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.
Dinner had led to coffee and cakes in the lounge and he’d left Martha to tease Jake about mistaking an alien hairdryer for a weapon of mass destruction while he headed for the picture racks.
The Tylers seemed to want to capture every single moment of their brief lives, relive every smile and recapture each memory and he felt a pang at all the times he’d wished he’d had a photo to look at, something to ease the memories that he had never managed to bury. If he’d had just one picture of her … still.
His eyes naturally fell on a picture of Rose, bypassing Jackie in her gold and glam and Pete and even little Heather. His eyes were for his best friend, and the one that grabbed his attention was of her at her most beautiful
She stood in front of a mountain, her face freckled and singed by the sun. Her hair had been cropped shorter and was swept out of her way. Gone was the heavy mascara and black eyeliner and in its place were understated colours bordering on natural. Subtle shades of sadness melded into her eyes as she looked out over the stunning vista.
He reached out and allowed his fingers to trace the contours of her face, his fingers aching to feel soft flesh under his palms. He remembered that jaw line being a little softer, more rounded. He recalled those eyes being full of laughter and happiness and those lips turned up in a smile.
Rassilon, he missed her.
His damp eyes moved to pictures of her all around this new world, scaling heights and seeing things that most people would never see; jungles and seas and forest, mountains and deserts and waterfalls.
He felt such pride that she’d kept her promise to him; that she was trying to have a fantastic life.
“My Rose,” he breathed and stayed, memorising the pictures as the shadows grew longer and the night crept on, ignoring the animated conversation and laughter behind him.
It was Jackie’s emphatic yawn that finally clued him in to how late it was; that and the snores from the two young girls who’d finally overcome their excitement at being allowed up late and had fallen prey to tiredness.
The Doctor was ready to ask Pete to take him and Martha back to the TARDIS in a car so that they’d be rested when Pete pre-empted him.
“Most of the beds are made up for any guests that showed up for Heather’s birthday bash tomorrow. We can put you up, if you like?”
The Doctor opened and closed his mouth.
Jackie nodded. “Ooh, bet Martha’d love to sleep in a proper bed.”
“Oi!” the Doctor said, somewhat affronted. “I have proper beds on the TARDIS!”
“Yeah,” Mickey laughed. “Nice beds too, soft and big. But that humming!”
“The throbbing!” Martha nodded in understanding. “The constant whirring and clicking.”
“Drove me crazy.”
“I have to have sound-proofing.” The two time-travellers grinned at each other.
“Rose said she couldn’t sleep without the TARDIS noises,” Jackie interjected quietly and Martha and Mickey’s faces fell slightly. “She said it was like a lullaby, rocking her to sleep. It took her ages to get used to Earth again, even then she had to take sleeping pills for a while. Right mess she was, but then again it was a blessing when Heather was teething.”
The Doctor glanced between the chastised faces of two of his previous companions and smiled. “Rose had a special bond with the TARDIS. One that no one else has ever had, she had the whole of the TARDIS inside her.”
“How?” Martha frowned.
“That,” the Doctor grinned, “is a bedtime story for another time.”
“Anyway, offer stands. If you need a ride to the TARDIS, I’ll call my car. If you want to stay.” Pete shrugged.
Martha watched as the Doctor struggled. It was against his genetic make-up to do domestic and that included staying in a house with windows and doors and a picket fence (okay, the fence was wrought iron and at least six foot tall with spikes, but it was the principle of the thing). It wasn’t in the Doctor to be in someone else’s house when there was a perfectly serviceable TARDIS minutes away in the car.
But Martha wanted that normality, she craved home and all the trappings and she sighed. “I’d like to stay, if that’s okay?” She chanced a look at the Doctor who just nodded, as if he’d known that would be her answer.
Jackie came over and put an arm around her. “Course you do, sweetheart. I’ll put you in the room next to the Princess; it’s got a great view of the lake out back an’ cable TV in case you get bored. But if you want my advice, avoid Ground Force; it’s not what it was.”
The Doctor laughed as Jackie took Martha up to her room to settle her in.
