|My Bad Bad Angel
Author: Brownbug PM
Kiriban for iLuvTwiBoyz, set in my "One Moment in Time" Whoniverse. The Doctor has gone, leaving 8 year old Tejana all alone to face the Untempered Schism, when she has a visit from a stranger. Master/OC.Rated: Fiction K - English - The Master - Words: 3,076 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 17 - Follows: 2 - Published: 05-31-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7040086
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
WARNING: This one-shot is a prequel to the "One Moment in Time" series. You will probably need to read all of them to follow exactly what's going on.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Doctor Who or anything remotely related to it.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hi all! This one-shot was written as a kiriban for iLuvTwiBoyz, as a thanks for being the tenth reviewer on my previous story "A Christmas Wish". Her prompt was that she wanted to see the Master interacting with Tejana as a child. This story is set shortly after the Doctor ran away from Gallifrey, leaving Tejana behind. I think it might even qualify as fluff, which I am decidedly not used to writing, so I would very much appreciate some reviews to let me know how I did!
iLuvTwiboyz, this is for you - I hope you enjoy!
MY BAD, BAD ANGEL
The atmosphere was thick and heavy and warm inside the great glass hydroponic dome – almost too warm, on the verge of being oppressive. Late afternoon sunlight poured down from the lowering double sun and - except for the lazy buzzing of the occasional bee - everything was silent, the air fragrant with the sharp, tangy scent of the huge, spreading tomato plants.
Sitting in the dirt, almost completely concealed by the rampant, feathery foliage, was a little girl with long, tangled white-blonde hair. Her cream-coloured tunic was filthy, liberally splotched with mud, while her hands were in scarcely better condition. Her face was grimy and streaked, recent tears having left distinct trails through the dirt on her cheeks.
Tejana was not crying now. Instead, she was holding a ripe, red tomato up before her eyes, carefully surveying it. It was one of the prize fruit grown in this dome by the Gardener, who was in charge of hydroponic cultivation on Gallifrey. The child drew in a deep breath, her eyes closed as she absorbed the deep, earthy smell of the tomato. Mmmmm...it smelled so good! It was so beautiful, so perfect in every way. Surely a tomato like this could only be meant for the table of the Lord President, or one of the High Council, at the very least.
Pulling back her arm, she viciously threw the tomato as hard as she could, trying to hit the centre of the nearby greenhouse door. Her aim went a little awry and her missile smashed against the door-frame, the soft, scarlet interior of the fruit dripping down the white door like blood-red tears. Tejana watched in deep satisfaction, her face twisted in anger and pain. The door already bore the stains of several previous throws, all of them equally wild. There was no doubt that she was going to be in enormous trouble when she was caught, but she didn't care. She didn't know what it was about such wanton destruction that made her feel better, but somehow it did. Somehow it helped her release some of the sadness and fear and loneliness that coiled painfully inside her belly like a cold metal spring and would not go away.
Especially today. Today was the Eve of Cold Lamentation and she was eight years old. This evening, like all the other eight year old Gallifreyan children, she was to be initiated into the Time Lord Academy to begin her education. The big difference was, unlike all those other children, she would have no family there at the terrifying ceremony to support her and to wish her well. Her mother had died nearly a year ago. And her father...her father was gone. She was all alone.
Feeling the cold fear rising up to choke her yet again, she snatched up another tomato and hurled it after its cousin, rejoicing in the messy splat as it impacted against the door, fresh tear sparkling in her eyes.
Suddenly, there was a soft step in the earth behind her and she sensed the presence of an unfamiliar Time Lord mind. Bracing herself, she prepared for the outcry that was about to happen. No punishment they could give her would ever matter to her. Her father was gone. Nothing mattered any more.
Glancing around, she saw a man she did not recognise standing and watching her, an odd expression on his face. He was not exactly young, but he was not old either, like most of the Time Lords she knew. He had dark hair and dark eyes and was dressed entirely in black.
Tejana didn't care who he was. He was just another adult, and adults were not to be trusted. She glared at him defiantly, before throwing another tomato at the white door with all her might, contributing more pulpy slime to the original crimson mess. "There!" she said insolently. "I suppose now you're going to call the Gardener?"
To her surprise, the man merely raised his eyebrows and replied, "No. Why would I want to do that?"
She narrowed her eyes suspiciously. "To get me in trouble, of course. For spoiling all the tomatoes."
"Do you want to get into trouble?"
"Doesn't matter if I want to or not, I still do," she shrugged. "House-Mother Agathe says it's in my blood."
The stranger gave a faint, ironic smile. "House-Mother Agathe is probably right."
He moved forward until he stood beside her. "Mind if I sit down?"
"Suit yourself," she said ungraciously. "I can't stop you. You'll get dirty, though."
Picking up another tomato, she hurled it after the others, missing the greenhouse door by a mile.
