AN: A plot bunny bit me when I was watching LotTL and wouldn't let go. I always wondered why that blonde kid was so desperate for Martha to kill the Master so I gace him a bit of a backstory. Not a piece I'm particularly proud of but at least the bunny let go.
As far as warnings go there's some mentions of abuse in this but that's it really.
Oh and finally, it's unbetad so sorry for any errors and also, the characters aren't mine bla bla bla.
"Are you Martha Jones?"
Everything about that question should have seemed normal to her - a perfectly simple question with a perfectly simple answer…right? The tone was normal, the person asking wasn't some strange alien with an unpronounceable name, he was just a man, a young, ordinary man. But, to Martha Jones, nothing was normal or simple any more and the question unnerved her as it always did when complete strangers asked her it. The people who asked thought they knew so much about her but Martha wondered every time what legends this person had heard. In this day and age it seemed that every person on Earth had their own image of 'Martha Jones' and Martha was never sure whether she was anything like the woman the people she spoke to imagined.
She was prepared to simply nod in reply, she was too exhausted to explain, but she wasn't sure whether the small movement of nodding her head would be noticed in the heavily crowded corridor she stood in, so she turned to face the man who had spoken and that's when she knew that the answer to this person's question was a resounding 'no'.
The look in the eyes of the young man, who Martha realised as she looked closer couldn't be more than in his mid-twenties at most, was frightening – desperate and lonely and pleading, as if he was expecting her to be able to move the Earth or something. The 'Martha Jones' this kid imagined was some sort of superwoman and Martha could in no way measure up to his expectations.
But there was something else in those eyes. Beyond the pleading and the awe there was something else, something Martha had seen many times, but never so intense or so raw…hopelessness. A young kid who should have been in the prime of his life with everything to look forward to sat in front of her completely devoid of any kind of faith or hope…except her.
And, whether it would make her weak or strong in the eyes of those who would later judge her if they ever heard her story, she couldn't deny this man the last tiny scrap of hope he had.
So Martha plastered a smile on her face, though it was more one of sympathy and mainly an attempt to raise the kid's spirit and replied
"Yeah, that's me."
The reaction to her reply rippled all around the room, Martha heard gasps and murmurs but she didn't care. What she did care about was how the expression of the twenty-something year old sat on the stairs changed. Just a little, barely noticeable if you weren't staring into those desolate hazel eyes, but it was there. A spark. One tiny little spark of hope, and then it was gone, as if the kid had willed it away.
"Can you do it?"
Or maybe not, Matha thought as the young man asked the question that she knew was on the minds of everyone gathered around her, and if he was asking questions then that meant he had some hope that the answer might be yes.
"Can you do it? Can you kill him? They said you can kill the Master, can you? Tell us you can do it. Please tell us you can do it."
He spoke so fast and so quickly that Martha didn't have time to reply but, even if she had had the time, she didn't think she would have been able to. It wasn't the words themselves; she'd heard those same questions over and over again when she'd been travelling the world. No, it was the raw, unrestrained desperation with which the words were spoken that stunned her into silence. She could feel Tom shift uncomfortably beside her but she didn't turn to look at him, her eyes were locked with those of the young slave on the staircase who was staring at her as if he were trying to drag the answers out of her very soul through sheer force of will.
And, for one brief second, that was all there was in the world of Martha Jones. And then the murmuring started.
"Who is the Master?" A voice to her right made her turn on reflex to look at the speaker but soon the voices were all around her and she didn't know where to turn.
"Help us, please."
The volume wasn't particularly loud but it was uncomfortable and confusing in contrast to the previous silence. Beside her, Tom had to raise his voice to be heard over the chatter as he ordered wearily
"Come on, just leave her alone, she's exhausted."
And they did. The room fell quiet as soon as the paediatrician had finished speaking. Martha got the feeling that these people understood exhaustion all too well. And, she supposed, they were used to taking orders.
She hated to even think it but she was tempted to leave it at that. To take what little respite she could get and wait for the inevitable arrival of the Master but, almost as soon as she thought that, she turned back to the young man who had spoken before and knew she couldn't give up, not when she was a symbol of hope for so many.
"No, it's alright." She stated soothingly, sensing Tom's increasing agitation and frustration. "They want me to talk." She explained, turning to Milligan before turning back to the hazel eyed blonde that had spoken previously, locking eyes with him again as she promised "And I will."
There was a brief silence after Martha had finished speaking as her words sunk in to the minds of those around her, and then suddenly the whole room seemed to come alive with excited chatter.
"I'll tell them upstairs!" An excited voice behind her enthused, sounding ecstatic that he was the one who got to tell the others the good news.
"We'll need light, find the candles you can." A female voice ordered.
To an unaware observer it would have sounded more like a military operation than someone just coming to tell of her adventures. Martha didn't mind though, she was glad to give these people something to be happy about. It was only when she heard a quiet, pained groan from the staircase that Martha's mood slipped a little and she turned to look in the direction of the sound.
"What are you doing? You need to rest!" A young woman was admonishing the young boy who had spoken before. The lad was clutching his abdomen in obvious pain but he was still able to speak as he ground out,
"I want to help."
The doctor (in training) in Martha came to surface for the first time in a while as she moved towards the blonde slave.
"Hey there…" She said gently, tilting the boy's head up so she could look into his eyes. "Are you alright?" She asked softly as she noted the pain in the slightly unfocused, hazel eyes.