He knew that Martha was a home-girl, wanting to be surrounded by familiarity. Oh, she was a great companion who knew what to say and how to say it; she was capable of throwing herself into an adventure as much as being able to reason a way out of one. But there was that part inside her that he could see, the part that nearly all of his companions had, it was the part that he knew would leave him behind.
Domesticity and a desire for normality.
Martha could laugh at the Altarians and dance with an Utok but she still had that moment of hesitancy at being confronted with a new race. She would never have touched a Dalek in pity.
He shook his head and shoved his hands into his pockets, leaving that thought for another time.
Mickey picked up his sleeping daughter and handed his wife the keys to the car. He bid the Doctor goodbye and Jake followed them out with a cheery wave.
It was just Pete and the Doctor, standing in the family room in silence.
“Shall I call for the car?” Pete asked suddenly. “Or get Hill to make up a room?”
“I don’t sleep,” the Doctor said flatly.
Pete pushed his hands into his expensive tailored suit and nodded. “Right. Well, my house is yours and all that. If you want to stay, that is.”
The Doctor regarded Pete out of the corner of his eyes, watching him warily. “How is Rose?”
“Honestly?” Pete sighed. “I don’t know. When I met her before, we were in the middle of a crisis and she was a bit off with me because of me being her dad but not. Then I … reacted badly.”
“You rejected her.” The accusation was there in the Doctor voice and Pete winced.
“Yeah, guess you could say that. But, to be fair, I’d just been told that this beautiful young girl was the daughter of an alternate version of me. A daughter I’d never had. In a world where I was with her mum and with a great kid and here I’d just lost my Jackie and all I had was a dog.”
The Doctor’s lips curved at the thought of Rose the dog. He’d wanted to tease Rose about that, but it seemed a bit tasteless after she’d been rejected by Pete.
“It threw me a bit.” Pete reached up and scratched at the back of his neck in an absent way. “Then when I did see her again in was in the middle of a war which I’d been fighting for years and there was Jackie right in the thick of it all. Then Rose lost you and had to deal with that.” He sighed. “To be honest, Doctor, I don’t think I’ve ever seen ‘normal’ Rose so I can’t tell you how she is, not in reference to anything that you’re familiar with. The Rose I know is quiet, thoughtful, smart as a whip,” the Doctor smiled, “and loyal.”
“Yeah.” The Doctor had to clear his throat of the lump that threatened to take up residence there. “She is at that.”
Pete walked away and touched the photographs that the Doctor had been so intent on earlier. “Jacks tells me that Rose used to be a right goer, a proper party girl with bright grins and enthusiasm bubbling over everything. I haven’t seen that.”
The Doctor closed his eyes. Behind those lids he could see the enormous grin of a girl as she jumped up and down on apple-grass and bounced merrily to Ian Drury in concert. He saw the belly laugh as a dog with no noses nipped at his heels and the delighted squeal as a Vespa roared out of the TARDIS.
“She tells me that she’s happy,” Pete continued. “I hear from her a lot. Rose works for Torchwood as part of the expert retrieval team. She travels the world and looks for possible alien sightings. She is usually first on scene and determines whether it is extra-terrestrial or not.”
“Really?” The Doctor was impressed despite himself. The idea of his Rose being the first contact with alien life-forms was satisfying and went a long way to easing some of his fears over Torchwood. “How long has she been doing that, then?”
“After Norway she stayed here working at the Torchwood centre on analysis for about five months and then one day just came up to me and told me she was leaving.” He laughed. “Scared me to death, I had no idea what I was going to tell Jackie.”
The Doctor had to smile at that.
“Rose was just going to take off and work her way around the world. I convinced her to take the Retrieval job, with hefty pay and benefits. The money doesn’t mean anything to me and it makes Jackie happy to know where Rose is, and that she’s with people who can get in contact.”
The Doctor saw the slight embarrassment at his riches and warmed slightly to Pete. He hadn’t liked him for Rose’s sake; hadn’t liked, although he’d understood, the way that Pete had balked against the fantastic. But this man had accepted both Rose and Jackie into his life and his home without a qualm. He had to at least respect the man for that. And the fact that he was the reason that Rose hadn’t vanished into the Void; that tended to stick with you too.
If the Doctor was going to be a part of Rose’s life, like he hoped, then he had to at least try with Pete.
