It was precisely a week after the Doctor had left the Master in Jack's care that the captain finally succeeded in rebuilding the first module of the time transporter. It didn't actually look like something that would win a prize at a science fair, it was basically the burned bits of the old machine welded on top of a computer motherboard and kept alive by a chaotic mesh of wires, but at least he got the little orange standby button lighting up again. Jack figured that if he keep up working every God-given hour of his free time on it, it would probably only take, what, about a hundred years or so to get the entire thing fixed? And even then he wasn't sure that it wouldn't just electrocute him instead of catapulting him into the right Roman era.
He wasn't exactly in a bright mood when suddenly the air in front of his desk quivered and rippled as if it turned liquid. The Doctor materialized in front him, bathing in the familiar green glow of the Tardis.
"Doctor!" Jack exclaimed, sounding a tad too overenthusiastic. He grabbed the recognizable bits of the time transporter from his desk and shoved it down a draw. "That's unexpected!"
The Doctor was dressed in striped PJs and a darkblue bathrobe. His hair stood right up as if he had been sleeping with his head in an odd position, and Jack noticed that he was wearing one of his white sneakers on his left foot, and a pink slipper with a bunny head drawn on it on his right.
The Doctor followed Jack's stare.
"It's not mine." He said, defensively. "Anyway, I'm not really there with you in the institute. I parked the Tardis on planet 4658 of the Aurelian solar system. This is me talking to you through a telehologram."
"Oh, good!" The captain sighed. At least he won't be able to search the lab.
"Oh good what?" The Doctor asked, puzzled.
"I mean, it's good that you can get away from here for a while." The captain stuttered. "You said you wanted some rest."
"Oh yes! You wouldn't believe it, but I slept through the entire week! I was so exhausted, I only got up an hour ago." The Doctor reached out and his hand disappeared out of sight for a while, but quickly returned, holding a steaming mug of tea from which he carefully took a sip.
"I'm just having breakfast." The Doctor explained. "It's been ages since I had a nice quiet morning for myself with some warm baked bread, freshly squeezed orange juice and a good cuppa. No one here to mess it up with totally unnecessary arguments about the right way to make toast, or just sitting over there being resentful and cranky because I dragged him out of bed before noon."
The Doctor went through his hair with his fingers and scratched behind his ears.
"It's peaceful, not a bloody sound." The Doctor looked around pensively, and stuck a hand in his pocket. "I can even hear myself think."
"That's good Doctor." The captain smiled hesitantly, not sure how he should react.
"Yes. Ehm." The Doctor was suddenly getting a bit flustered. "Tell me, how is he?"
"The Master. Did it go well?"
"Oh, yes. The bioconverter worked perfectly. He's human now." Jack felt a drop of sweat running down the back of his neck.
"Oh good!" The relief that was showing on the Doctor's face made Jack feel even more guilty. "So he's fine! That's fantastic!"
"Oh yeah, he's all right. I promised you, didn't I?" Jack Harkness, you double-faced lying son of a bitch, Jack thought. What the hell do you think you're doing? He's bound to find out sooner or later. Why not tell him the truth?
A scenario flashed before his eyes in which he honestly told the Doctor that he had sold his favorite homicidal Timelord into a Roman brothel. The reaction of the Doctor involved the use of his sonic screwdriver on one of Jack's more private parts. The captain quickly killed that idea with a stone.
"So, where did you send him?" The Doctor asked, nonchalantly but urgently between two sips of tea.
"You can't ask me that." Jack smiled sourly. "I'm sorry, but I am not supposed to tell you where he is."
"Yes I know. But I could guess right? You know what would be really good? If you had brought him somewhere where it is Christmas! One in which the streets are covered in a thick blanket of snow, and there are colorful little lights burning in the decorated pine trees. Christmas would be a wonderful time for him to start over again." The Doctor stared into the distance, a dreamy look in his eyes.
"Doctor, I didn't exactly…" The captain tried.
"The cold air filled with that wonderful smell of chestnuts roasting on open fires, and people singing Christmas carols…He's going to love that! Well, at least I think he will. Everybody likes Christmas carols, right?"
"Doctor, you asked me yourself…"
The Doctor sighed and glanced at Jack with a shameful look on his face. "Okay-okay, I will stop trying to fish for information. Well-done captain. Not a word. I knew I could trust you with him."
Fortunately for the captain the room was too dark for the Doctor to see how flustered his face was becoming. Somewhere sitting on his right shoulder, the good side of Jack was in outrage and yelled in its chipmunk voice that he should spill the beans before the lies were getting any worse. The persistent little fellow could have certainly been successful if it wasn't for the sudden appearance of the little evil version of Jack who punched him on the face and pushed him off captain's shoulders.
"He's somewhere safe, and he's living a good life." Jack lied through gritted teeth. "You shouldn't worry about him."
"That's all I wanted to know." The Timelord smiled sadly. "Guess I will be off again then." He took a last sip from his mug and put it down somewhere outside the transmitted image. "I got a whole list of planets to visit for today."
"Where are you going?" Hopefully he's planning to go on a long holiday on some kind of planet cruiser, the miniature evil Jack whispered.
"Everywhere really. I did some research and hand-picked a couple of planets that could perhaps be suitable for the Master and I to visit. You know, the kind that has no living things on it for him to kill. I also found a couple that he should like. There is this one called Zolos in the Kalacsos star system, it looks exactly like that planet on that TV show with those blue-yellow-green critters with television sets in their stomachs. I figured it would be a pleasant surprise for him once he's turned back. It will be like a welcome home gift."
