Show- Doctor Who. Ten/ Rose, Martha.
Disclaimer- I am falling for Peter Davison. Sad but true.
Summary- The Doctor makes a mistake in his travels with Martha leading him somewhere not entirely new.
A/- Everyone and their dog has done one--my turn. I wrote this before season 3 started so my Martha is more post-Rose than the actual companion she turned out to be. But hey! No spoilers. Thanks for the great response to this.
Martha ceased to be intimidated by Jackie Tyler about ten minutes after meeting her. Her home might be grand and imposing, but Jackie Tyler was as down to earth as anyone she had ever met. In minutes she had them in one of the warmest rooms in the house tucking into toast and cakes and being regaled with stories of this alternate universe and the differences between it and theirs.
“So, in this world the Wright Brothers decided that they needed a cleaner way of travel and they developed the zeppelins instead of the first bi-plane?” the Doctor was enthralled.
Jackie nodded. “First came balloon travel and then they developed aeroplanes with this special formulae which was clean and clear. No air pollution and the jets are faster. No pollution here and the ozone layer is intact, if you can believe it. All that tripe about it being hairspray and cow flatulence!”
“Even better … the telly is all different!” Jackie laughed. “Oh, the fuss I had when I went to watch EastEnders and it was all about some family in Liverpool! They never cancelled Firefly over here, X Files is still going strong, ooh and no one’s ever even heard of Big Brother.”
“Something I never thought I’d hear again!”
The Doctor’s head shot around as a familiar face poked in the door.
The cheeky grin of Mickey Smith erupted as he came through the door and reached out for the Doctor who was on his feet and enveloping Mickey in a manly hug.
“’ello, Doctor. When Jacks called, I couldn’t believe it.”
“Oh, you should know that you can’t get rid of me that easily.”
Mickey nodded, his eyes shining. “Always said that, I did. Tried to get rid of old Big Ears and then you, but you kept coming back.”
“Oh, you know you missed ‘im, really.” Jackie announced with a roll of her eyes. “All those times you spent with Rose and Jake up all night reminiscing. I swear at one point I thought you had a crush on ‘im.”
The Doctor bit his lip as Mickey glowered. “Did not.”
“So, how’re you doing then?” The Doctor wanted to know. “Still seeking out Cybermen or did you get another job?”
“No, I work for Torchwood field department now,” Mickey said proudly. “Any sightings around Britain and I’m off to find out what. ‘course mostly its drunk students having a laugh, but it’s a good job.”
The Doctor could see that.
Mickey stood up tall and straight and his expression was no longer apologetic. He had grown and become so much more than Mickey the idiot. The Doctor felt a wave of pride.
Mickey nodded and then sucked in a breath as if he’d just remembered something.
“Oh, I want you to meet someone.” He leaned over his shoulder. “Ray!” he yelled.
The Doctor watched surprised as two little girls raced into the room. One was about seven and looked eerily like Rose—Heather, he assumed.
The other was a much younger cherubic little girl with corkscrew curls and a dark complexion, like Mickey’s. She had his eyes and smile too.
She ran up and threw her arms around Mickey’s knees and he reached down, picking her up and throwing her over his shoulder. “Doctor this is Rachel, Ray this is the man I told you about, this is the Doctor.”
The little girl’s eyes opened wide and she stuck her thumb into her mouth quickly.
“Hello,” the Doctor said leaning forward with a half-smile. “Aren’t you a pretty one?”
“Takes after her mum then,” Jackie offered. “Misha is much prettier than Mickey.”
Something eased inside the Doctor and he turned to thank Jackie with a smile. For a moment—just a moment—he’d searched for a part of Rose in this child.
“You’re not the Doctor.”
He looked down at the little blonde who had one hand on her hip and was regarding him critically.
“Nope.” She crossed her arms and gave him Rose’s best suspicious look. “Rose said I could never ever see the Doctor because he was very far away and Rose never lies. I can see you so you can’t be him.”
He might have to use that one himself.
The Doctor knelt down and stared into the deep blue eyes, so familiar and yet so different. “But maybe if she was told that it was impossible and she was lied to and it was possible then the lie would be to her and her words would be true, therefore Rose wouldn’t be lying and the impossible was actually possible?”
Heather bit her lip as she tried to follow the logic. “I suppose.”
“I am the Doctor. I have a TARDIS. I came back.”
Her eyes lit up. “Rose told me that you had to grow your hand all the way back because a Sick-rat cut it off.”
