So, here's my first Doctor Who fic. It's implied Ten/Martha set in 1969.
Thanks to everyone at LJ who's already read and reviewed; I just hope I get as positive a response here.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own it, don't sue me, etc...
The Madness and the Void
By Jay the Nerd Kid
Their first day in 1969 dawned bright and clear.
As the Doctor rushed around (gathering information or something, she supposed, though it was hard to tell with him, even at the best of times), Martha just stood there, staring at a landscape that had not been there only three seconds ago. She examined her hands carefully, as though sure that their sudden disappearance (and reappearance somewhere else) might have done something to her (she didn't know what).
"Martha Jones, welcome to 1969," the Doctor said, almost as cheerfully as usual, and Martha couldn't help but return his grin.
After their first week, the grin had vanished.
"We're stuck here," Martha repeated for what might have been the tenth time, or the ten hundredth time, she'd lost count. "Stuck here without transport and you've no idea how to get us back."
"Working on it!" the Doctor replied just a little indignantly, and Martha realised that this must be as hard for him as it was for her, this feeling of being trapped and not knowing how they were going to get out.
"You trust me, don't you, Martha?" the Doctor asked, something almost like vulnerability in those soft brown eyes.
Confronted with that look, she would have agreed to anything.
At least they had a place to live by the end of that day.
Finding a flat hadn't been easy; it turned out that 1969 was not as kind as Elizabethan England to a white Doctor and his black companion. They had decided that it would be best if they pretended to be husband and wife ("Fewer questions that way," the Doctor had explained in that quick, breathless way he had of explaining things, and Martha had accepted, trusting to his judgement); she'd taken the name Smith (and told herself that it was stupid to think this meant anything more than it did) and started working at a small boutique down a quiet side-street to ensure they had enough money to live on at least (it turned out that money was something the Doctor didn't really worry about much - "I've never had to," he told her, and Martha had to concede that he had a point).
In the meanwhile, the Doctor started working on what he called his "Timey-Wimey Detector", which Martha understood to be a cross between a gadget and a whatsit (with small amounts of thingummy and something-or-other added for good measure). It took up his days and his nights and sometimes even more than that; she'd come home to see him pulling apart a radio for capacitors or frantically twisting wires together, only to jump up moments later, pulling the wires apart again and exclaiming, in a voice that was at least part breathlessness, that they needed more wire, or more radios, or another rubber band, or some toast. And Martha would sigh and smile and run to fetch whatever he needed only to get back and find that he didn't need it any more and Martha Jones, do we have any tea left because nothing cures having no ideas left like a good cup of tea.
By the end of the third week, Martha wondered if they'd ever get home.
It wasn't that the Doctor was depressed; Martha suspected that there was too much restless energy in him to allow for depression, too much bounce and zip and random exclaiming at odd hours of the night, the last of which drew knowing looks from the neighbours when Martha trod down the creaky stairs every morning on her way to work. No, it wasn't that he was depressed; it was that he was becoming drained of what made him himself, so slowly that it was almost imperceptible, but Martha was nothing if not good at picking up almost imperceptible things. She didn't dare ask him about it, wasn't sure she even knew what to ask (and wasn't sure he'd answer, even if she did ask the right thing). It was like his random springing up and shouting and running around like an oversized child after too many sweets was fueled by something deep and dark and scary now, something that Martha couldn't name (or wouldn't name, she wasn't sure and didn't really want to think about it).
Sometimes when she came home she'd find the Doctor just sitting there with a face like blank paper and eyes like the void. But before she could say or do anything, he'd bound up again, demanding to know how her day had been, what she'd done, had anything interesting happened and guess what, Martha, I think that maybe I'm getting closer, if I could just reverse the polarity here and harmonise the resonance patterns there and do we have any milk, because I don't want my tea without milk.
The scariest thing was not knowing what she could do to help him. And even scarier than that was the thought that there might not be anything she could do to help.
She decided, finally, that it was a case of there being something missing, a gap where there should have been something that Martha was willing to bet was big and blue and box-shaped and bigger on the inside.
She hoped they found it soon, because the silences and the blankness and the eyes like the void were happening more and more often.
During their fourth week, it rained.
It was odd, Martha thought, the way cloudy days made colours seem brighter, the way every leaf on every tree suddenly stood out in sharp relief, the way the petals of a rose could be as bright and fierce and red as blood (and how she herself seemed to be fading more and more every day, but she tried not to think about that). Inside the shop, she watched as rain streamed relentlessly down the windows and remembered rain flowing up and aliens and bloodsuckers and standing in the earthlight and wondered if she'd ever have that life again.
She worked mechanically, pushing buttons on the till and assisting customers with all the politeness and impersonality of a much colder person. That scared her a little, or a lot, or more than anything else, she didn't know any more and wasn't sure she wanted to. She wondered how much longer she could go on before everything about the person who used to be Martha Jones was gone for good.
Finally, five o'clock came and Martha left. And that was all it was. Martha left. Or someone left, anyway. She walked down side streets and past couples in brightly-coloured clothes with strange, goofy, dreamy smiles on their blissfully blank faces. She wondered if they realised it was raining. She decided they probably didn't.
He was outside when she got home, standing there in his blue suit and his brown coat and shoes that looked even more red than usual (Martha noticed for the hundredth time, or maybe the hundred thousandth, how colours were brighter in the rain). His hair was plastered to his forehead in thick, dark streaks and Martha found herself remembering another time and tales of a lost world told in a cold, damp alley. And he was smiling, a smile that was almost like normal but with an edge to it that told Martha that things were still not right.
"You'll catch a cold," she said as she walked up to him, a faded figure in a dull grey blouse and a duller grey skirt. "Can Time Lords catch colds?" she asked as an afterthought.
"It's done, Martha." She didn't know what he meant at first, but then she realised; he was talking about the machine, the Timey-Wimey detector, his life for the past month (and, she had begun to worry, his death, because that's what the silences and the blankness and the empty eyes were like these days, like nothing lived there any more).
"That's excellent!" When had her voice become like this, so flat, so dull, so completely not Martha that she wondered if she had perhaps become someone else while she wasn't looking? "But you should get inside."
"It's raining, Martha," he said, and she remembered again the two of them standing and staring at the Earth suspended in the sky. "It's raining on the moon." He smiled, just like him but not like him, and twirled around, coat flying around him. "Judoon platoon upon the moon, do you remember?" He skipped a little, pirouetted with the grace of a dancer and the clumsiness of a child all at once, and laughed and laughed and laughed, spinning and whirling like a madman, like he believed that if he reached up and wished and wished and wished, maybe he could become part of the rain, too, pattering down on the pavement like so many tiny soldiers marching.
And Martha understood that this was how he stopped the void from taking him.
The Doctor stepped forward and took her waist in long-fingered hands, whirled her around him, laughing madly, almost hysterically, letting the madness take him so the emptiness would not, and Martha found herself doing the same, spinning with him in a mad parody of a dance, not knowing where she ended and he started (and not caring, because this was not a time for caring). It wasn't important, now, nothing was important as they danced and laughed and cried, only the dance and the rain washing away four weeks of empty and quiet and dead.
And maybe, Martha thought as her arms clung to the Doctor's neck and his snaked around her waist and they laughed into each other's bodies, she decided that maybe she wasn't fading after all.
And that's all she wrote. I accept reviews of all sorts (even flames; I find them hilarious), so please do review!