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Doctor Who (2007) - Pub Lunching: Lunch

Title: Pub Lunching
Fandom: Doctor Who (2007)
Characters: The Tenth Doctor & Martha Jones
Prompt: # 057 - Lunch
Word Count: 2’700
Rating: G
Summary: ‘It’s a pub lunch, that’s all. Not a date, not a promise, and most certainly not domestic. It’s just … lunch ... alright?’ 10Martha
Disclaimer: I don’t own Doctor Who. Thank RTD and the BBC.
Author's Notes: Set mid-series 3. Minor spoilers. The italics are what happened prior to the non-italics… and if you followed that, have a cyber-cookie.

OoOoOoOoOoO



Martha Jones couldn’t quite understand how they’d come to this.

Through no fault of her own - well, through no direct fault of her own, at least, - she found herself smiling in complete bewilderment at the young waitress who was staring almost disbelievingly at her ‘husband’.

“I’m sorry, Sir,” the girl said slowly, Northern accent rich and sugar-sweet as she treated the couple to her most professionally calm smile, fingers tapping the pencil in her hand absent-mindedly against her notepad. “We don’t sell dishes like that, ‘ere. Can’t say I’ve ever ‘eard of it, mesel’.”

The Doctor sighed and nodded in acceptance.

“Ahh well, it was worth a try.”

The waitress tugged at her ear, wavy blonde locks beginning to unfurl themselves from what had – during the early hours of the evening - been an incredibly tight ponytail. Martha was beginning to feel rather sorry for ‘Lucy’, as her name-card read. The girl was quite clearly incredibly flustered.

“You ain’t from round ‘ere, are you?”

Martha shook her head, smiling calmly. “No, London. We’re here to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. Came up to the Lakes for a holiday, but we got a little side-tracked.”

The waitress grinned delightedly.

“Aww, and how sweet is that that it fell on Valentine’s Day? Aww, congratulations!”

Martha blushed awkwardly and hastily dropped her gaze. Feeling a hand slowly rest on top of hers, she blinked and looked up, smiling awkwardly at the Doctor who winked back before turning back to the waitress.

“Anyway, what was the special, again?”

Promptly returning to her usual, professional manner, Lucy pointed towards the large blackboard standing behind the bar.

“Well, since there’s two o’ ya, we’re doin’ a two for one, four course meal for £11.99, - Valentine’s Day Special, see, if ya fancy that. Unfortunately, that don’t include … well, whatever it is that you asked for. Sounded foreign.” She shrugged awkwardly, not even bothering to try to get her tongue around what the Doctor had requested.

“No, I thought as much,” he said brightly.

-----------------

It’s a pub lunch, that’s all. Not a date, not a promise, and most certainly not domestic. It’s just … lunch … alright?”

Oh, Martha. If only things were ever that simple.”

-----------------

Clearing her throat, Lucy tapped the pencil absently against her cheek and reeled off the starters, voice distinctly professional, all of a sudden. Quite clearly rehearsed, both Martha and the Doctor realised.

“We have … prawn cocktail - comes with a side-salad, o’ course, salmon pate on toast, - freshly prepared usin’ only the finest ingredients transported straight from the Dales, spicy meatballs on a bed of home-cooked spaghetti doused in a sumptuous tomato and basil sauce, or lemon sorbet - made from locally grown lemons, o’ course.”

She beamed at them, and Martha couldn’t deny that her mouth was watering. With a stunned look at the Doctor, she couldn’t suppress a wide grin as she spotted his attention raptly focussed on Lucy as though expecting to hear more.

“I dunno,” she said finally, spoilt for choice. The Doctor turned to her and shrugged.

“I’ll have whatever you have,” he said simply, sitting back in his chair and staring at her, arms crossed and an eyebrow raised.

“Oh, you know how bad I am at making decisions, Doctor,” she grumbled, missing his cheeky grin as she turned back to Lucy. “Well …” she hesitated, then said, “prawn cocktail. Haven’t had that in a while.”

She blinked and turned to the Doctor, who grinned and nodded.

-----------------

Doctor?”

Hmm?”

”I’m hungry.”

He blinked and turned to her.

Oh.”

Cuffing her feet against the floor and staring at her folded arms, she blushed and asked quickly, “can we go somewhere? Y’know, to eat. Somewhere nice?”

Oh,” he said again, scratching at the back of his head before shrugging. “If you want. Where’d you have in mind?”

She grinned awkwardly at him, unfolding her arms and strolling around the console.

Fancy a pub-lunch?”

-----------------

“Right, mains,” Lucy said, a little apprehensively. The Doctor was positively beaming now, while Martha looked more than a little irritated.

“Oh no,” she called quickly, glancing at the Doctor. “This one’s yours, Doctor.”

He stared at her in surprise, smile slipping to be replaced with a, “who, me?” look. She nodded, smirking, and imitated him, leaning back and crossing her arms, staring at him with a somewhat smug look adorning her features.

“Okay,” he said calmly, straightening up and fixing Lucy with a beady, attentive stare. “Hit me.”

