Martha stretched luxuriously in her bed, enjoying the knowledge that she had the whole weekend off work for the first time since she and the Doctor had been stranded in 1969 without the TARDIS.
A moment later there was a quiet knock on the door. "Martha, are you decent?" The Doctor's enquiry was muffled by the wood.
"Come in," she called, wondering what he wanted her to go and buy or find today for his Timey-Wimey device.
The door opened and the Doctor came in, backwards, then turned and revealed a laden tray in his hands. He grinned at her astonished expression.
"Breakfast in bed," he said, rather unnecessarily she thought.
She pushed herself upright. "What's brought this on?" she asked slightly suspiciously. "Did you break something again?"
He looked hurt. "No! I thought you deserved breakfast in bed for once. After all, you're the one who's been keeping us fed and clothed, and warm and sheltered."
"I'm sorry," she apologised, genuinely worried that she'd upset him when he'd done such a nice thing for her. She took the tray from him, settling it on her lap, then patted the bed by her knees. "Thank you, Doctor, this is lovely."
He sat down, giving her a tentative smile, and was relieved when she grinned back at him.
"I didn't think you could cook," she teased.
"Well, that's a fair comment," he agreed. "I don't often cook, but I can hold my own in the kitchen." He nudged her knee. "Eat up, then, before it gets cold."
"I was just wondering whether to take a photo with my mobile phone," she said, smirking.
Martha laughed, then began tapping the top of her boiled egg with her spoon.
"So, what do you need me to do today?" she asked a while later as she drank her mug of coffee, the boiled eggs, toast soldiers, and bowl of cereal having all been demolished with relish.
"Nothing," he answered.
She gave him a surprised look, and he grinned more widely than before. "I've finished the Timey-Wimey thing," he explained. "So we can do whatever you want this weekend. You can even stay in bed for two days, if it suits you."
"I'd get pretty bored, lying in bed on my own for two days," she observed.
The Doctor gave her an amused glance and she abruptly realised how that had sounded.
"I mean — " she began hastily, feeling her face flush with embarrassment.
"I know what you mean," he assured her, not hesitating to interrupt. "I just mentioned it as an option. So, how does a trip into the country for a picnic sound instead?"
"It sounds lovely," Martha said promptly, "but we don't have a car."
He grinned. "No, but I know where I can borrow one."
She looked puzzled, then alarmed. "You're not going to steal a car?" she asked.
"Certainly not, Miss Jones," he replied. "When I said 'borrow', I meant 'borrow'."
"Sorry," she muttered, embarrassed yet again.
The Doctor took the tray from her lap, setting it carefully on the floor, then moved further up the bed and put his hands on her shoulders. "Martha Jones, I can promise you a pleasant day out with a drive in the country in a legitimately borrowed car, and a picnic when we get to our destination. And absolutely no effort on your part. What do you say?"
"It sounds lovely," she answered, acutely aware of the coolness of his hands on her shoulders through the pyjama top that she was wearing, and of how fast her heart was beating as his dark eyes gazed into hers.
"Good." He leaned forward and kissed her forehead. "I'm sorry that we're stuck here and you're having to work to keep a roof over our heads, but I want you to know that I don't intend to neglect you this time, as I did last time."
Martha ducked her head, hiding a prickle of tears, as she shifted uncomfortably, wishing that he hadn't brought up the subject of their stay in Farringham.
The Doctor cupped her chin in one long-fingered hand, lifting her head so he could look her in the eye. "I'm sorry to bring that up," he said softly, "but I wanted you to know that I'm aware that you had a truly miserable time in 1913, and that I'll do my best to ensure that history doesn't repeat itself."
"Thank you," she murmured gratefully.
"Now then, why don't you get dressed and I'll sort out the picnic?" He bounced off the bed with a bright grin, and she couldn't help grinning back.
"That's my girl."
He picked up the tray, then disappeared off to the kitchen, and Martha threw back the covers, then went to look at her wardrobe, her mind filled with curiosity and excitement. She had no idea from whom the Doctor planned to borrow a car, but she supposed it wasn't that surprising that he knew someone in this era.
Half an hour later they were walking through one of London's more upmarket boroughs after taking the Tube across town.
"Here we are," the Doctor said, pausing at the gate of a detached house with a very pretty garden full of spring flowers. There was a garage adjoining the house, which Martha took as a good sign.
