Characters/Pairings- 10, Martha
Summary- Martha's in the mood for Shakespeare, and it brings back some reminiscences for the Doctor. Set between The Shakespeare Code and Gridlock.
A/N- I do reference Apocrypha Bipedium here, despite my disposal to reject spinoff media as canon.
"Shakespeare?" the Doctor asked, amused.
Martha was curled up in her bedroom (temporary bedroom, the Doctor reminded himself, just like she was only a temporary traveling companion, no matter if the TARDIS had taken the initiative and decked the room out all in green) with a heavy tome she had unearthed from Rassilon-only-knew-where perched on her knees.
She grinned brightly at him. "Yep. After meeting the man himself, I thought I'd go back and read some of my favorites." He looked at the cover of the book in her hands, and was almost surprised. If he weren't so used to Time proving to him repeatedly that everything always came back, he would have been surprised.
"Troilus and Cressida," he commented. "Oh, that's a good one. Bit ahead of its time, actually, one of Will's better pieces. Got the ending a bit wrong, though."
Martha raised her eyebrows, both conveying dubious surprise and urging him to keep talking. "Oh?"
"Oh yes," he said, as if it were obvious. "They didn't die tragically or anything! Lived out their lives safe and sound in Cornwall! At my recommendation, of course."
"Not at all."
"So, you actually knew Troilus?" she asked.
The Doctor shook his head. "No. Well, I met him, but I actually knew Cressida. Only she wasn't called Cressida when I knew her."
Martha was doing an excellent job- or rather, she thought she was doing an excellent job- of concealing her amazement and disbelief. "Oh really?"
He nodded, leaning against the doorframe with his arms crossed and one ankle crossing the other. "Really. She was a lovely girl, very sweet. Reminded me a bit of my granddaughter, actually." Martha's eyes widened at that, and he immediately regretted mentioning it. Damn this babbling new mouth of his! Susan was not a subject he was inclined to discuss with anyone, let alone someone who wasn't likely to be aboard much longer. He quickly steered his words in a direction he knew would distract her. "I picked her up in the twenty-fifth century."
"So you're telling me that not only are Troilus and Cressida not fictional, but Cressida is actually a woman from the future?"
The Doctor shrugged. "What you've got to understand, Martha, is that for me, time isn't linear. What is the future, anyway? Doesn't even apply to me!"
Martha looked at him for a long moment. "I think you're taking the mickey out of me," she said.
"I'm really not, you know."
"You say that, but somehow I still don't believe you."
The Doctor shrugged. "Up to you," he replied, not at all bothered by Martha's disbelief. Most people he encountered had a hard time grasping the scope of some of his adventures- particularly when they were adventures so intimately tied into events or people they already thought they knew plenty about. He turned and headed for the door.
Her voice stopped him in his tracks. "Yes, Martha?"
"You said her name wasn't Cressida. What was it?"
He smiled reminiscently. "Vicki Pallister."
Yes, he thought, a little hint of melancholy creeping into his voice. Yes it was. "Tell you what, Martha," he said, "How about a quick pop to the future before I take you back home?"
"Can we visit the twenty-fifth century?" she asked.
"I'll do even better than that!" he promised her, and left her room to go and chart a course to the future. Maybe it was time for another visit to New Earth...