Return to Gallifrey, Chapter 4

Martha stared at him, completely dumbstruck. “Excuse me, Doctor,” she said in a voice of forced calm, “but how the hell are we going to do that?”

The Doctor smiled. “Ever seen The Wizard of Oz?” he asked with a sly chuckle.

She nodded, confused.

He smirked. “It’ll be sort of like that. Now! Allons-y!” he exclaimed, back to his usual cheerful self, and darted out of the TARDIS, Martha chasing after him.

They were surrounded by a most peculiar landscape. Everything–the setting sun, the ground, the plant life–was in its proper place, yet it was all engulfed in a sort of orange haze. The plant life, too, was strange; large plants resembling cacti with huge, multicolored blossoms adorned the desert-like atmosphere around them. It was rather pretty in its way, thought Martha, until she realized that one of them was staring right at her.

“Don’t make eye contact,” said the Doctor under his breath. Martha nodded nervously.

They traipsed on through the Gallifreyan terrain, and soon it began to get dark.

There was something decidedly eerie about the desert at night, Martha realized, especially so far from home.

“We’d better bunk here for the night,” said the Doctor, the first words he had spoken for hours. Martha hadn’t really minded–she’d had plenty to think about. But looking at him now, she noticed that he looked exhausted–large bags sank beneath his eyes and he had a generally ill look about him. Some of it, she knew, was from the long trek–but in his eyes was a sadness she had never seen before. It wasn’t really visible right off the bat, but if you met his eyes for just a second too long…

“Doctor,” said Martha cautiously, watching him prepare the area around them for sleep. He ignited a small fire with his Screwdriver for warmth and removed his long overcoat, laying it down as a makeshift cot.

“You sleep there,” he said to Martha, indicating the cot, “I won’t need it. I don’t sleep–well, not unless I really, really have to, anyway.”

“Won’t you be cold?” she asked him, noticing the sudden chill in the air.

He shook his head. “I’ll be fine. Go to sleep, Martha.”

Martha wriggled into the Doctor’s coat, which was about two sizes too small. God, you’re skinny, she thought. It was surprisingly warm, however, and before she knew it, she had dozed off.

She was awoken several hours later by the Doctor. “Martha!” he shouted, shaking her violently, “Wake up! We have to get out of here, now!”


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