Martha jerked into full alertness in a matter of seconds. She had been a slow riser before the Toclofane attacked. She missed the days when she could sleep in a bit. She also missed the days when she couldn't sleep anywhere except in a bed. She was lying fully clothed on the floor of a cave. She quickly scanned her surroundings. Empty, except for Rory, who was sitting cross legged, facing the mouth of the cave.
"Sleep well?" he asked.
"Well enough." She opened her pack and took out two sets of rations, offering one to Rory. He waved her off.
"I'm not hungry. Don't need to eat much."
Martha nodded and started eating. She was relieved that she wouldn't have to stretch her rations quite as far. There was only so much she could carry.
"What's the plan?" Rory inquired absentmindedly.
"This isn't the first time the Master has come to Earth," Martha explained. "Nor is he the only Time Lord that has been a threat to us. UNIT created a weapon capable of killing a Time Lord without him regenerating."
Rory nodded. "Why haven't you used it?"
"The Doctor...is a bit irritating sometimes." Rory smirked. "UNIT decided that having a weapon that could kill him around oversensitive military men wasn't the brightest idea, so they took the gun, which is loaded with four unique chemicals that aren't found anywhere else in the world and scattered them across the globe. My job is to find them all and kill the Master."
"Lemme guess, you don't know where they are," Rory replied.
"Wonderful. Let's go." Rory sounded honestly enthusiastic.
"Wait!" Martha called. "You don't have a perception filter."
"Don't worry," Rory said. "The Toclofanes' sensors only scan for human life. Too much interference otherwise."
Martha gave him an exasperated look. "Rory. You are human."
"What? Oh yeah, that's right, I am. Sorry. Keep forgetting. She used to remind me you know. Then he killed her."
"Look," Martha stated firmly. "If I'm going to travel with you, I need a bit more to go on than you keep forgetting you're human."
"It's a long story," Rory said gravely, "and we don't have the time to tell it. All you need to know for the moment is that I spent two millennia unable to sleep, eat, or drink; and I had superhuman strength, stamina, senses, and reflexes. Two millennia is a hard habit to break. Sometimes I forget that I need certain things. You just have to remind me, is all."
Martha pinched the bridge of her nose. "Alright, fine. I can work with that. That still doesn't tell us what we're going to do about the perception filter."
"Oh, don't worry about it. If the Toclofane come for me, I'll distract them for long enough for you to get away."
"And where does that leave you?" Martha demanded.
"Exactly where I want to be."
Martha started Rory down for a few moments. Then she shrugged. "It's your life, I suppose."
"And my death," Rory returned.
Rory insisted that they go back to Rome before moving on. As he claimed that he had left his supplies there, Martha, despite her annoyance, couldn't refuse him. The two walked in silence until they were at the city's edge. Seeing the carnage, Rory decided it would be best to distract Martha.
"How did you meet the Doctor?" he asked.
Martha knew what he was trying to do, but she appreciated it nonetheless. "He was a patient during my residency."
"You're a physician?" Rory asked.
"Student. And, you know, most people just say doctor."
"It's less confusing when you say physician. It's weird though; I was a nurse."
"Yep." There was silence for a few moments. "You going to tell the rest of the story?"
"Sure. It's quite a story." Martha stepped over the body of an old man as she spoke. "I liked to walk to the hospital every morning because it's not far from the house and it's good exercise."
"And you don't get enough of that out here," Rory said ruefully, peering around a street corner. The Toclofane were rarely subtle, but it didn't hurt to check.
"This was before then, obviously. Anyway, I'm on my way to work and I see a man in a pinstriped suit. He catches my eye, takes his tie off, and says 'Like so.' Naturally, I was a little confused, but you know, work to be done. Dr. Stoker wasn't really known for his stellar beside manner."
"I know what you mean. I don't think he can be as bad as Dr. Hartigan was, though."
"I'd have to meet Dr. Hartigan, but I doubt it."
"So then what happened?"
"I see a couple patients, nothing out of the ordinary, except for a few weird sparks here and there. Then, we get to a patient by the name of John Smith." Martha had to pause for a few moments to climb over rubble. She would have gotten hopelessly lost by now, but Rory seemed to know exactly where he was going. "Turns out, John Smith is the man I saw outside earlier, and when I examined him, I found two hearts!"
They walked in silence for a few moments more before Rory spoke. "That it, then?"
"After that, it was all blood sucking aliens, and rhinoceros aliens, and pretty much human aliens, and we were on the moon. You know, normal stuff." She stopped walking and ran over the last sentence in her head.
"Is it a problem that I don't think that was a strange statement?" Rory mused.
"I should be institutionalized," Martha whispered.
"We probably all should. We're here."
Here turned out to be an old stone house that had most likely been crumbling even before the bombs fell.
"What's in here?" she asked.
Rory looked distant and his voice took on a dreamlike tone, as though he was telling a fairy tale. "The Tomb of the Last Centurion." He shook himself and seemed more normal. "Actually, that's not really an accurate name. Historical records indicated that the Last Centurion died in the Blitz, and the people of Ancient Rome referred to him as the Lone Centurion. He wasn't the Last Centurion back then."
Martha decided that Rory most definitely was the Last Centurion, but she kept here thoughts to herself. Rory opened the door and stepped aside for her with a small bow and a small grin. It was really quite charming.
"After you, milady," he said.
"Thank you, good sir," she replied with an excessively posh accent. His grin widened just a little bit.
