“So.” The Doctor said as he closed the door of the TARDIS, leaving New York behind them.
“So…” Martha repeated, the rush of the last few days finally catching up with her.
“So… time to get you home.” The Doctor said, his face inscrutable to Martha.
She nodded. “Okay. Good. It would be nice to get back to some familiar faces.” Martha wasn’t putting on a brave face. After all she’d been through on “just one trip”, she was relieved to get back to some normalcy. “And a long soak in the bath wouldn’t hurt either. Or a change of clothes… Or some tea and chocolate chip cookies…”
“Are you okay?” The Doctor asked, firing up the TARDIS’ circuitry. Martha remained at the other side of the console, keeping an obvious distance between them.
“I’m fine. A bit tired. The last time I slept was because I was drugged!” Martha rolled her eyes. “You? You were the one struck by lightning, after all.”
“Oh, take more than a bit of a storm to stop me.” The Doctor shrugged.
In the brief time she’d known him, Martha knew the Doctor wasn’t as chipper as he was letting on. Those Daleks had taken so much from him, how could he be acting like everything was okay? Not only that, but she’d spent the last few days being compared to her predecessor, Rose and was fed up of being the 'poor substitiute’. It was obvious the Doctor missed being with her and he needed her back. Martha had nothing to lose by sticking her oar in. “When we get home, you should call her.”
“Rose.” Martha said. “You told me she’s happy with her family. But maybe you should go round to see her… See if you two can’t patch things up.”
The Doctor was about to round on Martha, but stopped when he realised that she had no idea what had happened to separate them. He sighed with a half smile. “Oh would that it were so easy.”
Martha just looked quizzically at him. “I don’t get you! If I loved someone half as much as you love Rose, no power on this Earth would keep us apart.”
“Are you by any chance doing your psyche rotation at the moment?” The Doctor smiled. “Oh Martha Jones, you have this uncanny way of making me talk to you about things I really don’t want to talk about.“
“Is this going to be like when you told me about Gallifrey?” And then the realisation hit her. “Oh please don’t tell me she’s dead.” Martha covered her hands with her mouth, horrified and upset that she could have been so insensitive. “Oh my God… I’m so sorry. I never meant to…”
“No, Martha it’s not like that.” The Doctor crossed the console floor and gently took Martha by the shoulders. “Rose isn’t dead.” He said softly. Martha wouldn’t look at him so he tipped her head up to face him. “She’s not dead. Come on.” He lead her by the hand out of the console room. “Time for tea and chocolate biscuits.”
As they waited for the kettle to boil, The Doctor filled Martha in on some of the details of the story of his separation from Rose. Explained how they had been at Torchwood and how they had planned to defeat the Cybermen and Daleks.
“I saw Adeola.” The Doctor said, handing a mug of steaming tea over to Martha. “I’m sorry I couldn’t save her, but the Cybermen got to her first.”
Martha had a sad smile on her face. “We were the Terrible Twins when we were kids. Got up to all sorts… I miss her.”
“It was a bad day for a lot of us.” The Doctor sighed, sitting down beside her and breaking a biscuit in half. “The thing causing the ghost shifts was actually a portal through the Void to another universe. Rose ended up in the other universe and now that portal is sealed. There’s no way of re-opening it without catastrophic results. So you see, I wasn’t lying when I said that she was fine and with her family.”
“Well, that goes in some way to explaining the death wish.” Martha looked him in the eye.
“The what?” He blinked rapidly, taken aback by her comment
“First day I met you, you had your blood sucked by a plasmavore. You let her do that to you so she’d be found out by the Judoon.”
The Doctor interrupted. “But you did CPR. You brought me back… and anyway, I did that to save the people in the hospital.”
“You had no way of knowing that I’d make it to you in time. I very nearly didn’t because of those bloody Judoon. They wouldn’t let me near you!” Martha was in full flow now and wouldn’t be interrupted, despite the Doctor’s best efforts. “And jumping down from car to car in New New York. Getting yourself hit by lightning in old New York and daring the Daleks to kill you, not once but twice. You’re not a cat. You don’t have nine lives, you know!”
“And not to make this All About Me, or anything, but if you did die, how would I get home? I don’t know how to fly the TARDIS!”
Her voice was getting progressively louder and higher pitched. “And what the Face of Boe said about you not being alone? So, he didn’t mean me, but you’re not alone, okay? You have got me, and you always will...whether you want it or not!” And with that she stormed out of the kitchen before he could even begin to formulate a reply.