"Who lives here?" she asked as he led her up to the front door and rang the bell.
Before he could answer, the door was opened, and he was beaming at the man standing in the doorway.
"Ian Chesterton, I'm so glad to see that Dalek time machine got your back to Earth safely!"
"Who are you, and how on Earth do you know about that?" he demanded.
"Oh really, Chatterton," remonstrated the Doctor, his voice sounding more like a stern old man's than the young one that Martha was used to.
"Doctor?" asked Ian, amazed.
"Ian, who is it?" called a female voice from within the house.
The Time Lord grinned like a Cheshire cat.
"You'd better come in," Ian said, stepping back, a faint blush colouring his cheeks in response to the Doctor's grin.
The Time Lord put his hand in the small of his companion's back and gently urged Martha to follow their host as he turned to lead the way down the hall and into the kitchen. They found a dark-haired woman standing at the kitchen table, a cookery book lying open in front of her. Martha judged that she was a few years younger than Ian.
The woman looked up at her visitors, an expression of curiosity on her face as she registered that she didn't know who they were.
"Ian?" There was a note of puzzlement in her voice as she looked to her husband.
"You'll never guess who this is," Ian said, grinning.
"Barbara Wright, that was, although I'm guessing you're Barbara Chesterton now, and congratulations on that, by the way. I trust you've not been bothering any more Aztec High Priests since we parted company?"
Barbara looked as amazed as Ian had done, and the Doctor flashed Martha a grin of pure delight. "Doctor?" asked Barbara. "But how is this possible? You look about my age!"
"A little Time Lord trick," the Doctor answered, still smiling. "Allow me to introduce my current travelling companion, Miss Martha Jones. She's from your future, and she's training to be a doctor. Martha, this is Ian and Barbara Chesterton, who were my first ever human travelling companions."
Ian and Barbara shook hands, and greeted her warmly, making Martha feel less guilty about the intrusion of herself and the Doctor into the couple's home.
"So what brings you to us?" asked Ian. "And how did you know where to find us?"
"Elementary, my dear boy," the Doctor answered. "I looked you up in the phone book." He smirked. "I've come to ask a favour. Martha and I are temporarily stranded in 1969 without the TARDIS, and she's been working very hard to keep a roof over our heads, but she's got the weekend off and I wanted to treat her to a picnic. I'm cheekily hoping we can borrow your car for a few hours, if it's not inconvenient?"
"Well, I'm going to be making a wedding cake for a friend today," Barbara answered, tapping the cookery book in front of her, "and Ian's going to be working on the garden, so today's a good day to borrow it. But there's a condition to the loan."
The Doctor gave her a quizzical look. "What's the condition?" he asked, sounding slightly wary.
"Stay and eat with us this evening, when you bring the car back, and let us catch up a bit on your news. Please?"
He looked sideways at Martha, who looked intrigued by the idea. "Very well," he agreed, "Thank you."
Ian walked over to the noticeboard alongside the wall mounted telephone, and took a set of keys from a pin. "I filled the tank last night," he told the Doctor, as Martha and the Time Lord followed him back outside to the garage.
He opened the door, and Martha couldn't help uttering a little murmur of surprise when she saw the dark blue Ford convertible.
"That's gorgeous," she breathed, eyes shining.
Ian looked gratified by her comment. "Thank you." He gave the Doctor the keys, and then stepped back out of the way. "Enjoy the picnic, Miss Jones."
"Martha, please," she answered. "And thank you, I'm sure I will." She climbed into the passenger seat as the Time Lord folded himself in behind the wheel of the car after putting the picnic hamper on the back seat.
She waved at Ian as the Doctor headed down the drive.
"Right then, Miss Jones, here comes the open road!" He gave her one of his manic grins, and she laughed.
"Where are we going, then?" she asked.
"Ah, ah, that'd be telling," he said, smirking. She pouted and his smirk became a grin. "Mind the wind doesn't change leaving you stuck like that."
Martha promptly stuck her tongue out, and the Doctor grinned again, then reached across to clasp her hand briefly before turning his attention back to the road.
As they drove, she persuaded the Doctor to tell her a bit about Ian and Barbara, and in particular why he'd mentioned Aztec High Priests. She half thought he might refuse, but he launched into the tale with gusto, and went on to tell her more about their travels when he was in his first ever body. He'd just finished recounting the story of the Daleks' invasion of Earth in the twenty-second century when Martha spotted a road sign.
