AN: I didn't think I was in an especially depressing mood, but after reading this I'm no longer sure.
This is because I've seen Martha-abused fics with Martha needing to be saved, and I've seen fics in which Martha's screwed up because of the way the Doctor treated her, and this bunny popped into my head.
Summary: There are all kinds of abuse. Martha's merely trading emotional for physical. Friendship for love. Because he says he loves her, and she believes him. Because she loved the Doctor and she had to leave. Pre-JE, post-Doctor's Daughter.
Pre-Martha/Doctor, Donna/Jack if you look for it.
"Remember the days of sleepless summer nights
That took us away, a perfect place, a different time
Back when nothing was wrong, now we're each sold separately
Our summers are gone, gray skies are all I see
These broken days won't last forever
You know I'll put us back together"
--"I Owe You a Love Song" -- Shiny Toy Guns
…You Know I'll Put us Back Together …
"But she's Martha Jones. She'd never let a man hurt her!"
And Jack just looks at him, silent, stone.
Loyalties to friends and lovers and even Jack can't keep track anymore.
"Jack? It's Tish." Jack looks at the clock, and swears.
"It's 3am—what's wrong?" he asks, because unfortunately waking up at 3am now usually means emergencies and not sneaking out of a nameless persons bedroom.
"It's…" Tish's voice sounds a bit unsteady, and Jack feels his heart clench a bit. Always a soft spot for the damsel in distress. "It's Martha. We're in the hospital. Jack, I think you should be here."
Jack's out of the bed and attempting to find the leg-hole in his jeans in the dark before she finishes the last sentence.
"What happened?" he asks, and his voice is steel, because there are a handful of people the world should know not to screw with, and one of those is his girl Martha.
"I can't…she said…she asked for you, but when I said I'd phone she made me promise…not to tell. Oh Jack," Tish whimpers, and 365 days rush back, and his jaw tightens.
"What hospital?" he asks, grabbing his keys and his jacket and something that hopefully resembles a shirt. "I'll leave now."
There was an entire year that-never-was, and destruction and death were wiped off the chalkboard, leaving only fading white lines to trace the past.
"Mulligans!" the Doctor yelled, and the Universe stepped aside and let him through.
Bend and not break, say the trees, facing the hurricane, the Oncoming Storm. Bend and not break.
Jack breezes past upset orderlies and charms indignant nurses and bypasses even Martha's family to get to her side.
She's sporting quite the shiner, and underneath the blankets he can tell that her ribs have been bandaged. Her left wrist is in a cast.
She smiles when she sees him, puffy eye and all.
"Hey," he says, pulling up a chair.
"Hi Jack," she says.
"I'd say you look like your hell, but even bruised up you still look gorgeous," Jack smiles, and Martha starts to laugh, and then stops with a soft whimper and a hand going to her ribs.
"Good to see you, too," she says. "But you didn't need to come. I'm fine."
Jack looks at her, silently contemplating her words. "You always seem to be fine, don't you?" he asks, eyebrow arched a little, and she frowns.
"My tough girl, hmm? What happened to you?"
"What did Tish say?" Martha asks, suddenly the slightest bit defensive, and Jack blinks before leaning in towards her, watching her almost-stiffen with a frown.
"You wanted me to come, but you wouldn't let her say why, and she sounds at the end of her rope and you're getting set to stonewall me so let's forgo the twenty questions, Martha Jones, and you just tell me what happened."
"Jack…" she says, and the way she says his name, drawn-out with a barely discernible tremble, makes his jaw tighten. "Thank you for coming," she says, and he catches her hand in his.
"You've always just had to say the word," he says, trying to smile, his rough thumb circling the inside of her palm. And then his hand tightens just a fraction on hers, and he looks straight into her eyes. "Where's your boy, then?"
"What?" she asks, startled and almost-terrified and half-bolting up.
"Where's Tom, Martha?" he asks, and her face blanks.