“Like picking her up in a jet,” he teased slightly. “Pete Tyler and his jet; sounds like a band.”
“Yeah.” Pete gave him the same baffled smile that the Doctor had been used to seeing from people for centuries.
“So, she decided to leave for no reason?” he prodded and Pete nodded.
“Came out of the blue. I thought she was relatively happy, if a little quiet. It was just after Heather was born and I wondered if it was jealousy but Rose was fine with her.”
Pete knew what the Doctor was after. “And me. It was a bit weird and she wasn’t sure whether to call me dad or not. We had some off moments, but it was hard for everyone to fit in.”
Pete allowed a laugh. “Oh, Mickey and Misha was a right rollercoaster. To be honest, I though him and Jake’d …” he trailed off and looked a little embarrassed. “Anyway, alls well and that.”
“Yes.” The Doctor’s voice was hearty. “You and Jackie, brave man, by the way, I wasn’t sure how it’d all work, what with you being rich and Jackie being loud and then when Rose told me about the baby I was pleased for you both. Heather’s lovely.” He cocked his head. “Scary and a little bit more Jackie than should reasonably be allowed; you might wanna watch that. Does she slap?”
Pete grinned and looked down. “So, how about you, Doctor, are you okay? I know that you and Rose was practically inseparable and then—”
“We were separated.” He finished for him coldly. “Yes.”
He might want to get along with Pete a little better for Rose’s sake, but he still wasn’t the sharing and caring emotional type that was comfortable with spilling emotional secrets and crying on each other’s shoulder.
Especially something that was still gut-wrenchingly, heart-breakingly, tear-jerkingly painful. Just the thought of Rose being sucked into the Void and then in tears in Norway had to ability to make him feel cold all over; had the ability to make both his hearts ache fiercely.
He edged away from Pete. “I survived. I’m good at that and I have Martha along.”
“She’s a good girl.” Pete recognised the signs and backed off swiftly. “Look, Doctor, I know we’ve not seen eye to eye, but I do know that Rose was as lost without you as I was without Jackie. It’s not been easy for Rose, she’s—. Well, let’s just say that she feels things deeply. You gave Jackie back to me, least I can do is help you get Rose back.”
The Doctor nodded, not trusting his voice.
“Anyhow, the rooms made up if you want it. The library’s full if you don’t. I can get someone to bring the TARDIS here, on a truck, if you don’t want to move it. Oh, and breakfast is at eight thirty.”
The Doctor managed a grin as Pete wandered off. A grin that fell as soon as his footsteps echoed down the hall.
He reached up and plucked the picture of Rose off the mantelpiece before wandering down the dark halls, looking for the library.
He knew that he wouldn’t sleep tonight but didn’t really want to leave here just yet. Oh, he hated the four walls and the carpet (but then it was an odd plaid—what was Jackie thinking?) but it was the very faint scent of Rose that still lingered in the air that made him want to stay. It was the same reason why he hadn’t wanted to leave the TARDIS for so long after that fateful day. Just the idea of opening the door and letting out her special scent made him twitch; he didn’t want her to be gone. He didn’t want to believe it.
But those were dark days, long gone by, when every breath hurt and each beat was a slap against the face of one who couldn’t save her.
He found the huge room with its walls lined with full shelves and half-heartedly pulled ‘A History of the World’ from its place.
He let a wry smile as his eyes drifted over the pages and, in less than three minutes had finished the five hundred page volume. He put it down and looked for something else to occupy him.
Book after book held no appeal, many he’d read, few he’d liked. He whiled away the hours in introspection and activity of pacing and thinking with the occasional volume of literature.
Dawn was approaching and the servants were starting to stir when he found it.
On a shelf below the others was a well worn copy of the complete works of Charles Dickens. He reached for it and pulled it out of the wall noting a bookmark slotted into place.
He opened it at the bookmark and felt a pang as it immersed him in the unfinished mystery of Edwin Drood. His fingers caressed the pink bookmark, knowing full well who the last person to read the book was.
“The Rose I know is quiet, thoughtful.”
Reading about Charles Dickens instead of meeting him. He swallowed.
“Oh, Rose,” he whispered and closed the book, wandering over to the window.
