Chapter One . . .
She had made her decision but knew no one in her life would approve. That was why she waited until she knew everyone was otherwise occupied before leaving each of them a brief message explaining that she was fine but needed some time on her own. The truth was she was far from fine and hadn’t been fine for years now. The feeling that she just didn’t fit in anymore started during and after the Year That Never Was and had been haunting her ever since. She had seen too much, been a part of something that only a few people in the world even remembered and it changed her perspectives on everything. The things that had once been important no longer seemed so and so she attempted to set out on a different path only to find that one also didn’t suit her. She, though, knew saying all of this to the people in her life would not allow her to do what she had been thinking about for the past few months. Martha also knew her condensed message would not placate any of them, especially her mother, which is why after she made those calls, with a special amendment to her message for Jack, she left her cell phone on her chest of drawers and walked out of her flat with nothing but a carry-on, the money from her checking and savings accounts, her id and a one-way plane ticket away from a life that had become too much to bear. . .
A couple of weeks had gone by since anyone heard from Martha. She hadn’t tried to make contact with anyone and her family and Jack had become increasingly concerned. Francine called him constantly trying to see if he had heard anything about her daughter. He assured her that he would contact her if Martha did contact him. Francine, though, seemed less convinced with each call. She relayed to him the state of things in Martha’s flat when she first went to check on her. She had left almost everything behind, including all her credit cards and her cell phone. It was as if she was trying to leave everything she was behind. Jack tried to console her by pointing out that maybe the fact that she hadn’t packed up everything was a positive thing. It could possibly mean she was planning to return on her own when she as ready. His rationale, though, offered little comfort. They both knew this was so unlike Martha. She was always so responsible and driven. To just vanish without much fanfare . . . it had happened only once before; when she was with The Doctor.
Francine brought up that possibility almost immediately. She was convinced that the Doctor had somehow lured Martha off again and was not shy about voicing her displeasure. She’d been witness to all the damage that her daughter’s acquaintance with the Time Lord had caused. She’d watched her vibrant, career minded child turn into a cynical, war vet. As Jack listened to the worried mother rant, he too began to wonder if the pair was off on another adventure. It would make sense that if she wanted to get away he would be the person to call.
It was that thought that made Jack reconsider the message she had left him. Like with her family, Martha told him she was fine and just needed some time but she also left the number to her old mobile, her personal connection to their mutual friend, just in case something came up. He had been hedging about whether to make that call but after weeks of no contact and her family’s worried calls, he decided he could wait no longer. He sat in his office waiting patiently as the phone rang once and then twice before it was answered by a familiar jovial voice, “Martha? Martha Jones?”
“No, Doctor, but that answers my question,” Jack
The Doctor furrowed his brow, “Jack? How did you get this number?”
“From Martha . . . before she vanished.”
“What do you mean vanished?” the Doctor indignantly questioned.