"He's at work. He stayed for a while, but I told him I was fine and sent him off. He'll back later, I'm sure."
Jack resists the urge to throw something, or stand up and pace, or put a fist through the wall. Instead his free hand brushes the hair from her face, and he keeps his face calm and soft.
"You should've called me sooner, Martha," he says, and her face hardens and she tries to pull her hand out of his.
"Jack, I don't know what you're—"
"My nightingale," Jack says, and his voice sounds weary, and Martha reluctantly stutters to a stop. Jack lifts her hand to his mouth and presses a gentle kiss to it. "Did you really think you could lie to me?"
She looks away from him, her bottom lip trembling just the slightest. "Jack," she starts, and her voice cracks halfway through the word, and she closes her eyes for a moment, gathering herself up. "Jack," she says, looking back at him. "Jack, you can't do anything about this. You have to promise me."
"You aren't serious," he says. Not asking, stating, because really.
"Jack, I can handle this myself."
"I can see how well you're handling it!" he growls, gesturing to her bruised face and broken wrist. She winces and immediately he regrets his words. "I'm sorry," he says, "I'm sorry, that was low, I'm an ass, but Martha, I'm not just going to pretend this didn't happen."
"Jack," she says, and out of nowhere her voice is firm and steady and has all the fire and strength that he knows she carries inside of her. "I don't want you involved, and if you can't handle that then you'll take your ass out of this room and out of my life."
"Martha," he says, completely taken aback, but she glares at him, and for once he backs down. "I won't do anything without talking to you about it," he offers, compromising, and she nods slowly. "At least let me call the Doctor," he says, and she loses about five shades of color.
"Why would you call him?" she asks him, wide-eyed, and he frowns.
"He's your friend, Martha, he'd want to help you."
"No," she says, fingers almost trembling in his, "No, you can't call him, Jack, promise me you won't call him."
"Jack, please," she whispers, and he swallows with some difficulty.
"If it means that much to you, then…don't worry," he says. There's an awkward moment of silence. "I'll go see how Tish is doing," he says at last, and she nods, and her face softens.
"Thank you for coming," she says, and he nods, giving her hand a squeeze.
"Couldn't keep me away from my girl," he says, and then, with a final look at her, he walks out.
"Doctor. Martha's been…hurt. She didn't want me to call you, but—"
"Hang on, she didn't what?"
"I thought you deserved to know. And given your penchant for…turning up unexpectedly, she wouldn't be able to prove it was me," Jack finishes with a bit of his trademark smile.
"What's wrong, Jack?" the Doctor asks, because there's something wrong with Jack's voice, amusement or not, and he's not about to let it slide.
Jack's silent for a long moment, and the Doctor waits impatiently and with just the smallest touch of fear, because Jack isn't one to draw a moment out, he's not one to withhold information from him and he certainly isn't one to consider his words before speaking.
"She didn't want me to call you, Doctor," he says at last. "And she didn't want me to know. So I think you should come, but I can't tell you why. I think you should know, but I can't tell you myself."
"Jack…" the Doctor says, pressing for an answer, but there's only silence. "How bad?" the Doctor asks, his voice low.
"She'll be all right. If…she'll heal."
"Give me the hospital and the time and date," the Doctor says, sounding almost reluctant to be flying so blind but determined to come and help in whatever way he can.
Martha Jones…what have you gotten yourself into?
"Donna!" he yells, and after a minute or two she pops her head into the control room.
"What're you yelling at me for? Couldn't be bothered to come find me like a proper—"
"Jack called," he cuts in, "Martha's hurt."
Her expression immediately changes, and she steps fully into the room, looking worried. "What happened?"
"He wouldn't say. Bit of a change of course, if you don't mind," he says, and she nods.
"Try to actually get the place right this time, hm?" she smirks.
Jack meets them outside the hospital.
