25.

The Doctor stared silently at the words carved out in the wall. He had fallen victim to a fit of elaborate hair yanking, and looked possibly even more eccentric to the flabbergasted Romans than he already did before.

"Where is he!" He screamed, whirling around to face an anxious brothel holder and his surprised servant. "What have you done to Marcellus! Speak up!"

Simon pushed his servant forward, hiding behind the Moor's huge bulk like a fearful weasel. "Come on Micranus, get rid of this lunatic!" He sneered.

It could have been the crazed look in the Doctor's stare, the whiteness that rimmed the pupils, or the huge bulging eyes with the rubbery, overactive eyebrows, that convinced Micranus to not immediately settle this in the familiar ways.

"What's he to you?" The Moor asked, much to the dissatisfaction of his master.

"What do you mean?" The Doctor inquired, cocking an eyebrow.

"Is he family, a brother? Or a friend?" From the look of him Micranus suspected that they were indeed related, another cuckoo that had dropped out of the same nest with crazy eggs.

"He's a friend." The Doctor answered, he seemed to have calmed down a little, but that was only on the surface. "Well, actually, he's not really a friend. Considering he doesn't really like me that much. And I'm not too fond of what he does and how he is." The Doctor furrows his brows. "And he does try to kill me quite often." He paused for a moment, before adding in one breath. "But he's all that I've got left."

Despite the lack of cohesiveness in the Doctor's answer, Micranus somehow understood.

"He's the last of your tribe."

The Doctor blinked his eyes, surprised by the Moor's unexpected clairvoyance.

"Yes. He is. It's just the two of us. No-one else is left."

Micranus nodded. "I'm also the last of my tribe. I can understand how you feel."

"What are you talking to him for? Just hit him!" Simon screamed at his servant, being determined that this barbarian was nothing but trouble. But then commotions coming from inside the brothel distracted his attention away from the Doctor. Livia's brother was busy sweeping up a pile of coins from the counter while his sister was holding open the purse for him to collect the small treasure.

"You screwed little trollop! You thieves! Get your hands off my money!" The furious patron rushed back inside. "Micranus! Quick! Stop them! Don't let them get away!"

Macrinus was about to turn around and follow his master, but the Doctor stopped him in his tracks.

"Wait! You know something! Tell me where I can find him!"

Micranus looked the Doctor in the eyes for moment, only to cast them down quickly again.

"You better go back to your homeland. Don't waste your time here any longer."

"What? Why? Did something happen to him?" A God-awful feeling of hopelessness sank into his stomach. "You know what happened here. Tell me!"

"Micranus! Get in here now or I'll get you flogged!" Simon ordered.

"I'm sorry." The Moor pushed the Doctor aside.

"No, I'm sorry. But I must know." The Doctor flung himself on Micranus back, holding onto to him while he spun around wildly like a mad bull trying to get rid of his assaulter. "What in Jupiter's name are you doing!" The Moor screamed, being more surprised than anything else. The Doctor put his hands on the man's shaven head and closed his eyes as he rushed into Micranus's mind.

The human mind is not an impenetrable thing for a Timelord, and the Doctor had been linked to other humans before in order to extract information. But most of the times, the people whose minds he accessed had more or less volunteered, and had been warmed in advance by the Doctor before the process was initiated. Micranus's mind was in shock by the violent intrusion, and all around the Doctor's presence, doors to different areas of his recollections was being slammed shut instinctively. But the Doctor's mind was much, much faster. He searched amongst the stored memories, raced through a lifetime of them with the speed of light, and found hidden in one of the deepest, darkest corner of Micranus's mind the ones that were connected to the Master. He kicked the door to this grim cellar wide open, and let the information stream into his head.

What he saw and what he came to know broke his hearts.

He held in his hand a blackened branding iron, glowing orange at the tip. He pressed the hot mark onto Marcellus's skin. The sickening smell of burnt flesh filled his nostrils. The screams coming from his victim echoed in his ears.

The Master, twitching his body uncontrollably in pain, dangling from the chains, staring up at him with fear in his eyes. In his hand the Doctor now held a horse whip, crusted with blood. The Master, he begged him to stop as he approached. He cracked the whip on his ruined back, and only stopped till Simon order him to.

