Henrika- Figured I'd try a foray into the Doctor Who universe since I'm absolutely addicted to the show. This is set a bit after The Lazarus Experiment. Read, enjoy, and review!
The Doctor is hanging his head, stroking the TARDIS console absentmindedly as Martha comes into the control room. He looks for all the world as if someone has just chastised him and Martha idly wonders whether it's the TARDIS herself. The Doctor did say that she was sentient. And given how temperamental the old girl gets some times, Martha is very willing to believe it.
"Hmm?" He doesn't bother looking up, though he straightens his brown pinstripe and scuffs his Converse against the console. "What do you need?"
"Nothing. It's just…" She trails off and that does make him look up.
"We had to do a turn in the psychiatric ward. Part of our med school training. We weren't totally qualified, but we learned how to care for the patients, what signs to look for."
"Uh-huh." The Doctor looked genuinely perplexed. Even Martha wasn't quite sure where she was going with this, but the words were coming out whether she wanted them to or not.
"Royal Hope tended to get a lot of people with death wishes. Don't really know why, but we did. We had to watch them all the time to make sure they didn't, well, you know." The Doctor nodded, a quiet understanding creeping into his eyes. "Anyways, we learned what to look for in people. You start seeing everything in everyone for the first couple of weeks, but after that you really start to pick up a knack for it."
"And you have a knack for it?" He murmured.
There was an awkward pause before the Doctor sighed. "Just say it Martha Jones."
"Doctor, do you want to die?"
He opened his mouth to reply, but the TARDIS shocked him before he could. He pulled his hand from the console as sparks spit angrily in his direction. "That wasn't very nice."
"Not you. Her. She's been unhappy with me lately."
"I think I can understand why."
"Now that's just unfair. We outran the Slugians by miles! And you old girl, barely got any slime on you!"
"They were giant slugs. Of course we outran them!"
"Fine then. We'll go somewhere else. Much more exciting and with more running! You should probably slip on some good trainers." The controls shocked him again. "Or not. How about a nice warm-up jog? I'm sure the old girl has a gym tucked away somewhere."
Martha was staring at him in a way that reminded him painfully of the glare Rose used to give him. "Doctor."
"Suppose I'm not getting out of this am I?" She shook her head. "Well then Miss Jones, the answer to your question is that I have no idea."
She snorted. "No idea. You've got to be bleeding kidding me. Doctor, you've tried to die more in the time I've known you than any of those patients we had in the psych ward. Combined!"
"Oh come on. It's not that bad." He was still trying to play it off, but Martha could see a darkness gathering in his eyes. There were times when she believed that he was just a youthful exuberant man who was around her age. But other times, when those shadows crept into his eyes, she truly believed that he was over nine hundred years old and had loved, lost, and lived through every minute of it.
"Do you really want me to go through the list?"
"If it'll make you feel better." He tried the console again, but the TARDIS was supporting Martha's interrogation.
"All right then. Let's see, first time I met you. Gave yourself up to that plasmavore lady so the Judoon would find her."
"You brought me back though. Hospital safe and back on Earth. No problems!"
"Back with Shakespeare. When that witch used the DNA module thingy. And yes, I know you only had one heart stopped, but still."
"But still it was the only way to get us both out of there. She left, we followed and now that lot is screaming in the attic somewhere. And mind you, I really need to clean up there. Worse than the wardrobe."
"New New York? Hopping between the cars in all that pollution?"
"Had to save you. No other way to go but down."
Martha hesitated before bringing up the next set. "With the Daleks? What's the explanation for that?"
The Doctor's face fell, the bravado and the humor gone. "Please don't."
"I'm sorry. I've got to. I need you to…"
"It turned out okay in the end."
"Okay? Okay? You tried to die three times. Did you even think about it? Did you consider me at all?"
"The TARDIS would have taken you back home."
"That's not an explanation. That's an excuse, and a rather weak one at that."
The Doctor looked truly angry for a moment, but then the energy seemed to drain out of him and he slumped into the chair next to the console, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Do you know that you are one of the most tenacious companions I've ever had? I never even told Rose some of the things I've told you about Gallifrey and the Time War."
"I still don't understand."
"You can't just give up. If being with you has taught me anything, it's taught me that much. Heck, it's why I'm still alive after some of the things we've been through."
"It was three times when we went to New York. The lightning strike was because you lost the sonic screwdriver and had to stop those people from being full Daleks. And that was incredible, but if you had fallen just a little bit farther, you would have fallen off the bleeding Empire State Building. And with that new species, I get it. You didn't really think they were going to kill you. You were counting on it. But I still heard you Doctor. That gasp wasn't the one of a person who was confident that he was going to be okay. And you kept encouraging them!'
"Martha I…" His hand fell from his face, knowing what was coming next and knowing that he couldn't stop the truth.
"There's still one more time for that trip Doctor. When we were in Hooverville. I know you were trying to save us. But you were begging them for death. You told them to kill you, to just do it. Over and over again, you just kept screaming it. You sounded so desperate. Like you truly wanted to die that much. I was terrified. And not just for me either. I thought you were going to die there right in front of me and I can't help but think that you would have been happier if that had happened."
"And with Lazarus too. You blew up a lab and I wonder if you would have just stayed in it if you knew it would have stopped him. And then we almost went through some genetic blender! Doctor, just tell me the truth. Please?"
"I'm just tired Martha. So very tired. It's the same thing I told Lazarus. I've seen so much more than anyone should have to. Worlds have died, genocide has been committed, family has died, my entire people destroyed, friends have been lost to places where I can never get them back. And knowing that the Face of Boe's last secret has to be a lie because I can't feel my people in my head anymore. All of that weighing down on me all at once. The curse of the very last Time Lord."
"And it that any reason to give it all up? To want to die again and again?"