"I convinced Tish and everyone to go home, they were just making her more stressed out," Jack says, before his eyes inevitably slide over to Donna. "Hello, gorgeous," he smirks. She smiles back appreciatively.
"Jack, is this really the time?" the Doctor sighs, and Jack blinks.
"Right," he says, a little apologetic smile aimed at Donna.
"So what's happened to her?" the Doctor asks, and Jack winces. "She's not too badly hurt. Doctor…you should just go see her."
"You really won't tell us anything?" Donna asks, and Jack looks at her with a frown.
"Oh hang on, you're Donna aren't you? You've met Martha," he says. "Martha quite likes you," he adds with a smile, and then a sudden frown. "And you're quite sharp. Maybe you…"
"Where's her room?" the Doctor cuts in, and Jack looks between the two of them, even more unsure than before, but with a desperate sort of shrug he takes them there.
"Doctor," Martha says when they get there, not at all happy, but the Doctor's a bit too distracted with her injuries to pay much mind to vocal inflections.
"Martha, what's going on?" he asks, not at all happy either.
"Hey," Donna smiles at Martha, and Martha manages a smile back.
Jack quite wisely decides to wait outside the door.
Donna notices it first. The way her eyes widen a bit when the Doctor moves too close or too suddenly. The way she avoids speaking about Tom or even saying his name.
It's not until the Doctor mentions wedding dates, and Martha pales a little, that Donna stands up, furious and reading to kick his arse into next week. "That prick," she snarls, and the Doctor looks up startled and Donna is ready to go on crusade against him and Martha bolts up, unsteady, terrified.
"Donna," she says, half-pleading, half-ordering, and Donna shakes her head.
"No," she says. "He's not getting away with this," she says, and still the Doctor is looking between the two of them, confused, and then slowly the pieces fall into place.
"Tom?" he asks the room at large, and both women look at him startled. The Doctor nods sharply. "Right," he says, and stands up as well, and before the room can devolve even more into chaos, Jack pops his head in.
"Everything all right?" he asks, despite the visual evidence to the contrary.
After much arguing, Donna's gone to visit her family on the grounds that if she came anywhere near Tom, she would not be able to control her temper and would undoubtedly do something everybody else would regret.
That is, if she didn't just decide to seek him out with a baseball bat.
Jack is slumped in an uncomfortable hospital chair outside Martha's room, ready to turn away any and especially certain visitors in order to give Martha and the Doctor some privacy. He is, however, still under strict orders not to kill, maim, or otherwise injure Tom. Jack is attempting to figure out how he can circumvent these instructions without breaking his word to Martha.
Inside, the Doctor has pulled his chair up close next to Martha's bed, holding her hand in his, and she is looking steadily past him.
"I'm fine," Martha says.
"He hurts you," he says.
"He loves me," she says.
"Martha," the Doctor says, and his voice is oh-so-gentle, "My brave Martha Jones, why are you letting him to do this?"
"I love him," she says, and if her bottom lip quivers just a bit, no one comments. She glances down, away from him, and then her shoulders sink a bit, and suddenly she looks so young, so small, so vulnerable. "He loves me," she says (corrects?).
"Martha," the Doctor says, and she shakes her head.
"I told Jack I didn't want you to come," she says, and her voice is firm, and her shoulders are back and her chin is high and he can see her strength, there in her eyes, in the tilt of her head.
"Martha," he says, voice soft, she looks away.
"Leave me alone."
Donna helps them move her back to her house when she's released the next day, but considering that Martha's house is really Martha-and-Tom's house, she's not allowed to stay all that long. She does give Martha a tight hug and whispered promises that she's only a phone call away, and reminders that any man that would hurt her isn't a man worth loving, and that whenever she's ready they'll have a total girls night (no, not even Jack will be allowed), and they'll have ice cream and destroy men's characters and watch old movies.
Jack and the Doctor hover over her all day, which gets on her nerves, and finally she proclaims (loudly) that she needs some alone time and curls up in front of the telly with the boys upstairs.
