Hi all. I wrote this aaaages ago, and it has long since been jossed by canon!Martha/Mickey. However, I still quite like it, and as I am consolidating all my fic in one easy-to-update place, here it is for any who haven't seen it.
Inspired by a random LJ comment - if Rose had known how the Doctor treated Martha, she would have been incredibly disappointed in him.
Towing The Earth Home
She hugs you, and it snags against something inside your chest before dissolving. The woman with golden hair.
"Nice to meet you at last," she murmurs. "Thanks for looking after him."
You grin back, but she can see the part of you he hurt. "Any time. Part of our job."
Her full (too full, your mind snipes) lips quirk ruefully. "I know."
Rose pushes the lilies across her father-not-father's ornamental pond with her bare foot. "Did you ever tell her?"
A man (who isn't quite) rubs the back of his neck. "Weeeeell…"
"You didn't, did you."
His expression is regretful.
She sighs, but the damage and the cure were over long ago. "You're hopeless."
"Not my fault! I can't keep up with your intricate human… stuff. You say things, but you don't, or you don't mean them, or…"
"And how's that any different to you?"
Martha peels off her combat gear with acute distaste. The mud of Germany clings.
Tom is puttering in the kitchen below. She can hear him opening and closing the fridge and cupboards, before she drowns the noise in the rush of hot water.
She steps under the showerhead and faces the spray, her magnificent eyes closed. The water is scalding, but she likes it.
"Martha? You want one egg or two?" Tom. Tom with the beautiful eyes and gentle hands and soothing voice and gentle humour, who never, ever treats her with anything less than respect.
"Not hungry really," she yells back. She can't eat after seeing people die.
His head pokes into the steam-filled bathroom. "Want to talk about it?" His calm, soothing voice is compassionate. She can't face it.
"Not… not just yet."
There is a moment, one moment when they are all flying the TARDIS, when your hands move in perfect sync with hers. They could almost belong to the same woman — fingers flexing in the same rhythm.
You have so many things you want to be able to say to her, but there's no time. I'm not angry, I never hated you, what happened — it wasn't your fault. It's just the way he is. I want to know you as something more than a name that causes me pain.
You're angry, too. You like to think you could be her friend, that perfect lost girl. You like to think you have more in common than a remarkable man. You like to think you could be better than that.
But still there is a snag against something buried in your chest.
"She was like me, just like me."
He turns away from her, pushing at a lily with a toe. "I know."
"Even when you were angry with me — even when you were calling me 'stupid ape' — you never would have used me like that."
Rose is so still. He expected her to move when she was angry, to wave her hands and yell. That almost would have been better.
"Just like me," she repeats.
"Well, not exactly like…" he begins in a humorous tone, hoping to seduce her from her mood.
She will not be deterred. She is so strong now. "Know what? Yeah, you're right. You never would have hurt me like that."
"I can't," Martha pleads. "I… I just can't. It's all done now, anyway. Done and dusted. Let's just move on, okay?"
Tom crosses his arms. Big arms, strong, solid, the kind she'd always found attractive on a man before. "Martha. It's not going away. It's been two weeks, and you're moving like a wounded woman. Tell me."
Martha looks at him helplessly. "I love you," she blurts out, fiercely, desperately.
His gaze is steady. "I'll never doubt it."
Rose clings to him tighter than he could have thought possible. She searches his face for hints, clues, about what he's feeling.
She hates that there are two years of his life that she can never be a part of. Though he lived for (twenty minutes) nine hundred years before she met him, those two years changed him. Then a woman from Chiswick changed him again.
So she asks. What did he do here, why was that, bloody hell you're kidding me, no way, oh Doctor, you poor thing. I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you. It's over now. I'm here.
Gradually, a picture of two years forms. As does a picture of the woman who wanted to be more than his friend, but never could.
It's alarmingly similar to her own story.
And so she asks some more.
Tom has heard so much. Believed so much. Martha hates pouring more of her troubles into his seemingly bottomless ears, always counting on his limitless compassion. It makes her feel like she is using him.
Jealousy has no part in it any more. All that is left is a flotilla of questions asked in the night, to which she never got an answer. Oh, and a lingering sense of inadequacy.
She thinks she ought to be stronger than that. She should have emotional autonomy. After all, wasn't losing her emotional autonomy that which caused all the problems?
He hates seeing her fight herself. She always loses, one way or another.
"She was a student, yeah?"
"Medical student. Brilliant." He laces his fingers behind his head. She rolls onto her side in their bed.
"Doctor Martha Jones," Rose muses. "S'a good sounding name, isn't it?"
"No more than Rose Tyler," he raises an eyebrow. "Or John Smith for that matter."
