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Title: Binding Day
Author: foxmonkey
Characters: Tenth Doctor/Martha Jones
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Spoilerish for season three and four
Disclaimer: I own nothing and no one, though I wish I did.



Title: Binding Day
Author: foxmonkey
Characters: Tenth Doctor/Martha Jones
Rating: PG
Spoilers: None?
Disclaimer: I own nothing and no one, though I wish I did.
Summary: Binding Day: Solemn five-yearly festival on an alien planet. Every unmarried person is obliged to marry between two sun rises; a dissolution ceremony can be performed next day for those who don't want to remain bound. Visitors to the planet are not, of course, excused participation. Item: scarf
Ceremony: Found here.



The air was sharp and clear, and there was something magical about the views of the snow-capped mountains. Earth looked like this at one time, Martha mused; clean, pristine, practically untouched. She walked slowly to a small copse of trees nearby that sheltered an out-cropping of grey rock, taking in the view as she did so. She sat on the rocks and pulled her jacket around her more tightly.

"What do you think?" the Doctor asked, looking expectantly down at her.

"Magnificent," Martha said softly. "My favorite place so far." It was so quiet, so peaceful. According to the TARDIS' scans, there was no one around for miles.

"Even--"

"Yes, even," Martha said, laughing. "No matter what you were going to say." She turned to look up at him. "It's spectacular." The Doctor looked pleased. He sat on the rock beside her, practically on top of her, and wriggled until Martha made room for him. They sat quietly for a moment, each to their own thoughts. "Donna would have liked this, I think," Martha said.

"Nah," the Doctor said, exaggerating the word. "Not enough running involved. Not enough danger."

Martha looked at him to see him watching her with a sideways glance. She laughed again and nudged his shoulder with hers. "Well, it's probably a bit too quiet for her, yes. Still, it's lovely not being shot at, you have to admit."

"Ah. Yes, that bit is refreshing."

"Then again," Martha said. "You haven't angered anyone on this world, have you? No psychotic queens or prime ministers-elect to hide from?"

"See here, Doctor Jones," the Doctor sniffed indignantly, "to hear you tell it, I go poking about for trouble. I have adventures, thank you very much. Adventures that--"

Martha began to laugh, and the Doctor laughed with her while trying to finish his thought.

"Well, yes. Adventures that explode right in my face at times. Are you pleased with yourself?" He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into a tight hug. "Oh, I've missed you. I'm so glad that you're back," he said quietly.

"I'm glad to be back." She kissed his cheek.

"Come on," the Doctor said, squeezing her once more before standing and holding out his hand for her. "Lots more to see."



The TARDIS materialized in a small wooded area not far from the village they'd spotted on the ship's coordinate grid. "Very friendly people," the Doctor assured her. Martha slipped into the winter wear he'd gathered from the wardrobe, a beautiful cream-colored coat exquisitely embroidered with figurework done in silky, cream-colored thread. She could make out vines, flowers and birds in the curving lines of the heavily stylized main detail.

"Very lovely, Martha Jones," the Doctor said as Martha modeled for him. His eyes were warm.

"And you look quite handsome," Martha said. He'd replaced his rumpled brown coat with something a bit smarter, a heavy long black coat, cut slim, that made him look even taller than he was. He'd wound a dark grey muffler around his neck, and held up a soft cream-colored scarf for Martha, wrapping it kerchief style so that her ears were covered.

"Your gloves, Dr. Jones, and I've got the bag." The Doctor hefted the travel bag they'd packed with just enough essentials for an overnight stay. He opened the door and they stepped out into the crisp, cold air; Martha locked the TARDIS door and they each turned away after a loving pat to her sides.



The road into the village wasn't heavily traveled. They passed two or three inhabitants who looked politely curious. Their eyes lingered longest on Martha, but their smiles seemed warm and genuine when they tipped their heads and said "Good blessings," by way of greeting.

"Good blessings to you," the Doctor said and smiled, and placed his free hand at Martha's waist as they passed. "Good blessings," Martha added with a smile of her own.

It was easy to tell when they were getting close to town. Small cottages were set back from the road here and there, and townspeople could be seen performing a variety of chores on the surrounding land. Without fail, everyone smiled, waved and called good blessings to them.

"This is wonderful," Martha grinned, still waving as they passed the fifth house. "See? Adventures don't have to include explosions and lasers and running for your life."

"Piffle," the Doctor snorted. "There's nothing like a good run for your life to keep the cardio-vascular system in top shape, and what's a good run for your life without a laser or two to dodge?"

They were entering the village proper now, and Martha walked a little more closely to the Doctor, always a bit cautious in new surroundings. The Doctor looked down at her, possibly misinterpreting her sudden closeness, because he gave her shoulders a squeeze and looked inordinately pleased. They continued toward a large, squat wooden building that had all the earmarks of an inn, but they were way-laid by a young man in a long blue coat, holding what seemed to be an electronic notepad.

"Good blessings!" the young man offered genially. He smiled at the Doctor, and looked at Martha with interest. "You're here for the ceremony?" He held a stylus just above the pad.

"Ceremony?" the Doctor asked. "Food, dancing, that kind of thing? We're here for an adventure. A quiet one," he added, with a smile for Martha.

"Well, I've heard it described that way, as an adventure, though I would suppose it would depend on your partner." The young man looked thoughtful. "There's food, to be certain," he replied, "and dancing of a kind, though nothing boisterous, if that's what you're seeking. It comes around once every five years; tis a solemn occasion and we treat it accordingly." He sounded as apologetic as he looked.

The Doctor glanced at Martha as if confused and suddenly raised his eyebrows. "Oh! I didn't think...ah." He turned back to the stranger. "Once in five years. Binding Day, perhaps?" He looked a little flustered.

The stranger smiled widely. "Yes! Good, you're here for the ceremony then; I hate turning visitors away. I can record you now, save you a bit of bother. By the time you reach the inn they'll have your rooms prepared." He looked at them expectantly.