Tom has been warned by Tish and Francine and Clive not to enter the house upon pain of death, but she's warned them (irritably) that it's not their business. Still, she's rather expecting him not to show up tonight after work.
Tom enters the room quietly, and Martha sits not-watching the telly, not having noticed him.
"What did you tell them?" Tom asks, voice dark, and Martha looks up, surprised.
"Tom," she says, standing up as he walks closer.
"What did you tell them?" he repeats, suppressed fury in her voice, and she swallows thickly, knowing Jack and the Doctor are just upstairs, barely a call for help a way, but not willing to abandon Tom to them.
"I didn't say anything," she says, her voice placating, her hands slightly in front of her, but her chin still up, her back still straight.
"What did you tell them?" Tom growls, and the Doctor, having come down to investigate the door opening-and-shutting noises, stops in the doorway , looking at the situation.
She faces Tom, no cowering in the corner for her.
Pain, she said, causes people to do terrible things.
He loves me, she said. He doesn't mean to hurt me.
Maybe he doesn't. But the Doctor is certainly meaning to hurt him.
"Oy!" he yells, and Tom swivels to meet him, surprised, and Martha's mouth opens in a silent mew of surprise.
The Doctor straight-up punches Tom in the face. Immediately, he shakes his hand surprised.
"Ow!" he yelps, before noticing that Tom is shaking it off and looking entirely too ready for a confrontation.
"Get out of my house," Tom growls, and the Doctor narrows his eyes.
"You aren't going to touch her again after—"
"Tom, Doctor, please—" Martha says, but they both ignore her, practically circling each other. Jack comes half-tumbling down the stairs in his hurry, and seeing the situation—the Doctor and Tom acting like school boys and Martha half-hysterical—he swears roundly.
"Doctor," he says, voice irritated, "Take Martha upstairs. Tom, get the hell out of the house."
"Jack, don't get involved in this," Tom warns him, and Jack snorts and then grabs Tom by his collar.
"I'm not allowed to beat the crap out of you because I promised our girl Martha over there to play nice, but I swear if you do not leave this house right now…?" he says, tone nice and threatening, before pulling out a gun. Tom swallows and nods, and Jack smiles, letting him loose with a sturdy pat to the shoulder. "Later, Tommy," he sneers.
Martha and the Doctor are staring at him, and he rolls his eyes. "I keep my promises sometimes, Martha, yes. And Doctor, for the love of all, take her upstairs before she falls down."
The Doctor tries to take Martha's arm, but she shoves him instead, and Jack looks between the two of them, worried, and then grabs his jacket and leaves, figuring they need a bit of time to sort things out.
"Martha—" the Doctor says softly, and Martha looks away.
"Tom wouldn't have—" she starts, but the Doctor cuts her off.
"He won't hurt you again, after I'm—"
"It's not your place, Doctor!" Martha spits, suddenly furious. "I know you like to ride in on your white horse and rescue everyone, but I don't need rescuing, Doctor! I didn't ask for your help!"
"I don't care if you asked!" he yells, hands grabbing onto her shoulders, face leaning in close, eyes dark. "He won't hurt you again!"
"I finally have a life without you and you have to come running in and—"
"I'm trying to keep you safe!" he shouts, giving her a shake, and she pulls away from him.
"That's a first," she snarls. He lets go of her in shock, face falling, and she softens with regret. "I'm sorry, I…please," she says. "Just leave me alone."
"Martha," he says, voice so soft it hurts, and she closes her eyes, shakes her head.
"I'm just trying to be happy," she says. "He needs me," she says. "He needs me."
And he almost opens his mouth, almost says "I need you," but she looks so very tired, and really, it's not his place to say things like that, is it?
"Jack wants to hurt him."
"Jack had better not touch him," Martha says, eyes flashing, and the Doctor shakes his head in irritation.
