agapi42: Livia from I, Claudius (Default)
[personal profile] agapi42
Title: Sugar And Spice (And All Things Nice)
Word Count: 4256
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Martha/Romana
Summary: Spicy sweetness, Martha thought, and liked the sound of the words together.
Written for: [ profile] fandom_me in the [ profile] dw_femslash ficathon.
Notes: Set after S3, also has S4 and TW S2 casting spoilers.

Martha first met Romana on the Saturday late-night shift.

It was long past midnight and she’d spent the last several hours patching up drunks. A couple were just teenagers. One man had a particularly vicious gash across one cheek caused by a broken glass. Someone- she didn’t bother turning around to check who-shouted abuse at her. The slurring made the words almost incomprehensible, but only almost. This might not be 1913, but racism was still alive and well.

“Martha, just the person I wanted to see.”

Martha turned with a smile on her face. “Tom, you look dead on your feet.”

Tom winced. “I know. Listen, if you’re not busy right now, would you mind looking after my patient for a few minutes?”

He led her to a bed upon which lay a small, almost alarmingly skinny woman, her long blonde hair spread out on the pillow like a matted halo.

“Go get that coffee, Jason. Martha’ll watch her.”

The young man who had been sitting by the bed smiled wearily by way of thanks and left.

“An elderly couple brought her in. Said they found her on their doorstep,” Tom said.

“Was she conscious?”

“Only for a few minutes and it doesn’t sound as if she was coherent. They said she had been muttering something about not wanting to be alone.”

“What’s wrong with her?” Martha asked curiously. She couldn’t see any physical damage.

He shrugged helplessly. “We don’t know. She’s just…fading.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure she doesn’t fade out of the picture.” Martha gave him a gentle shove towards the door. “Now go before you do.”

What happened a few minutes later was rather surreal and Martha wasn’t quite sure that it wasn’t a hallucination brought on by coffee deprivation.

“Red,” the woman said, pulling at a long curl. “Definitely red. What do you say, Martha Jones? Red haired Romana? Do you like it?”

Tom almost collided with the red-haired woman in a too-short hospital gown in the doorway and Martha was left to explain to him that the patient had, quite magically, recovered and checked herself out.


“Martha! Martha, lovely to hear from you but-”

“Doctor, I think another of your lot-”

There was rather a lot of shrieking in the background.

“-has turned up. A woman. Small, blonde, now taller-”

“-now’s really not a good time, Martha!”

“and red-haired, she’s got red hair now. Do you know her? Good, bad, indifferent?”

“I’ll pick you up in a couple of days; just give me time to sort this out!”

There was a very loud bang and the line went dead.
Martha was left with the distinct impression that he hadn’t heard a word she’d said.

Romana first met Martha a couple of days later.

It was lunchtime and Martha had been planning to meet Tish for lunch. Until she walked into the locker room and found herself with a faceful of something…organic.

It was slimy and gooey and warm and it smelt awful, like rotting fruit. Her nose didn’t like the goo any better when it started to crawl up it; she had the horrible suspicion it was heading straight for her brain. The goo solidified around her fingers as she clawed at it. Her lungs started to burn, telling her to open her mouth and breathe. Coloured dots danced before her eyes as she suffocated.

I’m going to die, Martha thought, strangely detached. I’ve been to the end of the universe but I’m going to die here, at home, smothered by a jelly alien.

Then there was a bang and some sort of dust settled softly on her. The creature writhed, expanded, contracted, fell away from her face.

“Sorry about that!”

Martha brushed some of the dust away from her eyelashes and saw her addresser.

“I told him, but no, the Doctor will insist on making his own jelly babies.”

The blonde woman looked almost exactly the same: a few less lines, a slightly more substantial body and the fact that she was standing there, not dying, were the only physical differences Martha could see.

“Jelly babies?” Martha stared at the very small lump lying by her foot and then at the dust on the back of her hand. “Icing sugar?”

“Of course.”

“Alien icing sugar?”

“Well, the Silver Spoon is the holy relic of the-”

Martha hesitated, brought her hand to her mouth and tentatively licked.
She tasted sweet stickiness on the tip of her tongue, just like when she stole a teaspoon of sugar from the bag when she was a child.


Martha opened her eyes to see Romana’s faintly amused expression.

“Mmm,” she nodded, unable to articulate with her fingers in her mouth.

Romana licked her finger, ran it across Martha’s forehead and cheek and stuck it in her mouth.

“It is, isn’t it?”

Martha thought that she should probably be outraged at that, but she somehow wasn’t.

