Note that this chapter is almost unrelated to the previous chapter.
Summary: The Doctor wants a cat and Martha is forced to humour him. Utter randomness ensues.
Disclaimer: don't own.
Post Gridlock but no big, major spoilers.
A/N: To counter my recently posted (at the time of writing this), utterly-depressing-pure-angst fic, I've posted this completely random one-shot, coming right up. You have been pre-warned. Or pre-advised, or pre-cautioned…oh according to MS Word that's not a word. I shall put dashes in then. Hmm. That sounds and looks strange, using the same word twice in the same sentence. Now I've used the word 'word' five times in this paragraph! Amazing. I'm rambling just like the Doctor does in my random fics. That's a surprise, innit?
Okay, I'll shut up and let you read now. :D
"Martha," the Doctor explained while rewiring a circuit under the console, "repair work is extraordinarily complicated. Takes a genius like me to figure out everything! Your offer is appreciated, but I'll have to politely decline. You won't be able to help at all."
She sighed. "Doctor, you're being rude again."
"But I said the word 'politely'! Doesn't that count as not being rude?" He poked his head out of the hole he had dug himself in to look at Martha over the rim of his specs. "…was I being rude?"
"Yes." She mustered the sternest expression she could manage in his hyperactive presence.
"Oh. Sorry," he said nonchalantly, oblivious to both her stern expression and the way her mouth turned up unintentionally at the corners. "But it's true. Maybe it didn't come out quite the way I wanted it…"
She rolled her eyes. "Men," she muttered.
"What was that?" he asked pointedly.
"Nothing," she returned.
Silence reigned for several moments.
"You know," he continued, sitting up a little straighter amongst the mass of tubes, wiring and magic tape, "this is what I don't get about you lot. Sometimes you're allowed to be so blunt and straightforward, and other times you're not!"
"It's complicated," she replied, smiling.
"Is it?" he asked absently, quickly becoming distracted again by an incomplete circuit.
"Really…" he mumbled, wriggling further into the machinery on the TARDIS. Suddenly his head shot up again and he looked her straight in the eyes. "Martha…" he began, deadly serious.
She jumped slightly, still not used to his sudden mood shifts. "What?"
"I want a cat."
Martha blinked. "You want a what?"
"You've got to be kidding me."
"No really, I want a cat!"
"…what do you want a cat for?" she asked after a moment.
"Martha, I like them!" he exclaimed as if it were obvious. "Well, I do now anyway. I used to not like them, you know. Cat nuns, like Novice Hame. Remember her? She was a cat nun, or rather, she is a cat nun. A nun with a gun… Anyway, back then, they didn't have guns. They had claws instead and they were evil. Well, sort of. But they tried to kill me! Sort of. Not really. Well, they could have. They almost did, in fact. Actually, they were…oh, never mind. Long story." He gazed off into space for a moment before snapping back to reality. "But yes! I like cats now, so I want a cat." He nodded to himself happily. Martha didn't even attempt to follow his logic.
"What kind of cat?" she asked warily.
He stared at her, bewildered by her cautiousness. "Just…a cat. A fluffy, ginger one with golden eyes, preferably."
She shook her head, deciding not to comment. "All right, so you want a cat."
"Yep," he replied, grinning.
"Okay," she said slowly, "so for once, you don't want a cup of tea. You don't want trouble, you don't want to repair the TARDIS again and you don't even want a banana."
"Yeah," he agreed, the grin fast becoming a permanent fixture on his face.
"…am I missing something here?"
The Doctor sighed loudly, hauled himself out from under the floor and replaced the grating. "Martha, you're reading too much into it!" he said, exasperated. "I just want a cat, so now we're going cat shopping!"
"Doctor, am I dreaming?" she asked hopefully.
He glanced at her. "Don't think so, no. Why, are you?"
"How am I supposed to know?"
"Well aren't you supposed to be the great, know-it-all genius?"
