Pastures New

by RosesBud [Reviews - 7]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Character, Study, Fluff, Humor, Introspection

Author's Notes:
OK, so I told myself I wasn't going to write about Martha until I knew what she was like but this just came out of nowhere. I've probably taken huge liberties with the nature of Time Lord physiology so you'll have to ignore that too.

Standard Disclaimer: Doctor Who is property of the BBC. One line in this may belong either to David Tennant, or whoever wrote his script for the Doctor Who: A Celebration concert... you can guess which one!

I asked spastasmagoria to give this the once over, but got postitus and had to stick it on before she got back to me... which is what she usually does to me, so I don't feel too guilty ;)

Martha had asked to be brought here. Well, somewhere where they could have a nice meal and get drunk together. It was what she did, she said, to break the ice with new friends. She’d been travelling with him for a little over two months and she wanted to get to know ‘the real him’. He’d rolled his eyes at that, and explained that Time Lord’s didn’t really get drunk, much less go in pursuit of the ‘real’ anyone. When asked to elaborate on the not getting drunk bit, he’d explained that a Time Lord’s physiology wasn’t affected by normal alcohol. She’d asked him to take her somewhere they could drink something abnormal. And here they were.

Beneath the balcony of the restaurant — the finest in this sector and on this planet — a rolling plain of tall, green grass undulated and stretched to the horizon. Martha thought that had they been on Earth she might have guessed at a more fertile area of Africa. As it was she couldn’t remember the name of the planet, never mind the country… he’d rattled it off in his usual lightning quick manner as they’d left the TARDIS. That had been a couple of hours ago now and the memory was lost in the warm haze created by a stomach full of good food and a head full of intoxicating fruit punch.

A pleasantly warm breeze blew up here, carrying with it the scent of alien flowers and strange cigarette smoke from further along the balcony. Martha stretched leisurely and smiled, enjoying the heavy buzz of the alcohol in her legs.

“So you must have travelled with loads of people,” she asked, taking another sip of the delicious cocktail he’d ordered her. It tasted pretty much like Earth alcohol to her. She wasn’t sure he wasn’t pulling her leg.

The Doctor regarded her for a moment over the rim of his own outlandish creation. The glass itself was like a giant fluted bell, and it was all paper parasols and chunks of unidentifiable — at least to Martha — fruit. He took a long pull of the amber liquid through his straw.

“Yes, lots,” he said finally and smiled fondly at her.

“Were all of them human?”

“Oh no. Although… mostly,” the Doctor seemed to be mulling it over, squinting at the fluffy clouds above them. “There were those who weren’t. Nyssa and Romana of course. And… K9. Now he wasn’t a person at all,” He grinned. “Personable though.” He chuckled to himself.

“K9? Some kind of, dog?” Martha guessed.

“A metal dog. Best companion ever in many a way. Did what he was told,” he gave her a mock glare. “Never wandered off. Well, not as much anyway.”

“Man’s best friend?” Martha giggled, and burped quietly, bringing a hand to her mouth and laughing harder.

“Exactly,” the Doctor told her, and beamed.

They fell silent for a moment, sipping on their drinks. The bottom edge of this world’s first sun began to quiver on the horizon. Martha wondered how long till it was dark, and what there might be in the way of nightlife on this planet. Then she thought of something else entirely.

“How do you cope?” she asked all of a sudden, and long before her sozzled brain could catch up with her mouth and veto what was spewing forth from it.

“With what?” the Doctor asked, shifting in his seat. He had the distinct impression that this conversation was going to wander off down a road less travelled by him, and one that he was not particularly comfortable with.

“Us leaving?” Martha asked, eyeing him from beneath her hand. The second sun was still quite high in the sky. It’s orange rays beat down warmly on her bare arm. When he didn’t answer straight away she went on. “I mean, we don’t last long compared to you, do we Doctor… you’re so old.”

The Doctor laughed out loud at that, and some of the tension she’d felt build was immediately gone. “Thanks,” he told her, in mock hurt.

“You know what I mean,” she scolded playfully.

“I have to,” the Doctor told her, all seriousness again. He astounded her, with how quick his mood could change — quicker than her sister’s and that was saying something. “No choice, gotta keep on. It’s do or…” he trailed off, not sure where he’d been going with that one.

“Die?” Martha asked, and giggled. “It’s do or die,” she went on, affecting the low, rumbling tone of a voiceover man for some blockbuster film.

“Quite often,” the Doctor replied, entirely serious. “Well,” he frowned, and took a deep breath. “Not always… but that’s um… something to tell you about. Yes, must remember to tell you about that.”

“What?” Martha asked, shaking her head at him in a bemused fashion.

“Dying,” the Doctor told her. “It’s not always what it seems to be with me, remind me to tell you about it, sometime soon.”

“O-kay,” she told him, raising an eyebrow. Honestly, sometimes he was worse than her lecturers, the way he rambled on. She stole a peek at him out of the corner of her eye. Of course he was also a hundred million times better than them as well.

“Sorry, I’ll shut up now,” she told him. “You don’t need me going on about how hard stuff must be for you. You obviously do cope so…”

“Nah, it’s okay,” the Doctor found himself saying. He peered through the cubes of bright blue fruit perched on the side of his glass and eyed the drink inside suspiciously. “It’s good to talk.”

“Ooh,” Martha enthused, setting her tall glass down on the raffia-esque table between them. “Do I get to ask questions?”

The Doctor gave her the benefit of his best frown, one eyebrow arched in warning. “Depends what they are,” he told her, matter of factly.

“Okay,” she grinned, and allowed her gaze to wander a moment, over the seemingly never ending field of grass, back to where the first sun was now almost completely out of sight on the horizon.

