The Importance Of Those Words

Martha stood in the doorway of the console room chewing her lip nervously. Not far from her the Doctor was bent over messing around under the control panel. Gosh he did have a nice bum, but that wasn't what she was there for and she really had to stop thinking things like that.

"Doctor, can I ask you something?"

The Doctor looked up from the wiring he was working on and smiled. "Of course."

She made her way over to him, stopping to pick up her jacket which had apparently fallen from it's place on the railing. When she got near the console, she began fiddling with some of the less dangerous controls, his eyes on her the entire time she worked up her nerve.

"When I first came here... You told me about that girl Rose, and said I wasn't replacing her." She paused, unsure of whether or not she could continue. "Why'd you say that?"

His eyes seemed to glaze over for a bit, then he blinked and the look was gone. "Nothing important. No need to ask really." He quickly dove back under the console and Martha stamped her foot.

"Doctor." She did her best to sound stern without seeming unsympathetic. Honestly he was so difficult sometimes.

He slowly straightened back up, a defeated look on his face. "Alright, alright, you win."

Martha smiled unsurprised. Stubborn as she was, she always won.

"Rose..." He began, a faraway look in his eyes. "When you came aboard I told you right away that you weren't the first to travel with me, and probably wouldn't be the last."

She nodded.

"That's the first time I've ever done that. With all of my previous companions, either it never came up, or they didn't care. But Rose...

/You just leave us behind. Is that what you're going to do to me?

No. Not to you./

"It never came up with Rose. Not for a while anyhow. She'd been traveling with me for a least a year before it did. We were on Earth, investigating, when we ran into a woman I'd traveled with years back. Came as a bit of a shock to her."

"Yeah, but, you're so old. Surely she must have known, or had an inkling that other people had traveled with you."

He gave a wry smile. "Bit thick that Rose Tyler." The smile faded. "Not really. When she first met me I was... different. I'd just lost my home and the last thing I wanted was some bubbly girl on my ship and she knew that. When I asked her to come, she thought it was because she was special. Meeting Sarah Jane sort of destroyed that... Thanks for the jab at my age by the way. Always love being told I'm old."

Martha ignored his side comment, working as always to keep him on topic. "So what happened? Knowing you, you didn't talk to her about it."

"I did too! ... Well, in the sense that she sort of yelled at me and I responded. But I did... I told her she was different. That I wouldn't just leave her and move on."

Martha paused for a moment before responding. Looking at him talk about Rose, he seemed so lost. She had to fight the urge to comfort him. Years of training to deal with patients facing hard times and she couldn't think of anything to do but hug him. Somehow that didn't seem right at the moment.

"So that's why you told me. You wanted her to know." She sighed and smiled lightly. "I'm sure she does."

A crushed, solemn look overtook his features and Martha moved to reach out to him, but before she could the look was gone and he smiled. It was the most insincere smile she'd ever seen.

"Actually I said it because it's a hassle really. Didn't want to deal with the drama again." He held the smile which wavered at the corners of his mouth.


"That's all it was." He turned away from her, squatting down to pick up a few wires from the floor. "Now then, to get this circuit working again... Anything else you need?"

Martha hesitated for a moment, then stepped back. "No... guess not."

She waited a few seconds longer, then left the room. From his position on the floor the Doctor sighed, dropping the wiring and leaning against the console to look upwards, talking to no one in particular.

"I hope she does."