A/N: set just after human nature/family of blood episodes. Martha asks the Doctor a question that she can't help but want to know.

Falling In Love Never Occurred To Him

"Doctor...?" Martha began slowly, hesitantly.

He glanced up at her from his position on the grating, where he was fiddling with something under the console. "Yeah?"

"When you were human..."

"Yeah?" he prompted when she trailed off again. He jumped up from the floor and twisted a few knobs and pressed a few buttons, waiting patiently for her question.

Martha cleared her throat uncomfortably. "Well, it's just, you – no, wait - John and Joan fell in love, right, and you – he – said, about you, I mean, he said something like: 'falling in love never occurred to him? What sort of a man is that?' and I...well, I was just, sort of...wondering...why? Did it ever occur to you? I had no idea what to do when it happened, because you hadn't left me an instruction for that on the video thing, and - "

"Martha," he said curtly, wanting her to stop. He had paused his motions, and was standing very still, looking at the console unblinkingly. Frozen, almost. Frozen in his thoughts, thoughts of the past, thoughts of another girl, far away and long ago - and not that long ago, not really, and far into the future, forwards and back, that was their momentum - and definitely, definitely not forgotten. Frozen in those memories. Well, frozen in reality, in life, really. Because, well...he, his mind, his hearts; he hadn't gotten over it (her.) Not yet, and, almost certainly, not ever. Because when was it going to stop hurting? Never, most probably.

But then...well. It was...it was her, and he...he could live with the hurt. For the rest of his life, he'd put up with the pain, because at least that meant he remembered it all, the depth of it, how they'd been, and he hadn't just imagined it; it had been real - really, really real; it wouldn't hurt this much if he'd just dreamt her up, or imagined the look in her eyes, or the happy, wonderful ache deep in his chest when he saw her smile.

Watching him warily, Martha had stopped talking, closing her mouth obediently at his warning tone of voice. Then, she murmured an apology, and started to walk away.

His voice, low and quiet and so very sad, stopped her in her tracks.

"He was right. It never occurred to me."

He swallowed thickly, and waited for her response.

"Oh. So..." she trailed off again. How could she put it? How could she ask him without sounding accusing, or judgemental, or scared? She didn't want to sound anything like all of that, she just wanted to know. For so long she'd been unable to read him, and now he'd opened up, just a little, and she wanted him to elaborate on that last statement, tell her what he meant by it.

She tried again, in the only way she knew how. "So...what sort of a man does that make you?" she murmured softly, trying to sound compassionate, gentle.

The Doctor sighed wearily and rubbed at his eyes, determined to tell her, for once just tell her, well, tell someone, actually – finally just tell someone – the truth.

He sniffed determinedly, and began to speak. "It makes me the sort of man who falls in love once, and in doing so, falls in love forever, and couldn't possibly fall in love again."

He chanced a look at her, saw her mouth open to question him further, then abruptly shut again; she was unsure again, of quite how to pose her inquiry.

"Done it once," he continued, mumbling quietly now as he sat back down on the floor, and settled himself underneath the console to fix some wires that didn't need fixing. "Don't need or want to do it again."

Martha exhaled shakily and muttered goodnight before retreating to her bedroom, not knowing what to say to him in reply. She'd got her answer, but honestly? It didn't mean she had to like it. And she wasn't sure anything she could say would make him feel better.

The last few months had been tough, but somehow, she knew he'd had tougher. In the past. Before her. And she couldn't blame him for not asking her how she was – well, he had done, he wasn't quite that oblivious; but he hadn't really listened when she'd answered. But he'd thanked her, of course he had; she'd looked after the human him after all, and risked a hell of a lot – her life, for one - to keep him safe.

But he wasn't hugging her, comforting her, making her a cup of tea, offering to take her somewhere spectacular to make up for it all. It probably didn't occur to him, and she could not, would not, ever blame him for it because what right did she have to be lonely and need a comforting hand to hold when he was obviously so damn miserable with her being the wrong person here with him? She knew she was his friend, and he cared about her, needed her, even, and he liked her company, but sometimes she felt very aware of the fact that she was not, and could not ever be, enough. Not like the one that got away had been.

The Doctor heard her leave, and with another deep sigh, he dropped the sonic screwdriver beside him and shoved the newly-broken wires back in their non-rightful place, before flopping his head down to the floor a little (a lot) unceremoniously. That last thing...well, he'd done it a bit harder than he'd intended, mind, because he had a bump coming up on his head now; and to be honest, it bloody hurt.

Still, he thought to himself, at least that provides some sort of false excuse for the tears...even if it is unmanly.

He swiped his hand across his face, trying to regain some sort of composure and pride, but it was kind of hopeless, and he gave in to the unmanliness, un-Time-Lord-liness, and emotion took control.

Peace came, though, after a while of thinking and regretting and missing and longing; he fell asleep there under an hour later, and it was actually quite welcomed by him – yep, the man, alien, who used to mock his human companions for sleeping their lives half away, was admitting he liked to sleep.

But it was all justified. Because sleep meant one thing.

He could dream of her.

(Just like he always did, even when he was human and couldn't remember who he really was; he'd remembered her, seen her in his dreams, always walking away, and known he loved her, this imaginary-dreamt-up-girl that was actually very real, his perfect Rose; she was there, constantly, holding his hand, always, defining him, always; defining his very existence.)

He could get her back, just for a bit.

And when he woke up from his dream with a start – they'd been to the planet Fredoriaa that night, and she'd thrown a banana skin at him when, the cheek of him, he'd tried to kiss her, even after just having forgotten to inform her of the very large evil cactus-looking-but-not-quite-cactus that lived atop the Mountain of Insuito which loved to devour humans - he sat up with one word on his lips, so quickly that he bashed his head again.

"Rose – oww! Bugger, I keep doing that."

...

Of course falling in love hadn't even occurred to the Time Lord; he already had fallen in love, before, with her, his Rose.

And the name of that girl would be on his lips every time he woke up, even though she was not with him anymore.

...

A/N: Hiya everyone. Hoped you liked this :D It'd be lovely to hear from you, to see what you think. Loveya xxx