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AN: This and its predecessor were originally one chapter, but I thought that it was getting too long and decided to split it up after the wedding; hope you appreciate it anyway (And I apologise to whom it may concern for the rating increase; I just felt that there are some things which work better when described in detail)
As the TARDIS central column began to move, the Doctor turned to look at Martha with a casual flourish, his broad grin giving no indication that he had been close to death only a few minutes ago as he leaned casually against the console.
"So, Doctor Jones, where to now?" he asked, indicating the controls with a brief wave of his hand. "We've still got a few possibilities to check out; I've been meaning to pay a return visit to Peladon for a while now- lovely place, really; great culture and charming people-, or we could stop in at the Tempus Fugit on Pella Satyrnis for a quick snack, or…"
His voice trailed off as he took in Martha's gaze as she stared at him, a teasing, seductive smile on her face as she stared at him, already reaching up with one hand to shrug off the veil and toss it aside as she looked at him.
She knew that it was probably more than slightly fast, but she couldn't help it; after having resigned herself to the idea that this was never going to happen- coupled with all the issues they'd had to overcome to reach this point-, Martha felt as though she wasn't prepared to wait any long for what she'd wanted- albeit in varying degrees- almost since the moment they'd stepped out onto the balcony to look at the moon's surface back at the Royal Hope all those years ago.
They'd spent the last couple of years getting to know each other as friends, experiencing more wonder and adventure than most people ever experienced in their entire lives, relying on each other to accomplish the virtually impossible more than once, and after the little 'trip' into the Doctor's mind, it seemed safe to say that both of them already knew things about each other's lives that they'd never told anyone else.
Getting to know each other more as lovers rather than friends could wait; right now, as Martha walked over, took the Doctor's face in her hands like he had done for hers all those long years ago on the moon, and pulled him down to kiss her, the almost electric jolt of pleasure and joy that she felt as the Time Lord's lips met hers ended any thought of waiting any longer…
At least until the Doctor pulled back, looking at Martha with an anxious expression.
"Is this really…?" the Doctor began uncertainly, indicating the console room with a wave of his hand.
"Trust me, Doctor," Martha said, smiling reassuring at him. "I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't want to do it; you aren't forcing me into anything."
"Well… glad to hear that, but… here?" the Doctor asked, indicating the room around them once again as he looked at Martha, clearly trying to make sure she knew what she was doing. "It's not exactly-"
"Oh, just call it a little… fantasy I used to have, really," Martha said, smiling slightly shyly at the Doctor before she glanced down at herself. "Admittedly, I never expected it would happen in this, but there was just something so… interesting about the idea…"
"Really?" the Doctor asked, looking at Martha with a slightly teasing smile of his own, his initial concerns pushed aside by her words. "And… what were you expecting to be wearing in this fantasy of yours… might I ask?"
"Later," Martha said briefly, before cutting off any further conversation as she reached up and resumed where they'd left off, Martha gradually urging the Doctor to move back towards the TARDIS console just behind him… his back was up against the console edge…
"Just a mo," the Doctor said, pulling back from Martha for a moment to lean over and tweak a switch on the console before returning his gaze to her. "Just locked the controls for a moment; until I next hit that switch- and that's only if I touch it on purpose-, the TARDIS won't respond to any of the other controls."
"Good," Martha said, before her lips met the Doctor's once again, the two remaining standing for only a few moments before Martha pushed him slightly backwards, sending the Doctor falling backwards slightly to land on the console, Martha subsequently leaning over and resuming where she'd left off.
After a few moments where their actions failed to progress further than some rather intense making out, however, Martha pulled back once again to look at the Doctor as he lay beneath her, the grin on his face fading slightly as he looked back at her
"You know," she said, trying to put a slightly teasing tone in her voice, "I'd like to feel I'm not the only one interested in this here…"
"Yeah… look I'm sorry about that, it's just that… well, it's… been a while… since I did… this," the Doctor said, looking slightly uncomfortably up at the ceiling.
