Title: Benefits of Lying [With a Friend]
Characters/Pairings: 10.5/Martha [with a bit of Tom/Martha, mostly off-screen]
Word Count: 8430
Genre: [Very] Angsty Romance
Rating: Hard R for sexual situations [nothing too graphic, really]
Spoilers: Post-S4 new!Who, pre-"The Next Doctor"
Summary: An AU story wherein the Tenth Doctor leaves Handy [10.5] in Martha’s care instead of Rose’s [who resumes traveling with the Doctor]. Much angst ensues.
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 is a very, very
belated birthday gift for voicegrl
-- so very sorry for the delay, sweetie [I was being thwarted by writer’s block!]. Oh, and the title is nicked from a Apples in Stereo song, FWIW.
Thank you so much to fourzoas
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 [and any beta-ish comments] welcomed.===
Day One | Manifestations
He stood at her doorway, his clothes soaked completely through from the rain and his gaze tracing the number on her door – '82' – over and over and over
again until he finally found the courage to bring his hand forward and press the doorbell with his (shaking) finger.
The shrill and strident ring of the bell admittedly startled him a bit – his senses seemingly so very heightened, so sensitive, so raw
, with this new life – and when the porch light flickered on around him, the warm glow illuminating his new skin, he felt the sudden impulse surge through his tired limbs to run
, run and run, back down the stairs, far, far away, before she could open the door.
(Oh, that deep, intrinsic desire to run – it was something he’d certainly inherited from Him.)
He didn’t – couldn’t
She was all he had now -- He’d
made sure of that -- there was really nowhere else for him to go, nowhere to run. Sarah Jane already had someone to take care of and Donna, well, that option no longer existed, did it? No.
All because of Him,
all because of the --
“Doctor?” she asked, interrupting his musings as she slowly opened the door and regarded him with concern.
He wasn’t entirely sure, but just looking at her again – letting the comfort of her presence cascade over him, welcoming him as perhaps no one else in the world would – seemed to cause his one delicate, vulnerable, human
heart to speed up and beat hard and fast in his chest.
It was as if that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel was starting to faintly flicker in the distance.
“I’m not the Doctor, Martha. Not really, not anymore,” he corrected her softly.
She looked him over in the half-light of the porch, her eyes seeming to delicately caress the long angles of his body and his suit – its wet fabric clinging uncomfortably to his skin – as she analyzed him and then her eyes widened in recognition. “Oh.
The other…other -- ”
“Yes.”+ + +
Months alone, working day in and day out -- it was the seemingly relentless routine that had started to symbolize Martha’s life, as if it were some cruel joke the universe was playing on her.
Or so she often felt, at least. Doesn’t the universe owe me one after everything I’ve been through and done?
she would lament in those lonely dark hours of the night, quickly berating herself a bit afterward for letting herself feel so selfish in such moments.
The universe didn’t owe her anything -- she’d angrily think in response to her lamentations -- life is what she made of it and that was that.
(When had she become so cynical?).
The thing was, Tom was still working in Africa and while their relationship was (mostly) thriving through a multitude of phone calls, web chats, emails, and voice-over-IP conversations (some naughty, some nice) whenever they could spare the time (which was sadly not as often as she would prefer), she had to admit that there were many nights that she was a bit envious of the two or three women that were finding their way in and out of his bed in her place.
Not that she wasn’t allowed to find her own lovers, of course -- warm those much-too-cold
sheets on his side of the bed with some heated passion for a change --
(The two of them were secure enough in their relationship, mature enough about the limitations of time and distance, to seek consensual fulfillment of their needs elsewhere while apart for such an extended period.)
-- But things were different for her.
Tom was vivacious and gregarious (so different from the almost shyness she’d seen in his alternate self, almost like another man entirely, really – undamaged from that year, unlike her) and meeting lovers for him seemed, well, far too simple most of the time.
For Martha, though, while she had come a long way in her confidence after her travels with the Doctor, her harrowing trek around the world, and her position of (growing) authority at UNIT, deep down she still often found herself a bit shy and reticent in matters of love.
Also, in all honesty, she was simply far too busy
most days to meet anyone new, to make any new connections -- always one to put work before everything else, just as she’d always been. 'Married to the job', her colleagues would say, but there were some days – especially when she was feeling lonely and Tom seemed that much further away – that she just wanted to be married to a nice man
instead of her work.
The simple life, as it were.
But no, things never were simple in the life of Martha Jones.
In fact, it was on one of those lonely evenings, when she was sitting curled up on the couch with a book, feeling far more empty and alone than she cared to admit to even herself, that she had been surprised by yet another complication – this time in the form of a fateful visitor at her door.
Little did she know that when she put down the book she was reading to see who that unexpected visitor was, hidden outside, she would come face to face with a tortured soul who was perhaps more lost and lonely than she could ever dare feel.
