He doesn’t know what he did, but whatever it was, it was extremely very not-good. He suspects he should have known better, although at the moment there’s not much he can do about it. They’re running for their lives, he and Amy and Rory, weaving around the trees in an alien forest. Not far behind them are angry Fenylians with dart guns. A dart whizzes past him and he flinches. He’s really very sorry for whatever he did, but it’s too late to tell them that. As he glances over his shoulder, a dart sinks into the soft part of his neck, between his ear and his jawbone. He stumbles and yelps in pain, but keeps running.
“Doctor!” Amy calls.
“I’m all right,” he manages, and runs faster.
They zigzag through the thickest part of the forest, doubling back on their tracks and shaking off their pursuers, if only momentarily. As they stop to catch their breath, he raises a hand to the dart.
Rory catches his wrist. “Let me see it. I’m a nurse.” He spreads his fingers against the Doctor’s neck and gently tips his head to the side. The Doctor winces as Rory touches the dart, and then suddenly, it’s out. He breathes in sharply, feeling his pulse throbbing and blood trickling down to his collar.
“Is it poisoned?” Amy asks. The difficulty he has focusing on her probably means that it is, but he’s not about to tell her that.
“I don’t know,” he says, taking the dart from Rory. He runs a finger carefully down the shaft to pick up any drug traces. Sniffs his finger, then licks it. “Damn.”
“What is it?” Rory frowns.
“Thironium tricalcide. Very powerful tranquilizer.”
“Is it dangerous?” Amy says.
“To Time Lords? No, not particularly. We’d better get back to the TARDIS in a hurry, though. I’ll be out cold in ten minutes.”
Rory swears under his breath.
The TARDIS isn’t far, but the forest is densely wooded and they can only run so fast. Before long, he’s listing so violently he’s afraid he’ll run into a tree. Amy takes him by the elbow and steers him through. By the time they reach the ship, he can barely get the door open. His vision has gone completely white, but that’s all right because he knows the launch sequence by hearts. The last thing he remembers is Rory catching him as he falls.
He wakes up in a strange bed, in a room he knows but has never been inside. His head aches, and the walls seem to be spinning like they do on Praxys VII. He blinks, and the room settles. Amy is curled up behind him, and Rory is slumped in an armchair next to the bed. Their room; it must be. He pushes himself up on his elbows, hoping to work up the energy to slink off to his own bed and be miserable in private. All it actually accomplishes is making him queasy with the effort.
Closing his eyes, he sags back against the pillows and hopes the feeling will pass. It doesn’t. He swallows hard, trying to force it down. Bad, this is very bad. He can’t be sick here, not in front of Amy and Rory and especially not in their bed. He sits up again, his vision swimming, and staggers to his feet.
He’s horribly dizzy and he can barely feel his legs, which makes it very difficult to walk. Still, somehow he manages to stumble to the loo. Once he’s there, his knees give way and he’s sick, sicker than he’s been in ages, retching so hard that tears come to his eyes. Amy comes in so quietly that he doesn’t know she’s there until she kneels beside him and touches his back. When he flinches away, she withdraws her hand and waits. He’s shaking by the time he finishes.
“Are you okay?” Her tone is concerned but even, milder than he would have expected from her. She places her hand lightly on the back of his neck and begins to stroke his hair.
He lets his head drop forward. Closes his eyes. He’s awfully embarrassed, or he would be if he could catch his breath.
He breathes deliberately and turns toward her, though he won’t meet her gaze. “Aftereffect of the thironium. I’ll,” his voice falters. “I’ll be all right.”
Her hand falls to her side. “You don’t look all right.”
“Thironium isn’t harmful, Amy. It just has some…unpleasant effects.”
Amy snorts. “Unpleasant effects? Is that what they call it when it takes you out for half a day and then makes you puke your guts out?”
“To be honest, yes, I feel perfectly dreadful. Also being quite honest, all I need is rest and fluids, and I am capable of getting both myself. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just be–” As he tries to stand up, he sways and nearly falls on top of her. He manages to steady himself, but not before all his credibility is lost. Clutching the sink as the blood drains from his face, he’s sure he cuts a rather pathetic figure.
Amy crosses her arms, giving him an incredulous look. “Right, that’s it. I’m getting Rory.”
All his protests are ignored. Rory insists on walking him back to bed–“It’s easier for me to help you now than after you collapse. I don’t fancy carrying you again.”–even though he maintains that he can do it himself. He is allowed to lie in his own bed, at least, but now they know where his room is and they won’t leave him alone. He scowls at them each in turn, shrugging off Rory’s arm to crawl under the blankets.
Rory says he’s dehydrated and wants to start an IV. The one advantage the Doctor has is that he knows where the med bay is and Rory still doesn’t, and he’s not telling. The upside of this is no IV; the downside is that Rory forces him to drink at regular intervals. He’s not stupid–he knows he needs the water, but he’s not that dehydrated and he’d rather wait for his stomach to calm down a bit. Besides, he hates being told what to do.
