Title: "The Doctor's Pretty Girls"
Author: (drum-roll, please) brokenheartedshipper/Dori
Characters, Pairings: Tardis' POV, Ten, regretful/one-sided/too-late Ten/Martha and Eleven/Martha, Rose, Ten/Rose, Donna, Amy, Eleven/Amy
Summary: "But oh, I'm sure you're wondering by now. And yes, I do have a favorite. Martha Jones." The Tardis reflects on the Doctor's pretty girls.
Warnings: Mainly Martha (hey, that's catchy), so if you don't like her, you should probably shy away from this fic. There is some criticism of Rose and Donna, but overall loads of love for both because I do adore them.
Rating: T for themes and a mild post-coital scene at the end
Notes: (1)What's this? Dori's writing a fic for an extremely unpopular pairing? What an enormous surprise! Why the fuck can't I just like canon? (2) A small portion of this is through the end of "The Poison Sky" and "The Doctor's Daughter."

*/*

The Doctor always has liked his pretty girls, hasn't he? Always, always with the pretty girls. He should have learned his lesson by now, you would think, but no no, no no. He just will not give it up.

Of course, I'm not saying that I dislike these pretty girls. Not at all, not at all! They are all quite magnificent, in their own ways. Always brave. Always adventurous. Always...pretty.

First off, there was Rose Tyler. The Doctor did like his Rose, didn't he? She was blonde and smiley and had a bounce in her step. That was good for my Doctor, I think. (A quick pet peeve: I adore all the Doctor's pretty girls, really, I do, but one thing I cannot bear is their insistence on calling him 'my Doctor'—it is dangerous for his heart and theirs. He will never be theirs. I am the only one who can be with him forever. It's not fair to allow him to hope otherwise, and you know my Doctor: he's oh so keen to hope, much as he sometimes must wishes he wasn't.) But Rose was not terribly strong. She cowered in the face of danger, waiting for the Doctor to save her and rarely saving him back. Everyone needs saving once in a while, even the Doctor. Especially the Doctor.

Rose was a sweetheart, such a sweetheart, but the poor thing was nearly helpless sometimes. She was quite the little damsel in distress, now wasn't she? Nothing against her, mind you—she simply was not my type of woman. She wasn't a woman, really. She was a girl, who at nineteen was swept off her feet by a wondrous man who took her hand and told her Run. She looked up to him like a god. Naïve, beautiful, sweet, infatuated…innocent. The Doctor has a weakness for the innocent, the starry-eyed—he's hungry to show them more, to ensure that those stars in their eyes stay put. He tries to keep them that way forever, but he hasn't figured out yet that he can't. He wants to so badly, though, so badly, because the stars in his own eyes faded such a very long time ago, and all he can do now is bring them to others.

Rose Tyler, though—she was bright-eyed in a way I've never seen! She was special like that. The Doctor ached to keep her starry-eyed, and so he fell in love with her to aid his cause.

Silly Doctor. Silly, silly Doctor. He loved his Rose.

*/*

There was Donna, who was not starry-eyed, no, not at all. So the Doctor fancied he could make her be. He did, a little bit. He does that to people.

I liked Donna well enough, but like Rose, she could never triumph on her own. She was strong, yes, and she was savvy, true, but she was not particularly smart. She could not figure things out on her own. She needed the Doctor for guidance every step of the way. That's why his head gets so big sometimes, you know (conceited little buggar, he is)—all these pretty girls begging for his help and knowledge and wisdom, begging to be saved all the time. Good God. I liked them, yes, yes, I liked them, but just once I wanted to see them solve it on their own; certainly they helped, but who but the Doctor had ever truly saved the world?

*/*

But oh, I'm sure you're wondering by now. And yes, I do have a favorite. Martha Jones.

She walked the Earth on her own two feet, spreading the word for salvation. She trudged through piles of snow and grew weary of stepping over limp, dying bodies; she crossed the oceans, she climbed the mountains; her name was legend. Everything depended on her, and her alone. Even the Doctor. Especially the Doctor.

And she did it. She saved the world. All on her own.

Where Rose tremble and Donna flailed, Martha fought back. She took action against all manner of nefarious aliens and foes, and she, well, 'kicked ass,' shall we say. What's more, on countless occasions she figured out the solution when the Doctor could not, and saved his life and everyone's. I believe she did that the very first time they met, is that right? And still he belittled and dismissed her. (Silly Doctor. Silly, silly Doctor. He can be so stupid sometimes—I should know. I don't know what he would do without me.)

I guess the thing about Martha Jones is that she was always more of a badass than even the Doctor.

I know she left him. I was sorry to see her go, but proud of her at the same time. She wanted him so badly, and when he would not see how marvelous she was, she walked away. I don't believe any of the others would have had the strength to do that. But Martha Jones was Martha Jones.

The Doctor visited her twice after she left. The first time was a few months after she'd gone...He really should have been in Kaldor City solving a predicament with a wayward mayor, but I allowed him a bit of a detour. He wasn't speaking much, not even mumbling to himself or questioning my inner workings (which are not to be questioned, I warn you). He was silent as he pulled the appropriate lever on my console, landing in London. I knew where Martha was. I can sense things like that…it's an odd little trait of mine. I made it easy for him, and landed only a few blocks from the park where she and Tom Millegan were out for a stroll.

