written for sherwhotreksings, who needed a pick-me-up.
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who. I just like to torture the characters and the readers.
THE SUN WILL COME OUT
A group of snotty, dirty children with unlaced trainers and bushy tails darted past Martha. She followed them with her eyes, smiling as they hopped over puddles and dove under and between stalls. One of the children curled her tail around a loaf of bread, pulling it with her when she sprinted down the bustling market place.
"Street children," the Doctor said, stepping out of the TARDIS. "This asteroid is full of them. Didn't use to be, of course, but four-five decades after Emperor Gustaf the Third made this little trading bazaar…" The Doctor sighed and shrugged, shoving his hands into his pockets and heading down the paved road. "I need to pick up a few things, but we can stay for a while, in case you want to shop for something."
Martha widened her eyes in excitement, jogging after him. "Really? You paying, then?"
"Maybe I can pick up something for mum…" She looked around at all the stalls and shops before turning to him. "Can I do that? Is it safe?"
"Well, depends on what it is. And so long as I don't have to be there when you give it to her." He pulled a face and rubbed his cheek, muttering something she couldn't understand.
"Yeah, it's not like you usually come with me, though, is it?"
He picked up a silky, printed fabric and held it out in front of her. "Maybe a scarf?"
"Nah. Reckon I should get her something she can't get herself. Maybe…" Martha ran her fingers along the velvet cloth covering a table full of trinkets, stopping at a tiny, golden dome with a cupola on top. "This is pretty," she said, picking it up and smiling at the vendor. "What is it?"
The vendor's thin, long moustache waggled and he clapped four of his six hands. "It's a weather divinator. Just got them in today! They're all the rage on Orgondo and I'm the first person on this whole little rock who carries them. Well, so far," he said, crinkling his nose. "I'm sure it's only a matter…" He titled his head to the side, moustache going limp, swaying from his top lip. "You okay, there, mister?"
The Doctor stood frozen, staring at the trinkets. "Bazoolium," he whispered. He drew in a shuddering breath and shook his head. "Martha. We need to leave. Now."
"Why? What's wrong?"
"He just got in the bazoolium, and that means…" The Doctor knitted his brow, looking out over the throng of people. "I'm already here. I landed on the wrong day and I'm already here. And I can't run into myself. We need to–"
A young woman coming up behind the Doctor linked her arm with his and beamed up at him. "Oh, you're done already? Thought you would take ages in that little repair shop. Ooh, what are these?" She picked up a bazoolium, turning it over in her hand; the Doctor's eyes widened, Adam's apple bobbing. "Hello." She smiled at the vendor. "What's it do?"
"Predicts the weather! It grows cold when there'll be rain, and hot when it's gonna be sunny. Like now! Look at all these puddles." The vendor's moustache pointed at the ground. "It just stopped raining maybe one turn ago and, as you can see, the sky's still grey and glum! But! The divinator is warm. So, I know the sun will come out again, any moment now. Very nifty little thing, eh?"
"Yeah! Perfect! Mum would love it. Don't you reckon, Doctor?" the woman asked, casting him a quick glance through the corner of her eye, before looking back at the vendor. "How much?"
"Fifty-eight? It's a bit much, yeah?" She wrinkled her nose. "I'll give you forty."
"Forty?" The vendor harrumphed. "I won't go lower than fifty-eight."
"All right, all right. Forty-five."
"For this little thing? It barely does anything! How's it react when there's snow, then?"
"Snow?" The vendor's moustache rose up to his eyebrows before falling down with a swoosh. "What is snow?"
"It doesn't do snow?" The woman tutted and shook her head. "Does it do wind, then? Or is it just rain and sun?" She waited for the vendor to reply, but he just stared at her. "Tell you what. You seem like a nice man. Probably have a family to feed, right? I'll give you forty-eight klemptins. Doctor?" She held out her hand. "Can I have the coin pouch, thanks?"
He didn't move, chest still, eyes glassy and unseeing. Without taking her eyes off the vendor, smile still bright and wide on her face, the woman slid her hand inside the Doctor's suit jacket and rummaged around. His lips twitched, eyebrows knitted upwards, hand hanging by his side, clenched so hard his knuckles had turned white.
"Oh, there it is. Let's see…" The woman pulled out a pouch and opened it, sticking her finger in and pushing around the content, picking out small chunks of something black. She handed them over to the vendor, who counted them twice before nodding and gesturing at her to grab the weather divinator. "Thanks! Have a great day!"
