As I am a professional writer and have work to do to get paid, I have decided to deal with these thudding plot bunnies in the traditional manner - I will inflict them on others. Please see my Profile for the Challenges of the Month. July Challenges are now available, and what a twist for one of them. If you'd rather do June's, instead, I'd love to hear from you. Thanks to all those who have participated thus far - we had an exceptional turn out for June II for example. The new challenges will run through the end of July. Please let me know when you respond to a Challenge so I can read and review.

This fic is the result of a challenge by rquestforme for the July II challenge. The requirements were as follows:

Requirements:1. No Spoilers for Turn LeftJourney's End
(I've been avoiding Doctor Who fanfiction like the plague lately)
2. Keep it clean (I think a K+ rating, T tops)
3. Feature Martha on Earth after her travels with the Doctor
4. Include Sarah Jane Smith (after having adopted Luke)
5. Have an earlier incarnation of the Doctor appear with his companion
(Doctor of your choice)
6. Include a line from "School Reunion"
7. Include a quote from The Princess Bride

This is what I came out with and there are NO spoilers. Thanks!!


Companionable Moment

Martha nearly walked into the side of the TARDIS before she realized it was there. Odd, she thought, extremely odd. If the Doctor was going to turn up on the corner of her street, he would have said something, called or something, wouldn't he?

No, she decided after a few minutes. He would do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. She gently twisted her engagement ring around on her hand, then reached into her pocket and pulled out her TARDIS key. She found herself wondering why the Doctor wasn't waiting outside for her, and came to the frightened conclusion that maybe he was hurt or something.

Darting around to the doors, she shoved her key in the lock and turned it. It stuck a bit, then let go, so she shoved the door open.

There was a man at the console, but he wasn't the Doctor. He was tall and lanky and older than the Doctor looked, and he wore a leather coat and somehow managing to look like he was being rained on. She couldn't decide if she should ask the man if he was all right - he didn't look it - or demand to know where the Doctor was. She took a step forward and he heard her (he had exceptionally large ears, after all) and his head shot up.

His face lit up like Christmas, his blue eyes bright and piercing, his grin managing sincere happiness and utter madness at once. Then, he did a quick double take and his face fell, thus going from distraught to ecstatic to disturbed in as many heart beats. "You're not Rose," he observed bluntly.

Martha resisted the urge to scream, turned around, and walked out the door, closing it pointedly behind her. She headed on up the street - Sarah Jane was supposed to be meeting her for lunch, and Martha was excited to get to talk to someone who understood. She decided to pretend this hadn't happened.

She reached her door just as Sarah and Luke arrived, and Martha smiled at both of them. They talked right where they were for a minute, and then Sarah Jane happened to look up and notice the TARDIS on the corner. "Is he here?" she asked, looking both confused and worried.

Martha shrugged. Then, the annoyance hit her. "That's just it," she said, "it wasn't him, him, but it was him, I know it was, because the only thing he said to me was 'You're not Rose'. Is this going to happen a lot? I walk up to different Doctors all across space and time and they'll say 'You're not Rose', like I haven't figured that out or something?"

Sarah-Jane patted her arm sympathetically. "Well I hope, if you walked up to my Doctor, he'd say 'You're not Sarah Jane', but who knows with him, really? He might just as well say 'Do you want a jelly baby?' or maybe 'Dear God, what is that thing?' and run off to chase down a rodent the size of a cocker spaniel."

Martha stared at her. "So... your Doctor was completely mad, too?" she asked at last.

Sarah Jane smiled, fondly and wistfully, suddenly looking ten years younger. "Aren't they all?"

"Mum says he wore a forty foot long scarf," said Luke, in the tone of an admiring child who was contemplating adopting the mentioned bad habit.

Martha glanced back at the TARDIS, thinking of the lunatic smile. "I will never doubt again," she mused.

"Don't you dare," said Sarah Jane, but she was admonishing Luke.

"I can't knit," Luke answered. Sarah Jane breathed a sigh of relief. "But Maria can," he added. His mother rolled her eyes.

A small, blonde whirlwind charged by them, said a quick, "'Scuse me" and ran up to the TARDIS, carrying what appeared to be groceries. Sarah Jane didn't notice her, because she had turned to try to explain to Luke why forty foot long scarves only worked on six and a-half foot long men and even then not very well.

"You're kidding me," exclaimed Martha. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me!"

Sarah Jane turned and caught a glimpse of the little blonde. She smiled tiredly. "I told him his assistants are getting younger."

"No, but seriously," said Martha. "Have you seen him?"

"Recently, no."

"No, I mean, him, the one in the TARDIS right now."

"I don't think so - she's younger than she will be when I met her."

Martha nodded appreciatively. "You certainly do the funny tenses well," she said.

"Practice," answered Sarah Jane, proudly. "But why do you ask?"

"He's like... forty or something."

"What can I say?" asked Sarah Jane. "Under all that mystery and mayhem, there's probably still a man in there somewhere."

"But I thought it was his looks or something. He's... a thundercloud. And she just went in there, beaming like that. Why?"

"Some things are worth getting your heart broken for," Sarah Jane reminded Martha gently.

Martha looked back at the TARDIS as it began to vanish and nodded. Then, she thought about it, twisting the diamond around on her finger. "Mid-life crisis?" she asked, cheerfully, and headed up the steps to unlock the doors and let them all inside.

"That's what I said," Sarah Jane agreed.