“Wow, Martha.” The Doctor muttered. “Why don’t you tell me how you really feel!” He should have been so mad with her. Presuming things she didn’t have a clue about, psychoanalysing him without knowing all the details. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t be mad with her because in some stupid way, she was right. Maybe that’s why he liked her. Martha made very intelligent assumptions based on the information at hand.
Martha sat on the ramp in the main console of the TARDIS, elbows resting on her raised knees, facing the front door, willing the time machine to land so she could get out before she embarrassed herself further. She wiped her eyes, cursing herself for crying like a sulking teenager, but she was never very good at keeping her emotions in check. She could hear the Doctor’s footsteps on the metal grille and thought seriously about just opening the door and jumping out into space. Martha braced herself for an angry tirade.
“Biscuit?” The Doctor sat on the ramp beside her and offered her the packet of chocolate shortcakes they had opened in the kitchen. She silently took one and started munching on it. He did likewise. “We really didn’t get off on the right foot did we? I brought you on board, told you a selection of half truths and now I’m wondering why it’s all blowing up in my face?” He laughed. “Why you’re blowing up in my face, Martha Jones!”
“I’m sorry.” Martha said quietly, still avoiding looking at the Doctor. “That was rude. I shouldn’t have…”
“But you did.” The Doctor playfully nudged her shoulder with his. “And you weren’t entirely wrong. It’s been… difficult for me for a while. Rose made things bareable after I lost everyone… and now that she’s gone… It’s just that bit less bareable. It’s been a long time since I felt like that about anyone. And losing her? Well I’m still working that all out.” Martha rested her head on the Doctor’s shoulder, but saying nothing, simply allowing him to talk. “But what you said back there about me not being alone… Thanks. I appreciate it.”
They were silent for a while, the only noise was the ambient hum of the TARDIS. Martha closed her eyes. There she was, cuddled close to this sweet, brilliant, dangerous, exciting, slightly broken man… and he has no earthly interest in her as anything other than a friend. ‘You really know how to pick ‘em, Martha!’ she thought, letting her mind drift off for a moment.
“And I wouldn’t have left you stranded in 1930.” The Doctor suddenly broke the silence, jarring her back to reality. “You’re smart enough to have made your way back to the TARDIS and she’d have brought you home.”
“She?” Martha asked. “Is she a real she, or just a she in the way that men generally talk about their cars and stuff.”
“She’s real. The TARDIS is organic, alive.” The Doctor explained.
“So am I being rude by referring to her in the third person? Should I be talking directly to her? Will she talk back?”
The Doctor laughed. “There you go again, asking the clever questions! It’s not like she’s a person… and there’s no point in trying to have a conversation with her, but if you concentrate, you might just…”
“Oh my God.” Martha smiled, straightening up. “Do you hear that too? ” The ambient hum she had been hearing changed pitch. It sounded like it was inside her head, comforting her… giving Martha a sense of reassurance, and contentment… that she was safe. She closed her eyes again, concentrating on the delicate music permeating her consciousness. A broad smile stretching across her face. “It’s beautiful.” She whispered, almost like she didn’t want to disturb it.
“So you see, I’ve lost an awful lot. More than I ever want to admit.” He turned to her and smiled. “But I have this too.” He gestured to the TARDIS. “And why would anyone want to give this up?” Before Martha could answer, the TARDIS console beeped. “Looks like we’re coming into land.” The Doctor hopped up and strode to the console. “You might want to stay sitting down… At least that way, when we land, you can’t fall any further!”
They were jostled and bumped around as the TARDIS rematerialised in the alleyway where the Doctor had invited Martha on board. He poked his head out first, “I’m just making sure that we haven’t landed in Croydon, or Aberdeen, or Raxacoricofallipatorious! I love her to bits, but sometimes the old girl can bring us off course.” It was definitely the alleyway across from the pub. Leo’s birthday banner was still visible. He opened the door fully for her to see. “So Martha Jones, time for you to go home.”
“Thank you.” She said and hugged him tightly. “Despite the drugging and the kidnapping and the threats of imminent death, I had an amazing time… And just so you know, a hug is never a waste of time.” He simply nodded, content to hold on for just a moment longer. “And you know where I am if you ever need anyone along for the ride.” She reached up and kissed him on the cheek as they both let go of the hug. “Seeya!” Martha smiled and stepped out back into the alleyway where the adventure in the strange wooden box had started, under no illusion that she’d ever see him again.
The Doctor silently closed the door behind her, feeling slightly more alone. “Yeah. Seeya…”