"No he isn't." A sharp voice informed her and Martha realised it was the woman who had been speaking to the boy just seconds previously. "He can barely breathe with those ribs of his and I'm sure he's got a concussion. Will he listen to me though? I tell him-"
"A-alright, give us a minute." Tom stopped the woman ranting as he too looked the young blonde over, irritated by the woman's constant rambling.
Martha however paid little attention to this as she ran her hand over the young man's head, feeling a large lump under the spiky, blood matted, unwashed, blonde hair. The boy ducked away on reflex when she touched it and Martha winced in sympathy.
"That hurts?" She asked gently and the boy nodded tensely before shrugging.
"It doesn't matter." He replied, somewhat shyly. "I-I'm sorry I asked you all those questions before." He stammered "I just-" The blonde's words were cut off when he gasped in pain as Martha's hands reached his ribcage.
"Please. I'm sorry, I'm said I was sorry. Please don't hurt me." He flinched away from her touch and Martha drew back, horrified. In all her time travelling the world she'd never expected a reaction like this. Is that what kind of a reputation she had around here?
"Take it easy, it's me Tom, you know I'm not here to hurt you." Tom spoke calmly but firmly to the blonde who was clearly panicking. "What did they do to you this time?" The paediatrician asked wearily, rolling up the kid's layers of clothing to reveal a chest littered with vicious bruises and cuts in various stages of healing.
"What do you mean 'this time'?" Martha asked, incredulously, sickened by the obvious evidence of abuse she was looking at. "They must have broken half his ribs!" She exclaimed before startling when the people directly around her glared at her, making shushing noises.
"If the Tochlafane hear that…" The woman on the stairs trailed off but Martha understood what she meant. An injured worker was a useless worker as far as the Master and his minions were concerned.
"I'm sorry." She said, quieter, "I didn't think."
"I've got painkillers in my bag." Tom carried on the conversation he'd been having as if nothing had happened. "Martha, why don't you come prepare them with me?"
Martha recognised the hint for what it what it was and she stood back up, casting a lingering look at the lad on the stairs before following Tom into what she assumed had once been a kitchen.
"What the Hell happened to him?" She asked furiously, her voice quiet but her tone seething. "How can you be so casual about it? It's a wonder he hasn't got brain damage with the size of that lump on his head!"
"Having you head bashed against the ground repeatedly will do that to you." Tom replied bluntly with an undertone of resentment. His words were brutal enough to shock Martha into temporary silence, as they were most likely intended to.
"I see this sort of thing all the time." Tom explained as he began hunting through his bag. "Especially with Gary…" He added sadly.
"Gary? That's his name? That boy on the stairs?" Martha asked and Tom nodded.
"The guards' favourite plaything." He explained bitterly, taking in Martha's shocked and revolted expression. "You know the shipyards have human guards as well as the spheres, right?" He checked and Martha nodded. "Well, Gary's a favourite of theirs. A pretty young blonde to entertain themselves with…" He sighed and Martha shook her head in denial.
"I don't know how he's still alive. They just…they love to hurt him, break him…it's sick." Tom ground out through clenched teeth. "Any excuse to kick the crap out of him-
"Stop it! Just stop it!" Martha cut him off, her eyes brimming with tears. "I don't want to hear any more…She said quietly and Tom placed a sympathetic hand on her shoulder.
"It's hard." He acknowledged, "But this is why we have to defeat the Master. This can't go on."
Martha nodded determinedly in reply.
"Here." Tom passed her an old cracked mug that looked like it hadn't been washed for months. It probably hadn't, Martha acknowledged, these days, water was too precious a commodity to waste on washing.
"Cocodamol dissolved in water." Tom explained as Martha peered in the cup at the cloudy water. "Take it to him." He prompted gently. "And remember, this is why we're fighting."
"Here we go, Gary…" Martha smiled softly as she sat down next to the injured blonde who seemed a little surprised that she knew his name. "It's medicine." Martha explained as the young man viewed the cup she was holding with suspicion. "It'll take away the pain a little." She continued as Gary reached a hand out to take the mug from her grasp.
"Thanks…Martha Jones." He said quietly before taking a small sip of the medicine. Martha knew that the stuff had to taste disgusting but Gary didn't complain, instead he moved to pass the cup to someone else and Martha grabbed his hand to stop him.
"It's just for you." She said quietly and Gary shook his head.
"But that's not fair." He protested quietly. "We have to share, we look out for each other."
"Hey…shh." Martha soothed, "I need you well. I need you to do something for me." She continued quietly, holding his hand gently in hers in a pathetic attempt at comfort and friendship. She could feel it trembling in her grasp.
"Do something?" Gary asked, "To defeat the Master?" His voice was weak but curious and excited. "I'd do anything to kill him."
Martha felt his eyes lock with hers and she smiled sadly. "I know…" She said softly.
"Then they'd leave me alone. They'd have to leave me alone, wouldn't they? They'd stop wouldn't they? Please tell me they'd stop hurting me."
"It'll be over soon." Martha promised him, praying she was right, that the Doctor's plan would work. "Now drink up." She said with a smile, "Doctor's orders."
"A picnic with Martha Jones…" Gary laughed quietly with bewilderment before gulping down the drink offered to him, "I never imagined that."
"Count yourself lucky." Martha played along, happy to see the kid smiling, "I don't normally do house calls."
"Here, hold this." The woman from before was back, a candle in each hand, and she offered one to Gary as she sat down behind Martha. "We're ready Miss Jones." She stated calmly and Martha nodded determinedly, looking into Gary's hazel eyes. She had her motivation now and she knew what she had to do. She was ready, to tell her story one last time. And with the image of the Doctor in mind and on behalf of the whole of the planet Martha Jones began her tale.
"I travelled across the world…"