"Oh, come on; how long could it have been for someone like you?" Martha asked, smiling slightly teasingly at him. "A couple of years? A decade?"
"Around two centuries," the Doctor replied.
"…give or take a decade or two, and if it counts when we didn't go all the way, and she was the one who initiated it; I just… didn't feel right turning her down after everything I'd put her through recently- was a lot more emotional in that body, especially since I'd only recently regenerated-, wasn't certain how to react without causing offence, and…" he continued, looking increasingly uncomfortable as he looked awkwardly around the console room as Martha stared incredulously at him.
"Two… centuries?" she repeated, her eyes wide at the implications. "You mean… you and Rose…?"
"Not even once," the Doctor replied, shaking his head as he looked back at Martha, his discomfort apparently pushed aside in favour of assuring Martha of this particular detail. "The only times we even kissed were when Rose was possessed by something else- two long stories that really aren't worth getting into-, and I was never clear on if she even remembered them afterwards…"
He took a deep breath, shaking his head slightly to push those thoughts aside before he fixed his gaze on Martha. "The point is, I haven't done… this… for a while, and I haven't initiated it in even longer- think the last time was back in the Academy, really; just… never felt the urge after I left Gallifrey-, so… well, if I'm not…"
"Doctor," Martha said, smiling at him pointedly as she took a couple of steps forward to stand in front of him; his habit of talking a lot could be endearing in the right circumstances, but right now she wanted his attention focused on the present (He'd spent far too long the first time around hiding in the past for her tastes). "Stop worrying so much, and just… go with it."
With that, she grabbed the Doctor's head and pulled him down to meet her lips once again, Martha's hands quickly moving to shrug the Doctor's jacket off his shoulders before tugging off his tie, all the while making sure to maintain contact between their lips; after waiting so long for this moment- even after convincing herself she'd given up on experiencing it for real-, Martha didn't intend to waste a second of it.
For a few moments, the Doctor's confidence seemingly growing with each passing moment as his kisses became harder and more passionate against her lips, his hands beginning to roam over her body, the two were content to simply continue what they were doing, lips caressing each other with a random combination of gentleness and force as they pressed against the console, occasionally rolling over slightly to allow the other to be 'on top' for a moment, before the Doctor pulled back to look pointedly at Martha, who only realised after glancing down that she'd opened his shirt without realising it.
"Would I be incorrect in assuming we have a slight clothing inequality issue here?" he asked, looking at Martha's still-intact dress with that same teasing grin that had more than once made Martha want to pin him to the wall and practically devour him; that twinkle he got in his eye when he was joking was something she'd always found very appealing…
"Point," she admitted, pushing him slightly off her so that she could stand up and turn around, exposing the dress's zip to the Doctor's view.
"If you wouldn't mind…?" she asked, turning her head slightly to look at the Doctor as she indicated the zip. The Doctor's eyes widened slightly at the suggestion, but then a broad grin spread across his face and he walked over to stand behind her, one hand taking the zip and pulling it down while the other one slid in under the fabric to begin stroking her back, gradually moving around to lightly stroke her ribcage.
These were the hands of the man who had destroyed his own homeworld, but Martha gave no thought to that, secure in the knowledge that the Doctor would never hurt her; even when he had only seen her as a friend, ignoring her attempts for more, she had always known that she could always count on him to protect her when she needed him.
Even if safety wasn't something that could ever be guaranteed in a life with the Doctor, Martha knew that his love and dedication to her were two things would always be there for her, doing everything they could to ensure that she never came to harm while she was with him-
Then his hand slid around her waist under her now-undone dress to drop down between her legs, and Martha temporarily forgot how to think.
"Oh, God…" she groaned, leaning her head back and moaning as the Doctor's fingers moved inside her, his mouth moving down to kiss her shoulder at the same time; Martha suddenly had a renewed appreciation for her choice of dress, given that it had allowed the Doctor immediate access to her shoulder and neck as his fingers continued their work.