“You missed a bit.” She indicated the white speck in the corner of Romana’s mouth. Appreciative thoughts about that mouth presented themselves and made her cheeks flush.

“So did you.”

Romana’s mouth was cool and sticky and the sweetness of the sugar had quite a different taste in her mouth; it was somehow spicy. Spicy sweetness, Martha thought, and liked the sound of the words together. She liked the taste of the two together.

“Gone now?” Romana licked her lips.

Martha nodded, not quite trusting herself to speak. Maybe it was their race, or maybe it was centuries of experience. She immediately resolved to visit Jack in Cardiff and call him on his bluff- sooner rather than later.

Romana paused and looked back in the doorway. “I’m Romana, by the way.”

“Martha,” Martha replied. “Martha Jones.”

Romana smiled. “See you around, Martha Jones.”

Martha balanced in a chair that she doubted had been designed with humanoids in mind and flicked through the Doctor’s case file (classified, confidential, absolutely no unauthorised access, highly sensitive information) while she waited for Jack to get off the phone.

Torchwood had been set up by Queen Victoria after an incident involving a werewolf, Doctor James McCrimmon and Rose Tyler. A child, that was how Queen Victoria described her.

She looked up as Ianto entered. He placed a file on Jack’s desk.

“The medical report, sir.”

Jack looked up distractedly. “Medical report? Don’t tell me, Owen’s pregnant with a Yeti hybrid.”

“The medical report on the humanoid found breaking in, sir,” Ianto replied, the merest hint of a smile hovering around the corner of his mouth the only sign that he had heard Jack’s remark.

Jack waved an arm in Martha’s general direction. “Yes, Prime Minister, I know Torchwood are supposed to protect Britain and have no jurisdiction over the Himalayas but…” He looked around at Ianto and Martha. “Anyone got a plausible excuse that doesn’t make you sound like idiots? Come on, it’s taken her months to ask this question; I was hoping she’d forgotten about it. Someone must have thought of something!”

“Charm her, Jack,” Martha suggested, laughing. They all knew perfectly well that Harriet Jones wasn’t got rid of easily.

She picked the file off Jack’s desk. “I’ll deal with it. Since you asked so nicely.”

“Fancy seeing you here, Martha Jones.”

Romana- the red haired Romana whom Martha had last seen in a rather short hospital gown- sat cross-legged on the floor of her cell. She was dressed rather more elegantly than last time, in black trousers, a white shirt, and a green velvet jacket that Martha was sure she’d seen in the TARDIS wardrobe. A silver ring with a large red stone sat on the thumb of her left hand and Martha thought it seemed out of place.

“To run the risk of sounding clichéd, what’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”

“I could ask you the same thing,” Martha shot back.

Romana shrugged. “Whatever Torchwood thinks, it’s not an invasion. Quite the opposite, in fact. A rather vital component in my ship exploded. It made quite a mess of the surrounding circuits too. And it was either break into the Torchwood archives and liberate the spare part or hang around for a thousand years and wait for it to come on the market. I do hate waiting.”

“You have a TARDIS?”

“I’m working on it.” Romana got up and wandered over to the glass. “You know, you never answered my question.” She tugged at a red curl and Martha remembered her first meeting.

“Yes,” she smiled.

“Good,” Romana said softly and smiled back for a moment. “Because so do I and I don’t want to change yet but I am absolutely starving and would like to be given something edible. And please don’t tell me that I don’t qualify for basic human rights, on the grounds of not being human. It’s really very tiresome. Torchwood in another universe tried that.”
She retreated to the middle of the cell and sat cross-legged once again.

Martha blinked, disoriented by the sudden change in subject and Romana’s business-like tone.

Romana took the tray from Martha’s hands, her hands brushing against Martha’s and lingering for longer than strictly necessary. “Thank you, Doctor Jones.”

“You’re welcome.”

The sonic screwdriver nestled between the bowl of soup and the plate of sandwiches, trying hard to look innocent.

“Been having fun?” Romana muttered out of the corner of her mouth.

“Yes, thank you,” Martha replied primly.

“Catalogue number MC1989. That is, if Captain Big Head hasn’t rebuilt Torchwood in honour of the Doctor’s complete lack of organization.”

Catalogue number MC1989 was exactly where it was supposed to be, and Martha was suddenly grateful for the hours Ianto had spent organising the archives.

Of course, she had no idea whether it was correctly labelled, but it looked right- tiny, fiddly and mechanical.

Concealing it in a pocket, she kissed Jack (he hadn’t been exaggerating) and Toshiko (the shortened form had always disturbed her with its similarity to her sister’s name) and then Ianto, because he looked so forlorn and because he had organised the relevant bit of the archives and his coffee was a medical student’s dream. She could always blame it on alien aphrodisiacs after all.

