Step In, Step Out, Walk Around

by amberite [Reviews - 14]

  • All Ages
  • Swearing
  • Angst, Het

Author's Notes:
There was something immeasurably troubling about the look on the Doctor's face when Martha entered the TARDIS for the first time.

"What?" Martha says. "What are we doing?"

The Doctor's lips are parted, hanging open, and his breath comes in and out faster than normal. There's a slight flush on his skin.

"Step in," he says. His eyes aren't on her, exactly, but a shield is up over them. The bright blackness of them looks at something behind that shield, some fragment of memory from some other place and time.

She walks up the ramp into the TARDIS, rather not seeing the point.

"Now," he says, sotto voce, mushmouthed, barely moving his lips but she follows because she's been listening to him long enough to pick out the words, "--now turn around, you're confused, go back out--"

Martha does this thing. She's watching him out of the corner of her eye. He hadn't wanted to go through with this, but they'd been so very drunk and him so very sad, and she'd said, "Anything, anything," and Martha isn't stupid; she's been around the block; as she told him, she knows how to respect a friend after a pity fuck, or a pity --

-- whatever this is, anyway.

She backs down the ramp and pantomimes a thunderstruck O with her lips.

He nods his head with the little, slight movements of a man in a waking dream. "--now walk around the TARDIS," he says, running the words together in a faint, grave voice.

Martha steps out the door, into a vacant lot, and begins to circle the ship.

"no," he says, still speaking in lowercase, and mops at his forehead a little. "not like that. crane your neck, like--" He closes his eyes for a long moment of trying to squeeze the words out of himself. She watches.

Like she's trying to figure out how the hell the TARDIS can be like that, she realizes, beginning to find the pattern, the frame. So she widens her eyes, and cranes her neck around the corners of the craft, peering into the shadows behind each one. All the while, the Doctor hovers in the doorway, eyelids fluttering trancelike, expressions crossing his face that she couldn't even begin to describe.

When she finishes performing this strange ritualistic circuit, Martha walks back up the edge of the ramp. His eyes follow after her, haunted and dark and round like an animal's. He swallows.

She feels strangely cautious: had expected he would be masturbating, or crying. This reaction is neither, but somehow like.

Martha lets him have a moment. Then she turns to face him.

"What exactly did I just do for you?" she asks.

But he only says "Thank you," softly, and looks ashamed.