Title: A Moment of Weakness
Characters/Pairings: Tenth Doctor, with allusions to Tenth Doctor/Martha Jones
Word Count: 1721
Genre: Angsty Romance Ficlet
Rating: PG? [everything is pretty innocuous]
Spoilers: Set post S3, pre-S4?
Summary: Ten has a weak moment while thinking of Martha Jones.
All your Doctor Who are belong to us
I own nothing related to Doctor Who et al, though I have Ten(nant) and the TARDIS currently on my Holiday wish list.
Author Notes: I wrote this little piece after being "attacked" by my muse in the middle of the night last night. It’s not my best work, but I figure I am still getting practice at writing, so that is good. This work hasn’t been beta'd, so all mistakes are my own. Feedback is happy-making, so please leave a word or two.
The Doctor felt his fingernails pressing hard into his palms, leaving half-moon-shaped indents in the flesh as he balled his fists tightly. With his body tense and rigid, he wasn’t sure how long he’d been holding his breath, but when he finally exhaled, a breath long and jagged, it felt as if it had been held for some time.
His body then slumped against the TARDIS’ Captain’s Chair behind him, his hands now opening and beginning to relax against their tension. His body felt limp as his hip bashed a bit into the hard metal of the chair’s frame as he tried to maneuver himself onto its surface for support. It hurt, but far more things were hurting inside him in that moment to care for such superficial
“Gone,” he whispered to himself, the word holding the weight of his 900+ years.
He was once again alone and, yet again, it was his own fault. Everyone he loves is gone. She
is gone. He didn’t even get the chance to tell her he…
His thoughts stopped abruptly, his will fighting to not even let him finish the sentence in his own head. Three words he could never say to her. Three words he could never say to anyone when he needed to. Never to Rose, to Sarah Jane, to Grace…to any of them. And, now, perhaps never to be said to Martha as well.
He raised his hands to wipe his face, feeling the dampness from his tears there beneath his fingertips and the faint stinging on his palms where their saltiness had pooled into the small wounds left by his fingernails. He then moved a hand down to lift himself further into the chair, while the other lightly pushed his fingers down the fabric of his coat until he reached a pocket there, pulling out the small device of plastic and metal he was searching for – Martha’s phone.“This is me getting out.”
Her words echoed in his head as he traced his fingertips over the phone delicately, staring intently at it as he held it before him almost reverently. It had been weeks since the Martha had walked away from him, proudly walking down the walkway of the console room and out the door. His feelings had been mixed as he watched her leave, but he was mostly filled with a jarring dissonant mixture of hurt from her departure and pride at the women she’d become.
He wanted to run after her that day -- to stop her and tell her how much he’d changed in The Year That Never Was. It wasn’t just a physical transformation during that horrific time; it was a mental change as well. He’d been in his head so long during that time, drowning in the feelings he’d kept locked inside, that he knew he could no longer hide from his feelings for Martha.
He knew his walls had been up too high with Martha when they were still together. He had gone into things determined to try and keep himself from letting his emotions get the better of him again, especially as he was still healing from losing Rose. Despite his attempts at emotional armaments, though, he knew deep down that he could never truly keep himself from falling in love again. It just wasn’t his nature, after all. He’d learned that painful lesson back in Farringham as John Smith, even if it took him months to truly admit it to himself. Once you stripped away the walls he’d forged for himself after nearly a millennium, he was simply the “romantic lost prince” that John Smith had described him to be – fiercely emotional and passionate, but aching with the crippling grief of being alone in the universe. John Smith got a chance to live, to feel,
without that baggage, that pain from so very many years of loss, and sometimes the Doctor hated him for it.
No, he always held Martha at arm’s length, but it wasn’t enough. Martha seeped into the cracks of his stony façade, easing herself into his soul until she began to feel like home to him. In his own head, hidden behind his own walls as the Master held him prisoner, it was this strong presence of Martha within him that pushed him forward day after day. The urgent and constant hope that beat within him, as if alongside his hearts, that she would return to him successful from her mission and that perhaps, somehow afterward, he could work to right the wrongs of what had transpired between them.
