Chapter 8, One Last Trip?

"'One last trip,' he said. 'Make up for you being kidnapped,' he said," Martha grumbled, as she stepped heavily over the TARDIS threshold.

"'Perfectly harmless,' he said," Rose joined in. "Never, never listen when this idiot says 'harmless'."

Rose and Martha were dressed as if they were ready to hit the nightclubs. However, any such illusions were dispelled by the unconscious Doctor, whom they were at present half carrying, half dragging between them into the TARDIS. That, and the fact that he, and now they, were covered in thick, green slime.

They laid him down on the grating next to the console. Martha stooped to re-check his vitals, while Rose ran back outside for their gear: a couple of archery bows, and a few quivers of blunt-tipped arrows.

"Pulse is still steady," Martha reported when Rose returned. "I think he's just knocked out."

Rose huffed out a breath as she looked down at him. "Alright, we got him this far, let's take him to the med bay."

They were silent, intent on their task as they carried the Doctor through the TARDIS.

Martha shook her head. When the Doctor had told them to go get changed, that he was going to show them a side of London they'd never seen before, she and Rose had excitedly gone through the TARDIS' wardrobe, looking for just the right outfits.

They'd come back to find him in the console room dressed in his suit, yes, but his dress shirt and tie had been exchanged for a t-shirt and denim work shirt.

Martha should have guessed right then that their trip was doomed.

As they reached the med bay, they laid the Doctor on the floor again. "We should probably get him out of these," said Rose, kneeling to work his arm out of the sleeve of his slime-drenched suit jacket. Martha sighed and joined her in the task.

One pile of slime-covered clothes later, she and Rose managed to get a t-shirt and boxers-clad Doctor onto one of the exam tables.

A screen at the side of the table automatically came to life, and Martha moved to read it. "Some of this stuff looks familiar," she said, pointing at what was obviously a heart monitor readout. The rest she couldn't guess at. "Too bad it's in 'alien' 'stead of English," she added.

Rose pushed a button on the keyboard, and the 'alien' squiggles switched instantly to English. "And that about sums up what I know about that gizmo," Rose told her.

"Well, it looks alright, far as I can tell, him havin' two hearts an' all," Martha said. "Is his temperature usually that low?"

"Yeah, that's right," said Rose, peering at the screen.

Martha moved to check the Doctor again. No uneven pupil dilation. She couldn't find any distinct bumps on his head."I dunno, I think he just needs time to recover," she told Rose, as she shook more the green goop off from her hands. His hair was full of it.

"'Kay then," said Rose, tucking a sheet around him. "I guess we can go get changed, and get this mess sorted," she said, poking the pile of the Doctor's clothes with the toe of her dress boot.

--

Martha thoroughly enjoyed her shower, and was relieved to discover that it only took about three rinses to clean the slime from her hair. She changed into a grungy pair of jeans and a t-shirt that she'd borrowed from the TARDIS. They still had to deal with the Doctor and his things; she might have to take another shower, but she wasn't about to ruin her only outfit from home.

The Doctor was still asleep when she returned to the med bay. Rose had wiped his hands and face clean, and was in the process of trying to comb some of the slime out of his hair. After a few attempts, Rose laughed. Martha noticed she'd combed his hair so that it now stood straight up from his head. "It'll serve him right," said Rose, tossing the comb on a side table and getting up from her stool.

"So, laundry?" Martha asked, having glanced at the monitor and verified that the Doctor was still stable.

"Yep," Rose said, picking up half of the slime-covered pile of clothes. Martha noted she'd also opted for the jeans and t-shirt ensemble.

"Fun," said Martha, scooping up the rest, and following Rose out of the room.

Rose offered to use her laundry access, so they spread the Doctor's things out on the floor of her bathroom. The two of them sat, picking through the Doctor's pockets, piling up all of the bits, bobs, and gadgets that he kept in them.

A thought occurred to Martha as she worked. "Rose?" she asked.