He had chained him up like a dog in the back alley. Cold and starving, Marcellus threw himself at his feet, begging for food. Just a crust of bread or a warm bowl of watery soup. Please. Anything. He kicked him aside viciously and ignored his pleads. In the night, when everyone else was fast asleep, he heard him cry softly of the cold and the shock. He turned on his straw bed, away from the sounds, and managed to find some sleep.

Simon had ordered him to punish the slave for what he had done to his clients. The Master was looking up at him again, but this time there was no hope left in his eyes. He knew he would not receive mercy from anyone. In front of a crowd of drunken customers and frightened slave girls, he was bound and flogged till his skin was open and raw. The men took him afterwards, savagely, while the others watched and ridiculed. He stood back in the shadows, and did nothing while he saw how the abuse, pain and degradation finally stole the last trace of sanity away from the Master.

"No no no no no! No more! No more of this!" The Doctor let go of Micranus, stepping away from him as he clutched onto his temples. "Oh, Master, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." He collapsed against the wall, and sank through his knees. "It's all my fault. This should have never happened to you!" He pressed his hands against his eyes, holding back the tears.

Micranus was still in a state of shock. "You've- You have been inside my mind!"

The Doctor did not answer him. He was still caught in a grief that was all consuming, freezing every fiber of his being into a state of horror and mourning. He questioned himself how he could bear this. How could he bear all this guilt and not go mad.

"What you have done is not possible for any normal man. It's voodoo! Black magic and sorcery!" Micranus stepped away from him, his eyes white-rimmed in fear.

"What are you? A demon of the north? Some kind of vengeful God?"

When the Doctor opened his eyes, a tear slid down his cheek. He slowly rose up again. There was a great anger, dangerous and violent, swelling inside that would have torn a hole in the universe, taking the earth down into destruction with him if he had allowed it to take control.

"Is that what you fear?" The Doctor asked, his eyes turned cold and vicious. "Is that what would have stopped you from doing those horrific things to him?! A VENGEFULL GOD?"

Micranus, caught in paralyzing fear, fell on his knees in front of the Doctor.

"Simon forced me! I didn't want to hurt him! I swear on the Roman Gods! I felt guilty about it, so I helped him! I helped him to get away!"

"You did what?"

"I tried to save him! I tried! Honestly! Don't punish me! Don't curse me oh great white God from the North! I didn't know he was from your tribe!"

"You saved him? Really? So he's not dead?" A smile of relief beamed from the Doctor's face. "Tell me where he is then!"

"Don't turn me into a dog! I can't stand dogs, please!"

"Alright, alright! I promise I won't turn you into a barking fleabag!" The Doctor crouched down and stared Marcellus directly into his eyes. "Now tell me where he is!"

26.

The stars were still visible in the night's sky when he opened his eyes again. They were winking at him with their cool light. He blinked, and swallowed with difficulty, his throat felt dryer than the plains of Spain.

I must have passed out, he pondered, I don't remember lying down and falling asleep. He crawled back up with much effort, wrapping the horse blanket tightly over his shoulders. The shivers were becoming so much worse now that the cold had returned, clocking in after the fever had left him drenched in sweat. He felt like an old man, staggering blindly down the road in the pitch-black night, being summoned by death from his sleep. He had followed the sound of the drums, up to the road that ran out of the city and went south into the direction of Neapolis. He passed gravestones and tombs, and a large monstrous tree with its branches heavy with a family of ravens. They cowed maliciously at him, turning their heads to see who had disturbed them from their dreams.

The necropolis. Why was he being led into the necropolis? He turned around, taking in his surroundings anxiously. The lime stone monuments around him shimmered in the moonlight like white skeletal bones that stuck out of the cold ground. Was this his destination? Was death the only thing that awaited him then? He stopped in his tracks. How daft can you be Marcellus? He thought to himself, grinning sadly at his own foolishness. What can possibly be the aim otherwise? You are surrounded by the relics of the dead. There is nothing else here. I wouldn't be surprised if you would happen to stumble and fall into a freshly dug, unoccupied grave with your name on it.

"And you're hardly getting any better." He muttered softly to himself. "Really, what hope is there to make you think that you will make it?"