Upon first seeing him, though, she couldn’t help but initially wonder: Was this a gift or yet another joke from the universe?+ + +
“How long have you been out in the rain?” she asked, leading him inside to her living room.
He’d never been inside her home before (neither as his new self nor as Him) and he tried his best not to completely lose himself in taking in all of his surroundings for the first time, neurons rampantly firing off as his mind wanted to know more and more and more
about everything around him – take it all in, taste it, smell it, touch it, see it.
It was conventional Time Lord analysis, of course, something his other self was rather used to, but for him, it was threatening to overload his more-human, addled brain --
“A few hours,” he replied, taking in a deep breath to try to calm himself, pull himself back from the brink of sensory overload. “I’m not sure. I was just walking and walking, lost track of time.” Time,
that fleeting energy that had always laid within reach of Him, its vast dominion stretching throughout each of His senses, only to be cut from this
body with its spark of humanity.
(For a fleeting moment, though, he almost thought that he could feel it again, just that tiny bit, now that he was in her healing presence, but, alas, he was mistaken -- it was really only as if it were the traces from a phantom limb and the aching emptiness of that revelation nearly consumed him right then.)
“Let me get you some fresh clothes and towels so that you can take a hot bath. That should help you get the chill off,” she said, looking him over again one last time, apparently unaware of the chaos of his thoughts, before rushing out of the room.
He, for his part, tried his best to keep upright, as the sorrow slammed against him, wave after agonizing wave, threatening to bring him to his knees. He was determined to not lose himself to the darkness lurking within.+ + +
Martha rummaged through Tom’s wardrobe to find some pyjamas that seemed suitable for her strange guest. As she laid the folded clothes on her bed, she stared at them for a long moment, trying to imagine this Doctor-shaped man filling the fabric of the clothes belonging to the man she loved (ironically with the body of the man she once loved
– and, yes, maybe still did in some ways).
“It’s alright, I know what it’s like to know a man that looks the same, but is really different,” she said to herself, twisting the ring on her finger nervously.
She then sighed and made her way back down the hall to the bathroom. After a deep breath she rapped on the door, hearing only silence on the other end in response. She worried for a moment that something had happened to him, or worse, that perhaps he had done something (to himself) in the state he was in.
She looked down at her watch and made a note of the time, deciding she would give him a few more minutes before checking on him again –-
She did want to respect his privacy after all, even if her more caretaking instincts were flaring within her.
“I left some night clothes on the bed. I can get you more clothes in the morning as well,” she said through the door, hoping her voice didn’t sound as hollow as the wood it reverberated through.
“Thanks,” she faintly heard his voice respond -- quiet and perhaps still a little broken – and while she still worried for him, she also felt a bit selfishly elated that he was speaking to her.+ + +“She can save you in a way that we can’t. She’s a doctor, a healer, and a caretaker. You need to be with her, not us. It is too dangerous to keep you here with me, with Rose. We’re leaving without you,” the Doctor said after Rose had wandered off deep into the TARDIS to leave the two of them alone.
“But you wanted to keep him and he was the most dangerous of all, so why not me? You were ready to give up everything for him before he was shot and died in your arms, right after he tortured and destroyed everything you loved right in front of you for an entire year--” He wiped the thick hot tears from his cheeks angrily. “--No, you just don’t want me around because I remind you too much of what you really are.”
“And what is that?” the Doctor snarled, a frightening flash of darkness sparking in his eyes.
“Oh, no, no, no, you young, ignorant, human thing. You are the aberration. You are the monster.”
The Doctor’s cruel words echoed in his head as he lay in the bath, the water finally beginning to cool around him and the hard curves of the tub starting to cause his muscles to ache from lying there so long.
The conversation with the Doctor had only become worse as it progressed, with harsh barbs thrown from both sides until there was only silence left between them. In the fray of jabbing words, he had only wanted to truly understand what was happening, understand why he was being abandoned when he felt that he’d done nothing wrong. He was honestly so utterly blindsided by it all.
Even though he shared the Doctor’s memories, it was painfully apparent that he no longer shared his thoughts.
(Even now, hours later, playing back each word and emotion, picking it apart piece by piece, he was still left only confused and devastated.)
Before he knew it, they were back on the streets of London, just outside of Donna’s family home. The Doctor had shut himself off from him completely by this point, only showing some traces of sorrow as he asked him to help carry Donna’s unconscious body to the door.
Rose just quietly watched them both from afar, biting a fingernail as she stood by the TARDIS console. Perhaps she was just as confused as he was.
