Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who. This, however, does not exclude me from working for them in the future.
Dr. Martha Jones turned off the tele and looked over at her small daughter, sound asleep, the tiny girl cuddled tight to a teddy bear her father had brought home to her earlier that day. She smiled happily and settled in with them, closing her eyes and letting her dreams take her where they would.
She woke to the sound of the window crashing open. She jumped from the bed, trying to figure out where she'd gotten such old fashioned windows, as she didn't remember them. Maybe Tom had put them in? When? When she was working?
She shook her head. Ok, so the window didn't make sense, but it was open and a cold wind was rushing into the room.
And on the wind was an achingly familiar noise.
Martha closed her eyes and reminded herself that there was no way whatsoever that the sound she'd just heard was the TARDIS. It took her quite some time to convince herself of this, but she was sure everything would be back to normal once she opened her eyes.
It wasn't, because the Doctor was standing there, in front of the open window, all young and starlit and beautiful in the light of a waning moon. Martha sighed. The last time she'd thought of him for very long had been on her wedding day, when she'd honestly expected the entire time for him to land the TARDIS and maybe a pack of his troubles, too, in the middle of the church. When it didn't happen, she'd put him and the TARDIS and Jack and that ubiquitous word away. She would tell her daughter about them, some day, when she felt it was safe enough. After all, she had saved the whole world once, and her little girl should know that.
"What do you want?" Martha asked, as kindly as she could manage.
She noticed a vivid spark of light. Turning her head she saw, there perched on his shoulder, a small, fluttering, pink and yellow light. The little light that always came between them, the little breath of his past that he would never put away.
"It's time to go adventuring, Martha Jones," he said, his voice bright and merry and as charming as usual. He held out his hand and the little light bobbed away behind him, out of sight for once. He gestured out the window. "Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning!"
"I can't go with you, Doctor," she said softly. "I've forgotten how!"
"What?" he asked, sounding faint and hurt. Then, he drew himself up and grinned that triumphant, pleading, beaming grin. "Well, we'll soon get you fixed up, Doctor Jones. Just a bit of stardust, and a TARDIS thought or two."
"I really can't go, Doctor," Martha said softly. "I've grown up!" She didn't know where that came from - maybe the movie she'd been watching earlier? - but it made sense as she said it, so she went with it with a decisive nod.
"You can't!" he insisted. "You promised."
Martha shook her head. "I tried not to, Doctor. For such a long time. But it's happened now. I'm so much older than when I met you."
The tiny light flickered, on and off, then on again, but dimmer, odd. He was focused on her and the weight of his gaze was all the guilt and all the sorrow he felt for all the things he had done to her and never done for her. But Martha didn't need that anymore, knew now that she had never needed it.
"It's already happened," continued Martha. "Such a long time ago. I've left the adventuring behind me. My happiness is with my family and with my husband. And with my little girl." She smiled calmly as he looked horrified at all that domestic and settling down business. "That's her, there, asleep on the bed."
The Doctor approached with cautious steps on feet so light they might just not touch the ground. He looked at the delicate little girl, his deep, brown, alien eyes wide and curious, so filled with wonder and delight. He was ancient, and a child, at once, fascinated and fascinating.
"I shall give her a kiss," he said, with his usual twinkling arrogance.
"No, Doctor," said Martha. "No genetic transfers. I can't bear to have her heart broken when she finds she can't keep you."
"But..." he began, then trailed off as he studied Martha's face. "No, of course not," he said, defeated.
She approached him cautiously then, where he stood all hurt and lovely, still somehow bathed in moonlight. Or was that the light of the Time he moved through, Time that stepped out of his way and made him ageless and glorious and such perfect temptation? How long had it been to him since last they met? Days, weeks? Hours? Centuries?
She smiled into his eyes. "You know that place, just between asleep and awake, where you can still remember dreaming?"
His face was so beautiful, and close enough to hers that she could enumerate the freckles sprinkled across his nose. He was so very young, with ancient, timeless eyes. Slowly, he nodded.
"That's the place where I'll always love you, Doctor," Martha confessed softly. She closed her eyes then, not sure if she really expected to feel his lips on her own.
There was a rustle of wind, soft and delicate. There was a brush of cool, distant starlight across her face. There was the sound of faint fairy wings, the distant roar of a sound that broke her heart and made it whole again at the same time. She opened her eyes.
Martha was lying in the bed, nestled in next to her daughter. The room was the same as it had always been, the window closed, no moonlight to be found falling through the curtains.
She turned to check on her sleeping child. Happy at finding her baby utterly undisturbed by even strange, unwelcome dreams, she rose to her feet and picked up the phone.
Slowly, cautiously, she dialed a number she had tried desperately to forget most of the time, and sometimes tried to remember just as frantically.
When he answered, he sounded the same as he had always done. "Hello, Martha Jones," he said, in friendly, welcoming tones.
It was enough to break your heart, it really was. "Hello, Doctor," she replied. "Listen, I need a favor."
"Anything for the girl who saved the world," he replied cheerfully. She could imagine him sitting there in the TARDIS, his feet in their bright trainers propped up on the console. Maybe Jack was with him, maybe he was alone. Maybe there was someone else, a boy rescued from a far-off fire storm, a girl saved from a life of doldrums and brought instead into unrequited longing. Either way, the mystery was there, and the sorrow, and more than likely, the darkness that always went with that shining soul of his.
"Do you want to go on a trip?" he offered when she didn't speak immediately. "See Tau Ceti? Or Velora - the planet, not the fictional city."
"No, Doctor." She smiled. "I know who I am, now."
His voice was quiet, but firm and so respectful. "You've always known that, Martha. I've always known that."
It gave her such a rush of joy, the kind of joy she would once have gained only from being allowed to steal a kiss. Now, this, his real acknowledgment of her, as a real, actual person - that was what being loved by him really meant. It hurt and it felt like release, knowing that she'd had her place in his heart and in his life after all.
"I have a child, Doctor," she said at last. "A little girl. I'd like you to come meet her, now, while she's still young."
She could hear him, speechless, on the other end of the line.
"Then, Doctor," she finished, "I'd like you to lose that phone. For me."
Martha could actually hear him nodding. "Name the time and place," he said, at last, so fondly, so softly. She thought maybe she was only imagining the quaver in his voice. "I'll be there."
Dr. Martha Jones smiled as she closed that chapter of her life for the last time, and hung up the phone, this time successful in banishing the number from her memory.