Title: Four Times Jack Died And Martha Forgot She Didn’t Have To Save Him (And One Time She Said ‘To Hell With This!’) - pt 2/5
Pairing: Some Jack/Martha
Summary: Martha isn’t just a doctor by training, she a ‘helper’ by instinct and that’s something she just can’t ignore.
Author’s Notes: The actual show might have forgotten about Myfanwy but I haven't (*hugs pterodactyl*)
‘Well this is familiar’, Martha thought grimly before forcibly pushing the notion aside. She was getting more than a little fed up of ‘grim’ but she couldn’t seem to shake it. Not with the harsh realism of the year that never was still so firmly rooted in her mind.
She tried to shake away her anger too. He didn’t need or really deserve that even if she did secretly see his actions as unnecessarily carelessness. Getting yourself electrocuted to save your friends or family she could understand. Even doing it for a complete stranger or innocent being that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But for your resident pterodactyl? Your resident pterodactyl who’d brought the power line down in the first place? She couldn’t say she was quite on board with that reasoning.
According to Jack it wasn’t the first time Myfanwy had escaped. They’d tried to seal the room as best they could and she very rarely came down to floor level - Owen suggested that she had too much difficulty taking off in the small place and it made her feel vulnerable – so the door was never a problem. Even so, none of them had ever been up in the high, dark roof area of the Hub that she preferred to inhabit and despite the fact Jack insisted that, as far as he knew, there were no routes to the surface up there, on occasion she did manage to get out. Gwen had finally been the one to insist that a pterodactyl flying around Cardiff was certainly not ideal and that they should make an effort to investigate how she was getting free. They’d spent a sweaty, dirty and stifling two days crawling around the roof space but to no avail. Myfanwy was obviously quite the inventive escapologist.
Which, Martha pointed out, was hardly surprising. Wasn’t it a bit cruel to keep an animal of her size cooped up in the Hub? No wonder she tried to get out and stretch her wings occasionally. She didn’t see why they hadn’t just flown her out to some remote island or something and set her free. But Jack dismissed that idea, saying it was too risky. They didn’t really know what sort of range she had and they couldn’t risk her being spotted or worse captured. Martha said that maybe he should have asked the Doctor to take her back to her own time when they’d dropped Jack off in Cardiff. He smiled slightly, amused, and just said that the Doctor was a bit funny about pets on board the TARDIS. And as fond as Jack was of her he wasn’t going to waste one of the two uses of the Vortex Manipulator the Doctor had allowed him just to take her back home.
Martha got the feeling that he didn’t really try that hard to find an alternative solution simply because he somehow seemed to take an oddly amused pleasure in having a pterodactyl as a pet. She jokingly suggested that she could get him a puppy instead but he’d simply smiled and said he was actually more a cat person. He never really did like being tied down too much. In the end he said the best they could do for Myfanwy was to keep her safe and well fed and, to be honest, she seemed relatively content with that situation too.
Except, Martha felt inclined to point out, she obviously wasn’t or she wouldn’t have escaped yet again.
Luckily it was late on a winter’s evening and the sky was already well dark so that cut down on the chance of her being spotted. It also, Gwen pointed out, made her much harder to find. Even with the aid of the tracking device Tosh reminded them that she’d attached to the pterodactyl following her last escape.
Jack asked Ianto to contact the police and tell them that they were dealing with an escaped animal and they might be getting a few odd phone calls about sightings of a large flying creature. No need to panic, she wasn’t really that dangerous and Torchwood would be on the case.
The way Ianto dryly said ‘I’m sure that will be a comfort to them’ strongly suggested that the police hadn’t always been best impressed with Torchwood in the past.
Ianto also suggested that they take the rifles and shoot her down, which was oddly harsh for him Martha thought. Jack gave him a firm look and said that wouldn’t be necessary. She wasn’t a great risk. Tranquilizer guns would do fine. Jack would take a rifle and only kill her as a last resort.
The tracking device led them to a street between a set of run down industrial buildings and a derelict car park. She was making a hell of a racket, squawking and screaming and sounding generally unhappy about things. The noises were drawing quite a lot of interest from patrons of a nearby pub and Gwen broke away from Jack, Tosh and Martha, saying that she’d try to feed them a story - escaped eagle or something - and keep them out of the way. Owen meanwhile would wait with the car and trailer, telling them to call him as soon as they were ready to load her onto the back.
Rounding the corner, thankfully out of sight of the pub, it became abundantly clear what Myfanwy was making a fuss about. She was far too big really to fit in the small alley between two buildings, her wings battering the side if she stretched them out full, but obviously the smell of the rubbish or something had proved too appealing for her ignore. Probably fish and chip papers or something. Jack had once mentioned that she had a fondness for that particular British classic.
On her way down to investigate she’d clearly knocked into a telephone pole which in turn had fallen onto a set of power cables and had brought them to the floor. They were now sparking dangerously, trapping her at the rear of the small alley, blue lines of electricity snapping in front of her, ominously reflected in the deep puddles of water the recent heavy rain had left behind.
Martha didn’t really know much about animals but it was clear even to her that the pterodactyl was panicking and likely to make a bolt for it any moment. And when she did, chances were she’d be electrocuted as soon as she got anywhere near the fallen cables.
Jack slammed the rifle loaded with tranquilizer into Martha’s hands.
“Stay back,” he ordered both she and Tosh, a tone that demanded obedience, “Fire as soon as you have a clear shot.”
