Head Cold

A fan fiction by Ahn-Li

Summary: The Doctor gets hit by lightning in Evolution of the Daleks - and while adrenaline keeps him on his feet for awhile, that soon runs out.

Author's Note: I was actually kinda surprised at the lack of episode tags to this ep, considering all the whumpers out there. It is, of course, blatant 10th Doctor whump...

Martha climbed the scaffolding, and saw the silvery glint of a too familiar sonic screwdriver. Her heart in her throat, she picked it up, threw a concerned glance over her shoulder and continued to climb. When they were on the second to last level, she looked up to the top and saw a limp, slender hand hanging over the edge, a familiar brown coat flapping in the wind.

She remembered the lightning strike and knew he'd been hit, just knew. Her heart hammered in fear as she climbed to the top and there he was, laying flat on his back, head lolled to the side. "Doctor!" she shouted, getting no response. "Doctor!"

She crawled over, as the wind was enough to knock her to her butt if she didn't, and touched his chest. She could feel the twin heartbeat, it was a bit erratic, but she supposed that was the lightning strike. "Look what we found," she cried. "You're getting careless."

It took him a long moment, but he rolled his head to face her, eyes half open, "Oh, my head."

He sounded congested, drowsy, but it was the congested part that concerned her. But she put it out of her mind, "Hello there, you've survived."

"So did you," she smiled at his attempt to move the concern from him. "Somewhat."

He still hadn't quite opened his eyes, and more alarmingly he hadn't moved or made an effort to sit up yet. "I can't help but notice the Dalekenium is still attached," she prodded again.

The result was an instantaneous attempt at sitting, and he grunted from the effort and pain it caused. Martha grabbed his shoulders as he appeared to go white, but moments later, he had pushed away, taking the sonic and removing the other bolts. And then he was climbing back down, leaving them in his wake.

Right now she didn't have time to voice her concerns, or even ask if he felt up to this, she knew that despite how he was feeling he had to be all right and see this through to the end.

In retrospect, maybe it would have been wiser to push for a clearer answer. After everything was said and done, and they were away and safely in the TARDIS, she noticed the stiff sluggishness of how he was moving around the control console. She moved up to him and laid a hand on his back, "Doctor, I didn't have time to ask this before, but were you struck by lightning?"

He sighed, and nodded, "Yes, and, in answer to your question, no, it's not good for a Time Lord either."

"Tell me how you're feeling, really... no 'I'm always fine, me' bull," she stated, brooking no argument.

"The headache comes in waves," he answered after a moment, and she was relieved he was finally being honest - sometimes it just took a bit of bullying on her part. "I'm stiff and sore, and, a bit tired. Nothing a good cup of tea and a bit of..."

She looked at him, "And a bit of?"

"Oh, sorry, I lost my train of thought... that's not good," he mused. "Martha, I think it's a good thing we're in the Vortex, because nothing can get us here..."

"Why?" she suddenly felt concerned.

He closed his eyes, and she saw the weariness and pain in the lines of his face. He suddenly looked a bit more than a middle aged man. "Come on, I think you need rest and to get out of those moist clothes," she pulled him deeper into the TARDIS, and was surprised at the lack of fight from him.

He followed quietly, eyes half closed again. "The headache is coming back... wow, I'm glad I don't get these often."

"You can say that again," she pushed open the door that the TARDIS seemed determined she find and found an unfamiliar bedroom, but it seemed to be his.

Draped over a chair were a pair of pyjamas and she pointed at them. With a sigh he picked them and she turned her back. She heard the creak of his mattress and then the sound of wet clothing hitting the floor. "Okay, I'm done," he said moments later.

She turned, and saw him yanking the blankets back. He looked at her in puzzlement, and she crossed her arms and gave him a stern stare. With a sigh, he lay down and pulled the covers back up over himself, sighing again as his head hit the dry, warm and suddenly too comfortable pillows. Martha sat on the edge of the bed, felt his forehead. It was cooler than a humans, and she was relieved to note that. However, the nasal and congested sound to his voice had not abated. "Do Time Lords get colds?" she asked.

"It's not impossible," he admitted. "Oh, that would explain the head ache."

"Head cold?" she asked sweetly.

"Yeah, maybe," he answered weakly.

"And how to Time Lords get over colds?"

"The same as humans," he answered. "Rest, fluids, alleviate symptoms. I'll be fine."

Right before he drifted off, "No aspirin or aspirin derivatives - actually nothing from the Willow tree period... allergic to that entire branch... ha, made a pun there."

She nodded, "Got it, anything else?"

"Penacillin... can't have it either. Other stuff won't kill me, but it won't be pleasant either," he yawned again. "I don't think I'll need anything like the other stuff that you would mistake for helpful, and I don't keep it on the TARDIS, so you shouldn't have to worry."

"Right, I won't keep you up anymore," she got up and walked away. "I think this is a first... you sleeping and me not quite yet."

