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Author's Note: Set between "The Sound of Drums" and the end of "Last of the Time Lords". Huge thanks to my betas calapine, researchgrrrl, faneunice, and agentxpndble. Originally posted 16 July 2007.
by Tara LJC O'Shea
"You really ought to kill him," Lucy said over breakfast, the day after the End of the World.
"Who, my dear?" Harry asked as he spread a thin layer of marmalade over his toast.
"The Doctor, of course. You've been so careful, everything's been perfect. Just as you promised. But you've said it yourself: alive he's dangerous."
He cracked the top of his soft-boiled egg with his teaspoon neatly, and set the sad little bit of shell and egg white on the side of his plate.
"Don't worry your pretty little head," he said with an indulgent smile.
As long as Lucy had known him, Harry almost never slept.
She'd worried at first that there was something wrong with her that he didn't share her bed except in, well... the conjugal way.
Then he'd patiently explained that his people hardly needed sleep the way fragile humans did. He would sleep for an hour or two a week, or even less, and be restored, alert. Instead of making her feel small and primitive, instead she'd felt flattered that he'd made the efforts he had to cater to her weakness.
She'd been used to sleeping alone, and so she made the transition easily. She would drop off each night listening to him flipping channels on the telly, or speaking quietly on his mobile, and when she woke in the morning she'd be treated to the litany of what he'd accomplished while she and her brethren had surrendered a third of their lives of sleep. It was all an adventure. Like Christmas morning every day.
When he did sleep, that first year, she suspected it was in his machine. She didn't like it—the way every time she stepped through the doors, she was reminded that there was so much more outside her world that she was ignorant of. Everything about it, from the strange growths like bones or coral that held up the roof, to the endless corridors that seemed to go in spirals, unnerved her. She never felt welcome there. Harry had told her that the machine was alive, and she fancied that not only was it alive, but it didn't like her.
So Lucy had her bedchamber, maintaining the fiction that Mr and Mrs Saxon lived as man and wife in wedded bliss, and the Master had his TARDIS. And it was right and proper.
But every once in a while, Harry stayed with her after, falling like the rest of humanity. Because the instances were so rare, they stood out for Lucy like clear photograph images amongst impressionist paintings.
The first time had been after the massacre at Canary Warf.
That night she woke just gone five in the morning, exhausted by the day's events. At first, she thought she'd been roused by the unfamiliar sensation of sharing a bed with another, hearing breaths out of synch with her own, the weight of another body next to hers beneath the Egyptian cotton sheets.
Then she'd seen his eyes in the gloom. It was as if the pressure of his gaze had pulled her to the surface, and she blinked sleepily before coming fully awake.
He was lying atop the duvet, still in the charcoal grey suit he'd donned the previous morning. His wedding band caught the light as he scrubbed at his eyes with both hands, like a sleepy child trying to stay awake past bedtime. There were shadows beneath his eyes, and his tie was undone but still hung around his neck. He looked exhausted.
"They only brought me back, the high and mighty Council, because they didn't want to dirty their lily-white hands. They wouldn't commit genocide—just order it done. They needed a weapon. I was just a weapon. A gun they could aim, and fire without a trace of guilt. The drumming... I thought the drums were calling me to war... but when the war came? I ran."
Afraid the flow of words would stop and the spell would break, Lucy hadn't spoken. Just lain there in the gloom, the sound of sirens in the distance.
"I ran away and hid, only there was no-one left to call me out. I almost died a human. I'd have lived out the rest of my days locked in a decaying human body, thinking little human thoughts.
"But he saved me. If he hadn't come..." He trailed off, staring into the darkness.
"You saved yourself," she finally said, and he look at her as if he hadn't even realised she was there. "And you came here. To me. And that's all the matters."
He stayed that night, and his skin, usually cool and dry, was clammy against hers. She knew it was nightmares. He didn't talk, or cry out, or wake screaming. People never did that in real life. Just books and films. But she knew, because only when he was dreaming could she see the naked fear on his face. And no-one else ever saw it. She was the only one.
Those nights, Lucy would lie awake at his side, listening to his breathing, and when she could, pressed up against his side, desperately wishing her presence might somehow communicate itself in sleep and bring him stillness and comfort.
It never did.
After the riots in Shanghai, Lucy watched the plumes of smoke rise like a column over the wasteland. But she couldn't concentrate on the devastation the Toclafane had wrought in Harry's name.
Harry had taken the ancient, crumbling Doctor from his cell in the bowels of the ship and tethered him like a dog in the corner of the Valiant flight deck. Lucy hated it. She hated the way he just stared at her, his rheumy brown eyes following her wherever she went. He never spoke to her. He never spoke.
"Does he have to be here?" she asked, petulant. "All the time?"
