30.

The sound of the Tardis was something that she had dreamed of hearing for weeks now. The Doctor had not yet called. Of course not. She had distinctively told him that the mobile was for her to contact him, not the other way around. Or at least that was what she was trying to tell herself.

At moments like this, she had the tendency to bite her tongue to remind herself that she had done it because she wanted to get out. It was her own, well-considered decision. Martha, she said to herself, grow up. Grow up and forget about him. He was probably twirling somewhere in the galaxy right now, keeping an eye on that homicidal maniac. He seemed happy enough when he left. And she was confident that the Doctor knew what he was doing.

Still, she found herself often worried about him. And she did miss him a lot.

On one not so special, dreadful Monday morning she heard the familiar sound of the Tardis engine whisking itself into her existence. She didn't think twice. Just rushed outside the children's ward and went looking for the blue box. She found it at the bank of the river, close to the hospital.

"Doctor? Are you there?"

She tried door, but it was locked. It wasn't a particularly cold day, but she had been in such a rush that she had forgotten to get her coat out of the locker. She could go back to snatch it, but then there was the risk that she would just miss meting him again. Better to stay put and wait. He couldn't be that long gone, could he? Her teeth were shattering. She hugged herself and began to jog on the spot to keep warm, cursing to have made such a fatal decision to wear a short skirt in the middle of winter. Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to wait inside.

She still had the Tardis key. It was the one thing she didn't want to let go of so easily. Returning this was like acknowledging to herself that she will never be with him again. It was just one step too far in her self-invented let-go-of-the-Doctor therapy. Hell, even crack addicts have seven steps in their recovery program. No sense in hurrying things needlessly.

She took the key from the cord around her neck. She had been wearing it like a good luck charm, and in case he would ask any further about it, it was only because it looked fashionable. She inserted it into the lock and turned. The familiar wooden click of the lock made her smile, and after taking a deep breath, she went inside the Tardis.

Everything still looked the same, it was as if she had never left. Even the smells were familiar, something that reminded her of mothballs and petrol oil. And mints. Chocolate mints. She was unaware of the radiant smile that was plastered on her face ever since she had been inside. She sat down in the Doctor's favorite chair next to the console, brushing the keyboard and the levers with her fingers almost lovingly, allowing herself to rekindle some of her fondness for the Doctor.

Something metallic crashed on the floor. The racket made he jump straight up.

"Doctor?" She tried to calm her fast pacing heart. "Is that you back there?" She went to the sleeping quarters where the noise had originated. Typical, she though, it's already eleven o clock on a Monday morning and he's still sleeping like an unemployed bum. Why can't I be an ancient Timelord, at least I wouldn't have to get up early for work like the rest of the world. She opened the door to his bedroom, half-wishing to see him spread out in bed, preferably naked. There was no one there.

"Doctor?" She asked. "Doctor, I'm getting worried now. Where are you?"

There was another noise, glass breaking on the floor, coming from one of the spare rooms. Oh God, she thought, suddenly realizing the mistake she had made in her assumptions. That's true isn't. I've forgotten all about the Master. What if the Doctor is not around but he's still in. Her heart raced, beating in her throat. Calm down Martha. He can't do any more harm now, can he? The Doctor wouldn't just leave him home-alone with the Tardis without at least taking some serious precautions. Her hands were slightly trembling. Okay, not entirely convinced there. She quickly snatched the breadboard and a knife from the kitchen and went back to the sleeping quarters. Her mind was rambling, making up all kinds of potential threats. What if that maniac had somehow taken the Doctor prisoner again? Wouldn't that explain why he didn't show up? Maybe he had turned him back into that old pitiful creature, or had tortured him with some sort evil device that he had concocted. Her grip around the knife's handle tightened. Whatever fear she had for her own safety, she knew exactly what she would do if she found out that he had hurt the Doctor. This time there won't be anyone around who would want to keep him alive. That creep had his last chance, and wasted it.

She slammed the door to the spare room wide open, pointing the knife at the Master while she kept the breadboard close to her chest like a shield.

"No! No!" He yelled. "Doctor! Doctor!"

"Ehm, what?" Martha lowered her makeshift weapon. The Master was tied up in bed, staring at her appearance with what could only be described as shock and fear. "What's going on in here?"

She approached him with caution while he fought against the leather restrains that ran in two broad bands over his chest and feet. He was desperately wriggling his body to get away from her.

"Please, don't cut me." He eyed at the knife that she still held in her hand. "Don't hurt me. Please."

"You're pleading with me?" Martha asked, aghast. "What's the matter with you?"

