“It doesn’t look like there is anyone here to have sent that distress beacon, Doctor.” Martha said, stepping over a fallen metal beam.
The Doctor glanced back at her. “There has to be someone here. Unless you're suggesting the station set the distress deacon itself?”
Martha rolled her eyes. “No, but if anyone’s here you’d think they’d we’d have found them by now. Or they’d been alerted by the shininess of your suit. Which I’m sure they could see four miles out.”
The Doctor hummed, and stuck his head through a doorway.
“Hope he gets it blown off,” Martha muttered under her breath.
He leaned back out and looked at her. “Did you just insult my suit?”
“Why ever would you think that?” Martha asked with a smile.
“I think there’s a clear way through here.” The Doctor told her and stepped through the doorway.
“Lead on fearless leader.” Martha said, following him through the doorway.
Martha wasn’t really watching where she was going, so when he stopped suddenly she almost ran into his back. “Hey, what’s the idea?”
“K-9!” The Doctor yelled and bounced on his toes. Martha swore he bounced like her five-year old nephew.
She looked around but didn’t see any dogs. “Doctor, what are you on about?”
“Greetings Master.” A mechanical voice said and Martha almost jumped back. The Doctor knelt down next to what appeared to be a little tin dog.
“He remembers me! Who’s a good dog? Who’s a good dog?” The Doctor asked, patting the dog’s head. “K-9, you’ve got a new body. Did Romana do this?”
“Affirmative, Master.” K-9 wagged his tail.
The Doctor looked back at Martha. “Martha, this is K-9. K-9 meet Martha.”
“Greetings,” K-9 chirped.
“Charmed,” Martha said, leaning down to pat the dog. After all a tin dog wasn’t the weirdest thing she’d seen since she started traveling with the Doctor.
“Where’s Romana, K-9?” The Doctor asked.
Martha looked up and couldn’t help but give a low whistle. “Is that him?”
The Doctor blinked. “Him? No Romana’s a --” He looked up and stared.
A twenty something looking dark haired man leaned against one of the metal walls. He was grinning widely at the Doctor. “Hello, Doctor. It’s been a while.”
“Romana?” The Doctor asked. Martha was surprised his jaw hadn’t hit the ground.
The man rolled his eyes. “You’d think he’d call me Fred now, at least.” He sighed.
The Doctor was still staring and Martha sighed as well. “I think you might have broken him.”
“Typical. Though I have to say, I wasn’t expecting this myself.” Fred smiled at Martha and held out his hand. “I’m Fred. You must be a human; he’s always been rather fond of your planet.”
“I’m rather fond of it too. It be lovely if a certain someone could get me back there at the right time.” Martha stood up and shook his hand. “Martha. Nice to meet you Fred. So you used to be a woman?”
“I was a female of the species last time the Doctor and I met, yes.” Fred said. “K-9 still had his old body. This one’s a bit sleeker. Isn’t it K-9?”
“Affirmative, Mistress. I now can transverse almost all type of ground covering.”
Fred smirked. “He can even make it over thresholds.”
The Doctor blinked. “You’re male. Romana, you’re a male.”
“Doctor, I think your old age is starting to show.” Fred laughed.
“Nonsense, 900 years isn’t old,” The Doctor said, pouting slightly.
Fred shook his head. “You’ve have lost count somewhere. I don’t think you’re even trying anymore.”
“How did this happen?” The Doctor asked, ignoring the quip about his memory and glaring at Martha for laughing at it.
“What happened, Doctor?” Fred asked innocently.
Martha snickered and had the feeling K-9 would have if he’d been able.
“You weren’t male last time I saw you, Romana.” The Doctor pointed out.
“Fred, Doctor, Romana doesn't quite fit me now,” Fred corrected. “And it’s a long story and one that needs tea to be told over. I assume you haven’t misplaced the TARDIS?”
“I keep telling him to get a bike chain or something for it,” Martha said. “You’d think it be easy to remember where ones parked a big blue box.”
The Doctor looked to be sulking. “I do not forget where I’ve parked the TARDIS.”
Fred shook his head. “He always forgets, it’s his age. I take it you remember?” He offered his arm to Martha.
“Perfectly.” Martha said looping her arm through his.
“Come on, K-9. To the TARDIS,” Fred called over his shoulder.
“Coming, Mistress.” K-9 followed close behind Fred.
The Doctor shoved his hands in his pockets, trailing behind them. “It is still my TARDIS.” He muttered.
The Doctor remembered fondly the days when his companions had to wait on him to get into the TARDIS. What had he been thinking giving Martha a key?
Romana — Fred and Martha didn’t even wait to see if he was behind them. He shoved his hands deeper in his pocket. Roma-Fred hadn’t even looked that glad to see him. You’d think he’d at least get a kiss hello after all this time.
“Are all your friends this charming, Doctor?” Martha teased before she went to bed.
The Doctor glared and calculated how quickly he could have her back on earth. Whether or not it would be the right time-period would completely not be his problem.
“I like her,” Fred said, and the Doctor still wasn’t used to the new voice.
He wasn’t sure he’d get used the new body either, but he’d cope. Obliviously Ro-Fred hadn’t had too much trouble. “She has no respect.”
Fred laughed. “But you like her or she wouldn’t be traveling with you.”
“I’ll have you know I’ve traveled with people I haven’t liked before,” The Doctor told her, trying to look offended.
“Like me?” Fred sipped his tea.
The Doctor cleared his throat and made himself busy making another cup of tea. “I’ll admit I wasn’t fond of you at first, but you grew on me quite quickly. Especially after your first regeneration.”
“You always were fond of that body. I was rather fond of the one you had then myself. Not that this one isn’t as nice. Just — younger,” Fred told him, leaning over to touch his hand.
He looked at Fred’s hand on his before turning his own hand over. He loosely wrapped his fingers around Fred’s hand. “Sorry, I wasn’t there this time.”
“It’s alright, Doctor. I did what I had to,” Fred assured him. “I’ve missed you though.”
The Doctor looked up and smiled overly brightly. “Of course you have.” Then he pouted. “You didn’t even kiss me hello.”
Fred laughed. “Is that why you’ve been sulking?”
“I haven’t been sulking. I do not sulk!” The Doctor said, crossing his arms.
Fred laughed again and stood up. He leaned over the Doctor and kissed him lightly on the lips. “Is that what you had in mind?”
The Doctor’s face softened. “I have missed you, Fred.”
“I know.” Fred leaned down for another kiss.