She tucked the trinket into her pocket, and the pouch into the Doctor's, and pulled him with her as she walked down the street. Martha followed them several paces away from the stand, nearly bumping into them when the woman made an abrupt stop. She stood in front of the Doctor, hands on his upper arms, smile changed into a concerned frown.
"What's going on? You're acting weird. Was it something with that vendor? I tried to–"
"Nothing's wrong, Rose," he said and a chill washed through Martha, lurching in her stomach. "I was just–"
"You didn't wear a tie today." Rose ran her fingers over the knot, and he swallowed, chin held high. "Don't think I've ever seen this tie before. You're not…" Looking up at him, she grazed his hair with her fingers. "New hair cut, too. Am I here, then?"
He shook his head and her face fell, shoulders slumping, arms hanging by her sides. Smiling, he grabbed her hand and weaved their fingers together. "You're with your mother."
"Yeah?" she said, tone curt. The corners of her mouth turned down and she averted her eyes, landing to the left of Martha's feet. "You always come with me now, though. Don't even have to ask anymore, do I? So–" She furrowed her brow, eyes following the length of Martha's legs, up her torso, and stopping at her face. "You… You were at the stall." Rose straightened her back, jaw squared. "Who's she?"
Rose pursed her lips. "How long? How long before–" She sucked in a sharp breath, staring at him with wide eyes. "The way you… I'm dead. I died, didn't I?"
His smile widened and he leaned forward, body playfully shifting from side to side. "You're at your mother's, Rose. Alive and well. It's her birthday and she only wanted you. I wasn't invited. We met Martha a while back and she travels with us."
Martha curled her top lip and scrunched up her nose in disbelief, staring at the Doctor with wide eyes, but schooled her features right away, in case they looked at her. She plastered a polite smile on her face, ready to play whatever part he would hand her, but the others only had eyes for one another.
"Really?" Rose said and bit her lip, staring at the buttons of his suit jacket.
"Yep! You know me. Like to travel with an entourage."
"Hm. This happen often, then? You two going on adventures without me."
"Absolutely not! Rose, I…" He cupped her cheek, tilting her face upwards, and gazed down at her. "You know I can't bear to…"
A soft smile bloomed on her face, eyes sparkling. "Yeah? Have we– I mean, did–"
Martha's eyes flitted between them. Rose was obviously fluent in Doctor but, although Martha had learned a thing or two, she didn't always follow whenever he trailed off. She nearly breathed out an 'oh' of understanding when the Doctor leaned in closer, but caught herself and turned in another direction to avoid seeing the Doctor and his long lost girlfriend snog.
"Doctor," Rose whispered and Martha closed her eyes. "No."
"What?" the Doctor said – and Martha almost did the same, swivelling around with a puzzled frown on her face. "I thought…"
Rose ducked her head, blushing and smiling. "I want my first real kiss with you to be your first real kiss with me, too."
The Doctor's face fell, chin quivering, and Martha covered her mouth with her hand, her heart clenching for him, but by the time Rose looked back up, he was smiling again.
"Rose, you need to go before your me comes for you. He should be making his way over here right now."
"Oh! What about…" She touched her temples. "Can I remember this?"
He nodded and pulled her in for a hug, burrowing his face into her shoulder and breathing her in. They hugged for a long moment, prompting Martha to start scanning the crowd after a younger version of the Doctor. It didn't take her long to catch a glimpse of pinstriped suit and brown coat, and she turned back to the couple.
"Doctor? I can see him. Right over there by the candy cane stand. He's coming this way, I think."
Rose broke free. "Okay. Uhm… Nice to meet you, Martha. I look forward to being your friend."
"Yeah, me too. Or you know. However that works. Timey-wimey," Martha said with a forced chuckle.
Rose crinkled her nose. "Timey-wimey?"
"You need to go, Rose."
She nodded and rose on tiptoes, giving him a peck on the cheek before darting off in the direction of the younger version. The Doctor stared after her with an expression so raw, and full of grief, Martha couldn't help but tear up. He clenched and unclenched his hands, legs twitching as though he would rush after Rose any second. A shuddering breath escaped him, and he took two steps forward, but Martha grabbed ahold of his arm and tugged him back.
"No. You can't. I know you love her, Doctor, but you can't change it."
His mouth twisted, then settled into a frown, but he stood unmoving until Rose and the younger Doctor were out of sight.
"Doctor? Let's go back to the TARDIS. Maybe you should lie down for a moment? We can pick up whatever you need later, okay?"
He squeezed his eyes shut, then breathed out and turned around, walking towards the TARDIS in silence. Martha followed his example until they reached the doors and the Doctor fumbled to get the key into the lock. She curled her hands around his to stop him and gently pushed him out of the way.
