Rating - PG-13
Disclaimer - Still not mine.
He was looking for a toaster when he saw her. The one in his and Jack’s flat had burnt out. They needed a toaster. He needed a toaster. He wasn’t going to survive on this planet without toast. Then he’d seen her on the lift going toward the upper floors of the department store. Except it couldn’t be her.
It was her though, he thought. Even if it was impossible he knew it was her. The woman he’d seen was Martha Jones. It couldn’t be anyone else. He had seen Martha Jones. Except it couldn’t be Martha Jones. Martha Jones had disappeared one night five years ago in London. She’d escaped from the Master and was sleeping in her own bed and then the next morning she was gone. No signs of her. No note. Nothing except her red leather jacket slung over a chair to even show she’d been there.
Five years. Francine had been heartbroken. Five years without a trace. He’d been certain she was dead. Certain the Master had somehow gotten to her. Five years he’d been trapped on this planet after the Year That Never Was. Five years she’d been gone. There was no way that the woman on those escalators could be Martha Jones but as he walked resolutely toward them he knew that it was. That woman was Martha Jones and he wanted to know desperately where she’d been for five years, what she was doing in Cardiff and how exactly she’d ended up so heavily pregnant. Not how, he amended, he knew how but by whom was the question. It wasn’t him and very jealously he wanted to know exactly who he needed to zap into sterility with the screwdriver.
He stalked her through the aisles of the department store. Crept stealthily around so that he could see her face without her noticing. He felt his breath catch and both his hearts begin to beat rapidly. It was Martha. Stepping out from behind a rack he looked at her. There was no mistake - it was Martha.
"Martha?" He asked gently. He didn’t want to scare her. What if the Master had erased her memories and she didn’t understand what was going on? What if, the Doctor shook his head. Best not to think of the possibilities. She recoiled at the sight of him.
"Martha," he repeated. "Do you know who I am?"
"You’re the Doctor," she replied evenly. "Now go away and leave me alone."
"You know who I am," he smiled. "That’s a start. Do you know where you’re from?"
"London, 21st Century. I was a medical student before I started traveling with you. Then the Year that Never Was happened."
"Right. You know who you are and where you are. That’s good."
"Thank you," she snapped and he could see that she was backing up away from him.
"Martha," he shook his head. "What happened? Where did you go? You just disappeared one night. It’s been five years and you’re," he waved at her stomach and raised his eyebrows. "What happened? Everyone’s been worried sick about you."
"I’m sorry for that," he noticed that she looked down. "I thought about calling so many times. Of trying to explain to Mum and Dad and Tish and Leo. To let them know I was fine. I just didn’t," he noticed she was looking around now. Looking for someone. He wondered if whoever the father of her baby was, if he was nearby. If he was looking for her. " I just didn’t know what to say."
The Doctor was so busy staring in disbelief at Martha Jones, alive and standing in front of him, that he hadn’t noticed the man walk up behind her. A pale hand rested on her shoulder and then he heard a familiar voice. "Darling?" The voice attached to the hand asked. "Is everything all right?"
"Everything’s fine," he heard her purr and lean back against the man. "I was just talking with the Doctor. We ran in to each other."
"Right," the Doctor raised his eyes and met the smirking ones of the Master. "He just managed to run into you?"
"Master," he managed to stutter.
"Doctor," the other man inclined his head. "If you’ll excuse my wife she looks tired and in her condition." The Doctor clenched his fist as the Master leaned down to kiss Martha on the cheek. Only then did he notice the pram the other man had been pushing. "Darling, why don’t you go to the cafe with Leo and Tish for a cup of tea and a rest? They’re both sleeping and you look dead on your feet."
"What about you?" The Doctor heard her ask and felt his hearts clenching. It was their pram. He’d called Martha his wife. They were married and that pram held children and she was carrying another. He couldn’t breathe. The room seemed to be spinning. It was all too much. It wasn’t right. It was all a horrible dream and any minute he’d wake up to find that the toaster worked and he was still asleep in bed and listening to Jack snore through the too thin walls that separated their rooms.
"I’ll be along in a moment. Best if I talk with the Doctor a bit first." The other man was rubbing a hand lingeringly over her stomach and then cast a glance at the pram. The Doctor’s eyes followed as well. There were dangling feet hanging from the seats of the pram. Children. They had children. Time Lord children if they were fathered by the Master. There were more Time Lords. There were more Time Lords and they were the children of the Master.
"It seems you upset my wife," the other Time Lord sneered.
"I don’t understand," the Doctor whispered. "Martha is your wife?"
"She is," the Master confirmed. "Mother of our children as well. Tish and Leo. Twin terrors, I like to call them. They’ll be two in January. The next one is due this March. Only two heart beats this time, shame, I was hoping for another set of twins. Maybe next time though huh?"
"You have children?" the Doctor’s mouth hung open. "Time Lord children?"
"Time Lord children," the Master grinned wickedly. "Healthy Time Lord children. The Tardis is ecstatic. I’ve never seen the old girl so happy, she purrs all the time."
"The Tardis," the Master smiled vengefully at him. "So I guess there’s only one thing left to tell you Doctor."
"But," he was trying to come to grips with it.
The Master stepped close to him. "I win," he whispered to the Doctor. "Your ship now houses my family. Your beautiful companion is now my beautiful wife. Mother of my children. My children Doctor. I win. You lose. You wanted the Earth so bad I’ll let you have it. I’ll keep the Tardis, Martha and the children instead. Enjoy Doctor."
"I don’t understand," he said frantically. "You’ve hypnotized her! You’re controlling her mind somehow. Blood control? What?"