"Yeah?"

"What did he mean, the Doctor, when he told that woman he was rubbish at his own weddin'?"

Just before the migration-gone-wrong, the Doctor had been held up by a woman, apparently from his future, who'd been trying to give him a folder of something or other. He'd gone on about things not happening in order, making things confusing, and making him rubbish at weddings--especially his own.

Rose just shrugged. "Dunno," she said. "Could've just been rambling; he does that a lot," she continued, while she pulled what looked like a yo-yo from the Doctor's trouser pocket, tossing it onto the pile. "Don't think they really had weddin's on Gallifrey. They had this loomin' thing. Dunno." She threw the trousers into the laundry chute, and reached for his overcoat.

Martha, for her part, pulled a last, unidentifiable object from the outside pocket of the Doctor's suit jacket, and moved to the inside left breast pocket.

She was about to ask about looming when she felt a single, small, circular item, and froze. Making sure Rose was occupied, she turned her back slightly and withdrew a silvery ring. A ring that looked very much like an engagement ring.

Right, thought Martha, I'm not tossing this on the pile. She carefully slipped the ring into her jeans' pocket, then resumed her work. She risked a glance back at Rose, and was relieved to see her thoroughly involved in extracting about a mile's worth of cable from a coat pocket.

--

Martha showered and changed again, before heading back to the med bay. When she got there, the Doctor was awake and propped up in the bed, Rose sitting on the side of the bed, talking to him. She watched as Rose leaned in to give him a quick kiss on the forehead, before hopping down off the bed.

"Glad you decided to join us," said Martha, making her presence known as she fully entered the room.

"Martha!" the Doctor said happily. "Nice to be back," he told her, smiling. She noticed he still had a grip on Rose's hand.

"How're you feelin'?" Martha asked him.

"Eh, I'm alright," he said.

"Any idea why you were unconscious?" she quizzed.

"Besides being thrown by an angry mother dragon directly into a rotten dragon egg?" he asked. "No, haven't a clue," he told her with a grin.

"I'm gonna go get that tea," Rose told him, letting his hand go with a squeeze, and exiting the room. The Doctor quite obviously watched her go, tucking his hands behind his head.

Martha suddenly remembered what she'd hidden in her pocket, and approached the bedside, glad of Rose's departure. "Um, Doctor," she said, "we were washin' your suit for you while you were asleep--"

"Thanks, by the way," he interrupted. "Thanks for getting me back here, and taking care of all that."

"Yeah," she told him, dismissively. "But the thing is, we had to empty your pockets . . . " she noticed him pale at the words, "and I found this." She pulled out the ring, and handed it to him.

He snatched it away, and quickly hid his hand under the sheet that covered him. "Did, um," he began, "did Rose see it?" he finished in a whisper.

She shook her head, thinking her suspicions were rather confirmed. "Nope. I thought you might not want her to," she said, and watched him visibly relax. "Thought you might want to give it to her yourself?" she added.

The Doctor smiled. "As a matter of fact--"

"Give who what?" asked Rose from the doorway. She'd returned with a tray with three steaming mugs.

"Tea!" the Doctor exclaimed, completely ignoring the question. "Perfect! Just what an ailing body needs. A nice, superheated infusion of free radicals and tannin," he went on, as Rose walked up to the bed, shaking her head. She seemed to be quite used to the Doctor's avoidance tactics, and didn't press the matter.

Rose passed out the mugs, and the three of them sipped their warm beverages in silence. Until, that is, the Doctor said, "How 'bout one last trip? Somewhere perfectly harmless, to make up for this last fiasco," he offered.

Martha looked at Rose, and they managed about a second's worth of stoic expressions before they both cracked up into fits of laughter.

"What?" the Doctor asked, pitifully.

--

The end.

Yes, this chapter was based on the scene in "Blink" when Sally Sparrow meets the Doctor. However, he won't be going back to 1969 for a few episodes yet :)