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Backwards in Time | Forwards in Time

Title: Keep On Running
Fandom: Doctor Who (2007)
Characters: The Tenth Doctor & Martha Jones
Prompt: # 038 - Touch
Word Count: 1’617
Rating: PG-13
Summary: It was so easy to touch her when they were running for their lives. But then they stopped running. 10Martha. Slightly angsty.

Disclaimer: I don’t own Doctor Who. Thank RTD and the BBC.
Author's Notes: Set mid-series 3. No spoilers.


It was so easy to touch her when they were running for their lives.

All he had to do was reach out for her hand, grinning cheekily at her as they bolted through streets, or corridors, or sand dunes, or underground tunnels – usually depending largely on where, who or what they were running from. She’d take it in a second, half-smiling back, albeit with slightly less excitement and a tad more fear for their welfare.

And every time she returned the gesture, his hearts would skip a beat. There’d be something, something deep inside of him that was nothing short of delighted by the contact.

Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that her hand fitted so perfectly within his.

They’d sprint together, clinging to one another like their lives depended on it, fearful that if one of them let go, they’d be lost forever. He’d relish in their closeness, smelling her perfume as they tripped and stumbled on away from whatever danger had taken to chasing them. They’d work in tandem, work as a well-oiled machine works, encouraging one another to keep on running or supporting each other if the situation required it. And while half of him would be concentrating on making sure they both lived to tell the tale, mentally thumbing through plan after plan after plan, the other half would secretly wish that they could stay like this. Keep on running through said street, or corridor, or underground tunnel, hand in hand. Keep on running like this forever.

But then they stopped running.

The danger would pass, and they’d relinquish their grips on one another, smiling shyly and avoiding each other’s gazes as they struggled to find the words that both knew would never come.

And he’d miss the contact.

Suddenly, - selfish though it may have been to even so much as think it - he’d wish they were running for their lives again.

Because he couldn’t touch her when they weren’t.

She was so close to him, so infuriatingly close, close enough for him to reach out and cup her chin, reach out and lift the stray lock of hair from her eyes or run a loving palm down the side of her face. And yet he couldn’t close the gap between them, and she knew as much.

She knew it, and her heart would break because of it.

Which is why she, too, longed for the danger, longed for the life-threats that each passing day seemed to warrant before she could call it a night. If only for the chance to touch him again.

And he knew as much.

He knew it, and his hearts would ache because of it. He knew her dilemma, knew her love for him was insatiable. And he so dearly wished he could return the favour.

In those times when they touched, those times when they were running for their lives, he could forget. Just for a moment, he could pretend that there was nothing stopping him, no inhibitions, no memories, no fears of what would happen if he did touch her. And he’d take advantage of that, would grip so hard to her that he’d be rather surprised later on that he hadn’t actually crushed her fingers.

But then they stopped running.

And the inhibitions, the memories, the fears would return. He’d drown in them, drown in guilt and sorrow and apprehension and would let her hand drop from his, feeling its sudden vanished weight scar his hearts in such a way that only running for their lives again would be enough to heal them.

Ahh, the irony.

How he hated fate’s cruel and twisted idea of a joke.

For each to have the one thing they wanted above all else, they’d have to risk losing the one thing they wanted above all else.

And he simply wasn’t prepared to lose her, not even for the pleasure of touching her again.


They’re running for their lives.

She has no reason to believe that today will be any different. But then … neither does he.

They skid gracefully around a corner and he reaches out to her. She takes his hand in a heart-beat, glancing nervously over her shoulder and suppressing a cry of despair as their spear-clad pursuers screech their war-cries, sprinting ever closer to their retreating prey.

She glances sideways and he flashes her a delighted grin. She smiles back, muscles working a little harder than usual to procure what overall looks more like a grimace as they pick up the pace, pulling one another along through the maze of streets, people on the sidewalks or in their gardens watching the chase with apparent interest.

They run for what feels like miles, vanishing into a forest and weaving their way through the undergrowth in forced silence, wincing if a twig snaps underfoot as they press on, the density of the surrounding trees increasing the darkness as sunlight is gradually blocked from above.

