for [livejournal.com profile] charloft: Measure

May. 4th, 2009 09:01 pm
martha_jones: ([emote] what's that supposed to mean?)
[personal profile] martha_jones
Companion piece to this brilliant story by [livejournal.com profile] savagestime.

First, do no harm.

She hates him.

She hates every moment of being around him. She washes her hands and scrubs the dirt underneath her nails away but she can never quite clean up the blood. He watches her with those small, piercing eyes. Like slivers of glass, they glitter and cut.

He looks at her as if he's waiting for her to speak. She won't. She's just his doctor, she's just doing her job. But she isn't going to speak. Not to him. Not to Saxon.

He'll always be Saxon to her, no matter how many times the Doctor corrects her and tells her he's the Master. He's not her Master.

"Oh, yes, question the name why don’t you, everyone else does!" he says, brightly. This is something Martha has come to expect of him. When she doesn't speak like he wants her to, he talks as though she's spoken. Responds as though she's still talking, still asking the questions he wants to hear. It would be disconcerting if she wasn't certain he was completely and utterly mad. She rolls her eyes and grabs the blood pressure monitor. He extends his arm without protest.

"You know, people don’t question the Doctor’s name half as much as they do mine, and his is just as arrogant, if not more so. Hello, ‘the Doctor’? He doesn’t even know medicine! Not enough that he could save a man’s life – thanks for that, by the way – and he hardly has the demeanor of a doctor. If I had a doctor like him, I’d have fired him ages ago."

His eyes glitter again. "Lucky that I get you, isn’t it?"

I will treat without exception all who seek my ministrations. He didn't ask to be saved, but she was a doctor and he needed her. She still remembers pressing hands to flesh, crudely stitching closed the hole in his heart. She remembers the Doctor pacing behind her as she worked. She remembers the thrill of watching Saxon stabilize, mixed with the horror that she had just saved the man who destroyed her world.

She unstraps the monitor and writes down his blood pressure. If he were a human, she'd be panicking and running for a crash cart. But he's not. She uses the Doctor as a baseline and judges Saxon's health accordingly. Next on the list is temperature. She grabs the inner ear monitor.

She motions for him to rotate his head so she can check his ear.

"No, no, don’t interrupt; I have every intention of answering the question. Oration is an art form and an artist mustn’t be pressured, particularly not by an ungrateful and unworthy audience." Of course he wouldn't be. Audience, not physician to Saxon. Martha doesn't even bother sighing; she just slips the monitor into his ear when he moves, then goes back to the paper once it's registered. His body temperature is impossibly low, but certainly too high for what he's used to. Maybe the sutures aren't taking. Maybe he's developing an infection. She marks down that he should have antibiotics prescribed and the Doctor should make sure he takes them. The Doctor will, of course. He'd give Saxon anything she told him to.

I will neither prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine to any patient even if asked nor counsel any such thing nor perform the utmost respect for every human life. Saxon isn't human, but he is her patient.

He goes on as if she's been listening. Or more as if she's been caring, neither of which is truly the case. "Maybe I should’ve called myself ‘the Showman,’ but that’s not quite precise enough to suit me. My true name, however…The Master. Universally, at that!"

She presses her forefingers to his pulse and checks the rapid double-heartbeat. His skin is cold against hers, like touching a cold milk bottle. It reminds her of holding hands with the Doctor, and she hates that the things she once saw as unique to only him are reflected in her patient. The things in the man she loves reflected in the man she loathes. But maybe they are two sides to the same coin, as Jack says.

The Master. She snorts. Pretentious bastard.

"It’s not pretentious, girl, it’s accurate. I chose it. I earned it. In the end, it’s what you choose that matters, isn’t it? It’s the act."

She pulls out the EKG machine (rewired to accept two heartbeats), and begins applying the sticky tabs to his chest. It took a little trial-and-error to work out where to put them on, but she's old hat at it now.

I will follow that method of treatment which according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patient.

"The Master. He who controls and has authority over another. The person who conquers."

The person who fails, she corrects internally. The one who falls. The skin on his chest is also cold and smooth, down to the dark red scar above his left heart.

"The owner, the teacher, the employer. The superior."

His EKG machine blips to life scribbling lines to red paper. Antiquated, the Doctor told her. It works, she reminded him. And he's not suited to medicine, as Saxon is so ready to point out.

Saxon hasn't finished. "He who directs the hunt and controls the hounds. The revered religious leader. The artist, performer and player who is extremely skilled or accomplished. "

Blip-Blip. Blip-Blip.

"The victor."

The patient. He should be lucky that's all he is to her. She took an oath to take care of her patients. Any patient.

This little half-conversation sounds like something he's practiced in front of a mirror a few times, and Martha has no doubt her unimpressed expression shows her distaste for his acts.

He looks decidedly put out, like a petulant child interrupted by an irritated teacher. "Now be quiet! Restrained or not I could kill you very quickly right now, and your precious Doctor wouldn’t have a chance to save you. Do not interrupt me when I’m speaking!"

She grits her teeth and marks off time on the machine. His secondary heartbeat is a little slow, but it's certainly not too abnormal to risk another wound check. She might need to cath him later just to make sure.

I will go for the benefit of the sick---

"You see, I, my dear, ignorant, pathetic human girl, I have not just controlled planets and species, but star systems and evolutionary lines. I have ruled over kingdoms and countries that you cannot imagine, even with all the travels you have behind you. I have instructed. I have headed businesses and employed billions – sacked them, too, when they had no use. I ran hunts through the streets of your own precious planet, and started a cult or two, just for fun. I’ve taken a young planet, filled with life and potential, and twisted it so that all who live there will forever turn to violence."

He didn't conquer. He didn't do anything. He wasted a year of her "pathetic" human life but she'll get it back. She isn't afraid of him, she isn't afraid of what he did. He's just a prisoner now. A prisoner and a patient and that is all.

Saxon smiles. "Oh no, but you’re wrong about that. I did conquer. I am victorious. I may have lost all of that, but it’s only temporary."

I will neither treat any patient nor carry out any research on any human being without the valid informed consent of the subject---

"You saved my life, Martha Jones, and for that I will never forgive you."

---or the appropriate legal protector thereof. The Doctor is Saxon's guardian now. The Doctor.

"The Doctor is afraid for my life now. And fear is such an easy emotion to twist."

The Doctor who begged for his life after she spent a year in hell. The Doctor who brushed aside planet Earth for the man that destroyed it. The Doctor whom she trusted with everything inside of herself.

She wants to tell Saxon how wrong he is. How much he doesn't know about the Doctor. How much he doesn't get it.

But part of Martha---the small, cold part that made hard decisions and pulled tight triggers knows that he is right.

And she hates him for it.

She peels off the EKG slips and picks up her chart before turning towards the door, still silent. As if a climax to their half-conversation was concluded, he smiles.

"A word of advice?"

She stops in the door way and looks back to him. The wide grin cracking his thin face in two is almost caricature-like. Too wide and too fake. It's so fake even the falseness of it can't be real. Maybe he isn't mad. Maybe he knows exactly what he's doing.

Harold Saxon. Or whoever he is. Her tormentor and patient. The thing she needs to save and the thing she needs to destroy. She wonders if that is how the Doctor sees him, too. If that's why he kept him like this.

"Make sure you say goodbye to the Doctor on the way out."

She says nothing, but she never says anything. It doesn't stop him from speaking. It doesn't stop it from hurting.

First do no harm.

Pity Saxon never took the oath Martha did.

Muse: Martha Jones
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 1,569 not including lines from the Hippocratic Oath
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