"How can you protect him after he—"
"Leave," Martha says, and her eyes are flashing and the Doctor actually takes a step back at the fury in her eyes. "Get out of my house," she spits, and the Doctor opens his mouth and then shuts it abruptly, taking in the fist at her side, the set of her mouth. Slowly he turns and walks out of the house.
"I don't understand," the Doctor says, and Jack looks up from the drink he's nursing.
"She's hurting, Doctor. That year was hard on all of us, but for her…" Jack trails off with a sigh.
"But she's Martha Jones," the Doctor splutters. "She'd never let a man hurt her!"
And Jack just looks at him, silent, stone.
"What?" the Doctor asks after a moment.
"She'd never let a man hurt her?" Jack asks, voice sneering, and the Doctor blinks at him.
"That's what I said," he says, frowning, and Jack snorts with disgust. "What?"
"Doctor," Jack says, irritated, "She traveled with you, didn't she?"
"What do you mean by that?" the Doctor asks, with a definite edge to his voice, but Jack meets him glare for glare.
"You sent her to walk the world for a year. You made her take charge in 1913, ignoring her all the while, you admitted to me yourself you couldn't keep a job in 1969, and she had to earn keep for both of you. Doctor, tell me you've noticed how she tries to do everything you need her to, no matter how hard on her it is?"
"Jack, I never forced her—"
"She'd call me late at night, terrified, for weeks after the Valiant, terrified her nightmares were real, needing some sort of concrete proof. And one time she called, sobbing, because she'd dreamt of the Master finding you, and when I told her to call you, to have some sort of proof you were okay, she said no, she had to be strong for you."
"I know she's strong," the Doctor half-growls, and Jack shakes his head.
"She's always been as strong as you needed her to be, Doctor. She's always been as strong as anyone needed her to be, but you…you stretched that to its limit. She walked the earth for a year, Doctor! You gave her, what—a few words of a plan? And then sent her to ground with the world at stake on her shoulders?"
"I didn't have a choice!" the Doctor yells, furious at himself and Jack and the entire situation. "She was the only one who could! We would've blazed in the night, but she was human, she was…she was…"
"She was strong, Doctor, wasn't she? And it hurt her, but you needed her, didn't you? So she did it, she took it, just like she always took it. And Tom might not be you, Doctor, but he tells her he loves her, tells her he needs her. He sees that she's there."
"So she lets him hurt her?" he snaps, and Jack shrugs uneasily.
"I imagine he apologizes and she forgives him and he promises he'll change and she tells him she'll stay."
"She's strong and brilliant, Doctor, yes, but she's also just a girl, a girl who needs to be needed, who'll do anything for those she loves."
"Tell us," Jack says, and Martha looks at the two men sitting across from her, the two men that she loves more than anything in the world.
More than Tom.
"The year," the Doctor says, his voice barely above a whisper. "You can't keep it locked inside. Tell us. We're here to listen."
"I can't," she says, sounding horrified at the thought of reliving all those moments, and Jack's hand finds her good right hand, the Doctor's ghost over the fingers poking out of the cast.
"It's all right," Jack says, voice soothing, and she closes her eyes wearily.
"You didn't…you weren't on the ground, you didn't…you didn't see the…I couldn't help them," she whispers fiercely, painfully. "I couldn't do anything but run and hide and…I had to make them believe, even when I couldn't anymore. I had to make them hope, had to…"
Jack and the Doctor sit quietly, watching her.
"I met Tom, in that year," she says after a moment. "I didn't tell you, didn't tell anyone, not even Tish, but…he died. Saving my life. So many people died saving my life. I just…he needed…"
"What did he need?" Jack presses softly, and her shoulders hunch in a little.
"Me," she says.
"Why did he hurt you?" the Doctor asks, and she shakes her head.
"He didn't mean to," she says.
"Why did he hurt you?" Jack pushes, and she tangles a hand in her hair.