"The Doctor," the Doctor said, leaning close to watch the other man tapping at the notepad with his stylus. "This is Doctor Martha Jones, my companion."

"You're both healers!" He looked pleased and surprised. "Many blessings to you," he said enthusiastically while tapping. He'd barely finished tapping when a small slip of paper slid smoothly from the top of the machine. "My lady," he said graciously, handing the slip to Martha. "If the gentleman doesn't mind me saying so, tis a shame you're matched. It would have been my great pleasure to know you better."

"Thank you," the Doctor said frostily, taking the slip. "We'll be sure to drink a toast to you at the ceremony." He guided Martha gently away.

"He...what was that?" Martha looked back and found the young man was still watching them, a smile on his face. She waved and he waved back. She looked up at the Doctor, who looked down at her.

"What was what? That? That, my dear Martha Jones, was a village official who should have been focused on his job instead of flirting with a pretty girl. You're surprised?" The Doctor peered down at her. "You are the same Martha Jones who inspired a sonnet by no less than the Bard himself, are you not?" He shook his head and tsked disapprovingly. "It's so annoying when a woman claims not to know that she's attractive."

Martha's jaw dropped in indignant surprise. "Now, see here!" She began to protest, but the Doctor interrupted her.

"Ah! Here we are!"

There was a small crowd of people in front of the inn, and pushing through the doors, they found a small crowd inside as well. To one side, a rather harried-looking man sat at a small desk over which hung a sign that read "Rooms." He looked up when the Doctor stood in front of him and refused to be ignored.

"Good blessings. What can I help you with?"

"Good blessings to you! We have a slip of paper," the Doctor said, brandishing their slip, "but what we'd really like are rooms."

"Wonderful, you've been processed! Gern will help you." He motioned to a young lady with an electronic tablet much like the one carried by the young official they'd met. They crossed the main hall and again the Doctor waved their slip.

"You're Gern?"

"Good blessings! Yes, and I'll take that for you." She placed the slip on her pad, and within seconds, what looked like a thin silver credit card slid out of the reader. "Your room assignment. Many blessings on you." She smiled and pointed them toward the steps. Other couples with similar plastic cards were headed in the same direction, so they set off.



The Doctor slid their card into the slot on the door; the lock released with a clicking sound. When he pushed the door open, Martha gasped.

A floor to ceiling sheet of glass made up the entire end wall of the suite, so that the surrounding countryside and the mountain ranges beyond were practically part of the room. Martha walked to the glass wall and looked out at the village. The view was spectacular.

"You like it here, then?" The Doctor placed their bag on the bed and stood at the window with her.

"Very much," Martha said in awe. "When I'm old and grey and ready to just pet my cats and read a good book or two, I want you to bring me here to finish out my days." She turned and gave him a smile. "Thank you for making this a peaceful trip. Hopefully I'm not speaking too soon."

"Certainly you don't think I--" he stopped mid-sentence and his lips quirked toward a smile. "Well, I admit that I do tend toward the more adventurous end of the scale when I crank up the old girl," he said, using the word du jour to describe his jaunts.

She stepped away from the window, smiling, one eyebrow raised. "Yes, I thought so." She pulled the scarf from around her neck and struggled with her coat until the Doctor stepped behind her to help. He laid the coat across the bed and sat down.

"All right, Time Lord," Martha said. "Binding Day. Explain, please." She dropped into a deep, comfortable chair to listen as she removed her boots.

"Binding Day occurs once every five years. Between two sun rises, unmarried persons like ourselves are obliged to be bound to another." Martha looked up from untying her laces. "A quick dissolution can be arranged the next day, so even though you're obliged to be bound, you're not obliged to remain that way."

Martha looked at him. "Bound. Married?"

"Married."

"Obliged to be married," she repeated, to make sure she'd gotten it right. When he nodded she exclaimed, "But we're not from here!"

"No, but visitors are not excused from participating. There's the dissolution the next day, after all."

"But what about...?" she didn't finish. Rather unhelpfully, the Doctor just looked at her expectantly, and unless she missed her guess, with a touch of amusement. "You're a prat," she said, and this earned a full-blown grin. "Consummation of the binding. Sex. Doesn't that usually follow marriage in most humanoid cultures?"

The Doctor looked pleased and gave her a tip of the head. "Very good, making the distinction between humans, humanoids and the rest of the galaxy. And yes, in most humanoid cultures, consummation quite naturally follows the ceremony. But!" He held up a finger to stop Martha from talking. "You're not obliged to have sexual relations, of course not. You can play games or sleep or talk, or, if both parties are willing, yes, you can have sex. It's a forced marriage, but they're not barbarians." His eyes were twinkling.

"What does being matched mean?"

"Exactly what it sounds like," the Doctor said. "It means you're spoken for, taken. Not free to flirt, in other words."

"Ah. That official thought we're together."

"We are together."

"I'm pretty sure you know what I mean." Martha settled back in the chair; it was big enough that she could curl her legs under her comfortably. "So, unless one of these fine young ladies catches your eye, you and I are to be bound?"

"Martha." He looked pained.

"What?" Martha asked. "It's a valid question, Doctor, you know how you are. I can see it now, you running up to me all breathless and excited, some gorgeous young thing by your side. 'Hullo, Martha Jones! I met Ingwid this morning and she's bloody fantastic and you don't mind if I bind with her instead of you, do you? No? There's a good girl! Oh, her brother Morgnorton needs to be bound as well and we thought that since you're usually such a star, you wouldn't mind helping him out. Would you? Fantastic." She fiddled with the end of her sleeve. "Or words to that effect."

He was quiet a moment, looking down at the floor. "As festivals go," he continued, side-stepping her fit of pique, "it's one of the nicer ones, actually. Very...stately. Serious. It's quiet, nothing raucuous, no parades. Well, there's a processional at sundown, with candles. It's quite lovely."