But his mind was not at ease. It seemed such a waste, for to what purpose were then his efforts? Why threaten and frighten him only to send him all the way here with no other purpose but to die?

"Why did you order me to follow the drums?" He finally dared to ask. His own voice now sounded strange to his ears, weak and broken. He had grown accustomed to the other voice that spoke to him in his head, a voice that sounded so very confident and strong.

No answer came. He held his breath and waited, but the necropolis remained peaceful and quiet. There was not even the sound of the birds bickering in the old tree or the leaves rustling in the wind. Even the drums had stopped.

He perched his ears, why did it stop? Panic swelled inside him. Where was he supposed to go now? Without the drums, he did not know the way.

"Where are the drums? You asked me to follow the drums! Where are they?" He cupped his hands behind is ears, nothing. Only the sound of his breathing that became shallow and fast. "You can't just abandon me! Why did you bring me here? Speak to me!" He yelled with a trembling voice. "SPEAK DAMMIT!"

The ravens in the tree left their branches, and jumped into the air in fright, quarrelling loudly in dissent.

In front of him appeared a light, dimly at first, but quickly strengthening in brightness. He stumbled into its direction. Like a moth attracted to a flame, he thought cynically. When he came closer he realized that the lights were from a huge tomb, its entrance adorned by marble pillars and statues of the Goddess Vesta, the protector of home and family. The fires burning in copper dishes hanging from silver hooks cast an eerie shadow on the huge marble slates. The inscription above the entrance porch stated the name of the family that was buried here.

This is the resting place of the honorable family of senator Cealus Hortalus, noble citizen and protector of Rome. May they find justice in the way of the Gods.

"Senator Cealus. Good to see you again my dear friend." Marcellus whispered. "May the Gods indeed grant you the justice that had eluded you during life."

He stood there in front of the good senator's grave in silence, sadness and desperation filled his mind with bleak thoughts.

"Marcellus, is that you?"

Marcellus who was astonished to hear that familiar voice again gazed up the steps of the mausoleum. He found senator Cealus standing in the door opening, leaning on his trusted cane. From inside the tomb came joyful music and the busy chatter of a crowd. The senator smiled, and made his way down the steps.

"Marcellus! I knew it! You've made it!" He gave him a hug and put his arm over his shoulder. "Oh my dear friend, you're cold like a mackerel on dry land! Quick, let's get inside and warm you up with a hot drink!" He shook him merrily. "And put some food in your stomach as well. You look like a famished dog!"

"You're alive!" Marcellus muttered, unable to stop staring at the senator in disbelief. "How can this be? Those men, they told me that they have killed you and your family!"

"Don't speak so loud about this." The senator hushed, visibly uncomfortable. "My wife and my daughter are inside, keeping the company to the other guests. I don't wish to alarm them."

He guided the stunned young man through the entrance and into a large atrium. The walls were adorned by beautiful frescos in vibrant colors. In the center was a small impluvium with a statue of a dancing faun. They passed through the reception room where wealthy guests lay down on long comfortable sofas. They gorged themselves on the elaborate meal that lay spread out in front of them. The dishes looked exquisite and bizarre; lark tongues in honey, mice stuffed with olives, black mushrooms piled up high in pyramids drenched in punchent anchovies sauce, and something that looked like a whole swan roasted on the spit. The smell of all this cooked food alone made Marcellus's poor stomach turn. Luckily for him, they didn't stall and ventured further into a long corridor of pillars that took them to the secluded back garden, where most of the guests had gathered. All were in high spirits, with the wine flowing freely and a band of musicians playing gaily on their instruments. A small army of servants tended the guests, bringing out large plates from the kitchen with all sorts of fruit, fish and meat. Marcellus stared at all this in amazement, clutching onto the senator as they made their way to a quiet little corner of the garden.

"Something the matter my boy?" The senator asked, noticing the awestruck expression on the young man's face.

" Ehm, no. It's just- It's bigger isn't it? This –" He wanted to say tomb, but quickly

corrected himself. "This building. I looked so much smaller from the outside."

"And that surprises you?"

