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December 2012

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Fic: The Linear Life (2/?)

Title: The Linear Life (2/?)
Author: spellweaver731
Beta: redcirce who looked at this over a year ago. Since then I've made some changes, added new sections, re-written parts and have re-edited it myself so all mistakes are very much mine. 
Rating: All 
Characters: Rose Tyler, the Tenth Doctor, Martha Jones
Pairing: Rose/Doctor
Genre: AU, Adventure, Romance, Angst
Spoilers: Series 3. Maybe stuff from S4.

Summary: After being reunited with Rose right after dealing with the four things and a lizard the Doctor has been traveling the universe with both Rose and Martha. An encounter with the Weeping Angels leaves them stranded together in 1969 where they will have to sort out their various relationships and learn to get along in one flat while finding the way home.

Author's Notes: Sequel to Failing to Fetch Me but it is not strictly necessary to have read it. Just know that Rose used the dimension cannon a bit early and is now traveling with the Doctor and Martha in late series 3.

Disclaimer: The Doctor, Rose, Martha, the TARDIS and all other Doctor Who characters, settings and artifacts belong to the BBC or so I am told. The psychic credit card is taken from the novel Only Human by Gareth Roberts and is his invention as far as I know.

Chapter 1

Finding a motel had taken no time at all but quickly realized that they had no way to pay for rooms.  The Doctor had wanted to use his psychic paper again and claim to be motel inspectors, but Rose hadn't liked the idea.  As she had pointed out they might be here for a few days and it wouldn't be right to cheat the motel proprietors and their employees out of their livelihood.  She'd relented when the Doctor agreed that they would find another way if they needed to stay more than one night. The Doctor seemed pretty confident that they wouldn't be here past the next morning.  Martha could tell that Rose didn't agree.

Martha hated to admit it—for several reasons—but she found herself agreeing with Rose.  This could take awhile. She hoped that 1969 would be better than 1913.

For now she had a sparse yet clean room to herself and the prospect of a good night's sleep before her.  She wanted to relax and let the Doctor sort it like he said he would, but she found that she was deeply worried.  They'd never been separated from the TARDIS before.  At least not like this.

There had been that time aboard that awful ship plunging into a sun, but so much had been happening then that Martha had not had time to fear what the separation meant—there had been plenty of other things to fear.  Now it was all she could think about.  She was out of her time with no way back to her family or her career.  All she could do was trust the Doctor.

Martha stared at her door.  Maybe she should see if he could use her help.

Rose sat on the end of her bed, contemplating the old fashioned telly across from her.  She really was tired, bone-weary in fact.  She'd not gotten much sleep since she had come back to this universe.  First she'd been frantically searching for signs of the Doctor, fearing that she would miss her chance to be reunited with him if he never came back to 21st century Earth or if she couldn't manage to be in the right place at the right time.

After finding him in again she'd been running on sheer joy and excitement, not wanting to stop to rest any more than the Doctor did.  Not long after they'd arrived at that old house it had all started to catch up with her.  She'd been contemplating taking a nap out in the garden, thinking they could grab some blankets and books from the TARDIS and just relax for the afternoon in the warm sunshine.  Maybe have a picnic.

Clearly that was no longer on the agenda.  At least here it was night-time, time when most humans went to sleep.  But despite her tiredness sleep was the furthest thing from her mind.  She'd yet to have a proper conversation with the Doctor.  Alone.  She wasn't even sure if that was a bad thing.  Everything seemed so simple and easy right now, they were right back to where they left off.  Did she really want to go upsetting that balance to talk about all of the things hanging over their heads?  Namely that last conversation on the beach.  Rose wasn't at all sure the results would be worth it.

She'd hoped for more out of her relationship with the Doctor; their forced separation had made her feelings for him impossible to deny.  She'd spoken them out loud now—they were floating in the air between them, forever out there and said.  She'd worked tirelessly to get back, just on the chance that she could find him and the hope that he would still want her.  Their last meeting had certainly indicated that he felt the same, but he had never told her, never finished that sentence.  She looked at the door that connected their rooms.

Decision made at last she walked up to it, opened her side, and knocked.

The Doctor paced in his room, a bland and painfully inoffensive box done in shades of beige and cream. He knew he should be going over the contents of the folder given to him by that girl.  Sara?  Or was her name Susie?  He couldn't quite remember. He just couldn't concentrate on the task at hand.

Rose was back.

She was right in the next room.

It was completely brilliant and just a bit terrifying.  One thing their separation had done was force him to admit his feelings, if only to himself.  He'd known before she was gone of course, but had never really been forced to confront the depth of his connection to her until he could no longer hold her hand.

He flexed the appendage, pressing his fingers tips into his palm.  It felt empty now, having spent the past day clasped firmly back in hers.  Just as it should be.  Just as it was made to be.  This time around his whole body and personality were a testament to his need for her, built to fit her body against, designed to complement her weaknesses and strengths.  Her absence had shown him just how ill prepared he was to face the universe without her now that he was one half of a whole.