"Like Fiddler on the Roof," Martha said. "Them singing 'Sunrise, Sunset' always gives me chills. Makes me want to bawl my eyes out," she admitted, pressing a finger to her eye and laughing at the wetness there. "It is lovely." He smiled at her, and she felt silly for snapping at him. As if reading her mind, he gave her his 'Don't worry about it' face, the one that said he'd already forgiven her.

"The ceremony is a pledge to the unity of all things," he said. "It's one day where you pledge yourself not just to someone you care about, but to something bigger as well. All things living. To an idea that one isn't alone in this life or in the universe." He looked at her with a wistful expression that he quickly covered with a smile, then he cleared his throat and looked slightly away. Martha hadn't missed the hitch in his voice. She rose from the chair and sat down beside him on the bed, taking his hands in hers.

"Doctor, you may be the last of your kind, but you will never, ever be alone. Do you understand that?" He didn't answer, just looked down at their hands. She tugged on his wrist to get his attention, to make him look at her. His eyes were dark and unknowable.

"As long as someone is around who loves you, and I mean anyone...as long as we're around, you're not alone. Got it, mister?" She looked deep into his eyes, but he wasn't giving anything away.

"You know," she continued, "if you want to be an honorary Jones, you've got access to all kinds of crazy family whenever you want them." He finally smiled. "They'd welcome you with open arms, so stop being foolish about being lost and alone and on your own, because you're not."

"And you should know," he said softly, "now that you're back, I already have a gorgeous young thing by my side. I'm not looking for anyone else."

She hugged him tightly and kissed his cheek. "I'm sorry I was so awful," she whispered. "I think I still have one or two things to work through. You've really been wonderful since I've been back."

"No worries, Martha Jones, no harm done. Pre-binding jitters, perfectly understandable." He hugged her back. "Now, how about dinner?"



They had dinner in the attached tavern, in a section reserved for matched couples. As they were seated, Martha saw the admirer who'd taken their information. He smiled warmly and tipped his head in greeting. Martha smiled and tipped her head in return, but before she could say good blessings, the Doctor's hand on her back propelled her away from her admirer and toward a table.

While the Doctor perused the menu, Martha eavesdropped on a few conversations. Of all of the couples within hearing range only one seemed obliged to be bound. They were laughing, though, clearly enjoying themselves.

There were short speeches during dinner, but the matchmates were urged to continue eating. The Doctor feasted like it was going out of style; he finished not only his own plate but stole bits from Martha's as well, to the amusement of nearby couples. One of their tablemates smiled shyly at Martha several times, giving her the impression that the girl was dying to talk. After she slapped the Doctor's wrist when he took a stalk of ruby red vegetable from her plate, Martha finally said, "I can't take him anywhere!"

"Your matchmate is certainly spirited." The girl glanced at the Doctor, who smiled at her and said hello.

"He's a handful," Martha agreed. She glanced at the fork stealing toward her plate and slapped his wrist again.

The girl lowered her voice and dropped her eyes. "He's quite handsome."

Martha glanced at the Doctor, who was looking at her with a curious expression on his face. "He's a bit of all right," she said with a smile.

"Are you joining the Gathering of Brides? There are chaperones of course, in case some of the more spirited matchmates from the Gathering of Grooms try to interfere. Actually," she laughed, "it's tradition for them to try to gain admittance. They sing songs and bring flowers. I wasn't quite old enough to participate last Binding Day, but all the younger girls are allowed to watch." She blushed and raised her hand to her face in embarrassment. "Good blessings, my manners! My name is Tella."

"I'm Martha, this is the Doctor." The Doctor had struck up a conversation with Tella's matchmate, and Martha couldn't guess what the two of them were talking about.

"That's Uene, we've been matchmates for a while now." Tella gazed at her intended and her expression grew soft. "I've always known that we'd bind."

"You're a very lucky girl," Martha said.

"But what about you? Have you know each other long?"

"A lifetime," Martha said, then she laughed, thinking how close to truth the statement was. "Ages."

"Did you know? That you'd be matchmates?"

"Well--" the Doctor leaned across Martha's lap to speak to Tella, "I didn't know about the Binding, that's a bit of a surprise, but, yes," he said. "I knew she was special the first time I saw her. Went to great lengths to show off for her, too."

He'd gone back in time to take off his tie. Amused when she'd first seen him, she'd thought he was a bit daft -- daft, but definitely a looker. They'd had such a promising start.

She looked down at the tips of her boots which peeked out from under the embroidered hem of her dress. They were starting fresh, she reminded herself, and he really had been wonderful this time around. He'd acknowledged that he'd been an idiot, and that alone spoke volumes. She looked up to find Tella watching her.

"Is anything wrong?" Tella asked gently.

"No." Martha shook her head. "I'm fine." The Doctor jostled her shoulder as he leaned close to speak softly -- what he thought of as softly, at any rate.

"There's a traditional Gathering of Grooms tonight. This Uene person is telling me it's great fun and I should go. They woo the women, did you know? They serenade their matchmates and bring flowers, which doesn't make much sense, though, does it, with all of us being bound tomorrow--"

Martha pulled him close by the front of his shirt and kissed him, a proper kiss that included a small sound of surprise before he parted his lips slightly and their tongues touched tentatively, briefly, before he took control. His hand at her waist, he pulled Martha closer, kissed her back a little harder, a little more deeply. She released his shirt, seeking skin to touch; she cupped his neck, felt the fine hair at his nape against her fingers.

"Good blessing to the matchmates!"

Martha and the Doctor separated slowly. Around them, the other couples began to kiss; several smiled and gave each other small kisses of affection, others exchanged kisses on the cheek. All chaste kisses more in keeping with a formal occasion, Martha was sure. She smiled when she looked at the Doctor; he had a look on his face that she wasn't sure how to categorize.