"I didn't do anything." He swallowed hard, and shot a frightened glance at her. "I've been good. I swear. The Doctor said I've been good. He did."

"The Doctor? Right. Where is he?" Martha thought that if there was someone who could make sense out of this strange mindfuck of a situation, it would be him.

"I don't know. He left. I don't know for how long. It seems like days now. But he will be back. He promised me that he will be. The Doctor never lies." He gave Martha a timid little smile that she found deeply disturbing.

"It can't be days. I just heard the Tardis land here about a half an hour ago."

"Really?" He furrows his brows, lifting his head from the pillow to take a better look at her. "Oh but that's good isn't it? I was starting to get worried. I'm sorry I had it wrong. It's been very difficult to keep track of things. The Doctor told me not to count the seconds when he's away. It makes my head hurt too much." He kept staring at her as if he was trying to remember something.

"It's Martha Jones." She stated coldly. "You may remembered me from traveling with the doctor and kicking your ass."

"Martha Jones." He repeated her name, extending each vowel like he was tasting it. "Martha Jones. Martha Jones. Martha Jo-"

"Hey, don't wear it out." She snapped. The way he spoke her name reminded her of the old Master, and gave her a serious case of creepy shivers.

"I…I did something to you. You and your family." He blinked, and cast his eyes down apologetically. "I do sometimes remember things from before. I dream about them. The Doctor tells me that I should ignore them for now. Forgive and forget. That's what he says. But that's not right, is it? That doesn't exactly make me good." He paused, glancing up at her shyly. "Oh, wait, now I remember you!" He suddenly shot into instant happiness mode in less than half a second, scaring the bloody wits out of her. "Martha Jones, the Doctor's faithful companion! You were the one who came back to save him, good for you!"

"Yeah, right. You're actually glad that we have beaten you." Martha stated, raising a cynical brow.

"And you had me completely fooled with that special weapon of yours. It was very clever of you, very clever and very, very brave." He said, nodding his head in agreement to emphasize how clever he though she was.

"This is totally bonkers!" Martha took another look at him. She found him grinning at her with nothing less than sincere admiration, and she decided that she had enough of this. "Correction, you are totally bonkers! What did the Doctor do to you?" She could imagine that the Master, the old one that is, not this crazy one, had pushed him one step too far, and that he had finally decided to get rid of this potential menace. She would have fully agreed with that decision, although it did strike her a bit cruel to leave him imprisoned in such a state.

"Did he ECT-ed you? Did he give you any drugs?"

He stared at her with a blank expression on his face.

"Did he fry your brains? Given you any pills to swallow?" Or did he perform front lobotomy on you with a shovel and a pitchfork, she added in contempt.

"He em…" He bit his lips. Images flooded into his mind. He saw himself kicking and screaming, bound in a chair, wearing a metal helmet on his head that sent out malicious sparks into his brains.

"No! That wasn't the Doctor! He didn't do that to me, you're lying!" He spat.

"Hey calm down! I didn't say he did."

"You are a bloody liar! I won't listen to you! I won't!" There was such fierceness in his response that Martha backed up a bit, even though she knew that he was restrained.

"Okay, okay, he didn't. I get your point." She said. The strangest thing just occurred to her that it seemed that he wasn't necessary yelling at her. His eyes were directed at something, or someone further away, on a spot close to the wall next to the door. If there had been someone else in the room that was. To her, he was just vending off his frustrations to the wallpaper. The Doctor was right about him on one thing, psychiatrist's field day indeed.

"Ssh, calm down now will you. There is no one there." She laid her hand on his forehead that was damp with sweat. Great, Martha thought, now he's made me feel sorry for him. I swear, if this turns out to be one of his slick deceptive little plans trying to escape, I'm so going nominated his ass for a second round of serious ass-whipping.

"I swear, the Doctor didn't hurt me or anything. He is very kind. The Doctor could have never send me to that horrible place to make me suffer. He made that all up, just to make me hate the Doctor. But I'm not listening to him anymore. Whatever he says, it's not true. He's evil."

She stroked his shortly cropped hair, glad that his ramblings was distracting him from his groundless anger. He was noticeably calming down, his shoulders and neck becoming less tensed. She noticed that the Doctor had cuffed his hands and ankles to the leather bands. The sleeves of his white hospital shirt were wet, with a damp patch just underneath on the blankets. Her eyes followed the damp stain that was shaped like an arrow, pointing to the side. When she looked under the bed, she found a broken glass and a small metal plate turned upside down. Four brightly colored pills lay scattered in a pool of fluid next to it. She picked them up.

"So that's how you made all that racket." She said, studying the pills, the brand name was missing, so she couldn't make out what they were.

