|Fic: Chinatown Fair (Same Moon Outside) [Martha/Harry, R, ~1,600 words]
||[Jan. 30th|07:11 pm]
the two doctors
Title: Chinatown Fair (Same Moon Outside)
Pairing: Martha Jones/Harry Sullivan
Summary: 1969: the adventures of a sailor on shore leave and a girl from the stars.
Notes: Thanks to Tom Waits for the title and excellent song on the subject, and thanks to prof_pangaea and elliptic_eye who tried their very best to make this not suck. ~1,600 words.
"Sullivan," Paul says, already half-pissed from the bottle of rum the boys have been passing around, "you're coming out on the town with us tonight, whether you like it or not."
Harry's been at sea for six months, his first tour of duty with his full qualifications: Korea, China, and for some reason, several weeks mooring off the Isle of Wight. There's solid ground under his feet, and he wants nothing more than to settle his things in and walk the streets, hard, cool pavement under his feet in the gloomy London night.
Two other officers grab his elbows, however, and propel him towards the door, laughing.
They end up at a pub, gloomy with cigarette smoke, at least, but with so many people talking and dancing and feeling each other up in the corners he might as well still be at sea, the ground and his belly full of liquor rolling and pitching.
"Do I miss the sea, or do I miss the earth?" he says, finally, finding an empty chair at a table, looking out bleary-eyed at the humanity moving around him. It's a properly philosophical sort of thought for such an evening, he thinks, though he wonders if he's got any sort of decent answer at all.
"That's a very interesting question," a female voice replies, and he sits upright with a start. There's someone in the other chair at the table. He peers at her carefully, and then realizes he's staring at her breasts.
The female voice with the great breasts laughs, lightly. "I don't think you drink very often," she says.
"Not really," Harry admits. He holds out a hand, introduces himself properly, rank and all. He has a standard of behaviour to live up to, after all. He's an officer of Her Majesty's Royal Navy, even if he's in his civvies and he's completely pissed.
"Martha Jones," the perceptive, female voice with the great breasts says, returning his handshake. "Are you here by yourself?"
"I had friends with me earlier," Harry says, "but I seem to have lost them – or maybe they lost me. Are you here alone? This isn't a very nice pub for a pretty girl to be alone in."
"I seem to be here with you," Martha replies. The look she gives him is rather odd, he thinks, but that's a small part of his brain versus the part that is jumping up and down in sheer, unrestrained glee.
"Would you like to go for a walk?" Harry asks, impulsively. "If that's not too bold of me to ask, I mean."
"Do I miss home, or do I miss the adventure?" Martha replies. "Yes, I'd like very much to go for a walk, Harry Sullivan." She stands up, and holds out her hand. Harry blinks at it for a few moments, then takes it cautiously. He's a bit wobbly as he stands up, but Martha holds firm, and he finds himself carefully grounded; he feels, improbably, safe.
Martha takes off her shoes and socks first, trainers of a style he's never seen before, with incongruous blue polka-dotted socks. She half-smiles at his look, shrugs her shoulders, and wriggles her toes over the cold, damp cobblestones.
"Your feet will get filthy," he points out.
"Even in 1969, they've invented soap and hot water," she replies, and he can't argue with that logic, strange as it is, so he takes off his shoes as well.
"Do you need that pair?" she asks, and Harry probably does since he has so few civilian things, but he shakes his head; Martha's bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet now, and there's adventure in the air.
She takes his hand again, and they walk off into the night, leaving their shoes by the door of the pub. The tongue in his right shoe rustles in the wind, and Harry thinks it looks like the shoe is waving goodbye – to him, to his toes, to his ordinary life.
Safe was a funny word to use, he thinks a little later; Martha has pulled him up and down city streets, around the docks, and his feet are sore and cut up. She seems to be looking for something, but he's not sure what, and she's not telling. Finally they stop in front of a blue police box, and she turns towards him with a look in her eyes that seems sad and hard all at once.
"You don't know what this could be, do you," she says, resting her free hand against the box's exterior, staring at it as if she was trying to will it to be some other shape, some other thing.
"It's just an old police box," Harry replies. "Not as popular as they used to be, mind you."
Martha smiles. "This is their last year, really. Two-way radios are just about to make old girls like this obsolete. That's the way of the world, I suppose: time always marches on. Unless you're me, or unless you're you."
Harry is well and truly lost by now, but Martha's on a roll, her eyes sparkling and dancing with excitement, with a truth she's trying to teach him.
"I know you, Harry," she says. "You travel, you explore, you help save the world. I've gone through all the records. It's such a big ship, and there's so much time, out there, to look and learn."
Harry tries his most winning smile. "I say, that's quite the way to explain working in the Royal Navy. I wouldn't say patching up sailors in the sick bay is saving the world, but thank you, nonetheless."
Martha just quirks her head at him, and Harry is starting to wonder how drunk she is as well when she leans in and kisses him, hard.
"You'll understand," she says, as he falls apart under her warm body, the liquor, the moonlight, the cold pavement under his feet. "You'll see the stars and have adventures and you'll live."
"Yes," Harry says, because there's nothing else to say, because one night on land and he's missing the sea so much he wants to crawl inside Martha and sail away to her stars with her forever.
They have sex, right there, in the alleyway with the old police box; Harry props Martha up against the wall and she wraps her legs around his waist, and he thinks he might have actually died back in the pub: alcohol poisoning, probably.
She moves her hips brilliantly, leans in, nips at his neck. He's seeing stars already and fights to keep in control.
"Do this often, sailor?" she whispers in his ear, laughing gently when he shakes, almost loses his grip on her. It's like dancing, he thinks; a gentleman can't drop his lady, and he holds on tighter.
"That's so good, there," she says, moving her hips in a tight little circle, pressing her mouth against his. "Can't you feel it happening?" She shivers then, cries out, and Harry can't hold back any longer. He comes, the taste of always and never on her tongue, on his lips.
It's a little while before they stir and pull their clothing back into a respectable state. Harry can feel the dull edge of a headache coming on, but he shakes it aside, focuses on the great breasts disappearing back under a lacy bra, the little smile playing around Martha's lips.
"Thank you," he says, eventually; he's not sure it's the right thing to say, but he's just had what's probably been the best night of his life so far and he thinks it's only polite.
Martha just laughs. "You're a sweetheart, Harry. You're hardly going to remember this in the morning, but try to remember this bit, at least: you took a chance tonight; you did something bold and brave."
Harry frowns, unsure if that's a compliment or a complaint about his former self. He starts to speak but Martha wags a finger at him, and he stays quiet. Her finger waves in the air for a few moments and he thinks of his abandoned shoes, and realizes maybe this is a step he needed to take, at least, once in his life.
"I'm a doctor too, did you know that?" she says, her eyes thinking of something long ago or very far away – he can't quite tell which. "When you're in that sick bay, Harry, think of me, and hopefully I'll be tending patients as well, wherever I am."
"Up in the stars?" he asks, feeling foolish and fuzzy, and embarrassed by her praise.
"Closer than you think," she replies, and leans forward to kiss him again.
Harry wakes the next morning in his bed at the officers' lodgings, a splitting headache behind his eyes and a washcloth and warm basin of water next to him that he uses to wash his predictably filthy feet.
He reports back for duty that afternoon: a day early, but two days shore leave is more than he needs when the sea is calling him.
He sees the stars in due course. For now, he tends to the sick with good grace, feels the salt air on his face, and wonders if he'd go with the strange, beautiful girl again, or stay behind with his shoes. A wave hits the boat hard as he stands at the railing thinking, and he laughs as he sways and loses his balance for a few moments. He hopes he'll get the chance to decide.