He'd made sure to keep them busy since she came back.  Rose didn't seem to mind if her smiles were anything to go by, but he'd known all along that eventually they'd need to stop; for the humans to rest if nothing else.  And once they stopped Rose would want to talk.  He felt a weird wiggling sensation in his abdomen at the thought.

He had so many feelings right now, way more than was normal for him and Rose was going to want to know about them.  He could see it in her eyes.  Whenever they'd slowed down and shared a few quiet seconds, her questioning, curious eyes would focus on his, making him feel the same fluttery sensations he'd been having since he'd first laid eyes on her.  Now those feelings were laced with trepidation and anxiety.  Now that they were trapped without the TARDIS with nowhere to escape to.  He had nothing to distract her with.  He stared at the door connecting their rooms. He had nothing to distract himself with either.

Even with the possibility of talking imminent he found himself wanting to knock, wanting to be with her, to just share the same space and air as her.  He didn't want any neutrally colored walls between them, even one with a doorway.

He faced the door, hand poised to knock when the soft rapping sound of Rose asking to be let in caused his hand to detour to the knob.  He pulled it open quickly.  Rose stood smiling in the door frame, hand held as if to knock again.  He reached for it with rather unseemly haste.

As their fingers interlaced they both released their held breath as if some weight or pressure had been lifted off.  Rose let out an embarrassed little laugh and looked down.  He rubbed the back of his neck with his free hand nervously.  Then she smiled and flicked her eyes back up, meeting his; she was always the braver one.  She was always the one to move forward—to confess her feelings.

“Hello,” she said, still smiling widely.

“Hello,” he repeated, the self-consciousness of a moment ago fading away in the light of her smile.  The exchange of greetings and smiles was still so familiar and just as filled with hidden emotion as it had always been.

“Can I come in?” she asked.

He tugged her the rest of the way through the door instead of answering, pulling her body flush against his and wrapping his arms around her.  She shifted a bit to fit herself against his chest.  They locked together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle; her head perfectly nestled beneath his chin, his arms conforming to the curves of her back.

The Doctor breathed in deeply, filling his lungs with Rose-scent.  It was both just as he remembered it and brand-new at the same time.  She smelled warm and sweet and alive, she smelled like the center of the universe, like the source of all life.  This was the first time they'd been alone since her return; the nervous fluttering sensation came back and brought along friends.  He felt his hearts rate increase.  Oh Rassilon, he thought, am I really perspiring?  It was positively undignified.

She'd taken off her jacket and boots leaving her in a green blouse he remembered her trying on at Jaladrianon 5 and a pair of soft gray trousers that hugged her hips—he'd never felt so jealous of an article of clothing before—her bare toes poking out from beneath the cuffs.

“So, have you found us a way back to the future yet?” Rose asked, pulling back enough to look him in the eye.

“I haven't really started; I just sort of glanced through everything.  Maybe we should look through it together?” Despite his suggestion they both stayed where they were, content to hold each other.  The Doctor was beginning to think they should just stay that way all night, swaying gently, hands stroking each others backs.  There was no big rush really.  And Rose's hair smelled so nice.

There was a knock at the door leading to the outside.  Reluctantly he pulled away from Rose.  “Who could that be?  I didn't order room service.”  He moved to the door to look out the peep hole.

“I doubt this place offers room service.  It's got to be Martha, doesn't it?” Rose said.

She was right.  Martha was standing outside his door, her face furrowed in concern or perhaps constipation.  He was never very good at reading human expressions.  He pulled the door open.

“I was worried about you trying to figure all this out on your own, thought I'd come to see if I could help,” Martha said all in one breath as he opened the door, smiling up at him.

“Sure, the more the merrier,” he said, both disappointed and relived to have Martha joining him and Rose.

Martha beamed at him as he led her into the room.  She gasped softly after crossing the threshold.  The Doctor followed her eyes to his bed where Rose was perched casually, one leg tucked beneath her, the other bent with her hands clasped around it.  Rose was smiling, but her smile seemed a bit off.  He had seen that look on her face before.  He called up his rather impressive store of Rose-expressions until he found a match.  That was how she'd smiled at Sarah-Jane when he'd first introduced them.

He looked back at Martha to see a similar tight and toothy grin plastered on her face.

Damn.  And here he thought they had avoided this problem so neatly.  Rose hadn't seemed bothered by Martha before, had in fact seemed genuinely delighted that he'd had a traveling companion.  He'd been sure of it.  And Martha...well she was Martha, wasn't she?  Nothing bothered her.  She was so steady and stalwart and just not the jealous type.  What had brought all this on then?  Clearly it was up to him, the more evolved and emotionally mature one to lead them all though it.  After all it had all worked out with Sarah-Jane and Rose, hadn't it?   Granted he wasn't exactly sure he'd had anything to do with that.  Except that he strongly suspected they'd bonded over laughing at him. Must keep that from happening here.  Priorities set, he turned to address them both.

