You were, after all, still reeling from losing Rose, still pounding the pavement of the universe to run from the pain of the War, still trying to blot out the guilt and self-loathing that accompanied all of your previous failures.
And then in she waltzes, all wit and cleverness, with a no-nonsense tongue and a winning grin. Stupid humans, always weaseling their way into your hearts.
Martha Jones. A plain name, really, for a girl like her. She realizes you have two hearts and doesn’t panic, doesn’t lose her cool, just works with what she knows. You decide she’s not the type of girl that belongs on Earth. She is adaptable and smart. She saves your life, and all she expects out of it is for you to fix the scanner and save the world.
A small task, really.
Afterwards, you give her a wave and go on your way, only to return a week later (that evening for her, the miracle of time travel) and ask her to come with you. You do a few tricks to show her you’re serious, and then grin madly at her.
You want to tell her that she’s the first person in a long time you’ve actually connected with. She gets it. The time travel, the danger, the excitement. She gets it when everyone else runs screaming in terror. She runs with a grin on her face even when she’s so scared she probably can’t see straight. You want to tell her she’d make an excellent companion. She’d make you an excellent companion. The first person you’ve actually thought that of since Rose.
"I thought you might fancy a trip."
Well it’s not Shakespeare, you decide (and make a mental note that that is where you should take her first) but it works: she says yes and off you go.
One trip turns into four and by the time you actually take her home she’s gotten under your skin. This silly little Martha Jones, who looks so heartbroken when it’s her own flat you’ve landed in rather than some exotic planet.
It’s funny, but you think that she should’ve run off after all of the terrible things you’ve said to her. You have been far from kind, even though you know she’s got this schoolgirl crush on you. It’s hard. Sometimes you can’t help it; she’s simply not Rose. And sometimes who she is seems to get lost in how you’ve come to see her: as a replacement for the companion you’ve lost.
Leaving her isn’t easy. Eventually you give up and poke your head back out of the TARDIS and find an excuse to stick around for one more adventure.
She runs away from another monster, saves your life again, and eventually you’re both hugging one another, world saved. You’re brilliant together, and as you smile at her in her flat, prepared to say goodbye again, you see her. Martha Jones. Your companion and friend, and she’s not Rose but that…well, that’s all right.
You want to tell her that. Tell her how she’s come into her own, tell her how she’s herself instead of not the woman who came before her. Tell her how much you enjoy her stupid questions and silly jokes because it keeps you sane, keeps you from locking yourself up underneath the console and pretending the rest of the universe doesn’t exist. Tell her how she does what Donna wanted her to: she makes you stop. She makes you human.
"Well, you were never really just a passenger, were you?"
It’s not perfect but it works, and she seems to get the message as she hops into the ship you both now call home.
The trips get more exciting and she risks and sacrifices more and more for you each time you have an adventure. You’re sure, now, that she’s in love with you and it makes you ache. You can’t love her back, not yet, not after all you’ve been through.
It’s six months since the Utopian humans (you refuse to even think of them as Toclafane) have descended on Earth, six months since the Master took power, and six months since Martha began her quest that you realize it. You’re missing something when she’s gone. Like you’ve lost a leg or a part of your right hand or something, just something.
Maybe you’ve fallen in love with her. Would make sense. She’s sacrificing everything for you, she’s better than you, and absence makes the hearts grow fonder.
The rest of the year passes, and when she walks towards you for the first time in twelve months, she’s so different. So painfully different. Colder, harder. She’s known death, she’s seen pain and she’s lived it, but she’s alive. That should be enough, but your hearts break, just knowing how different she is. Because of you, because of what she’s sacrificed for you.
In the end, you win---well, you can’t really call it winning---but the evil is defeated, and your TARDIS is repaired, and eventually you’re standing across the console room from her. She’s telling you she wants to leave, but her words are muted and fuzzy.
You want to tell her that you care for her. Tell her that she can’t leave, she can’t can’t can’t can’t leave because you’ve figured out your emotions (sort of) and they involve her, and that’s important. You want to blather about the places you’ll take her if she stays, the things you’ll do. You want to tell her that you’ll never look through her, Never again. You want to tell her that it’ll work out, really it’ll all work out in the end. You’ll protect her like you couldn’t before, just as long as she stays. As long as she doesn’t abandon you.
It’s not enough. It’s never really enough. She turns and walks out the door, and she’s gone. You’ve lost her. Lost her, and all those words are still hanging just on the edge of your tongue.
At least you didn’t say it. Because if you did and she left anyway, it would’ve been far, far worse.
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 1,032