Chapter Eleven . . .
Martha and her mother took a few moments to gather themselves before finally rejoining the others in the sitting room. They walked in on the guys watching football on TV and Tish texting on her phone. Martha quietly cleared her throat bringing their attention to the doorway. Her father quickly flipped off the set and everyone rose and looked to the two women standing before them. A brief silence ensued until Leo took it upon himself to again lead the charge.
“So what’s the verdict?”
Martha inhaled and looked at each member of the group intently before her eyes settled on the Doctor. He appeared a bit more tentative than the rest. She, though, gave what she hoped was an encouraging smile before her mother finally answered her brother. With a resigned sigh, she spoke stern faced, “Although I still have strong reservations about this, it is Martha’s decision to make and I will try to abide by it.”
A collective sigh of relief seemed to spread over the room at her declaration. Martha moved further into the room and first found herself standing before her father. He gave her a bright smile before engulfing her in a bear hug. “You take care of yourself, OK? Don’t be a stranger and if you need anything . . .” he softly spoke near her ear.
Martha nodded, “I know, Dad, and I will.”
She pulled back and gave him a small beam before she turned to her kid brother who, as usual, joked, “You always fancied yourself as Princess Leia, now look at you.”
Martha smiled in spite of the tears threatening to fall, “Oi, shut it, you.”
The two siblings then shared their own embrace.
“Take care, sis.” Leo finally, more seriously, offered.
Martha tearily replied, “I will.”
As she stepped from his hold, Martha finally noticed that the Doctor had moved closer to the door. She knew this was probably a bit much for him but she was very happy he had agreed to come. It helped her feel that much more confident in her decision to go with him again.
Her gaze finally trailed back to her family and her older sister stood with glossy eyes staring at her. Martha hugged her fiercely. Of everyone, she would miss Tish the most. Even when they fought she was still the first person she would turn to in a crisis and her big sister was always there with advice or just a shoulder to cry on. And as always, she had words for Martha to live by.
Quietly, she said, “Take care of each other and be happy.”
Martha let out a soft sigh, “I promise.”
Martha held on a bit longer before she felt a familiar hand on her back. Tish gave her a soft peck on the cheek and released her so that she could turn and face her mother once more. Francine studied her daughter for a long moment before she pulled her into a tight hug of her own. Martha closed her eyes tightly, trying to staunch her tears, while Francine’s remained open and focused on the Doctor over her child’s shoulder. Her gaze was obstinate and her words directed as much at him as they were at Martha.
“I want you to call often and visit as much as possible and know that this is your home and we’ll always be here if you need us.”
“I know, mum. I know,” she replied before stepping out of her hold and glancing over her entire family one last time.
“I’ll be fine.” And then she turned and headed towards the Doctor, stopping at his side.
She looked up at him and gave a brilliant smile, “You ready?”
He returned her smile, “Are you?” She nodded as she reached for the door knob.
“Let’s do it.”
After leaving her parent’s home, she and the Doctor swung by her flat to pack up a few more things. Her lease would be up in a couple of months and Tish had promised to pack up whatever she didn’t take and put it into storage for her. So as she stood looking around one last time at a place that rarely felt like home for the last time, she sadly smiled at the memories, some good and some not so good, before she turned with her last duffle bag and made her way to another place that had felt like home almost from the beginning.
As she stepped into the TARDIS again, she smiled at the warm greeting the ship offered. Making her way up the ramp, she was met by the Doctor, who had been leaning against the console waiting for her return. He deftly removed the bag from her shoulder and dropped it at their feet before sweeping her up into a secure embrace. Martha was slightly surprised at the action but soon melted into the hold. The pair stayed that way for a long moment before she began to withdraw, slightly. She gazed up at him and softly asked, “What was that for?”
He hunched his shoulders, “Just thought you might need one after everything.”
“Look at you, becoming more attentive,” she playfully returned with a smile.
He returned her beam and gave her a wink, “I’m working on it.”
He then reached for her bag again and carried it off to the side of the room. Martha watched him thoughtfully and then asked, “So where are we off to first?”
He placed the bag back on the ground and then made his way back over to the console, “I thought that was my line. Since this is your first official trip back in the TARDIS, where would you like to go Martha Jones?”
She paused to consider before tossing it back to him, “You choose.”
“Are you sure?”
She nodded, “I trust you.”
He gave her another grin at both her words and his idea for their first trip together. He’d been thinking a lot about the first time they traveled together and how many times she had been put in tough situations. Specifically the incidents in 1913 and 1969 continued to haunt him. He wanted to replace those memories with more pleasant ones and he had a destination in mind to begin that quest. The Doctor walked over to the monitor and began putting in the coordinates.
Martha moved over to his side, “So . . .”
“Well, I thought we’d give 1969 another go,” he began.
She looked over at him with shock, “Really? I would have thought you’d had your fill of that year.”
He held her gaze, “I know it wasn’t your favorite time either but I was thinking we could visit someplace different . . . someplace a bit more festive.”
Martha was, of course, intrigued now.
He began his little dance around the console as he spoke, “Just some “tiny” summer festival around August in a little town called Bethel in New York.”
He watched as she tried to work out where he was talking about and when recognition finally showed in her face her eyes widened, “Wait a minute. You don’t mean?”
His smile brightened, “Oh yes.”
He then flipped the handbrake, sending them spiraling to a historic moment in American history.