"He loves me," she says.
"Then why did he hurt you?" the Doctor asks, and she looks up at them.
"Because I let him," she says, voice half-gasping, half-choking, and before they can say a word she bolts upstairs, the door to her bedroom slamming and locking.
Donna's house-watching downstairs, because no one really cares anymore if she beats the crap out of Tom and Jack and the Doctor quite obviously need some cool down time. Jack drags him to another bar, and the Doctor is fairly certain that alcohol is not going to solve these problems but he says nothing.
"The sad thing about this," Jack says after a long moment of silence, looking decidedly fed up, "Is that you care about her. You just can't seem to bring yourself to show her."
"She knows I care about her," the Doctor says, suddenly defensive. "All my companions know—"
"You know, you're fantastic and brilliant and heroic but you can be a bit of a jerk sometimes."
"Jack, she knows I care about her! I dropped everything and came running, didn't I? I—I—I'd never let her get hurt!"
"Think about it, Doctor," Jack says, more tired than anything else. "Do you really think she knows that? Does she know that you care about her, or that you don't want people around you to die? Because I think she thinks she's just another face in the crowd to you, and given what she's done for you, for the world? That's hardly fair."
"Jack, she knows," the Doctor repeats, except he's frowning now, thinking of her yelling at John Smith, thinking of her walking away, and his throat is unpleasantly tight.
"Does she?" Jack asks softly, and when the Doctor just stares at him, silent, Jack shakes his head and walks away.
The Doctor, being the Doctor, enters her house in a whirlwind, breezing past Donna without so much as a hello, resisting the temptation to sonic Martha's door open, and instead knocking on her door.
"Martha," he calls, "Martha Jones, please open the door."
She opens it warily, eyes questioning, and he steps through before she can change her mind.
"Martha," he says. "Martha Jones. Oh, I am sorry."
"What?" she asks, startled, and moves around to face him, so she can better see his eyes.
"I should've told you, I just thought you…knew. Everything else you figured out or asked about and you never let me see inside and here I'm supposed to be a genius but I acted the daft idiot and Martha, dear Martha Jones, you know I'm proud of you, don't you? You know that I care about you, don't you?" He's grabbed her hands in his, looking at her with such profound…hope. It actually hurts.
"Doctor, what are you doing?" she asks, and her voice is harsh and the littlest bit unsteady, and he blinks, confused.
"Martha?" he asks, hesitant.
"I don't want your pity, Doctor. I don't need you. I don't need anyone," she says, and her voice is fierce, and his hand tightens on hers.
"You've never needed anyone, have you?" he asks, and she blinks, startled. She swallows, but stays silent as he leans closer. "You go out into the world and you don't ask anything of anyone. You make it on your one." His eyes scan her face, and she forces herself not to look away, even when he sighs and his features soften. "You don't have to prove yourself to anyone, Martha," he says. "You're brilliant. You've always been brilliant."
"Doctor," she whispers, and her voice is pained, "Doctor, don't do this, please don't this."
"You don't always have to be so strong," he says, and his voice is low, and she closes her eyes.
"I do," she breathes. "I really do. Everybody needs…everybody's expecting…"
"We care about," the Doctor cuts in. "We want you to be happy. That's all we need, Martha."
"He just…he kept saying he needed me, he loved me, he…"
"I know," he says, his voice soft, and unexpectedly she pulls away, shoving him hard in the chest.
"Get out!" she yells, tears leaking from the corners of her eyes. Roughly she scrubs them away with her good hand. "Get out," she repeats, her voice a little more calm, and with a calm sort of determination, he shakes his head.
"No," he says.
"I'm fine," she says, and despite the fact that she tries to be cutting it ends in a question.
"You're not fine," he says, and she worries her lip with her teeth.
"He loved me, and I couldn't even make him happy. I can't…I can't make anyone happy, I just…I keep trying but I can't ever manage to…to…" she trails off, voice unsteady, looking past him, and he edges closer.
