It Comes To This
Disclaimer: All names and trademarks recognised as "Doctor Who" do not belong to me; I've just borrowed the characters for my own purposes.
Genre: General, Angst
Warnings: General spoilers for the first half of season three; set just after The Lazarus Experiment
Summary: While trapped in a cell, Martha has a few questions for the Doctor.
A/N Over on NFA (NCIS Fanfiction Addiction forums) we have just finished having an auction to raise money for Haiti, inspired by the LiveJournal one. This is for Dragon with the prompt: Ten/Martha friendship and "questioning things."
"Doctor," Martha started slowly as she paced the back of the cell, "why is it that every time we land in the middle of a civil crisis you somehow make it infinitely worse and land me in jail!" Martha's voice had got increasingly louder with every word.
The Doctor, crouched on his knees and studying the thick and heavy lock on their prison, looked up sheepishly at Martha. "Sorry?"
Martha glared at him and threw her hands up in despair. "For once, Doctor, I'd like to go on a quiet little trip to somewhere warm and sunny and not have to worry about whether I'll be executed for stepping on a flower!"
"You don't get executed for stepping on a flower," the Doctor replied, distracted as he went back to fiddling with the lock with his Sonic Screwdriver. "We-ll, not in the Solaris Galaxy anyway. The India Constellation is other story, though. Did I ever tell you about the time Rose and I . . ."
Martha made a noise of frustration. "Doctor, I am hungry and tired and one step away from being charged with a crime I can't even pronounce and you think this is the time for stories?!" She sighed and ran a hand through her hair. "Just get us out of here."
"Rose wouldn't've complained," the Doctor muttered to himself.
Unfortunately, overhearing his little remark did nothing for Martha's mood. It was always about Rose, wasn't it. "Oh, well I am sorry I'm not you precious Rose," Martha snapped sarcastically. "And I'm sor-ry that I happen not to like being locked up in jail, alien or otherwise."
"Martha," the Doctor warned gently. For some reason, his Sonic Screwdriver was not working as it should. It whirled and flashed, yet the bars across the door would not swing open. "Now is not the . . ."
"Not the time?!" Martha yelled, pacing up and down their small prison. "It's obvious you're still hung up about her. Didn't anyone ever tell you it wasn't polite to mention the ex in front of the new one?!"
The Doctor frowned at Martha. "Rose was certainly not someone to me that you could call an ex. And you certainly aren't . . ."
"For God's sake, it was a metaphor!" Martha shouted, exasperated. She stopped pacing and rubbed her temples. It was getting hot and stuffy and over crowed in this small cell; there was barely enough room for one, let alone three. "Just . . . don't," she sighed tiredly. "Just get me out of here, Doctor."
The Doctor nodded slowly. Martha's words had hurt, but he expected his had too. That hadn't been the point, but he supposed it was this incarnation; rude and insulting, he could be. "I just have to adjust the settings," he said quietly. "Shouldn't be too long."
"Good," Martha replied stiffly. There was a deep silence between the pair before Martha spoke up, saying quietly, "Why was she so special anyway? Rose, I mean."
The Doctor was still for a moment. He stopped working on the lock with his Screwdriver and glancing at its glowing blue tip, as though he was trying to avoid the question. Then he stood and put the Sonic into the pocket of his jacket before shoving his hands into the outside ones.
"Rose wasn't anything special," the Doctor started. "Not in that way." He gave a wistful smile. "She was just a shopgirl from London, but she was wonderful. Saved the world more times than you could imagine."
Martha crossed her arms and turned her body away from the Doctor. "I get that Rose was wonderful and brilliant, I do," Martha said softly, "but why do you have to keep bringing her up. I know you lost her, Doctor, and I'm sorry, but she's not here and I am. You invited me, remember."
"Was that a mistake?"
She glanced at the Doctor sadly. "You tell me." She paused. "You talk and talk but you never say anything. You told me about your world, about Gallifrey, and barely ten minutes later you were ready to dump me back at home as though nothing had happened." She paused again and said so softly that the Doctor could barely hear her,
"Why did you change your mind?"
"Oh, you know." The Doctor tried to be flippant. "Lazarus and all that. Remember? The giant de-aging machine that went haywire." The Doctor shook his head. "That's why you shouldn't ever interfere with age." He ran a hand through his sticky-up hair and went back to crouching on the ground, fiddling with the lock.
"So?" Martha pointed out, talking to the back of the Time Lord's blue suit. "You could have easily dropped me back home after all that. You did. But then you said okay. And what did you mean by I was never really just a passenger? And why me? Why me out of the billions of people on earth and billions of people in the entire galaxy?"
"Blimey," the Doctor remarked, "you can question with the best of them."
That earned a half-smile from Martha. She shrugged. "I'm a medical student," Martha replied flatly. "It's what we do. Ask questions, that is." She was silent for a moment; the only sound coming from the Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver. "And usually we receive an answer."
There was a long, drawn out silence and for a moment, Martha wondered if she'd crossed a proverbial line. Then . . .
"I need someone, Martha," the Doctor said finally, with as much rawness as she'd seen when he'd talked a little about his home planet. "I met a woman not that long ago. Brilliant ginger hair. I asked her to come with me, but she turned me down. She said I needed someone. But I'm dangerous, Martha. More dangerous than you could ever know."
"Doctor . . ." Martha didn't know how to respond. She walked up behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder. She was still ticked off at him for his earlier comments, but the Doctor looked so – damaged – that her compassion had kicked in. She crouched down beside him, said nothing and watched the Screwdriver, hand still on his shoulder.
"But you're a doctor, Martha," he finally continued, without looking at her. "And doctors save people. I need that."
"What?" Martha teased gently, nudging his shoulder. "Saving?"
The Doctor didn't reply and instead gave Martha a long, searching look before turning back to the lock. With one final whirl and a burst of light, the door swung open. The Doctor turned to Martha, grinning.
"There we go, then," he exclaimed proudly, patting Martha's hand before shrugging it off and standing. "One very unlocked door." He stepped through it, coat swishing around his ankles. He offered Martha his hand and she grasped it, smiling gently as he pulled her to her feet.
He smiled back at her and asked, rocking back on his heels, "Fancy ending a civil war, Doctor Jones?"