Before his argument with the Doctor, Rose had shared a small meal – their first and last, apparently – with him in the kitchen. Everything seemed to be going so well then and he felt so much joy. Little did he know that was also when Donna had begun to mentally deteriorate from the metacrisis just down the corridor from them. And when he’d returned to the console room, excited about the prospect of all the new adventures the four of them were going to take on, it was much, much
too late --
Perhaps it had been the Doctor’s helplessness with Donna that had caused him to finally turn on him in the end, for as he wept over Donna’s body – his sister, his mother, his dear friend
– he began to see the rage welling in His eyes as he stood over them. When He then asked Rose to leave them alone, he naively hoped that it was so they might share their grief with one another --
Instead, the Doctor gave him the news of his fate.
Once in London, he stood in the rain and mud outside the window of Donna’s home, watching through the glass as the Doctor spoke to her family inside and then -- much to his abject horror -- watching as things unfolded before his eyes.
It was then, when Donna awoke and greeted the Doctor as an absolute stranger, that he finally knew, without question, that she had in fact forgotten everything
Grief coiled in his belly and he ran and ran after that, making his way through the rain, wishing he could forget it all too, wishing that the Doctor could take away the pain of losing everything he’d
known and loved in the all-too-short
time he’d been alive.
It was then when he thought of her,
Martha, that other doctor in his life who had done everything to save his other self, the woman that the Doctor was just about to bring him to. In his anguish, he tried desperately to remember where she lived now, working from disjointed memories of His from the one time he’d been there --
After hours of searching, he was just about to give up when he finally found her.
With his thoughts back in the present, he slipped beneath the water one last time, submerging himself entirely, enacting a baptism of sorts for this new life he had before him.
He only hoped that she
would not abandon him as well.+ + +
Day Two | Identity Politics
Martha could hear the faint rattling of metal and dishware coming from her kitchen, jarring her awake. She was quickly on her feet, ready to confront the intruder that might be lurking in her home, her body and mind on high alert (an unfortunate by-product of her year walking the Earth) before she remembered that he
– what should she call him anyway? – was there.
She quickly pulled her dressing gown on over her pyjamas and then made her way out of the bedroom and down the hall to investigate the noise. She had to admit that, though she was slightly annoyed at being woken up earlier than she’d planned, she felt a frisson of excitement rush through her at the thought of his presence.
In all honestly, she was still hoping to unravel the mystery of him and why he’d shown up on her doorstep. She always loved a good mystery and he, well, he seemed a right one indeed.
Of course, they’d barely spoken after he’d come out of the bath the night before, all walled up and brooding, but she didn’t ask for more just yet --
(She knew when to not push in such situations)
-- No, once he had donned Tom’s pyjamas (a bit ill-fitting, but they still worked nicely), she’d simply given him blankets and pillow for sleeping on the couch and then retired to her room after some awkward small talk.
She’d hoped that things would be better the next morning.
“Mornin’” she said, leaning against the entrance to the kitchen, crossing her arms over her chest as she regarded him.
His back was to her and he started at her greeting, dropping one of her pots, a loud clanging echo filling the room as it fell before him.
“Oh, sorry,” he said, a worried expression in his eyes as he leaned over to pick up the dropped piece of cookware and turned to look at her. “I was…hoping to surprise you with breakfast?” he added sheepishly.
“Really now?” she teased, raising an eyebrow as she looked at him.
He looked lost and a little bit wild as he stood in the middle of the kitchen -- his hair even more disheveled than His ever was, the pot hanging loosely from his hand, and wearing nothing but the blue trousers from the Doctor’s suit.
It was strange, she thought, seeing someone who looked so much like the Doctor looking so vulnerable and human.
“Yes. Not sure if I could even manage it, of course, but I thought I’d try. The Doctor wasn’t so bad at such things for the most part, in fact, he was actually quite good actually, always prattling on about what he cooked on what planet for whom. Then again, he was always a bit of a show-off and all as well, the dunce.
Still, as you probably remember, for the most part he rarely indulged that fancy. Donna, on the other hand, well, let’s just say she could barely boil water most days. Cooking was never her strong suit, to put it mildly
,” he replied, his words quick and spry, with the final ones in sotto voce.
He barely took a breath before he continued. “So, well, I’m not really sure whose
cooking skills I might have inherited. I could be the greatest chef in the world or I could burn your house down with my first attempt.”
“And you were going to put my house in jeopardy for such a whim?” she asked playfully, amused by his frenetic demeanor.
“I’ve put homes in jeopardy for less. Or He
has, at least.”
“Fair point.” She laughed. “So, in your grand scheme of breakfast preparations, did you have any plans as to what
you were going to try to cook?”
He scratched the back of his head, frowning a bit as he put the pot down on the counter. “Well, I…hadn’t really got that far with my plan as of yet, if I’m honest. I was getting there, of course, working my way through the steps in my head, un, deux, trois, quatre
--” He counted on his fingers. “-- but, no, not yet.”
“I figured. You see,” she started, pausing to step into the kitchen and stroll past him to open up the refrigerator, showing him its nearly empty contents with a flourish. “I have nothing to cook. I’m not so good a cook myself, so I don’t have much around, I’m afraid. You might remember a few of my failed experiments from 1969. Perhaps we could even get into a kitchen burning contest sometime.”