"I tried to get the pills from the nightstand. I couldn't reach it. Must have knocked them down."

"So he did give you medication."

"Yes, he did." He nodded, sweat trickling down his temple. "But only because he wanted to help. It stops my head from hurting."

"He left you like this, unattended, without giving you your pills?"

"No, no, he would never do that. Off course he gave them, just before he went. It's just…" He grimaced as the pounding headache that had been wrecking his brain was getting worse. "It's just not enough."

"I can't give you more of these." Martha said, considering that the Doctor had just left. "I have no idea what these pills are and what they will do to you."

"Just to stop the pain." His head felt possibly like boiling now. "Please. I'll take just one."

Martha shook her head and let the pills slide down her pocket.

31.

She finally met the Doctor in the Tardis control room. He greeted her with a warm, wonderful hug. She did try to resist his boyish charms, but her carefully build up defense system and cool composure just melted away in his arms. God she had missed him. She missed his silliness and cleverness, and how he could just ramble on about nothing and everything with fifty miles an hour. She just asked him where he's been, and he was on it again, talking to her, telling her about all the amazing places he had been, without so much as taking a breath between the sentences.

She waited till he had calmed down from his excitement before dropping the question.

"So, What happened to him?"

The Doctor paused his continues steam of gibberish. "What?"

"I went to look for you in the sleeping quarters and kinda bumped into him. What happened to the Master?"

"Oh, Bugger, Marcellus!" The Doctor yelled out, going through his hair like crazy. "How long have I been away? Is he awake?"

He stormed into the direction of the tiny spare room at the back of the Tardis. Martha ran right after him, visibly confused. "Marcellus? Who's Marcellus?"

"Doctor, you're back." Marcellus muttered, beaming a pained but genuine smile at him.

"Yes, it took bit longer than expected." The Doctor observed worryingly the state he's in. "You're in pain. I'm sorry, I should have come back earlier." He wiped the sweat from his brow and caressed his damp hair. "The pills. Where are the pills." He turned and searched through the clutter on top of the nightstand.

"I have them." Martha had watched the whole scene and was in a bit of a shock. She had never seen them together like this, with the Doctor so concerned and with the Master being so, well so docile and harmless. She took the pills out of her pockets and dropped them into the Doctor's hand.

"Are you really going to give them to him? He told me that he just took some only an hour ago." It was her internal Dr. Jones MD talking, and she although she was not yet qualified, the girl was usually right about these things. It therefore deeply offended her that the Doctor did not seem hear her advice at all and fed the shivering Master all the pills in one go.

"You'll feel better soon now." The Doctor fussed. "Just lay down and I'll get you a glass of water to get rid of the taste."

The Master managed to smile gratefully at him while his whole body was still strained and trembling. He closed his eyes and sank into a slumber.

Martha followed the Doctor out of the room. "That better be placebo pills you've been given him." She jumped in front of him, so he could no longer not notice her.

"What? No, oh no, these are Cofanoides, 100 pure, it's like C17H21NO4, only twice as strong."

"What's C17H21NO4?"

"Cocaine." He coughed with a hand before his mouth before it trailed off to rub the back of his neck.

"What! You're giving him cocaine!"

"Well it's also used as an anesthetic you know, right here in the hospitals in 21th century earth!" The Doctor said defensively. "The new formula has been distilled and improved by the Sisterhood. It works very efficiently with very few side effects." He further explained. But Martha didn't buy it, she had worked in London hospitals for 3 years now, and she could recognize an addiction when she saw one.

"You're feeding him drugs! No wonder he's all sweating and begging for them. You're turning him into a crack addict, just to keep him under control?" She looked at him, silently hoping that it wasn't true, Hoping that he would tell her that her acquisition was down right preposterous. But instead, the doctor looked rather rueful.

"Martha. I…"

She turned around, feeling sick to the stomach. She couldn't believe what the Doctor was doing. Yes, she had loathed the Master for all what he had done, but this, this is just beneath the Doctor. It had been a horrible mistake to go see him again, and she was rushing to the door, trying to get out of this nightmare.

"Martha! Wait!" The Doctor stopped her. "Wait, don't go! Just let me explain.." He gently rapped his fingers around her hand.

Martha gazed at him. "Oh you're going to explain, mister. Everything that is. I don't want any soppy stories about how I wouldn't understand. I could go report you and get you arrested for supplying drug to crack-heads." She ignored the hopeful smile that appeared on the Timelord's face, and sat down in the pilot chair, her face determined. "So, you better start talking."

TBC

Hi, I thought let's try a bit of fun here and see if that new poll system is working. Please go to my author's page and give your opinion about how this fic should turn out.

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