A/N: A sad little scene that fits into the second part of the End of Time, right before the Doctor starts saying good-bye.
Disclaimer: If I owned Doctor Who, David Tennant would never have been allowed to leave...
The Love of Their Lives
"What are you thinking, right now?" Jack asks, holding a thermos of tea out to Martha. She jumps slightly, started out of her reverie by the sound of his voice. She accepts the tea with a grateful smile and motions for him to sit down next to her on the grass. He does so, and watches her watching the stars as he waits for her answer.
"I don't know," she replies, finally. Her voice is quiet in the night, the only human sound among the crickets and the wind. Earth, he thinks, has never been more beautiful than it is this night. He shrugs out of his coat, and raises his eyebrow at Martha.
"Come on," he says. "You can't fool me with that look on your face." Martha blows gently on her tea, and smiles sadly.
"You know what I'm thinking about, Jack," she says. "It's what we're always thinking about." He nods, and sips his tea, ignoring the burning sensation that flows across his tongue and down his throat.
"It is a sort of constant thing, isn't it?" he asks, more to himself than to her. It's her turn to nod.
"What's he doing right now?" she asks, gazing up at the stars. "Where is he—when is he?" They laugh quietly.
"I'm sure he's on…" Jack pauses, "I don't know… The planet Gobbledygook in the year six-hundred-and-forty-two and I know he's saving them all." She looks at him sidelong until they both burst into laughter.
"Gobbledygook?" Martha asks through her laughter. "Is that the best you could come up with?"
"On short notice, yeah." He shrugs. "And don't ask me the significance of 642."
"Come on! Must be important."
"I have no idea." They laugh again, but soon settle into the quiet they have grown used to. Because it is only in the quiet that they would be able to hear the whooshing sound of the TARDIS, if it were to appear. It is only in the quiet that they think they can hear the echo of his voice calling back to them out of their memories. It is only in the quiet that their longing is tangible, and awful, and real. So they sit in the quiet, sipping tea, watching that stars, wondering when he will come back.
"He is saving the planet, though," Jack says between sips. "Wherever he is."
"Well, obviously," Martha says. "That's what he does. He saves people."
"It's what he's best at." The silence lengthens, and the stars twinkle and begin to fade into dawn.
"Do you think…" Martha pauses, unsure if she should ask. Jack raises a questioning eyebrow and she takes a deep breath. "Does he ever think about us? About the ones he leaves behind?"
Jack takes a breath to answer, but exhales when he realizes that he has no reply to give.
"Yeah, my thoughts exactly," Martha says, leaning back on her hands and stretching her legs out before her. "He hasn't got time to think about us, yeah? He's too busy saving the universe." There is no regret in her voice, only quiet acceptance. Jack feels the same resignation in his own heart, and smiles sadly.
The last star winks out and a pink glow invades the horizon, warning of the new day approaching. Jack stands and pours out the last of his tea on the dew-stained grass. Martha gets up, too, brushing off the bits of grass that cling to the back of her legs. The silence between the two friends is broken by Martha's mobile. She checks to see who it is, and ignores it.
"Seriously, if Mickey calls one more time, just worrying…" But she is smiling at the ring glittering on her finger. And Jack knows she will return the call as soon as he's gone. "We've all got to move on sometime, yeah?" she says. "Get over him, get a life." She doesn't meet his eyes as she zips up her jacket and turns to walk away, down the hill toward the city.
"Do you still love him?" he asks suddenly. "The Doctor?" Martha looks at him sharply, but her glare softens at the look on his face. She nods. "Yeah, me too," Jack whispers. A single tear runs down Martha's face, and she swipes at it angrily.
"It's stupid," she says, her voice catching in her throat. "He never looks at us, and he never will, but still…"
"I know," Jack says, around the lump in his throat. "The price we pay for staying close to him… That intolerable pain…the heartbreak." He trails off.
"But it is worth it," Martha whispers. "Somehow, it's all worth it."
"Yes," Jack agrees. "Because he's beautiful. And terrible. And the most brilliant being in the whole wide universe. And to stand next to that glory, even for a moment…"
"Exactly," Martha says.
"Exactly," Jack repeats. "No words to describe it." The two friends embrace for a moment, and Martha wipes away her tears. She heads downhill one way, toward the edge of the city, where Mickey will pick her up, and Jack turns the other way, toward the ship that will take him back to Torchwood or to some bar at the centre of the universe, who knows which? But just before she is out of his sight, he turns back and calls out, "He does think of us, you know!"
And she smiles as she replies, "All the time!" She raises her hand in farewell, knowing they'll be out, watching the stars for the flying blue box, sooner rather than later. Jack salutes, and runs west, chasing the night, like always. Like all the Children of Time do—chasing the stars, chasing the love of their lives, always so close to touching, but never quite able to reach…
The Doctor stands on the summit of the hill, hands shoved deep in his trench coat pockets, staring out at the rising sun. The golden rays touch the emerald grass of Earth, and dry the splashes of tea that mingle with the dew on the ground. He sighs, as the last echoes of the conversation they thought was just between them fade. While they watched the stars, he watched them, but he dared not interrupt. A silent tear tracks down his cheek, and he blames the wind. But deep in his hearts, he knows that it is the beauty, the tenacity, the undying love that are the essence of humanity. And he knows that it is time to say good-bye to the loves of his life…
A/N: We'll miss you, DT, we miss you already. I sobbed for the last forty-five minutes of The End of Time. This story is for everyone else who was just as much a wreck as I was. Lots of love. Happy reading,
P.S. I am working on a story about Jack set during the Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords, titled 365 Ways to Kill a Man. And I have a plea to all my readers: If you can send me, either in a review or in a PM/e-mail, ideas for how to kill someone (this sounds really bad, doesn't it? Sorry. :D) it would be much appreciated. You know, aside from the obvious (drowning, burning, shooting, etc), I need creative ways to die. That sounds so horrible, but it is the Master, yeah? So send me your ideas, and thanks SO much! :) S