“Oh,” he said quietly, looking suddenly deflated as he leaned back against the sink. “Hadn’t anticipated that.”
“It’s alright, there’s a nice café just around the corner. We can grab some breakfast there.”+ + +
“I don’t know what to call you. Should I just call you 'Doctor'?” Martha asked as she sat across from him in the café.
The two of them had taken their respective showers and dressed (he in a pair of track pants and t-shirt of Tom’s, which were actually, to his surprise, quite comfortable) before strolling up the road to settle there for breakfast.
It was nice being arm and arm with her, he thought, smiling at the familiar weight of her there as they walked. He suddenly didn’t feel so alone.
“No,” he replied, chewing on his pastry, trying to push down the bile that threatened to fill his throat as he thought of Him. “Anything but
“What happened? I mean, between the two of you?” she asked, wiping a bit of powdered sugar from his nose with her thumb.
“Not now,” he replied quietly, but firmly, looking down at his plate as he pushed around one of the strawberries there with his fork.
(He still wasn’t entirely sure of what happened himself
after all; he therefore, most certainly, didn’t feel he could even begin to tell her
about what had happened either.)
“Okay then, so what should I call you?”
“Well, Hephaistos might be a bit unwieldy and pretentious, even if a bit fitting in some ways.” He paused, thinking sadly of the god, rejected by his mother, being thrown to the Earth from the heights of Mount Olympus. “No, perhaps something simple, easy, one syllable, something that rolls off the tongue, but has meaning.”
“Yes, all good ideas, though I’m sure one syllable doesn’t need to be a requirement,” she said with a wink. “Don’t worry too much about it. You can always try a few names before you’re comfortable with one. You are in an enviable position, you know. Most people don’t get to chose their own names -- ”
“Call me James,” he replied suddenly, interrupting her. James. Yes. Perfect.
A stranger in a strange land, he thought, an homage to his – or His
– dear old friend Jamie who always made the most of things even though he was always a bit out of step, out of time, and out of place --
“Yes, I like that the more I think about it. James, Jamie, Jim…hmm, perhaps I’ll stick with James. Jamie is too…personal
and Jim, well, I should think I don’t look much like a Jim, do I?”
Martha laughed. “Alright. James it is, then.”+ + +
Day Three | Complicated
“Have you been thinking about him?” Tom asked her, a naughty smirk on his face as his image filled her computer screen.
“What do you mean?” she asked, nervously fiddling with her headset.
She’d just finished filling him in on all of the details of the past three days regarding James, as well as catching up with how things were otherwise with one another, when the conversation had turned flirtatious.
As a blush stole across her face, she was immediately thankful that James had gone to sleep at least an hour before and -- most likely, hopefully
– couldn’t hear them.
“You know what I mean, Martha. Have you thought of being with
“He’s broken and I’m fixing him, Tom. The timing would be terrible,” she said adamantly, though she knew, deep down, Tom had been able to see right through her charade.
He always did, her Tom – it was one of the many reasons she loved him.
“That’s not my question,” he teased in a singsong manner.
“Okay, yes,” she replied quietly, shifting in her chair a bit uncomfortably.
thought of James, of course, just as Tom has sussed out, but it was complicated and to say it out loud, that was just…well, too much to think about in that moment for her.
Yes. Too complicated.
“Sorry? I didn’t quite hear that.”
“Yes, I have,” she repeated, louder this time, her teeth gritted in minor annoyance for him so easily coaxing the truth from her.
Tom’s smile widened, a mischievous glint now glimmering in his eyes. “Touch yourself. I want you to think about him and touch yourself for me.”
“Because I think it’s the only way you’ll let yourself.”+ + +
James could hear them talking, laughing, and then finally, ever so quietly, moaning just down the hall. It was one inhuman thing he’d mysteriously seemed to retain in this human body – enhanced hearing.
Amazed at it all, he could honestly not believe Martha’s words to Tom about him – unable to fully react, as he was still so overwhelmed by everything else going on around him that it had not even occurred
to him to stop and think about how he felt about her as well.
His body – much more human in other ways -- had
He soon turned and bit the pillow beside him to stifle his own moans, his hand slipping down his skin as he imagined what was happening in her bedroom – listening intently to her breathlessly whispering his name again and again.+ + +
Day Four | Dreams
He dreamt of her the night before. Laying her back on deep red grass, as the twin suns rose and fell above them, they both nervously fumbled with their robes to discover the ancient mysteries each of their bodies held. He told her he wanted to take her far away, to other planets, other times, and she simply laughed.