He wanted to start to try and make her understand him after her return as she stood in the TARDIS with him that final time, but his nerves had overtaken him and instead he spewed out his usual manic ramblings at her, trying to ignore the look in her eyes that told him she was about to leave him. He’d finally stilled, trying to keep his body from crumpling as the full impact of this realization hit him. He tried to stay as calm as possible, and stood up straight, training his emotions as best he could, before he’d simply said to her in resignation, “Okay.”
He wanted to plead with her as she spoke to him, saying her goodbye, but he could barely look into her eyes. She was never second best -- he
was next to her, if anything. She was too good for him.
He never got to tell her though. He never got to tell her how sorry he was for how he had neglected her and how much he wanted her, needed
her, to stay with him. He didn’t run after her though. Sure, he knew that he could probably get her to stay, trap her with clever and cunning manipulation and charm, but he never wanted to be a prison for her. He wanted her to stay with him because she wanted, needed,
He stared back at the phone, almost willing it to ring. After a few moments of silence though, he resigned himself to the thought that it would not ring and possibly never would. He pushed the phone back into his pocket and leaned his head back to stare up at the ceiling of the TARDIS, his tears trailing down his cheeks again.
The TARDIS shifted and settled and he knew that he was at the destination he’d set moments before. His body had tensed as he’d set the coordinates and, even now that he’d relaxed a bit, he still felt reticence swell through him as he pushed himself off the chair to the floor and slowly made his way to the door. He took in a deep breath, grabbing his coat from the coral branch beside him, and pressed the door to open, walking outside.
The TARDIS had landed just by Royal Hope Hospital, so close to where he’d taken off his tie to show Martha he could travel in time -- a cheap trick to entice her to travel with him, to impress
her -- in the beginning. He smiled, despite himself, at the memory. According to his coordinates, he was now near that very spot just a few weeks before it would even happen, just a few weeks before he’d meet her at the hospital, travel to the Moon, and just a few weeks before she would first save his life (metaphorically as well as physically, after all was said and done).
His body tensed again as he saw Martha approach, talking on her phone just as she was that very day he’d just been remembering. His hands settled into his pockets, fingertips subconsciously yet lovingly stroking the very same phone held within them. He leaned back against a nearby wall, wanting to blend in with everyone around them and not have her see him eyeing her both nervously and longingly. He knew he couldn’t – shouldn’t -- interfere with her timeline, but in a weak moment that day on the TARDIS, he’d just wanted to see her again. He worried that in her future, by the time she’d finally left him, that she wouldn’t want to see him -- at least not any time soon. So, instead he went into her past to see her, hiding in the shadows like a ghost.
He watched her as she passed, the beautiful woman before him, and he felt a lump in his throat as he swallowed hard. This was the woman to whom, in just a few weeks time, he was going to begin to rip apart emotionally piece by piece with his improvident detachment. The woman who will later pull those same pieces back together, who will survive him, and love him, despite all he did – and didn’t – do to her, yet still leave him because she deserved better than what he’d given her. This was the woman that he loved and missed more than anyone else in the universe that moment – his Martha Jones.
He stared at the hospital doors long after she’d went inside, trying to will himself to leave, but finding it somewhat challenging with her so near to him again. Finally, he pushed himself off the wall he’d been leaning against, and moved back slowly through the crowd and back to the TARDIS. His movements felt like he was moving through molasses, everything so slow and deliberate. For a moment, he almost wondered if he was “out of time,” his Time Lord powers spinning the things around him too quickly, instead of slowing them down like he learned at the Academy. Deep down he knew, though, that it was merely his emotions fooling his perceptions. He’d read about such a thing in so many human books and here he was feeling such human-like emotions, which always seemed to ensnare him despite himself.
As he opened the TARDIS door and made his way inside and up to console, he wondered if perhaps he’d spent far too much time with humans and perhaps they’d simply rubbed off on him far too much. He then smiled to himself a little at the thought, letting a bit of happiness through for just a moment, as he pushed a lever to go to his next destination.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he mused quietly to himself.