Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: The Doctor, Martha
Summary: How did the Doctor and Martha get stuck in 1969?
Author’s Notes: Tie-in fic to “Blink”, which scared the shit out of me. I’m sure everyone’s written these fics and done them better than me, but this is my interpretation anyway :)
The Tardis comes to a grinding halt, sending Martha crashing against the main console. It’s painful, and she informs the Doctor of this loudly, while he ignores her and flips all the switches she turned the wrong way when she fell so inconsiderately against the controls.
“No lasting damage,” he says brightly.
“My ribs may never be the same,” Martha mutters, but cheers up enough to ask where they’ve landed now.
“London, two thousand and four,” the Doctor replies. Considering the last place he took Martha was the frozen wastes of Rygas-3, just in time for the annual “Feasting Of The Light” celebration, she feels justified in looking a little disappointed.
“Why?” Martha asks, “I thought we were going to-”
“Unusual energy readings,” the Doctor explains, “Thought it would be fun to see what’s going on.”
Martha refrains from commenting. The Doctor is the sort of person who runs toward danger with both hands outstretched eagerly, and trying to point out how illogical this is simply results in him looking faintly perplexed and distressed for at least an hour.
They walk through the doors to see two stone angels waiting for them, weeping into their hands. Martha is about to take another step when the Doctor grabs her arm.
“Martha-” he begins, voice trembling slightly, then something seems to click. “Oh,” he says, sounding more cheerful, “It’s going to be fine, Martha. But I need you to do something for me.”
“All right,” she says, trying to turn to look at him. The Doctor shakes his head emphatically, not taking his gaze off the angels, so she turns back to look at them again.
“I’m going back in the Tardis,” he explains quietly, “I’ll leave the door open so you can shout to me. I need you to stand, and keep looking at the angels. It’s important. Don’t look away. Don’t turn your back. Don’t blink. Just keep looking at them and I’ll be back soon.”
“But they’re statues!” Martha points out, attempting to inject some sanity into the situation because the Doctor sounds slightly scared and that isn’t at all comforting. With her gaze fixed squarely on the angels, she doesn’t see the Doctor’s expression as he thinks through three different things to tell her.
“They’re very special statues,” he settles on, which sounds a little lame, but Martha decides she’ll demand explanations later.
“But-” she begins helplessly.
“Just stand here and don’t take your eyes off them for even a split second,” the Doctor orders.
“But what if-”
“Blink one eye at a time if you must,” he tells her, “And I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
He walks back into the Tardis, leaving the door open as promised.
“What are you doing?” Martha demands loudly, hearing what sounds like an avalanche of paper coming from inside.
“Don’t worry!” the Doctor shouts back, “Just keep looking at them!”
Martha listens to him crashing about but keeps her gaze on the weeping angels. After a minute or so her eyes start to water and she feels faintly ridiculous, standing there staring at stone. Immobile, completely dead stone. But most of the Doctor’s madness has a fairly good reason behind it, so Martha does her best to watch the statues intently. She hears crashing sounds behind her.
“Just a couple more minutes, Martha!”
Martha leans her back against the dark blue wood of the Tardis, trying to blink one eye at a time, and trying even harder not to think: this is stupid. They’re just statues. There to be decorative. It’s irrational to be scared of them and even more irrational to have to keep staring at them like this.
Before Martha knows what’s happening, her eyes close. And when they open again, the statues have got considerably closer, and are no longer weeping. Their wide, blank eyes stare malevolently at her.
“DOCTOR!” she screams.
“You blinked, didn’t you.” The Doctor sounds calm, but there’s a long-suffering edge to his voice. However, he’s no longer shouting, which means he’s closer, and that’s a relief. “Why do they always blink?” he asks, complaining to no one in particular, “You just can’t get the companions these days…”
“But they’re statues!” Martha almost wails, voice a little too high.
“I told you, special statues,” the Doctor repeats. Then, considerably more quietly, “Aha, there it is.”
“They’re alive, aren’t they? They’re alive and you left me out here with them!” Martha tries to squash down the panic rising up her ribcage and squeezing her lungs. All she has to do is look at them. That’s easy. Just got to keep looking at them.
“You’re doing fine.” The Doctor’s voice floats out her. “I’ll be there in a moment. Just don’t look away because we can’t afford for them to get any closer.”
“What happens if they reach us?” Martha asks tentatively, concentrating on the grey stone and not on the bland, blind faces of the angels. The Doctor doesn’t reply, which is more than a little unsettling, but Martha doesn’t push for an answer because it occurs to her that maybe she doesn’t want to know. Her eyes hurt, water blurring her vision, she needs to blink, but-
The Doctor makes it through the door just as Martha’s eyes involuntarily shut.