"Brighton? You've brought me to Brighton?" she asked, amazed.
He briefly glanced across at her. "I have. Is that okay?"
"It's brilliant!" she answered. "I hadn't realised we'd driven so far."
Soon afterwards the Doctor pulled into a car park, and they climbed out of the car, stretching themselves after the long drive.
"Right then, beach or park for the picnic?"
"Park?" asked Martha, surprised.
"St Ann's Well Gardens," he answered. "It's renowned for its Chalybeate Spring, and in the nineteenth century it was very popular as a health resort."
"Oh!" she exclaimed. "Like taking the waters at Bath?"
He nodded. "Got it in one, Miss Jones. I thought that it might interest you to see it, but if you'd rather sit on the beach, I won't mind."
"Maybe we could have a wander on the beach later?" she suggested. "I'd like to see the Spring."
"All right." He took the hamper from the car, then locked the doors, before offering Martha his free hand.
They walked through the streets, and she was relieved to see that no one paid them much attention; although this era wasn't quite as bad as 1913, she still had to put up with some disapproval when she was out and about in some parts of London.
They made their way along a quiet, tree-lined walk until the Doctor stopped in a clearing and set down the hamper.
"Oh," he exclaimed softly. "I forgot to bring a picnic rug. Oh well." He swiftly divested himself of his long coat and spread that out on the grass instead. "We'll have to sit a bit close." His tone was apologetic, but Martha assured him that it was okay.
They settled side by side on his coat, sitting cross-legged to give themselves more space, then he flipped open the hamper and began pulling things out until the hamper was empty.
"Blimey!" Martha said, staring at the amount of food he'd brought. "Anyone would think you were feeding an army.
He flushed and muttered something indistinct, so she leaned against his shoulder and asked him to repeat it.
"It doesn't matter," he said, "not important. Tuck in before ants come along and start on it."
"Doctor!" she protested.
"Sorry," he muttered.
"What's wrong?" she asked. "You don't usually mind me teasing you."
"I wanted today to be perfect," he said stiffly. "So I could properly thank you for all your hard work to look after me."
She slid an arm around him. "You silly alien," she said gently. "It is perfect." She picked up a sandwich and broke a piece off, then held it out to him. He raised his eyebrows and opened his eyes comically wide, but then accepted the food from her.
"There, see, it's easy," she said, smirking at him.
"You, Miss Jones, are a very cheeky young human." He took the rest of the sandwich from her, and began to eat, as Martha grinned and picked up a sandwich of her own.
After they'd finished eating and the Doctor had put everything back in the hamper, he put his right arm around her shoulders, then gently pulled her backwards to lie on his coat. Martha was surprised by the gesture, but she didn't comment, preferring to snuggle up beside him instead. She'd had a long week since the department store where she worked had been having a post-Easter sale and also gearing up for the start of the summer season, and the good food and fresh air soon combined to send her to sleep. She lay with her head resting on the Doctor's shoulder and her right hand between his hearts, and he felt a certain contentment at the situation.
Martha slept for an hour, dreaming that she and the Doctor were walking on Gallifrey before picnicking amongst the silver-leaved trees. She was slightly disappointed to wake and discover she was on Earth, then embarrassed to realise she'd fallen asleep on the Doctor. She started to push herself up, but he tightened his arm around her.
"It's okay," he said gently, thinking she was disoriented from her sleep.
"Why didn't you wake me up?" she asked, lifting her head to look at him.
"Why would I do that?" he asked, surprised. "You obviously needed the nap, and I wasn't uncomfortable." He loosened his hold on her, allowing her to sit up, then got up himself. "Shall we go and look at the Spring?"
Martha nodded, feeling slightly confused by the fact that the Doctor had allowed her to sleep on him for an hour and didn't seem to mind.
He shook out his coat, then pulled it on, before stooping to pick up the picnic hamper.
"Wouldn't you rather take that back to the car?" she suggested.
"Nah, no need," he answered, tucking it under his left arm, then offering Martha his right elbow.
She couldn't help grinning, remembering when he'd offered her his elbow before they'd gone to see Shakespeare at the Globe.
They set off along the paths, the Doctor never faltering once as they headed for the Chalybeate Spring.
