Everybody Needs an Editor

by Significant Owl [Reviews - 4]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • General, Humor

Author's Notes:
Somewhat silly episode tag for The Shakespeare Code, based on the idea that the Doctor fanboys authors so much because he's a frustrated one himself. :D

Through the doors, up the ramp, and before she'd even opened her mouth to try out the best argument she'd come up with (namely, All right, you can travel to the past, but before I call you the lord of anything I'm going to need to see the future as well), he'd flipped a couple of switches, pushed a few buttons, and banged something with a mallet.

You'd think he'd pick up a throw rug or two.  Really.  Maybe she should angle for the Ottoman Empire.

"Right then!" the Doctor said, pulling her to her feet.  "You're bound to need re-hydrating, all that running about. And you've worked up an appetite, too, I shouldn't wonder, eat anything you like. Kitchen's down the corridor, third door on the right." He scratched an ear. "Most of the time. Go on, no sense in being shy," he finished up, giving her a little push.

But Martha held her ground. "Is that thing set to take me home?" she asked, pointing at the controls.

"That thing? That thing? No, Miss Nosy Nose, it is not. I've something else to do at the moment. But if you're in a hurry...."

"No, no," Martha said, grinning to herself as she headed down the corridor. She'd thought as much. Doth protest too much, indeed. She would remember her argument, though, for later on, when it came her line in this little production they had going on.

The kitchen was disappointingly kitcheny: cupboards, a table, more cupboards. The refrigerator loomed large and olive-green, something out of an old American sitcom. Or maybe it was from some planet where it was perpetually the nineteen seventies? Martha started poking around. She wasn't particularly hungry, but she was curious to see what aliens ate when they were at home.

Answer: Pot Noodles, potatoes, and something that might once have been celery. As for drink, there were teabags, and some sort of extraterrestrial juice - one bottle, half empty, with lipstick at the opening.

She slammed the refrigerator shut. Bloody alien. Not as good as his Rose, but good enough for her leftover beverages? Sometime very, very soon, he was going to get a nice friendly lesson in Earth manners. And probably a bit of a slap.

Martha marched back to the main room, a new line at the ready (If this is a thank-you meal, you're going to do it proper, at the best restaurant this solar system has to offer), but the Doctor wasn't there.

She went back to the kitchen. Not there either.

He was probably scrubbing off the sixteenth century in a great big tub somewhere, just waiting for her to find him so he could invite her to hop in and to do the same... and then, when they'd got all lathered up, talk about his ex some more. Well. He was going to have to work harder than that.

But if the universe did decide to start repaying her for time spent on the unpleasant end of sponge baths by offering up wet, fit aliens, it would get no complaints from her....

Martha went further down the corridor, which she soon discovered to be ridiculously long and twisty, with far too many more branching off the sides. She didn't dare stray from this one, for fear of getting lost. Lost inside a police box, madness. She knocked on doors and shouted for him, getting less annoyed and more worried the longer she did so. She'd had to re-start his hearts two times in as many days - which she was going to mention the next time called her a novice or said he didn't need a partner - and that kind of cardiac stress would take its toll on anyone, alien or not.

And Shakespeare had used the word old....

"Mr. Smith? Doctor? Doctor?"

"Ohhh, what is it? Can't you amuse yourself for just five minutes?"

Martha backed up and leaned her head against the last door she'd passed. "Are you all right? Only if you're feeling fatigued at all, I should take your vitals, just to be -"

The door flew open, causing her to stumble. "Well, that's very considerate of you, Martha Jones! But not necessary. Enjoy your - oh." He screwed up his face. "There's not much food to choose from, is there?"

There was a pen sticking out of his mouth, his hair was in need of some serious attention, and he was wearing those NHS specs. How this all added up to sexy was a mystery, but it did and there was no getting around it. Before he could shut the door on her, Martha stuck a foot in. "Not much, no. Maybe we could - hang about, is that your diary? Is that what you do? Write up all your adventures as soon as you get back?"