I know what happened. The Doctor and I have a deep psychic connection, you see. I'm not sure he's as aware of it as I am, the daft little man, but it's very strong. Martha and Tom were holding hands as dusk fell. The Doctor waited by a towering oak tree, and I knew that he did not plan to speak to her. That was not what he was there for.

I could see what he could not. I could see the small velvet box in Tom Millegan's pocket before he could. If only I had noticed sooner, I would have defied the Doctor (not so difficult to do, believe it or not) and landed in Kaldor City on schedule. But I did not. And so the Doctor saw what the Doctor saw.

He came back and did not set coordinates for departure right away. He stood with his hands in his pockets near my doors, head down, unmoving. Slowly, he shuffled over to my console, where he slumped down and leaned against me. He closed his eyes. He looked very tired.

"Engaged," he told me. "Engaged already."

I hummed comfortingly.

"I guess I just..." He started, trailing off, and now he was up and pacing, hands shoved even deeper in his pockets, a concentrated look on his face. "Why didn't I..." And his hands ran through his hair. His eyes were getting wilder. "I was so caught up with...I still love...Rose..." But he was distressed now, very distressed. He did not seem sure of anything he was saying.

However, that much was true. He did still love Rose. He always will, a little bit.

But Martha caused him so much more pain. He was beginning to regret not looking at her twice. He was beginning to regret not declaring her his companion straightaway.

He was beginning to regret not loving her. He was beginning to realize what he'd lost.

He kicked my console now, which irked me exceedingly, but I was lenient with him on account of the pain I could feel in him. The Doctor has so many regrets, so many things he wishes he could have said, hugs he wishes he could have given, entire races he wishes he could have saved, but that day was the day he realized that what he had done to Martha Jones trumped them all. For the rest of his life (which is saying much more when it comes to a Time Lord—he has to deal with pain, guilt, and shame for much longer than you humans), he knew that in the pyramid of his remorse, the name Martha Jones would maintain a steady place on top, along with an image of her sideways smirk and the sweet smell of her breath inches away from him on that bed in 1599.

(He'd been thinking of Rose. That was a mistake. Martha could have given him so much that night.)

*/*

When Martha stepped onto my floors again after defeating the Sontaran, I was delighted. It felt good to have her back. And yes, of course I've got a bit of a devious side, as the Doctor knows quite well by now. I knew we had to be at the battle of Humans vs. Hath, and I decided, why wait for Martha to get going? Might as well just take off with her inside! We could use her help, too, couldn't we?

Let's just say, I wasn't letting her get away this time.

And so before she could make her exit and return home to her Tom Millegan, I quickly geared up for the trip. She was upset at first, of course, but I knew she'd thank me later. And she did. Literally.

"Thank you," she said softly, so no one could hear, resting her hand tenderly against my side. "Thank you."

"You're welcome," I whispered. And I hope she heard me.

*/*

I believe now, in his new body, the Doctor has found his balance.

There is another nineteen-year-old swept off her feet by him (though of course, she's older now). She still carries the wonder of youth in her, as Rose did. She has fiery hair like Donna, and like her predecessor she's crass and witty and makes the Doctor blush (an ego check of which he is in dire need, in my humble opinion). And she is strong like Martha, though not quite as strong. And no one, I believe, will ever be as smart. The Doctor isn't willing to be so reminded of her, yet.

They lie in his bed naked, and she circles her fingers in untraceable patterns on his chest. He has his arm around her waist, and she rests her head by his neck.

"Tell me about the others," she says. "The others you've loved." That's one thing I like about Amy Pond: she does not flinch away from the knowledge of Martha and Donna and Rose, whose story is the hardest to hear from the standpoint of a new lover. Many will say that Rose will always be the Doctor's greatest love, and I admit that she is quite often on his mind and in his heart, but I've known him far too long and far too well to really believe he has only one true love. No one has just one soul mate, not even the Doctor. Especially not the Doctor. I believe he will live long enough to find them all, all his soul mates. He's unearthed quite a few already, some platonic soul mates, some... the other kind. I know of three of the 'other kind' he's found, like diamonds in the rough, quite recently. His greatest regret is that he did not recognize one of those. Her name was Martha Jones.

When the Doctor is finished, Amy tilts her head up to look him in the eyes. He pauses the motion of his hands tracing letters in far-off languages on her back. (He is spelling out a phrase; she won't recognize the words. It is our little secret. For now.)

"You keep good company, Doctor. Very good company."

"Yes," he answers distractedly, restarting the trace of his hands on her back. (If he keeps it up, that phrase will be tattooed there forever. He quite likes the sound of that.) "Yes, I suppose I do..." And he allows himself to think of a woman with dark skin and chocolate hair for a little while, and to regret, and to find some sort of temporary solace. Everyone needs peace sometimes, even the Doctor. Especially the Doctor.

*/*

Yes, the Doctor loves his pretty girls. And I love them too. Rose…Donna…Amy Pond…

But my favorite of the Doctor's pretty girls will always be Martha Jones.