Written for the 2009 femgenficathon on livejournal. Bold, italicized dialogue is from the Tenth Doctor, throughout series three.
"Well, you were never really just a passenger, were you?"
You loved having a key to the TARDIS. After the fear you had felt aboard the S. S. Pentalian and when riding the lifepod jettisoned from it, you were grateful to have a connection to the ship that ferried you across time and space. It was like owning Hermione's Time-Turner and a flying carpet all rolled into one, only a thousand times more brilliant than that.
The Doctor and you decided on your next destination together--going to watch the moon landing with a huge crowd of other spectators, back in nineteen sixty-nine.
Much to your surprise, one of your favorite parts of visiting that year the first time was playing dress-up. You'd never been the girly type before--that was Tish's role. She'd always been the pretty one to your science geek. Even now those childhood titles still followed you around, and the feelings they invoked.
The Doctor didn't bother with changing clothes, and looked indulgently amused as you rummaged through the TARDIS's wardrobes until you found a fabulous bright yellow embroidered peasant blouse and bell-bottom jeans. You admired the dresses, suits and other clothes from different eras. Where did it all come from? How many humans had traveled with the Doctor before? How many other women?
When you were younger, you'd been fascinated by astronomy. You'd watched the news and read the newspapers obsessively when Galileo had flown past Jupiter. No one else in your family had any interest in it. Now you learned that part of the thrill of space exploration was being with others who were equally excited about this kind of discovery and accomplishment. After watching the moon landing once, you were pleased to see it again from another location. The Doctor's idea; he would have been blind to miss your excitement the first time.
"Now, the TARDIS will take care of everything. Invent a life story for me, find me a setting and integrate me. Can't do the same for you... you'll just have to improvise."
"The past is another country." He'd told you this before your first trip back in time; some part of you recognized it as a quote from a famous book. That's why you came, though--to see something new or old or just different. You hadn't thought about the smells. Will Shakespeare, of all people, had flirted with you shamelessly and you'd loved all of it; the stench was worth it.
Now it was different. It was all unreal, the panic and rush as you ran to find clothes and tried to decide what to pack. Nineteen thirteen. If this had happened in some other way--some other when--you would have enjoyed hunting for a costume in the TARDIS's closets. Instead you grabbed a long black dress and a faded tapestry bag, then panicked for a moment as you wondered about tampons, hair products, dental floss... everything.
He made the video while you hurried about. You didn't have time to talk to him about why this time period... why the Doctor's ship hadn't included the color of your skin in its calculations. What could a ship that looked like a wooden police box know about race and class anyway? You felt numb while you reached for a suitable costume for the Doctor. Then you went into your tiny bathroom and pulled your hair into a tight knot.
"But don't open it unless you have to. Because once it's open, then the Family will be able to find me. It's all down to you, Martha. Your choice."
You dreamed here--vivid scenes unlike your usual mixture of hospital and family nightmares blended with the mundane. Instead you saw monsters, stranger than any of those half-developed childhood demons; fire and planets; a blonde girl, marching robots and a metal dog with a red-haired woman. Glowing green faces hovered menacingly over you and the Doctor right before you woke up.
"I keep imagining that I'm someone else, and that I'm hiding--"
Hearing the insults from the boys, you thought that Will Shakespeare's titles for you--blackamoor and Queen of Afric--weren't so bad. At least he'd been trying to be flattering.
The rules of propriety in the neighboring village meant that adults outside of the school generally treated you with a studied disinterest. At work it was different. You could hardly distinguish between the disdain for a female servant and the casual contempt for the color of your skin. Sometimes it was completely clear, though it mattered little. Being female, a domestic, and black, you were of little worth.
It's the boys who were deliberately cruel: to prove themselves clever in front of their peers or because they had no reason to censure any comments. Sometimes you thought of the Carrionites, the witches you'd met in Shakespeare's England. You remembered the power they had; just by saying, "I name thee Martha Jones," you'd fallen asleep. Later the Doctor told you that you'd have died if you'd been in your own time. Names: they mattered. You're labeled here, and you didn't like it.