"That was..." the Doctor looked a little stunned, but certainly not displeased.

"A kiss, yes. You were very close to being rude."

"Actually," he told her with a slight smirk, "before being told that I was very close to rude, I was going to say that it was quite good." He was smiling, and he looked...a little smug.

"That confident of your kisses, are you?" Martha asked, thumbing a smear of her lipstick from his bottom lip.

"Mmmmm," he said, still smiling. "You've been dying to do that, haven't you?"

"Oh, you haven't?" She ran her thumb over his lip again, gently, and he watched her intently as she did. She swept her thumb over his cheekbone, down the slope of his slightly crooked nose, over the smooth, soft hair of his brows, the shadow along his jaw where his beard grew. She learned the contours of his face by touch, amazed as always by this creature of contrasts. Such a passionate nature in that cool skin. So pale, with such dark, deep eyes. Ancient eyes in a young face.

"Martha." It was Tella; Martha reluctantly pulled herself away from her perusal of the Doctor. He winked at her and gave her thumb a quick kiss. He turned to Uene, leaving Martha free to talk to Tella.

"Sorry for that," Martha said, turning to Tella, whose cheeks were pink. "I hope we haven't broken any rules."

"There's no need to apologize," Tella said. "Tis lucky when the one you're obliged to is the one you want. Not all are so fortunate. But I wanted to tell you that it's time for the Gatherings. Are you coming?"

The Doctor turned his head slightly in Martha's direction, no doubt waiting to hear her answer. "It sounds lovely, but I think we'll watch." She noted the slight smile on the Doctor's face before he turned back to Uene.



They walked on the outskirts of town, shoulder to shoulder, the Doctor's hands in his pockets, Martha's arms crossed. They were close enough to see the candles and torches, and hear the Grooms singing to their Brides.

"Tomorrow's ceremony is taken very seriously, so they're getting the laughs and giggles out of the way now," the Doctor said quietly, glancing in the direction of the town square. Martha nodded, and they continued quietly. "Probably not how you imagined your wedding day," he said. Martha glanced up at him, and he smiled.

"This will be the second time we've been married," she said. "1969. No ceremony and no license, but still playing at Mr. and Mrs. Smith." She smiled at the memory. "Even if we were stuck, that was brilliant. It was a damn sight better than that bloody school in 1913, aside from the odd comment here and there and having to work in a shop." She snorted. "I should have known you'd be rubbish at working." She laughed when he made offended noises.

"I can work, but honestly, I'm more of an idea man," he grinned. "Still, got us out of there, I did. Safe and sound and in one piece. Relatively speaking, there being two of us." He smiled when Martha bumped his shoulder. "This one's legal," he reminded her. "Anywhere and anywhen that's had alien contact. Except Earth, possibly."

"Except Earth, almost definitely," Martha smiled.

"So," the Doctor said, bumping Martha's shoulder. "How long are you with me, then?"

She was quiet a long moment. "I don't know. A while, if that's all right," she conceded quietly. "I've wanted to be a doctor since I can remember, and I love it and I'm good at it, but..."

"I know," he said softly.

"All that death, all the horrible things I saw...and no one knows. Sometimes I wake up and I think I'm still walking and it's terrifying. There might be a noise in the hallway and--"

"Shhh." The Doctor turned to face her and put his arms around her. "I know."

Martha thought that, yes, he probably did know. She lowered her forehead to his chest. "Mum was glad to see me go," she said. "She actually said, 'Every girl needs her doctor.' I was in shock; she nearly had to pick me up off the floor."

He nodded. "Smart woman, that Francine Jones. I daresay she's right; you do need your Doctor. I need mine."

A light snowfall had begun, and flakes drifted onto Martha's face. She looked up at him curiously, not wanting to say too much, not wanting to put words in his mouth.

"It's been a long time since I've said..." He paused. "It's been a long time. Longer than you can imagine." He glanced at Martha quickly, then away. He looked frustrated at his apparent inability to say what he was feeling. "I'm rubbish at this," he muttered.

"You're doing fine," Martha said softly, and gave him a brief squeeze. His arms tightened around her.

"I think you know how I feel about you, I hope you do," he said. "The things I can't say. I tried not to let you get close before, I thought it would be easier. That was bloody stupid. I'm a very stupid man sometimes." He kissed the top of her head. "You're trouble in a very lovely package, Martha Jones."

"You're one to talk," Martha said softly. "For all my grand speech-making, here I am." She let out a little huff of breath. "Right sexy you are," she said, taking him in from head to toe. "A little on the skinny side," she teased, "but, yeah. You. You're pretty close to irresistable, and that's frightening."

"So here we are," the Doctor said softly. "About to participate in this festival and both of us terrified."

"Cold feet," Martha said. "A sudden bout of nerves just before...whatever. Cold feet. But yours always are, so." She smiled awkwardly.

"Are we okay?" He gently brushed a snowflake from her eyelash.

"Of course we are," Martha said just as softly. "And if we're not, there's the dissolution day after."

"True." He held out his hand. "Come on. Back to the room then before we're both frozen through."



The innkeepers provided an impressive array of snacks to welcome the matchmates back from the Gatherings. Sweet and savory nibbles, assorted fruit and pots of hot drinks awaited on carts arranged outside each room. Martha held the door while the Doctor wheeled theirs in.

She pulled out the pajamas she'd packed, the ones they'd worn during their months in 1969: pajama tops and boy's boxers for her, pajama bottoms and a t-shirt for him; robes for both. Martha pulled on a pair of thick socks before she exited the bathroom. She felt warm and cozy, though not particularly sexy. The Doctor didn't mind though, if his expression was any indication. He grinned and said, "You look adorable," then took his turn changing.

In the short time she'd taken changing out of her clothes, the Doctor had done a fair bit of damage to the snacks; Martha shook her head and wondered if he had a second stomach to match his second heart. She poured a steaming cup of the sweet-tart beverage they'd had with dinner and piled some of the sweet nibbles in a napkin. She then sat on the floor by the fire, her back against one of the comfortable chairs.