"I have died again and again Martha. I don't age. I regenerate and I've already done so nine times. I have four more lives to live."
"So what are you trying to do? Use up the rest of your lives? Get them over with quick then?"
"If the Daleks would have exterminated me in Hooverville, I would have stayed dead. No coming back."
"Then why?!" Martha hardly noticed that she was sobbing, tears pouring down her cheeks. "Am I not good enough to keep you here? Am I not a good enough reason to live?"
"I lost Rose. I can never prove to you that she's alive and happy, but she is. But when I lost her, I lost the one person who had truly helped to make me whole again after the War. She was everything, my brave London shop girl was. And it hurt so much. I kept moving on because I had to. This universe was still in danger from the temporal rifts that had opened up. And when I found the last one, I tried to say goodbye. I really tried to say it, but I ran out of time." He laughed humorlessly. "A Time Lord running out of time. How ridiculous is that?" He paused again.
"There was a bride at Christmas. Big debacle, but I asked her to come with me and she turned me down. You know what she told me?" Martha shook her head. "She said to find someone. I just brushed it off at the time, but then I came across you. And you reminded me so much of how full my life had been. But I abused you, compared you to Rose, and I lied to you. It was never going to be just 'one trip' if you decided you liked this sort of life."
The Doctor avoided her gaze as he said the next part. "It's not that you weren't a good enough reason to live Martha. Because you are. You've made me feel as alive as I always did with Rose. Perhaps more. You are brilliant Martha Jones. But I truly am tired. And it's cruel of me to keep trying to abandon you in such a cowardly way. There are times…when I'm close to death…that…that…I can see them Martha. All of them. Everyone I've had to leave behind, everyone who's died, everyone I've lost. And it's so tempting to be with them, especially after all this time. It's been so long. So very long." He swallowed hard. "I can take you home if you'd rather not stay here now. I can't make promises anymore; they're too easy to break. No more forevers."
Martha realized that the Doctor was crying as well, just a few tears, but they spoke volumes about him as they slipped down his cheeks. "I'm so sorry."
He rose silently, the TARDIS finally allowing him to set coordinates. "I'll take you home." He whispered; the noise almost lost to the sound of the Time Rotor starting up.
"No." The Doctor either hadn't heard her or hadn't dared to believe that he'd heard her right. "No you're not taking me home." She said, wanting to ease his pain if she couldn't erase it completely.
"You'll get hurt if you stay with me. Your mum was right you know. Nothing but death and destruction in my wake." He wasn't looking at her, but he had thrown the brake, grinding the TARDIS to a standstill in the middle of the vortex. "You could end up lost like Rose or stranded or dead Martha. I won't let that happen. I can't let that happen." There was a soft sob. "And there I go making promises again."
He shook his head. "I'm taking you home. You'll be better off with your family."
Sighing, Martha decided she had no choice. Scrubbing the tear tracks from her face, she strode as confidently as she could to the console and stood next to the Doctor, waiting for him to look up. When he finally did, after an impossibly long moment, Martha slapped him as hard as she could.
"What was that for?!" He yelled as he stumbled back and flopped without grace into the chair behind him.
"You listen here and you listen good! I chose to come with you! I chose all the running for our lives and the danger and the excitement! And there are so many beautiful things out there. I mean sure it's scary sometimes. I'd have to be mad if I didn't recognize that as the truth, but there are so many amazing things out there, including you. You get that? I chose to stay with you. My mum doesn't control me. My family drives me mad half the time, though I love all of them. I'm better off here with you."
The Doctor looked ready to protest again, but Martha rolled right over him. "And it's not just because you need someone; because you do. I know that. But that's not the only thing. I'm not replacing Rose or anyone else. I'm here because I want to be here and because you invited me to be here. You knew it would hurt you, but you still did it. And people like that, like you, who have been hurt so much and are still willing to do it again because of that chance at love and life, people like that don't really want to die. You don't really want to die. So you can stop now. You can stop now."
The Doctor froze, hand still cradling his cheek. The words rattled around in his head, striking chords with another memory and letting it resonate deep within his hearts.
'Cause sometimes I think you need someone to stop you.
"It seems you were right Donna." He whispered under his breath.
"I said no more promises Martha. I meant it." Her face fell. "But, weeeeell, I suppose I can make a slight change. Try not to rush quite so headlong into death."
Martha flung herself at him. "Oh thank you!"
He wrapped his arms around her, drawing her as close as he could while he was still seated. And if he crushed her just a little bit closer when he felt a distant psychic flash in his head, just for a moment, she didn't say anything. "You are incredible Martha Jones. Have I told you that lately?"
"Not nearly often enough." She managed a smile as she released him.
"Am I forgiven old girl?" The Doctor asked as he affectionately patted the TARDIS's console. "Giving the fact that she's not shocking me," He said confidentially to Martha "I'll take that as a 'yes'."
"Where to next? I say we try somewhere that's not quite as dangerous as our usual fare; get you eased into this new mindset."
"Come on, where's your sense of adventure? Let's try the sun!"
"You're kidding right?"
"Oh never. Not me." He grinned at her, the wild look in his eyes at least dampening the endless pain. "Off we go!" Levers slammed into place, the TARDIS took off on a bumpy course.
Martha felt slightly off-kilter; such a serious conversation suddenly switching into their usual odd life. That was until the Doctor seized her in another hug and whispered in her ear, "Thank you. You've already saved my life more times than you should have had to and now you just saved it again. Thank you."
She wrapped her arms around his neck, taking a moment to reach around and wipe away the fresh tears that had sprung from her eyes. "You're welcome."
Henrika- The Tenth Doctor seems remarkably determined to die this season, especially in the episodes with the Daleks. And given that, I had to write a story that dealt with it. Hope you enjoyed.