"An' that's another thing. Did she really act as a maid in 1913?"
"I told you she did."
"That poor thing. And look after you in 1969?"
"Oi! Perfectly capable of looking after myself, here!"
She snorts. She knows better.
"Why are you so interested in Martha, anyway?" He's cross. Rose should not be talking about someone he can never see again. Especially not in bed. Especially especially not after making love.
"Because I think I would have liked her."
"There was a girl," Martha begins.
"Yeah, you would have," he says, and tucks her golden head under his chin. "Who wouldn't."
"And we led almost the same life," her dark, perfect eyes are distant. "Except she led it first."
"The Doctor?" Tom guesses.
Martha nods. "Her name was Rose. Rose Tyler."
"Beautiful name," he comments in passing, and watches the shadow pass over those eyes he can drown in.
"Yes," she replies. "And so was she."
"And so are you," he reminds her gently. He is rewarded with her smile.
"I guess it's cos there are so many things we could have talked about," Rose mumbles.
"What, like with Sarah Jane?" the Doctor's voice is slightly caustic. Donna's legacy, she supposes.
"No!" she pushes herself away in order to look at his face. Studying the minute movements of this brand new/old brow. "None of that. She was happy for us, happy I found you."
"She'd be happy, sure, that's how she is - but she wouldn't tell you if her feet were on fire, Rose," he says calmly. "She's spent her whole life dealing with things alone. Still does. It took a year of guerrilla warfare for her to approach the subject with me."
"The subject of one Rose Marion Tyler?" she nudges his arm. "Liar. I bet you made her life a misery with my name."
He lets out an explosive breath. It's an answer in itself.
So hard to talk. With everything that has happened, meeting one woman ("Oh, so she was blonde!") shouldn't occupy her thoughts so.
"Two years ago," she says, and her mind supplies it's really three, "I would have asked her how she did it. How did he love her? What did she do? Why not me? What's wrong with me? And so I rushed into the most degrading, terrifying and horrible situations — I pushed myself further and further trying to be worthy."
Tom watches her. Wonders if she knows that this is how he feels about her.
"I think now I would ask her how she dealt with the rooms changing position all the time," and there is a note of surprise in her voice. "Or how she got him to shut up for two seconds straight. We could compare monsters and running shoes."
Tom chuckles. Turning in his mind is a year spent amongst dying children in Africa in order to prove (to himself, to the world, to the most amazing woman in it) that he was worthy. Just as worthy as a mysterious man in a magical box.
It doesn't show on his face, however.
"She died when Donna turned right, you know."
"What, Martha died?"
Rose nods. She seems distracted. "On the moon. She saved a fellow student, and died."
That makes him sit up. "Really? Oh, Martha Jones…"
Rose stretches slowly and then relaxes. Her limbs feel boneless and heavy. "I admire that."
His expression is quizzical, so she elaborates.
"Well, she hadn't even met you, and she still gave her life for someone else. Meeting you… changes people. Me, Jack, Mickey. Can you imagine Mickey willing to sacrifice his life for a schoolmate before he met you? Can you imagineme doing that? It's not a very flattering thought — but I can't."
"Nonsense," he scoffs. "You'd give your life up in a heartbeat…"
"Because you would," she finishes.
In that one moment, you know she can feel it too — the movement of her hands in perfect sync with yours. Towing the Earth home. You know, too, that all three Doctors have noticed.
You can feel the eyes of the blue-suited Doctor brushing over her sleek, black-haired head, before coming to rest on you. The DoctorDonna's eyes linger longer than the brown-suited Doctor's, whose eyebrows rise but the once. Surprise? Or acknowledgement?
You catch Martha Jones' gaze, and hold it.
Your hands move together in perfect time, and it feels magnificent.
"What would you tell her?" Tom plays with Martha's engagement ring, twirling it about her finger. "If you could see her right now?"
Martha frowns slightly.
"Do you miss her?"
"Yeah," the Doctor closes his eyes. "Course I do. I miss all of them."
He frowns at her. This isn't easy for him, after all. He'll never see all those friends again. Jack, Martha, Sarah Jane. "Can we drop this?"
"Why?" she asks calmly.
"Because it hurts." He rolls away from her. She sits up in their bed, clasping her knees.
"Hurts because you miss her, or hurts because you hurt her?" she asks logically. Irrationally, he's proud of her in that moment. She hasn't flinched from knowing all this. She hasn't stopped asking.
His admission comes as a slight shock to both of them.
Her kiss on the side of his head is so, so light.
"I'd say..." Martha grins at her Tom, her strong, beautiful Tom. "Nice to meet you at last. Thanks for looking after him."
Tom can't crush his lips against hers fast enough.