The Doctor emerged from the ensuite looking as adorable as he'd said Martha looked. Instead of bringing over a few treats, he lifted the entire tray and set it on the floor within easy reach; he plucked one of the small treats off the tray and popped it into his mouth. He sat on the floor and produced a book that Martha didn't remember seeing.

Talking around a mouthful of pastry, the Doctor said, "'Was in my pocket," as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. He stretched out beside Martha and rested his head on her thigh.

"Your pocket. Your coat pocket. That big book."

He swallowed his mouthful. "Surely that's not the most impressive thing you've seen during our travels." He licked his fingers and looked up at her, glasses slipping slightly askew. Martha righted them and took the opportunity to stroke his lip again.

"No, not the coat," she said, looking over his face. He kissed her finger and opened his book.

"Have you done this before," Martha asked. "The Binding?"

The Doctor closed his book. "Binding Day. This festival? No." He hesitated. "But...I've had a wife. I've been a father, and at one point, my granddaughter traveled with me as my companion." He smiled wistfully before he looked up at her.

Martha nodded, taking it all in. "Well! It only makes sense; you're over nine hundred years old, it'd be silly to think you hadn't had family or loved ones at some point. I'm relieved, to tell you the truth." Her eyelashes felt wet and she tilted her head back so her tears wouldn't fall. "I'm glad to know someone loved you once, that you loved someone that much." She dabbed her eyes with a napkin from the tray. "It's a bride's prerogative to cry the night before her binding," she informed him with a laugh.

"You're marvelous," the Doctor said softly. He held her hand while Martha got herself under control again, then he reopened his book. He looked up. "I did mention the fact that those not participating are gently urged to leave?"

"So they're quite serious then."

"Quite."

"Good. So am I." She gestured. "Go ahead, read your book." The Doctor adjusted his glasses and flipped through the book until he found the page he wanted. Martha stared into the fire.



For those who preferred it, the inn provided breakfast in their rooms. Martha wanted pampering on her Binding day, so they requested breakfast brought up. The Doctor dressed quickly and reached for his coat afterward, giving Martha a mysterious look. Quizzing him didn't yield any useful information, so she finally relented and let him go forth on his errand alone.

"If you go stirring up trouble now I'll never forgive you," she muttered as he wrapped his scarf around his neck.

"I promise, no trouble. Truly." He gave her what was supposed to be an innocent expression.

"I swear, if there's running and screaming and angry villagers with torches, you're getting the slap of your life," Martha threatened. The Doctor just waggled his eyebrows and gave her a hug before he left.

Having nothing to do until the Binding Ceremony that evening, Martha decided to stay in bed and read. She'd found what appeared to be an intergalactic romance novel tucked behind the pillow: The Six Lives and Loves of Paladu Nine. She turned back the lurid cover and settled in.

Just as Paladu Nine was facing the fact that love number three would never return from the Salweegian Death Flats, the lock clicked and the suite door opened. The Doctor entered, looking supremely pleased.

"Martha Jones!"

"You're in a good mood," she said, glad to see him. She sat up, but he waved at her to stay in bed.

"Nah, don't get up. We've got a few hours and I think we've seen all the sights. It's a bit cold out there, too."

Martha was surprised, bordering on shocked. "A quiet day in? You?"

"Well, I promised not to stir up trouble, and even I know that's easiest done if I'm not poking about." He pulled a small leather-covered box out of his coat pocket and carefully placed it on the bed beside Martha. He set about unwrapping his scarf and unbuttoning his coat.

"So, then," Martha said, itching to touch the package, "is this what you've been up to?"

"Yep," the Doctor answered, popping the 'p'. He sat on the bed and nudged the box toward her. He looked embarrassed. "Something important I'd forgotten."

The small box was weightier than Martha'd expected. She lifted the lid carefully. "Oh!" she exclaimed in surprise. Inside the box, two rings, one bigger than the other, were nestled on a puff of dark brown velvet. "Oh!" Martha repeated, nearly speechless.

The gold seemed denser, older, different somehow than other gold she'd seen, and it looked oddly familiar. Martha picked up the larger ring; it felt slightly warm to touch. Startled, she looked up at the Doctor, who looked back at her expectantly, the trace of a smile on his lips. It couldn't be. "Is this...?"

"Yes!" He smiled. "I actually had something else in mind when I went back to the TARDIS." He tugged his earlobe and looked a little sheepish. "No idea where the Rings of Perulian went to, but no matter. I daresay these are better."

She had no idea what the Rings of Perulian were, but Martha agreed with the Doctor, this was brilliant. "They're beautiful," she said softly. "But, how?"

"I've no idea," the Doctor answered. He seemed slightly awed himself. "I found them on the console, just waiting to be scooped up." He leaned close and whispered, "I told you that she loves you."



Ceremonial clothing for the brides included a soft goldish-cream overdress and an underdress in the same color, richly embroidered at the sleeves, hem and neckline. The overdress was shorter and had three quarter length sleeves, which ensured that the embroidery on the underdress was properly displayed.

The grooms wore loose trousers and a tunic in deep brown, with a white shirt worn beneath. The Doctor complained bitterly about the clothing and seemed ruffled when Martha suggested he wore tight suits to show off his body.

"All that stretching and leaning on the console, showing off your bum," she teased while he nattered on about the clothes.

"I what?" He gawped like a caught fish.

"I couldn't help you throw a few switches or hit a button or two?" Martha asked. "Couldn't do, though, because then who'd admire how fit and flexible you are?"

"I..." He closed his mouth with a snap. "Martha Jones, you're winding me up," he said. "And if you're looking at my bum it's hardly my fault, is it? Not that anyone will be looking while I'm wearing these." He grabbed a fistful of fabric at his thigh. "Look at this! Loose! It feels..." He wriggled experimentally.