"You're not lining them up properly," the man said matter-of-factly as he sat down. "You need to do it more like this."
As he spoke, he selected a tomato from the pile beside her and threw it. His aim was straight and true, the rosy-red fruit flying through the air with perfect accuracy, until it struck the target dead centre.
"Here, you try," he suggested, offering her another tomato.
Tejana eyed him with wary astonishment. She couldn't work him out at all. Not only had he not called the Gardener down on her, but he was actively encouraging and participating in her misbehaviour. Perhaps he wasn't a Time Lord after all. He was certainly like no other Time Lord she had ever known. They were all so old and stuffy and boring...except for one. Her hearts clenched in anguish at the thought. She wouldn't think of her father, she wouldn't! It hurt far too much, especially today.
With one swift movement, she snatched the tomato from the stranger, lined it up as he had shown her and sent it arcing towards the greenhouse. It smashed against the door in a crimson explosion of pulp.
"There, see?" the man said approvingly. "Perfect."
"Who are you?" she asked.
He shrugged. "Me? I am...I was...a friend of your father's."
"Good luck with that," she said harshly, fighting back the hot tears that threatened to overwhelm her. "My father's gone. He stole a TARDIS and ran away from Gallifrey."
"I know. I heard," the man replied. "He told me he was leaving, but I didn't think he'd really do it."
Tejana swallowed hard. She was only a child, but she instinctively recognised and identified with the thread of bitterness twining through the stranger's voice. Perhaps she wasn't the only one her father had left behind. All at once, she knew that this man, whoever he was, would understand the things she had been unable to say to anyone else since her father had left, all the things she had kept locked painfully inside.
"He wouldn't take me with him. He told me I was too young," she blurted out. "And tonight's the Eve of Cold Lamentation. I'm going to be initiated into the Academy. I have to look into the Untempered Schism. Everyone else will have their families there, but I have no-one."
"Are you afraid of the Untempered Schism?" the man asked softly.
"Of course! Who wouldn't be? They say some children run away and some even go mad!"
The man laughed and again she sensed the deep bitterness inside him. "And you're afraid of going mad, is that it?"
"No," she answered bluntly, her little face deadly serious. "I'm scared of running away. They all say I have bad blood. They're all waiting for me to fail. My family has endured enough shame already. I don't want to cause any more."
The stranger gave her a lop-sided smile. "You won't run away, Tejana. You don't have that in you. And, believe me when I tell you, you have nothing to be ashamed of."
Tejana was about to reply when she heard someone calling her name.
"Tejana? Where are you, you naughty child? I know you're in here somewhere! Come out!"
"It's House-Mother Agathe," Tejana whispered to her companion. "You'd better go. If she finds you in here with me, we'll both get in trouble."
The man nodded, a look of amusement passing over his face. "More than you know," he agreed enigmatically, getting to his feet and dusting off his trousers.
"Wait!" she said abruptly, reluctant now to see him go. He glanced at her inquiringly. "Do...do you have any children?"
"No," he answered solemnly. "Not yet."
"Well...when you do...make sure you don't ever run off and leave them all alone," she told him, raising her chin and trying to keep her voice steady.
"That sounds like good advice. I'll keep it in mind. Goodbye, Tejana."
"Will I see you again?" she asked wistfully.
He smiled. "Sooner than you think."
With an airy wave, he stepped back between the tall tomato plants and disappeared. It was not a moment too soon, for right then House-Mother Agathe's portly figure steamed into view, puffing and panting indignantly.
"There you are!" the elderly Time Lady exclaimed. "I've been looking all over for...oh, Rassilon's bones, what have you been doing, you dreadful child? You're absolutely filthy! And just look at this mess! All of the Gardener's beautiful tomatoes ruined – what is he going to say? What in the name of Gallifrey I ever did to get stuck looking after a little devil like you, I'll never know!"
The old lady went on and on and on as she hustled Tejana back to her dorm room, but the little girl didn't hear a single word. She still had no idea who the stranger had been, but for the first time since her father had left, she felt a warm shred of comfort in her desolate hearts.
Tejana looked down at her acolyte's robe of fine white wool, her hands twisting nervously before her. She had been washed and scrubbed within an inch of her life, her hair brushed until it shone like white gold, before being dressed into a series of intricate braids. Once she was ready for the induction ceremony, House-Mother Agathe had refused to allow her to leave her sight, in case she got into any more mischief. As a result, she had been made to sit in a chair without moving for two hours until it was time to leave for the Sanctuary of Cold Lamentation.
Now they stood in the huge crowd in front of the sweeping marble steps that led up to the imposing Sanctuary. There were around two hundred children waiting to be initiated this year, all of them surrounded by adoring family members. Gallifreyans did not tend to have many children, so those they did have tended to be hugely indulged, in some cases unhealthily so. Later, as she grew up, Tejana was to wonder if that was the reason so many Time Lords grew up to be apathetic and indolent, content in their own superiority and uninterested in the rest of the Universe. At eight years old, however, all she knew was that – standing alone with House-Mother Agathe – she was different, horribly, painfully different. A boy standing nearby gave her a sympathetic grin. She knew his name was Damon, because she had heard his mother speaking to him earlier. He looked nice, but House-Mother Agathe would not allow Tejana to talk to him.