Slowly, the cries are lost to the sounds of nature, and another anxious glance over their shoulders depicts little more than enclosing shrubbery, sealing them off from the outside world, hiding them from their attackers and consequently giving them a chance to pause for breath.

The adrenaline rush slowly fading, she falls forwards in exhaustion, a small moan escaping her lips. He leaps forward and catches her, sliding to his knees as he takes her weight, frowning in concern.

“Easy,” he murmurs, hearts racing. “I’ve got you.”

She chuckles weakly and presses a hand to her chest, unable to suppress the wheezing coughs that are soon piercing the sleepy silence around them. He coaxes her upright, and she leans against him, his hand rubbing soothing circles on her back as she struggles to control her breathing. After a minute or so, she falls silent, turning to him and offering him a shaky smile.

“Sorry,” she whispers, ignoring the sinking feeling in her chest as he pulls his hand away. “Haven’t run that far in a long while. Must be a bit out of practice.”

He smiles back and nods in agreement, lowering his gaze. His fingers twitch, resting on his thigh now that they’ve left her back but wishing they were touching her, instead. He ignores them.

“We should be safe here. We’ll give it a few minutes, then cover our tracks. Hopefully, the ‘mob’ will be too preoccupied with searching the woods for us to notice us slip back to the TARDIS.”

She nods too, running a trembling hand through her hair and sighing heavily, her heart rate slowly returning to normal.

Silence falls between them.

He’s nervous, she can tell. Though she can’t for the life of her understand why he should be.

She’s about to ask, but she never gets the words out.

Because he’s kissing her.

Startled, it takes her a few seconds to grasp onto what’s happening. But when she finally does, she smiles against his lips, letting a hand slowly rise up to hang over his shoulder, curling a lock of hair at the base of his neck around a finger as he silently asks the question she’s so long been wishing to hear.

She obliges and he deepens the kiss, mind a whirlwind of emotions as he tries to tell himself that he’s doing the right thing.

And it works.

Just touching her soon convinces him that he’s doing the right thing.

For the first time, they aren’t running for their lives. And yet the feelings are exactly the same. He can still smell her perfume, still sense her silent joy that he’s reached out to her, still feel his hearts slowly healing as her added weight gently slides them back into place.

Rather identical to the feelings he has when he’s holding her hand while they’re running for their lives.

He doesn’t hesitate to admit to himself that this is better.


Everything returned to normal, after that.

They’d touch only when they were running, silently praying for one another to keep on running once they’d started - just so they could keep on touching.

But it didn’t matter.

For her, it was a case of ‘any contact with him is better than nothing at all’. For him, it was a case of ‘anything more than this and I won’t be able to let her go’.

Each had accepted the truth the day they’d acted on impulse. They’d tested the boundaries, taken things one step further and touched one another in ways that both had dreamed of but had never really expected to come true.

And while the boundaries themselves had held fast, they’d mutually agreed that they couldn’t risk what they had for fear they’d lose everything.

Yet even now, she still dearly hopes that one day things might change again, that he might drop his guard, even if it’s only for a second, and allow the real him to shine through the mask he wears on a day-to-day basis. The ’him’ she met in the woods while they were hiding from an angry mob of psychopathic land-owners who’d caught them ’trespassing’ in their secluded village.

But she doesn’t expect him to, not really. In fact, for all her hoping and wishing, deep down, she knows he can’t. So for now , she’s content.

They’re usually running for their lives more often than not anyway, and with the running comes the contact she so greatly loves to have.

So for now, she’s content for them to just keep on running.

While he only wishes he could overcome the irony, once again. Because the contact they shared when he did so the first time was most definitely its own reward.


Little Damn Table

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( 4 comments — Comments are Love )
7th Jul, 2007 08:54 (UTC)
That was lovely, and so sad. Sigh. I wish.
7th Jul, 2007 08:57 (UTC)
Thanks so much for commenting! Glad you liked it! ^^

Blessed be!
Peanut xXxXx
17th Jul, 2007 10:22 (UTC)
oh, this was lovely.
17th Jul, 2007 18:30 (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

Blessed Be!
Peanut xXxXx
( 4 comments — Comments are Love )

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