Yes, at long last, the series continues! Thanks for your patience while I dealt (and deal) with a newborn and a two-year-old :)

Series 3 AU with Rose! This is a sequel to my stories, "The Girl in the Stalking Spaceship", "Age of Bronze", "Lantern Extinguished", "Gravity Schmavity", "Love and Monsters", "Show Her, Tell Her", "Ghost of a Chance", "Doomsday Averted", "Runaway Bride", "The Smiths and Miss Jones", "The Shakespeare Code", "Gridlock", "Daleks In Manhattan", and "Evolution of the Daleks".

Thanks much to GSRgirlforever for beta'ing!

Disclaimer: Surprise, surprise, I don't own Doctor Who. Nor do I get anything from writing these stories--except wonderful, constructive reviews! Wink, wink; nudge, nudge ;)

Chapter 1, Challenges and Changes

Martha followed Rose and the Doctor into the TARDIS, closing the doors behind her on Old New York. As she turned to make her way up the ramp, she saw the Doctor make yet another failed attempt at retrieving his sonic screwdriver from Rose's back pocket.

Rose spun around just in time to thwart him. "Give it up, Doctor," she said, laughing. "I told you, this one's mine, an' you're not gettin' it back."

The Doctor took a sudden step towards Rose, prompting her to jog quickly to the far side of the console. "That almost sounds like a challenge, Rose Tyler," he informed her, "and you know I can't resist a challenge."

Martha couldn't help but smile at their antics.

"It's not a ch--" Rose cut off with a shriek as the Doctor darted around the console more quickly than Martha could believe. Once Rose had regained a seemingly safe separation, she continued, rather out of breath, "'S not a challenge, simple fact."

The Doctor just grinned, and charged towards her once more. At the last moment, Rose pulled the sonic from her pocket and dropped it down the front of her shirt, hands defiantly planted on her hips.

Whether this had the desired effect or not, Martha was unsure. She was, however, certain that she'd never imagined either of the pair could turn as deep a shade of scarlet as they were currently displaying. The Doctor had brought himself up exactly one foot short of Rose, and was back to making the goldfish face he denied he ever made. Rose was stubbornly unmoving, despite her obvious embarrassment at her own actions.

Martha would have liked to see how long they would stay like that, left to their own devices, but her laughter instantly broke the mood. Rose and the Doctor both jumped and turned to look at her, then Rose used the distraction to quickly scamper out of the console room.

Still laughing, Martha followed Rose. She paused just long enough to tell the Doctor, "I think you'd just better find that spare," then headed off to get a shower and some sleep.

Several hours later, Martha awoke to the now-familiar sound of the TARDIS in flight. She threw on her clothes, and made her way back to the console room. She arrived just in time to watch the Doctor and Rose bring the ship to a halt.

"There we go, perfect landing," said the Doctor to Rose, moving to check the monitor. "Which isn't easy in such a tight spot," he added.

"You should be used to tight spots by now," Martha teased, causing the pair to notice her for the first time. "Where are we?" she asked, stepping fully into the room.

"The end of the line," the Doctor told her with a grin.

She looked between the two of them, then at Rose's encouraging smile, ran towards the doors. She paused before pulling them open. "For real, this time?" she asked the Doctor.

"No place like it," he answered.

She pulled the TARDIS doors open, and stepped out into familiar surroundings. "Home," she breathed. "You finally, actually took me home!" Tight spot was right. The ship was wedged into the only open space in her small flat.

"In fact," said the Doctor, as he and Rose exited behind her, "the morning after we left, so you've only been gone about 12 hours. No time at all, really."

Rose chuckled. "So long as it's hours, and not months," she added to Martha in a stage whisper.

"One time," the Doctor said, exasperatedly. "Am I ever going to live that down with you?"

"I wouldn't bet on it," Rose answered with a smile.

Martha looked around the flat in disbelief. Everything was exactly as she'd left it. It really was like no time at all had passed. "But all the stuff we've done - Shakespeare, New New York, dragons, old New York?" She let the question hang.

"Yep, all in one night, relatively speaking," answered the Doctor. "Everything should be just as it was." He looked around the room. "Books, CDs, laundry."

To her horror, Martha watched him pick up the knickers that were lying on the drying rack. She snatched them quickly from his fingertips, while Rose slapped his arm. "Oi! Boundaries?" Rose reprimanded.

At least he had the decency to change the subject. "So, back where you were, as promised," he concluded.

Martha took a deep breath. As much as she wanted--and needed--to get back to her life, it was hard to believe the adventure was over. "So, this is it?" she said.

"Yeah," answered the Doctor. "We should probably... um..." he glanced at Rose and took half a step back towards the TARDIS.

Rose, however, was not following his lead. "He's rubbish at goodbyes," she said to Martha, moving to envelop her in a tight hug. "You've got my number?" she asked.

"Yeah," Martha answered with a smile as she released her. "You've got mine?" Rose nodded, holding up her mobile as evidence. "Don't let me find out you're in the neighborhood without stoppin' by," Martha warned them both.

"We won't," the Doctor answered with a smile. "But we really probably should--"

He was cut off as Martha's phone rang, and the answering machine picked up. "I'm sorry," Martha apologized, over her own recorded greeting.

"Martha, are you there?" asked the voice on the line. "Pick it up, will you?"

"It's Mum," Martha explained, hoping she'd make it short and not too embarrassing. "It'll wait."

"All right then, pretend that you're out if you like," her mother's voice continued. Martha sighed inwardly. "I was only calling to say that your sister's on TV. On the news of all things. Just thought you might be interested."

Ignoring the phone, Martha picked up the television remote and turned on the news. "How could Tish end up on the news?" she mused aloud as she watched her sister standing behind the speaker at a press conference. "She's got a new job," Martha explained to her guests. "PR for some research lab."

The speaker was just talking up whatever demonstration was planned for that evening. "With the push of a single button, I will change what it means to be human," he announced. Utterly disinterested, Martha switched off the television.

"Sorry," she said turning back to Rose and the Doctor. "You were saying you should...?"

"Yes, yes, we should," the Doctor answered, a bit distractedly. "Get going, that is."

'Thank you," Martha told them both. "For everything."

Rose seemed about to say something, but the Doctor spoke over her. "My pleasure," he said, still staring at the television over Martha's shoulder.

"Doctor?" Rose asked him.

He suddenly snapped out of his stupor. "No, I'm sorry," he said. "Did he say he was going to change what it means to be human?"

An ominous voice in Martha's head whispered, "One last adventure?"

To be continued.