“Sexism sucks,” the woman says. “I want to punch the patriarchy in the face.” Martha opens her mouth, but the woman starts talking again before she can even get a word out. “But only metaphorically, obviously. I don’t go round punching random societal concepts,” she winks, “even if they really deserve it.”
“What—” Martha starts.
“Oh!” the woman’s eyes narrow suddenly, forehead wrinkling. “But I understand that in some ways I still have the privileges of being white and educated and cis-passing and able-bodied.”
She says it flatly in one breath, as if it’s a speech that someone’s given her before, grinning proudly when she’s reached the end. And then her face firms again.
“I’m sorry,” she says, very gently. “I’m sorry that I didn’t understand before— And also that I talked over you a lot, that was very not cool of me to do. It feels awful. Like, yeah, I didn’t know how it felt but that’s still not an excuse for treating you like that.”
And then she stops, looking at Martha with an expectant look on her face. She seems to sway a bit, hands fluttering at her sides as she waits for a reply.
“You kind of talked over me there,” Martha points out, and the woman scrunches up her face with a groan, rolling her head to the side. “Also? Who are you and how did you get into my house?”
The woman blinks, eyes widening, before she hits herself on the forehead with a loud smack.
“Sorry! Sorry, sorry, sorry!” Each sorry is accompanied by another smack; Martha winces. “Didn’t even think of that, stupid, stupid me. And it is me, by the way.” She points at herself with both hands. “See? New face, new…everything, but still me.” She wiggles a little again, but nervously this time. “It’s the Doctor,” she pulls another face, “I’m the Doctor.”
Oh. Because, yeah. Martha can see it now, could always see it really. There’s a reason she hadn’t reached for a weapon when she’d walked into her living room to find a ridiculously dressed stranger awkwardly sprawled in her armchair.
“Doctor,” she says, and the Doctor beams. It’s the exact same smile she (he? they?) had back when Martha first called him the Doctor, all those years ago on the moon.
“Doctor Jones,” the Doctor says back, fondly, before wrinkling her nose. “Jones-Smith? Smith-Jones? Sorry, was a little…distracted at the wedding.”
Martha’s mouth drops open. “You came?”
She’d hoped he (…they?) would, but none of them had been able to see any sight of him.
“Uh? Of course I did?” she looks offended, mouthing forming a little o shape. “Couldn’t miss the wedding of two of my best friends now could I?”
“Oh,” Martha says, a little dazed. “And it’s Smith-Jones, but still Jones professionally.”
The Doctor hums. “Nice. Ace. Wicked.” Another little wiggle. “And…uh. I’m a woman.”
Martha doesn’t mean to laugh, but she can’t help the little snicker that escapes. “Yeah,” she says, drily, “I noticed. And the first thing you did was come and apologise for not believing me when I pointed out that men can be pretty awful?”
“Oi,” the Doctor says, “as a former man—” Martha raises an eyebrow; the Doctor huffs and runs a hand through her hair. “Yeah,” she says. “Okay. We can be pretty awful. Could be? Still are but now I’m not?” She shakes her head. “Ugh. English is so not helpful when it comes to past references to gender.” She mock glares. “Why’s your language so primitive?”
“Oi,” she mimics, “watch who you’re calling primitive, mister.”
“Nobody calls me mister anymore,” the Doctor says, a little sadly. She doesn’t apologise for the name calling, but, well. It’s not like Martha thought they’d changed that much.
Instead, she shrugs. “I’ll call you that until you tell me to stop,” and the Doctor laughs, delighted.
“Thanks, Martha,” she says, cheerfully. “For everythin’. Especially for the things I didn’t thank you for before,” she stops, suddenly, mouth twisting. “Do you want me to thank you for those things? Like, individually? Because I will, if you want that.”
And she believes her. This Doctor’s face is so expressive, so open and clear. She’s practically vibrating with how much she wants Martha to forgive her. And Martha already does, is the thing. She’d had to forgive him to leave him, had to put everything behind to move on with her life. But this? This is something she didn’t realise she needed.
No, she thinks. Not needed, deserved.
So she smiles at her, softens her expression. “I’m alright,” she says, and the Doctor’s whole being relaxes. “Do you want to stay for tea?”
“Nah,” and it doesn’t sting as much as it should, because Martha really hadn’t expected anything else. “Don’t really have the time.” And then, flippantly: “Do you wanna see the new Tardis interior?” and oh, she really didn’t expect that. “She’s redecorated. It’s—”
“Of course I do.”
“Yeah?” her whole body lights up. “Brilliant! You’ll love her,” and she tilts her head to the side, eyes creasing with happiness, “she already loves you.”
Yeah, Martha thinks, love you too, Doctor.
Thank you and you’re very welcome! That’s what I’m here for 🙂