Lurky McLurklurk (ionlylurkhere) wrote,
Lurky McLurklurk

DVD commentary: All's Fair

Requested by radiantbaby.

Warnings that were too long to put in the cut text: it's an NC-17 fic so NSFW and all that, there's some minor discussion of spoilers for the upcoming specials/S5, and there's also very vague spoilers for Time Traveller's Wife, if that's something you're worried about being spoiled for.

This was written for jadekirk in oxionensis's "Fall Fandom Free-for-All", which I thought was great. It was a sort of free-form prompt/claiming effort where you got to request whatever you wanted and see if any other people's requests took your fancy. Which several of them did, for me, and I ended up writing quite a few things I'd never have tried otherwise, which was good. And I got awesome graphicsy things out of it, like this Izzy/Fey icon doyle_sb4 made for me (see, it's not an entirely random choice of icon for talking about this story, honest), and my lovely header image from biichan.

Anyway, there are far too many <lj user> tags in that last paragraph (shamingly, I didn't get this betaed because it was so ridiculously last minute [though in the end the deadline was extended so I needn't have worried], but at least that cuts down the number of people I need to talk about slightly). The assignment here was to do a "happy ending" for Martha and Ten, and have them at the fairground (I asked for that extra bit of prompting, because it was all a bit inchoate in my head).

(The title references "All's fair in love and war", of course, and the not-quite-NA-reference isn't deliberate, exactly, but I'm pleased it's there.)

Martha clutched her phone as though it was a magical talisman, an object of power that could draw things to her across desolate wastes of space and time. Which, in a way, it was.

Obviously really everyone has new phones since the time we saw them in canon, but to be brutally honest in my head she's still phoning her old one from the end of S3, even though fandom keeps telling me it got deaded in JE. I honestly haven't noticed that on any time I've watched it, but that's still not that often, because it's a Rusty Ending.

So when it rang, the screen lighting up with blocky little letters spelling "Tom", she was able to answer it instantly. "Hi, hon. Wasn't expecting to hear from you."

"We're ... between pubs. Thing is, we were just talking about ... stuff. And it made me miss you." They'd been ribbing Neil about how awful his life was going to be once he was married, she read between the lines, and Tom had joined in when really he wanted to gush.

I have lots of Martha/Tom personal fanon. #1: Tom is a big softie, really.

"That's very sweet of you," she said.

"Sorry," he said, the sibilant slightly slurred. "I'm interrupting your date, aren't I? I'll let you go."

"He's not here yet, actually," she said.

"Typical," Tom said good-naturedly. "Anyway, have fun. Don't do anything I wouldn't do."

Martha/Tom Fanon #2: They're poly. There are a number of reasons for this. Mainly it's that Martha has chemistry with everyone, and I like writing fic of her, but I also really, really like Martha/Tom. So if I want to do Martha/anyone else without the poly aspect, it either has to be set before or during S3 (and to be honest that's in a weird place of being new-ish-but-not-new-enough for me to pay much attention to at the moment, though I don't know if that statement makes any sense outside my own brain), or you have to break them up in the background, or it's cheating. (I'm conscious that that "really, really like Martha/Tom" part is something that I'm not exactly in the majority on, and that many, many people go for the break-them-up option. But the thing that sells me on them has always been Martha's abundant squee about him in Sontaran. Basically, I really like it when Freema smiles and she smiles a lot in that scene.) I first used it in that Martha/Donna fic I did and found it eminently plausible. Again, mainly because of the chemistry thing.

Making them poly seems a particularly good option for doing years-down-the-line Martha/Ten, since later-period Ten has River and is blatantly in a horrendously complicated relationship with her, and River is poly both from observation of her with everyone in the Library eps and by extension from Nine's description of 51st century mores in Doctor Dances, so there's actual vague amounts of canon support for this particular instance, not just handwaving. \o/

"Well, that gives me plenty of leeway, doesn't it?" Martha laughed. But she felt a twinge, a tiny stab of jealousy at the sort of thing Tom could get up to on a stag weekend.