"A bit wibbly-wobbly?" Martha suggested, biting her lip to keep from laughing. The Doctor looked up slowly. He seemed both scandalized and intrigued by her innuendo.

"Why, Martha Jones," he said. One eyebrow raised.

"Your bum's nice. Your front view's not bad either," Martha said, smoothing her skirt, "since we're on the subject of wibbly-wobbly." She glanced up through her lashes to find him truly agape, mouth open, looking like he was torn between running for his life and stripping down to show her just how fit he was and exactly how flexible he could be.

In the end he gave her a quite promising smirk and said, "I assure you, there's nothing wibbly-wobbly about my front view." He winked and knelt down to pull his Converse out from under the bed.



They gathered in the candlelit square with the other matchmates, excitement in the air as they waited for the ceremony to begin. Officials in long green robes walked through the crowd, gently urging the matchmates into formation: couples together, brides to the left of their grooms, five couples per row, all facing a large raised platform at one end of the square. Curious, Martha stood on her tiptoes to look out over the crowd; there were quite a few rows.

When the proper formation had been achieved, the green-robed officials walked to the platform, and as they walked, they sang of the unity of all things. When they finished singing, the magistrate stepped foward.

"The cycle of time brings another Binding Day, and for this we are grateful. Good blessings on everyone assembled." Nearly as one, the crowd returned his greeting. He opened a little book and after a nod and a smile, he began to read.

"The law of life is love unto all beings. Without love, life is nothing. If we learn no more in life, let it be this." He looked out over the gathered matchmates. "Bride, is it true that you come of your own free will?"

As they'd been instructed, Martha answered with the other women, "Yes, it is true."

"Please join hands with your betrothed and listen to that which I am about to say." Martha and the Doctor clasped hands; the Doctor gave her hand a squeeze.

"Like a stone should your love be firm, like a star should your love be constant. Let the powers of the mind and of the intellect guide you, let the strength of your wills bind you together, let the power of love and desire make you happy, and the strength of your dedication make you inseparable. Be close, but not too close. Possess one another, yet be understanding. Have patience with one another, for storms will come, but they will pass quickly."

Martha looked up at the Doctor and smiled; he winked at her.

"Groom, I have not the right to bind thee to Bride, only you have this right. If it be your wish, say so at this time and place your ring in her hand."

With the other men, the Doctor said, "It is my wish." He slipped his ring out of his pocket and placed it on Martha's upturned palm.

"Bride, if it be your wish for Groom to be bound to you, place the ring on his finger."

Heart pounding, Martha slipped the ring on his finger. It looked perfect on his hand.

"Bride, I have not the right to bind thee to Groom, only you have this right. If it be your wish, say so at this time and place your ring in his hand."

"It is my wish." Martha pulled her ring out of her coat pocket and placed it on the Doctor's palm. His fingers closed around the ring and her fingers briefly, then he let her go.

"Groom, if it be your wish for Bride to be bound to you, place the ring on her finger."

He looked incredibly serious as he followed the instruction; the tiny bit of TARDIS looked lovely on Martha's finger.

"Repeat after me: I take thee to my hand, my heart, and my spirit, to be my chosen one. In life and beyond, where we shall meet, remember, and love again. I shall not seek to change thee in any way. I shall respect thee, thy beliefs, thy people, and thy ways as I respect myself."

As the matchmates repeated the vow, older boys and girls, still too young to be bound, approached with baskets; the grooms were each handed a tiny cake, no more than two bites big, and a small glass that contained a few swallows of mead.

Raising his hands with a smile, the magistrate said to those assembled, "May you drink your fill from the cup of love."

The grooms held the cups for the brides; Martha sipped half the mead, then held the glass for the Doctor as he drank the rest. He then held the cake for her, and Martha looked up at him and smiled just before neatly biting off half. As she chewed, she held the other half for him; the Doctor very playfully nipped her fingers before taking the bite between his teeth.

"By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. May your love so endure that its flame remains a guiding light unto you."

The villagers cheered and shouted, "Good blessings!" and the matchmates -- now newly-bound couples -- began to kiss. The Doctor gave Martha a peck on the lips and with a whoop, swept her into a joyous, full-body hug.

"Best festival ever," Martha laughed against his ear.



They chose not to participate in the candlelight processional; instead, they went back to their rooms and stood at the big window, the Doctor behind Martha, his arms wrapped around her, while he told her the romantic history of the ceremony. They dimmed the lights and watched quietly as the newly-bound couples wound their way through the softly falling snow.

Later, spooned together in the dark, Martha found it hard to fall asleep. The Doctor shifted behind her. "Still awake?" she asked softly.

"Still," the Doctor replied. He shifted his legs, nestling more closely against her body.

"Do you want to read? You won't disturb me," Martha said, hoping he wouldn't, because his arm felt lovely draped over her waist.

"No," the Doctor replied, "this is nice, lying here thinking."

She half turned; she could see him, illuminated by the moonlight shining through the window. "And what are you thinking, O mighty Time Lord?"

"Not so mighty in striped jammies and a t-shirt," he laughed. They were quiet a moment. "I don't want to end this," he said finally. "I'm yours for as long as you'll put up with me."

"That might be a while," Martha said. She was glad of the dark, because she didn't think she'd ever stop smiling. "I have a high tolerance for nonsense when it comes to you."

"Oi!" The Doctor poked her in the side and she laughed; he leaned down and nuzzled her neck, and Martha's heart fluttered. "I told Tella the truth," he murmured, his breath cool against her skin. "I knew you were special the first time I saw you." He kissed her neck, then moved to straddle her body. "If I'm yours," he leaned down again, kissed the other side of her neck, "that means you're mine."

"Always have been," Martha said softly, and smiled.