He dreamt of her the night before. Laying her back in woods near her grandfather’s old house (where she’d go when things got too difficult with Mum as a youth) on a flannel blanket, as the moon rose high in the sky, they had kissed and kissed and kissed until she felt so breathless, yet so alive. She rushed back into the night towards home, filled with happiness, only to find her grandfather sitting in the half-light of the kitchen when she got there, waiting for her, and asking if she’d seen the universe that night (if only he’d known).
He dreamt of her the night before. Laying her back on her bed, with its soft blue sheets, he made love to her, whispering again and again to her who he was and who he wasn’t, whispering how things were both different and how they never change, whispering how He’d always loved her and how he was just beginning to –
When he awoke, he was (achingly) alone.+ + +
Day Five | Broken Heart
Martha hated seeing him like that – like a caged animal aching to be freed.
She thought bringing him to UNIT might help him, give him something to focus on and to do now that he seemed to be trapped on Earth (as far as she can tell, at least, as the Doctor had not answered her phone to prove otherwise), but now she wondered if she made a huge mistake.
Sure, her superiors enthusiastically jumped at the chance to give him -- that alien who wasn’t really
an alien (or was he?) -- a job there, but they also simultaneously attempted to begin the long and arduous process of picking apart the thousand years of knowledge his brain still held.
In truth, aside from ecstatic declarations of how much they respected him (or Him,
as it were), and the grand plans they seemed to have for his future work with them, at the end of the day, they also wanted to dissect
him, understand his physiology -- what he was, what he wasn’t, what he could be
– with a multitude of intrusive tests.
(Her only relief from it all was that she
was the one administering most of these tests and that he seemed to trust her without reticence, seemed to somehow know that she hated giving them as much as he hated receiving them and that she meant him no harm.)
She just hadn’t wanted him to become a lab rat, she thought angrily -- she wanted so much more
“Just checking your heart,” she said, warming up the bell of the stethoscope with her palm before placing it on his bare chest. “It’s so strange to not hear the beating of two hearts with you.”
“Yeah,” he whispered.
She looked up into his sad eyes, lifting a hand to caress his cheek with her thumb. “I’m sorry,” she whispered before reverting back into her more professional demeanor as she dropped her hand back to her side.
“It’s actually beating quite fast,” she observed, removing the stethoscope to take note of his heart rate on his chart.
“That one always did beat a bit faster with Him. Usually one of a Time Lord’s hearts do, it just depends on if you are left-hearted or right-hearted.”
“Fascinating,” she said with a smile, still a bit awed by him, as she pressed a palm to his chest. “Still, I think I’ll give you some medication to slow that down a bit. I will keep a close eye on you for any ill effects, of course, but I just want to make sure that you stay healthy. I don’t know about Time Lords, but a high heart rate in humans is generally not very good sign.”
“Well, Dr. Jones, if you keep standing so close and pressing your palm there, it certainly won’t slow down any time soon,” he said with an uncharacteristically flirtatious wink.
She couldn’t help but blush.+ + +
James sighed as he sat alone in the deserted canteen at UNIT, eating a small dinner as he reminisced about when He
had worked there so very long before – that younger body of His that was also living in exile and trapped on Earth, paying penance for a crime he felt was truly no real crime at all.
He wouldn’t have changed things, though, after all was said and done. He’d made some dear friends during those years and, quite by accident, learned a lot about himself as well. It was actually then that He also began to fall more and more in love with this planet and now he
hoped that he could someday feel all that joy and love (again). He thought of His younger self and smiled, never wanting to forget.
Yes, he endeavored to tell Martha of those experiences some time, perhaps soon – to tell her of Bessie, Jo, Liz, the Brig…
He was tired of keeping so many of His secrets.
So much had changed since He’d worked there and things were especially different than the bare bones taskforce He’d first encountered during the invasion of the Cybermen. Still, he had to admit that he was mostly happy that they’d (re)hired him, even after they finally comprehended that he was not, in fact, actually the Doctor,
but a very human copy of both him and Donna Noble (the latter apparently well remembered by Colonel Mace, much to his amusement).
He didn’t like the battery of tests they’d put him through all that day, of course, but he conceded to the inevitability of them. This was his life now, he thought, a bird in a gilded cage. Still, despite all that, he honestly didn’t want to hurt Martha’s reputation by being too
disorderly on his first day (which was, admittedly, quite a challenge in and of itself) – he respected her
too much for that.
No, after putting up with him so graciously over the last few days, it was the least he felt he could do for her.
“Hello,” he heard her voice as she sat down beside him, smiling as she’d appeared just as he was thinking of her.
“Hello,” he replied, giving her his widest smile, his heart beginning to pound and race in his chest again as her sweet scent invaded his senses.
(He had not been entirely joking about his heart speeding up whenever he was around her earlier, of course; he just hoped that she couldn’t tell how nervous she made him.)
“All the tests are done, I’m so sorry
to have put you through that. If I only would have known, I –- ”
“It’s alright, you were only doing your job,” he said, putting a hand over hers on the table. “Besides, I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to let you bring me here. And I knew that you would look after me through it all.”