The Doctor watched her thinking and waited.

“Do you still miss Rose?” she asked eventually, and glanced sideways sharply to better catch his reaction, half wishing she’d picked a different starting question. More than likely he’d clam up now and she’d never get anything else out of him.

The Doctor fixed her with a very carefully schooled, placid stare. “Of course,” he told her. “I miss them all.”

“How long did Rose travel with you?”

“A coupla’ years,” he told her casually. “In our timelines anyway. A few millennia, back and forth.”

Martha smiled. “Did she have a favourite place you took her?” she asked, carefully trying to think of questions that would help her find out more about Rose without upsetting her drinking companion.

“Pretty much anywhere there was a great big market,” the Doctor grinned, and Martha laughed.

“Ah,” she nodded. “A girl after my own heart.” She thought a moment. “Did she have a family?”

“Yes,” the Doctor told her and he smiled, gazing at the horizon, a faraway look on his face. “She had a gob on legs named Jackie for a mum, heart as big as her hair in 1987. A sometimes-dead dad Pete. And a boyfriend… Mickey Smith. The idiot who grew up to save the world.”

Martha digested this information for a moment. She let the odd bits about Rose’s mum and dad slide — she was getting used to weird and wonderful comments like that coming from him. She focused instead on the more startling news. “A boyfriend?” she asked.

“Mmm,” the Doctor agreed, squinting at her against the sun’s glare. “Once upon a time anyway.”

“Oh.”

He looked away and seemed to want to change the subject, but the alcohol had made her bold and she blurted out what she was thinking anyway. “I just kind of assumed you and she were…”

“We were the very best of friends,” the Doctor told her, and that definitely did sound like conversation over. Martha decided to digress, if only slightly.

“So why do you hang about with humans so much? There must be a billion other races out there to choose from… and some that live longer?”

“Yeah well,” the Doctor began, before taking another pull on his straw. “Maybe I’m a sucker for punishment.” Martha giggled. “Or maybe I’m just fond of you lot.”

“Us lot?” she leant across and thwacked him on the arm. “We can’t be that bad… you keep on coming back.”

“Yes I do, don’t I?” he raised an eyebrow, winked and popped a large piece of blue fruit in his mouth, all at once. Martha thought it looked like melon, apart from it being the colour of screen wash, or that cheap raspberryade she used to buy from the shop round the corner when she was a kid.

“So did you love her?” she asked suddenly, wondering when her mouth decided to run away with itself again, when she’d expressly told it to shut up.

The Doctor coughed and spluttered, choking on the half-chewed fruit and leaping up from his seat. He grabbed at the railing of the balcony in front of them and at his throat at the same time, his face turning bright red almost immediately.

Martha leapt to her feet also and grabbed his shoulder through his suit jacket. “You need help?” she asked, fully prepared to Heimlich it out if necessary, although finding herself quite unsteady on her feet after all this drinking in the sun.

But the Doctor shook his head, and straightened up after a moment. He became very calm and still, and deftly fished the fruit out of the back of his mouth with one long finger. He dumped it on the small plate his drink had been served upon and made a face. “Ergh.”

“What happened there?” Martha asked, sinking slowly back to her seat when he retook his.

“Fruit was bitter. Surprised me, that’s all,” he told her. “Then it took a moment for my respiratory bypass to kick in.”

“You’re joking?” Martha gaped. “You have a respiratory bypass system?”

“Yep!”

The Doctor grinned and took a long gulp of his drink, attempting to soothe his throat.

“You have got to let me have a look at that,” she told him, a familiar glint in her eye that the Doctor had come to associate with her having discovered something scientifically fascinating.

“I have not,” he told her indignantly. “I told you,” and here he pointed a finger at her, “I’m not going to be your science experiment.”

Martha stuck her tongue out at him. “Just think of the thesis I could write on you,” she teased, but winked, letting him know it was an entirely non-serious comment.

The Doctor said nothing, but he smiled easily and leant his head back, closing his eyes and basking in the sun.

“So it wasn’t what I said then? That made you choke?” Martha asked, still watching for his reaction.

“Of course I loved her,” the Doctor told her, not moving a muscle, not opening his eyes. “I love you all, well… when I say ‘all’ I really mean most of you.” Martha grinned, knowing where this was going. “And when I say most of you, I really mean some of you… you know, maybe.”

She laughed and he laughed with her, and she picked up her drink again and stretched her legs out to rest on the bottom rung of the railings before them, closing her eyes sleepily. The sunlight beat down on her brown skin, and the warmth of the drink coursed through her body, a soothing balm.

“So you don’t seem that drunk,” she murmured after a while.

“Nope,” the Doctor told her. She didn’t need to look to know he still hadn’t moved a bit.

“But you said this stuff would get a Time Lord drunk,” she accused, turning her head and cracking an eye open to glare at him.

“I said it could,” the Doctor corrected her. “I’m just choosing not to let it.”

“Don’t tell me,” Martha groaned. “Liver bypass system?”

The Doctor finally opened his eyes and grinned, waggling his eyebrows at her, as if that was an answer.

“We never made a toast,” she told him then, lifting her glass. The Doctor did the same, and swayed his gently in her direction to indicate that she go ahead. “Um…” she thought a moment. “To new friends,” she told him.

“And to old,” he agreed, clinking his glass heavily against hers.

“To Rose,” she added, and gave him a sweet smile.

The Doctor beamed back at her. “To Rose Tyler,” he agreed.

“You hear that Rose?!” Martha yelled suddenly, throwing her head back and raising her glass high in the air, causing the Doctor’s grin to spread impossibly wider. “This ones for you!”


The End