"And aren't you supposed to be the great, medical doctor-in-training?"
"Is that a compliment?"
"What do you think?" he asked cheekily.
Martha shook her head and sighed. "Fine, I'll just take it as a compliment, but how would I know if I'm dreaming?"
"How would I know if you know – or don't know – if you're dreaming?"
"Would you stop that?!"
He paused and ran his fingers through his hair, the tiniest of grins on his face. "Do you want to be dreaming?" he asked finally.
"Yes!" she said fervently.
"Then wouldn't you – oh! Ha!" He pointed triumphantly at her and spun around on the spot in celebration.
In response Martha looked at him like he'd gone bonkers, which in fact he probably had. "What?"
"I won!" He jumped in the air and did a giddy dance, specs askew on his nose.
"The question game!"
"I love that game!" he said enthusiastically, bouncing around the console and setting coordinates for their cat-shopping destination. "Especially when I win!" He tugged a lever, sending the TARDIS into a violent jolt. "Martha, that game was invented back in 18th century France by the lovely Reinette, better known as Madame de Pompadour, did you know? Uncrowned Queen of France? Artist, courtesan, musician, dancer, actress?"
"Madame de Pompadour invented that game?" Martha asked incredulously from where she was sprawled on the shaking floor.
"Well, we both did. Anyway!" He reached over and with a resounding whack of the hammer on a blue button, the TARDIS stilled. "Cat shopping!" he announced. He grabbed his coat from where it hung and barged out the door, Martha following painfully – she was fast becoming aware of how many bruises she had gotten already.
"Cats, cats, cats!" the Doctor chirped, spinning around to look at Martha and began to walk backwards. "Martha, you remember the musical 'Cats'? Good stuff. So good that they made a remake for its hundredth anniversary, and a sequel some years later. The original's still the best, as always, but you would've loved the new songs."
"Doctor," she said loudly, pulling him out of his cat-induced stupor, "where are we?"
"Pet World!" he exclaimed, gesturing widely. "Literally!"
She looked around, unimpressed. "You seem to like the slums."
"Don't complain!" He waggled a finger in her face. "You don't want to see a one-dimensional view of the universe, do you! No? Good! Now don't just stand there gawking at the view, come on!"
He jogged off, Martha hurriedly following him and saying indignantly, "I don't gawk!"
The Doctor glanced at her over his shoulder. "Yes you do!"
"I…oh, let's not get started on this again!"
"What, afraid you'll lose? Come on, Martha, have some fun! Admire your surroundings! And admire the kitties…oh yes, the kitties. Come on, this way." He darted into a dark, dank, smelly alleyway, skipping slightly without a care in the world and Martha hurried to catch up, all the while wondering about his sanity.
They emerged into the stark, pale sunlight at the other end which bore down on the various arcades branching off from the central square which they stood at the edge of. "Wow," Martha said, thoroughly impressed. But after seeing the grimy backstreets first, who wouldn't be?
"Yes," the Doctor agreed. "Wow. Brilliant. Fantastic – oh, that doesn't roll right anymore. Anyhow, the kitties! Which street…ooh, remember Martha? Shakespeare? 'Witch street'?" He beamed at his own joke as they set off across the square.
Her eyebrows shot up. "Doctor, that's not even related to cats. At least when you said 'witch house' back then, it was in context!"
"But it is in context! Cats equal witches! Broomsticks? Quidditch? Oh, and it's not only black cats. Crookshanks, remember?" He nudged her meaningfully.
She stepped away from him. "You're obsessed."
"Hmm…maybe I am!" He flashed her a grin.
"Oh, even better – a self-confessed Harry Potter fan. And don't even get me started on those glasses."
"Why, what's wrong with them?" he asked, puzzled.
"They're just so…Harry Potter!"
"They are not!" he exclaimed, a trifle offended. "Harry Potter's glasses are round, and mine are –"
"Rectangular and geeky."