"Four- no, wait a minute, three. No getting involved in big historical events."
Even in the dark, when you're about to fall asleep, you have to watch your words. But you can't resist talking about some ideas: suffrage for women, aspirations of equality, rejecting class oppression.
Jenny found them strange--more exotic than the color of your skin or anything else about you.
"That's just daft, that is," she declared from her bed, giggling a bit at yet another apparently revolutionary statement from you. Jenny's tone was both shocked and admiring, but more than anything it was fearful. She was scared of what she didn't know.
A few minutes later and Jenny was talking about King George and Queen Mary and what lovely children they had. You've already figured out that he was George the Fifth--though this was still the Edwardian Era, or would be called such in the future.
You wondered what exactly a king had to do to earn a title for his time period. Maybe George just didn't have enough influence, or he was too boring, with his stamp-collecting, his lovely children and his lack of mistresses.
"But this Doctor sounds like some... some romantic lost prince."
You didn't see what Matron saw. John Smith, history teacher, isn't the same person who first caught your attention walking down a London street near your hospital just before you first went to the moon. Matron saw a man who belonged here, who felt the same jingoistic patriotism as his colleagues and was nice to you out of a cursory politeness and a made-up familial connection. He taught the schoolboys how to shoot, a skill they would practice for keeps soon enough. John Smith mostly fit this now, but to you he's made of cardboard, two-dimensional.
No wonder he dreamed every night. Who he was now couldn't contain all that he'd been before (and would be again, you promised yourself).
You missed the Doctor. He hadn't shared things with you; for all his manic moods and wild enthusiasm he'd been guarded and private about so many things. John Smith, though--he told Matron about his dreams. He showed her a book that you hadn't even known he was writing.
When you saw the book that the Doctor--no, Mister Smith was keeping, you wondered if his dreams were the same as those you'd been having. If something, someone, was trying to talk to both of you, to remind the Doctor of who he really was.
The next time you entered the TARDIS you said, "Hello!" Then you felt foolish and shook your head, muttering, "I'm talking to a machine." You watched the Doctor's video of instructions again, smiling at his goofy expressions.
Later you'll wish you had said something, had told the TARDIS to back off. Not that it would have made a difference, not really. Hiding in the past was always an impossible task. Too many variables outside of your control, including John Smith's romantic leanings.
"One, don't let me hurt anyone. We can't have that, but you know what humans are like."
Jenny. She would never have the opportunity to vote. She'd never visit any place more than fifty kilometers from where she was born. Saul, a nearby farmhand and Jenny's would-be boyfriend, would never ask her for another dance.
The Doctor never told you what he did with Jenny's shell; you didn't ask him, either. It wasn't Jenny anymore.
It was too hard to tally your regrets for all that had happened here; plus there had never a question of refusing to help him. You were always at your best when someone needed help.
So you left nineteen thirteen and the Doctor was himself again, ready to move on to somewhen and somewhere else.
"But I do remember one thing; it all took place in the future. In the year of Our Lord two thousand and seven."
Then the Doctor and you went forward to the end of the universe, and found Jack, and him. The Master. You fell into what Jack later called, "The year that wasn't." It changed everything.
You walked the globe in two thousand eight, trying to save the world as it burned and rotted around you. Each time you told your story and named him Doctor, you thought of its power, the power you were lending to the title. It wasn't just the word, it was the intent. You claimed that potential and expanded it. He wasn't someone you could stay with forever--you didn't dwell on that thought, knowing (hoping) there would be time enough when this was over for you to have a proper conversation--but he was the one who could save all of you. For that to happen, you gave him a name.
Something about naming him Doctor, with that all-encompassing faith that he could heal the present, changed you. You still loved the idea of him, and yeah, there was chemistry there, even though he hadn't acted on it much. But now... you've acted as a doctor throughout the march across five continents. You've treated your own blisters until you'd found a better pair of shoes on a corpse, performed a tracheotomy, set countless broken bones, and helped four women give birth.
You're ready to claim the title for yourself.