It didn't matter. She trusted him -- trusted him to stay safe, trusted him to come back to her -- just like he trusted her. That was how their relationship worked: total trust. It's what they'd agreed, long ago, when they'd got back together after the bust-up caused by her telling him about the missing year. And it had stood them in very good stead ever since.

Martha/Tom Fanon #3: Martha and Tom broke up and got back together because of her not telling him about TYTNW. This has been part of my personal shipping-them fanon since the week between Sontaran Stratagem and Poison Sky, with all sorts of variations on the details. But when I came to actually write it for Meeting at Infinity, I couldn't quite make it work how it worked in my head (mainly because for overall-shape-of-the-plot/fitting-into-canon purposes it came at quite a late point, and I'm not sold on Tom giving up on her that easily by then); it's still one of the weakest bits IMO.

"Have fun," Tom said. "Love you."

"Love you too," she whispered into what turned out to be the beeping of her phone telling her he'd hung up.

As she took the phone away from her ear, a shadow fell across her, the shifting colours from across the road muted into darkness for a moment. She looked up to see the Doctor standing in front of her, a crooked smile on his face.

"You're late," she said, her own lips twitching upwards.

"What's quarter of an hour against the whole expanse of eternity?" the Doctor said airily.

"What's the point of a time machine that can't actually get you anywhere on time?" she shot back, but he just wrapped her up in his arms and spun her fully round twice before putting her back down again.

Spinny hugs are a key part of the Martha/Ten dynamic, obv. I do quite like that line of dialogue, I can imagine how Freema would say it. (I'm practically vomiting at my own self-congratulatoriness here, I shall tone it down in a minute.)

"Oh, Martha Jones, I've missed you!"

"I've missed you, too," she said, and they kissed, a peck on the lips that evolved organically into something more intense. Martha had to catch her breath when they broke apart again.

"So where are we going for our date, Doctor Jones?"

Martha nodded across the road, at the bright lights and booming basslines emanating from the park.

Terrible-taste-in-music confession time: I had "Tunnel of Love" by Dire Straits on in the background constantly while writing this fic. In fact, I'm just going to pop it on again now so I can cop to any bits that were ripped off from directly inspired by it.

"Ah, the fairground! Excellent choice!"

As they walked over, arm in arm, the Doctor spieled off what felt like a dissertation on the ancient traditions of the travelling show, seguing without a break into the history of sugar when he bought them both big sticks of candyfloss, carrying on talking even as he took big mouthfuls.

Lazy not-actually-writing-Ten's-motormouth-dialogue is lazy (but also possibly better for the reader).

"I used to love coming to the funfair when I was little," Martha said when he finally paused. "Tish and I were demons on the dodgems."

I have this weird thing with writing about Tish where I have no idea what I'm doing as I do it, but as soon as I need to know some specific thing about her, it's there in my mind. For someone with comparatively little screen time, my subconscious seems to have spent a lot of time working stuff out about her. I do find it interesting that she's the older sister, given that Martha is so strongly portrayed as The Sensible One, that probably ties into it a bit. (I can imagine Tish trying to broaden Martha's horizons a bit in slightly leading-her-astray ways.)

"Dodgems!" the Doctor said, haring off towards them. Martha ran to catch up, then overtook him, sticking her tongue out at him when she got to one first, their arrival coinciding perfectly with the changeover. Just another of those little synchronicities that tended to happen when you were around the Doctor.

I'd completely forgotten about this until rereading it just now, but this next bit has lots of deliberately-engineered-in-subtext. I usually don't do this sort of thing as self-consciously as I did here (and normally it tends to veer much more towards the meta side of things). But their experience on the dodgems is meant to mirror the evolution of their relationship through what we've seen on telly in the first paragraph and then beyond in the second.