"Rectangular and geek chic, thanks very much."
"So you admit it then," she said with a teasing smile.
"I do actually," he replied lightly. "Someone has to represent the geek population in the whole of the universe and lead them out of oppression from the supposedly normal ones. Who better to do that than me?" He grinned broadly and puffed his chest up.
Martha shook her head, laughing. "You're so full of it."
"Only when I need to be. And, look, here we are! Cats!" He ran forward and pressed himself up against the window, peering in at the kittens for sale. "Awww…" he cooed.
"Doctor, there's a door here," Martha pointed out dryly.
He looked up and blinked at the door for the first time. "Oh! Right. I know, I know. I'm just trying to get a different perspective…you know, from the outside."
Martha tried not to roll her eyes. "Right. Whatever you say."
He merely beamed at her and entered the shop.
That was several hours ago. Martha had gone around the entire square just to see what other pets they sold in a little less than three hours – granted, the square itself wasn't very big in comparison to what its name suggested, but that wasn't the point. The point was that during that time she had covered about three hundred shops, while in comparison the Doctor was still stuck in the same one.
"Doctor?" she called as she entered the shop. "Have you picked one yet?"
He was still crouching by the floor in the exact same position she had left him in, only looking up when she approached. "Martha, I can't decide!" He pulled an expression at her that was very nearly a pout, and she almost lost it then and there.
"Why don't you…" she paused to collect herself, "close your eyes and pick one at random?" She was only half joking.
The Doctor looked absolutely chagrined. "Martha, that's not how it works!" He pouted a little more before returning to stare at the kittens contemplatively, ginger or not, and thereby altogether missing the way Martha hurriedly stifled a laugh.
"Excuse me sir, ma'am, the store is closing in five minutes," the greenish alien shopkeeper informed them from his stool behind the counter.
Martha turned back to the Doctor. "Okay, you've got five minutes to choose and buy a kitten, and then we need to leave."
He blinked up at her. "Five minutes? Why?"
"…you didn't hear what he just said, did you?"
"Who said what?"
She gestured behind them.
"Oh." The diminutive shopkeeper was glaring at him outright, so the Doctor gave him a cheery little wave. Then his dropped to a near whisper as he asked Martha, "Why's he glaring at me?"
Martha very nearly rolled her eyes. "Maybe it's because you've been sitting in his shop for at least three hours and you haven't bought anything."
"What's wrong with that?" he asked, completely lost.
"…never mind. Just decide, quickly."
"Can't," he stated, folding his arms with a huff.
"Well, you've got to. How much are these kittens anyway?"
"Erm…hmm. Good question Martha."
He looked around for a price tag, but the shopkeeper overheard and answered somewhat gruffly, "Five hundred thousand klo."
"What's that then?" Martha asked quietly.
"I…ah…well, it's –"
"You don't know what a klo is? I'm surprised." She was, actually.
"No, no, I do know what a klo is." He shot her a mock glare. "It's just…um…"
"Doctor, just say it," she told him, exasperated.
He carefully leaned over and whispered in her ear, "I don't have any money."
She stepped back, surprised. "You're broke. You, of all people, are actually broke!"
"Shh! Martha, keep your voice down!"
"Oi, you two, get out of my store!" the green shopkeeper shouted.
"Oh, never mind then."
"Yes, never mind! Let's just go!" Martha said, dragging the Doctor away from the kittens.
"Get out! Shoo! Now!"
"Bye…" the Doctor said wistfully – to the kittens, which merely blinked up at him in response.
"Doctor, come on!" She tugged at his sleeve impatiently. Sorry," she said to the shopkeeper.
"Out!" the rotund little alien blustered at them. "Coming into my shop with no money, that is preposterous! Absolutely unheard of! Now, out! Out! Or I'll throw you out!"
In the end, they were literally thrown out.
"Ow," the Doctor groaned. "The ground's hard."