"No, just me," the Doctor said, his voice low as he spoke in her ear, pausing briefly in his kisses before continuing his near-worship of her neck, kissing his way along her pulse before nibbling lightly on her earlobe, his hand continuing its exploration between her legs as the other moved to free her arms from the sleeves of her dress.
As one arm finally came free of the material Martha suddenly couldn't bear the feel of any longer- she'd loved the comfort the dress offered when she'd first worn it but she was rapidly changing her opinion of it-, she quickly moved her now-bare arm to tug the other sleeve off, trying not to disturb the Doctor's other hand as it moved to her breast, gently caressing and teasing it as he continued-
"Oh, God!" Martha yelled, throwing her head back as she felt her first orgasm tear through her, the Doctor's arms the only thing allowing her to remain standing as she trembled and shook her way through the wave of ecstasy that seemed almost determined to overwhelm her before she finally calmed.
"Oh… God…" Martha whispered, her voice nearly incredulous as she turned her head to look at the Doctor as he stood behind her, grinning back at her as she regained some degree of focus. "Where did you learn to do that?"
"Picked it up at the Academy when I was younger," the Doctor replied nonchalantly, the slightly smug smile on his face making it clear that he knew just what kind of effect he'd had on her. "Might not have done it much since then, but some things you never forget."
"Campus hottie, eh?" Martha asked, smiling slightly teasingly at the Doctor- given his age there was definitely no reason to be jealous of him talking about people he'd slept with as a student, even if they weren't almost certainlydead after the Time War- even as she wondered how she could laugh like this when she was topless and the Doctor was standing there with his shirt hanging open…
"Weeell, more the kind of maverick the girls wanted to spend time with just to show how 'different' they were- never really paid off on either end; they were too essentially Gallifreyian and I was too essentially me for it to last-, but-" the Doctor began, only for Martha to grab his shirt and pull him towards her before he could continue, both moaning as their bare chests met for the first time as they kissed again.
"Enough talk," Martha practically growled after pulling back from the Doctor for oxygen, moving her hands to his trousers even as she spoke. "Get these off, now."
"Gotcha," the Doctor replied, his own hands moving to where her dress remained loosely hanging around her hips, both of them gripping the other's only remaining clothing (Martha vaguely noted that the Doctor had already kicked off his shoes at some point, but right now her mind had more immediate matters to focus on) and shoving them down mere moments before Martha found herself wrapped in the Doctor's arms and pinned to the control console, nearly overwhelmed at the sudden feel of him inside her before she'd even had a chance to see him completely.
As she felt her peak approaching, Martha vaguely registered the Doctor suddenly place one hand against the right side of her face even as he continued to move deeper and deeper into her, waves of pleasure washing over her body…
"DOCTOR!" she yelled, her mind suddenly overwhelmed by a burst of pleasure so intense it felt like everything around her vanished…
Opening her eyes, Martha found herself standing on top of a large, snow-capped mountain- dressed in her red leather jacket and dark trousers-, staring out at a vast alien city contained in what appeared to be a massive forcefield, silver-leafed trees gathered the field's edges at the bottom of the mountain. Despite the snow around her, the twin suns in the orange sky gave the world around her a feeling of intense warmth and comfort, soothing without being uncomfortable, and the vast city before her only further increased her awe at the sight; the central tower seemed to stretch up into the sky to tower above even the clouds around it, the brilliant architecture giving the impression that it had almost been grown rather than built…
"Gallifrey," the Doctor's voice said; glancing behind her, Martha saw him standing behind her, once again dressed in his brown suit and jacket, an expression of such love and desire on his face as he looked at her- she'd never expected to see even one of those directed at her, never mind both- that Martha was briefly tempted to pin him to the ground to continue what they'd started…
Then what he'd just said to her registered, and Martha's eyes widened in shock.
"Gallifrey?" she repeated incredulously, staring with renewed intensity at the landscape before her. "But… oh," she began, pausing in realisation as she remembered where she'd been only minutes before. "We're… back in your mind?"