They started slowly, circling anticlockwise with everyone else, but before too long Martha was catapulted forward by a violent collision. (Smith and Jones.) She glanced behind her to see the Doctor grinning manically as he tried to accelerate to crash into her again. She dodged round him, then steered into him as he pulled alongside, forcing them both round in tight circles for a couple of revolutions, sparks flying from the contacts above their heads. (Season 3 in general, with the steering into him being the up-to-the-more-than-just-a-passenger-moment part.) Then suddenly she veered out wide, leaving him spinning in circles by himself. (Voyage of the Damned.) He crashed into someone else (Donna, or some sort of hybrid Astridonna if you're particularly keen on counting Kylie.), and she guided herself back to collide with him again (Sontaran/Doctor's Daughter), and then again, bringing him to a complete standstill, trapped between several dodgems. (The companionapalooza of Journey's End.)

She lost track of him then, circling wide around the outside as he extricated himself from the pile up. But a little while later she spotted him ahead of her. She snuck up alongside him while he was looking the other way, then bumped him spectacularly. He looked over at her, a devilish glint in his eyes, and did the same in return. They carried on in the same fashion, breaking apart then crashing together again, until the music died and they coasted to a halt next to each other. (So basically she's been a recurring guest star throughout the rest of the unseen time, and gradually along the way they developed their relationship. I'm operating from the assumption/obvious truth that Ten has got a thing for Martha, didn't act on it at the time for various reasons, but now that he's got River to knock some sense into him the obstacles in their way are removed. I do see River as being good for the Doctor's ability to form relationships of all kinds, because of the complexity of their own. In some ways, I think the timey-wimey-ness of it [along with the knowing-it's-destined and already-seen-her-die-and-that's-the-worst-thing aspects] is his in to the emotional side of it and once he's got the hang of that sort of thing better because of it he can do it with his more linear relationships.)

I am talking about the characters that aren't here more than the ones that are in this commentary, aren't I?

The Doctor helped Martha out of her dodgem and dragged her across to the waltzers. Martha demurred at first, but the Doctor launched into what was clearly going to be a very long speech about how the mathematical description of the movement was analogous to something-or-other in quantum mechanics (I'm not entirely certain this is valid, but there is a bit in one of the Feynman memoirs about him discovering that he'd happened to have worked out the mathematics that applied to something going on inside atoms as a kid because he'd got interested in working out the motion of a particular spot on a plate thrown up into the air in a spinny way, which seems the same sort of thing): she never quite found out what, because she ended up dragging him onto them to shut him up, and after the first half turn around the centre, he'd stopped trying to explain it to her and was just enjoying the ride. They grinned at each other as they whirled round faster and faster, unravelling complex orbits in the waltzer's geometry. (There's a Greg Egan story I've never actually read [I think I did buy the Interzone back issue it's in, I just haven't got round to it] called "Unstable Orbits in the Space of Lies" which is my favourite title for anything ever.)

"I feel dizzy," Martha said when they finally got off. She'd got used to circles within circles: the world was supposed to be spinning. Now that it wasn't, it was confusing.

The Doctor put his fingers to her temples briefly, and her balance suddenly restored itself to normal. The Doctor shook his head, as though it had somehow transferred to him and he was clearing his head.

"That's a new trick," Martha said, slightly suspiciously.

Vague hint towards Moff's more casually powerful future Doctor, which I'm not overly fond of but is canon. I'm being a bit naughty here and using Martha as voice of the author, expressing my disquiet about it.

"Nothing really." The Doctor shrugged. "Come on, let's see if I can win you something at the shooting gallery."

OK, this is actually quite a key bit of the song influence, because there's the line about "in any shooting gallery where promises are made, to walk away, walk away".

Martha gave him a look, but followed anyway, and watched as the Doctor put on a spectacular display of incompetence. He didn't hit a single target with any of his three goes.

"Oh, so this is why you don't like guns?" she said. "'Cos you're rubbish with them!"

"It's a deep-seated ethical objection," the Doctor huffed. "So deep-seated that it renders me incapable even of pretending."