"Huh. Would you look at that," he said in an airy voice. "He was right."
The Doctor nodded at the sky where the heavy, grey clouds had started to disperse, yellow sunbeams breaking through them and casting spotlights all over the market place.
"Yeah," she said with a smile, but he didn't look at her.
Turning her attention back to the lock, she opened the door, got inside and motioned to the Doctor to do the same. He plodded to the jump seat and slumped down, staring into the time rotor.
"Did you want to lie down?" she asked, but got no reply. "Doctor? I can help you to your room if you want."
He shook his head and sighed. "I'm gonna tinker for a bit. Maybe you can go study."
"Yeah, of course. Can I get you something before I go, though? Tea? D'you want jam on toast? We still have a few slices of the banana bread I baked. Would you like that? Banana bread and a cup of tea?"
"Sounds good." He nodded, curling up the corners of his mouth into a smile that didn't reach his eyes. "Thank you, Martha."
"Any time, Doctor. And…" She shrugged, smiling. "If you wanna talk. About her, or anything, really. Or if you just need a hug, I'm here for you, okay?"
"I know. Thank you, Martha."
She lingered for a couple of seconds, waiting for him to reach out, but he only pushed himself off the jump seat, lay down on the grating, and scooted in under the rotor, sonic screwdriver in hand.
He'd told her early on that the TARDIS sometimes enjoyed moving around the rooms, but that the doors always looked the same: a large and heavy door with a round brass handle led to the library; a steel door with an open/close button instead of a handle led to the media room; and, to get to Martha's bedroom, one walked through a wooden door engraved with her name. On occasion, she'd had to search for fifteen minutes or so before finding the right room, but the time ship had always kept the galley in the same place – three doors down to the right – but not today.
Martha frowned, looking around the corridor after a sleek door with a round window and a 'galley' sign. She found it five doors down to the left, turned the handle, stepped inside, and gasped. The TARDIS had changed the clean, spacious galley into a warm, cosy room full of personal knick-knacks, photos on the walls and the refrigerator, flower pots on the window-sill by the fake window, and even a bloody table cloth on the table. A table where a woman sat nursing a cup of tea.
"Oh, hi Martha," Rose said with a nervous smile. "Uhm…"
"Yeah…" Rose laughed. "I found my way back. Surprise! Is he, uhm, where's the Doctor?"
"You found your way back from what?"
"Oh. Yeah, I was trapped. In a parallel universe." She tapped on a broad leather wrist band. "Found my way back, though. This was the only place I knew he'd be, so I got here and snuck inside the TARDIS after you left. Been sitting here for a while. Little nervous, to be honest. Not sure if… I mean, he, uhm, he…" She shrugged, picking at her nails. "Does he… D'you think he'll be happy?"
Martha released a huffy chuckle. "Yeah, you could say that. He's…" She walked up to the fridge as she talked, relying on the content being unchanged, and opened it to take out the banana bread. "He's not been in a good place. He's mentioned you a lot, but never really said anything," she said, finding a knife and cutting board where she expected.
"Yeah, he never really does."
"No, suppose not. But I know it's been rough, for him, since he lost you."
"Yeah. And what about you?"
Martha stopped cutting slices of the banana bread, turning around and blinking at Rose. "What?"
"How's it been for you?"
"Oh. Uhm, it's been all right." Martha turned on the electric kettle and leaned her back against the counter, arms folded over her chest. "You know how this life is."
"Yeah. And I know what this is like. Meeting someone from his past and feeling a bit pushed aside."
"Yeah?" Martha laughed. "Somehow I doubt you do."
"I met someone called Sarah Jane. Even though he'd regenerated several times since she last saw him, and it had been decades for her, and probably centuries for him, they still felt completely comfortable around one another. You can tell, yeah? How close two people…" She shrugged. "I was really jealous. I'd felt so special with him, like I really mattered, but then she showed up, and I just felt like I was nothing. So, I wasn't very nice to her. And she wasn't very nice to me. But you know what? We became friends. Me and the Doctor even visited her once or twice before I… Anyway, I'm sorry about young me. I was a bit jealous of you as well. 'Cause he chose you, Martha, out of all the people in the universe, he chose you. So, you must be brilliant – and probably pretty damn patient, for sticking around. I know what he's like when he's sulking."
Martha let out a chuckle, nodding. "Yeah, suppose I'm pretty good."
"Yeah. I'd like us to be mates. If-if you'd like."