She dipped her head down, a faint blush rising on her cheeks as her hair slipped down to cover the side of her face. Oh, how he wanted to brush that hair aside and replace it with a small kiss, but instead he balled his loose hand into a fist at his side to distract him from such fanciful thoughts.
She might have spoken to Tom of how she desired him, but he did not want to jump to any conclusions as to what that truly meant
for the two of them. He still felt too vulnerable for that.
“Let’s go get some real
food instead to celebrate your new job,” Martha said with a smile, pushing her loose hair behind her ear.
“I should think, Martha Jones,” he said, curling his fingers to entwine them with hers, “That’d be brilliant!”+ + +
“And there was this one time with the Brigadier and Liz that…what?”
“You -- it is just so strange to hear you talking so much. I mean, you always talked, of course, talked a lot even, but you were never much for really saying
anything, especially about your past,” Martha replied, feeling a bit bemused by the man before her.
“That was another man, Martha,” he corrected her somberly.
“I’m sorry. Sometimes I forget,” Martha replied, looking down into her wine glass with a flush of embarrassment.
She’d become so caught up in, so utterly entranced by, his stories about the Doctor’s days working at UNIT, that for a moment she thought it was her old friend sitting there before her telling those wondrous tales instead.
In fact, they’d been quite enjoying a wonderful celebratory meal of takeaway Italian food and some nice red wine in her kitchen, chatting amiably and laughing, when she’d made her awkward gaffe. She only hoped that it would not ruin the rare light and playful mood now between them.
The thing was, she had to admit she really liked
this more open side of him – even if it might have been the result of the several glasses of wine between them – and hoped that she had not inadvertently pushed him back into his shell so quickly.
“It’s alright,” he said quietly, lifting her chin with his forefinger to look at him again. “Sometimes I do too.”
“Is it strange, I mean being…whoever you are?” she asked nervously as he returned his hand to his lap.
(Even in their less-serious moments, she couldn’t suppress her desire to understand him more. Tom has always said it is what makes her a good doctor – her eager desire to analyze the world around her – but she still feared for the possible bad timing of her insatiable inquisitiveness.)
“A little I suppose. Sometimes it is like holding two diametrically opposed thoughts at the same time and sometimes I feel more whole than He or she ever did. Sometimes it is like I’ve lost something, but I can’t remember what it is, and sometimes it is like finding all the treasures in the universe at once.”
“Diametrically opposed thoughts, that has got to be confusing.”
“Yes, it can
be. It doesn’t happen all the time, mind you, or I might be a bit of a nutter, at least more so than I already am, of course, but when it does
happen, those differing perspectives are actually quite interesting. It is like looking at a problem from so many different angles at once,” he said, now animatedly talking with his hands, as if diagramming his words before her. “They were both very good at that, you know, even if she
wasn’t ever that sure of herself in such cases, but she was indeed. Anyway, on those occasions when those perspectives merge and agree, well, that is…that is really empowering
actually. Like right now, for instance, everything is in sync, and I know exactly what I want.”
“And what is it you want, James?” she asked, feeling a lump in her throat as his gaze now burned heavily through her – darkness, with a hint of what looked like desire, swirling in the pools there.
He moved his mouth slowly for a moment, as if speaking but with no sound coming out, before clearing his throat. “I want to kiss you.”+ + +
He’d forgotten how soft the skin of a woman could be and how utterly enticing Martha’s scent was so close to him – yes, he felt almost overwhelmed with desire as her body lay beneath him.
Images of laying with her in the red grass, the woods, this bed,
all rapidly flitted through his mind at once, recalling his dreams of her only a day before. He simply couldn’t believe that now that he was awake, he was actually, in reality, there with her there – kissing her, loving
“I don’t know what to think of this,” she whispered, wrapping her arms around him as she pulled him to her, her bared breasts pressing into his own bared chest, as they lay together on her bed.
“I don’t either,” he whispered back, trying to still the creeping anxiety threatening to take him completely.
“I…always wanted this, with Him, but, I’ve tried to forget that, to move past it --”
“He hurt me,” she added softly, her grip on him tightening.
“He was...conflicted. He never meant…oh, Martha, I can’t right his wrongs or speak the words that you need to hear from Him
and not me. I can only be myself. Just me,
lying here with you.
No Doctor, no Donna, just us.
“But I don’t want to use you, I don’t want you to be a substitute for what I lost. You deserve more than that,” she said, her tone sounding more and more adamant and strong as he started to feel weaker and weaker in contrast.
He shifted from her embrace onto his elbows, looking down at her as he stroked her cheek with the back of his hand. “And are you using me now?” he asked as evenly as he could.
Fear and confusion flickered in her eyes, but he tried to stay his emotions and not let himself feel hurt. He wanted her to be honest with him after all, even if the truth was painful. “I’m not sure,” she replied, her voice small and quiet again.