Out there were the beginnings of a marquee. A huge white tent with tables sat to one side ready to be filled with, what Heather had called a buffalo salad. Pete had explained to an understandably concerned Doctor that she, in fact, meant buffet salad.
A bouncy castle was set up on one side of the huge garden; a Barbie’s dream castle in putrid shades of vibrant pink, a colour fetish he knew she’d inherited from her sister.
There would be balloons and cake and streamers and laughter and people and love and life and he was so alone it hurt.
He’d hurt since a blonde bitch with a god complex messed with powers she didn’t understand and ripped his world apart with a white wall and piece of shiny metal.
He’d forgotten what it felt like to be alone; forgotten the despair and self-loathing that came with too much solitude. He’d forgotten that watching people was better when there was someone to watch with and he’d forgotten that laughing alone made you feel even lonelier.
Oh, he’d met new people, formed new attachments and found new friends, even tried to forget for real. But his hand was so empty it ached. His fighting hand just didn’t want to fight any more.
But now he had a chance and that buoyed him up more than the Jericho Street Junior gymnastics championship he’d ‘accidentally’ stumbled on three months after her leaving.
He had a chance to make his world right again and he couldn’t wait.
His fingers traced the picture in the frame and he sighed, closing his eyes to remember the moment when it had dawned, truly dawned on him that he’d lost her.
He’d dropped Donna off and her words rang in his ears, her caution for him not to be alone because he needed someone to stop him.
He closed the door on her Christmas invitation and made her day by allowing the TARDIS to zoom into the air rather than dematerialise; a fitting demonstration of his ‘Martian’ powers. He spun the TARDIS into the vortex and then simply stood at the console, staring at the green lights and the golden metal.
The silence surrounded him like a tangible presence pushing in on him, making him feel claustrophobic. His fingers hovered over the switch that chose a destination as his mind scrolled through hundreds, thousands of possible places to visit, things to see, places to go.
He had the whole of space and time to play with and he wanted nothing.
Nothing more than a girl with a bright smile, love in her eyes and adventure in her blood.
He clenched his fists against the ache of her absence and looked up, blinking back tears.
She was gone and there was nothing he could do about it.
His eyes fell on the purple top that he had used as a homing beacon to find her in her universe, to lock onto her unique genetic signature and bring her a message of closure.
He picked it up and turned, walking away from the painful quiet of the control room and making his way down the hall, his feet knowing the way by rote.
He paused in front of the solid wooden door and leaned his head against the wood.
If he opened that door she’d be lying on her bed, on the purple fluffy duvet they’d picked up on that market planet in Innessy. She’d be reading one of the alien gazettes that she found so fascinating, detailing which planet’s ruling Monarch was secretly having the offspring of which Feudal fungal Lord. She’d be giggling over the make-up tips of Delta Herrik and raising her eyes over the scandal of Galacia. Her feet would be waving in time to Alterian chants coming from her laser-disc player and she’d look up as he walked in, a huge smile of greeting on her face as she asked him exactly what Nuffield clip surgery was.
The memory and image was so real that he could almost see her in front of him as he opened the door; could see her trainers waving in mid-air and her denim clad rear so enticing.
Then the image was gone and there was just the fluffy purple duvet and the scent of lingering honey.
The lump in his throat wouldn’t go away as he stepped into the room, her presence still there in the air and the feel of her all around him.
His blood thrummed in his veins growing more and more icy with each passing second, freezing his hands and making his teeth chatter. He was cold, so cold without her warmth.
Thinking of her, looking at the things that she’d left behind—like him—he froze.
A sharp pain like razors pierced the numbness he had been feeling since Donna appeared and spikes of anguish, excruciating loneliness and pain erupted in both his hearts.
His lungs ceased to work, catching his breath and making him stumble, and his hand went to his chest as he scrabbled for breath.
It came out in a choked sob the sound echoing around the empty room was like a gun-shot that, once forced, erupted into a hail of bullets.
Tears sprang from his eyes in a wave, a valley, a torrent and he collapsed, face-first onto the bed she’d never sleep in again and he gave himself over to the agony.
The Doctor brushed an errant tear away from his cheek and allowed his hands to grip the window frame harder, staring out at the lightening sky as dawn crept up on the world.