"Have you been here before?" she asked. He shook his head. "So how do you know where to go?"
He grinned down at her, pleased, as ever, by her constant curiosity. "I can smell the Spring," he answered. "It's quite noticeable to someone with senses as enhanced as mine."
"Oh." She was going ask further questions but stopped when she caught sight of the well; she was immediately reminded of the well in Creighton Mere, and she couldn't help giving the Doctor an uncertain look.
He guessed what she was thinking and pulled her closer, his arm going around her shoulders. "It's quite safe," he told her. "This one's not in use either, because it dried up after they dug Artisan Wells nearby in the Thirties, but I promise you there's nothing bad down there."
"Sorry," she mumbled, more embarrassed that he'd figured out what was bothering her, than by the fact that she was bothered by the sight of the well.
"Don't be," he answered. He kissed the top of her head, then led her over to the well structure, putting down the hamper on the ground beside it, before fishing a coin from his pocket. "Make a wish," he suggested, offering her the coin.
"Thanks." She took the coin from him, closed her eyes, and then tossed it down the well.
He picked up the hamper again, then took her hand, and they wandered around the park for an hour, looking at the bowling green, the tennis courts, the wooden café, which was fairly well populated, and the children's play area, before they headed back to the car park so the Doctor could leave the hamper. After that they wandered along the sea front, looking in various shops until he found a gift to take back to Ian and Barbara, then they walked along the beach for a bit.
Martha yawned, then yawned again, and blushed when the Doctor smirked at her. "Sorry," she mumbled. "Must be the sea air."
"Probably," he agreed. "Come on, we'll head back to Ian and Barbara's — I didn't ask what time they would be having dinner, but we don't want to be back too late."
* * * * * *
Martha slept, curled up in her seat like a child, on the drive back to London; the Doctor stole frequent glances at her, thinking how peaceful she looked, and wondering how much longer she would stay with him. He'd known from the outset that Martha wouldn't want to stay with him forever, not when she had a large family and a burgeoning career to return to, but he hoped it would be for a while longer. He appreciated her quiet strength and generosity of heart, and he loved her endless curiosity about everything. He was glad that he'd had the chance to introduce her to Ian and Barbara, and found himself wishing he could take her to meet Liz and Evelyn, feeling certain that she'd get on well with the two Cambridge professors. Perhaps I'll look them up, he thought, after we get the TARDIS back.
Dinner with the Chestertons was a pleasant meal, with much reminiscing and laughter, and the Doctor was pleased that his three companions got on so well together: Barbara, in particular, enjoyed discussing the different periods of history they'd visited, and Ian was soon deep in a discussion about science in the sixties and the early 21st century. It was only when Martha began fighting a series of yawns, which she was discreetly hiding behind her hand, that the Doctor declared it was time for them to go home. Ian insisted on driving them back to Brixton, and made the Doctor promise they'd returned in a couple of weeks if the TARDIS hadn't already come back by then.
"It was good to see you, again, Doctor," Ian said quietly, shaking hands with the Time Lord. "Look after yourself, and look after your Martha Jones. You've got a rare one there."
"I'll do my best," the Doctor promised. "And the same goes for you and Barbara."
Ian nodded his agreement, shook hands with Martha, then climbed back into his car and pulled away. The Doctor turned and found Martha leaning against the doorjamb, fumbling for her front door key.
"Come on," he said gently, unlocking the door, then scooping her up into his arms to carry her inside. She protested feebly, but didn't insist that he put her down, so he shut the door, then carried her to the bedroom and sat her on the bed.
"I don't know, Miss Jones," he teased. "I take you for a restful day out, and you fall asleep all over the place."
She stuck her tongue out at him, and he immediately pulled a face back, setting Martha off giggling.
"Can you manage to get undressed without falling asleep, do you think?"
"I'll go and lock up then."
When he returned a few minutes later, he knocked on the bedroom door, but didn't receive an answer, so he cautiously peeped inside and found Martha flaked out on the bed; he shook his head as he went in and got her under the covers, relieved that she'd stayed awake long enough to change into her pyjamas. He kissed her forehead, then brushed her hair back, before caressing her cheek gently.
"Sleep well, my friend," he said softly, before heading into the sitting room. He fancied he would actually sleep tonight as well, although the sofa wasn't the most comfortable place he'd ever spent a night. He smiled as he closed his eyes: today had been a good day.