“So, shall we get started?” he asked.

“Great,” Martha said.

“Lovely,” Rose said through her teeth.

“Excellente! A word that must join the list of 'never to be uttered again.'  Rose! You're good at noticing details, that'll be pretty useful for this I think, why don't you start with the photos and notes that go with them?”

He watched her, hoping.  She took a deep breath and smiled.  A real smile.  “Sure,” Rose answered, her tone much better now, more like what he was used to from her.  She got up from the bed and picked through the papers he had scattered rather haphazardly across the room's small table that served as a writing desk and phone stand.

“I'll read the letters and it looks like there is some sort of transcript, it was written in screen play format, then we'll switch. ”Rose nodded at this; already back on the bed and spreading out the photos.

As he was going for the relevant documents the sound of a throat being cleared got his attention.

“Oh, Martha.  You can look over the journal.  You must be a fast reader, all those text books you have to read.  It is the longest thing. ”And dullest, he thought.  He didn't particularly feel like reading the diary of a human girl.  He flipped through it briefly and that was what it appeared to be, the collected memories of the S-named blonde.  The Doctor resolved to take note of her name when he came across it again.  Rose was never impressed when he forgot people's names. Especially people who had helped him.

Martha smiled at his words and collected the thin diary from the pile.  She sat in the room's only upholstered chair.  Leaving him with either the uncomfortable straight-backed, wooden number by the table or the option of joining Rose on the bed.  No contest there.  He gathered up the rest of the material and sprawled out next to her.  She glared as he made her bounce; upsetting the order she had placed the pictures in.  He grinned in response.  The cheeky grin she had once described as 'boyish'.  He knew it would disarm her.  She'd once admitted a weakness to it, information he had often used to his advantage.  He had no qualms about continuing to work it in his favor.  In seconds she was smiling back.  She rearranged the pictures.  He shifted, dimpling the bed at his hips and pulling all the photos to that depression.

“Doctor!” Rose admonished.  “You're doing that on purpose.”

“Doing what Rose?  I'm just trying to get comfortable; this is my bed you're in after all.”

Rose blushed to the roots of her hair and bit her lip at his words.  He swallowed audibly, hearing the possible meaning of his word choice only after they had left his mouth.  Now all he could think about was Rose in his bed and all that that implied.  It was hanging over them, these feelings between them and the accompanying desires.  It had always been there before, but they had danced around it, side-stepping and shuffling out of the way.  Now for some reason they kept getting stuck in these quagmire-like moments and he didn't know why.

You know why.  It was her confession on a windswept beach and the words he had left unsaid, but had desperately hoped that she understood.  It was much more than that even.  Her coming back to him—struggling to get back to him—leaving behind her family and a career and a normal human life spoke such volumes.  She'd had everything a person could want in that other universe, but she'd abandoned it all for him, for just the chance to find him.

He had no illusions about how hard it must have been or how difficult the decision to leave behind comfort and security for what amounted to the complete unknown.  Rose was not one to be afraid of the unknown, a fact that he knew well, but it didn't change how remarkable the act had been.  How had she even known she would find him?  She didn't, he answered.  Plain and simple.  It had all been a massive gamble on her part, returning to a universe where she was officially dead, where she had no family, no connections to fall back on.  Only him, a mad time-hopping alien.

The loss of her had shown him just how much he needed her.  She must have known somehow about how desperate he was without her, how rudderless.  He'd felt like a small boat cut adrift in a vast and lonely ocean, without her, his compass, his map, his beacon to keep him on the right path.  How could he ignore that?  Commitment, devotion like that couldn't ever be repaid.  Certainly not by the likes of him.

He focused on the papers in front of him.  He'd have to worry about his relationship with Rose later, after they got back to the TARDIS. There would be plenty of time to sort all that out then.  The niggling voice in the back of his head informed him that he was just avoiding it, avoiding the reality of him and her, just as he had always done, just as he would continue to do.  He knew the voice was right.

In the past he could have taken some comfort in this, knowing he would never suddenly act to change things.  Now however he had the suspicion—the almost sure knowledge—that Rose would not be so complacent.  She'd flung herself thorough the void for him, with no way of knowing what would happen to her.  Rose Tyler was not afraid of change, she was not afraid of anything as far as he could tell.  She was so much braver than he.  She would act to change the status quo between them.  The thought filled him with nervous excitement.  Even anticipation.  He would wait.  Wait for Rose.  So far waiting for Rose had always gotten him exactly what he wanted.

Rose found herself glancing up from the photos with some regularity, unable to stay focused.  Her eyes kept darting up to take in the room's other occupants.  The Doctor smiled warmly whenever her eyes happened to catch his, but it was the third person that kept most of Rose's attention.  She was completely unsure what to make of Martha.