"I didn’t have to control her," the Master chuckled. "All I had to do was all the things you didn’t. I let her know she wasn’t second best compared to Rose. After that, everything else was simple."
"But," the Doctor stuttered as the other Time Lord simply stood and stared at him. He’d married Martha. They had children. Time Lord children. The Tardis was their home. He’d married Martha. All it had taken was proving that she wasn’t second best compared to Rose. She’d married the Master because, he felt his stomach churn.
"Well," the Master patted him familiarly on the shoulder. "Time for me to fetch the wife. She’ll be tired I expect. This far along she gets tired a lot you know. Wait, you wouldn’t know would you? You’re stuck with the Freak for company. Probably better, fewer ice cream cravings. Anyway, time for us to go. We try not to visit 21st century Earth too much, worries I’ll be recognized and brought in as Public Enemy #1. Martha wanted to get a few odds and ends for when the baby comes. You know how women are. Never mind though. Good to see you. No hard feelings for destroying my carefully wrought plan to take over the Earth."
He was still staring dumbstruck as the Master sauntered away with his hands in his trouser pockets. He watched as the other Time Lord suddenly turned around and gave him a wicked smile. "Thank you by the way," the Master called out. "It’s not very often someone hands you everything you could ever ask for all neatly wrapped up. You even gave me the courtesy of a nice, pretty bow. Rose colored, I’d say. Not my personal favorite but it certainly suited. I win."
He stormed after the Master then, grabbing him by the coat collar. "What have you done to Martha?" He hissed.
"Done?" The Master raised an eyebrow and smiled as he Doctor shoved him into an empty corridor near the lifts. "I knew you were naive Doctor but really! I thought you’d know the mechanics by now. Or are you just being disgusting?"
"Tell me it’s hypnosis," the Doctor pleaded. "Tell me it’s not, you didn’t. Tell me it’s hypnosis."
"Not hypnosis," the Master shook his head. "And frankly Doctor, I’m hurt. I mean truly wounded. To think such things of me."
"Tell me what you’ve done," the Doctor said angrily. "Just tell me what you’ve done and then I’ll undo it. You can’t keep her like this. Like a pet."
"Like a pet?" The Master sniffed. "Doctor, she’s my wife not a poodle. Those are my children. Be more respectful! Future of our species you’re talking about there."
"Just give her back to me," the Doctor whispered. "Just leave. I won’t tell Torchwood or UNIT. Just," he stuttered. "Just leave. You don’t have to do whatever it is you have planned. You can let her and the children go. Take the Tardis if you want. It’s yours. Just give her back to me."
"She’s not a possession Doctor. We can’t trade her back and forth. Besides, I wouldn’t dare leave her or my children." He leaned close so that his mouth was pressed to the Doctor’s ear. "I love them. Her. And even if you’d turn me over to Torchwood they’d still be mine. You’d just be some pathetic, sorry substitute."
"You?" The Doctor looked at him.
"I love her," the Master repeated as he pushed the Doctor away and rearranged his clothing. "Don’t ask me how it happened, because it wasn’t at all what I intended, but I do. Now, we’re leaving. Enjoy you’re next few centuries in Cardiff Doctor. Maybe we’ll stop by for a visit again. Perhaps the next child."
The Master had walked away from him then nonchalantly. Like two old mates who’d lost touch. The Doctor couldn’t help following him though. He knew the Master had done something to Martha. There was some way he was holding her to him. Some mental trick. Threats perhaps? Against her? Against her children? He had to follow so that when the Master did something he’d be there to rescue her. There to pick up the pieces.
He watched from around the corner as the Master made his way into the department store’s cafe. The Master walked straight to Martha’s table at the window and the Doctor felt his hearts break at the look in her eyes. The joy he could see glowing there when she saw the Master. "Finished your tea?" He heard the Master ask gently before giving her a hug.
"Mmm," she agreed. "Had a cinnamon roll as well."
"Was it good?"
"I’ll order a dozen for us to take home," the Master said with a smile. "In case you get a craving later."
The smile was enough to shatter the Doctor’s hearts. "That would be lovely," she agreed as she leaned down to adjust the blanket covering the children’s legs in the pram.
"Selfish," he heard the Master laugh. "Saves me from coming back here to get them later when you have a craving in the middle of the night. I’m learning."
"You’re learning?" She teased.
"Always anticipate your pregnant wife’s cravings," the Master chuckled as he walked back toward the counter to place their order. The Doctor felt empty watching them. She didn’t appear afraid or him or nervous. She wasn’t acting hypnotized. Nothing was holding Martha Jones to the Master.
"I love her," the other Time Lord had said. "I love them. My wife. My children." Could that be what it was? Could she, Martha Jones, actually love the Master?
"What about him?" He heard her ask as the Master helped her slowly to her feet. "The Doctor?"
"He’s gone." The Master replied.
"He’s not going to come after you is he? Send Torchwood to track you down? He didn’t threaten you or anything?"
"No," he watched as the Master assured her. Took hold of the pram’s handle and began to push it with one hand while wrapping the other around her swollen waist. "He didn’t threaten me with anything. He wanted to congratulate us. Best man won and all that."
Just as they reached the doorway though he turned around to where the Doctor was standing and simply smiled. That same mischevious smile he always wore when a plan had gone his way.
"I win", the Master had said. The Doctor tried his hardest not to crumple onto the department store floor and cry as he watched them go. " I win," he’d said and in that moment the Doctor faced a horrible truth. He had. The Master had come in and stolen everything he wanted and the Doctor had been so busy he hadn’t even noticed it was gone. Reflexively he reached for his mobile and dialed Jack. His thumb lingered over the send key though. He wondered for a moment if it wouldn’t be better just to let them go.