Martha rolled her eyes, a low murmur of, “don’t tempt me,” escaping her lips before she could bite it back. He glared at her, but spoilt the look a little when a small smile broke out across his face. She chuckled lightly to herself, examining their surroundings, a small fluttering feeling rising up in her chest as she spotted a collection of pink and red heart-shaped balloons floating, bundled together, above the table behind them.

“Well …” Lucy frowned, slightly put-out now. This couple was extremely weird. There was just something … not normal about them. Dearly wishing she’d accepted Janey’s suggestion that they swapped shifts, she had to glance at the board herself, having momentarily forgotten what they had on offer.

“Well,” she started again, turning back to him, “we’ve got …”

-----------------

A pub lunch?” he asked, restraining a snort with difficulty as he stared at her in bemusement.

She nodded eagerly, eyes twinkling.

”Yeah,” she said simply, shrugging into her jacket and perching herself on the edge of the Captain’s chair, grinning.

He paused, smiling.

You’re actually serious, aren’t you?” he murmured, shaking his head in wonder.

Yeah,” she repeated.

He paused, shrugging.

I dunno … you don’t think it’s a bit … domestic?”

-----------------

Twenty minutes after spooling off the main course menu, Lucy was beginning to feel incredibly uncomfortable.

Staring at Martha, the Doctor shrugged casually.

“You know what? Keep it simple. Steaks, medium rare, all the trimmings, as they say.”

Sighing in relief, Lucy nodded, scribbling on her notepad and sweeping her hair from her eyes as she glanced wilfully at the bar. Her colleague, Chris, shot her a bemused look, nodding at the Doctor. She shrugged and glanced at the ceiling in silent prayer, glaring at him when he snorted and returned to wiping out a glass. Scowling, she shook her head and turned back to her clients.

Eyes closed, she asked, mentally wishing she could be anywhere else, “an’ … and for desserts?”

Seeing the look the Doctor was giving her - his ‘I think it’s your turn now’ look - Martha let her head bang down hard onto the table, suppressing a groan of annoyance, and sighed heavily.

Lucy appeared to want to do the exact same thing.

Too bad she didn’t have a table of her own to do it on. Maybe the wall behind her would work just as well …

-----------------

Martha raised an eyebrow.

What’s wrong with domestic?” she asked, puzzled.

He leant against the console running a hand through his hair.

Well … nothing, I guess. For a human. It’s just … I don’t do domestic. Not well, at any rate. I’m not a domestic person.”

Martha was smirking, now.

Right,” she said, face passive but only through pure determination. Standing again, she walked around the console towards him and placed a hand on his arm.

Well, if you’re chicken,” she started, tones contemplative, “we can do something else.”

-----------------

Before the Doctor could say anything, Martha straightened up and considered Lucy thoughtfully.

“Just … surprise us,” she said quickly, knowing the girl was more than desperate to get away from them. “Chocolate’s good. We’re not fussy. Something with chocolate.”

“Righ’,” Lucy said softly, choosing not to rebuke Martha’s, ‘we’re not fussy’ comment. She may not have been, but her husband most certainly was.

Nevertheless, she’d been presented with an escape route and she was damn well taking it.

“So, we’ll be out with your starters as soon as poss. Drinks can be … oh, whatever,” she murmured, placing the pencil behind her ear for safe keeping and pointing to the bar. “Just order them over there.”

Chris started in surprise as her finger pointed at his chest, silently mouthing ‘don’t you dare’ to her. Sticking out her tongue, she ignored his warning and turned away.

And flashing Martha a disbelieving smile of gratefulness for assisting in her getaway, Lucy promptly nodded to the Doctor and vanished into the kitchens.

-----------------

I’m not chicken,” he whined, pulling away and retreating around the console.

She followed him, grin widening.

Oh no? Daleks? Easy. Devouring Suns? No problem. One pub lunch? No way. So … if you can face Daleks and devouring Suns, but you can’t face one pub lunch, you don’t reckon that’s being chicken?”

Feeling distinctly hot under the collar, he rolled his eyes but remained mute, glaring at the console and circling around it as Martha inched ever closer.

See?” she called smugly, pointing at him around the central column. “Chicken!”

Irritated, he shook his head, rather as a four-year-old would, and slammed his hand down onto a control, yanking it upright and glaring at her. “Fine!” he huffed, flicking switches and sliding the scanner around to eye-level. “Pub lunch? I’ll show you a pub lunch. I know just the place … and just the time, too. If we have to do this, we’re doing it properly.”

Gleefully delighted that she’d won, she nodded calmly, pursing her lips to stop herself from laughing out loud at the contempt and resolute look on his face. Twiddling the key around her neck between two fingers, she returned to her seat and watched him in fascinated silence.

-----------------

As soon as Lucy was out of earshot, Martha turned to the Doctor, eyes wide in frustrated disbelief.

“What the Hell was that all about?” she demanded, spotting his sheepish smile and shaking her head.

He scratched at his ear and fiddled with the napkin in front of him.

“I did tell you I don’t do domestic,” he replied simply, almost as though he wanted to make it quite clear that this whole thing wasn’t his idea. Martha rolled her eyes.