Mickey allowed a small snort of laughter and the Doctor admonished him, his lips twitching.
“That’s what I said,” she replied indignantly.
“Did you fight the robot-men with my daddy?” Rachel all but whispered.
“And Daleks?” Heather tugged at his trousers. “Tell me.”
Rachel wiggled to be let down and edged closer to the Doctor, keeping her hand on Mickey’s leg.
“Daddy said you did fight men made of clocks what ticked, is that true?”
“Aliens is real too?” She urged, eyes wide.
“Realer than you! Some just as small.” The Doctor nodded enthusiastically. “In fact I met one smaller than you, even. He was blue and spat on Rose. Well, when I say spat it was a gesture of affection and an exchange of bodily saliva as a gift. Odd things, presents. Although not the oddest. Someone once gave me a city as a present, it was a lovely city, but I had to give it back—where would I keep it? Even my pockets aren’t that big.”
Martha grinned as the two little girls forgot their shyness and clambered over the Doctor demanding stories and verification.
Mickey came over and stood by her with a heavy sigh. “You know, that’s the second time one of my girls has left me for the Doctor.”
“I think you’ll get this one back, though,” Martha soothed in amusement. “I’m Martha Jones, by the way.”
They shook hands, sizing each other up.
“Travelling with the Doctor?”
“Ever get lost looking for the kitchen?”
“All the time.”
“Me too,” Mickey grinned. “It was worse at night, the times I went to make a cuppa and ended up in the shower. Or in the pool.”
“I nearly got eaten by an overgrown dust-bunny,” Martha admitted. “After that I carry a torch everywhere with me … and mace.”
Martha glanced over to where the Doctor was showing Heather his wrist and the girl was prodding the flesh with a huge smile.
“I’ve never seen him like this,” she said, not realising that she had spoken out loud until Mickey frowned.
Martha searched for the right words. “Happy.” She settled with. “It’s like he’s come alive, he’s found a family and … and … connection. He doesn’t even seem aware of anything else.”
Mickey laughed. “You think this is bad, wait until you see him and Rose together.”
“Right the infamous Rose.” Martha looked away. “You know, from what I’ve heard about this girl I’m expecting her to be twelve foot tall and a little something like Xena.”
“I wish!” Mickey scoffed. “You’ve not met Rose, obviously. Here, come with me.”
Martha followed him over to the large display cabinet on one wall which, as she’d predicted, was full of warm family photos.
She saw Jackie and the same tall balding man in various poses, smiling and happy. There was hundreds of Heather in various stages of development; at school, in a garden, on a bouncy castle, on swings and at parties. There was one adorable one of her dressed in a huge pink hoodie and jeans with enormous hoop earrings and thick black eyeliner.
Mickey pointed to it with a grin. “She dressed up as Rose for her fourth birthday.”
“And that’s Rose?” Martha pointed to a picture in the centre of the young blonde woman with the soft smile, standing in front of a mountain with a white vest top and sunburnt nose. She was looking slightly away from the camera and there was something sad in her eyes as she looked over the vista.
“Yeah, taken about a year after we arrived.” Mickey picked it up and examined it carefully. He put it back in its pace and pointed to another. It was Rose holding the head of a camel, wrapped head to foot in a cloth to ward off the grainy sands that whipped up a storm behind her.
Another had her in Egypt sitting on the steps of a pyramid; another had her poking the fire outside an igloo; yet another had her sitting at the base of a tree in a jungle, or forest.
“Travels a bit, does she?” Martha asked.
“Can’t keep her still.”
She spun around to see the man who had spoken and was confronted by the man in the pictures; Pete Tyler.
“Hello, you must be Martha, then.” He held out his hand. “Pete.”
“Nice to meet you,” she greeted, ever polite.
“And Doctor.” Pete held out his hand and the Doctor shook it briefly.
Martha wondered at the slightly less enthusiastic greeting but pushed it away as the Doctor stood, one small girl one each side. “Uh, I seem to have attracted some small alien life-forms.”
“We’re not alien!” Heather insisted.
“Yes, you are.”
“No, I’m not!” She planted her hands on her hips.
The Doctor glared back at her. “What is the definition of an alien, hmm?”
“Foreign or strange, something or someone different from ones own type, species, race or culture.”
There was a beat as the Doctor looked up at Pete astounded at the verbosity issuing from the petit child.
Pete shrugged. “Torchwood.”