“Now,” Rory says, once he’s settled. “I need to know all of the symptoms and possible complications of thironium poisoning.”
“Thironium’s not a poison, it’s a drug. And how should I know? What do you think I am, some kind of intergalactic pharmacist?”
Amy rolls her eyes. Rory, to his credit, keeps a professional tone. “Yes, okay, then what do you know about thironium?”
“Look, Rory, the last time I was drugged with thironium was roughly four hundred years ago, linear time. Since I was incapacitated, I don’t remember much except prolonged periods of unconsciousness and being–” here his stomach lurches and he has to pause and breathe deeply. “Being very ill and extremely dizzy. And then after a day or two, I was fine. I expect it’ll be the same now. If you’d be so kind, please just go away, both of you, and let me sleep it off.”
Rory sighs. “All right. Take another drink first, will you? We’ll be back to check on you in a little while.”
He’s just fallen asleep when he wakes up to be sick again. He’d expected as much, so he’s not particularly concerned as he fumbles toward the loo. It’s when he’s still heaving half an hour later that it starts to become a problem. He’s sicked up all the water Rory made him drink, but the fact that there’s nothing left in his stomach doesn’t seem to be making a difference.
There’s a lull, and then he retches again, so weak he can barely hold his head up. Once more, and it’s finally over. Feeling faint, he lies down on the cool tile floor. Everything slowly fades out of view.
He blinks his eyes open. Amy smiles and reaches to brush his damp hair back from his forehead. “Hey, handsome,” she says, though he’s sure at the moment he’s anything but. “Welcome back. You had us worried.”
He realizes he’s back in his bed, though he almost definitely passed out on the floor. “Oh, you didn’t,” he groans, turning away to bury his face in the pillows.
“Oh, we did.” Amy is cheerful in a brittle, sarcastic way that suggests she’s actually quite upset. “People who are blacking-out-in-the-loo sick don’t get to refuse help. If you had died, I was ready to kill the next you.”
“I wouldn’t have died,” he mumbles. “I’ve had this before, and I took care of it myself.”
“I don’t care. You’re sick, you’re my best friend, and my husband is a nurse. We’re not leaving you to keel over on the floor if that’s your idea of taking care of it yourself.”
“No,” he agrees, rolling over to face her. “I don’t suppose you would. Thank you.”
“That’s better. I’m going to get Rory now–you’ve been out for a while, so I told him to get some sleep and I’d wake him if you came around.” She stands up. “I’d give you a kiss, but you’re all sweaty and gross.” Instead, she gives his hand a squeeze and heads out the door.
Rory comes in a few minutes later, still in his pajamas but all business. “Good to see you awake,” he says. “Do you remember what happened?”
“I got up to go to the loo, and I was sick a few times…it’s all sort of fuzzy after that.”
“Sounds about right. Listen, if you need to vomit again, there’s a bin here on the nightstand so you don’t have to run for the loo. You should have had one all along. It slipped my mind, and I’m very sorry.”
“Yes, well, you had other things on your mind. I’m rather a rubbish patient.”
“You are, a bit, but I’ve had worse.” Rory smiles. “I wasn’t going to scold you until you were feeling better. Which, how are you feeling? Stomach still bothering you?”
“Not as much. Still a bit woozy, though.”
“Yeah, bet you are. Think you could manage something to drink?”
“Tea would be lovely.”
“Tea it is, then. Amy’s pretty tired, so I’ll come sit with you after I get the tea made. Well, if I can find the kitchen.”
“What do you mean? You’ve been in the kitchen loads of times.” He waves a hand dismissively and feels a pinch in his arm. Looking down, he sees an IV line running from the inside of his elbow. “And where’d this come from?” he asks, plucking at it absently. “Thought you didn’t know where the med bay was.”
“I didn’t. Still don’t, probably. That’s what I was trying to tell you. I think the TARDIS moved it, because I was going for the kitchen and found the med bay instead.”
“Ah. She probably did, then. She likes you.”
“Yes, well, I think she was worried about you. We all were, really.”
“I’m used to looking after myself. Not good at being a patient. I didn’t mean to worry you.”
Rory gives a nod. “I know. Just try to take it easy for a bit, okay? We want you to feel better, that’s all.”
“Yeah,” he murmurs. “Thanks.”
“Don’t mention it. You’ll be all right while I look for the kitchen? If I can’t find it, I’ll just come back.”
“I’ll be fine, yeah. And don’t worry about the kitchen–she’ll show you where it is. She doesn’t always do what you want, but she’ll give you what you need.”
After Rory leaves, the Doctor reaches to brush the wall fondly with his hand. “Always looking after me, eh, old girl?” She hums back and he smiles, settling himself against the pillows. With some tea and some rest, he’ll be back on his feet in no time at all.