ancient Rome.
“Doctor,” she replied, squeezing his hand tightly as she pulled him along.
After she’d slept earlier that day, she’d found him alone in the console room, staring at the wall with a frown set deep into the contours of his skin and eyes as dark and cold as a winter’s night. He’d tried to hide it once he saw her, of course, donning a false wide smile and attempting a show of manic energy to distract her, but she could still see beneath it all he was sad and tired – so very tired.
(She thought back to his words to Lazarus so many months before.)
She asked him about the Saturnalias that he had attended, excited to learn more about that side of him, and when he was reticent to share much with her, she asked him to take her to one instead. She’d learned in the last year that chances were for grabbing and that life was too short to shun opportunities.
She also had to admit that her stomach had coiled a bit in empathy when his eyes glimmered at her request, as if he were so
desperate to take someone – anyone
– somewhere again.
She wondered how long he’d been alone this time.+ + +
“Martha,” he said, nodding a toast as he leaned against the cushions in the villa of Gaius Valerius Catullus, holding a Greek kylix – as the Doctor has called it -- of wine in his hand and wearing the first real smile she’d seen on him in ages.
“Doctor,” she replied, nodding in return and then drank from her own kylix on the cushions across from him.
They’d run into Catullus near the Forum, amongst the throngs and throngs of revelers. He’d recognized the Doctor immediately -- no doubt from his strange attire, she mused – and they soon made their way along with him on the journey to his villa in Tibur, a somewhat long trip eased by his men’s free-flowing wine.
Once at his villa, Martha thought in amazement that it was as if a bacchanalia was taking place there. There was music and delighted shouts of “Io Saturnalia!”, and there were women and men dancing and drinking and making love all around them.
It was all just as intoxicating as the wine, Martha mused.
“That man seems to me to be equal to a god. That man, if it is right to say, seems to surpass the gods, who sitting opposite to you repeatedly looks at you and hears your sweet laughter,” Catullus regaled Martha at one point, as he passed by the two of them (quoting a poem of his, the Doctor later said), “something which robs miserable me of all feelings: for as soon as I look at you, no voice remains in my mouth.”
“Oh, not a god, Catullus,” the Doctor had countered with a laugh that held a tinge of darkness. He drank deeply from his wine and added, very quietly, “Not a god.”
Martha crawled over to the Doctor once Catullus had rejoined the festivities, her thoughts swimming with her intoxication. “Are the servants acting out some sort of role-reversal?” she asked in a conspiring whisper, sitting on the cushions beside him.
“Very observant, Martha. Brilliant, in fact,” he replied smiling widely at her, a pleased look in his eyes, “Yes, that is one of the traditions of Saturnalia, reversing the social order. It is great fun, actually.”
“I see,” Martha smiled, finishing off her kylix of wine.+ + +
“Doctor?” she said, sitting up on the cushions where he reclined beside her.
“Fetch me some more wine.”
“Fetch me some more wine. I am still thirsty and,” she paused, trying to work out the right words in her head, “you are here to serve me.”
She had to admit that she worried that her sudden foray into role-playing might go a bit pear-shaped, especially as she didn’t have much practice with such situations and had not negotiated anything before hand with him, but there was still a part of her that was feeling titillated by the idea of attempting to dominate him – and she had a feeling there was probably a part of him that needed her to do so.
He looked at her long and hard, his brow furrowed as if trying to understand what was going on in her head, and she worried perhaps she had pushed things too far with him, treaded too near to those delicate eggshells around him, but then he dipped his head down submissively, his eyes now averted. “Yes, ma’am,” he said softly, shifting to stand.
“On your knees,” she ordered. He looked back at her, his head cocked to the side. “I want you to stay on your knees.”
She could’ve sworn she saw the blush rise on his cheeks as he turned away from her and crossed the room to the amphora of wine.+ + +
“That’s nice,” she cooed, enjoying as he rubbed oils into her back and shoulders, filling the air around them with the soft scent of Roman chamomile and geranium.
She was no longer sure how many people were still in the large room, the sounds of revelry now seeming to be more outside the villa, in the night, than in the room. No, only the sounds of sleep and the soft moans and groans of lingering lovers surrounded them now.
She pretended that they were alone.+ + +
She was trying her best to quiet her own moans as he worked the muscles of her back, increasingly embarrassed by the effect his hands were having on her skin. She hoped that perhaps chatting might help distract her from her insistently growing arousal.
“How many of these have you been to?”
“Just two others,” he replied, rolling his knuckles just under her shoulder blade causing her to groan a bit in pleasure.
“Were you,” she paused, trying to think of how best to word the question, “alone?”
She’d contemplated asking if he’d brought Rose or even Donna here with him in the past, of course, but knew that was a subject they still both delicately danced around, his emotions still obviously raw on the matter of the two women.
“Yes,” he replied simply.
“What did you do?”
“Well,” he paused, adding more oil to his hands, and then continued his ministrations down to her lower back, “the first time was a drunken evening of me talking, well, debating
rather raucously with Catullus for most of the night. I thought for sure he was going to toss me on the street, especially after all the wine I’d had, but, no, instead he told me I was always welcome in his home and should visit again sometime. Wonderful man.”
