Chapter 1 . . .
Chapter 1 …
Martha stood alone in her room staring in a full length mirror hanging on the back of the bathroom door. She felt every bit of her twenty three years and then some. Having survived one of the most harrowing experiences of her young life gave her little solace. She had learned first-hand what it meant to really be a second class citizen and the fact that someone she considered a mate had joined in that mentality made it all the worse. Granted, he wasn’t in his right mind at the time but still . . . Martha found herself facing a reality she had been denying for a while now. Even when he had become completely human, the Doctor still had no interest in her and she knew now that he would never feel for her what she did for him. The only question left for her to answer now was whether she could continue living with him knowing that. . .
After a long, hot shower, Martha changed into some old university sweats and began to feel a bit more herself again. She contemplated going for some tea but still wasn’t ready to face the Doctor again just yet so instead she turned to a book she had been reading before they got stuck in 1913. As she settled into the comfy chair off to the side of her bed, she found her mind constantly drifting from the story plot to her own situation. She was more of her mother’s daughter than she often liked to acknowledge and this situation with the Doctor was starting to wear thin. Never in her life did she think she would be one of those women pining after some guy that refused to give her the time of day. Yet here she sat in his “home” feeling like little more than a piece of furniture and for what?
Were all the things she’d seen with him, good and bad, worth her losing herself? Maybe it was time to move on for both of them. She did have a life to return to. Her studies, family and friends were waiting back on earth and eventually, if she wanted to finish what she started, she would have to go back. Why not now? What was really keeping her here especially now that she realized she had been holding out for something that was never going to materialize? As she began to muse about how she might say goodbye, a knock on the door interrupted her contemplation.
Martha sighed softly before calling out, “It’s open.”
Seconds later the unruly mane and more subdued beam of the Doctor peeked in the door. In spite of herself, she returned his subtle grin.
“I’m making tea and thought you might like some?”
Martha nodded, “I’d love some. Just give me a minute and I’ll be out.”
The Doctor nodded in response before retreating and reclosing her door.
He stood outside her door for a long moment trying to calm his nerves. He was not used to feeling this way but after everything that had happened the past few months, he found himself unsure of how to approach his friend. The Time Lord knew Farmingham was going to hang over them for a long while. He, or more accurately John Smith, had behaved abysmally towards her during that time and though he wasn’t all the way there he still held some residual memories of the situation and he cringed at his treatment of someone he truly cared about.
The thing with Joan, especially after he came back, was just . . . he had no words. If she had agreed to join him what had he intended to do? Say, 'Thanks, Martha, for protecting me for three months now get out.' There was just enough of John Smith still there to have him make a rash suggestion that might very well have cost him a really good friend. He finally headed back towards the kitchen to wait for her to join him and hopefully an opportunity to clear the air between them in the process.
Martha sighed again as she finally made her way to the kitchen where the Doctor was already sitting at the table with a cup of tea looking over a newspaper. She silently went about making her own cup before taking a seat across from him. He eventually lowered the paper and gazed over at her as she now studied her cup.
They sat across from each other like awkward strangers and he did not like it at all. So he decided the direct approach was best.
“So do you want to talk about it?” he finally began.
Martha finally lifted her eyes from her mug and looked at him quizzically, “Talk about what?”
The Doctor sighed, “About the weather . . . what do you think? Your time in Farmingham. Sometimes it helps to talk about things, get them out in the open.”
She studied him for a long moment. She knew he was trying to gauge her demeanor after everything. Martha, though, was still unsure of how she felt about it all and was currently in no mood to relive any of the low-lights. So she did as she often did in his presence, she put on an obligatory smile and said, “There’s nothing to talk about. It was what it was and now it’ s over.”
“Martha . . . I think we both know that’s not the truth.”
The young medic, though, was resolute, “No, Doctor. . . I appreciate your concern but just leave it. I’m fine, alright?”
It was his turn to examine her. He knew fine was the last thing she was but he also knew how stubborn his shipmate could be as well. He didn’t want this to fester but he also didn’t want to push too hard. So in the end he relented, “Alright, but if you ever want to talk . . . “
She cut in with a smirk, “I’ll have to gag you to get a word in.”
“Oi!” he returned with mock indignation.
Martha could not hold back a chuckle at his expression briefly banishing the heaviness of the moment. She quickly sobered again, though, realizing this was the extent of their relationship, quips and banter. It was the innuendo and veiled emotions, she finally understood, that compelled her to stay but now that she had resigned herself to that being all it ever would be, Martha was still left with a decision to make about whether to continue or move on.
Slowly she rose from her perch, bringing her tea with her and said, “I’m going to go get some rest. Thanks for the tea.”
“Martha . . .”
She paused her retreat and waited. The Doctor wanted to say something profound that would reconcile their situation but in the end all he could muster was, “Sleep well.
She gave him a tight smile and nodded, “I will.”