“What are you doing?” Tosh asked as Jack shrugged off his coat, handing it to her and asking her to take care of it for him.
Martha had a pretty good idea but she was both too cross and too shocked to say anything about it, a sharp intake of breath doing little to steel her nerves.
“Just follow her,” Jack said in the same resolute voice, “That drug is strong, she’ll be down in less than a minute.”
Neither of them made move to stop him. Martha refused to look, eye trained down the scope sight of the rifle, ready to fire as soon as she had a safe opening. Even so, out of the corner of her vision she saw Jack’s body jerk violently as he grabbed the loose cable and heaved it away. She heard his cry of shock and pain, even though the action was planned and he knew from experience what was coming. She saw his body fly backwards, only stopping when it smacked into the chain link fence of the adjacent car park, his hands taking the cable with him.
And even though her instinct screamed at her to help him, she didn’t fail to remember her job.
The moment she saw the opening, Myfanwy clumsily took flight. Too large and too awkward to be quick out of the alley, Martha’s shot was surprisingly easily. The pterodactyl jerked more in surprise than pain as the dart hit her and she barely missed taking out the roof of the building as she flew up.
Tosh and Martha went after her, running hard, Tosh hollering at Owen to follow them as they shot out of the side street and back past the car. Jack had been right, the drug was quick. They caught up with her just a few streets away, circling unsteadily. She fell before they could reach her, down in between two buildings on the old industrial estate, a loud clanging reverberating around the area as she bounced the sides of the metal structures several times on the way down.
“I hope she didn’t break anything,” Tosh said quietly as they carefully approached to check she was all right.
“Probably be a good thing if she did,” Martha said grimly, “Might stop her escaping again.”
She was only half joking.
Owen arrived shortly after and between the three of them they quickly got her bound, covered in a tarpaulin and into the trailer attached to the back of the SUV. Martha tried not to think about Jack and the reason why he hadn’t come to find them yet. She had become very good at focusing on what she was doing in order to block out the more unsavoury thoughts.
When they were done she announced that she was heading back to the alley with businesslike determination.
Owen nodded and said he’d drive back and pick up Gwen.
Tosh insisted upon going with Martha and even though she wished she wouldn’t, Martha couldn’t find adequate words to explain to her why she wanted to do this alone. She picked up Jack’s coat which Tosh had carefully left in the car. She also took out the large medical kit. Owen looked pointedly at that but said nothing.
Wishful thinking made her believe that perhaps they’d find Jack well and on his feet, none the worse for wear. She wasn’t surprised to be disappointed. He still laid exactly where he’d landed, awkwardly half sitting against the chain link fence, the exposed cable still spitting electricity and sending the occasional jolt through his body.
Tosh carefully hooked the cable away, noting that they needed to call the power company and get them out here to fix it before someone got hurt.
Martha nodded automatically but was too busy thinking to really hear what she said. As soon as it was safe to do so she was kneeling by Jack’s side. She hauled him towards her and then laid him down on the floor as carefully as she could.
“Is he all right?” Tosh asked, standing a few, cautious paces away.
Martha felt it would be uncharitable to snap ‘of course he’s not, he’s dead’ and so she said nothing, instead allowing instinct to guide her.
Amazingly enough there was some shallow breathing but certainly no pulse.
Martha almost laughed to herself as she ripped open his shirt, the more frivolous part of her mind suggesting that he did this on purpose to make her undress him.
“What are you doing?”
She didn’t look back at Tosh, too busy preparing the defibrillator, but she could hear the confusion in the other woman’s voice.
“I know what he’s capable of,” she said firmly, “But I don’t see the harm in giving him a helping hand.”
Neither apparently did Tosh because she voiced no more objections.
Three shocks later and he was awake in a sudden gasp of life although she wasn’t sure if anything she had done contributed to it or if the unnatural had simply taken its course.
“Get this stuff back to the car,” she said to Tosh, packing away the medical kit, half an eye on Jack who was still lying on the floor, shaking a little and taking his time to recover, “And you’re right. You really should ring the power company.”
Tosh looked mildly rebuffed by Martha’s obvious dismissal but left anyway.
Martha would have to remember to apologise later.
She leaned over Jack who by now had calmed a little and instead was looking at her, silent and thoughtful. She carefully re-buttoned his shirt.
“I don’t know if I should be mildly disappointed with this,” he said, breaking the silence with a joke that came off somewhat flat with his still slightly pained voice.
Martha said nothing, eyes checking him over but not looking at his face. He was clearly discomforted by that but she couldn’t help it. Her gaze settled on his palms and she held his hands in hers, carefully checking the electrical burns still evident there.
“When we get back to the Hub I should dress these.”
“Martha,” he gently reminded her, “You don’t have to.”
Her eyes flicked up to meet his as she handed him back his coat.
Back at the Hub she didn’t really know whether deep down he figured out why she wanted to do it or why it was so important to her but somehow she suspected that he did. It was in the way he did as she asked without comment or protest, sitting quietly whilst she meticulously dressed the wounds on his hands, already better than when she’d first seen them. It was in the way he gently chatted to her about nothing in particularly, keeping the mood light without insulting her seriousness with forced good humour.
It was in the way he kissed her forehead when she’d finished, a soothing, lingering gesture of understanding.
Before she left for the night he hugged her hard, whispering a quick thank you into her ear although she wasn’t sure what it was for.