“I can see why after that. Twenty freakin’ minutes to choose one dish? You’re even worse than I am! And that is saying something,” she added, downing what was left of her free glass of water. It had been a full glass half an hour ago, and they hadn’t even started eating, yet …

-----------------

Stepping out of the blue doors in silence, her eyes immediately travelled to the river flying along to their right. They were standing in a car park, the doors to a delightfully quaint-looking public house standing metres away from them.

Where are we? It doesn’t look like London,” she said brightly, glancing back as he locked the door. She was faintly surprised to see him looking more than a little apprehensive, now. He’d been resolutely silent since he’d given in to her, but she’d thought nothing of it until now.

Surely lunch couldn’t be that bad?!

Bradford, West Yorkshire. A bit of a … rather unexpected discovery of mine a while ago. It’s rare that West Yorkshire is acknowledged for much, but I can’t deny it’s a wonderful pub. There’s just something about it that’s … really inviting.”

He shrugged and ran a nervous hand through his hair. Again.

He paused, then added quietly, “and … it’s Valentine’s Day.”

Not exactly prepared for that, she blushed scarlet and was momentarily lost for words. When her vocal chords finally agreed to heed her request, she forced out a croaked, “oh,” and couldn’t restrain a giggle as she spotted his face. “Why’d you pick Valentine’s Day?”

Two for one,” he said simply, though the look in his eyes didn’t quite match his blasé response.

Okay,” she said carefully, grinning. “Does that mean we’re … y’know …”

He cleared his throat uncomfortably and said, “well, if that’s okay with you. We need an excuse. Just tell them we’re on our … anniversary, or something.”

He blinked and turned away.

Taking pity on him, she thought it best to clear the air. Stepping towards him, she smiled warmly and gripped his hand.

It’s a pub lunch, that’s all,” she said softly. “Not a date, not a promise, and most certainly not domestic. It’s just … lunch … alright?”

He shook his head in disbelief, staring at her gleeful smile and wide-eyed look of innocence with nothing short of amazement. Reaching into a pocket and pulling out two gold rings, he shrugged casually and slipped one onto her finger before sliding the second onto his own.

He completely missed the look of surprise and unadulterated joy that lit up her face, then. Instead, looping an arm through hers, he sighed and escorted her across the car park.

Oh, Martha. If only things were ever that simple.”

-----------------

Two hours later, and they were standing out in the car park, Martha gulping in fresh air and staring at the Doctor as though he’d sprouted a second head.

“Well,” she said finally, accepting his hand and strolling across the car park towards the inconspicuously parked TARDIS, standing behind a tall oak tree near the exit.

The Doctor grinned and shook his head a little.

“Yeah,” he murmured, fishing through a pocket for the key. “I told you they did nice food.”

“That wasn’t exactly what I was going to say,” Martha replied dryly.

“Oh,” he said, stopping and turning to her. “Then what were you going to say?”

She smirked.

“That that was … eventful. Definitely a unique dining experience.”

He grinned too, dropping her hand and slipping the key into the lock, glancing over his shoulder to check nobody was watching them.

“It wasn’t exactly bad, though, was it?”

She smiled and shook her head. “No, I s’pose not.” She paused, then added, “poor Lucy. What exactly did you ask for, when we first got in there? Ever since you said … whatever it was … she’s been lost.”

He frowned, nodding.

“Oh, Malrichekniquilastrinchia? Never mind. It’s a delicacy I’ve found myself growing rather fond of, served in the Ribnoss galaxy. I kinda didn’t expect them to sell it at the George and Dragon but, well, there’s no harm in asking.”

Martha raised an eyebrow.

“Not usually, no,” she amended, grinning, “but I think this time you may just have knocked a perfectly capable waitress into confused uncertainty.”

“D’you think?” he asked politely, nodding for her to go inside.

But placing a hand on her arm, he held her back instead, a palm against the door while the other rested on her elbow. Staring at her, he smiled cheekily. “So do you accept that I don’t do domestic?” he asked brightly.

Martha narrowed her eyes, the truth dawning on her at last.

“You did all that on purpose, didn’t you?” she accused, finally getting it. “Confusing Lucy, taking forever to pick one meal, leaving an impossibly ridiculous tip with coins that are by no means British if indeed they’re even human, disturbing that couple who was sitting behind us by asking them how far it was to the Lake District … you did it all on purpose!”

He nodded, pulling his hand back.

“But do you accept that I don’t do domestic?” he asked again, watching as her frustrated smile stretched a little.

“Fine,” she murmured. “I can’t believe you did all of thatjust to prove a point!”

He shrugged happily.

“What can I say? Call me a chicken and you see my darker side. I don’t like to lose.”

“Yeah, I’d noticed,” she whispered, staring at his cheeky smile before silently handing him his ring back., staring at it almost wistfully before smiling shyly and dropping her gaze. He took it in silence and pocketed it, grin widening. Turning away, she shook her head in disbelief and retreated into the TARDIS without another word.

He spared a glance for the quaint little riverside pub, and laughed softly.

“Well, how about that?” he murmured, following her in and closing the door behind him. “I win.”

OoOoOoOoOoO


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