Their questions were forestalled by the sudden appearance of Romana, who paused only to punch Owen in the face.

Martha held out her hand, with the component sitting on her palm. Romana snatched the component.

That’s that, then. Martha felt a pang of something, she wasn’t quite sure what. Sadness, disappointment, loss?

A split second later, Romana took hold of her hand, pulling her along after her.

The lift shot towards the sky far too fast. Martha felt that her stomach had been left behind with the tiny figures of her colleagues. Most probably ex-colleagues, she corrected herself, as she wobbled and Romana pulled her close. Bringing hostile aliens into the Hub was one thing, helping a prisoner to escape and running off with her was a different thing entirely.

The wind rushed around them. Martha laughed even as she struggled to draw a breath, her eyes watered and Romana’s hair whipped in her face.

If anyone was surprised at the sudden appearance of two women who ran across the Plass hand-in-hand, laughing, they didn’t notice.

“It’s a bit cramped in here, isn’t it?” Martha observed as she crawled through the door and discovered the spaceship was, in fact, smaller on the inside.

“Cutting-edge Aliquantulus technology. Lovely people, even if you do have to watch where you put your feet. Besides, refusing a gift is a deadly insult and I’d only just got used to this body. Just because I’d revealed their king as a robot controlled by his alien counsellors doesn’t mean they’d turn a blind eye. After all, they’ve only got one. Press that button. Not that one! Yes, that one.” Romana opened a control panel.

“This,” Martha grumbled as she extended her little finger and tried not to press the relatively big mauve button next to the tiny one she was supposed to press, “is why mobile phones can’t get smaller.”

“Only until thin-finger extensions come on the market. Middle-end of the twenty-first century, do you want a pair? Second thoughts, better not. Quite a few nasty accidents and I like your fingers this way. Ow.”

Martha tried not to appear too fascinated as Romana sucked her burnt fingers.

“The Doctor mentioned you once.”

Romana winced, although it was unclear whether it was her fingers or this information that had necessitated this facial contortion.

“He told me about Gallifrey. And the War.”

“Good, then I don’t need to.” Romana sat back on her heels. “Now, that should hold. It’s a bit like performing your kind of surgery with a sledgehammer, but I’ve survived so far.”

But how? Martha wanted to ask. She didn’t. Not yet.

“Is this supposed to be torture?” Martha asked through chattering teeth.

Romana shrugged. “It could be. Or it could just be that they don’t understand your biology and have no idea that, at this temperature, you’re unlikely to see the morning.”

“Thanks for that.”

“It’s when you start feeling warm-”

“Yes. I know.”

They lapsed into silence. Martha’s breath fanned before her and she wondered whether the blue tinge in her fingers was real or a trick of the night light coming through the small barred window set high in the wall.

“Every civilisation has some form of technology designed to keep people somewhere they might not want to be,” Romana began conversationally after a while. “At one extreme, you have deadlock seals and the like. And at this extreme, you have heavy bars of wood or the local equivalent.”

“How about resonating concrete?”

“Probability of any form of success 3%. Probability that that success will take the form of bringing the building down around your ears 65%. Probability that you will find yourself in a concrete cell with the sonic screwdriver and a door you can’t unlock 8%. Probability of this cell being made of concrete 0%. Probability of fitting through that window 0%.”

“Probability of Martha Jones committing semi-genocide before succumbing to hypothermia?”

Romana chose not to answer, instead taking her hands in hers and rubbing them slowly. Martha gasped in shock.

“Your hands are warm!”

She knew the feel of Romana’s hands. She’d often thought of it as similar to cool silk. This felt more like warm velvet. It was alien.

“And your hands are cold.” There was a slight catch to Romana’s voice or had she imagined it?

“Do I feel this hot to you all the time?”

“Hotter. Humans burn. A quick flare of bright flame, that’s your life. And you warm us, burn us if we get too close and leave the world a little bit colder, a little bit darker for want of you. Until one day, there’s only the darkness left.”

Romana paused. “What’s that phrase? ‘He’d give you the shirt off his back.’ For you, I’ll give up the shirt on my back.”

“You’ll freeze!” Martha exclaimed as Romana quickly divested herself of jacket and shirt before pulling the jacket back on.

“I thought you were.”

She arranged the discarded garment in a pile, which then appeared to spontaneously combust.

“Useful tool this.”

Martha murmured agreement, fascinated by the fire. She had never really appreciated it before. It brought light and heat.

