Last Night in the Tardis

XYZ

Hands behind her, Martha rested against one of the coral-like pillars in the TARDIS control room. "Should we go out there, do you think?" she asked the room's other occupant.

Jack looked up from the mess of cables he was embroiled in deep within the floor and shook his head. "No. He didn't even want help carrying the body. I think this is something he has to do on his own." He turned back to the remainder of the restoration of the console. "I took a peak out there about fifteen minutes ago. Looked like a scene out of Return of the Jedi. Just leave him to it."

Folding her arms over her chest Martha gave a tight smile. "Figured you wuldn't go for all that sci-fi stuff. Seeing as how you live it, and such."

Wiping a hand across his brow, Jack gave up on the last bit of electrical work for the moment and slid out of the access hatch. Sitting on the grill floor, legs still dangling in the hole, he wiped his hands on his trousers and sighed. "I've had a lot of time to watch a lot of crappy movies."

Martha had to hold back a grin. She'd learned over time that it only encouraged him. "Return of the Jedi wasn't that bad."

"It was ok."

"It was no Spaceballs, granted…but I'd figured you'd just spend all your time, I don't know…saving the world or something. Like he does."

Jack flashed her his best sentient being-killer smile. "Spaceballs was no Spaceballs either. Don't let him fool you. He has a tragically extensive Disney movie collection. Everybody needs a break, Martha."

She looked up at the old familiar coffered ceiling. "Yeah. Something like that."

Grabbing onto the hatch, Jack stood up and let it drop into place quietly, so as not to disturb the somber moment. "Your family needs you, but you don't know if you should leave him alone to his own devices. Right?"

Nodding, Martha stood up straight and tugged on the edges of her jacket. "He hasn't said anything since we brought the Master's body aboard. I know it's just going to be situation normal once all of this is said and done. He'll go back to pretending he's ok, and we'll just keep travelling… but my family DOES need me."

Putting a dirty rag on the console, Jack nodded. "And you'll keep on wondering if and when he'll notice you're alive, not to mention dancing around the subject of everything that's happened the last year…" Jack held out a hand to her, which she accepted. "First of all, I have to tell you that you'd be insane not to be in love with him. Just a teency tiny bit. So you can clear that off your conscience and stop thinking it's some kind of personality flaw. He's the Doctor. You'd have to be dead not to be in love with some aspect of him or his life. At the same time… the likelihood of him ever noticing you that way is about as likely as him ever buying me that drink he promised oh, a hundred-odd years ago. He's just not that kind of guy."

Martha frowned, examining the grill on the floor, then her shoes. "And Rose?"

Jack got a starry-eyed look about him as a small smile broke across his lips. "Rose. When those two were in a room together, it was like the entire universe didn't exist." A self-depreciating grin spread across his face. "Which is a hard position for someone with my charming looks and stunning good personality. First of all, you think he's a basket case now? I met him just after the war. Well, minus however long he'd been traveling with Rose for. No threesomes in our immediate future, lemme tell you. Of course, he was him, so he wouldn't put a move on Rose. He'd just threaten to rip my head off and shove it up my ass if I so much as kissed her hand."

Sighing wistfully at the ceiling, Jack shook his head. "Those were the days. You think he doesn't notice anything now… he used to be oblivious AND malicious. Now it's more of a benign stupidity—he doesn't mean to be dumb, it just works itself out that way."

A sad sort of knowing look passed between them. "You know, I've spent so much time worrying about me, and how he wasn't noticing me, I never thought he'd leave a trail of unnoticed people all across the universe. Oh well. I suppose I'm at least in good company."

Readjusting his braces, Jack rolled down his shirt cuffs and rebuttoned them with a chuckle. "Like I said. You'd have to be dead not to be in love with some part of him or his life. But I think he even ignored other Time Lords. Rose and I got bored once, and found some old companions' bedrooms. Teenage girls…completely in love with him, if their diaries are any indication. Teenage boys…totally enamored. I think he completely ruined this one kid named Adric for even friendship with anyone who wasn't the Doctor for the rest of his little life. But the thing that gave us HOURS of mocking pleasure was the personal logs of someone he called Romana. We thought Time Lords were completely asexual before this. The worst part is… so did this Romana girl."

He let out a hearty chuckle, but had to catch Martha when she doubled over from surprise. Her face was blotchy and red from the sudden eruption of laughter that had forced itself out of her. When he put her upright again, she choked and gasped, her hands desperately clutching the material of his button-down clinging to him for support. Finally, in exhaustion, she put her head on his shoulder.