"That is not my diary, as it happens - but if you happen to spot it, do let me know, been a lifetime since I've seen it - and you needn't say it in that tone, MarthaJonesUK. Just because people don't comment doesn't mean they're not reading."

Her face went hot. "Reading - reading what?"

"Hmmmm?" The Doctor looked quite puzzled. Thank God.

Martha slumped in relief. "Nothing." She slipped past him, into the room - it was a library - and went over to the desk. "So it's not a diary, you're just," she peeked, "writing a novel?"

"Now there's something I'll never understand. You lot, you love stories. You read them, you watch them, you pay money to see them in theatres, you recklessly violate all sorts of laws to get them off the internet... but the minute anyone says they're writing a story, you do that thing with your face, right there." He pointed. "And after everything that just happened, too."

"Well, Shakespeare was a genius, wasn't he?'

"Exactly!" the Doctor said, leaving zero room for modesty in the implication.

"All right, then," Martha said, laughing. "Give us a minute with your genius words."

Technically, he did, lurking right at her shoulder as she read. She skipped around, getting the feel for the story - it seemed to be an epic (and she meant epic, the Doctor's page-count put J.K.R. to shame) space adventure with long encyclopaedic asides, many of which sported crossed-out bits and notes scribbled in the margins. She got maybe two solid minutes of reading in before the fidgeting started at her back, and maybe as many more after that before his mouth opened.

"Well?"

"I've only read here and there," Martha said.

"Go on," he said.

"And I liked it," Martha said politely, seizing an opportunity to teach by example. "But did you really write all this yourself?"

He puffed up. "It's good, isn't it. I knew it was, I thought, it's good, I should really show someone...."

"Ye-es," she smiled nicely, "but I was wondering, because there are some pretty drastic style shifts as you go along, not to mention the changes in handwriting -"

"Oh, well." The Doctor waved this away. "All authors evolve. Anything else?"

"Okay, see this bit?" Martha pointed. "Where he tells her not to open the box? And leaves her alone with it, and to her mind it's the only thing that could save them and she still doesn't open it? I'm sorry, but that's just completely impossible to believe. And if that kind of thing's happening all the way through...."

"Impossible to believe?" There was breath in her ear, alien breath. She wondered how long it would take for her to stop thinking that word alien. "But he told her not to!"

"Didn't give her a reason, though, did he?"

"Yes he did, look!" His finger flailed about on the page.

"'You'll thank me later?' Did that work on you when your mum tried it on?"

"Mmm, well, hard to remember. Still, probably not. Good point, Martha. What do you suggest?"

"Well, when I'm working with patients, I give them all the information I possibly can."

"Ah!" He seized the book from her. "You dazzle them with your knowledge, making them realise you know best!"

"No, I give them the chance to make informed decisions, and make them realise they can trust me to tell them things that are really important."

As she spoke, the Doctor threw himself haphazardly into the nearest chair, legs dangling over the arm, and began scribbling madly.

Martha followed him, warming to her theme. "If you're up-front with people from the start, and are honest about where they stand -"

His pen paused. "Martha Jones? Are we having oblique yet resonant dialogue?"

"Maybe."

"Well, that's clever."

"Thank you."

"But distracting. A bit of hush, please?"

Martha glared, wondering if this was the appropriate time for that slap.

The Doctor missed it, because he didn't look up. "When I've finished here, would you care to join me for dinner? There's a nice restaurant on the third ring of Saturn, 's got a splendid view. Food's not bad either."

"And after that?" she asked.

"Mm, well, then we'll see how we feel about dessert?"

You had to call it progress, Martha decided. You really did. First, she checked her watch and added five minutes in her head. Then she crouched down by his chair, put a little human breath in his ear, and gave a very mannerly reply: "Mr. Smith, I would be pleased to accept your invitation. I will accompany you at eight-oh-nine, Greenwich time."

The view was indeed splendid, and the Plutonian chocolate tart was divine.