Disclaimer: Doctor Who does not belong to me. All copyright goes to the BBC.
"Am I gonna die, Doctor?"
He stares at her from across the table. His expression is blank. "What?"
"I know I will eventually, of course," she says quickly. "I meant, soon. Do you think I'm gonna die very soon? Is that it?"
He is still staring at her. His expression is still blank. Yet something dark, distant and frightening shine through his eyes. "You are not going to die," he tells her with a steady tone that is almost stern.
She smiles gently. "Not today."
"Not today, and not tomorrow. Not any time soon," he says, and his voice is so sure, so insistent, it would be impossible to disagree.
"Then..." she begins, but she is looking down and is now hesitant to look back up from her tea, "why are you sad?"
She looks up at him and thinks of arguing, but decides against it. "Whatever happens," she says, "it isn't your fault, okay Doctor? You know that, yeah?"
His gaze on her is steady, and she can see the clenching of his fists on the table. The clenching of his jaw as he watches her. "Right," he says, and his voice is almost toneless. He lifts the mug of tea to his lips and says nothing else.
She watches him, and is not convinced. "When I'm gone – whenever it is; whether it's tomorrow or fifty years from now – I want you to promise me Doctor... promise you'll be happy."
He looks up at her, and frowns. "You want me to be happy that you're gone?"
Her lips twitch. "No, I want you to promise not to mope and brood around the TARDIS all the time afterwards like a little, lost puppy."
"How long afterwards?" he asks.
She doesn't answer right away, but simply shrugs. "When there's the new me, I guess."
He stares at her for a moment. "New you?" he repeats, and there is a pregnant pause. "You won't be replaced."
She raises her eyebrows at him.
"Oh, they'll be others," he says lightly. "But none will replace you." His gaze is sincere.
She smiles gently. "Don't blame yourself, Doctor. Don't let me haunt you. It's not fair on her."
"Your new girl," she replies. "The one that'll come after me."
He shakes his head. "She won't be my girl." His gaze is enough to let her know what he means to say, but never can.
She doesn't need it though; she already knows. "Can you promise me, then?"
He opens his mouth to speak, but stops and just stares at her. She pleads him with her eyes, and he looks down. The Doctor nods slowly, before looking up to meet her gaze. "Okay, Rose. I promise," he says gently.
"Are we actually going anywhere today?"
She is being short and snippy and she knows it. It's difficult sometimes though... to watch him just stand there at the console, that far away look she's seen so many times plastered across his face.
He looks up at her, something dark dancing in his eyes. He just stares at her; his barriers are all up, but he doesn't seem quite willing to give a morsel of the enthusiasm he usually has.
She gives him an equally penetrating gaze back, determined not to be intimidated. Soon though, she breaks the contact and simply sighs, walking away towards the TARDIS interior. She looks back at the doorway. "Tea?" she asks quietly.
He looks at her for a good half a minute, and she wonders if he's going to answer at all. Finally he swallows and his voice is gentle as he says, "I'm sorry, Martha."
She stares back at him, confused. "What for?"
He smiles sadly, and looks away. His hands brush the lapel of his blue suit. "Breaking the promise," he says, and it's so quiet, she knows she isn't really suppose to hear.
Reviews would be great... thanks.