"Oh, when I'm conscious I can engage in a telepathic link like this with another person if I want; I just… don't often like to reveal myself to this extent," the Doctor explained, looking at Martha with a slightly apprehensive expression. "It's just… well, if we're going to do this properly… there are a few people you should meet."
Before Martha could ask him what he meant by that, the Doctor had stepped back slightly, and then she saw nine different men gradually emerging from the air around him; a tall man with close-cropped hair and big ears in a leather jacket… the Doctor who'd appeared to them earlier… a little man in a straw hat and question-mark-covered sleeveless pullover with an umbrella… a tall, slightly overweight man with thick curly straw-coloured hair in a coat that seemed to have been made by a colour-blind man with minimal sense of touch… a young man in a cricket jumper and a beige coat with a stick of celery pinned to the lapel… a tall man with thick brown hair and a big coat with a long scarf Martha vaguely recognised from the TARDIS wardrobe… an older man with white hair in blue velvet and a frilled shirt… a short man with a thick head of black hair in a pudding-bowl-style haircut and trousers and a shirt and trousers that seemed at least two sizes too big… an old man with long white hair dressed in Victorian-style clothing…
"You're… all the Doctor?" she asked, staring slightly incredulously at the men before her; even recalling how different the Master had looked in his 'Professor Yana' and 'Mr Saxon' incarnations, the idea that all of the men before her were the Doctor was almost too much to believe…
Then she took in the strange gleam in their eyes- a unique combination of enthusiasm and experience that Martha had only truly seen in one man- and knew that she was right; the men before her were the Doctor.
"Yep," the Doctor confirmed, smiling at Martha as he indicated his other selves with a sweep of his hand, before his expression resumed its initially apprehensive aspect. "And… well, they're here because…"
"To put it simply, we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves to you properly, and also to apologise for how we treated you before", the Doctor in the cricket outfit said, shooting a brief glare over at the Doctor before he returned his gaze to Martha.
"You see," the little man with the Beatles-style haircut said, shrugging slightly, a somewhat jovial tone in his voice that belied the seriousness of his expression, "even after everything we've seen over our travels, we're a bit… well, when it comes to emotional matters, we're not that bright."
"Sometimes we found it easier to run from what we're feeling than to face up to it directly," the Doctor in the bad coat continued, his tone grim as he spoke. "We were never entirely comfortable with sharing… that… with anyone… but it just became more awkward after we remembered the Time War."
"The fact that we were all that remained of our people was something we just… didn't know how to cope with," the short Doctor with the umbrella explained, staring slightly wistfully upwards at nothing in particular. "We even thought about not travelling with anyone after that because we didn't feel it was right to expect someone else to deal with it. Miss Tyler joining us just… happened, really; we ran into her while dealing with a Nestene invasion and she just… 'forced', for lack of a better term… her way into our lives before we felt we could legitimately object to her presence."
"Even when we started travelling with Rose, we tended to stay on the go rather than actually talk about anything," the Doctor in green velvet explained, looking at Martha with a renewed appreciation as he spoke. "We only even told Rose what our species was after she actually asked us what we were in the middle of an argument, and everything else we kept to ourselves; she never asked the uncomfortable questions- what our planet was called, what it was like, what our people were like-, and were satisfied with that."
"But you…" the hobo-like Doctor said, looking at her with a wistful expression. "From the moment we began to travel with you, you made us confront things we needed to deal with; our grief over the loss of Gallifrey… the knowledge that we were the last of the Time Lords… the responsibility that we had as the last of our people…"
He smiled at her as he spoke, the other Doctors smiling at her as well. "You made us face up to the memories when we were content to hide away from them, and encouraged us to do what we had to do by facing our pain and talking it over… not because you had to know, but because you wanted to know."
"And we are extremely grateful for that, Martha," the Doctor in the scarf added, smiling warmly at her before his expression became more sombre (For a moment Martha could almost swear that his clothing changed to a darker red colour than it had been originally, but pushed that thought aside as it returned to normal). "We might not have always shown it, but we were grateful to you for helping us open up while you were with us; we were just… uncertain about showing it."