"Relax, I've got ya," he muttered, resting his head upon hers. When he spoke again, he wasn't nearly as animated in his story-telling. It was a bit more on the factual side—less of the Jack Harkness, provider of entertainment side. "Yeah. We're talking, like, finding new settings for the sonic screwdriver…if you know what I mean. She didn't even know their people were capable of that. This poor girl even regenerated in the hopes that he'd notice her. NOTHING. Rose and I had DAYS of fun with her room. Especially when we found the bulky and kind of frightening Victorian vibrator."

Martha choked on the air again and he had to slap her back firmly before she got hysterical. "It's not like that! Not that I'd have minded. But come on. Have you ever seen those things? The mental image alone of what this prim and proper Lady of Time is doing with the thing had us laughing for days every time he'd turn into a pissy son of a bitch about something."

Blowing steadying breaths between her pursed lips, Martha got herself under control. "You do like to tell a good story, don't you, Jack Harkness?"

There was something self-depreciating about his smile as he lead her to the jump chair. Sitting side-by-side, they leaned against each other for support. "And most of my stories are mostly true. The point is… he's got the kind of magnetism I had to actually work for, and he has no freakin' clue. He reciprocated with Rose and I don't even think he knew he did. At first I thought he was just messing with her, or couldn't admit it to himself or something, but he really had no idea that he was completely bothered for her. She had him completely under her spell. But shit. The girl had one in every port. Former boyfriend, a Time Lord, a Time Agent, and some guy on every planet we ever went to. Hell…If you'd have known Rose Tyler, you'd have been in love with her too. So I guess it's for the best that those two had each other this way they could build up their pent up attraction on each other instead of inflicting it on the rest of the universe—we'd have all gotten whiplash."

Martha's mood mellowed—probably because she didn't have the energy for laughter any more. "He's been a complete idiot for her, this last year. But if what you're saying is true, he doesn't even realise it."

"Nahh. That'd interfere with the whole oblivious thing he's cultivating." Out of sheer contentment with the companionship, Jack slid his arm around her waist. "I guess what I'm saying is… you've got to do what you've got to do. Don't worry about him. He'll always be a mess, but that's mostly because he'll never figure himself out."

Nodding, Martha nudged herself a bit closer to him. It wasn't necessarily saying she was open to an overture, more of just appreciation for having someone so close. The last year had been very long and lonely indeed. "Yeah. But how do you switch all of this off? Everything I've seen and done. You don't just…bounce back from that. Or forget."

Pulling her towards him a bit more, Jack stared at the increasingly green glow of the console as it slowly recharged. "Who said you have to? Cardiff's lovely this time of year. Well, ok, it's not. But you get the point. Spring's a little better. Just worry about your family for a bit, finish up with exams and such. Because trust me, he'll still be there when you're done. Or you can check out Torchwood Three. We're not a bad sort, mostly. Except for the times we are. And we can always use an extra set of hands."

Absently, Martha's head continued to bob as she took in everything. "A visit might not hurt."

The silence they fell into was not uncomfortable by any means. It simply stretched on as they stared at the console, lost in their own thoughts.

"Maybe we should check on him," Martha began.

This was right on the heels of Jack's "wanna see Romana's room?"

Martha glared at him seriously for a moment before cracking up again. "Why, Captain. Are you trying to get into my knickers?"

"Do you want me to be?"

Still laughing, she hopped off the seat and slid her hands into her back pocket. "At least you have your priorities straight, Harkness. But yes. Yes, I'd like to see a Victorian vibrator. Call it…scientific curiosity."

A sly, knowing smile that was slightly crooked spread across Jack's face. "I like science." When he saw her looking at the ship's doors again, he turned her toward him. "Let him do what he needs to do, Martha. He doesn't need our help to grieve his people. You, on the other hand, Martha Jones, savior of humanity…you are woefully under-appreciated."

He tugged her back toward a bedroom belonging to a former companion, intent on showing her the sights…as it were.

Martha only looked back at the ship's main door one more time, some thing passing through her that was half way between resignation and decision. The sensation travelled through her arm and somehow passed to Jack when she squeezed his hand.

It seemed they'd both made their choice, and about more than Romana's room. It was their last night, they'd better make the most of it.

THE END