The Gold Usher, resplendent in his gleaming robes, stood on the white marble stairs, calling out the names of the initiates one by one, summoning them into the Sanctuary.
Once inside, each child would be required to walk alone through the freezing shadows of the enormous, echoing Sanctuary, until they reached the dais at the very end, where the Lord President sat on a regal throne. Each initiate had to kneel in obeisance, kiss the President's ring and solemnly recite the Vows of Induction: I swear to protect the ancient Law of Gallifrey with all my might and brain. I will to the end of my days, with justice and with honour temper my actions and my thoughts. Then the great doors behind the throne would open and the child would be escorted out to begin the long approach to the Untempered Schism, to face the unknown.
Tejana went over and over the Vows in her mind, terrified that when the time came, she would forget them. She felt hollow inside, fear crawling like a living thing along her skin. She was determined to be brave. She would show them that the House of Lungbarrow could be as proud as any other. But...oh gods, she wished her mother was there, just to give her one last kiss, just to give her some much-needed courage.
I will not cry, she told herself. I will not cry!
"Damon of the House of Windcrest!" the Gold Usher announced.
There was a flurry of excited movement within the family beside her, as the nice-looking dark-haired boy was kissed and hugged, before his parents took him by the hand and led him forward. Tejana couldn't help the jealousy that stirred in her hearts. What must it be like to be loved like that? Proudly, Damon gave his family one last smile before ascending the stairs, accompanied by the Gold Usher, and disappearing into the Sanctuary.
Solemnly, the Usher returned to the bottom of the stairs. "Tejanakaturadilena of the House of Lungbarrow," he called sonorously.
Tejana froze. All at once, hearing her name, she couldn't move. Her feet seemed to be immovably fixed to the ground.
"Come on, child," Agathe said impatiently, hauling her hurriedly forward by the arm. Before she knew it, she was standing beside the Gold Usher at the foot of those awful stairs. She understood that she was expected to start walking, but somehow she just couldn't. The night seemed to press around her, the shadows seeping into her soul through her undefended eyes and nose and ears, the unfriendly stars that had taken her father away laughing mockingly down at her.
I'm going to be one of the ones that run away, before I even get to the Untempered Schism, she thought dully. Oh Father, where are you? I need you, I need you so much!
Wordlessly, like someone about to be executed, she turned back to look at the silent crowd, hoping against hope that she would sense her father there, that by some miracle – like a last minute fairytale – he had come back for her. But he wasn't there. All those people staring at her and not one single one of them was there for her, not one single one to care if she lived or died. The loneliness and hopelessness swept over her in a soul-smashing wave that threatened to drive her to her knees.
But then she heard it, the still, small voice in her mind.
Tejana. You're not alone. I'm here.
Whirling around, she searched the crowd until she found him, standing right at the back, his arms folded. It was the black-dressed stranger she had met among the tomato plants.
Nobody should be alone on the Eve of Cold Lamentation. So I'm here for you, the voice said calmly in her mind.
I can't do it, she silently cried out to him. I'm too afraid. I'm going to run away, I just know it!
You won't run. Be strong, Tejana. I know you can do this.
Somehow, the certainty in his voice reached into her hearts and soothed and calmed her. The darkness began to recede and a fresh breeze blew over her, ruffling her hair like an affectionate hand. It wasn't hopeless. She could resist the fear. She could fight. Because she wasn't alone.
You can do this. Be strong.
Gritting her teeth, concentrating on his words, feeling him in her mind, she began to make herself walk up the stairs, the Gold Usher pacing ceremoniously beside her. The steps seemed to stretch on for eternity, but at last she reached the top. The entrance to the Sanctuary yawned like a huge mouth, waiting to consume her. Tejana raised her head high, her pride finally coming to her rescue. The devastating moment of fear had passed, slowly dissipating as she had climbed, vanishing as though it had never been. She was the last representative of the house of Lungbarrow. No matter what happened, she knew now that she would not run.
Turning back, she looked out over the crowd far below, searching once more for the mysterious dark figure at the back.
She saw him nod and raise his hand in farewell, just as he had earlier that afternoon. And then he was gone.
Tejana turned towards the Sanctuary. She didn't know who the stranger was, or if she would ever see him again. But he had given her the gift of hope when she needed it most. Her destiny as a Time Lady lay before her. All she needed to do was to take it. Stepping out confidently, she began the long walk into her future.
Another Author's Note: OK, just in case anyone didn't get it - the stranger was the Master. See, sometimes he can be nice, even in my stories! Cheers!