Chapter Seven . . .
Both Martha and the Doctor spent the next few days mulling over their last encounter. Not just how it ended but the conversation leading up to its conclusion as well. Surprisingly, Martha found herself more focused on her own actions and reactions than those of the Doctor. It would have been so easy, she knew, to blame all her frustrations and fears on him after all they had been through together but deep inside she was aware she was at fault for most of it. She had allowed this man . . . this Time Lord the kind of power she’s never given anyone in her life. She let herself be twisted and turned inside out for someone who refused to offer the same in return. She’d seen her sister Tish do this more than once in a relationship, giving and giving, believing if she gave just a bit more she would hit the jackpot like one of those slot machines in Las Vegas. Martha had sworn to herself it would never be her and then the Doctor entered her life and all her resolve and sense seemed to leave her.
She allowed every word or action he threw her way to mold and wound her and for this she had no one to blame but herself. By giving him that power, she helped fashion their relationship into something that was dysfunctional from the beginning and stayed that way until she gained enough of herself again to walk away from it. Now he was back, for what she was unsure of. After their conversation and that kiss she was beyond confused about his intentions. Was he just lonely after losing both Rose and Donna or was he reaching out to her as he never had before because he missed her? She knew she could never be completely sure but even being remotely sure would be better than what she had now.
Sighing, she momentarily let her mind float back to their first meeting at Royal Hope. She had gone from thinking him fascinating and a bit mad to captivating and very engaging. She recalled following after him without much reservation at all. It was like he gave her that charming smile and a wink and she was bewitched. The fact that the entire hospital was on the moon with space police that looked like rhinos chasing a nonhuman that was not the nonhuman she was running about with and them slowly running out of air had barely registered as she gallivanted through the halls with the Time Lord.
No, she was so fixated on keeping up with him that when he began to babble at her about how this meant nothing, she didn’t even recognize until his lips found hers what he was talking about. Despite his speech to the contrary, Martha knew that this was far more than nothing. The genetic transfer, as he called it, had been brief but way more intimate than a mere kiss. As he held her face and pressed his lips to hers, she felt his fingers ever so slightly caress her cheek causing her to slightly shiver. Then just as abruptly as it had begun he broke the spell, leaving her breathless and reeling. She’d been kissed before but something about this exchange shook her like never before. Unfortunately, what happened afterwards, culminating in her giving her last breath to a man she’d know less than few hours, would begin a pattern where she was willing to sacrifice almost everything for him without the promise of the same in return.
She’d jump started his heart on their second trip out, fought off pig slaves to buy him time, served as bait for a mutated beast, battled a living sun that had possessed him, protected him when he was someone else completely, worked to support both of them when they were stranded and walked the earth all for a man . . . a Time Lord that barely acknowledged her existence most of the time. Martha knew she had allowed this relationship because she had first been unwilling to ask, or demand, more in return. Now she was faced with an even more complex situation because now it appeared that he might be reaching out to her like she had always wanted back then. Yet looking at things as they were presently, she couldn’t help but wonder if that was what was best now. Did she really want to allow him to become a significant part of her life again? Would things really be any different than last time or was this only the lure to pull her back in because he was lonely?
Martha understood that without knowing his true motivations for all of this she could not make the best decision for herself. However, getting that from the enigmatic Doctor might prove easier said than done. For someone who talked as much as he was prone to, he surprisingly said very little. This time, though, she realized she couldn’t and wouldn’t accept anything but everything she needed to know. If he hedged or refused then she would still have her answers.
Back on the TARDIS, the Doctor was also reflecting on his time traveling with Martha and reliving again his actions towards her and reactions to her. How many times had his careless words and actions hurt her? Was it any wonder now why she was reluctant to believe she was his primary concern? He had done very little over their time together to warrant the stark loyalty she had shown him. While she fought right alongside him, trying to protect Earth and all those who could not help themselves, standing toe to toe with some of his greatest foes and never backing down, he was constantly comparing her to a lost memory. Yes, Rose had been everything to him for a long time but once she was gone, he’s placed her on an even higher pedestal than she had been when they were together and used every opportunity he could to remind his then current companion she could never be what Rose was. Yet Martha stayed.
She held back her emotions and covered her pain as best she could because she was that kind of person. If she saw someone in pain, she wanted to make it better and at that point in time he was definitely in pain but he was also angry at himself because, as much as he missed Rose, he was almost instantly attracted to Martha. It was not just a physical attraction. Her mind, her exuberance, her willingness to trust in him and not recoil at something different from her was refreshing and magnetizing. Yet he wasn’t ready then to admit it to himself and so he consciously and unconsciously tried to discourage any ideas she might have about them being something more. He knew then and acknowledged now that there was no excuse for his behavior and that he would have to make up for that as well as so much more.
But how to make her see and believe that he was sincere in his desire not just to help her but also to change the relationship they’d always had? Martha had become even shrewder in her time with and away from him. The Doctor knew that nothing less than everything out in the open would suffice for her. He sighed while aimlessly moving around the console and recognized that he was going to have to hurt her again in order to make her realize his sincerity. Where would he begin? Just as he was about to figure out how to explain himself a familiar ring caught his attention. He patted his left chest area and quickly snatched the mobile from his inner pocket and flipped it open, “Martha?”
“Yes, Doctor, it’s me and I’m ready,” she quietly replied.
He exhaled lightly as he responded, “When and where?”
When she gave him the information, he could not hold back a small smile, “I’ll be there.” Long after she hung up, he stood staring at the phone trying to read into her tone and the destination she had chosen before shaking it off and promptly setting the coordinates to meet with her on somewhat familiar ground.