“Ow.” Martha feels dizzy, unbelievably so, her head is pounding and it feels like every bone in her body has been dragged out and the spaces left behind filled with jelly. “Argh.”
The sound doesn’t quite convey the strange feeling flooding her body, but even her brain feels distinctly squishy and is therefore incapable of thinking up adequate ways to express her discomfort.
“It’ll wear off,” the Doctor says, his voice sounding too far away. Martha struggles to get her eyes open, and as the Doctor comes into focus everything else begins sliding back into place, making her and the world around her reassuringly solid again. “There you go.”
“Where are we?” she asks, accepting his hand so he can pull her to her feet.
“Nineteen sixty-nine,” the Doctor replies, steadying her as Martha’s legs almost give out beneath her, forgetting how to function for a disturbing moment.
“Oh.” Martha finally gets her balance and frowns. “Is this all my fault?”
“Only predominantly,” the Doctor says in a not-entirely-comforting tone, patting her on the shoulder. Martha wants to give him a withering look, but her eyes feel sore and gritty, so she doesn’t.
“Why are we in nineteen sixty-nine?” she asks tentatively, not sure that she wants to know the answer.
“The Weeping Angels brought us here,” the Doctor replies casually, as though this sort of thing happens all the time (which, Martha has to reflect, it kind of does). “But it’s ok. I have this.”
He holds up a plastic folder.
“Oh good,” Martha says in as calm a voice as she can muster, “We’re trapped in the past and are being stalked by statues, but at least we can store bits of paper in a safe fashion!”
“You like nineteen sixty-nine,” the Doctor says, sounding a little confused. “Any time we’ve got nothing to do, you always say: oh, Doctor, can’t we go to nineteen sixty-nine?”
“We got to leave those other times,” Martha reminds him, and then realises something. “Oh God, where’s the Tardis?” she asks, suddenly noticing the absence of the blue box. She pats her jacket pockets and discovers that her Tardis key has vanished.
“I would think that the Angels have it,” the Doctor tells her, not sounding particularly perturbed at this news. Martha considers curling up on the floor again, but decides not to. It won’t be at all productive.
“At least nineteen sixty-nine is more open-minded than nineteen thirteen,” the Doctor suggests, obviously trying to cheer her up. Martha gives him a look and the grin fades off his face as he remembers that they decided to never mention that time ever again. It’s a moment where he’s disconcerted, then he starts smiling again. “Come on,” he tells Martha, brandishing the folder, “Let’s get on with rescuing ourselves.”
Martha glances around once more but the Weeping Angels are nowhere to be seen, so she sighs and trails after the Doctor.
“And how exactly are we going to save ourselves?” she enquires dryly, “Since we’re completely out of our time and the Tardis has been carjacked and all that.”
“I have instructions!” the Doctor tells her in a pleased voice, “Which makes a nice change. I just have to set all these things up and we can go home.”
This uncharacteristic organisation surprises Martha and she looks at the folder with considerably more respect.
“But-” she begins.
“We leave messages for someone in the future,” the Doctor tells her, “And she gets us out of this.”
“But if she’s in the future-”
“Stop being so linear,” the Doctor orders, but not without affection. “That’s the problem with you humans, always so linear.”
“Were all the Time Lords as smug as you?” Martha retorts before she can stop herself. The Doctor gives her a serene smile.
“Smuggest race in the universe, the Time Lords,” he agrees, “But with pretty good reason.”
Martha looks at the smirk on his face and decides she ought to change the subject before it descends into bickering with them insulting each other’s species and no one coming out as the victor.
“So,” she begins brightly, “Where do we start?”
The Doctor looks into the file and removes a photograph.
“Let’s go find a creepy abandoned house and graffiti it,” he suggests.
“Any particular reason, or are you just feeling destructive?” Martha asks, taking the photograph from him. The Doctor shrugs.
“It’s as good a place as any,” he tells her, and walks off. “Oh,” he tosses over his shoulder, “And then we’ve got to go get you a job.”
“What?” Martha demands. “Why?”
“The video recording we’re going to make says that you have a job,” the Doctor says, as Martha hurries to catch up, “In a shop.”
“Oh no.” He turns to look at her. “Besides, who knows how long we’ll be here? Someone’s got to start earning money.”
“Why can’t you do it?” Martha asks plaintively.
“I’ve got more important things to do,” the Doctor replies briskly. “You’ll have to become a shop girl.”
“If you don’t, it could tear a great big hole in three-fifths of the universe,” the Doctor adds, “And we wouldn’t want that, would we?”
“Sometimes I don’t know why I travel with you,” she says, unable to stop a petulant tone entering her voice. The Doctor turns one of those maniacally beautiful grins on her and Martha thinks: oh, that’s why.
But it doesn’t stop her remaining mutinously silent for the next half hour.