“Just one setting along from the sonic vibrate,” Romana added mischievously.

Martha whipped her head around and stared, horror-struck, at Romana who promptly laughed and pulled her close.

“Won’t it burn out quickly?”

“No, it’ll keep burning for hours. Brilliant material.”

The warmth lapped at Martha’s skin, making it prickle. The green velvet was soft beneath her cheek and Romana’s skin was cool silk again beneath her aching fingers.

The rhythmic beat of a double heartbeat lulled her to sleep.

“Do you have something against doctors or is it just Owen?” Martha asked as they strolled back to the ship, the roads carpeted in the local flora grown especially for this triumphant progression. A grateful populace followed at a respectful distance.

“I have nothing against doctors, Dr Jones. And that wasn’t Owen.”

“Just a physical double, I know.”
Romana nodded. “Exactly. He had absolutely no connection with the rat-faced bastard who has no faith in his medical scanners, other than looking like said rat-faced bastard.”

“And therefore, this non-existent connection had no influence on your terminating his government with extreme prejudice.”

“Of course not. The fact that he was a rat-faced bastard who had no faith in his allies did that. If he’d had them all assassinated as planned, it would have sparked a galactic war. This sector would have been set back millennia. Anyway, Shika’ll make a fine ruler. Ably assisted by Frekica, of course.”

“Who’s that?”

“Your double.”

Martha frowned and opened her mouth.

“No, you don’t want to meet. Either one of you faints, or you stand in front of each other and say things like “Do I really smile like that?”. Frankly, it’s tiresome in the extreme.”

“Have you ever met your double?”

Romana nodded. “Once. She was a princess.”

Martha grinned. “Next time I see Toshiko, I’m going to tell her that her double is a queen.”

Romana glanced back towards their following. “Do you want to shake them off?”

“Is this going to involve sordid back alleys?” Martha asked, raising an eyebrow.

Romana shrugged, feigning disinterest, but her eyes sparkled. “If you want.”

Martha copied her disinterested shrug even as she smiled wickedly. “I don’t mind.”

Martha pulled her black jacket tighter around her as they tramped through the dark, wet backstreets of London, 1753.

“This is fun? I thought you said ‘You’ll enjoy this?’”

“That was last night,” Romana called back. “What I said was ‘You’ll appreciate this’.

“Are you sure?”



A harsh mechanical scream.


“Come on then.” A cool hand with a strangely warm ring closed around Martha’s and pulled her forward into the sudden white light.

“What- it’s a TARDIS.”

“Yes,” Romana agreed pleasantly, letting her hand drift over the controls. “Type 40.”

“Wouldn’t hurt to give a girl some warning. I almost thought I’d died.” Martha looked around her. They were in what was quite obviously a TARDIS console room, but something quite different to the TARDIS she'd known. It was much more functional; something more like a machine than the almost organic interior she'd known. The room was white, the walls covered in plastic roundels, and the console sat in the middle, much more angular and mechanical looking. Incongruous objects such as ornate chairs and a hatstand were scattered around the room.

“What was that scream?”

“I hurt her.”
Romana had a look about her that Martha could not quite define. It seemed to be far away and focused at the same time. “This TARDIS is still linked to this ring; it’s how I opened the door.” She held up her left hand. “But it should be blue. Blue is calm. Blue is harmony. But we burned. We burned so brightly. She knows.”

She wrenched her hand away from the console. “Here’s a question, Martha Jones. If ignorance is bliss, is knowledge pain?”

“This is the bitterest pain among men, to have much knowledge but no power,” Martha said, surprising herself. Her grandfather had been one for quotes.

“Herodotus. Very good.” Romana tipped her head to one side. A strange smile quirked her lips, but the look was gone. “Of course, she’ll forget once I finish. She must.”

“Is this why we’re here?”

“No. I just thought I’d take advantage of this. Have a look around; the wardrobe room should be down there somewhere.”

Martha thought she felt a shudder underfoot as she turned away.

“Need some help getting into this dress?”

“What’s that?” Martha nodded towards the bulge bundled up in Romana’s green velvet jacket and tucked into the crook of her arm. “And what dress?”

“Call it an extension. And this dress.” Romana held up a mass of white fabric.

“What does it do? And why would I want to wear that?”

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to stand up soon. And because, in these primitive human societies, this is what it is required for the lady to wear.”

Martha took the dress dubiously. “And why do I need to wear this?”

“Doesn’t Martha mean ‘lady’?”

“It’s one of the meanings I’ve seen around.”

“Very well.” Romana gave an over-exaggerated bow. “Would you accompany me to the ball, Lady Martha?”