"If he wasn't happy with you, then he was an idiot," the Doctor says, squeezing her shoulder with one hand, brushing the hair out of her face with the other.
"You weren't happy with me," she says, not even bitter anymore, and he closes his eyes briefly, wishing he knew what to say to make this all better.
"I'm not ever happy, Martha," he says at last. "But I was happier with you than without you. Donna's fantastic in her own way, and I'd miss her too, but there's a Martha-shaped hole in the TARDIS."
Immediately he mentally curses himself out, remembering what Jack had said about her being vulnerable to suggestion, and bending to others needs.
"I just want you to be happy," he says quickly, and she scoffs. "Martha," he says, moving closer, and she hits him, hard, in the chest.
"I can't be happy!" she says (screams), hitting him again. "I don't remember how to be happy, Doctor!"
"Martha," he says, worried about her broken ribs, her left wrist, and warily he catches her hands as she tries to hit him again.
"Just leave me alone," she says, still furious.
"Martha," he says, and she pulls against him, and he's afraid to loosen his hands in case she gets away, afraid to tighten them in case he hurts her. "Martha," he pleads, and still she pulls away. "Martha," he begs, and finally she stills against him, her head resting against his shoulder.
"I told you to go away," she says, and her voice is ragged, and the Doctor doesn't dare let go of her hands. "I want you to go away," she says, and her voice is fierce, and the Doctor's muscles tighten in anticipation.
"But then," she whispers, and now her voice is just…empty. "But then, no one ever really cares about what I want."
"Martha," he says, the word melting into her hair, and without thought he shifts and enfolds her in his arms, and still she stands, cold and stiff and unyielding.
Almost against her will, a choked sob escapes, her shoulders tightening in on themselves. Silence, then, for a long moment, and then a barely contained shudder, and the Doctor holds her tighter, pulling her into him, knowing he must almost be hurting her, but her fingers tighten in his jacket, pushing into his skin, and another sob escapes, and her entire form is trembling against his, and now she can't stop, it's too late, and she sinks into him, tears staining his front, all control gone, just emotion. Pure emotion. Sorrow and rage and hate and fear and regret.
He holds her.
It's all he can do.
Minutes or hours later, he's practically holding her up, so he sinks carefully to the ground. She tightens a little when he pulls her close against him, but she's human and he's Time Lord and they both know she's not winning this one.
She falls asleep with him holding her.
When she wakes up, he's still holding her, long fingers sliding her hair out of her face, dark eyes troubled.
"I'm sorry," she says, looking embarrassed, and she tries to pull away. He doesn't let go. "Doctor…" she says, eyebrow raised, but he just sits there watching her.
"Your eye looks better," he says.
"That's good," she says, sounding almost shy, and the Doctor pulls her a little closer to him.
"How can I make you happy?" he asks, voice pitched-low, and she blinks.
"I am happy," she says, and something like distress passes over his face.
"Jack," the Doctor says. "I'm going to take you away with me."
Jack smirks. "I've been waiting years for you to come to your senses," he says, eyebrows wiggling. The Doctor attempts to keep a straight face, while Jack smiles knowingly.
"I'm going to make Martha better," the Doctor says. "I'm going to try to get her agree to come away. I think she'll want you to come."
"And you want me to come so that you don't completely screw everything up again?" Jack asks, and the Doctor winces.
"Something like that."
Jack sort of smiles at the admission, and then he nods. "I've always been at your beck and call, Doctor. Hers too."
The Doctor finds her sitting on the floor of her bedroom, back pressed tightly to the wall, obviously upset.
"Martha," he says, voice low. "What do you need?"
She blinks heavy eyes and tries to frown up at him. "What?"
"Everything you've said, your entire life, your family, Tom…you stayed with them, you helped them, because they needed you. Even me, you walked away from because you thought I needed something else, someone else. That's no way to live, Martha. What do you need?"
