Disclaimer: Doctor Who et al belongs to RTD, currently. I own nothing but a couple of well-used box sets.
A/N: This was written for a Time & Chips LJ community challenge--what were Martha's thoughts during Certain Scenes in "Utopia"?
Blondes, Divorce and the Psychology of Time Lords
In her worse moments, Martha Jones hates Rose Tyler a little. In her better ones, she hates herself for being so petty; after all, she knows next to nothing about this woman. Aside from the vague hints the Doctor's dropped about his Perfect Rose, he's neatly avoided the question every time Martha comes close to asking. She doesn't even know for certain whether Rose is still alive--after all, if the Doctor could lie to her about Gallifrey . . .
She blames it on her parents, Martha does. Her father walked out almost five years ago, the divorce finally came through last year after an eternity of legal wrangling and dithering, and from Martha's perspective, it's all solved precisely nothing for either her father or her mother. Her mother's still smarting from the way her father left and from his dalliances before and now after the divorce, usually with chavvy blondes barely older than Tish.
Somewhere in her mental map of the situation, Martha's come to see Rose as her father and the Doctor as her mother in that scenario. After all, if Rose is indeed still alive, as the Doctor claimed, "happy with her family," and he's obviously still so hung up on her, the logical explanation is that Rose walked out on him. And Martha wonders how anyone could leave the Doctor, let alone leave him when he loved her. She's aware she doesn't have all the facts, of course, but that's her instinctual reaction. What she does have now that she didn't originally is the memory of the Rose John Smith drew in his journal. Just one side of her face with cryptic words around it--"I call to her, but she doesn't answer. She keeps walking away. She is my . . ." What? Martha wants to ask. She was your what? And why did she walk away?
Of course, the whole thing is complicated even further by the fact that Martha's fallen, and fallen hard, for the Doctor. She can't help it.
Rose is the silent Other Woman on the TARDIS. The Doctor put her name between them as they lay in bed in Shakespeare's England. Martha half thinks it was inadvertent, and half thinks he did it intentionally to warn her off. If he did, it didn't work.
But she's been making progress lately. Ever since their experience--well, ordeal--in 1913, she and the Doctor have been getting more and more comfortable with each other. He's been extra conscientious of her since then, knowing how difficult it was for her to bear up under the classism and racism of the day. Whether he actually bought her denial of being in love with him is another thing Martha can only guess at, but she's glad he at least allows her the illusion.
Now, though, it's a different matter. Jack throws everything she thought she knew about the Doctor into a blender. She can't read the Doctor's reaction to the new man, who, of course, also knew Rose and immediately asks after her. Figures that the first man to flirt with her in far too long, and the most gorgeous one she can even be bothered to remember, was also hung up on this blonde. Possibly still is. At least she gets an answer, cryptic though it may be, as to where Rose is. Parallel world. Interesting.
Still, Jack's sweet to her, and when he needles the Doctor about not abandoning blondes, Martha happily joins in. The Doctor's being more enigmatic than ever, and Martha's getting a nasty feeling from all of this that someday, she may be the one in Jack's position. If he loved Rose and didn't abandon her, but he did abandon Jack, and he doesn't love Martha . . .
Fortunately, they have a mystery and a crisis to solve. Martha lets everything fall away but what she needs to do at the moment. She even makes a friend; after all, she and Chantho have more than a little in common, even if Chantho does look like a surprisingly pretty blue humanoid termite.
And then she has to watch and listen as the Doctor and Jack finally have it out. That Jack is immortal, the man who can't die, intrigues her as a doctor, but learning what made him that way?
Rose. Of course, she thinks before she can stop herself, and then shuts up her mental voice so she can listen to the men talk. She hears the explanation about the Time Vortex, which flies right over her head, though Jack seems to understand--and then she finally learns why Rose isn't with the Doctor.
She can't be with him. He can't be with her. She's trapped, a universe away, apparently against both their wishes. The Doctor is less the smarting divorcé than the grieving widower, in that sense. Martha hears the grief in his voice as he finally opens up just a little, and then he shuts right back down with a "Yep."
Jack loved her too; Martha can tell that. He went so far as to look in on her growing up. Two amazing men loved this woman--and lost her. They can never have her back.
With barely any transition, like flipping a switch, Martha doesn't hate Rose Tyler anymore. Martha pities her, locked away where she can never again see the man she loved. Probably still loves, if Martha's own feelings are anything to go by. For all Martha knows, she'd have liked or even loved Rose as well. She likes to think she would have, if they ever actually met.
Chantho comes up beside her, and Martha swallows the lump in her throat, making a mental note to make the Doctor tell her about Rose when all of this is over. Tell her about Rose the same way he told her about Gallifrey and the Time War. That's what a good friend would do, after all, and if all Martha can be is a good friend?
That's going to have to be enough.