A short mumbled humming noise was her only response, and she turned out the light as he began to softly snore in the dark of his room, already sleeping. She remembered him telling her once that the only time a Time Lord slept was if they were ill, injured or fresh after something he called Regeneration. Other times he would appear to be laying still, in complete relaxation and silence, with eyes open, but glazed and unfocused, in something he called reverie, for a few hours a night. She had seen him do it once and he had been awake a mere four hours later, all back to normal, and she had slept the entire night.

She yawned and went to her room, letting the Time Lord sleep.

The next morning she got up, made coffee and breakfast, and went to the console room. She full expected to see him there, recovered after his sleep, doing what he always did. The room was silent and vacant. Is he still asleep? she wondered before walking back to his room and poking her head in.

Sure enough, and now he sounded even more congested, he was still asleep. Only now he was laying on his stomach, head on the mattress, arms and legs everywhere, and the covers kicked off the bed. He shivered slightly and she walked in, picked up the covers and put them back on him, pulling them up until she could only see the back of his dark blonde head and the side of his face. He stopped shivering after a minute, sighed, and seemed to fall further into sleep, going boneless in the process. She smiled, smoothing back his hair. This time she noticed how much warmer he seemed to be, in fact it was warm enough that he was easily mistaken for a human with a low-grade fever.

If that was the case, she wasn't sure which grade of fever it had to be for him. "Doctor," she shook his shoulder, loathe to wake him but she needed to know now if there was anything she could do before, and she hoped it wouldn't get to this point, he would be beyond answering. "C'mon, wake up."

He snorted, coughed, and then gave a little moan in protest. "Too comfortable," he said, but pried his eyes open a crack to see a blurry Martha. "Oh, my head."

It was a repeat of yesterday on the scaffold, the same tone, same congested sound, only a little worse. "Okay, you have a human low-grade fever," she started. "I'm guessing it's a bit more than low-grade on you."

"S'okay," he mumbled. "No as'prin."

"Yeah, got that," she said. "What can I give you?"

"Tea," he answered.

"Can do," she said. "Is there anything else? Like for your head that seems to be a suddenly common issue?"

He appeared to think a minute, then in a much clearer voice than a minute ago, possibly from being forced to wake up enough to actually think, "Might be something in the infirmary. The bottles are actually labeled, the TARDIS will translate."

"Okay, then, you get some more sleep," she patted his arm, and he relaxed, drifting back almost immediately.

Idly she wondered if sleeping was all he was going to do but also mused that, as an almost doctor herself, it was the best medicine anyway. Still it would be best to alleviate the symptoms that would be making him the most uncomfortable. Walking into the infirmary she immediately went to the tall floor cupboard and looked inside. As promised, there were numerous bottles, containers and other things containing medications. Finding the small section of cold and flu medicine she read the labels. Ah, decongestant so that he could breathe a bit easier, cough syrup, and some pain pills that were all too conveniently labeled "safe and effective for Time Lords" in someone's neat handwriting. With a raised brow she noted they were from Earth, and her own time period. Silently thanking whomever had thought of this she first stopped by the kitchen for a glass of water before returning to the sleeping Time Lord...

... who had kicked off his blankets again. With a sigh, she set the medications down before once again covering the shivering Doctor. He wasn't any warmer than before and neither was he cooler. He stirred as she dropped the blankets back on him, opening bleary eyes. "Hey, you," she said gently. "Brought you something that will help."

"Uh," was the grunted reply, again slightly annoyed at being woken again.

"C'mon, sit up a bit," she coaxed as he did so, groaning again.

She made sure he took what she gave him, cough syrup last so that the water wouldn't wash it away, noting the sigh of relief on his face. "Better?"

"Yeah," he answered, his voice a bit stronger, leaning back in the pillows.

"You rest and I'll be back with some tea and soup later," she smoothed back his hair again as he slid back into sleep.

The days seem to fall into that pattern. All he did was sleep, sometimes getting up to clean himself up or for other more personal reasons, but she would always find him back in bed before long. Finally, a few days later he began to be awake a bit more than asleep. She was reading in the library when she heard his shuffling step behind her. He wasn't dressed in his suit but was hugging himself in pjyamas and dressing robe, flip flop sandals serving as slippers on his feet. "Hey," she greeted. "How are you feeling?"

"Better, thank you," he answered, with a yawn.

"But not one hundred percent yet?"

He shook his head, "Was getting a bit bored in my room though. Came to find something to read."

Mission accomplished a few minutes later he turned to leave, but stopped, "Thank you, by the way. I wasn't in any danger, but it doesn't mean the last few days were pleasant. You did make them brighter and better, as well as help with the rest."

She smiled then, "No problem. Anytime you need a rest, let me know and Dr. Jones will be there."

He nodded, a half smile on his face before disappearing again. The quiet Doctor wasn't likely to last, but the break from running for her life was welcome while it lasted, much as she hated how the break had been achieved. She didn't like seeing people suffer, and, as he had pointed out he hadn't really been in any real danger, but it didn't mean he had particularly enjoyed being sick and off his feet for a few days, even if it had been his body's way of calling for an extended rest.

Sure enough, he bounced back swiftly and they were on their way to a new adventure and the break was a distant memory - until the next time he simply worked himself into an exhausted and sick knot.