|His Faithful Companion
Author: Jessa L'Rynn PM
She's pretty and blonde and not too bright, nothing special, really. So why does he refuse to be separated from her and why, when everything else is lost, is it her he trusts absolutely? Response to TCASM's challenge for July II.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - The Master & Lucy S. - Words: 2,152 - Reviews: 23 - Favs: 54 - Follows: 5 - Published: 07-20-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4409231
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
TCASM - aka I Lost My Profile Page - issued several challenges and I picked one to do for July II. This is it:
(3) -- Saxon
Do a story involving Harry and Lucy Saxon.
Req: Both must be alive, already married, but before 'Last of the Time Lords'. One flashback. Doctor not involved. Dancing - either kind - goes on; don't do an 'M' if unwilling to do 'details'. Sanity not necessary.
This story has been boiling in the back of my skull for awhile now, actually. It was based on Lucy's quote: "He was so good to my father." So thanks to TCASM, because all this story needed was an excuse.
His Faithful Companion
When he met Lucy, he realized immediately that she was insane. Her broken, porcelain madness sang an interesting counter-point to the incessant drums and he liked that, found it a bit beautiful. She was, physically, as beautiful as ever a child in a woman's body could be, pure and pretty and not quite right.
She tended to him quietly, watching him with haunted eyes and a shattered smile as he fought off the first case of regeneration sickness he could remember since his very first time. She was gentle and friendly and utterly uncomprehending, and he decided he rather liked that last quality in human beings.
Upon his recovery, he intended to leave, as he had a great deal of work to do and not an awful lot of time to accomplish it. He had to find Gallifrey - at first he believed his old friend had hidden it from him, somehow - and he had to destroy his old friend as thoroughly and slowly as possible. By degrees, if he could manage it, peel him one layer at a time until all that was left was pain that burned and beat like drums.
Instead, days passed while he learned her, the ivory bisque creature who tended him through nightmares. He found himself rather delighted with her. She was so exquisite and so utterly easy. A few pretty words, a stolen gift, and she began to think herself his closest friend.
Then, she confided in him, and at first it was utter tedium, this listening to a spoilt princess recite her hidden heartbreak. Underneath it all, though, was the reason that her eyes were diamond studded and burned like familiarity, and he wanted it, wanted to explain it, categorize it, label it, so he could move on to better things.
"My father is dying," she confessed one morning. They were sitting out in the arboretum and her eyes were far away, distant, lost in places even he had never been. If he wrote them off as fairy tale dream lands, he would never know for sure what had shattered this little doll of a girl and left the shards of her scattered alone about this old house. So he let her talk.
"My brother and sister would let it happen in its own time. But they are wrong, don't you see? My father is a great man, a brave man. He has a right to better than this."
The Master astonished himself by agreeing to meet this old Englishman. He thoroughly astounded himself by liking the poor bastard. The old man was light and fire - reminded the Master of a friend of a friend - and he was literally being stripped by inches.
It seemed it suited the convenience of her brother and her sister, ever so much older than Lucy, to leave her in the crumbling remains of this ancient manor with the withering remains of Harold Stone. He was a child now, who dribbled and gibbered and lost himself in toys. He was also absurdly rich, though his son seemed to be going through his assets at an alarming rate.
The Master looked at the discarded old man and the crushed child of his old age and, for once, he felt something. Yes, there was self-interest there, but really, he began to believe that Lucy was right.
"You can take care of my girl," old Harold Stone murmured in one of his last lucid moments. "She'll take care of you."
Careful, delicate persuasion, not at all like his usual high-handed mesmerism, managed to disinherit the older siblings. This was their own mistake; because they never came to visit their elderly father, they forgot that he had any true worth to them outside of his name.
When her father had a particularly bad fit and had to be hospitalized for treatment, Lucy came to him in tears. "They will keep him like this forever. They don't care that it's wrong or that it hurts me. In fact, if it causes me or him pain, they would prefer it."
The Master surprised himself again. He went to visit the old man in the hospital and, a day later, for the first time in his entire existence, he killed someone for a reason other than his own desire or convenience.
Months later, a newly married man, the Master rather thought that even Thete would have found it reasonable, even merciful, the quiet, dignified, untraceable death he had given Lucy's father. She'd stood and watched, which pleased him, and she reacted with the proper, human, emotions afterward.
"Here we are," the Master said. "End of the Universe. Would you care to come and see?" He knew his faithful companion would never choose otherwise. He almost wished... but that was silly, both wishing and what he wished.
They stepped out onto Utopia's barren, sterile soil, into the depths of the dying night. He knew that the starless sky might at last dim the diamond sparkle of her eyes, but he needn't have worried. His perfect girl took his hand - which made the Master grin for several reasons - and held to him as if he were the source of every breath she took. All the light left in the Universe, with the stars all gone now, was all caught up in the blazing inferno at the center of her hazy, golden-eyed gaze.
"I can't believe it," she said at last. "When you offered me a honeymoon to the end of eternity, I thought you meant..."