Date: 2007-12-14 03:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bana05.livejournal.com
That was wonderful and lovely! I loved the Doctor in this, and Martha's bitterness that quite hasn't gone away. That's just natural and a perfect touch, showing that things haven't been swept under the rug and they are still a work in progress toward healing. The Binding ceremony was beautifully done as well!

Thank you!

Date: 2007-12-14 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
That was wonderful and lovely! I loved the Doctor in this, and Martha's bitterness that quite hasn't gone away. That's just natural and a perfect touch, showing that things haven't been swept under the rug and they are still a work in progress toward healing.

Yay! I'm glad that worked, because that's what I wanted to show. It's not all sunshine and chocolate for them yet, but they obviously care enough about each other to work it out -- and in my personal canon, they do. :-) I'm glad you enjoyed it.


The Binding ceremony was beautifully done as well!

I'd love to take credit, but I found the vows on this site. There's a link in my header, but I guess you missed it!

They're pagan vows, and when I read them, I knew they'd be absolutely perfect. For the purposes of the story I edited out some lines and tweaked a couple of others. If I weren't already married, I'd strongly consider using them myself. They're lovely. :-)

Date: 2007-12-14 11:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bana05.livejournal.com
Thanks :)

Date: 2007-12-14 04:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meilin-miranda.livejournal.com
That was very well written and schmoopy and realistically unrealistic (like we're ever gonna get it) and I loved it. :)

Date: 2007-12-14 11:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
That was very well written and schmoopy and realistically unrealistic (like we're ever gonna get it) and I loved it. :)

Unrealistic but realistic...that's the fine line I walk! ;-) You know we're not going to get anything like this, but I still try to make it as close to believeable as possible. I hope!

I'm so glad that you liked it. I really enjoyed writing it!

Love

Date: 2007-12-14 04:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tuaneter.livejournal.com
Thank you. This is perfect - it's everything I wish for the two of them, it's beautiful and it's lovely. I love this story. You are gifted! I think I'll love this story for years to come. Well done :-)
p.s. love the underlying msg.s about the nature of love, respect, and the foundations of a lasting relationship - might even use lines like those spoken during the ceremony for my own wedding one day (or some other appropriate rl function - with permission?) *in the not too near future, lol* :-)
p.p.s. this seemed so real - it really is perfect, to me. thank you!! :-)

Re: Love

Date: 2007-12-14 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
Thank you. This is perfect - it's everything I wish for the two of them, it's beautiful and it's lovely. I love this story. You are gifted! I think I'll love this story for years to come. Well done :-)

Thank you so much! These two characters deserved so much better...and it's my duty as a fic writer to see that they get it. ;-) I'm pleased that you enjoyed it. Thank you. :-)


p.s. love the underlying msg.s about the nature of love, respect, and the foundations of a lasting relationship - might even use lines like those spoken during the ceremony for my own wedding one day

I'd love to take credit, but I found the vows on this site. There's a link in my header, but I guess you missed it!

They're pagan vows, and when I read them, I knew they'd be absolutely perfect. For the purposes of the story I edited out some lines and tweaked a couple of others. If I weren't already married, I'd strongly consider using them myself. They're lovely. :-)
Edited Date: 2007-12-14 11:32 pm (UTC)

Re: Love

Date: 2007-12-21 08:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tuaneter.livejournal.com
I just checked out the site, it's wonderful1! I had missed it, thanks for the link!

Re: Love

Date: 2007-12-23 05:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
I just checked out the site, it's wonderful1! I had missed it, thanks for the link!

You're welcome!

Date: 2007-12-14 05:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pescivendolo.livejournal.com
So perfect and sweet! I love it!

Date: 2007-12-15 12:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
So perfect and sweet! I love it!

Thank you! I'm glad that you enjoyed it. :-)

Date: 2007-12-14 06:40 am (UTC)
ext_3965: (Cuddle Ten Martha)
From: [identity profile] persiflage-1.livejournal.com
Guh!

Tissues please... ?

That was really sweet and lovely, and yes, I have tears...

Date: 2007-12-16 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
Guh! Tissues please... ? That was really sweet and lovely, and yes, I have tears...

Aw, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it, especially since I've enjoyed so many of your creations. :-)

Date: 2007-12-16 06:05 am (UTC)
ext_3965: (Gallifreyan Festival of Lights)
From: [identity profile] persiflage-1.livejournal.com
I did... I mem'd it !

Shall rec it too if I can get my brain in gear later...

Date: 2007-12-14 06:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] teenytinyghosty.livejournal.com
aww that's sweet!

I want snow.

Date: 2007-12-16 01:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
aww that's sweet! I want snow.

Thank you! I'm glad you liked it. :-)

We got about three-four inches today, all since about 10:30 this morning! I was hoping we'd get a snow day Monday (no work! yay!), but I don't think we'll be getting much more. ;-)

Date: 2007-12-17 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] teenytinyghosty.livejournal.com
oo lucky! Being in a non-mountainous Australia area i never get snow. Snow day seems like the ultimate in getting a day off work- i've wanted one ever since i saw the snow day episode in the Simpsons back in primary school! Unfortunately, weather patterns did not miraculously change and i never got my snow day.
Robot Snowman with Flowers should be pleased. I'm guessing he has frost enhanced interior circuits.

Date: 2007-12-23 05:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
Robot Snowman with Flowers should be pleased. I'm guessing he has frost enhanced interior circuits.

Robot Snowman with Flowers sez: IF ROBOT SNOWMAN WITH FLOWERS WERE HUMAN, ROBOT SNOWMAN WITH FLOWERS WOULD APOLOGIZE FOR HAVING MISSED THIS MENTION OF ROBOT SNOWMAN WITH FLOWERS.

YES, THE INTERIOR CIRCUITS OF ROBOT SNOWMAN WITH FLOWERS ARE INDEED HIGHLY COMPATIBLE WITH TEMPERATURES IN THE LOWER REGISTERS. LOOK CLOSELY, HUMAN WOMAN, AND YOU WILL SEE THAT THE FLOWERS OF SNOWMAN ROBOTKIND ARE ACTUALLY SNOWFLAKES.