"Oh dear. Jealous? Really, Lucy. He's perfectly harmless. Aren't you, Doctor?" Harry called, and the old man just stared blankly at the wall. "You're right. it is terribly dull. Tell you what, why don't we shake things up a bit?"
Lucy laughed, feeling wicked and alive as he took her hand and spun her as they were dancing.
"Do you remember that horrible dinner?" he whispered in her ear. "When the Home Secretary got drunk, and Pierce from Five kept speaking in double-entendres and everyone pretended they didn't notice?"
"And that horrible woman from Six just kept glowering. I'm so very glad you had her killed. She always looked at me as if I was something she'd just scraped off her shoe."
"But do you remember what you said, while the food got cold and the wine grew warm? How wouldn't it just shock them all..."
"...if they knew what my hand was doing under the table?" She raised a brow and he dipped her. Her long blond curls brushed the floor, and then tangled in her face as he righted her again. One leg was trapped between his, and she delighted in the friction. She looked up into his eyes, her hand sliding between them just to watch his expression change.
"You were so very naughty, my dear." He kissed her again, catching her bottom lip between his teeth and the mingled pleasure and pain made her breath catch in her throat.
"So what do you say we show our dear Doctor how a real Time Lord and his faithful companion have fun, eh?"
Without waiting for her answer he caught her around the waist and lifted her onto the smoked glass conference table. His hands were cool as they slid up her thighs, and she hooked one leg around his waist, her high heeled shoe falling to the floor with a clatter.
"Harry..." she breathed against his mouth before he kissed her, his tongue sliding against hers as she ground herself against him. He pushed her backwards until she was staring up at the grated ceiling. She closed her eyes, and laughed low in her throat at the ring of metal on metal as he unclasped his belt buckle. The tabletop was smooth beneath her as he thrust into her, and she arched her back, fingers curling into fists.
"Is this what you want?" he asked between thrusts.
Her throat was dry, and her voice came out a hiss. "Yes. God, please Harry... Yes." She squeezed her eyes shut, lifting her hips to meet his.
"Tell me what you want. Tell me."
"You. I want you, Master..."
A long shudder went through her as she used his name. He clasped her wrists in his hands and pinned them over her head as he began thrusting into her harder and faster, his grip almost painful.
She opened her eyes, wanting to see his face as he came.
But Harry's eyes were fixed on the Doctor, sitting against the wall in his grimy suit.
The last time he stayed was after New York had burned.
"I didn't want to believe they were gone," he'd said as she'd held him while the sweat had cooled on their bodies and the skies in the East began to lighten along the horizon.
She didn't have to ask who they were.
"He'd said everything had changed, but I hadn't believed him. I thought they were hiding. They had to be hiding. But the silence... How can they be gone?"
He closed his eyes, and allowed her to nestle her head in the curve of his neck.
"You're alive. You survived, and they didn't. That's all that matters."
"My Lucy," he'd sighed. "My simple, sweet Lucy."
Two men, their eyes blank and faces slack from the Archangel control, escorted her from the flight deck to the bowels of the ship. Captain Jack Harkness hung suspended between two supports, his hands wrapped around the lengths of chain to keep him upright. His dark hair was matted against his forehead, and Lucy could smell the stench from where she stood.
"Now what did I do, to rate special treatment? It's not often the princess descends from the tower to check out the plight of the folks in the dungeon."
She struck him as hard as she could across the face. Her nails left parallel slashes across his cheek which began to ooze blood.
"You're a freak," she hissed as the gashes closed up, the skin beneath the grime and sweat unblemished. She could hit him again and again and he would never bruise. There would never be any mark. In that moment, she hated him more than any living creature on the face of the earth.
"I'm not the one who danced while tens of thousands of her own people were slaughtered."
"Don't you dare speak to me that way."
"I'll speak to you any way I like. From where I stand, you're nothing but a traitor."
She took a step closer, and she swore he flinched. It made her feel better. "Tell me, if I cut out your tongue, will it grow back? Or will you spend the rest of eternity trying to get your point across using Charades and Pictionary? Gosh. Wouldn't that be funny."
Jack just grinned. "He'll stop him. The Doctor will stop him."
"And then where will you be? Still the power behind the throne? When the Doctor stops the Master, you'll be all alone. And you'll have to live with what you've done."
"Shut up. Shut up. Shut up."
"Why? What are you going to do, kill me? Sing a new song, sister. That one's getting old."
"No-one can stop Harry. No-one. Harry knows what he's doing. You can't make me doubt him. Nothing you can do can make me doubt him."
"Methinks the lady doth protest too much. You wouldn't be down here if you didn't—"
Lucy took the pistol from one of the guards and shot him.
The sound of the gunshot echoed in the corridor, bouncing off the bulkheads. The spent shell casing rolled across the floor, coming to rest against the toe of Lucy's shoe.
