time's like that

"I'm not just imagining it, am I?" Martha said. "He really doesn't get it."

"No," Jack agreed. "He really doesn't."

"I mean," Martha went on, feeling some urge to justify herself, "the first time we meet, he kisses me -- a deep heavy kiss, hand round the back of my neck, tongues, everything -- and then he tells me afterwards it's just to exchange genetic matter. Couldn't he just have done that by shaking hands or something?"

"Oh, I know," Jack sighed, and draped an arm around her shoulders. "I know."

"And then when we're in Elizabethan London together, sharing a bed and all that, my face is this close to his. And he rolls over and says something about how he wishes Rose was there."

Jack nodded. "I've wandered over the whole world trying to forget him. I've had sex with all sorts of people --"

"Hang on," Martha said nervously.

"-- though none quite like you," he added quickly. "But when I get back to him again -- it's just different, with him. That prickly air of his, with that confiding sort of look he gives you, you know, the 'you're the only one who really understands me' smile."

Martha nodded. "And then he flops down next to you or hugs you, close enough that you're practically breathing up his nose, and looks deep into your eyes . . . "

". . . and then gets all surprised when you suggest to him that perhaps he's giving off mixed signals," Jack said. "No, I've worked out what it is that he wants."

"What's that?"

"See," Jack went on, "I ran into another person who'd known him once, this military guy, Lethbridge-Stewart. And he said that what the Doctor he'd got to know really wanted from an assistant was someone to tell him how wonderful he was and make the tea. Now that's on the right lines, but it's not the whole of it."

"So what does he want?"

"Something he can't predict." Jack played with the ends of her hair. "It's that fourth dimension. He sees things in both time and space. He gets to know the people around him forwards and backwards. And what he really wants isn't so much another Time Lord, though it's the only way he's going to get it, but just someone who he won't know. Whether you or I am human or alien or whatever, we get to know each other, see? We start to work into a relationship."

"Headfirst, sometimes," Martha said. "Starting with, 'Hello there, beautiful.'"

"You don't blame me for that, do you?"

"Maybe not."

"But anyhow, our relationships are inside time. He's outside it. He just wants someone else who's outside time. And that's why I can confess something to you and it'll be new to you, but for him it's always the same and will always be the same. And that's why I'm sorry for him."

"It hardly seems fair," Martha said.

"Time's like that," Jack said.

"And what do you want, Jack?" She rolled sideways and pulled herself up on her elbow to look down at his face.

"Him," Jack said, "and you," starting to count on his fingers, "and him and her and . . ." He stopped when she laughed. "So what do you want, Martha?"

"Dunno," she said, looking away from him and at the bedroom wall. "Him, I guess. Sometimes. Some times."

"Time's like that," Jack said.

--