There were torches lining the walls of the hall the house had opened into. Rory lit one with what Martha thought might have been a flint stone, then used the first torch to ignite the rest. He handed one to her and led her down the hall into a tunnel off the far end. Luckily for Martha, the tunnel wound around itself a few times, but there were no other passageways.
At the end of the tunnel was a massive stone box with intricate circular carvings on each face. She stared at it in wonder.
"It's just a replica," Rory said, leaving his torch on one of the metal fixtures on the wall. Martha quickly put hers in another. "Much easier to open."
He grabbed one edge of the box and pulled. Nothing happened. He grinned self-deprecatingly. "Human. Right. Gimme a hand, would ya." She grabbed the edge and they managed to open it a crack. A few minutes, and a few more muffled curses, later and it was open.
Inside was a statue of a seated man in Roman dress who looked uncannily like Rory. Rory placed a hand on its cheek and said, "Ego sum qui est in custodia matris ex tempore. Dona mihi media et fortitudine ad suscipiet eam trans meo ultimo postremum spiritum." The rolling power in his voice was unlike anything Martha had ever heard before. Even the Doctor barely compared. The Doctor's power was at its height when the odds against him were the worst. Rory was unleashing his power on a statue. The effect was awe-inspiring.
The statue creaked and groaned as it rose to its feet. Martha kept her eyes wide open. It didn't look like an angel, but it couldn't hurt to be sure. Its armor brightened into metal and seemed to fall away from its body. Its cloak turned red and began to sway. The sword in its hand gleamed silver. Beside her, Rory fell to his knees, gasping for breath.
Martha was at his side in an instant. His pulse was weak and thready and about three times too fast. He was taking huge gulps of air, but his fingertips were turning blue. He groaned and clutched his head, fisting his hands in his hair. She wasn't sure what to do, except wait and pray.
Finally, his breathing slowed and his heartbeat returned to normal. He blinked a few times as he returned to himself, seeming surprised to find himself on the ground.
"What happened?" he asked.
"I think that was my line," Martha said shakily.
"I don't see a script."
"Hardly my fault you lost it."
They shared a relieved grin. "So, what did happen?" Martha asked.
"I have too many memories," Rory replied. "In order to unlock the statue, I had to go deep into my memories. I guess I lost control. It's like a bad flashback, almost." He stood up, swaying for a few tense moments. Then he started to take the armor off the statue and put it on himself. "You have questions," he stated.
"You're stating the obvious."
He rolled his eyes. "The statue is quantum locked," he explained. "Certain natural phenomena, including Weeping Angels are naturally quantum locked, but it's possible to induce artificially. A certain passcode by a certain voice with a certain inflection breaks the lock."
"Why would you go to all this trouble to keep you wardrobe safe?" Martha wondered.
He gave her an exasperated look. "It keeps it from rusting, aging, falling apart. It's much more durable than anything human made, but I like to be sure." He strapped the sword on, completing the outfit, except for the cape. He held it in front of him and said, "Color niger luctum. Ostende mihi meum dolorem." The cape turned black. This time he seemed fine.
"This one doesn't need inflection," he explained. "I didn't have to go too deep in my memories."
"Why turn the cape black?" Martha asked, although she was fairly certain she knew the answer.
"Two reasons. First, it's great for stealth-"
"Of course, the glittering armor exudes an aura of stealth and subtlety that can be felt from a mile away," Martha snarked.
He sighed like an annoyed parent. "Second, black is the color of grief."
That ruined the good mood.
After putting his cape on, Rory unsheathed the sword and examined it, running a finger gently across the blade. "It's still sharp. Lovely."
The sword had some sort of engraving on it and she leaned closer to examine it. Then she raised an eyebrow. "Really?" Rory blushed.
"Okay, fine. The inscription's in Elvish script. What's wrong with that?"
"Nothing, nothing. It's just a bit...different."
He glanced at her wryly, sheathing the blade. "Yes, I am a nerd. Yes, it tends to surprise people. No, I don't know why."
"What does the inscription say?" Martha tried to change the subject.
"I am Sting; the spider's bane."
"Why do I find myself not believing that?"
"Probably because it isn't true," Rory conceded. "It says Spes homini diligere et prtegere servo."
"Do I get a translation?"
"Does it have a name?"
"I call it Elisium in Morte. Mostly to be ironic."
Martha decided it would be better not to comment on that one. "We're heading towards Venice, but I'd like to stop in towns as much as we can. Seeing us fighting gives people hope."
"Sounds like a plan. Let's go. It's bad luck to stay too long among the dead."
"Not for you, I suppose," Martha said.
"It's not me I'm worried about. I'm not the one with the fate of the world on her shoulders," Rory pointed out.
"And thank you for that lovely, encouraging reminder," Martha muttered as she led the way out of the Tomb.
When they reached the surface, another question occurred to her. "If that's the Tomb of the Centurion, then why don't you die down there?"
"Told you already. Don't do what people expect. That's dangerous."
"There's nothing worse than post mortem danger," Martha said sarcastically.
"Precisely," Rory said sincerely.
A/N: Hello everybody! You guys have been brilliant. I was not expecting people to like this so much. I think this is the best response I've ever gotten. Cookies for everyone. All Latin was done in Google Translate, so I apologize for any mistakes. On that note, I'm sure you can translate for yourself, I've already forgotten what most of it means. If anyone would be willing to beta this, that would be fantastic, let me know. I'm also open to suggestions. I really didn't expect to be continuing this, so your ideas are always welcome.