The Contents of a Pocket
A/N: Must be the first time I've written in over two months. I'm seriously hoping this means my muse is back and not just teasing me, silly as this is.
"Hold this for me," the Doctor yells, dragging items out of his pockets at an alarming rate, throwing wary glances over his shoulder as they run from their captors. Interested, Martha turns the objects over in her hands and briefly examines them as well as she can while in motion before chucking them over to Jack, who soon becomes laden down with an armful of yo-yos, jelly babies, novels and even a cricket ball. Even the Doctor has to admit that running under such circumstances falls into the 'impressive' category.
One particular tiny object, which he passes on without thought or ceremony, catches her eye, and she holds it in the palm of her hand in astonishment, causing the Doctor to drop a jar of marmalade onto his foot instead of into her outstretched hands, and tut at the hold-up. "Problem? Because now really isn't the best time," he adds, the slightest note of panic in his voice as he realises Martha has come to an abrupt halt and a ton of vicious villagers are fast approaching.
"You had a wedding ring in your pocket?"
"What? Oh, yeah," he says breezily, raising an eyebrow as Martha pokes at it with a finger. "Why have we stopped?" He can positively hear the villagers' individual shouts. He's beginning to really wish he never took his TARDIS key from around his neck, let alone angered an entire town full of people with pitchforks in their possession.
"You had a wedding ring in your pocket."
Shifting from one foot to another as a hint to keep moving, Jack drops a novelty Disney mug and finds he doesn't have any free hands with which to pick it up again.
"Well, I gave my bio-damper away," the Doctor says impatiently. "Come on!"
Martha tears her eyes from the ring to frown at him, her face all scrunched up in confusion. "What?"
The Doctor begins to jog on the spot. "Long story. Another time. Now is not – "
"It's really not," Jack puts in, taking a few steps forward. "What happened to our grand plan of run? Because I don't know about you guys, but I think it might be a good idea right about…now."
Martha stands and gapes. Jack groans. "You really pick your moments, don't you? Can we talk about this somewhere else? Or even while running?" Jack suggests, now attempting to juggle random objects into his hand to throw at the mob. "I don't fancy becoming a farm-hand's dinner."
Martha continues to stare at the Doctor, hands on hips, eyes wide and expectant. "Oh, alright," he concedes eventually. "It was Rose's," he admits, a barely disguised melancholy underneath the weariness of his not quiet tone.
He avoids Jack's eye, something Martha thinks is odd considering he's found it so much easier to say the lost girl's name ever since the captain showed up. "Technically," he hurries to add, tugging on his left ear awkwardly. "Not that we ever properly wore them. Her mum would've gone mad – " Jack shudders in appreciation " – and I kept losing mine doing the washing up. Now, can we please run?!"
"Oh, you're kidding me. You were married?"
"Well, if you want to put it in human terms," he offers, unhelpfully.
"Looks like I missed one hell of a party," Jack grins, and the Doctor finally looks at him, almost relieved. Something unspoken passes between them in that second, and Martha can't quite figure out what it is.
"Oh, a few of them."
Martha chokes. The Doctor and Jack choose this moment to begin running again, and she takes a few moments to put her legs back into gear.
"Thank you," exclaims Jack, throwing a yo-yo over his shoulder, though whether at Martha or the villagers no-one is quite sure.
"My fault, really," the Doctor muses as well as one can while out of breath. "No engaging in…er, public relations this side of Orion's Belt." He looks over his shoulder and wiggles his eyebrows at them both, digging in his pockets and throwing out random objects once again. A packet of crisps, a distinctly female hair bobble and stapler lie on the side of the road. "You know what they're like on Ardon 5."
"You know what they're like on Ardon 5," Jack shoots back, not quite an accusation.
The Doctor grins. "I forgot."
"…You were married?" Martha asks again, apparently having processed none of the conversation since that point but thankfully still running as they reach the TARDIS door.
The Doctor exchanges a confused look with Jack, who shrugs. Then, he waits until Martha catches up and raps his knuckles sharply against her skull.
"Hello?" he calls, loud enough for her to wince and back away. "Anyone in there, or are we just a broken record today? Oh, and I'll have that, thanks." He grabs the ring back and shoves it into an already-emptied pocket.
"More than once?" she adds, now rubbing her forehead in indignation as the Doctor finally finds the key and a pitchfork lands, quivering, the side of the TARDIS. Before running inside, the Doctor yells something angry his ship refuses to translate back at the farmers. "Isn't that illegal?"
"Legal contracts are only binding in the planet on which they were drawn up. …Or within the surrounding galaxy, if you're very unlucky," Jack explains, shutting the door behind them and dropping the Doctor's junk. "Found that one out the hard way."
"What do you mean, it was your fault?" Martha asks after a moment, sinking down to the floor and trying to shut out the sounds of the villagers hammering behind her as the Doctor starts up the controls.
The Doctor looks blank. "Exactly what I said."
"What about all the other times? …How many times are we talking here?"
"Oh, you lose count in the end." Martha almost looks faint. "Rose's fault, though. All of them. She wanted to go to Venus in 3015."
Jack winces. The central console seems to grind more sympathetically, bathing them all in a brighter green glow as they finally leave 12th century Sussex behind.
"Mm," the Doctor agrees, leaving Martha baffled in their wake. "Tried to tell her it was the new Vegas, but would she listen?"
Martha just shakes her head in despair.