He’s always talking, no matter what situation they’re in. They could be surrounded by Sontarans, Carrionites, Daleks–it wouldn’t matter. He’s an old, old soul with the wonder of a little boy, and he never stops his gleeful narration as he takes it all in. When he’s caught in the gunfire, she knows something’s wrong not because he groans or shouts–because he doesn’t. He only lets out a little gasp, and the absence of his voice cuts through the clamor, through the shouting, and she’s sure he’s been hit, bad.
She’s not thinking of anything but this when she ducks and runs toward where he’s fallen. His breathing is ragged and his eyes are shut tight. He clutches his belly, one hand clenched over the tear in his suit coat where the blood’s already saturating.
“My Doctor,” she whispers, reaching to lift his hand away and gritting her teeth at what she sees. Pneumothorax–he’s punctured a lung, sure, if the entry wound’s this high. The blood is running freely, slicking both their hands. She glances up to see he’s gone blue around the lips and eyes.
“Doctor,” she pleads, and his lashes flutter weakly.
“’m sorry, Martha,” and this is bad, no, he’s never sorry. He thinks he’s regenerating, she realizes, and maybe it’s not so far from the truth. But he’s the same old Doctor, dingy and foppish and dear, with no magic golden light in sight to patch him up.
She sighs hopelessly and straightens up, looking all around as if the answer ought to be written on the world. Apply pressure now. Drag him to safety here.
Realizes, whoever they are, they’ve stopped shooting.
She’s not convinced it’s a good sign.
She’s never sure afterward just how they made it to the TARDIS, how she got him so far, how she kept him from bleeding to death. He’d passed out when she tried to move him, leaving her to lug his dead weight. Looking at him now, she’s all but certain she couldn’t have lifted him at all, lanky thing though he is. She remembers the TARDIS infirmary, easing him onto the examination table, cursing when she couldn’t find the right setting on the sonic. Somewhere along the line, his respiratory bypass’d kicked in. She’d stanched the blood, inserted a tube to vent the lung, put him on a saline drip. The rest would have to wait until he came around.
He’s slow to rouse but stable, and she starts to let herself relax. She unlaces his shoes and lays them on the floor, removes his bloody jacket and tie, loosens the buttons of his trousers. She does this not with the objectivity of a physician nor the longing eye of a girl in love, but with the stoic gentleness of a worried mother. She strokes his damp hair back from his forehead. His eyes are screwed up tightly, and he looks for all the world like a small boy caught in a fever dream. If only.
His eyes open, close, open again more slowly. He licks his lips and she raises him a little, holding out a chip of ice, which he takes. Swallows. All at once, he’s seized by a fit of coughing, and she pats his back soothingly.
“Oh, god, Martha, no painkillers?” he manages to choke out.
“I didn’t know what you couldn’t have, if it was just aspirin or more than that. I’m sorry, really."
“I know,” he groans. “Just…pick something from the cupboard. Anything. It’s all safe.”
She literally runs back to the cabinet where she’d found the tube and the catheter. Knocks over several vials as she scrabbles around for an analgesic. Settles on a blue liquid with a name she can’t begin to pronounce. Her hands are shaking as she draws it into the syringe.
She finds him sitting on the edge of the table, arms wrapped around his middle. His eyes close in relief when he sees the syringe in her hands. He rolls up his sleeve for her, doesn’t flinch when the needle goes in. It works fast; after a long moment he sighs and the muscles of his face slacken.
“What setting, Doctor?” She holds up the screwdriver. It takes him several seconds to process the question. With clumsy fingers he reaches for the device and fiddles with its settings. After a few twists and button pokes he hands it back.
“What am I supposed to do with it now?”
“Just, err, turn it on. Wave it around a bit. You point it at the right area, it’ll take care of the rest.”
“What will you do?”
His voice has a smile to it and a bit of a slur. “I, Martha Jones, am going to lie down. You picked out some narcotic.” He whistles. “I’m really feeling it now. If you were as woozy as I am–” He sways dangerously and nearly falls from the table.
Martha busies herself getting him laid back down. “Well, you could’ve told me which were which,” she fusses. The only response is a bleary half-smile.
She unbuttons his shirt all the way down and spreads the tails like a pair of wings. “Well, all right then.” She says this more to herself than anyone else, wincing again at the torn and bloody wound. “Here we go.” The screwdriver emits a golden light, the color she imagines his regenerations to be. The muscles come together and the skin seals cleanly, leaving only a fresh, puckered scar.
“Is that it?” She runs her fingers lightly over the skin, still flushed an irritated pink. She feels his ribs all solid underneath, slips a hand under his back to feel the closed exit wound.
He blinks a few times, turns over on his side, gives a few strong coughs. He rubs at his chest, then touches his belly cautiously.
“Feeling better, Doctor?”
“Much.” He sits up a little too sharply, raises a hand protectively to his middle. “Still a bit sore, but good as new.”
Martha shakes her head. “All right. Can you stand up?” She gives him her hand and he takes it, sliding his feet down to reach the floor. He’s wobbly, sinking quickly to his knees, holding his forehead.
She ruffles his hair gently. “Poor dear. Come on, if we can get you down the hall, you can lie in your own bed, and you can take off these bloody clothes, and I’ll bring you a nice cup of tea….” She realizes he’s not really listening, so she draws him up by the hand and lets him lean on her arm.
The TARDIS is gentle with them and leads them right to his room. The Doctor shucks off his shirt and curls up on his bed. Just like himself to be too tired for pajamas or blankets, thinks Martha. When she comes back with tea, herbal and steaming hot, just how he likes it, he’s already sinking off into his dreams. She lays her hand on his, and he clutches it tight.
When he wakes up, he finds a watery mug of tea cooling on the nightstand and Martha sprawled across the edge of his bed, hand tucked into his. Fast asleep. Later he’ll have time to thank her, but for now he just squeezes back, kisses her fondly on the top of her head. Martha Jones. What would he do without her?