"Actually, no." Marcellus answered, furrowing his brows. When he really let the idea sink in, the lack of logic to this observation somehow didn't strike him as odd at all.

"Thought so. Let me get you a drink then before you go mingle with the other guests."

"Should I really be here sir?" Marcellus asked, suddenly being shamefully aware of what he must look like to the others. He was bare footed, dressed in nothing but rags and was covered in filth. "Don't be insulted dominus, I'm glad to see you again, I really am, but maybe you should keep me out of sight. I should go to the kitchens or any other place where I won't bother your important guests."

"But you are the guest of honor Marcellus! Who told you that these pompous scumbags were of any importance? They were only invited because of you, and I don't give a vermin's excrement about what they think and neither should you." He took a carafe of wine from a passing servant. "Your outfit looks fine by the way, don't worry."

"This isn't right." Marcellus muttered. And then he saw it, half-hidden by the folds of his toga that came up unusually high to his chin, the thin red slash that ran across the senator's neck.

"No, no no, this isn't right at all." He stumbled backwards, knocked a plate with grapes from the table, and bumped into a large rectangle construction that stood in the middle of the garden. He accidentally put his hand on it to steady himself. The crowd and the senator vanished in front of his eyes, and he saw the inside of a tomb, grim and hostile. Urns that contained the ashes of the dead sat in the dark niches that lined the marble walls. The rectangle box he had stumbled into was a sarcophagus, the marble slate on top was engraved with the name of the senator and his family members.

"This isn't real." Marcellus rambled fearfully to himself. "The house and the garden. It was a hallucination." He threw his head back and stared up to the ceiling. "I'm inside a tomb."

"My poor confused boy, do you prefer it to be a tomb?" The senator's voice spoke to him in the darkness. "Do you want to be in a place where it is cold, and dark, and where your only friend in this world is dead and buried?"

He felt how the cold once again penetrated his flesh and spread through his veins, turning them into rivers of ice. How the old wounds that covered his body throbbed sorely, while the familiar dull aches returned to his bones. In front of his eyes, he saw how the darkness, the all-consuming darkness, was closing in on him.

"Would you prefer to be left alone?"

"No, no I don't!" There was panic in his voice. "Please, don't leave me here all by my own!"

A ghostly hand appeared out of the gloom, beckoning him. "Come, get up Marcellus. Take my hand."

He took the hand. As he tightened his grip on it, it occurred to him that it felt as cold as stone. He was pulled back to his feet. The world changed again in front of his eyes, the garden reappeared, followed by the crowd and the musicians, the smell of cooked food and the gentle music in his ears.

The senator tapped him gently on his shoulders. "Don't be afraid. You're safe here with me. Now, I remember promising you a drink." He poured a mug full and placed it into Marcellus trembling hands. "Drink this son, it will warm you right up." Marcellus took a sip. The sugary taste of the spiced wine was very pleasant and comforting.

"Feel better?"

Marcellus nodded thankfully.

"Sometimes it's better to be fooled than to dwell in the grimness of reality." The senator said with a touch of sadness in his voice. He guided the young man to a row of seats next to a small fountain. "Now, don't worry any longer, sit down and talk to me my dear boy." He grabbed a plate, filed it to the rim with cold cuts, bread and fruits, and handed it to Marcellus. "Tell me what happened to you since the last time that we've met. I think we are still granted some more time together."

They sat together for a long time, and Marcellus spoke about the unfortunate things that happened to him, hesitantly at first, but slowly gaining confidence in his voice, while the senator listened quietly. He told the senator about the missing Denaries, stolen from Simon's moneybox, how his own savings were confiscated and how he was framed for the crime and had to pay for it dearly. He told him about the encounter with the senator's murderers, and his illness that had been a mixed blessing since it was the source of his expulsion from Simon's brothel. The older man's face grew grim as he realized how much his young friend must have suffered, although Marcellus took great care to leave out the most horrible details of the hardship he had endured. He didn't want to upset his dear friend too much.

After he finished his tale both men remained silent for a while. Marcellus cast his eyes down, anxious and ashamed, till the good senator took his hand and squeezed it gently. He did not say anything to him, but the reassuring look in his eyes told the young man enough.

