Summary: Martha accidently finds emergency programme one, a message from a ghost, left for a ghost.
The Doctor had disappeared hours ago, as soon as he had gone Martha knew she wouldn't sleep that night, instead she decided to explore the Tardis further. Her foot prints were silent as she padded around the control room bare foot; the only light in the darkened time machine was the weak blue light of the central column. Martha walked over, leaning against it as she gently ran her fingers over the timeless buttons. Gently grazing each control she gained confidence, peering against screens and tapping dials she swept around, her hands tracing where the Doctor's had rested before – the she saw a dust covered panel, button untouched and glistening with dirt. She glanced at them, circling her fingers along the lines of dirt until her fingers were nudging the buttons, gently she wiped away the dirt revealing red glistening surfaces. She pressed her hand over the panel unaware of the affect she was having on it.
The buttons began to glow and behind her a voice spoke out causing her to jump.
'This is emergency programme one' Martha turned around at the sudden intrusion of the Northern voice, her breath caught in her throat at the word emergency – then she saw him. The faded blue hologram flickering in the weak light of the Tardis. It was a man she didn't know – but she'd seen him before, in a photo tucked away in the back of a draw, it was him along side a blonde girl.
'Rose, now listen, this is important'. Martha's breath caught in her chest, that name again, a message for the ghost that haunted the Tardis.
'If this message is activated, then it can only mean one thing: we must be in danger, and I mean fatal. I'm dead, or about to die any second with no chance of escape'. Martha felt her fingers clench in tension, she didn't know whether to keep listening or to try to stop it – she glanced at the control panel, all the buttons seeming similar she had no idea of what to hit. Instead she stood and listened quietly, hearing the words meant for the ears of another.
'And that's OK, I hope it's a good death. But I promise to look after you, and that's what I'm doing. The Tardis is taking you home.' Martha winced at the promise in the voice, at the pain in the blue eyes that were fading within the flickering image. She watched a Doctor she had never known and couldn't help but wonder if he would ever care for her like that, leave her a telegram to watch after his death.
'And I bet you're fussing and moaning now, typical. But hold on, and just listen a bit more. The Tardis can never return from here. Emergency Programme One means I'm facing an enemy that should never get their hands on this machine. So this is what you should do: let the Tardis die. Just let this old box gather dust, no-one can open it, no-one will even notice it. Let it become a strange little thing standing on a street corner. And over the years, the world will move on, and the box will be buried.' His words were laced with pain but fuelled by determinism, in her mind Martha could see this Doctor – even her Doctor – making promises to this stranger, holding her close as he promised to protect her no matter what. In her heart she wondered if he would ever sacrifice his beloved time machine in order to send her home safely – with a sinking heart she realised she didn't want to know the answer.
'And if you wanna remember me, then you can do one thing. That's all, one thing. Have a good life. Do that for me, Rose. Have a fantastic life.' Tears stained Martha's cheeks as she could see such obvious love emit from the Doctor she had never known from a message she was never supposed to see, she wondered if Rose had ever seen this message, if this was how he'd lost her – but she knew that she'd never find out, he'd never speak of what had happened to his mysterious Rose.
Slowly the Tardis began moving, the column moving slowly in a familiar rhythm as Martha clung to the railings as the ship hurtled through time. The Doctor reached her side as the ship landed
'Sorry' she replied softly to his questioning glace. He raised and eyebrow as she gestured to the buttons she had pressed, then she watched as his face froze as he saw his former self frozen in the centre of the control room. She watched as memories played over his face – him recording the message in one of the moments of fear that wrecked his heart, the feeling of Rose in his arms as he saved her from the Daleks, the feeling of her slipping from his hands.
Martha watched as past memories and emotions played across his face, he turned away from her and walked through the doors – he saw the surroundings and fell into his memories – holding her hand, watching the stars…
Martha walked out after him, all she saw was the high rise of the Powell Estate and then she realised how simply human Rose was. The way the Doctor described her she'd had thought of a Goddess, but no, she was a mere human.
Martha followed him noting the sadness that wrecked his face
'Sorry' she whispered. He didn't reply
'This was where she lived' he explained softly 'The programme was…if any thing ever happened to her…' the Doctor trailed off into silence – because something had happened to her, and in the end he couldn't protect her from it. He took in a sigh before walking ahead, Martha leant against the Tardis truly sorry for making him remember what he'd lost.
The Doctor walked to Rose's flat, his hand fell onto the coolness of the handle, his heart rapidly beating in anticipation as he swung it open. But it was empty – just like the day he'd left it. He felt his heart drop and knew he had to stop hoping.
Blinking away tears he walked through her room until he found a jumper that still held her lingering scent, then he stood at the window and gazed up at the same stars she was seeing letting out a long sigh. He held her jumper close as he thought of her
'Have a fantastic life Rose Tyler, do that for me' he whispered as he turned away from a forgotten memory, from his paradise lost.
Slowly he walked back to the Tardis knowing of the darkness which was waiting for him, and he held her jumper a little closer – a tiny comfort in a colossal pain.
In the darkness of the Tardis Martha stared at the flickering blue image of a man lost, slowly she switched off the controls until his flickering image faded into the darkness along with his memory. She picked up the forgotten picture of this past Doctor and the long lost Rose, and she slowly pinned it to the control panel. The two ghosts which haunted the Tardis bathed in the blue light that had lit so many moments between them…both of them – lost in time.