He smiled at her. She'd thought something sweet and romantic, of course, being human and mortal and in love. He knew she loved him, in her simple-minded way, but that was actually something that set her above the rest of humanity and, in fact, the rest of creation.
He knew where they needed to go - the last refuge of mankind. He didn't want to admit it, even to himself, but he was actually a little concerned - no, curious, not concerned - as to how his handiwork had played out. Too many years spent - wasted - over that concoction of his meant that he actually had a feeling for it somewhere in his drum-battered conscience.
Assuming he had one, which he doubted.
Entering the last enclave of humanity, the Master abruptly found that he had taken his new bride to hell. Interesting. He felt nothing but anger, and a Time Lord's weary, analytical observation of the situation, knowledge that this was the end reserved for anything that lived too long.
The furnaces blazed in defiance of the night and gave off a nose-blasting, stomach-churning, all-encompassing, unholy stench. The smell of charred flesh and bone almost took him back to a War the Universe had forgotten before it even happened. Everywhere, there were tiny, mobile spheres of metal, and they had quick, deft knives, stripping the ruined bodies of the humans he had saved. He had saved them, dammit all, and this was what they did with his gift.
The drums beat out a titanic, four-beat protest. That they should be so foolish, so futile, that they should waste a gift so rare from a being such as he...
He turned to Lucy to see what she thought of all this and suddenly knew, once and for all, why it was human beings of all species who were chosen to be dragged along in his arch-rival's chaotic wake.
Lucy felt. She was terrified and exhilarated, her fragile form trembling like a lost, orphaned child in a blizzard. Her small hand was over her cupid's bow mouth, to hide the gasp of surprise and horror. Her cheeks were wet. He reached gently to touch her tears, fascinated by them. She raised her head and met his eyes. It was terrible to see her haunted gaze and it amazed him that something alien and new went tumbling through him in response to her dimming stars.
He absolutely did not want her to see this after all.
"Let's go," he said quietly. "This isn't safe for you."
"Harry," she said, so softly, "what's happened?"
The Master shrugged. "This is the end, Lucy, the very bitter end, the fate of all your kind. Harvesting their own mortal bodies to fight the darkness, trying to make it one more day and then another."
She watched the spheres flit by with dazzled eyes and a dazed expression. "They're so pretty," she murmured. "Can't we save them?"
"What would be the point?"
"Because they're better," she said, vaguely. "They're still trying. They're not hiding from death or pretending it won't happen. They're fighting it." She turned to him, her eyes huge and pleading and ecstatic. "That's why you brought us here, isn't it? You're a god, Harry, you can save them. They're better than we are, they deserve to be saved, and you wanted to show me you can do it. Oh, Harry, it's beautiful."
Her words played fairy light around the drums in his head. Oh, but she was right, his stupid, innocent girl. "Yes," he agreed. "We will save them from the darkness. But I wanted you to know why. Because if they survive, then the Earth dies."
She just looked at him, trusting him utterly, loving him so completely. Even the most remote possibility that anything he said was wrong was completely inconceivable for her. "What good is stinking humanity doing anyone?" she asked. "But they're worth saving."
He could have searched the whole of space and time and never found her, but here she was, watching him, worshipping him as he should be worshipped, with diamonds in her eyes, with absolute trust in her heart, with unquenchable fire in her soul.
It was possible, he supposed, that his little blonde bride could become his strongest weakness.
He took her hand, then. "As you wish," he agreed and, somewhere back along a myriad of time lines, the Earth died in fire and blood.
Leading her back to the over-powered, over-actualized monstrosity of Gallifreyan technology, he told her about Archangel and what he intended. He told her about his old friend, he told her about her place in all this. She listened, his zealous disciple, and something within him stirred. Her faith was absolute, her devotion a power beyond reckoning in its own right.
He took her hand and kissed it, then set the controls, not even troubling to be careful, since he hated the ship and the ship, in turn, hated him. They were flying through the stars together, now, the Master and his companion. He was better than his old friend, because he at least had the decency to spare her mortal emotions and claim what was offered him. She would wither and die, he knew that.
He swiped the sweat from his face - the furnaces had been hotter than he supposed.
Before her distant end, though, Lucy Saxon would be what she was meant to be, honored above all human kind. She would be the mother of a race that had died, and the savior of a race that should have died and never would. He would give her a throne, and a lovely bower, and let her worship him all her days, because she alone knew what he truly was, a living god, and the exquisite beauty of her tattered mind would outshine even the perfection of her pale and smiling face.
"Dance with me," he ordered, because it felt right.
"There's no music," she said, but didn't hesitate to obey him all the same.
"I can hear it," he said, and swung her body around the console, moving in counterpoint to the sound of Time screaming protest around them.
"What does it sound like?" she whispered, as if she could hear it just because he did.
Perhaps he loved her.
He smiled and continued to waltz, leading his broken human doll through ever-changing steps of eternity. "It sounds like drums, Lucy, my love. It always sounds like drums."