"I'm surprised," Martha returned wryly.
The door slammed shut with a clang of finality in their faces, and high overhead the birds twittered calmly in the trees.
"Well. It's always like this with you. Getting thrown out of everywhere," Martha said, picking herself up painfully.
"Really?" he asked, tilting his head back thoughtfully. "I don't recall getting thrown out of someplace. Not with you anyway."
"Well, remember this day then. Come on." She gave him a hand up and they both turned to stare at the shop.
"He wasn't very nice, was he?" Martha observed.
"No, he wasn't," the Doctor agreed.
"Are they all like him? The…inhabitants of Pet World."
"Maybe," he shrugged.
They were silent for a few more moments, just staring at the shop and each contemplating reflectively on their own thoughts. Then –
"Martha," the Doctor announced.
"What?" she asked warily.
"I don't like cats anymore."
"Oh. Okay," she said, a little relieved. That statement wasn't as drastic as it could've been.
"I don't like Pet World anymore either."
"And I don't like little greenish, rotund, blusterous, disagreeable shopkeepers who only want your money."
"Right…" That certainly ruled out a lot of shopkeepers, she thought. Martian ones, perhaps.
"Martha," he said, pausing for dramatic effect, "you know what?"
"What?" she asked, instantly wary of the slightly inane grin that just appeared on his face.
"I want a dog."
She rolled her eyes. "Oh, so it's a dog now, is it? Highly original."
He ignored her. "Hmm…yes, that'll do. Dogs are nice. And smart. And they can play chess and they can shoot things I don't like." He nodded to himself happily and began to walk back to the TARDIS with Martha following him, completely stupefied. "Yes, I'd quite like a dog, actually, and a banana daiquiri, and a long stripy scarf, and a multifunctional sonic pen which can additionally double as a trans-temporal hairdryer. In that order."
"Okay…" Martha said slowly.
"And then!" He spun around and began to walk backwards, facing her. "I want a kangaroo, and a twenty-fifth century kettle, and a golden egg, and a blueberry muffin, and a semiconductor levitron, and a fire cracker, and a silver doorknob, and an antineutrino, and a digital defibrillator for computers, and a plasma lamp, and that seems to be quite a list, doesn't it? I suppose we'd better get started then!"
"Doctor," she interrupted quickly when he paused to breathe, "why do you suddenly want all these things?"
He beamed at her. "Martha Jones, I thought you'd never ask!" He turned around and began to walk forwards again, humming an irritatingly cheerful tune.
Martha hurried after him. "So…why?"
He looked down at her, still grinning. "Why what?"
"Why do you want all that stuff?" she repeated rather patiently and was immediately quite proud of that feat. Very proud, in fact.
"What stuff?" he asked, completely oblivious.
Stay calm, stay calm…oh, to hell with it. He was much too maddening to be tolerated, so she told him so – indirectly. "What do you mean 'what stuff'? I mean all that stuff you were talking about just then!"
He shook his head in a rather admonishing way. "Martha, you're not making sense."
"You're the one not making sense! Don't you remember, just a few seconds ago? All that 'I want this' and 'I want that'?"
"What are you talking about?" he asked gaily.
She nearly let out a scream of frustration. "Never mind. But you know what? Sometimes, a lot of the time, I really don't get you at all."
"Ooh!" He spun back round abruptly to face her and stopped walking altogether. "Say that again."
"Martha, you're confused aren't you?" He watched her, wide-eyed and eager.
"What does it look like?" she muttered, somewhat acerbically.
"But you're confused, right?"
She shot him another glare. "Yes. Thoroughly confused."
"Great!" he crowed. "Now off to get that banana daiquiri!" And he set off again down the street with hardly a backward glance, a spring in his step and a great sense of accomplishment.
One confused Martha: check. Score: two-zero.
He could get used to this.
Oh, and I might post another in the series, but only when I actually think of something.
Thanks for reading!