"So." Marcellus spoke, finally breaking the silence after he had been offered another warm cup of spiced wine. "What is going to happen now, can I stay here with you sir?" He drank from his cup, staring bleakly at the wound in the senator's neck. "Tell me sir, and please, I prefer you to be blunt than you to be dishonest with me. Am I dead?"

"No Marcellus. You are not dead. And if the Gods have still a sense of justice left in them, you should not meet Pluto in his dark dominion until you are an old man." He folded his hands over the handle of his cane. "But it is not the wish of the Gods for you to stay here either. Fate has something else for you in store."

A little girl in a blue dress rushed out of the crowd, and hid herself underneath the folds of the senator's toga.

"My dear Marca!" The senator exclaimed, cocking an eyebrow. "Sweet honey blossom of mine, what are you doing down there?"

The little girl put a finger on her lips. "Sst! I'm playing hide and seek with Lucius and the others, father. He's out there looking for me."

"Is this your daughter sir?" Marcellus asked, looking affectionately at the girl.

"Yes, my sweet Marca, she is the only good thing that came out of the union of me and my wife. A beautiful little treasure she is. Come out of there my darling. There must be a better spot to hide."

The girl came out of her hiding place. "But this is the best place, father! He's never going to look here. He doesn't dare." She gazed up and saw the man standing next to her father. Her pretty features suddenly turned puzzled.

"Salve." Marcellus said in a friendly voice. "My name is Marcellus. Your father is a good friend of mine. You are Marca, right? Nice to meet you."

Marca didn't respond, but kept staring at him with huge, questioning eyes.

"She is a bit shy." The senator apologized. "Marca dear, go find your mother. Father needs to talk to Marcellus here. Grown-up talk and all pretty boring I'm afraid."

The girl turned her head to her father, and for the first time since she came looking for them, Marcellus noticed the dark damp patch in her curly hair. Strings of it were glued to her scalp with the blood that had gushed out of her head wound. The neckline of her blue dress underneath the spot was stained a dark crimson.

"Father." She asked. Her voice was so sweet and innocent. The realization that this beautiful young girl would never grow up to become a beautiful woman saddened Marcellus's heart. "Father, why does Marcellus look so much like your other friend?"

"Ssst, now run along." The senator hushed, and gently pushed his daughter away from Marcellus. "Go to your mother. Don't delay."

"Why did she look at me like that?" Marcellus asked anxiously after they had waited till little Marca had once again disappeared in the crowd.

"Nothing. She was just playing. Children, you know how they are, all blessed with overactive minds."

Marcellus shook his head. "She said that I looked like someone. Someone you know."

"Marcellus, calm down."

"Dominus, please, tell me what's going on. I've lost it! I don't know why I came here. I don't even know if you are a ghost or an invention of my ailing mind. Did you guide me here with the voice and the drums or was it someone else?"

"I'm afraid I have nothing to do with that." The senator said after a silence.

"But if it's not you, who is it then? Who spoke to me? Who guided me to you?"

"Oh Marcellus. I do not dare to speak his name." The senator met Marcellus's eyes. The ugly grip of fear was visible on his face. "But you know him. You know who he is."

The drums returned, the sound was waxing, like the waves of the ocean during high tide, bashing onto the shore. The garden seemed to fade away. The gentle music from the musician's instruments played no longer, and even the sweet taste of the wine was forgotten, as it turned into vile acid on his tongue.

That voice that had spoken to him. Didn't it sound familiar? Didn't he hear it every night in his own nightmares?

He took his gaze off the senator and turned around. The drums. He must follow the drums. He staggered through the crowd, his legs shaking with each step he took.

He knew his name. It was spoken so many times by all of his victims that it was drenched in blood. His name meant death, and rage, and terror. And power. Oh, so much power, it could turn a good man mad.

The drums led him to a door at the back of the garden. He pushed it open and stepped inside.

The small room was dark, with little to no furniture except for a red velvet sofa in the middle. He saw a man, dressed in a satin striped shirt and black pleat trousers, wearing calf leather shoes that shone like mirrors. He reclined on the sofa like a cat in slumber, while a skimpily clad slave girl was massaging his neck.

