Tess Ocean: He doesn't make me cry.
-- Steven Soderbergh's remake of Ocean's Eleven
"So, when did this happen?"
The Doctor doesn't have to explain, he just glances down at Martha's engagement ring. She flushes and shrugs.
"A few weeks ago. We met up after I got back and things just sort of clicked into place." She's going through some UNIT paperwork while the Doctor examines the ATMOS system.
"Even though he goes away a lot?" he asks. He then makes a face. "Africa. What's a pediatrician doing in Africa?"
Martha looks decidedly unimpressed, "There are sick children in Africa."
"Yes, but then he should settle down out there. Not keep his fiancée waiting back in London." His voice comes off a little overprotective and just a hint bitter. Which is stupid, really. The only one who fouled up his and Martha's relationship was himself. His inability to just…he wasn't even certain what he couldn't do. He could do whatever it was with Rose, and Martha meant just as much to him. Means, in fact.
"I don't mind waiting," Martha snaps back. "Because he always comes back to me."
"And that's enough for you, is it?"
"Yeah, it is."
"Well…" The Doctor rolls his eyes irritably and fixes the sonic screwdriver to the end of the ATMOS device. He can't concentrate, which is ridiculous, he can always concentrate.
"Well, what?" He doesn't have to look up to know her arms are crossed and she's got that 'Oh no you didn't' look on her face that drives him positively mad.
He sighs audibly, but says nothing. It's better he doesn't, he figures.
"Well, what," she repeats, louder. "I'm not your girlfriend, I'm not your whatever, I'm not even your companion anymore---"
"Yes, but that's not the point!" the Doctor barks, pulling off his glasses and crossing his arms in an identically irritated pose. They're both so closed off, he realizes. Locked into themselves. They never used to be like this.
"Then what is the point, Doctor?"
He purposefully uncrosses his arms. "Look at you, Martha. You're not the woman I knew a year ago."
"It's not the years, Doctor, it's the mileage," she replies and the bitterness in her voice is thick. He's never heard her this way before. Not after the Valiant. Not while he burned the Master. Not even when she left.
"I walked the Earth for you. The whole Earth. Not just two months as your servant or anything---"
"You think I wanted you to live that way?"
"I got out, Doctor. And that means moving on!"
"Moving on to someone who is comfortable with what you've become?" The Doctor tries to nod, tries to understand but he doesn't. She's so cold. She's like ice. He's made her a soldier.
"He loves me for who I am," Martha says. "He sees me."
That hits him like a slap in the face. He never saw her, that's what she thinks. How can he explain that he did? He saw her but how could he let himself love her? Let her become Rose all over again? Lose her, too?
"Yes, well, I have needed to get my prescription changed," he says, holding up his glasses. The joke falls ridiculously flat and Martha doesn't even pretend to look amused.
"Are we done, then?" she says. "Got a lot of work to do."
Work work work. He's ruined her, he can see that now. Martha Jones, she used to…she was so much more than she is now. He thought UNIT would fit her, but instead it's made her fit them.
She turns to leave in a blaze of leather-cladded self-righteousness that he thinks she might deserve. She deserves to hate him, at least a little bit.
"Does he make you happy?" he asks her, suddenly. There's a strange sort of desperation to his voice. Please, Martha. Please tell me you've picked one thing right. Tell me you're not cold. That you're not that far gone.
"What?" she turns to face him, as if the question was completely absurd.
"This Tim bloke."
"Yeah, him. He treats you well, right? You two…you know, have fun together? He makes you laugh?"
Martha's lips purse together and she sighs. "He doesn't make me cry."
It doesn't answer the question, he thinks as she leaves.
No, it actually does. Which is far worse.
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Partner: Martha Jones (Canon)
Word Count: 670