"Martha." He spoke her name softly.
She did not open her eyes. She felt the sheet moving down. God, what was he doing? Was he planning to uncover her completely just to insert the damned catheter? Didn't he have any regard for her feelings at all?
His cool fingers touched her wrist and remained there. She peeked at him through half-raised lids. He was focused intently, obviously a bit concerned.
Martha recalled another time when he'd looked just like this: the terribly efficient, highly skilled doctor utterly intent on saving the life of Laszlo, who'd been altered by the Daleks and nearly died as a result. That day, as she'd worked at his side to help stabilize the fellow, she'd realized that he'd earned the right to his title many times over.
"I'm all right," she murmured.
He looked up at her face and smiled. "Pulse is still a little irregular, but it's improving. I've got some more electrolyte powder." He prepared the drink and she obediently sipped it until it was gone.
She had to admit that she was feeling better. Her head was clearing, and she could tell that her heart rate was returning to normal. However, she could also feel pressure building in her bladder, and that was not good.
She looked around the tent, as much as her stationary position would allow. The Doctor had set some of the medical supplies on the small desk near the door flap, among them a paper-sealed, flattish packet. She recognized the general size and shape well enough; he'd managed to find a catheter.
Martha pressed her lips together in growing frustration. This was so not good. She wasn't sure if she had sufficient muscle management yet to have full control over her bladder. So there was a distinct possibility that she'd have an accident before he inserted the device. She debated whether that would be a possible solution to her problem. It would avoid the need for the catheter, but it would prove awfully embarrassing. And what if he decided to try to help her get cleaned up?
She was still mulling over these thoughts when the Doctor stood and moved to the desk. He rested a hand lightly on the paper-clad packet then turned to look at her. He watched her for a moment before returning to her side to uncover her feet.
He ran his finger along her sole again. She couldn't quite see her toes, so she kept her attention on his face. When she saw a grin spread across his lips, she knew that she hadn't imagined the small movements she hoped she'd accomplished.
"Well done!" he said. "Try the other one." He nodded after a few seconds. "Good job, Martha."
She was already wiggling her fingers. They were not fully responsive yet, but she could make them grasp the sheet awkwardly. He moved toward her head to observe.
"I'm not paralyzed!" she finally burst out.
He was still grinning. "No, you're not. But I knew you wouldn't be."
"Bit cheeky," she said with a smile of her own.
"No, just confident."
"Now that's just conceited," she teased.
He frowned for an instant. "Oh," he amended, "I didn't mean in me. I meant in you."
After another half hour, Martha could move her hands, arms, legs, and feet with some measure of control. It was enough to convince the Doctor that she'd manage in the loo if he could help her to get there. He'd suggested a bedpan, but she'd declined rather adamantly.
She would never say, in retrospect, that using the camp bathroom was pleasant, but she did manage mostly on her own. The Doctor had to assist her with her jeans, but she took care of the rest.
The small task, however, left her utterly exhausted, and she realized that she hadn't slept since they'd departed from the TARDIS. Once back in the captain's tent, the Doctor tucked her into bed, and Martha closed her eyes without hesitation.
When she woke, it was light outside. The Doctor was not in the tent, but within a few minutes he sauntered in carrying a tray with some sort of hot cereal, tea, and juice. She ate heartily. Shortly after her breakfast, Taya came to visit, clearly pleased with her recovery. He thanked her again for her help and reiterated that many patients would have died if she had not been present. Another man entered the tent a few minutes later. The Doctor introduced him as the commander. He offered his gratitude to her and the Doctor with firm handshakes and what passed for a warm smile in a military man.
The Doctor popped in and out of the tent for much of the remainder of the day. He mentioned helping in the medical unit, and she had no doubt that he'd been invaluable. As evening fell, she heard a very familiar noise and realized that the TARDIS was nearby.
She got out of bed, legs only slightly unsteady now, and poked her head out of the tent. The Time Lord was walking toward her, from the direction of the latrines.
"Did you bring the TARDIS here?" she asked as he neared her.
He nodded. "I think it's time for us to be going."
"But I thought no one could cross the lines for another—what is it now, twenty-four hours?"
"Well," he replied, "things have settled now. I don't think anyone even noticed me." He held out his arm to her. "Are you ready to go, Miss Jones—pardon me, Doctor Jones?"
Without a glance back, she answered, "Absolutely."
He'd parked the ship behind the latrines, at the back of a supply tent. Apparently no one had noticed it. As they walked through the camp, it occurred to her that she should check on some of the more critical patients that she'd treated. The Doctor, however, urged her to continue on to the TARDIS, sliding an arm around her waist and leading her forward.
She was still tired, so she did not argue with him. The thought of a shower or bath, fresh clothes, and the familiar hum of the ship were just too appealing…
Once inside, he quickly dematerialized, taking them into some quiet corner of space. Martha slipped out of the console room and to her own bedroom before he even realized that she was gone.
She was just undressing when he tapped at her door.
"Martha?" He hesitated just a moment. "May I come in?"
She pulled a robe around herself. "Yeah, I suppose so."
He stepped inside. "You haven't showered yet, have you?"
"Was just about to."
He shook his head. "Wait a few minutes. Let me finish sorting your back and arm first." He gestured to the bed, so she sat.
He removed something from his pocket; it was a device about twice as large as the sonic screwdriver. He rolled up the sleeve of her robe and removed the bandage from her arm. She looked down to find the wound well closed with no sign of infection.
"This is really good work," she said. "I've never seen sutures quite like this. Can you show me how to do these?"
He arched an eyebrow at her. "What, you want to learn my technique?"
"'Course. It's amazing."
He smiled then carefully removed the sutures. To her surprise, all it required was a single snip with a scissors then one pull for the entire length of thread to come away.
Then he switched on the instrument and ran a beam of light over her arm. Within a few seconds the skin began to meld, and in less than a minute there was no trace of the wound.
"Wow," she said, running her finger over the site. "That's some technology."
"This?" He held up the instrument. "Just a basic dermal regenerator. Standard first aid any time after the twenty-fifth century. Sorry I didn't have this before." He stepped around her and touched her shoulder. "I'll just take care of this," he gently brushed his fingers over the wound left by the shrapnel, "then you can have your shower."
She nodded and untied the robe, letting it fall over her shoulders. He bent over her, and after perhaps thirty seconds she felt him pulling the robe back up.
"All right, good as new."
She turned to look at him. "Thanks. And thanks for taking care of me before."
He shook his head. "It should never have come to that. I'm sorry you were hurt."
"Seems like part of the package."
"It is, sometimes, but it shouldn't be."
"If we hadn't been there, how many would've died?"
"I don't know."
"But lots more, yeah?"
He nodded slowly.
"Then it was worth it. That's what it's all about."
He rested an affectionate hand against her cheek then turned. "Tea?" he asked as he stepped through the doorway.
"Yeah, sure. Give me fifteen minutes."
He lifted his hand in a small wave then disappeared. Martha stood and headed for the bathroom. It had been a rough two days, but she knew now that she wouldn't have missed it for the world—or for the universe.