"Ah, there you are." He opened his eyes and gave Marcellus a sly smile. "What took you so long? I was starting to get bored. Luckily, I got Alena here to keep me company. That girl has the most nimble little fingers. You should try her. She gets the stress right off my back."

"This can't be real." Marcellus said, ruffling through his hair. "You can't be real."

"Oh, I am afraid so." He grinned, dismissing the slave girl and getting up from the sofa. "Do you really think you can survive for very long without me, Marcellus?"

Marcellus spun around and rushed towards the door.

"Oh no, you don't!" He shouted, and the doors slammed shut in front of Marcellus's face.

"Help! Senator Cealus! Get me out of here! Please! Anyone!" Marcellus begged, frightened to death. He banged his fists on the door. "I'm locked up in here with a

murderer! A dangerous madman! Please get me out! I beg of you!"

The Master observed him, shaking his head in disgust. "God you are pathetic! Captain Sadistic had a real field day when he created you."

"Please, don't hurt me sir. Please."

"Oh, please, don't hurt me, please." He mouthed, mockingly. "Oh why would I want to hurt you, you dimwit? I enjoy many things but stabbing myself continuously with a knife doesn't exactly rank high on my list of favorite pastimes." The Master stalked around Marcellus who was reduced to a pile of shivering misery at his feet. He rubbed his chin and gazed at this mirror image of himself, this shabby, weak looking human, this pathetic wretch with deep sunken eyes and a mind so ignorant and messed up that it could have been retrieved from the gutter. He looked at what Jack and the Doctor (for it was undeniably HIS fault for ruining his marvelous plans of world domination and taking him prisoner in the first place) had reduced him into and decided that the next time he was on top of things, he would have both their guts pulled out and arranged as garlands, just for a laugh.

But first things first, of course.

He crouched down beside Marcellus. His delicate nose picked up a stench that made his eyes water and his sense of smell commit suicide. He quickly pulled a lavender scented handkerchief from his breast pocket and pressed it against his nostrils.

"Can you stop blubbering already? Once again, I promise not to kill you. There, happy now? Now can we have a civilized little chat?"

"What do you want from me?"

"What do I want from you? Interesting question. Hm, now let me see. Where shall I begin? Oh wait. I know. How about you giving me back my body and seizing to exist? How does that sound?"

"But you promised you wouldn't kill me!"

"Sounds a bit harsh I guess." The Master said, observing with growing distaste how Marcellus was getting close to tears. "Calm down Smeagol. I said I would like to. It doesn't mean I get to do whatever I like in here, which is a bloody shame really. The sad truth is that I need you. We need each other to survive this."

"What do you mean? What are you? Are you a figment of my imagination? Are you a ghost?"

"My dear Marcellus." He purred, pouting his lips. "I do hope it won't come as a shock to you, but surely you must have realized by now that those nightmares that you've been having are real. They really happened. I -, I mean you and I, which means we, I guess." The Master grimaced at the very repulsive idea, but managed to keep going without gagging. "We, were the Master. Don't you remember? We hijacked the Tardis, we created the paradox machine, and armed the Toclefanes. We defeated the Doctor, imprisoned him by turning him into a wrinkled old prune. We enslaved the entire human race and engaged war against the rest of universe. We, my dear Marcellus, were absolutely magnificent." He beamed a vain smile at Marcellus. Surely this must impress the gullible lunatic. "Up until the Doctor was turned back into his old holier-than-thou self by that pesky human companion of his, that Martha Jones." He spat out the name as if it was poison. "She ruined everything. All my glorious plans, my vision of a Timelord empire that would last a thousand years, my dream of a new and perfect Galifrey that would once again adorn the sky. All that destroyed by the Doctor and his flock of degenerative biped monkeys. And afterwards, after all my hard work was undone, the Doctor put us through the deepest, cruelest of humiliations. He built a dishwasher of a machine that rewrote our biology, turning us into the very creatures that he knew we loathed most. He turned us human. He turned me into you."