Heather preened and the Doctor closed his mouth.
“Right, fine. Well, I’m not human. You are a different species and therefore you are alien to me.” The Doctor finished triumphantly.
Martha rolled her eyes at his childish delight at having outwitted a six year old.
Heather thought about that. “Then you’re an alien to me and I’m an alien to you.”
“We’re aliens!” She stuck her tongue between her teeth in amazement.
Only Jackie was watching the Doctor and only she saw him falter for a minute at the action. She opened her mouth, thought better of it and changed the subject. “Well, it’s almost dinner time.”
“Right, we should be getting back to the TARDIS,” the Doctor said with an indrawn sigh.
“Can I see it?” Rachel tugged on his leg.
“No, me. I want to see it.”
“Fingers on lips!!” The Doctor cried and both girls immediately shut up, their little hands going to their mouths.
“Blimey,” Jackie breathed impressed. “I’m so hiring you.”
The Doctor winked. “Oh, you couldn’t afford me.”
“Right.” Jackie shook her head in disbelief. “Anyway I was going to ask you and Martha to stay for lunch.”
Martha expected the Doctor to say no. She expected him to say that he didn’t do domestic and that he wouldn’t be able to stay here. She expected him to give them some long complicated scientific reason why the TARDIS needed him back tonight and she expected a long walk back to the blue box he called home.
She blinked. “What, really?”
The Doctor glanced over at her, almost like he had forgotten she was there. “Oh, sorry, did you not want to?”
“Brilliant. Mickey, call Misha and Jake and we’ll make a night of it.”
The Doctor paled. “When I said ‘yes’—”
The jet called during dinner to verify that it only minutes away from picking up Rose Tyler and suddenly the Doctor lost all appetite. In less than 24 hours he would be seeing Rose again.
He would be doing the impossible.
He’d be seeing Rose. Seeing her, touching her, holding her in his arms.
His hands clenched.
For someone so used to holding the skeins of time in his hands and twisting them to fit; for someone used to watching eons go by and centuries pass through his fingers; for someone so used to being able to deconstruct the atoms of a second and blowing the mists of a millennia—he was damned impatient.
During dinner he’d been subjected to an odd kind of family madness with people talking over each other and analysing aliens over the artichoke salad.
Martha and Misha had gotten into a deep discussion on the effects of radiation on human physiology whilst passing the potatoes and Pete had grilled Heather on her times table in between offering suggestions for Jake and Mickey’s latest encounter and eating roast pork. Mickey had been asking the Doctor about interstellar travel and the hazards of fossil fuels as base whilst shovelling mashed potatoes in his mouth by the forkful. Rachel had tucked her thumb firmly in her mouth and refused to touch the Brussel sprouts, declaring them ‘Slitheen’ food, which Jackie immediately scraped off her plate amidst a ramble with Martha on the differences in sub-space fashion.
The Doctor had sat back in equal parts horror and fascination at this chaos of human interaction. Humans could multi-task, he knew that. Even basic life-forms could talk and chew at the same time, but to have so much going on and being able to carry each thread, filling the air with nonsense and warmth—it was extraordinary and not just a little overwhelming.
Martha seemed to be able to sink right into it, thinking nothing of having three different conversations while she ate and laughed.
He’d suddenly felt out of place and a little left out when Heather had turned to him, her eyes concerned and soft smile set in place.
“If you’re not going to eat that, I’ll have it.”
He blinked. “What?”
Heather had grinned saccharinely. “Rose said you eat too much and you never stop talking. You’re not eating and you’ve stopped talking.”
“You are all talking enough.” He pointed at her. “Especially you.”
“Then join in!” She’d rolled her eyes. “When I was nervous on the first day of school Rose said something to me, do you know what she said?”
The Doctor shook his head, watching the young girl who suddenly seemed much older than her years. “Life is like visitin’ Paris. You can’t just stand and watch, you’ve got to throw yourself in.”
“Eat the food, use the wrong verbs, get charged double and end up kissing complete strangers.” The Doctor whispered.
“Kissing?” Heather wrinkled her nose. “Boys? Ewwww!”
“On behalf of boys everywhere, hey!” Mickey protested loudly.
“And being her dad, I say yay,” Pete answered. “The more time she hates boys, the better I’ll feel.”
“Oh, you don’t hate me though, do you?” the Doctor winked at Heather who blushed and like that he was sucked in, talking alien politics with Jake and hiding his own Brussel sprouts under the table.