"In some ways," the Doctor in the cricket outfit explained, looking slightly uncomfortable as he spoke, "as much as we were grateful to you for helping us, it was… easier to hide behind past pain than create opportunities to leave ourselves open to the possibility of further suffering in the future; we were simply so caught up in our own fear that we never really took time to consider how you might react to our actions."
"We might be more expressive than other Time Lords- a bunch of emotional stick-in-the-muds, really; when you can live as long as we do so few people really felt the need to look for attachment any more-, but we still never really learned how to do it," the Doctor in the scarf explained, staring upwards with an expression that somehow combined wistfulness with contempt, as though a part of him wished he could have been like the other Time Lords even as he recognised that he was better being what he was.
"For all that we were so much more… human… than our people," the white-haired Doctor in the frilled shirt continued, "we were still Time Lords back when we were… well, us- the young fellow we are right now is the first time we've felt truly human in that regard-; we were comfortable enough assuming a role as teachers or parental figures to those we travelled with, but anything further…"
"We never felt entirely comfortable going that far, to be honest," the short Doctor with the umbrella said. "Even when I spent three months as a human, I still didn't quite get it at the end-"
"Hold on; you were human?" Martha cut in, looking incredulously between the Doctor she knew and the one who'd just spoken. "But…?"
"Oh, he tried being human for a few months to get a better insight into how a friend felt after someone she… cared about… died," the Doctor explained, looking slightly uncomfortably at Martha and his other self. "I suppose I should have learned my lesson then for when we did… that… but I was so rushed for time the possibility that I'd repeat myself that much never occurred to me…"
"Plus, the division between you and Smith was less significant than the one between me and Smith; you forgot to take the era you were hiding in into account," the Doctor in the straw hat added, before he turned to look apologetically over at Martha. "While 'my' version of John Smith was significantly different from who I am as myself, his Smith… for all his faults, the John Smith you knew did care about you; it was just that he was a product of his time- or, at least, the time the TARDIS selected for him-, and so, with Joan… practically forcing herself and her attentions on him… it was… easier… for Smith to focus on her than to consciously think about you in that regard."
Martha wasn't entirely sure how to feel about that; even the implication that the Doctor might have felt… something for her when he was John Smith raised more than a few questions she wasn't entirely sure how to deal with.
"It doesn't excuse anything, of course," the man in the leather jacket added, looking over at Martha with a brief apologetic shrug. "We just want you to know that… in the end… where it counts… you always had our hearts; we just… weren't comfortable sharing that kind of thing with anyone and… thought it'd be best to leave it…"
"The point of this is, we might be a bit of a fool when it comes down to it," the old man added, smiling slightly at her as he spoke, "but we can assure you that, from this point onwards, whatever fate might befall us in the past, present or future… for as long as you want them, our hearts are yours."
"We know we were an insensitive fool back when you first met us," the Doctor in the multi-coloured coat put in, "but we are truly sorry about that, and wish to assure you that we never meant to hurt you; we just…"
He sighed in frustration. "Well, in the end, we… didn't know how to really cope with what we felt for you; it was easier to keep you at arm's length than put ourselves in a position to be hurt when you left…"
For a moment there was only silence, the Doctors waiting for Martha's response while she contemplated what they had just said to her, before the UNIT medical officer spoke at last.
"Don't worry about it," she said, smiling reassuring at the Doctor she knew; she wasn't denying that the Doctor's actions back then had hurt her, but if she couldn't move on from the past in a time machine, where could she go to move on?
"It… did hurt at the time," she admitted, nodding slightly at the Doctor in the bad coat, "but there were the good moments too; it's not like you ever hated me- we definitely had our fun times back then-, you just… well, never wanted it to go further."
She shrugged slightly. "Besides, I enjoyed the break from university, really; after spending the last few years working practically non-stop on the exams, it was rather nice to be able to take time off without worrying about missing anything."
