Disclaimer: Characters and situations owned by Joss Whedon & Mutant Enemy.

Timeline: Virginia, 1609.


The Master never told her why he sired her, and she did not ask. He called her his Lady Vice at first, and she suspected that was the reason: he loved morality plays, and still needed her for the role. With the cynicism that carried over from her human existence, she also believed he intended to discard her as soon as he got tired of the play and wanted to recast.

Sometimes she was afraid he would not.

He did not like to travel, that was one of the first things she learned about him, her sire, this creature whom she had, not inaccurately, believed to be Death Incarnate come to take her. He had crossed the ocean to come to this New World, and yet he did not like to travel. "Sometimes it is necessary, my dear," he told her, "but only sometimes. Once I have established a new court, I prefer it to last, a few decades at least."

"Ah, but you need suitable courtiers, do you not?" she asked. "And you won't find any more here."

She did not want to stay in Virginia, now that she had sated her thirst on everyone who had ever annoyed her in Jamestown. No, she wanted to return to the Old World, where everything which had once discarded her waited to learn better. But she did not know yet how much power he had over her. There was so much about her new state she did not know, and he did. Simply put, she did not know the rules. So she could not leave him.

"Really?" the Master asked, and his puckered mouth formed to a smile. He looked more like a skull than ever. "A successful... woman of property like yourself should have learned to count better."

She laughed merrily, not forgetting for a moment that this was not simply a customer. For all she knew, he could take back the gift of eternal life whenever he wished to. "Oh," she said, "there is much more food. But you have already chosen the only suitable courtier. Anyone else would bore you."

"You think that highly of yourself, do you?" he asked, and for the first time, she could hear the trace of an accent, hinting that English was not his native tongue. She held his eyes.

"I do."

"And you do not wish to stay."

"No," she said. "I don't." And she gave him her most impertinent smile. "And you do not wish to bore me."

He let his fingers with their long nails run across her neck. She remembered how he drained her, remembered every agonized second of her human death. His nails scraped her skin and drew blood, but she held still.

"No," the Master said, and there was some marvel in his voice, "I don't." He bend his mouth to lick the blood from her skin. A few moments later, her neck was as unblemished and smooth as it had been since her death. "The road it is then, my dear. For both of us."

That was the second thing she learned about him; she might not know the rules yet, but she had always known how to make men break them, and for all his power, he was just a man.

"A warning, my dear," he said. "I am a poor traveller. You might not find it easy at my side."

"If it were easy, I would be bored, wouldn't I?" she returned, which was true enough and yet entirely not what she thought. What she thought was this: it was the journey that mattered. If the company was poor, one could always look to replace it.