|Void Math, Chapter Two: The Madness of Math|
Martha woke up with a groan. She'd slept so long that she had a cramp in her neck the size of London. Confusingly, she looked around her bedroom and slowly came to the realization that he hadn't come to wake her up again. The only thing she actually hated about the Doctor was his completely loony views on sleep, even after she described - in detail - the dangers of sleep deprivation.
Shrugging and wincing from the motion, she stumbled into her bathroom and flipped V's at the mirror. She knew she looked wretched and didn't like the reminder. Slipping out of her bedclothes, she climbed into the shower and let the water beat the kink out of her neck.
Where was he? The more awake she got, the more worried she became. It had to have been a week since she last saw him, and that was after seeing an elderly Timothy Latimer at the Remembrance Day ceremony. That they were in the TARDIS didn't matter. His absence was beyond unusual. Shower done and loo matters taken care of, Martha spent the next thirty minutes in an attempt to relax the natty. This morning though, her hair proved to be difficult. Giving up, she put it in several hair bands and simply let it stick out every which way from the back of her head.
She'd spent the past several days simply trying to find him. The fact that he'd gone missing on his own ship worried her immensely. However, every time she tried finding him, it was almost like the ship herself steered her towards the more familiar areas she was used to. It was maddening.
This morning though was different. After a simple breakfast of grape jam on toast, Martha was wandering towards the media room to catch up with her shows. Plopping on the couch with a heavy sigh, she traded her cup of tea with the remote on the coffee table and turned on the wall.
Instead of the usual plethora of channels that would appear, a small section in the middle started flashing purple. No, that's not right. That's more mauve than... Wait. The Doctor said mauve was bad. Now that her attention was on high alert, the flashing stopped only to be replaced with 'Hello Martha'.
"Doctor? What are you playing at?"
The words changed. 'I'm not the Doctor.'
"Well, who else would be playing silly buggers?"
Echoing pings, warbles, and hums sounded off in a cacophony of noise, and Martha looked around with wide eyes. She was drawn back to the flashing screen and read, 'Understand?'
"Okay... Yeah... Sure..." she said, completely unnerved.
'He needs your help.'
Martha stood up like a shot. "Is he hurt?"
'He will be soon if he doesn't stop. He's become so obsessed that he won't listen to me any more.'
"Are you going to actually let me find him this time?" she asked accusingly.
'I'm sorry for that. Yes.'
Pursing her lips at the screen, Martha left the room in a bit of a huff. Coming into the hallway, the lights on her left shut themselves off. Looking to the right, she could see that the next connecting hallway was lit only on the left bend. Getting the idea, she took off in a small trot and let herself be led by the ship. A few twists and turns later, she found herself at a dead end.
"Now what?" she muttered.
As soon as she said that, a door slowly became visible. Unlike the uneven curved ones that she usually saw, this one looked like a simple wooden door. It even had a doorknob. Turning it, she stepped into a room that made her mouth drop open.
"Okay," she said quietly. "Console, living, library, kitchen, media..." she counted on her fingers. "And now a chalkboard room?"
The room itself was massive, and looked to have at least three different levels. Looking down, she could see the other two. It somewhat reminded her of the library, what with staircases and chairs dotting the area. Instead of rows of bookshelves though, chalkboards were in their place and reminded her of those rolling ones at Uni... only much much bigger.
It was completely quiet in here, almost. If she listened hard enough, she could almost make out the sound of chalk scribbles. "Doctor?" she called out. The scribbling didn't even pause at that. The acoustics were so terrible here she couldn't tell where they were coming from. And with the way her voice carried, there was no way of knowing where he was.
Searching the first two levels was relatively easy though, what with them being rings and all. However, she couldn't help but stare at the diagrams and scribblings on the chalkboards. They were actually beautiful in their complexity, and she could see his handwriting all over the place. Well, that was stupid. She felt a pang of jealousy over his pretty handwriting, and came to the conclusion that he couldn't be a real doctor. No doctor's handwriting was ever that pretty, including hers. It made her sick.
The writing on the second level wasn't quite as pretty as the first level. This looked a bit more blocky. A glint from below drew her attention to the floor, and she gasped as she snatched up the Doctor's glasses. He never took these off when he was working on something important. "Doctor!" she tried again.
Running down the second flight of stairs, she started searching more frantically. Unlike the other two levels, this one was a maze. After spending a few minutes running herself ragged, she stopped and slapped her forehead. Rolling her eyes, she knelt down and looked under them - through the legs of these insane things.
Martha was almost turned completely around, when she spotted his white trainers on the far side of the room. Grinning in triumph, she stood up and made her way through the maze in that general direction. She came up short when she noticed his brown blazer lying haphazardly on one of the leather chairs, completely dusted up with chalk. A few turns later she found his tie.
Finally, the Doctor came into view and she smiled. "There you are!" Seeing the state of him made her smile drop as her mouth hung open. "Oh my God." Looking around at the writing on the boards, she could see quite plainly how sloppy it all was. The ship was right, he's in trouble.
The Doctor's shirtsleeves were rolled up to the elbow, and actual sweat stains radiated down from his armpits. The blue of the shirt was just as dusted with chalk as his trousers were. Instead of the spiky hair she loved to imagine running her fingers through, it was matted down with sweat and chalk, almost like a plaster.
A glint of gold got her attention, and she turned to look past him. Her eyelids disappeared when she saw a golden apparition of a woman that was crying. Martha's gasp at the sight caused the woman's head to turn and look at her, mirroring her expression of shock. Martha gaped as this golden ghost pointed at the Doctor and mimed grabbing and pulling. The motion must've done something, because she vanished while pulling.
Unnerved, she stepped closer and got a look at the side of the Doctor's face. She felt her heart come up into her throat at the sight of him. The feral look he had as he wrote scared her even more than the ghost did. His eyes were completely bloodshot and sunken in. "Doctor?" Next to him now, she placed a hand on his shoulder and tried again. "Doctor, you need to stop. You're dehydrated. When was the last time you ate anything?"
The Doctor shrugged her hand off and turned around to another chalkboard. He was mumbling something unintelligible the entire time, and looked to be the epitome of a lunatic.
Frowning now, she understood why the ship asked for help. She grabbed his arm and shoulder, then pulled both hands. "Doctor stop!"
He whirled around at that and turned his feral glare towards her. Shocked, she could only gape at the darkness in his eyes when he thundered his displeasure. "I HAVE TO GET HER BACK!" Martha could swear she felt the floor vibrate from his voice alone. "NOW FUCK OFF!"
Scared as she was already, the swearing caused her to involuntarily slap him. "Doctor!" she shrieked.
The slap must've had an effect, because she saw the brown of his eyes return as his face fell slack. It looked like he even recognized her. He quietly said, "Martha?" blinking rapidly before fainting outright.
"Whoa!" she shouted, catching him. Wiry as he was, he was still heavy. So all she could do was not let him hurt himself as he fell. "Shit," she mumbled. Wiping chalk caked sweat from his forehead to clear a spot, she kissed him and tried not to cry. "What have you done to yourself?"