Martha-fic, written (mostly by happy accident!) for a friend, on her birthday. (I seem to be eerily catching up on birthdays; I really hope this stroke of luck will continue.) Because Martha is splendid and deserves lots more fic, and also because I have been trying to break into Doctor Who ficdom for some time now. A love this obsessive should be more productive, yes?
An Anatomy of the Impossible
"We are an impossibility in an impossible universe."
- Ray Bradbury
Secretly, she has always been fond of the impossible.
She remembers being very very young and watching her hand move, wondering why it did and how it did and how it was that a flicker in her mind she barely noticed grew into this circular motion of flesh against carpet, and then she wondered about the carpet, the tingly roughness of it, her palm and the feeling – what was feeling? – of things, and the thoughts spun in her mind like a yo-yo going too fast and the string got all tangled up and all of the thoughts got mixed up in one another and she wanted to cry and laugh because the world was suddenly wide open with things to know and not know and it was terrifying and terribly wonderful and she didn't know why.
She'd lie awake at night curled like a small wide-eyed comma beside her sister, listening to Tish breathing and her heart beating, and then her own heart beating, thrumming inside of her, and she'd wonder in the way only a small girl could wonder. What would we be like, if we didn't have hearts, or lungs, or ears? If we heard through our feet like grasshoppers or sucked oxygen from the water like fish, or maybe if we were entirely different, if we had more eyes, or less, or if our blood moved on its own and didn't need some great machine of flesh encouraging it on its way.
So she asked a lot of questions; she grew up on questions, and when her parents and her teachers couldn't tell her the answers she'd look in a book, but books didn't tell her everything she wanted to know either, so she'd wonder, and sometimes she'd make her own answers, because she wanted periods at the ends of sentences, and she wanted things to be firm and solid.
(Once she was in the country visiting relatives and she looked out the window at night and there were stars, stars like every window she'd ever seen wide open in the sky, glittering in their turnings, and she'd never, she'd never seen the sky burning with thousands of eyes like this, and she wanted to touch it, she wanted – and suddenly for an infinite moment, trailing like a comet, she forgot about facts and answers and wanted – And then her mother put her head round the door and told her to switch off the lamp and go to sleep, and then they were only stars, only balls of gas floating in the atmosphere. She went to sleep.)
Ostensibly she wants to be a doctor because she wants to help people, because she wants to do something in this wide universe full of people walking back and forth that is doing something, but there is a part of her, the part that is not quite satisfied with answers and facts, that hopes she is going to do something impossible. Heart transplants were impossible once upon a time. It isn't the glory she's interested in (lots of bother, film crews and everything, people asking impertinent questions), it's the doing, the discovering, that thrills her.
And when she thinks about it, when she really does, thinks about bones moving in their patterns and hearts pumping blood and lungs breathing and hair growing, she knows that everything is impossible, and everything is some kind of miracle, and she likes this. She is blood, bones, cells, organs, life, and she, Martha Jones, is impossible.
She is standing on the moon, breathing oxygen, and something inside of her thrums like an orchestra that has been waiting a very long time.
He says, "I thought you might fancy a trip," and she steps into his absurd little wooden box and finds a world inside of it and soon she is careening like a misplaced satellite through space and time and breathing air no human's ever breathed before and sometimes she throws her head back and laughs from the sheer wonder of it. The strings start slow, low inside of her, and then there are horns, and a chorus, and she knows that even when she didn't know, she was waiting exactly for this.