He leaned down to kiss her on the forehead and then quickly shifted off her to sit on the side of the bed. He pulled his shirt back on and looked back at her. “It’s alright. I think we’ve both had too much wine and should get some sleep.”
“But James, I --” she called out to him as he stood and began to make his way out of the room.
“Good night, Martha,” he replied, not even turning back to look at her this time.
He honestly barely heard her words in response to him as he rushed from her bedroom. His emotions finally broke though his weakened defenses once he made it to the couch and he soon curled up with a pillow, letting the tears fall in the cold darkness of the room.+ + +
Day Six | Confessions
When Martha awoke the next morning, it took her a few moments to remember what had transpired the evening before. Once she did, she reached over to her discarded shirt and held it to her. “Oh God, what have I done?” she whispered.
She hurriedly put her shirt on and pulled on her dressing gown over her clothes, before making her way out of her room to find him. She quickly discovered him sitting quietly in the kitchen reading the newspaper and eating a bowl of cereal.
(She had to admit that she’d thought it was somewhat endearing when he’d wanted a sugary kid’s cereal to eat in the mornings, especially excited about the toy in the box, but even remembering that simple joy of his wasn’t enough to make her smile that morning).
“Mornin’” she said, already sensing how closed off he was to her now.
“Good morning,” he replied curtly, never once looking up at her.
She swallowed hard, took in a deep breath, and then made her way across the kitchen to make her own – healthier – bowl of cereal. Once her food was prepared, silence still hanging thick in the air between them, she then tentatively made her way back toward him and slowly sat down at the table across from him – much like one acts when approaching an unpredictable feral animal, she mused.
“Anything exciting going on in the world today?” she asked, hoping small talk might help puncture the density of tension in the air between them.
“Not much. Same old humans, same old world, don’t know why I think they might change or actually do something good once in a while,” he replied evenly, a sharp bite in his tone.
“That’s not fair.”
is not fair, Martha,” he countered angrily, now looking at her, his gaze filled with rage, though the corners of his eyes looked both puffy and tinged with red as if he’d been crying recently.
“So, this is how it is going to be between us now, yeah?” she replied, her own resentment for him making her feel so bad about the evening before now welling within her.
No, she wasn’t going to take this from him, not at all --
“What do you mean?”
“Bitterness, fighting. I really can’t wait for all that
excitement,” she replied, annoyed and rolling her eyes at him.
are the one who rejected me, Martha, you might recall – so, you only brought this on yourself. What -- do you think I should be rejoicing
in my unrequited feelings for you? You think I should be happy to be with you hour after hour, day after day, when I know you see me as nothing more than the ghost of someone who you apparently have far too many
unresolved issues with? You think I should just smile at you and tell you everything is perfectly fine when I feel like my heart is breaking? You used
“And have you not been using me too? Showing up at my home in the middle of the night with your sob story knowing that I can’t say no to you, that I couldn’t turn you away. Why are you even here anyway? Surely, there are other places you could’ve gone, aren’t there? Jack alone would take you in, I’m sure of it. Do you even want to be around me
or are you just here for the free rent until we can find you somewhere else to live? I thought we were at least friends, but now, now I don’t know anymore if we are even that
“It’s not like that, Martha. Really,” he replied softly, though she swore she saw a flicker of guilt in his eyes.
“Well then, what is
it like, James?”
“You rejected me.”
again. I…didn’t reject
you. I told you I was confused. You are
confusing to me, James. And I just, I don’t know, I didn’t know how to deal with that. It was all happening so fast and I –- ”
“What? You avoided things? You shut me out?” he growled, “Oh, Martha, you are more like Him than you might think –- ”
“Stop it!” she yelled, trying to calm her breathing. “You talk of diametrically opposed thoughts, well how about this -- what if I care about you, but I’m still somewhat angry with Him?
No, you may not be Him, I know that, but you have his face and, as a result, it is hard to not remember what happened between he and I whenever I’m with you. I know he didn’t mean it, I do, somewhere deep down, and, honestly, I’ve grown past most of it. But seeing you, having you in my life day after day, just seems to open that wound again and I hate it.
I hate it because I like you,
James. I like you a lot. I like spending time with you, talking with you, laughing with you, and, yes, even kissing you. And I’m sorry if that is how it is, all this pain interspersed with the joy, but that is how I feel.”
She pounded her fist on the table between them, the loud noise heralding a long moment of awkward silence between them. He looked back down at his bowl of cereal in response, moving his spoon around in circles through his food, and she looked down at hers, doing the same.
She hadn’t intended to have such an outburst, of course, especially saying so many of the things she’d never let herself say aloud – to anyone
– before. He’d pushed her
though. He might not be the Doctor, but he still seemed to have the same uncanny ability, same power, to push her emotional buttons, to evoke a strong visceral reaction from her when she usually was able to pride herself on being more cool, more detached, and more professional with people (like a good doctor should be, yes) --
“He abandoned me,” James said quietly, interrupting her thoughts and breaking the silence between them.
