Martha stifled a cry of horror. Even after three months of wandering the Earth, evading the Toclofane, and spreading the Doctor's message, she knew should would never get used to this.
She stood on an ancient hill, looking over at the city below. Beneath her, Rome burned. The Underground had gotten word of the Master's plan and the city had been evacuated before the bombing started. Mostly. Even half a mile away, she could still hear the faint screams of those too foolish to leave.
"You know this isn't the first time," a soft voice murmured.
She spun around, raising her pistol. "Who are you?" she demanded.
The speaker, a young, fairly handsome man gave her a look she couldn't decipher. "That's the question, isn't it."
Martha had gotten used to people who were too scared to give their name. She'd used an alias herself, although it was extremely rare. "Who's side are you on?" she asked instead.
"Her's," the stranger replied matter-of-factly. "Actually, not. I was on her side. 'Cept, she's dead now. I'm on no one's side any more."
"How can you be neutral in a war like this?" Martha wondered aloud.
"Oh, it's a war? There isn't all that much fighting. Slaughter doesn't really count," the stranger stated mildly. "To answer your question, the trick to it is not fighting. It's not all that difficult." He gave her a wry smile, then looked up at the night sky, ignoring Martha's gun. He furrowed his brow like something was confusing him. "Are those supposed to be there?" he asked.
"The stars. Are they supposed to be there?" he repeated.
"Um, yeah," Martha replied.
He nodded absently. "Good to know. I forget sometimes. She used to remind me. Then he killed her. He killed me too. I just haven't found the time to die yet. Work to do, and all that. Not to mention it's a bit of a process. I want to do it properly this time. It doesn't usually stick, not with me. It's a bit annoying, really."
Trying to ignore the talk of his impending suicide, it was just a bit too much to wrap her head around at the moment, Martha asked the important question. "Who killed her?"
"The Master. I heard that's what he calls himself."
Martha lowered the gun and grinned. "I'm trying to take him down-"
"I knew that. Miss Martha Jones isn't it? You're a bit of a legend. So was I, but that was a while ago. No one has time to remember me now. All for the best, in the end. I never wanted to be remembered."
"-and I was wondering if you cared to join me."
The stranger gave her another indecipherable look. "You'd trust a man to help you save the world and you don't even know his name."
"I don't trust you," Martha informed him. "But I don't think you'd have a reason to harm me."
"Can you really afford to take that chance?"
The stranger raised an eyebrow.
"You claim neutrality," Martha explained. "No one is going to care if you don't want to fight, they're just going to care that you're not helping them. Any one who doesn't help them is an enemy. Both sides think that way."
"Not if they were wiser. I'm a dangerous enemy to make," the stranger said nonchalantly. "I'll help you."
"Really?" Martha asked skeptically. "It would be nice if you gave me a name."
"Call me Rory."
"Call me Martha."
Rory's face broke into a genuine grin. "Come with me. I know the caves around here like the back of my hand. You can hide until morning."
"I prefer to move by night," Martha pointed out.
"Yeah," Rory said, taking her hand and pulling her deeper into the hills. "Of course you do. It's the logical thing to do. Everyone knows that. So everyone knows when you'll be moving. People, and psychotic Time Lords I suppose, plan based on what they know. Do something unexpected now and then. Safer that way."
Martha conceded that logic and they continued on the way to safety. Suddenly, something occurred to her. "How did you see me? I'm wearing a perception filter."
"Oh, is that what it was? It's quite simple really. I'm a trained soldier. I can take in the terrain in a place I've never been before in a matter of seconds. I've learned to notice everything. So, when I don't notice something, it becomes particularly noteworthy."
"I've spent too much time with the Doctor," Martha mumbled. "That actually made sense."
"He does have that effect on people," Rory mused.
"You know him?"
"Travelled with him. Or rather, will travel with him. Time travel's odd like that. Don't tell him we've met, it could screw up the timelines. Any more questions? You do seem to be asking a lot of them."
"Yeah, actually. Could you be any more obvious?"
In the starlight, Martha saw Rory blink. "Huh?"
"How old are you?"
"Twenty-seven," he said, a touch to fast.
"You cannot seriously expect me to believe that. I spent months traveling with the Doctor, and I've met Jack Harkness. There is no way you could possibly be as young as you look. You couldn't be more obviously immortal if you wore a tee-shirt that said 'Hey Look! I'm Immortal!'"
"I'm not immortal!" Rory said indignantly. Martha raised an eyebrow. "Any more."
They had arrived at the mouth of a cave. It was completely dark, but Rory seemed to know his way around, and he led Martha through it to an open area lit by veins of phosphorescent crystals. As they sat down in the dust the eerie light and shadows emanating from the walls made Rory look ancient.
"So, how old are you really?" Martha asked
Rory didn't reply immediately. He looked up at the ceiling, doing the math.
"It depends," he finally replied slowly. "I'd like to say I'm only...1,921, but if you count all my alternate childhoods, you could say I'm as old as...1,999." He looked slightly shocked. "Didn't realize my bimillenial was next year." He laughed wryly. "Didn't think I'd live long enough to have a bimillenial. Oh well, not like I'll live to see it."
"Why's that, then?" Martha asked. Her brain had filed away the information on his age to be reviewed when she was running on more than two hours of sleep in as many days.
"She's dead. Told you that already. Don't have anything to live for."
"Then why are you helping me? Why haven't you killed yourself? I mean, I'm glad you haven't, don't get me wrong, but-"
Rory laughed again, this time with more genuine humor. "You really don't get it, do you?" He surged to his feet, a grin on his face. He didn't look quite human. It reminded Martha of the Doctor and the look he got just before he destroyed another threat to the universe, like their pitiful attempts at conquering were just the cutest, most endearing thing he had ever seen. "I don't have anything to live for, but there's a whole world out there full of innocent people in terrible danger. There's a whole world full of injustice, oppression, terror. There's a whole world full of people who need a hero. There's a whole world out there to die for. I'm not wasting a perfectly good death on my own problems. Though, I suppose most people would. I'm not most people, and neither are you. Most people don't travel with the Doctor."
Suddenly, he flopped down onto his back. "Go to sleep. No one but me knows this is here. We can move on in the morning." Then, so quietly that Martha nearly didn't catch it, and was sure she wasn't meant to, he whispered, "The Centurion takes up arms and goes to war. That hasn't happened in a while."
Strangely reassured, Martha slept well for the first time in three months. The apocalypse could wait until morning. And so could Rory's tale. There was no way she was letting that one go.
A/N: Thanks for reading, leave a review, I don't own, yadda yadda yadda. I'm not sure if I should continue this or leave it as a oneshot. Please let me know. Also, that look the Doctor gets? My favorite thing about 10. Watch any episode where he's not up against Daleks, Cybermen, or the Master. You'll see it when he realizes the bad guy's fatal mistake. It's adorable.