This wrote itself as soon as I decided to send them to the shooting gallery.

"Go on, give me a go," Martha said. She smiled at the guy running the stall as she handed over her money. He smiled back, clearly expecting her to be just as useless as the Doctor.

A minute later, she was stuffing a gigantic cuddly toy into the Doctor's arms.

"What am I supposed to do with this?" he asked as they walked away from the stall keeper, who was stood stock still, a completely nonplussed expression on his face.

"Hug it to sleep every night?"

"He. Not it. He's called Humphrey," the Doctor said with sudden decisiveness. And he started trying to stuff it into his pocket, despite the obvious mismatch in sizes.

As soon as he decides to accept it, of course, he's given it a whole back story.

"Or you could put it -- him -- on that chair in the console room?" she suggested, as he somehow managed to complete the process, squeezing Humphrey away but somehow not affecting the enticing-as-ever line of his suit at all.

I am altogether too fond of the Doctor's pockets; I always love those scenes in canon where he empties them for minutes at a time. I have a corresponding huge downer on dull extended-canon "answers" to them.

A thought occurred to her then, and she stopped, waited for the Doctor to notice and turn round.

"What?" the Doctor said.

She almost didn't want to know. But she didn't want to not know, either. And it was important, more important than he ever let on, or possibly even realised. "Are you ... travelling with anyone at the moment?"

Looking back at this, I'm quite pleased with how it ties in to what RTD's said in some interviews or something (I get all my news second hand from the meme, sue me) about how the next specials are going to show us why the Doctor needs companions. This is one of the more bittersweet parts, because Martha's made choices that preclude her going back to full-time travel in the TARDIS, but it's not like she doesn't feel the tug.

He walked back to her. "Not as such. Seeing a lot of River, but there's no ... no, there's no one." He rubbed his hands together against the cold. "Come on, let's have a go on the big wheel. Bit of a change of pace."

There's no real evidence either way, but it seems quite obvious to me that River isn't a companion in the conventional sense, travelling in the TARDIS from one adventure to another without a break back in her own time. Maybe a (beginning-of-S3-like-if-it-had-been-Martha-saying-just-one-trip) string of two-or-three-adventures, but not a full-on companion companion. So I do have slight fear that we've already seen her in set photos, because it implies she's going to be in S5 a fair bit and possibly be a companion companion, though they probably have better communication methods than psychic paper. It ties into the squickiness of the Doctor/companion power dynamic (about which I'll have much more to say in tomorrow's commentary, though it's worth saying that while I think the no-TARDIS-travel rule Martha and Ten have here probably is mainly for Tom's benefit, it does help me buy into their relationship more) but it's mainly that I like it being complicated and out of order and the idea that River's diary is like Clare's list of dates in Time Traveller's Wife.

Speaking of, the trailer for the film version of the Niffenegger has just been on the telly again; it fills me with fear a bit. They were always going to have to do major surgery on it to make it filmable, obviously, but at least from what they've chosen to emphasise in the trailer it looks like they're turning it into something rather duller than the book (I mean, I knew they weren't going to show the teenage Henrys' selfcest or anything, but this looks very much like cookie-cutter romance film with time travel as The Complication). Also, Eric Bana isn't stocky enough for Henry-in-my-head, it turns out.

They were about a quarter of the way round, high above the bustle of the fair before either of them spoke again.

"So, saved humanity lately?" the Doctor asked.

"From everything except itself."

"Sounds about right," he said ruefully.

I really am going to have to bump Interference up my to-read list, because whenever I do this sort of thing I get flashbacks to Eight in a cell and confronting the Doctor's failure to deal with evil regimes when they happen to be on present-day Earth, but I've completely forgotten the details of Miles's argument.

"And you?" Martha said.