She'd been surprised when she'd first met her by her own genuinely positive feelings about the other woman.  Surprised and quite pleased.  She'd honestly felt happy that the Doctor had not been on his own.  The thought that he might have found someone else—a replacement—had weighted on her during her search, but when she'd found him with Martha she had felt barely a flicker of jealousy and none of the feelings of rejection and resentment that she thought she would.  It had been so different from her meeting with Sarah-Jane.  She'd felt strangely and unaccountably secure in her relationship with the Doctor.  She'd been sure as soon as his eyes had met hers that he felt the same way she did, that she was cherished and that he had missed her as terribly as she had him.  He'd been so happy to see her and so happy to introduce her to his new friend.  Truly she'd had no reason to doubt him.  She still felt that way.

The problem was that it was becoming more and more clear that Martha was jealous of her.  And she couldn't really blame her.  Rose remembered what it was like meeting some previously unknown person that was clearly important to the Doctor.  He had this way of sweeping in and so quickly become the most important person in your life.  Being confronted with the fact that you might not be the most important person in his was not easy to deal with.  Rose felt for her.

Then there was the matter of Martha's crush.  It had become painfully obvious.  Rose had not had to observe Martha long to see it in every smile thrown his way, every lingering glance.  Rose knew how that felt too—the deep longing and heady elation.  Oh yes, she knew how that felt.  She'd come back to this universe hoping to have a shot at finally having all her hopes and desires come true.  She'd watched carefully and could honestly say that there seemed to be no real reason to feel threatened by Martha.  The Doctor just didn't treat her the way he's always treated Rose herself.  Mostly Rose felt vaguely guilty for how completely she was monopolizing the Doctor's time and affection.  He barely seemed to have the left over mental capacity to remember when Martha was around.  Rose could tell how much it was hurting her.

Knowing that there was no need for it didn't stop Rose from feeling odd flares of some ugly emotion whenever she saw Martha cast a heated eye at the Doctor.  He was her Doctor.  The feeling wasn't jealousy the way she understood it, more like possessiveness.  Or maybe just annoyance.  That had certainly been the overriding emotion when Martha had shown up tonight, annoyance and a simmering resentment that just wouldn't go away.

She wanted to like the other woman, to be friends.  She remembered how wonderful it was to have another human on board while traveling with the Doctor.  Having Jack along had been fun and good for both the Doctor and her.  He was a great confidant, someone she could talk with about feeling human and out of her depth.  He had given her someone to vent about her frustrations with the Doctor.  He was always there to listen when she was feeling inadequate or ignorant in the face of the Doctor's vast knowledge and experience.  Jack had been far more wordily than herself but he'd always made her feel comfortable and safe.  He'd been so open and non-judgmental.

Martha was even closer to her own experience, a young formerly Earth-bound woman.  She also recalled how happy she'd ended up being at the prospect of Sarah-Jane coming along, she'd been very disappointed when she'd turned the Doctor down.  The idea of another woman from her own time to share the experience with had a lot of appeal.  Rose and Martha should have even more in common than her and Sarah-Jane had, with the closeness of their ages.  Rose wanted Martha to see her as someone friendly who she could build a friendship with, someone who—like Sarah-Jane had done for her—would be willing to talk about the harder aspects of traveling with the Doctor.  It had been very hard to be friendly when she had interrupted tonight though.

Rose had just been gearing up to speak of the white elephant in the room.  She'd been nervous enough about broaching the topic of their relationship with the Doctor.  The longer it was put off the harder it would become.  She'd had a strange sense that the Doctor had been ready for the conversation as well, or at least resigned that they were about to have it.  It was a bit domestic for him, she knew, but he'd been holding her so tightly.  She'd seen in his eyes that he wanted to get everything out in the open between them too, even if he was just as afraid as her.  Now they were once again waiting on time alone.

She'd come back to this universe with a clear mission.  Time apart had given her clarity.  She knew what she wanted and she had always been the sort to fight for that.  Her goals had been like a mantra during her search: find the Doctor, tell him how she felt—again—and embark on a romantic relationship with him.  They'd been so close to it before she'd left. Rose had felt the tension in him in ever hand hold, in every full bodied hug, in every heated gaze.  Sometimes he would squeeze her so tightly and she would know that he wanted to hold her like that forever.  There had been several moments when she'd felt so sure he was moving in to kiss her.  They would pause with their eyes locked and he would begin to move forward.  She would see fear waring with longing in his eyes.  Then he would spin away at the last second, babbling about whatever had come to his mind first as the fear won.

Despite her frustrations at this and the pain it caused her, these near misses had given her hope.  She was sure they would fall together eventually and she had been willing to give him all the time he needed.  She'd understood how complicated this was and she had not wanted to ruin it by pushing.  She wanted him to come to her because he was ready and he wanted all she was offering to him as much as she wanted to give it to him.  She still felt that way but now she realized that if she wanted things to change she would have to initiate it.