"And you certainly caught up with anything you might have missed out on afterwards; according to UNIT records you were top of your class after you graduated," the white-haired Doctor in velvet added, smiling warmly at her.
"You looked at that?" Martha asked, looking over sharply at 'her' Doctor.
"Well, y'know, just wanted to check up on you after you left, make sure everything was all right, that kind of thing…" the Doctor admitted, scratching the back of his neck- an action Martha only now realised the white-haired velvet-clad Doctor was doing himself- as he looked upwards uncomfortably before Martha walked over and kissed him briefly once again.
"Thanks," she said, smiling warmly at him as she pulled back. "Not exactly the way I'd have wanted you to find that out- you could have just asked-, but I appreciate that you cared enough to want to know."
"And… the rest of it?" the Doctor in the cricket outfit asked, looking urgently at Martha. "Do you… forgive us?"
After staring silently at the ten faces before her, Martha nodded.
"Yeah…" she said at last, smiling briefly at them. "It's… I'm not saying it's all behind us, but…"
"You're willing to give us a chance," the Doctor she'd met earlier said, smiling gratefully at her. "That's all we really want; if you're willing to give us a chance, we'll make sure we do everything we can to deserve it."
With that, there was a brief moment when everything went black…
And then, as Martha opened her eyes, she was back in the console room once again, the Doctor's hand still pressed against her face as he remained inside her, a casual smile on his face as he looked at her.
"Wow…" she whispered, staring back at him in awe at what she'd just experienced. "That was… was…"
"Intense?" the Doctor asked, smiling back at her curiously.
"Yeah…" Martha said, nodding briefly back at him before she looked uncertainly at him. "Uh… don't take this the wrong way, but… is that link always going to be like that? I mean, it was great, don't get me wrong, but it's just…"
"A bit much for a regular thing?" the Doctor asked, shrugging casually as he looked reassuring at her. "Oh, don't worry, I'm not going to make a habit of that; it was only because I…"
He paused for a moment, clearly trying to think of the best way to phrase what he was about to say, before he continued. "Well, I wanted you to meet them… and… well, I've never been great at the whole 'talking about my feelings' thing when it's just me… never sure if I won't make an idiot of myself or say the wrong thing somehow…"
"And you thought you might have better luck at doing it when the majority of people present are you and you don't have to risk completely embarrassing yourself, huh?" Martha asked, a teasing smile on her face as she looked at the Doctor, leaning over to briefly brush her lips against his before pulling back to smile at him. "You're cute when you're uncomfortable, you know that?"
"Is that a good thing?" the Doctor asked, only the earnest look in his eyes displaying how urgently he needed to know the answer to that question.
"I'm still here, aren't I?" Martha replied, chuckling slightly as she looked at him with an amused grin. "I'm not saying you're not going to have to do some serious grovelling to make up for some of your behaviour back then… but in the end, you were there when you had to be, and I wouldn't be here if I didn't want to be, got me?"
The Doctor smiled.
"Understood," he replied, before he raised a casual eyebrow as he looked at her. "So… how'd I do?"
Martha couldn't help but chuckle slightly at the slight anxiety in the Doctor's eyes; even after her reaction, he was still evidently slightly insecure about his 'abilities' after so long…
"Well, can't say I have much to complain about if that's your average performance ability," she said, smiling seductively back at the Doctor. "However, as pleasant as this was, shall we continue this somewhere more… comfortable… so that I can conduct further 'research' into this?"
The Doctor smiled.
"Well, I could definitely go for that," he said, reaching to take her hand as he pulled her towards him for another brief, passionate kiss before picking her up bridal-style and carrying her deeper into the TARDIS, neither of them concerned for the clothing they were leaving behind them as the TARDIS continued to hover in the vortex.
The universe outside could wait; for the moment, after nearly losing each other for good- albeit in different ways-, all that mattered was reaffirming the start of their new life together.
AN 2: Bonus points to anyone who identifies the song lyrics where the chapter titles came from!