Breakfast of Champions

Earth: December 26, 2030

Martha strolled down the street, enjoying her Saturday. She had tried to get Mickey to join her, but he was having none of it. She was hard pressed to get him out of bed on most mornings, but after the Christmas dinner they had she'd be lucky if he hadn't slipped into a coma. Oh, well. If Mickey couldn't be bothered to wake up she would just have to enjoy the day by herself.

Martha walked by the shops and restaurants, most of them closed but some still open. A lone man in a ragged-looking tuxedo sat at one of the outdoor tables, mindlessly munching on chips and fish. Martha did a double-take when she realized it wasn't just any man, it was the Doctor.

"Doctor? What are you doing here?"

The Doctor nearly choked when he looked up and saw her. He quickly recovered and that charming, fake smile that she had grown to recognize lit up his face. But it was too late; she'd seen the wide, empty-eyed look he had before. "Just popping up here and there. Lovely year… this year… Blimey, you got old. What year is this?"

Martha rolled her eyes. "It's 2030."

"So, you're… fifty?"

"I'm forty-four, Doctor."

"You don't look a day over thirty!"

"For your sake I'm going to pretend that this little conversation never happened," Martha said as she slid into the chair next to him.

The Doctor nodded his head. "I like that idea. Best idea I've ever heard. Well, second-best after 'Let's go see what that noise is.'"

"In exchange though you have to tell me what's wrong."

The Doctor shrugged his shoulders and looked away. "Nothing's wrong. Why would you think something was wrong? Everything's brilliant. I had a great Christmas. I got to eat these little tiny cheese crackers on the Titanic."

"The Titanic?" Martha asked. "You were on the Titanic?"

"Yes- well, not that one. The flying one that nearly crashed into Buckingham Palace."

Martha blinked. "Doctor… that was about twenty-two Christmases ago."

"I told you I was doing a little popping here and there… and now I'm here. I think now's about the time I should be there."

Martha latched on to the Doctor's arm before he could get up. "Doctor… what happened? You're not acting like yourself. You shouldn't be sitting here alone; you should be running around on your next adventure."

"Well, I always wanted to see the green sun of Talosia." He sounded so nonchalant about it, but the way he looked at her… Those eyes were begging her. Ask me, they said. Ask me to come along. Be my companion again. "So, what do you say, Martha?" He asked, drawling out her name. He kicked her foot lightly with his, grinning that manic smile. "Want to see a green sun?"

Martha propped her head on her hand and smiled at him. "I think Mickey might have something to say about me running away with you."

The Doctor looked at her in confusion. "Mickey? What does he-" Then his eyes focused on the wedding ring on her finger. "Mickey?! You married Mickey the Idiot?"

Martha felt her eyebrows shoot up her forehead at that. Clearly she was dealing with an earlier Doctor. The Doctor seemed to realize his faux pas for once and quickly stuttered out an apology. "That's… that's good, I suppose. Martha and Mickey. Mickey and Martha. I like the alliteration."

After that neither one of them knew what to say. The Doctor kept glancing around, like he was trying to find a quick exit. There was this pained, worried expression across his face. He looked so lost.

"Doctor…" Martha said quietly and grabbed a hold of his hand. She squeezed his fingers tightly. "Please… just tell me what's wrong."

A shudder ran through the Doctor and he looked down at the table, tracing a lazy pattern onto the tablecloth. His other hand held on fast, though, like she was a lifeline. "Astrid's dead," he mumbled. Martha didn't know who this Astrid was but she assumed it was another companion. Then he breathed a sigh. "So is the Master."

Everything was so much clearer after that. How long had it been for him since she told him she no longer wanted to be his companion? Days? Weeks? For him, the Master's death was still a raw, open wound, however long ago it had been for her. She saw his eyes become wet with unshed tears and quickly pulled him into a crushing hug. Just let it go, she thought.

Her arms had barely been around him more than few seconds when he pushed her away and stood up on shaky legs, taking a few steps back to put as much space between them as possible. He shoved one of his hands into his pocket and pointed down the street. "Gotta get back to the TARDIS," he said, his face betraying just how uncomfortable and humiliated he felt. "Like you said, adventures and all that."

"Doctor!" She called out but it was too late. He was already running down the street. Martha had seen the broken man – just a man, nothing more – that hid underneath the façade that he liked to call The Doctor and because of that she knew she would never see him again.