She also knew—coming at the situation with both a little distance and a little more maturity—that talking rather than kissing was the better first step.  Although she would still take the kissing.  Perhaps that was still the way to go.  Kiss first and ask questions latter.  The coward in her liked that option.  The rest of her knew that it left too much room for misunderstanding and denial.  He could still pretend it never happened.  Talking eliminated that possibility, words could not be unsaid and Rose was positive that if he was confronted with the right opportunity to tell her how he felt—what he wanted—that the things she longed to hear would come spilling out of him in an unstoppable flood.

All she had to do was make him feel safe and get him going.  The Doctor loved to talk after all—even about his feeling and his past.  He pretended not to but inside he had always longed for a confidant whom he could share everything with, all his perceived misdeeds and hidden emotions.  It just took the right environment and the right kind of gentle nudging making to him feel that he was the one who was in control.  She'd been very good at it once and she was sure she'd not lost those skills.

Rose sighed, resigned. It was not going to happen tonight.  Surly there would be some time in the coming weeks—and she was convinced it would take a few weeks at least to sort this out—for her and the Doctor to have that talk.  She held out great hope that he was ready to change the nature of their relationship.  She did not know what she would do if he wasn't; if she put it all out there and he rejected her.  She had literally nowhere to go.  She knew that no matter what he would not force her to leave, but the question was would she be able to stay and face him every day if he refused her.  The thought made her feel ill.

She knew with only a few moments of contemplation that she would never be able to leave him voluntarily.  Not after seeing what life was like without him.  Rose felt renewed sympathy for Martha.  They really did have quite a lot in common.  Perhaps that was the crux of their difficulties with each other.  She would just continue to be friendly and hope that time and familiarity would help.

The handwritten words floated before Martha's tired vision.  She couldn't concentrate.  The combination of sleepiness and anger kept her from focusing on the text.  On some level she was aware of the fact that anger was not quite the right word.  Resentment.  She resented Rose's presence.  Both in general and in this room right now.  The Doctor's room.  She'd come here hoping to have some one on one time with him, a chance to talk about how she felt or even—if she hadn't been brave enough for that—just a chance to feel reassured that he still wanted her around and valued her friendship.  That was something she doubted more and more.

She glanced at the bed.  Her resentment shivered up her spine.  They'd been flirting and touching as if she wasn't even in the room.  She thought they had forgotten her presence altogether several times.  In some ways this suited her new purpose for the evening.  She couldn't figure them out and had decided to observe them more closely and determine for sure just what their relationship was.  This was a good chance to watch them.

She had thought—based on what the Doctor had told her previously—that Rose and he had been a couple, but then she had broken up with him and broken his hearts in the process.  Now however it seemed like that was not the full story.  Lots of little things they had both said seemed to indicate that it had not been easy for Rose to get back to the Doctor from wherever she'd been. Martha couldn't really fathom that.  Where could Rose have been that the TARDIS could not have gone to fetch her if that was what she had wanted?

The TARDIS could go anywhere.  This fact certainly indicated that the Doctor had stayed away from wherever Rose had been because she had wished it.  It had been clear to Martha from nearly the moment she stepped aboard the TARDIS that the Doctor had not wanted to be apart from Rose, so it must have been Rose who broke it off.  Yet Rose had been the one to seek him out.  Which Martha had to admit was a bit impressive.  How do you track down a man who travels in time?  Let alone that he also goes to other planets.  You could never tell where or when he would be next.  It must have been sheer luck.

“Is that...is that your natural hair color?” the Doctor asked Rose suddenly.  Martha focused in on them closely.

Rose looked down at the foot of the bed, apparently shy and blushing.

“Umm, yeah.  I never seemed to have the time to dye it any more—”

“S'beautiful,” he said in an awed whisper, cutting off her flow of words.  He reached out and grasped a few dozen of the light golden-brown strands, rubbing them in his fingers like it was a fine silk.

“It's just sorta brown,” Rose said smiling like it was a private joke.  The Doctor laughed, confirming Martha's suspicions.

“Like mine, we match,” he said now holding the bit of her hair against his own head.  And indeed her hair was nearly indistinguishable from his when laid on his scalp.

They were certainly not afraid to get into each others personal space.  The Doctor had never been that way with her and Rose acted like it was perfectly normal.  Were they still broken up?  Back together?  Had they never really broken up?  Martha felt she needed to get the full story behind their separation if she was going to figure them out.  She was too nervous to ask when they were both present.  Rose would probably tell her all about it if she asked, she seemed the type to blab all sorts of personal and intimate details with little provocation.  Maybe if she could get her alone she could find out, try to have some girl talk time.  That would be her mission for tomorrow.  Martha turned back to the diary.

She glanced back up one more time to look at Rose.  The brown of Rose's hair was perfectly ordinary and nothing at all to get excited about.

It was an unknown amount of time later when Martha awoke in the chair having fallen asleep while reading Sally's journal.  She'd been learning quite a bit about the girl and her strange story.  Only the Doctor's involvement could cause such mayhem in an otherwise ordinary life.  Martha well knew the feeling.