"Yeah, definitely." Martha gave Rose a warm smile, and pointed at the kettle. "He's under the console tinkering. I was gonna bring him tea and banana bread. Bit of comfort food. But maybe you could bring it to him?"
She perked up. "Yeah? That be all right with you?"
"Yeah. I'm pretty sure you're gonna be a better comfort, you know what I mean?"
Rose's cheeks tinted pink. "I hope so. Does he, uhm, does he still take his tea with four sugars?"
"Yeah. I'm gonna go to my room to study, and I'll keep to myself for tonight. Give you some time to catch up."
"Okay, thanks. Tomorrow, then? You and me. We'll do something. You know, get to know one another a bit."
"Sounds good," Martha said, backing out of the room and waving. "Good luck!"
"Yeah, you too. And thanks, Martha. Thank you."
The Doctor wiped his forehead with his sleeve, squinting up at the array of wires over his head. The sound of soft footsteps reached him and he inhaled, stomach twisting when he felt faint traces of Rose's smell over that of banana bread and tea. Ah. He'd forgotten to take off his coat. He sniffed at his shoulder, the one she'd rested her head on when they hugged, filling his lungs with her scent. His hand trembled and he knocked loose a Plrkish bolt. It fell down, hit his left cheek, and rolled down on the grating, slipping into one of the holes. The clanking sound of it bouncing to a landing deep inside the ship echoed in the console room, and he groaned.
He cleared his throat and forced some cheer into his voice. "Martha? There's a tool box under the jump seat," he said, stretching out his hand. "I need a Plrkish bolt. Or give me three, just to be safe. They look sort of like– Oh." He felt cool metal in his hand and wrapped his fingers around the familiar shape of the bolt. "Very good!" He screwed the bolt into place and stretched out his hand again. "Oh, and I need the–"
The weight of a spanner hit his palm and his fingers curled around it out of instinct, catching Martha's fingers in the process. Only Martha had slender fingers, and these were stubby, like Rose's. His breath hitched and he moved his hand to weave his fingers around hers, the spanner dropping to the floor with a soft thud as it landed on his coat. Her fingers closed around his hand, squeezing it. Perfect fit. His breath whooshed out of his lungs.
"Rose, you can't be in here."
"Pretty sure you're wrong about that," she said and his eyes drifted shut at the sound of her voice.
He swallowed. "It's not that I don't want you to – I really do – but this is the wrong TARDIS."
"Pretty sure you're wrong about that as well, Doctor."
"Rose, please just–"
"I came back."
"No. This isn't–" He lifted his hands to rub his face, smushing his glasses into his nose. "Ow! Oh, bloody hell," he muttered, slipping them into the inner pocket of his suit jacket before trying again. He sighed. "I'm asleep, aren't I? Wouldn't be the first time I've taken a little kip under here and dreamed of you."
"Oh, really?" She nudged his thigh. "What kind of dreams?"
"Or I've gone mad."
"Weren't you already?" she said in a cheeky tone. She sighed and started running the fingers of her other hand over his wrist. "Two bloody years, I was stuck there. Until I found a dusty old vortex manipulator in the archives at work. And listen to this, know what the manufacturer was called? Bad Wolf," she said with a laugh, and a shiver ran through him. "All I needed was that, a rift, a genius called Tosh, and some Tyler stubbornness. And now I'm back. So, come out here already, so I can hug you before I go mad."
He closed his eyes again, letting her words sink in. "You're really here?"
"And you won't vanish if I come out?"
She squeezed his hand. "'Course I won't."
It felt as though the auto-gravity system had malfunctioned and he was floating away. He whimpered out some form of response and she chuckled, tugging at his arm. Eyes squeezed shut so hard he felt wrinkles form on his brow, he crawled out and found himself with an armful of Rose, tipping him over until he lay on his back with her sprawled atop of him and her jasmine-scented hair all over his face. He felt her pull back a little, but before he'd had a chance to tug her back to him, her soft lips pressed against his forehead and the skin around his eyes, smoothing out the lines, helping him relax. He slid his hands from her waist, up her back and to her face, cupping her cheeks and bringing her mouth to his, but stopping right before they met.
"First real kiss?" he whispered.
She answered him with her lips against his, tasting like tears and lipgloss, tea and time, and home. It started out slow, almost tentative, with lips sliding, and hands cradling cheeks and shoulders; though, soon the passion that had been building over the years took over. They kissed with hungry lips, with teeth and tongues, noses bumping, fingers tangling in hair and clothes, and they pulled back to draw in new air to keep going and going, until it felt as though he'd never done – and never would do – anything else in his life besides kissing Rose Tyler.