“And the second time?”
“Not long after my first visit, when I was traveling alone. It was just before I met you, actually. Bought this suit only a few weeks later. Syloos VI, great little shops there. You know, I love a nice shop. Then it was back to London, Royal Hope, Judoon Platoon on the Moon. Anyway, came here and mostly observed that time, just let it all wash over me, as they say. The energy here, it is infectious, the people just so joyous and alive! It’s really quite beautiful.”
“Why did you bring me here?”
“Because you asked me too, of course.”
“You could have said no.”
“Yes, I suppose I could have. Wouldn’t have been much fun, having you request a trip and me turning you down. Would make me a bad host. I don’t like to be a bad host. I really don’t. Then again if I tried to take everyone everywhere they wanted to go, well…” his words trailed off, pausing his massage as his finger trailed lightly down the length of her spine.
“I suppose I just wanted to feel alive again,” he added softly.+ + +
She watched him pouring the wine for her, watching the way his suit pulled tightly against him – revealing glimpses of all the curves and angles of his body -- as he bent to retrieve it from the amphora, sitting on his knees with his back to her.
She was trying not to stare -- really she was, honest
– and trying to not let her desire for him consume her, but she knew that she was failing.
It had been a long time since she’d felt the intimate touch of another, months since she’d been with Tom, and even months since she’d shared a somewhat awkward drunken fumble one night with Jack just after the divorce.
That wasn’t just it though.
The wine was also part of it, of course, but even more so, there was the sounds from the writhing bodies around them that seemed to only heighten her own
body’s responses -- especially after the long lingering touches of his massage, a massage that seemed to loosen her muscles along with her inhibitions.
Oh, she wanted to stand up (even if the thought of actually standing was almost laughable), with him still on his knees before her, and grab his head by his thick hair and pull it between her legs, urging him lick her until she called out his name again and again. Would he even want something like that though?
she wondered, though a surreptitious glance at the hardened bulge in his trousers answered her question in a way that nervous words from him would not.
She slowly shifted onto her back, arching her body a bit as she tried her best to look alluring. She was already bare-chested from the massage, of course, lying there in just her trousers, but the Doctor had averted his eyes when she’d discarded her shirt, not looking at her until she’d settled on her belly.
She bit her lip as a hint of insecurity rushed through her. She felt so very inexperienced at this game.
The Doctor turned to look at her, apparently wondering at the hanging silence between them after she’d just called to him, wondering at the question still floating in the air. His face held a full blush now, his eyes glimmering as he gazed at her for a long moment before he shyly looked down.
“Could you massage my feet next?” she asked, spreading her legs for him. + + +
“I want you.”
“Oh.”+ + +
“Doctor?” she sighed, feeling his weight press against her as he ever-so-slowly
moved within her.
“Martha,” he replied, pressing kisses to her shoulder and along the column of her neck.
“Why haven’t we ever done this before, again?”
“Not interested, you only go for humans, remember?”
“Oh yes,” she chuckled. “Yes, of course.”+ + +
“I’m coming.”+ + +
Martha could still hear the faint exaltations of revelers outside creeping like ghosts through the house. Everyone had left the room they were in now, it seemed, and for a fleeting moment she wondered if it had all just been a dream or too much wine playing with her head.
The Doctor had kissed her again and again, pressing his words as well as his lips against her skin, mapping it with tongue and teeth, until he’d finally succumbed to his release and collapsed bonelessly against her in exhaustion.
His nude cool skin against her after he’d shifted to curl around her from behind and the soft breaths against her neck as he now slept seemed some of the last few remnants of what had transpired between them that evening.
She could feel the small bruises forming on her skin and the growing ache in her limbs easing upon her as well, reminding her of more though, showing her other traces of what they’d shared. He’d gripped at her almost desperately as he pushed himself in and out of her, held her hips so tightly that it was as if he might be afraid of letting (her) go.
She caressed the sore, tender skin where he’d marked her and she felt a bit in awe that she had been able to see him so unmasked before her.
There had been sadness mixed with the joy in his eyes and words that flowed between them without a voice trapped within their lungs, but she was sure, despite all of that, they both knew they were sharing a gift with each other.
Perhaps these were the sorts of gifts exchanged during this festival, she thought – gifts of love and affection.
She could still smell the sweet scent of the perfumed oils permeating her skin, remembering the mastery of his touch as he’d massaged her, and she delighted in the decadence of the soft silks of the cushions they laid upon.
She smiled to herself at it all, inhaling one last time deeply before closing her eyes and drew herself closer to him in the darkness with a sigh.Io, Saturnalia.+ + +
If anything happened to one who is desirous and hopeful, yet unexpecting,
this is especially pleasing to the soul.
Therefore, this is pleasing, and dearer than gold to me,
because you, Lesbia, have restored yourself to desirous me.
You restore yourself to desirous, unexpecting me, you return yourself to me.
O, light of a fairer mark!
Who lives more happily than I alone, or who will be able
to say that these things are to be hoped for more than this life?
Excerpt from Poem #107, Gaius Valerius Catullus