Bedtime Story


Once upon a time, there was a girl. She lived on a not-so-distant planet, in a not-so-distant time.

"What planet?"

Earth. She was from a planet called Earth. One day, this girl decided to take a walk, in the country. As she was walking along, there, in a field of flowers, she spotted a mysterious blue box. Curious, she approached the blue box...

"Bet it looked like a British police box, didn't it?"

Who's telling this story?

"Um, you are?"

Right, so hush. As I was saying, the girl approached the blue box when, suddenly, the doors were flung open. A tall, dark-haired, young-looking man stepped out of the box. He smiled at the girl and offered her a ride in the box. The girl accepted the offer...

"What? Without knowing who he was?"

Do you want to hear this or not?

"So sorry. Please, go on."

Thank you. The girl accepted the offer, after asking the man his name. The man said he was a Lord. A Lord of Time, and his box was actually a fantastic, wonderful time machine.

"'Wonderful, fantastic time machine'? Laying it on a bit thick, aren't you?"


"Okay, okay! I'm sorry! Won't happen again!"

Somehow, I doubt that. The girl stepped into the time machine, which was bigger on the inside than on the outside, and the Lord of Time took her on fantastic journeys, into the past, into the future, on Earth, on distant planets throughout all of time and space. They had many adventures and good times. There was only one dark cloud in their otherwise bright life together.

"Always a hitch."

The Lord of Time had lost everything, a great war had taken it all away from him. Everything except his time machine. He'd sworn never to let himself get close to anybody again, but he eventually did. A young human named Rose helped him to feel again. The Lord of Time was very grateful to Rose for helping him get back on the right track, but one day Rose, too, was taken from him. In despair and lonely once more, he again vowed never to allow himself to get close. Soon, however, he took another on his journeys.

"The girl this story is about?"

The one this story is about. She cared very much for the Lord of Time, but so despondent was he at the loss of Rose, he did not pay much attention to the caring new friend that now travelled at his side. He inadvertedly said improper things, bringing Rose's name up at the wrong times and making the girl feel unwanted, second best, though this was not true. She only wished to help him through the pain of all his losses, but the Lord of Time refused her offers, going so far as to get angry at her--

"I really screwed things up, didn't I?"

Do I really need to answer that?

"But I don't know how to make things right."

Go to her.

"How can I? All I ever do is open mouth, insert foot! She must think I can't talk about anybody but Rose!"

You need say only two words.

"I'm sorry."

Yes. I'm sure she'd forgive you, then you can say the words you really want to speak.

"I don't think she'd believe me. Besides, she deserves so much better."

She doesn't think that.

"She doesn't?"

If she believed that, she would have demanded to be taken back to Earth long time ago.

"Maybe that's where she needs to be. Away from me. I should have kept to my original plan after the war and not got close to anybody. All I do is hurt the people I care about."

I don't believe that.

"You're just saying that because you're my TARDIS. You're stuck with me."

Yes, so if I wanted to call you a great, big, selfish, inconsiderate, daft idiot, then it's within my prerogatives.

"'Selfish, inconsiderate, daft idiot?!' Bit harsh, aren't you?"

As I've said, prerogatives. I've known you for a long time, so I'd say I know you pretty well.

"Of all the TARDISes on Gallifrey that I could have taken--"

Nobody else would have you. The others said I was daft to want you.

"Well, right, just kick me while I'd down, why don't you?"

Go to her.

"You're not going to let it go until I do, will you?"

No. She's in her bedroom. Go to her.

The Doctor stared at his bedroom ceiling for a few more moments before rolling off his bed. He padded through the time capsule's hallways before coming to Martha's room. The door opened silently at his touch. Whether that was because Martha hadn't closed the door completely or the TARDIS was helping out, he couldn't be sure.

Martha lay curled on top of the covers, her back to the door. He could see the hitch in her breathing that told him she was crying. It was like a slap in the face. Reducing his friend to tears was the last thing he had ever, ever meant to do. He started to back out of the doorway when a mental nudge stopped him.

His silent protests were met with reassurances. Sighing quietly, he stepped forward once again. "Martha?"

He could hear the catch in her breath at his unexpected intrusion. She sniffed quickly as if to stop her tears, but otherwise said nothing.

"Martha, I just wanted to say I'm sorry." When she still didn't answer, he stepped further into the room. "I'm so sorry. I never meant to imply that you're second best. You never were. You're brilliant!" He went over to her bed, sat down behind her. "It's me. I'm just a great, big, selfish, inconsiderate, daft idiot who can't get over an old friend." He ignored the smug hum from the TARDIS as he repeated the timeship's own thoughts from earlier.

The young doctor rolled onto her back to meet his sad countenance. Her face was streaked with drying tears, but the Doctor couldn't help thinking how beautiful she looked, even dishevelled from crying. "Doctor, it's okay to miss Rose, it really is. But you can't get through the pain if you don't let others help you."

"I'm sorry I yelled at you. You were only trying to help."

Martha pushed herself into a sitting position, her face never leaving his.

Taking that as a good sign, he gave her a small smile, opening his arms in invitation. "Am I forgiven?"

Martha returned the smile slightly before folding herself into his arms. "I suppose so." She rested her head on his shoulder. "You're totally mental, you know that?"

"I do my best." Happily, he noticed she wasn't too keen to break the close contact, so he continued to hold her, rubbing her back gently. He closed his eyes, just listening to her soft breathing, feeling the rise and fall of her chest against his own. Quiet minutes passed, neither seeming to want the moment to fade.

Tell her. The TARDIS's gentle thoughts suddenly interrupted his repose.

Doubt crossed the Doctor's mind as he opened his brown eyes.

Tell her now!

"Martha, I just wanted you to know..." he could feel the TARDIS urging him on "... well, I just wanted to let you know that I, um, I love you."

Too late.

The Doctor's brow creased in confusion until he realized that the woman he had just professed his inner-most feelings to was fast asleep.

And she hadn't heard a single hard-earned word of his confession.

He sighed heavily. Gently, he disengaged himself from Martha's sleeping form, then lay her back on the covers. He stared at her peaceful face for a long while. "And maybe, some day, I'll actually be able to say those words to you when you're completely awake," he murmured. He got up to move stealthily from the room.

Once upon a time, there was a man. This man was from the planet Gallifrey. He was a Lord of Time but, for some unfathomable reason, he had the worst timing of any of his race--

"All right! All right! Tell me something I don't know!"