He gazed at Marcellus, examining him as if he were an interesting new species of monkey, looking for any signs that would betray his reaction to the Master's monologue. Back in the good old days when he was still a Timelord, he could have just poured the ideas that he wanted to force upon him right into his head as easily as he was pouring a cup of tea. But now, most regrettably, he couldn't do this any longer for he was only human. No, he thought sourly, he wasn't even human. He was an idea, a mindset. A brilliant, vicious and psychotic mind trapped inside a human body that was controlled by a complete moron with the sophistication of a rotten potato peel. One that had been very busy getting them killed.

Really, it was time to take over the steering wheel before the whole bloody ship goes under.

"He transferred the information of my Timelord biology into a fobwatch, which is a cheap Galifreyen trick." He continued explaining, although considering the response that he could read so far from Marcellus's face, he really didn't know why he should bother.

"We Timelords don't like to look at the time. Wave a perception filter over it and presto, it's the perfect camouflage. Mind and DNA coding locked away safe and sound inside a little trinket that wouldn't even attract a second glance from the victim. Only this time, that piece of junk that the Doctor dared to call bioconverter didn't do a proper job. You see, it failed to remove me from your mind. Instead of putting me away in that cheap piece of timework, it sealed me in together with you, building huge walls, boxing me in, digging deep pits, and burying me deep under the surface to keep me away from your consciousness. Can you imagine, all that to keep me from interfering, and to keep you from remembering who you really are. For me and you Marcellus, we are the same."

Marcellus swallowed hard. "I am not you. I am not a criminal."

The sinister grin that appeared on the Master's face sent shivers down Marcellus's spine.

"Great men do not obey laws. They smash it, they destroy the establishment that forms the inadequate status quo and create an utopia of their own." He came close to him, breathing his hot breath into his face.

"Great men are not afraid to be criminals."

Marcellus stared into the Master's eyes. They seemed to glow in the darkness of the room, and were so intense and penetrative, that he believed that he could look into his soul.

"You're mad." Marcellus said after a long silence.

He jumped up in fright when the Master clapped loudly in his hands, the grin on his face widened in cruel mockery.

"Said the slave Marcellus while his brains are being turned into liquid by a pesky little virus. I trust I am not the only one here who's becoming mad."

Marcellus blinked at him with his hooded eyes. "What do you mean by that?"

"Oh, right." The Master mumbled, putting his fingers on his lips and pretending to realize it just yet. "Well I guess I can't blame you for being ignorant. Captain bisexual did not exactly bless you with an education of any kind, let alone that I should have illusions that you might have any knowledge of 20th century virology. So let me enlighten you. You are going mad my dear Marcellus, because you've been sodomized by a client who suffered from syphilis. Remember the sweaty, bed ridden fat bloke that Micranus introduced you to? The one with the puss running down his cock. Ring any bells?"

"Syphilis, is that what makes me so ill?"

"Yes I'm afraid it does." The Master pouted his lips and faked a sad face. "Well, more precisely, it will turn you raving mad and blind, if it would be so kind not to kill you first. The good thing is, it cracked your mind for me. Opened it right up like a blossoming flower. It allowed me to enter you consciousness, not entirely of course or I wouldn't have bothered doing this polite chitchat with you. No, it was only a little, enough to grant me a glimpse through the bars so to speak." He grinned, a devilish look in his eyes. "But not enough to really let me escape."

"And you need me to do that? Set you free?"

"I need you to listen. Listen to the drums Marcellus. It's the only way for us to survive."

"No, I won't listen to you! I saw what you've done to those people. I remember it. You're a monster. If the Doctor used his bioconverter to imprison you inside my head, then there must be a way to retain you and make you disappear again." Marcellus said determinedly.

The Master clacked his tongue, looking very displeased. "Hope must spring eternal for idiots like you. How do you think you can survive in this harsh world with that stupefying amount of naivety? You're relying on the Doctor? The man who condemned you to this hellhole? And what short-circuited neuronal catastrophe that occurred underneath that thick skull of yours convinced you that you should defend humanity, these selfish apes that are cheating, lying and stealing whenever they get the chance? Don't you remember how much you have suffered by their hands? Don't you realize how much you're still suffering?"

The room faded away and Marcellus was once again in the senator's family tomb, shivering and ailing of sickness, only this time he wasn't alone. A vagrant dressed in rags loomed over him. He held back a large dog with a scruffy coat that barked maliciously at Marcellus, baring its teeth with its ears folded flat against it neck. The vagrant pulled the horse blanket away from him. Marcellus, stunned by the cold, grabbed hold of it instinctively.