"I'm good, yeah. Went to the Crystal Expanse of Saxaconia last week. Minor thing with a hegemonising swarm travelling backwards in time from its point of origin -- no big deal but the paradox was philosophically interesting (where "philosophically interesting" means "stolen from the TNG finale"). Did I ever take you to the Crystal Expanse, Martha? It's beautiful. Emerald mountains and skies made of amethyst. Rivers of rubies flowing into the sapphire sea. (My attempt at a Rusty-esque description moment, not sure how successful it is; clearly very influenced by Midnight.) We should go, bring Tom along as well."

She smiled, vicariously entranced by the far away look on his face. "You know the rules, Doctor. You come to me, that's how it works."

"Worth a go," he said lightheartedly. "How is Tom, anyway?"

There's a mixture here of "now that I've got people all over spacetime I'm allowed to have relationships with, why do I need to meet new companions?" and "argh! relationships are complicated, I know how to do Doctor/companion (at least sort of), please can we go back to that?"

"Really good, yeah," Martha said. "He's just got a research fellowship. They pretty much had to make him apply for it."

This is mainly to imply the gap of time between canon and this. All incredibly likely to be Jossed by the regeneration, but eh. Also there to show that their lives are all entwined, I suppose.

"Oh, that's brilliant," the Doctor said.

"We'll have to move, but we can figure that out. It's not like UNIT don't keep shuttling me halfway across the world at a moment's notice anyway." Martha's exhaled breath misted the air in front of her as she spoke. She looked across at the Doctor: his never seemed to do that. Just another of those little things that made him different, made him special. Made her lucky to have him in her life. But all those little distancing things also made it impossible for her to be with him all the time, whether Tom would be prepared to come along or not. Maybe all this wasn't once she'd once wanted, so long ago, but it was what worked now, and she wouldn't be without it.

I sort of feel a bit like it's a lack of faith in the rest of the fic's ability to portray it to state this idea this explicitly, but there we go, I did it. I do tend towards having more stuff in my head than I've communicated properly on the page, so probably spelling it out was the right idea.

They fell silent again as they reached the top of the wheel. Martha looked out on the city lights, spread out below them like a blanket, a warm yellow reflection of the cold white of the stars, impossibly high above, but within reach for the Doctor.

"You should, you know," she told him.

"Should what?"

"Have someone. To travel with, I mean. Not as another ... well, unless you want to." She smiled at him. The way he'd talked about the Crystal Expanse ... he'd made it sound beautiful, but there was no there there. He only really saw things when he had someone to provide that other, less lofty perspective.

And he needs someone to stop him, but Martha's not going to say that right now.

"Maybe you're right," he said.

"You know I'm right."

"Well, I've got Humphrey now. Sorted."

"Humphrey's lovely, but I'm not sure he'd provide all that much in the way of stimulating conversation."

"Well ..."

"Promise me, Doctor," Martha said. "Next time you meet someone, you'll ask them?"

"I meet lots of people," the Doctor said. "All the time!"

And increasingly frequently explicitly reject the idea of travelling with them, but this was written before The Next Doctor, let alone anything else.

"You know what I mean, Doctor," she said. She took his hand in hers as she remembered: the Royal Hope, upwards falling rain, space rhinos, and Mr Smith, the mysterious patient who was so much more than he seemed, and the instant bond she'd formed with him.

"Yes," he said, putting his other hand over hers. "I do."

"So you promise?"

"I promise," he said.

On an impulse, she kissed him. He responded slowly, clearly away with his thoughts, but as she brought him back to reality, he became more and more passionate, returning the kiss fully as his hands began to roam over her back.

I was torn at the time of writing whether to make it porny or not (jadekirk had said "It can be as gen or as smutty as you like." so it wasn't like there was any specific reason to include it). In some ways, it feels somewhat tacked on, in that you could stop the story here and it'd be a complete thing, but I do feel that it emphasises the positive aspects of the "Maybe all this wasn't once she'd once wanted, so long ago, but it was what worked now, and she wouldn't be without it." elements and there's a specific bit in a minute I quite like.