Then she left him there, sagging against the chains.
Harry dressed her like a doll from plundered finery from a hundred different cities. That night she wore black silk, her hair piled high atop her head and held in place with a dozen pins.
She hid her scowl as his eyes followed Tish Jones' form a bit too attentively as she brought their dinners in on heavy silver. She waited until the help had gone, before lifting the champagne flute to her lips to wet them.
"You have to kill him," she said conversationally, and Harry paused, fork frozen in mid-air almost comically.
"Who would you like me to kill today, my dear?"
He set his fork down with a ring of metal on china, blood from the rare steak spattering the pristine white linen.
"As long as he's alive, he can stop you," Lucy went on, ignoring the mess. "You have to kill him."
He raised a brow. "Are you telling me what I have to do?"
Her hands began to sweat, and she clenched her fists beneath the table, resisting the urge to wipe them on her silk-covered thighs.
He rose from the table, and held out his hand. She took it, and allowed him to lead her over to the windows where the Earth was laid out before them, fires still burning in parts of the city below. She couldn't remember which city it was, any longer. She rather suspected it might be Leeds.
"This is my world, Lucy." His hand at the small of her back pushed her forward until her nose was almost pressed up against the glass. "No-one can stop me. Not the Doctor. Not his little pets. He's nothing. An impotent old man. Helpless."
"But not broken," she cried, a flush rising in her cheeks as she turned to face him. "He has to be either dead or broken. He has to."
"My Lucy... always thinking of me." He cupped her cheek in his hand. "Bless."
She looked into his eyes, still frowning. "Harry, do you love me?"
He laughed. Like she was a child who had just done something terribly amusing in the eyes of the grown-ups. "I married you, didn't I?"
"If you loved me, you'd kill him."
She hadn't been expecting the blow. She collapsed with a yelp of pain and surprise, her hands coming up instinctively to ward off a second. But he only stood over her, his fists clenched as he stared down at her, his lip curled in a sneer.
She tasted blood in her mouth as he hauled her roughly to her feet, and she bit back a scream. But he only wrapped his arms around her, pressing his lips to her hair.
"I only want... I only want you to be safe," she gasped out between sobs. "I didn't mean... I don't want him to take you away from me."
He pulled back, tilting her chin so he could look into her eyes.
"Lucy. Lucy, Lucy, Lucy. Until death do us part. Isn't that the promise we made to one another?"
She swallowed, tasting copper.
"I for one plan to keep my promise," he whispered, smoothing her hair back from her brow before he placed a chaste kiss to her temple.
Lucy limped across the Valiant flight-deck, gathering the floor-length gown on one hand so she wouldn't trip.
The deck was nearly empty now, with the auto-pilot engaged. Harry didn't like anyone else being able to play with his toys if he wasn't, so the ship had been fitted with isomorphic controls. The Joneses were locked away in the cells, where there would be no more furtive messages passed via whatever system the traitors had worked out. No more plots, or attempts to stop them. Lucy hoped Harry would execute them. She hoped he would let her watch. Just like old times.
Only one man remained. If he could still be called a man.
She pushed one of the chairs over to the cage was suspended from the ceiling, turning it backwards so she could hold onto the back with both hands. She knelt with one knee in the centre of the cushion to her eyes were level with his.
The Doctor stared at her, his brown eyes over-large in his shrivelled face. Didn't even blink. His natty suit was in rags. Harry had done that just to make her laugh, he told her afterwards. She had barely been able to lift the corner of her mouth in a smile. And it felt as if she did, her face would crack and crumble away, so she kept very still. Everything she did, now, took so much effort. But she'd made the effort now because she might not get another chance. And there were things that needed to be said now, on the eve of war. Because she may never get another chance.
"You all try so hard. Try to make me doubt him. In here," she touched her temple, "and in here." Her hand fell to touch the skin above her heart. "But you can't. Because I love him. To love, cherish, and obey, that's what we promised. We promised, forever and ever."
The Doctor's eyes filled with tears, and Lucy dig her nails into her palms.
He pitied her.
She could see it, writ across his features. Harkness held her in contempt. The Jones family despised her. But there was no condemnation in the Time Lord's eyes, no judgement. Just heartfelt and sincere pity.
"Harry loves me. I know he does. He took me to see the stars."
When she looked back over her shoulder, his tiny hands were wrapped around the bars of the cage, and she realised that he was fortunate.
At least he could see the bars of his cage.
Lucy stroked her husband's hair as he slept fitfully beside her. Her red dress was a pool of blood on the floor, and the pins that had held her hair were scattered amongst its folds.
"I made my choice," she whispered to him.
"There is no faith in which to hide. Even truth is filled with lies.
Doubting angels fall to walk among the living."
— VNV Nation