Romana really was a lovely dancer, Martha thought later. It was just a shame that they couldn’t have stayed longer.

She wasn’t quite sure how Romana had got them inside. The night seemed to have passed in a heady rush of elaborate surroundings swirling dizzily around her as a succession of partners twirled her around the dance floor.

She’d been dancing with a lovely man, dark hair and devastating smile, when an elderly man had intercepted her and the dark-haired woman he’d been dancing with had taken her place.

His hands were cool around hers and he wore a silver ring with a large blue stone on the second finger of his right hand.

This clearly delineated the evening into two parts.

It was soon after this that the man she’d been dancing with plus quite a few others turned out to be rather hostile bacterial aliens who made clear their intention to conquer the Earth with an army created by replicating themselves.

“Robbers! Gatecrashers! Highwaymen!” Romana shouted, almost physically pushing the guests out of the door. “Move, humans!”

Martha spotted the white-haired man and dark-haired woman, accompanied by a dark-haired man and teenage girl, moving in the direction the aliens had taken and began to run after them.


“We’ve got to help them!”

“I think the Doctor and his friends can handle things.” Romana followed the direction of Martha’s gaze.

He’d been older, but younger. Younger and happier.

Martha found her gaze repeatedly drawn to the ring on Romana’s thumb that night.

“I can stand up!” Martha enthused, bouncing on the balls of her feet but not yet daring to jump. The improvements the ‘extension’ had made overnight were astounding.

“Very nice,” Romana commented from her position inside the workings.

“I can actually stand up! No more crawling along corridors!”

“Well, I quite liked the view sometimes.”

“There is so much space! Oh, I could kiss you!”

“Go on then.”

“It won’t affect them, will it?” Martha asked a few minutes later.

“Oh no,” Romana assured her. “Well, hardly at all. A little bit of dimensional instability; they might be slightly more vulnerable to the vortex pressures, but nothing serious. Worst case scenario, they have to stop and stabilise for a while.”

“I found a room with no gravity today. And the wardrobe room,” Martha said after a few minutes silence.

“Excellent! Shall we explore?” Romana pushed herself to her feet and took Martha’s hand.

They found the wardrobe room fairly quickly, after three kitchens, five bedrooms and a gymnasium. It seemed stuffed to bursting.

“Where has it all come from?”

“All those socks, all those tops, all those lovely dresses that you know you put in your drawer or cupboard but quite definitely aren’t there? They fall into this dimension and float around, waiting for a trans-dimensional ship to pick them up.”

“No, seriously.”

Romana shrugged. “Well, I could say that the Time Lords installed a wardrobe in this dimension that all TARDISes everywhere tap into, but you might not believe that either.”

“Or you could say that you don’t know.”

“Knowledge is power, but power corrupts. You’d look lovely in this.”

“I’ll try it on if you’ll try this on.” Martha pulled out a wine-dark velvet dress.

“You like me in velvet.” Romana pulled the dress from Martha’s hands. Martha let the velvet slip through her grasp, enjoying the caress of the material against her palms.

“I’m not sure it’s my colour, though,” Romana added dubiously, holding it up against her.

“Try everything once. Else how do you know what suits?”

Martha tried the dress on and, upon examination in the mirror, decided that Romana should be pleased with the effect.

The problem was finding her.

She wandered for what seemed like miles, through endless racks of assorted clothing completely obscuring the walls. She wondered whether the place was getting bigger while she was in there. Perhaps it would carry on expanding, just like the universe after the Big Bang, and she would never find her way out.

After what must have been at least half an hour, she spotted a flicker of movement out of the corner of her eye as someone turned a corner amongst the maze of racks.

“So, Romana?”

“So who?” The figure span round.

“Who are you?”

“Donna Noble. Who the hell are you?”

“Martha Jones.”

“Martha Jones? Martha Jones? The Martha Jones?

“Certainly a Martha Jones.”

“Oh, never doubt that you’re unique,” Romana said, walking up behind her. “See, I told you you’d look lovely.”

“Martha Jones!” The Doctor exclaimed, appearing from behind an eight-foot pile of clothes. “I thought you’d call first. Oh wait, sorry, the directional unit blew out and we landed on Tofor. Nasty place, they feed on your memories and I completely forgot. Did you get fed up waiting? How not on Earth did you get here? Oh no, you’re not infected with Huon particles, are you? Hello, Martha’s friend. How do-”

The greeting died as Romana stepped out from behind Martha.

“You know her?” Donna asked.

The Doctor nodded speechlessly.

“Slap him,” Donna advised Romana.
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