She glanced over to the bed.  Rose was sound asleep, curled up on her side.  A stapled together sheaf of papers was clasped loosely in her hand.  The Doctor was still in the bed with her, wide awake and reading.  It was the journal she'd had earlier.  He must have taken it from her when she'd fallen asleep.  Martha felt a swelling of disappointment.  She'd wanted to share the information that she had found, but now there was no need.

The Doctor looked adorably rumpled with his suit all askew and his hair standing as tall as Martha had ever seen it.  His glasses were perched on the very end of his nose—when had he gotten those back?  As she watched she realized that he was stroking Rose on the arm, in an absent minded sort of way.  His hand gently moved over her skin, back and forth.  He shifted positions, moving even closer to her body, practically nestling his head against her chest.  Rose slept on, oblivious.

Martha sat up straighter and looked at the clock.  Six AM.  She had slept the night through.  The Doctor had worked on alone just as he had originally planned.  No need for the humans' help.  Well at least not for her help.  As she watched Rose shifted in her sleep and the Doctor looked up from his reading.  He gazed at her sleeping face with a soft smile as her brow creased and her eyes flickered beneath their lids, her mind still lost in dreams.  He lifted his hand up from her arm to caress her cheek instead.  His expression was so achingly tender.  Martha's heart fluttered painfully.  She needed to get out of here.  Before she knew it she had gotten to her feet.

The movement must have been quite abrupt, but the Doctor hardly reacted.  He turned his face slowly to her and smiled his familiar, welcoming grin.  Now that Martha had at last seen beyond it she knew it for what it was.  A mask.

“Good morning Martha, sleep well?”  The grin returned at the end of the sentence, his eyes giving nothing away.  Martha felt strangely hollow inside.  He looked just as he had always looked to her, beautiful and aloof, but happy to see her.  Untouchable by the smallness of everyday existence, but connected to it through her.  She'd thought she provided him with something vital.  Now she knew better.  He'd needed someone to ease his loneliness, but he had not wanted Martha.  Martha had merely been there, conveniently placed.

“Yeah, fine.  I'm gonna head back to my room for a shower.”  Martha fled.

Cleaner and less fuzzy-headed Martha felt much better as she combed out her wet hair.  The Doctor was her friend; she knew he liked her, that he cared about her.  He'd fought so hard to save her on their trip to New Earth and had confided in her about his lost planet, these things must mean something.  She also knew he didn't conceive of things in quite the way a human from her time did.  He'd shared a bed with her during her first trip out and it had clearly meant nothing to him.  He just didn't see such acts as terribly intimate.  He held everyone's hand while running, he'd hug anyone.  He’d kissed her within an hour of meeting her.  These things were normal coming from him.  He'd told her she was special and clever, he'd once called her a star.  Just because he also cared for Rose didn't mean she had to feel so diminished.

The Doctor wasn't very good at expressing his emotions.  She'd caught him in an unguarded moment looking both vulnerable and content.  He'd not known he was being observed.  She doubted he would deliberately show that vulnerability to anyone and she was lucky to have seen it.  He may very well look at her in her sleep just like that.

She'd often wondered if she had any kind of shot with him.  As of right now there was nothing to indicate that he and Rose were truly an item.  Right now they were all on equal footing.  Martha wanted him, wanted more out of her relationship with him and if that was what she wanted then she was going to have to work for it.  Martha was used to hard work.  She was better suited for the Doctor, of that she was quite sure.  She was steady, stable, and intelligent, all the things he needed in a partner, not some flighty former blonde who waltzed in an out of his life without a care for the repercussions.  All she had to do was show him that and she could have her chance.  Rose has already blown her chance as far as Martha was concerned.

She got dressed in her clothes from yesterday with only a slight grimace.  It was hardly the first time travel with the Doctor had forced her to wear the same clothes for longer than was comfortable.  She'd cope without complaint and show that she was tough and capable of handling his life and all of the little difficulties that came along with it.

Feeling strong and determined to win his heart—hearts, she thought with a smile—Martha headed back to the Doctor's room.

Rose awoke gently to the feeling of someone rubbing her head.  Nails were lightly trailing through her hair, stimulating all the sensitive nerve endings in her scalp, causing lovely ripples of pleasure to tingle down her spine. She stretched as her eyes opened, feeling decadent.

The Doctor.

He was lying next to her.  It was he who was massaging her scalp, bringing her back to wakefulness.  Rose blushed, unsure how to feel about this development.

“G'morning,” he said, smiling over the top of the journal he was perusing.  His eyes sparkled behind his glasses. He'd stolen them back from her in her sleep.

“Morning Doctor. Didn't you sleep at all?” she asked.

“Nah, no need for that.  There was work to be done.”

“Got it all figured out have you?” Her tone was laced with playful skepticism.

“Yes,” he said with such finality that for a moment she almost believed him, she knew better though.  “Well sort of.  Well mostly.  Still a few rough spots to hammer out,” he continued, confirming her suspicions that they would be her awhile yet. Good thing she'd always been curious about the sixties.