“Sorry?” she asked, surprised by his sudden vulnerable confession, especially in the midst of their heated argument.
“He abandoned me,” he repeated, louder this time. “He left with Rose, told me I was too dangerous to be around them, so he left me.”
Martha blinked at him, completely taken aback by his words. “And Donna? Is she still with them?”
“No,” he replied, a small sob escaping his lips before he seemed to steady himself again, “No. No, Donna. The Donna we know is gone.”
“I…don’t understand,” she said, reaching out for his hand, feeling the air tightening in her lungs, grief threatening to overtake her. “Is she dead?”
“He…took all her memories, well, the recent ones at least. Not dead, just sort of…back to where she was before she ever met Him.”
“Why?” she asked, incredulously.
Martha couldn’t even comprehend what would make the Doctor do something like that to their dear friend. Perhaps He was even more of an enigma than she’d thought. She just didn’t understand
“The metacrisis. It was too much for her. Her human brain couldn’t sustain the consciousness of a Time Lord. He had to take it from her so that she could survive.”
“And you? You survived intact?”
“Yes, and I honestly don’t know why, Martha. There’s never been a human-Time Lord metacrisis before, so I don’t know if it will all end tomorrow or if I’ll still be alive in fifty years. Sometimes--” he paused, blowing out a deep breath as he wiped the tears from his cheeks with his free hand, “--sometimes I wish it had been me instead. Donna didn’t deserve that fate.”
Martha stood and walked over to him, kneeling in front of him, never releasing her hold on his hand. “No one
deserves that fate.”
“But He called me a monster, and maybe I am, maybe I do
“I think he just doesn’t like looking in a mirror,” she said, pulling his hand into his lap and she laid her head against his arm.
“He said I was dangerous.”
“Killing all the Daleks, I suppose. I am still not entirely sure, if I’m honest. It was all very confusing and sudden.”
“You saved the universe, James. That can be a hard burden to shoulder, but you did. That doesn’t make you dangerous, or a monster, that makes you a hero,” she said, kissing his sleeve.
“Maybe we should start a club?” he offered with a small laugh.
“Jack and I already have one. We jokingly call it The End of the World Survivors Club, but I’m sure you could easily join as well. Not much to being a member, just tea and kisses,” she teased, feeling a slight bit of cheerfulness that the mood was starting to lighten between them.
“Tea and kisses. I’d like that,” he said, softly. “It would be nice to belong to something.”
Martha nuzzled closer to him. “You do. You belong here, on Earth, with us, with me.
We can work through this together -- you know how stubborn I can be and how I won’t give up trying. This planet is your home now and you are always welcome here. Don’t you forget that, mister.”
“He wanted to leave me with you, you know. Of course, I just sort of ran off and found you myself.”
“He did?” she asked, surprised.
“Yes. He knew you could help heal me and, well, he trusts and respects you a lot more than he’ll ever say to you.”
“Wow, I guess I should be…honoured.”
James shifted so that she could wrap his arm around her, holding her against his chest. “I’m sorry that I can’t be Him, Martha. I’m sure that I make a poor substitute.”
“I don’t want Him, James, I want you,” she murmured against his chest, so close to that one human heart that seemed to be racing again, maybe from her words?
And just maybe she could mend him with her sweet syllables and pulling tight the threads of affection between them to draw them close in ties that bind. He was broken, yes, frayed at the edges, and an intriguing puzzle still in pieces before her, but then wasn’t everyone is some way? + + +
“Strangely, I’ve never done this on this table before,” Martha panted as she wrapped her legs around him as he sank into her, balancing her on the edge of the kitchen table.
“With Tom? I figured you’d been in every part of the house,” he whispered near her ear, as he began to move within her, rattling the spoons still balanced in the bowls of (now mushy) cereal next to them.
She gave a throaty laugh. “Yes, but this is a new table you see,” Moan. “Bought while he’s been in Africa and--” Whimper. “--hey, where did you get that idea?”
His hand slipped between them and his long finger began to caress her clit in tantalizing circles, causing her to shudder against him.
“I’ve heard your conversations,” he replied, pulling back to look down at her and give her a mischievous wink.
Her eyes widened in surprise and her face coloured red with the blush rising on her cheeks. “How?”
“Human body, Time Lord hearing.” He tapped her nose with a finger and then began moving against her faster and deeper. Yes.
“Anything else Time Lord about you that I should know about?” she asked, becoming more and more breathless as her body tightened more around him and her moans became more guttural.
“Perhaps we’re about to find out, Martha Jones,” he said with a flirtatious growl, letting himself bask in the simple joy of just being with her.Yes, this is home.