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Backwards in Time | Forwards in Time

Title: The Final Goodbye
Fandom: Doctor Who (2007)
Characters: The Tenth Doctor & Martha Jones
Prompt: 003 - Ends
Word Count: 1'116
Rating: G
Summary: Everybody leaves him, in the end.
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who. Thank RTD and the BBC.
Author's Notes: My plot bunnies seem to like being desperately emotional.


His eyes are watering.

He can feel those tears, hot and fresh, cascading down his pale cheeks like endless waterfalls.

His breath catches in his throat, burning it, scorching it as he struggles to bring it back under his control. Has breathing always been this hard?

His head is spinning, the ground beneath his feet swaying with more ferocity than a ship caught in a storm.

And yet still he makes no sound.

He simply nods, glumly, his hearts breaking but the unfazed, unsurprised, cool and collected mask of his still remaining firmly in place.

Damnit, he isn’t going to lose it. Not now.

With a small sigh, he brings his ship - his best friend - to a screeching halt, surprisingly landing her smoothly.

For once.

And silence falls within the TARDIS’ four cavernous walls.

Martha is staring intently at him, tears of her own glistening deeply within her eternally twinkling orbs, but he refuses point blank to meet her gaze.

He can’t.

With a small hiccup, she kneels down and gathers the bag into her shaking arms, mentally berating herself for being so weak of will. She’s having doubts. She can’t be having doubts! Not now.

It shouldn’t be this hard …

“So … ” he calls, still avoiding her penetrating gaze as he runs a weary hand through his already ruffled hair. But he falls silent again immediately, unsure of what to say.

“So …” she murmurs back, taking a tentative step towards him.

“Are you sure?” he asks softly, his very core screaming at her for even thinking of suggesting this, but somehow – miraculously - managing to keep a composed gaze. Finally he turns to her, his resolve wavering dangerously as he spots the snail-trail tear tracks that are winding cautious paths down her tanned cheeks.

A heavy sigh escapes her trembling lips, but she nods anyway, knowing that she has to do this.

And the Doctor can say no more.

What is there to say?

There’s so much he wants to tell her, so many things he wants to show her, but when Martha Jones knows what she wants, she stops at nothing to get it.

And this will be no different.

She’s right, he realises. And he’s being selfish.

So he remains mute, his eyesight wavering slightly before he can turn away from her again.

A second nod.

And before he knows what’s happening, Martha’s in his arms, sobbing into his shoulder.

‘No! I aren’t going to lose it, damnit!’

He holds her. Because it’s what he has to do. Martha’s in need of comfort, and what else can he do but provide it?

So he holds her. Wishing, praying that this isn’t really the end.

But it is.

They’re both just kidding themselves.

Postponing the inevitable.

With a heavy but disguised sniff, Martha pulls reluctantly away.

“I’m so sorry, Doctor,” she whispers, almost pleads.

But the Doctor can only nod distractedly, reaching out a shaking hand to squeeze her shoulder; one final act of comfort and support.

Perhaps the last he’ll ever give to Miss Martha Jones.

She looks quite frantic, now. Almost desperate. She wants … no, she needs him to understand!

“My Mum, Doctor,” she murmurs, begging him with her wide and soulful eyes to accept this. “She needs me,” is all she can say before the tears start their descent, once again.

The Doctor simply nods once more.

“I know.”

And the silence is back. They both already know what the other wants to say. There’s no need to voice their thoughts, least of all when they’re both thinking the same thing:

Why now?’

“Just promise me something,” she asks of him, pulling him in for another brief hug before stretching out a trembling hand to gently cup his face, forcing him to meet her urgent gaze. The Doctor blinks away the tears, and waits.

After a pause that seems like an eternity, she finally speaks again, her voice so soft it is almost missed completely.

“Find someone.”

The Doctor feels his head incline in obedience, but he isn’t sure he wants to follow her wishes, this time.

Not again.

Because everybody says it to him, now.

“Find someone.”

But why? It always leads to this, in the end. He finds someone, and they leave, asking that he finds someone else in their place.

A never ending cycle.

Fate’s cruel, twisted joke.

And still he nods, knowing full well that he can’t very well ignore her last wish. He owes her that much.

For the briefest of brief moments, their lips touch, a tentative kiss, an act of unspeakable thanks for the sights, for the sounds, for the company each has given the other …

And then she’s gone.

Everybody leaves him, in the end.

He’d thought that no goodbye could hurt more than his farewell to Rose … but it seems he’d been wrong.

Perhaps this didn’t hurt as much as it had when he’d been forced to let her go, when he’d been forced to stand there and tell her that she was ‘officially dead’ back home … but it was still a pretty close contender.

And it would never stop, would it? For they all left him in the end.

Be it by accident, by need for a free life outside of the magnificent blue box, by illness, by death, or by family issues, it always happened. They’d all leave him, eventually.

Rose was torn from him, torn away in the throes of War, dragged to another reality to live the life she’d always wanted – a life with her family.

And now Martha’s gone too. Nothing strong enough to pull her away from him save her mother’s fatal illness.

And as the TARDIS dematerialises, fading away, blinking out of existence with an inhuman grating sound, he lets a small sob escape his lips before running a hand across his face and regaining that lost composure and dignity.

Flying away without so much as a backwards glance, he never notices Martha Jones standing just outside his wooden blue box’s doors, watching with shaking shoulders and red-rimmed puffy eyes, a hand covering her mouth and a wail escaping her own parted lips, as her soul-mate vanishes from her life with little more than a whirring of alien engines.

One blink later, and the Doctor is gone, zooming away around the Universe, saving one race, then another, travelling through the stars with a pair of freshly broken hearts.

All because one more person has left him.

Martha hopes he heeds her request.

But even so, even if he does find somebody else, she can’t spare him from the heart-ache.

Because everyone leaves, in the end.


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