“Home in time for tea?” Rose teased, knowing from her own readings and his meandering answer that couldn't possibly be that case.

“Well I am sure that we'll be in time for a tea, maybe not today's tea,” he answered at last.

Rose just laughed. She looked over at the chair that had held Martha the night before.  Empty.

“Where's Martha?” she asked.

“Went for a shower.”

“Hmm, good idea.  I'll feel a lot better after a shower, even if I do have to put on these same clothes.  We'll need to go shopping if we're gonna be stuck here. And we'll need a more permanent place to stay.  I have one gold bar in my jacket pocket, if we get it converted to pounds it should be more than enough to cover the first month and security for a flat.  After that were gonna need another way to get money for food and rent.”

“We've got the psychic paper and the sonic screwdriver, there'll be no need for...” he trailed off at her glare.

“I'll get a job while you figure out all we have to do.  The one thing I learned for sure before I fell asleep is that we need to paint a message to Sally Sparrow on the wall of that old house.  She took pictures of it that we can reference,” Rose said as she reached over for the relevant photos.

“Sally Sparrow! That was her name! I knew it began with an 's'.  Double s's even.  I was really close with Susurelexaca,” he said beaming away in apparent pride.

“Susurelexaca? Is that even a real name?” Rose asked dubiously.

“It is on Ragnagorothrex, a very common girls name, I'll have you know.  They say if you name your seventh daughter Susurelexaca your family will prosper for seven generations,” he said.

Rose just arched an eyebrow at him.

“Not really relevant I guess.”

Rose laughed a full belly laugh that had her rolling to her back.  Just as suddenly she stopped and faced him, a tender expression coming over her face.  “Oh I've missed you,” she said earnestly.  She reached a hand towards him, but stopped halfway there.  She looked away and rolled off the bed.

“I should grab a quick shower.  Then we should see about finding us some accommodations and getting us some clean and period appropriate clothing,” Rose said as she headed for the door, still open from the night before.  “I am kinda looking forward to living in the swingin' sixties for awhile.  Should be quite the adventure.”

The Doctor watched Rose leave his room with an ache between his hearts.  It was a familiar ache by now. He longed for her touch and he hurt with the force of his wanting.  The feeling had gone away when she'd walked back into his life.  He'd had her hand and her hugs, freely given just like before.  Suddenly it wasn't enough, not nearly enough to fill the Rose shaped void inside him.  What had kept her from reaching for him fully?  She'd wanted to touch him.  He wanted her to touch him.  This should be simple.

He sighed.

Gathering up all the bits and pieces from the folder the Doctor stacked them neatly on the table.  He was pretty sure he had all the necessary steps figured out.  He had a semi-solid plan that would lead them back to the TARDIS.  Or rather lead the TARDIS back to them.  Eventually.  It all hinged on finding this Billy Shippton when he was sent to the past by the Angels.  The problem was finding him; he could already be here wandering about this time with no idea what had happened to him.  It was the biggest hitch in the plan—how to find Billy.  Once he got that sorted it would all be smooth sailing.  Except, of course, there was the inevitable difficulty of convincing Billy to help them.

It was a good thing Rose was with him.  She was a genius at people.  He'd just have to handle the finding part and leave the persuasion part to her.  He was pretty sure she could get anyone to do just about anything.  All she usually had to do was smile and ask nicely.  Hadn't she once convinced his TARDIS to open for her and then hadn't she bent Time itself to her will?  All probably accomplished by asking nicely and smiling.  That was all it took for him after all.  No sentient being could resist.

He flipped through the material again.  He gleaned nothing new.  For now they were all quite stuck here.  Trapped.  Waiting on people and events that were out of his control.  There was nothing for it; they'd just have to make the best of it.  Live a linear life for awhile.  He'd done it before.  He'd even done it before in sixties London.  Must be careful not to run into myself...that would be embarrassing.  As well as unwise.

He needed to find some way of distracting Rose and Martha as long as possible.  He started to compile a list of Things That Would Distract the Humans.  Domestic things would surely occupy them for a good long while.  The whole business of finding a place to live and making it all...livable.  And Rose was being quite insistent that they have a legitimate source of income.  He had the distinct feeling that the psychic credit card was completely out.  She wanted to find a job.  Would she want him to find a job?  He sure hoped not.  If she and Martha both found jobs surely that would be enough to support the three of them.

He heard the sound of the shower stop in Rose's room.  She'd have to put on her clothing from yesterday.  Rose hated that.  Like all humans she was very adamant about changing clothing every day.  Out of nowhere his brain supplied him with images of Rose freshly out of the shower.  A vision of Rose standing around in nothing but a towel filled his mind.  He focused on the connecting door and pushed the mental pictures away.

Lost in thought and focused on interpreting every little sound from Rose's room, the Doctor nearly missed the knocking on his outside door.  Martha.  He hadn't bothered to lock it earlier.