WHEN OUR GREAT SHIPS FILL YOUR SKIES, YOU WILL BE GRANTED THE 'SNOW DAY' YOU SO GREATLY DESIRE.

Date: 2007-12-26 03:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] teenytinyghosty.livejournal.com
oh you're right they are snowflakes!
lmao i'm glad you told me about the snow day.. i'll have to buy some warmer clothes and skis in preparation. How exciting.

Date: 2007-12-14 07:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladymako71.livejournal.com
Awww! That was adorable!

Date: 2007-12-16 01:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
Awww! That was adorable!

Thank you! :-)

Date: 2007-12-14 07:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magicallaw.livejournal.com
I have warm fuzzies which is a great thing to have on this cold morning. Thank you.

Date: 2007-12-23 05:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
I have warm fuzzies which is a great thing to have on this cold morning. Thank you.

Thank you so much! I'm pleased that my story helped get your day off to a warm start. :-)

Date: 2007-12-14 08:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] torn-eledhwen.livejournal.com
Definitely an "awww" story. I loved the concept of the ceremony and its sweet but serious nature. Beautiful.

Date: 2007-12-24 07:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
Definitely an "awww" story. I loved the concept of the ceremony and its sweet but serious nature. Beautiful.

Thank you! I'm glad that you enjoyed it; I enjoyed writing it. :-)

Date: 2007-12-14 03:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stoplookingup.livejournal.com
This is just lovely. You managed to create a very sentimental situation without making it seem maudlin. It fixes the Doctor/Martha relationship in a way so many of us would kill to see. And I love the fact that you were so careful to make the reader see how both characters understand and accept the complexity of their relationship. If only the series would give the characters as much credit.

Date: 2007-12-14 04:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ibythetide.livejournal.com
Fox that was great. Never ever doubt your ability to touch the heart.

Date: 2007-12-24 07:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
Fox that was great. Never ever doubt your ability to touch the heart.

What a lovely compliment! Thank you! :-D

So lovely...

Date: 2007-12-14 07:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] syreene.livejournal.com
Aww...so sweet! The leftover bitterness of Martha, 10 trying hard to be more open with her, the bit at dinner, the jokes about the pajamas, I could go on and on. Wonderful stuff! :D

Date: 2007-12-14 07:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] padawanpooh.livejournal.com
*ADORES*

Absolutely wonderful: one to save and treasure. Ten and Martha were spot on and the culture and ceremony were described beautifully ;-)

Date: 2007-12-15 01:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
*ADORES* Absolutely wonderful: one to save and treasure. Ten and Martha were spot on and the culture and ceremony were described beautifully ;-)

Thank you! I love writing them, so it's nice to know they turned out well. :-) I'm glad that you liked it.

I'd love to take credit for the vows, but they're from this site. There's a link in my header, but I guess you missed it!

They're pagan vows, and when I read them, I knew they'd be absolutely perfect. For the purposes of the story I edited out some lines and tweaked a couple of others. If I weren't already married, I'd strongly consider using them myself. They're lovely. :-)

Date: 2007-12-14 09:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nycjoc.livejournal.com
I really enjoyed this story. I loved the development of their relationship and how you dealt with the complexity of their relationship without overstated it. Great story.

Date: 2007-12-23 05:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
I really enjoyed this story. I loved the development of their relationship and how you dealt with the complexity of their relationship without overstated it. Great story.

Thank you! I love the two of them and want them to be happy, since the writers couldn't seem to do it. ;-) I'm glad that you enjoyed it. :-)

Date: 2007-12-14 10:53 pm (UTC)
nonelvis: (DW animated smith and jones)
From: [personal profile] nonelvis
Completely, utterly adorable. I loved this!

Date: 2007-12-15 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
Completely, utterly adorable. I loved this!

Thank you! I enjoyed writing it, I'm glad you enjoyed it. :-)

Date: 2007-12-15 12:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiantbaby.livejournal.com
What a completely wonderful and sweet story. I loved the complexity you showed between Martha and Doctor and how, despite their deep love for one another, they are still healing.

Thank you for sharing this story. :)

*adds to memories*

Date: 2007-12-15 07:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] madelf.livejournal.com
Okay, I got all weepy by the end. I'm a complete sap. This is completely charming and I love it to bits.

Date: 2007-12-15 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
Okay, I got all weepy by the end. I'm a complete sap. This is completely charming and I love it to bits.

Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :-)

Date: 2007-12-15 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] burnzitt.livejournal.com
Oh that was lovely! Terrific fic! I loved the doctor getting a bit flustered and choked up when trying to explain himself to Martha. Great!

Date: 2007-12-19 12:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
Oh that was lovely! Terrific fic! I loved the doctor getting a bit flustered and choked up when trying to explain himself to Martha. Great!

Thank you! I'm glad that you enjoyed it, I enjoyed writing it. :-)

Date: 2008-01-24 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abelard369.livejournal.com
I looooooooove this story. Thank you so much for writing it. It's the Smith and Jones we all really want and long for in our hearts. Thank you.

Date: 2009-06-22 07:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nschick.livejournal.com
Utter Perfection ;) Loved it completely leaves me wanting to know more ... what happens next

*saved to mems*

Date: 2009-06-24 03:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] haiden23.livejournal.com
Wow, this is an exceptionally beautiful piece. You capture the Doctor and Martha very well. Wonderful job!

Date: 2009-06-26 12:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gallifreysgirl.livejournal.com
Adore this i hope there will be more 10/10 5*

Date: 2009-07-02 03:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] trinity-tragedy.livejournal.com
*squee!!* I now have a new favourite story. Yay! This was absolutely beautiful and if I ever take the leap, I want to use that particular ritual! Thankyou for sharing this with all of us! *sighs and floats away*


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