"Hey, hands off! It's mine now! You were supposed to be dead. Try to keep it and I'll have Lupa here tear you to pieces!"

"Please, I need this." Marcellus pleaded. The cold stabbed into this flesh like a knife. "I'm very ill. Don't take this from me, it's all that I own."

"Ah, piss off you idiot!" He kicked him in the side and laughed. "Lupa, get him! You didn't get your diner yet, did you?" He let the dog loose. The beast jumped on Marcellus, sinking his teeth into his arm. He screamed in horror and pain while the vagrant laughed and shouted encouragements at his dog. His heart was racing. The pulse quickened in his veins as he felt how his blood gushed out of the bite wounds and streamed down on his face. Back in the shadows, the Master waited with his arms crossed over his chest, an amused look and a sadistic smile on his face.

"If I'm a monster, Marcellus. What are these people who have done you wrong so many times? They take again and again from you till you are left with nothing. Is this what you call justice, the sort that the Doctor price so highly? Is this what you deserve?"

Marcellus turned his head away from the beast's yapping teeth. "Help me!" He screamed, terrified.

"Sorry, can't do." The Master said, holding his hands up in the air. "I'm not in charge here, you are."

Marcellus kicked his feet against the dog's belly, sending the animal crashing into the sarcophagus. The impact snapped its back around the sharp corner of the marble slates, and the dog fell to ground, yelping pitifully.

The Master clapped in his hands in excitement. "Well done Marcellus! Now, kick the doggy while it's down, shall we?"

Marcellus scrambled back up on his feet, leaning heavily on the sarcophagus. Blood ran down his face and into his eyes, staining the world crimson. He grabbed an urn from one of the niches lining the wall and smashed it onto the dog's skull. The dog made a terrible high-pitched sound and kicked with its feet in the air.

"Lupa! You lunatic! Get away from her!" The tramp came rushing towards him in a frenzy of rage, holding a short knife in his hand. "I'm going to kill you if you harm my dog! You hear me!" He flung himself on Marcellus, aiming the knife at his neck.

The thin line of reason and morality finally snapped inside Marcellus. This man, this stain of humanity who should know the value of mercy better than any fortunate man, had tried to rob him from his only possession and had set his hound free to torture him for his amusement. There was no way that Marcellus could see any good in this vile and selfish creature, and the hate he felt towards him filed him with strength to struggle free and trap the tramp underneath him. He grabbed the vagrant's hand still holding the dagger, and with two hands he forced it towards his assaulter's neck, aiming at the soft spot between the collar bones. The vagrant cried out, his eyes bulging as he stared up at Marcellus, his features no longer enraged but struck by fear. His mouth moved, words that begged for mercy parted his lips, but Marcellus blocked them out, did not wish to hear them and concentrated on the drums that hammered relentlessly in his head. The tip of the dagger disappeared into the vagrant neck, and blood gushed out as from an upturned glass. The vagrant's screams drowned into a series of gurgles as blood welled up inside his mouth and nose. Marcellus let go of the knife, and hit the man in the face, breaking his nose bridge. He landed him another blow, and another, and another, each struck with all his might. He didn't stop till the tramp's face was no more but a crumbled featureless mass of broken bone and flesh.

He stepped back and collapsed on the floor, trembling. Horror and revulsion welled up inside him as he stared bleakly at the remains of the dog and its master. The dagger was still stuck in the victim's neck. He covered his eyes with his blood-drenched hands to not longer have to see what he had done.

As the Master approached he listened to his footsteps in the dark, his mind became absent, reversing into a childlike state. He did not know how to get himself out of this horrible situation, and like a child that sought forgiveness as much as it was frightened to be punished for the crime, he longed deeply for comfort and guidance from someone stronger than himself.

"What should I do now Master?" He asked with a trembling voice.

"What should I do?"

The Master smiled ever so sweetly, relishing in the use of his name as a sign of victory. When he spoke to Marcellus, his voice was as reassuring as that of a parent comforting a child.

"Now, my dear Marcellus, we run."

TBC