The Motions and the Things That You Say
The Doctor opened the TARDIS doors and found Martha and Tim standing in the clearing, playing catch with a cricket ball. Martha kept her eye on the ball and didn’t turn. “About time you got here. You’d think a Time Lord would be more punctual, wouldn't you, Tim?" The boy just rolled his eyes.
“What, and ruin your fun? How’d you know we’d land back here?”
Martha shook her head. “It’s where you let Buffy park it. Also, the community hall fire spread and she burnt down the barn too.”
“That sounds about right for her, yeah.” The Doctor scratched his head and caught Martha’s throw one-handed. “I’m pretty good with one of these, you know,” he mentioned, tossing it off to Tim.
“I heard something like that.” Martha sauntered up to him, and they hugged. “Good to see you.”
He patted her back. “Same to you.” She stepped away. “Thank you.”
“Not a problem,” replied Martha. “The Family?”
“Not going to bother anyone else ever again.” Buffy emerged in clothes borrowed from the wardrobe.
Martha looked her friend up and down. Rosy cheeks, swollen lips, bit of an effervescent glow about her. Then she gave the Doctor a once-over. Brown pinstripes, blue shirt, and just a hint of pink lipstick behind his ear. “Oi! You two! Already? Really?”
Buffy was winning the blushing contest, but only just. “Martha – I, er, we-”
“You see-” started the Doctor, but Martha held up her hands.
“Not in front of Tim, you two have corrupted him enough already.”
Tim had wandered over between Martha and the Doctor. “She says she’s going to rap your knuckles.”
Buffy and the Doctor looked at each other. “We, uh-”
“You’ve both earned it.” Martha scowled. “You deserve each other, and I don’t know how I’m going to survive with two of you bouncing around in there.” She looked down at Tim. “The universe is doomed.”
Buffy swallowed. “Martha-”
Martha pulled her into a hug. “Seriously, it’s fine. It’s... better even. I’m happy.” She released Buffy and pulled her purse out. “I’m handing our wages over to Tim. He carried your bag over from the school, and those boots of yours are heavy.”
“Oh, thanks, Tim! I never could figure out what the heck a sovereign was anyway,” said Buffy.
The Doctor nodded. “Quite right then.” Martha handed over the purse, and the Doctor pulled the watch from one of his pockets, extending it to Tim. “You should take this too.”
Tim eyed it. “Should I?”
“Yep. Just a watch now, but it’s fine Gallifreyan craftsmanship. Keeps perfect time.”
He and Tim shared a significant look, then the boy took the gift. “Thank you, Doctor. And you too, Martha, for everything.” He turned to Buffy last, but she was already chuckling.
“I know. ‘Thanks for keeping me safe by being really scary and kind of weird.’”
A smattering of pink appeared on Tim’s cheeks. “Yeah. That’s about right. Thank you for showing me how to fight.”
Buffy patted his shoulder. “It’s not the fighting. It’s the surviving that’s the trick. Actually, it’s rule one. ‘Don’t die.’ So, yeah, just remember that rule,” she finished, turning into the TARDIS.
“That’s an order,” added the Doctor, grabbing the bags before heading in.
“And stay clear of the Headmaster for the next few days,” said Martha with a twinkle in her eyes. She turned back and winked at him. “You’ll like this bit.” When she shut the door, Tim was still standing there, smiling. Martha leaned her head against the doors until she heard the TARDIS finish its dematerialization sequence. “So where are we headed?”
“Home sweet home,” announced the Doctor, zooming about. “Well, for you anyway.”
Buffy was holding onto the handrail for dear life. Martha smirked at her. “Novice.”
“She’ll get used to it.”
“Is it always like this?” she hissed.
“Yep!” The Doctor and Martha replied in unison.
“Time travel tends to be just a little bit rougher. Remember that time we landed in the swamp,” recalled Martha.
The Doctor grinned. “Which one?”
Buffy was starting to earn her vortex legs and relaxed just in the time to fall off the bench as the TARDIS came to a sudden halt. Martha grinned. “So, London, 2007?”
The Doctor nodded. “That’s right. Your kind of town, and your kind of time. Buffy’s kind of time, too, if I’m not mistaken, or roughly about there at the very least in an alternate-dimension sort of way?”
He was kneeling just a few steps away from Buffy, who took the chance to turn her head and check out his crouching profile. “Yeah, I was going to ask you about that. I mean, not really running away from here quite yet, but it would be nice to at least know how to get home, and maybe leave a note. Willow’s family was apparently really big with the note-leaving.”
“All in good time, Buffy, we’ve only just landed.” The Doctor rose, grabbed his coat off the ground, dusted it off, and pulled it on. “Martha, have you got my sonic screwdriver?” Martha produced it, and it was tucked into its proper pocket. “All is right with the world.”
Martha smiled at him. “That’s right.”
“And we’ve already got a mystery to figure out. Come on, Buffy, this is the fun part.” He and Martha were already outside when Buffy got to her feet and headed towards the door. The Doctor called back. “Not the best weather for it, but with any luck we’ll figure out how the dimensional modulation works!”
Buffy reached the doors and looked out. It was dark and foggy, but she followed the Doctor’s light. "Hurry up, Buffy, I can't even see you. Oh, this is so Scooby Doo," laughed Martha. As she got closer, she could start to make out a building. After a few more steps, she froze.
Buffy knew this mansion. Wester Drumlins. Dammit. Procrastination was bad, yes, but repeating Plan A was worse. Her eyes raced around. One pair of stony wings in the garden. Another pair of petrified eyes in the bay window. One playing gargoyle on the outside of the spire. That made three.
Which left one weeping angel she couldn’t see.
The once reassuring white glow ahead of her disappeared without a sound. “Oh shi-”
FINAN: That's it for this story. Before you all start yelling at me and threatening me with pointy sticks, I'll let you know that I have one or two sequel bunnies bouncing around, but I've also got a couple of WiPs that need my attention first.
Once again, major, major compliments to Booster, without whom this story would not have been nearly as good, and might have completely stalled out when I couldn't figure out chapter 12. Also, my sincerest thanks to all of my reviewers, especially those of you who've been urging me along every step of the way, not to mention the people who just popped in once or twice and reassured me that more than ten people were reading this fic. I'd have still written it for those ten, but it's nice to know that there's more out there.
Oh, and speaking of Booster, he made a point of telling me how lovely and lyrical my chapter titles were. The thing is, Isaac Brock is a much better lyricist than I am. All of the chapter titles are lyrics from the Modest Mouse album,The Moon and Antarctic, which, in addition to being one half of the soundtrack to writing this story (along with The Best of Talking Heads), is also a really good metaphor for Buffy and the Doctor: they're two very different, very harsh, very lonely, beautiful and distant places.
Well it worked for me anyway. Thanks again, and that's all, folks.