"What do I need?"
"What do you need, Martha Jones," the Doctor repeats gently, and she frowns, struggling with the question, struggling to give him an answer.
"I don't know," she whispers at last. "I don't know." She pulls her legs into her chest, buries her face in them, arms around her head. "I don't know anything anymore," she murmurs into her clothes.
"What do you want, then?" he asks, still trying to be gentle, and she lets out a reluctant sob.
"Time," she breathes. "Space. Freedom. Escape."
"We could take a trip," he offers, coaxing her head up with a finger to her chin. "I never did give you a trip without running and hiding and I always did depend on you too much."
"I'm not some weak girl," she says fiercely, despite the tears running down her cheeks, and he smiles sadly.
"You've never been weak," he says softly. "I rather think that was part of the problem. Too much strength and too good at hiding everything away."
"Doctor?" she asks, hesitant, and he finds her good hand, threads his fingers through hers.
"There are beaches where the sand is white and soft and the ocean is blue and goes on forever," he says, scooting over next to her so they're both leaning against the wall, hand-in-hand. "We'll take a vacation. A vacation that never has to end," he adds, and she closes her eyes at the delicious thought, and then almost immediately her face falls.
"Mum and Tish—"
"I have a time machine," he says, smiling sadly. "Let go of your responsibilities for a bit, Martha. Give yourself a bit of freedom."
She's still frowning, but reluctantly she relaxes back into the wall. "A little vacation would be nice," she admits slowly. And then she smirks a little, although the effort is a bit more apparent than it should be. "Although Jack will just end up ogling you the entire time."
"Oh, is Jack invited?" the Doctor asks, eyebrow raised. "Maybe it's you who's wanting to ogle our friend the Captain, eh?"
"Donna will keep him in line," she suggests, "If she's done vacationing with her family?"
"You'll be okay with both of them there?" he asks, hoping he's being tactful enough but worried that once again she's looking to make other people happy, or that she's simply too uncomfortable to be alone with him. She appears to hear something entirely different.
"They'll probably be busy," she says, worrying her lip a little with her teeth, and he squeezes her hand.
"They'll want to be there for you, if that's what you want," he says, trying for patience.
"I want…" she says, and then exhales sharply. "I want my family." He looks a bit crestfallen, and starts to pull back, and she blinks. "My TARDIS family," she adds, quickly, and at that he grins. He pulls her tightly into a hug, and she smiles back at him.
"Then that, he says, ever so determined, "Is precisely what you'll get."
The hum of the TARDIS in comforting, because it speaks of peace and love and time and faith and hope, always hope, stretching through the millennia, changing and molding and breathing and life goes on.
Martha and the Doctor and Donna and Jack and curled up on one of those large couches, a half-sprawled tangle of limbs and happiness, watching one of those terrible old sci-fi movies, and the Doctor keeps commenting on the complete inaccuracy, and Donna and Jack keep oohing and aahing when hot men walk on the screen, and Donna and Martha keep rolling their eyes and mouthing 'men' as the Doctor and Jack bicker back and forth about silly things, and Jack is shamelessly flirting with everyone, and Martha sits, so full of love and happiness and it really isn't fair to everyone else.
"Biscuit?" the Doctor offers her, except the looks in his eyes lets her know precisely what he's offering, and what it means, and she smiles through suddenly damp eyes.
"Yes please," she says, and he smiles back, so gentle, his fingers finding hers.
"Ooh, I love this part!" Donna smirks, nudging Martha as a quite well-built man enters stage left, and Martha laughs as Jack playfully runs a hand through the Doctor's precious hair.
"So do I," Martha says softly. "So do I."
AN: So. That was a long one-shot for me. So I love Martha, and ended up unable to resist the allure of evil!Tom. So this is my take on that.
Plus, I love Donna and Jack. Like, A LOT. You can probably tell.