“Come in!”

Martha closed the door behind her as she entered, her hair still wet from her own shower. She was of course in her clothing from yesterday.  Shopping.  That would certainly distract his companions for a while.  Surely Rose would see the necessity of acquiring a few necessities with the psychic credit card or using the sonic screwdriver at a cash point.  That was that sorted for now.  Plenty to do while he figured out how to find Billy.  There was nothing at all to be worried about. 


No, Martha! Don't do it!

Anyway, I'm so glad you updated! I'm really enjoying this story. I hope each one of them gets a chance to a have one on one conversation with each of the other two. I think that's what they need the most right now...

In the mean time, I'll be eagerly awaiting chapter 3...
Thank you, I am happy you are enjoying it. I've got a start on chapter three and now that the holidays are over life should be less hectic and I should have more time for writing. They do need to have some conversations don't they?
Dear Martha,
Please understand that the Doctor loves Rose and Rose loves the Doctor. As politely as I can, I'm telling you: stay out of it. As awesome as you are, you really need to find out the whole story before coming up with your own conclusions.

I can't wait for more of this!
Martha really is missing too many pieces isn't she? I am glad you like it so far :)
Fantastic update! I really liked seeing both Rose's and the Doctor's POVs, as well as Martha's. The Doctor thinking he was the most evolved and emotionally competent made me laugh. And coming up with "domestic activities" to distract the humans lol.

I feel for Martha here... once again, official worst couple to be a third wheel around EVER lol. However, I also feel for the Doctor and Rose. The UST... GUH.

Can't wait for more!
I am sure Martha will get a clue soon...glad your liking it so far :)
Thanks! I am so glad you liked it. I am glad you feel for Martha, I've wanted to make sure that all three of them are sympathetic.
Still adoring this! You've made me feel for all three of them in such different ways - what a messy situation!
Thank you so much! That is exactly what
I was hoping to achieve :)
Oh wow, look at this! :D The good thing about having read it so long ago is that I don't remember it very well. ;)

This was wonderful and awesome. I really like the structure of this chapter- the POV shifts give us a lot of insight into (and sympathy for) all three of them, and at the same time does a good job hightlighting the breakdowns in communication and gaps in knowledge they all have concerning each other.

I loved how the Doctor and Rose were both separately angsting about the impending (hopefully!) changes in their relationship, and that he has a store of "Rose expressions". I also loved that Rose is excited about having a possible friend in Martha, sympathetic to the fact that the Doctor's obliviousness is hurting Martha, but that she still can't shake off her resentment of Martha's crush. And I felt really bad for Martha, having to put up with their honeymooning, having absolutely no idea what really happened between them and coming up with terribly wrong conclusions, and feeling like the Doctor really doesn't care for her or need her and trying to convince herself otherwise.

I just want to give them all a hug!

Other great bits:
As their fingers interlaced they both released their held breath as if some weight or pressure had been lifted off.

Clearly it was up to him, the more evolved and emotionally mature one to lead them all though it.
Snort. You tell yourself that, Doctor!

So far waiting for Rose had always gotten him exactly what he wanted.
Somehow I feel like this is not one of his better plans...

He'd needed someone to ease his loneliness, but he had not wanted Martha. Martha had merely been there, conveniently placed.
Awww, Martha. :(

They say if you name your seventh daughter Susurelexaca your family will prosper for seven generations,” he said.
Thank you, I am glad it stood the test of time. You've managed to quote some of my favorite bits :)

...chapter three is in process, I won't have time this weekend but hopefully I'll finish it sometime this month. Up for some betaing? (I'd understand if you weren't, you've had a lot going on)
I'm always up for betaing, it's a nice break from RL!

Well, I have a (paid) graphic design project due on the 14th of this month, so I'm going to be working on/fretting about that until then, but if you can wait until then, I totally can. :)


this may seem odd...

but i've just read and thoroughly enjoyed this story! just wanted to let you know that this is a wonderful story, very well done! keep up the good work!!

Re: this may seem odd...

Thank you very much, I a so glad you liked it and commented :)
I'm absolutely LOVING this. I don't think I've ever seen a fic that so realistically deals with both sides (well, all three sides really) and doesn't discount what Martha or Rose would be feeling if this happened. This feels very true to canon. The Doctor and Rose are adorable and Martha is understandably annoyed, and I love the Doctor's entirely in-character obliviousness to the problem.

Anyway. Mind if I friend you? I don't want to miss any of this :)
I am so glad you like it and that you think it is true to the characters and canon.

Friend away, I love getting new friends :)
I just read this and I hope you'll continue it! Very good. And poor Martha. She needs Jack to tell her how not even he could come between the Doctor and Rose. And if Jack didn't stand a chance...


Please continue this story!

Hey, just reviewed this on Teaspoon

I keep seeing that you had started on chapter 3....did you ever continue? Just wanted to let you know there are people out here still desperate for more! :)