They disentangled themselves temporarily to step out of the carriage when it reached the bottom, ignoring the look -- somewhere between censure and envy -- from the man who helped them out.

As they stepped away, Martha whispered in his ear, fondling his leg at the same time. He nodded with a certain amount of surprise -- she was glad she could still surprise him -- and she took his hand and guided him out of the fairground. They ducked under guy ropes, stepped over cables snaking their way from noisy, smelly generators, came out into the strange hinterland where the temporary, ephemeral nature of the fair was exposed. In a week's time all that would be left of the whole thing would be some slightly muddied and yellowed patches of grass. Martha glanced behind her for a moment, at the laughing families, the children running round after each other, then grabbed the Doctor's hand more firmly and dragged him off to the trees a little distance away.

This is the bit I like, with the impermanence of things as a metaphor for ... well, everything in general, if I can go mega-pretentious for a minute (the only always-true statement is "this too shall pass", and so on), but relationships in particular. But there's also an element here that Martha's been stripped of her illusions about the Doctor long ago (at the end of S3, really), and so that thing of everything seeming magical when he's around doesn't work on her so much any more, but that doesn't mean he isn't magical anyway, and ... well, I think I've overloaded this little bit with layers now. It's also very much inspired by the song, which has this sort of feel shot all the way through it, at least to my interpretation.

"Are you sure about this, Martha?" he said as he pressed her up against a good wide tree. "We could wait until we're back at your place ..."

"I want you," she said. "I want you now. And I can tell you want me too." She rubbed her hand along the length of his shaft; he gasped and then kissed her, hard and long. As his tongue slipped between her lips, she fumbled with his zip, freeing his hardness. He put his hands on her breasts, squeezing them gently, before moving further down to slide a hand between the waistband of her trousers and her knickers. Martha groaned into his mouth as he stroked her pussy through the fabric.

I seem to remember making a deliberate attempt to write standing-up outdoor sex, for a bit of a variety in my porning.

By unspoken agreement, they broke apart for a moment. Martha wriggled her way out of her trousers, and the Doctor extracted a condom from one pocket or another -- not, she hoped, the one that Humphrey was waiting in. When he'd put it on, he stepped towards her once more, forcing her back against the tree trunk once more. He hooked a finger into her panties, pushing them to one side before he thrust up inside her. Martha wriggled her way upwards slightly to alter the angle, sandwiched between the tree and the Doctor, wrapping her feet around his thighs. He grabbed her arse, partly to help support her, partly, she knew, because he liked the feel of it under his hands.

The way he looks at it all the damned time = trufax canon.

The duelling sets of pounding music from different parts of the fair washed over them as they began to buck back and forth in a rhythm all their own. Martha leaned in to the Doctor's neck and bit it lightly, drawing a growl that made the flesh under her teeth ripple deliciously. Then she bent upwards to his ear, licked it lasciviously and whispered, "Fuck me, Doctor, fuck me hard."

The Doctor obliged, increasing the tempo of his thrusts, until she could no longer keep up and just surrendered to the intensity of the sensations each of his movements sent trembling through her body. The tiniest change in position was enough to set her shuddering, and his motions were far from tiny. Quickly, she felt herself nearing the brink, her own desperation matched by his urgency ...

Martha came, her whole body shaking involuntarily. The Doctor moved his arms to hold her tight to him as he thrust once, twice more before she felt his own orgasm explode inside her. He stayed holding on to her as she lapsed into near-unconsciousness, breathing heavily as her thoughts drifted into nothingness.

Near simultaneous! They're near simultaneous orgasms, so it's only nearly a horrendous cliché. But then the most realistic portrayals of sex tend to be in humour fics, when you think about it.

"Thank you," she said when she finally came back to herself.

"Thank you," he replied.

"Back to my place?"

"Oh, definitely."

Quite a weak ending, really, but it needed to wrap up somehow. In retrospect I should have saved that description of the transience of the fair for the very end as they walk away from it.
Tags: dvd commentary, memery, writing fic

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