"Turned back." Jack uttered, the little devil Jack fainted and rolled right off his shoulder. "Into a Timelord you mean?"
"Yes. Of course." The Doctor said. "This was just to give me some time to make up a new strategy. I can never let him live out his entire life as a human. It wouldn't be fair to the Master. He hates to be human, he thinks the human race is a primitive sort of monkey that happens to walk on two legs and knows how to type its name into a computer. No offence."
"None taken." Muttered Jack.
"So I will be off. You keep an eye on him for me captain. I'll be back in month or so. You still have the fob-watch?" He asked, making sure.
"I hid it somewhere safe." Jack answered, glad to be not telling a lie for change.
"Good. I'll be in touch."
The image of the Doctor flickered for moment, and then disappeared into thin air. The captain kept staring at the now empty spot in the room for while, a feeling of deep despair slowly seeped into his veins.
Marcellus had first been given enough to drink to lose his anxiety before the senator proceeded. The older man had started with caressing every part of the slave's body in such an affectionate and loving way that he soon had the boy shivering in anticipation. His experienced hands then wandered down, and slipped into the moistness between the slave's legs. Marcellus didn't know what was happening to him. He had never been granted any pleasure during service before. The new wonderful sensations that built up in his body caused his mind to go blank. He rolled his eyes up to the ceiling, and his wet lips opened to gasp for air when the senator took his cock in his warm hands and stroked it slowly till it became hard with need. Marcellus moaned, his head filled with the warmth of the wine, his body arching in desire and begging entrance. Then the hands were gone, and Marcellus had turned to the senator and had begged not in words but in moans and whimpers, for him to take him as a slave. He had never felt so eager. His cock shuddered hungrily and dripped juices down his legs. The senator had smiled knowingly, before he turned him around and pushed him down on his hands and knees on the floor. He milked the slave's pulsing cock and used the juices to moist the boy's anus. His hands slipped between his buttocks and penetrated him with one, two slippery fingers.
"Remember how this feels Marcellus." The senator spoke, while gently caressing his face. "I admit that it's not exactly love, but it's the best thing next to it."
He entered the slave, his member sliding into Marcellus, slick like a snail retracting in its house. It slipped deep inside him, only to retract, and re-enter again. Soon the motions came as balanced and gentle as the tides of the sea. Marcellus shuddered deliciously, opening his mouth to gasp for air, just when the senator grabbed his discarded belt and pushed it between the slave's teeth. He pulled on the leather like a master steadying his steed.
"Now slowly my boy. Breathe slowly and deep."
Marcellus took a deep long breath, his eyes were closed as he moaned softly, while a trickle of saliva dripped down his chin. His body relaxed and sunk further into the scrumptious sensations, while the senator rode him like a horse, his hips pumping into him, while he shamelessly and greedily accepted it, begged for it, every thrust, and every pull, as it went deeper and deeper inside, filling him up completely.
The senator's hand still cupped the slave's cock, and Marcellus started to rub against it as would a dog in heat, relishing the friction as the sensitive tip brushed against the older man's fingers. He moved faster and faster, following his master's pace. The tension building up inside his cock made the blood in his balls throb viciously. His mind was shutting down for everything around him except for the desperate need to come.
The senator gave one long thrust and Marcellus felt how his master pulsed and twitched inside him before the hot stream of cum flooded into his belly. The slave pushed hard against the hand of the senator one last time. His cock spasmed fiercely and he finally shot his cum into his master's palm, his body shivering uncontrollably of both exhaustion and pleasure as he came.
They both collapsed onto the wooden floor, tired but fulfilled. The senator, wearing a content grin on his face, wiped the cum from his fingers on the bed linen, while even Marcellus, drunk on a sudden rush of happiness that washed over him, allowed himself to smile.
"Now that was definitely something that was not on the menu downstairs." The senator spoke.
For the first time since the Master had become human, Marcellus burst into a pleasant laughter.
The rest of the evening proceeded peacefully. They enjoyed a second carafe of wine and some bread, sausage, and olives that the senator ordered from downstairs. The kind gentleman allowed Marcellus to wolf down most of the food, while he kept himself to the wine, knowing that the boy would normally not be fed very well by his patron. After they had finished the meal both men lay down in the narrow bed. As the senator insisted to know everything about Marcellus, they talked for while, although according to the young slave, there wasn't exactly much to tell. He could not remember anything remarkable about his past that would amuse or astound the senator.
The senator lay next to Marcellus, leaning on his elbow and resting his head on his hand. The wine had rushed up into his head, making him even more talkative than normal.
"Are you sure you don't remember anything more in detail my dear boy?" He asked.
Marcellus shook his head. It immediately made him feel dizzy as the wine started to affect him too. "Everything I know about myself I've already told you sir. I'm afraid that there is nothing remarkable to it."
"But all that you have told me were mere dry facts, numbers even." The senator disagreed. "You know your birth date and the town that you were born in, you even now the exact dates of your parent's and sibling's death, and you know when you left Londinium and when you arrived in Rome. But all this is knowledge absolutely soulless. You could probably go down to the imperial archives and look this information up directly from the scrolls. It's something that a civil servant might write down for documentation when he's bored out of his mind, but it's not a real description of a life."
"I really don't know anything more than this." Marcellus apologized. "All the things that I truly remember only happened to me since the day that my old master sold me to Simon." He pressed his hand on his closed eyes. "I'm sorry. There must be something wrong with me. I must have lost my memories or something."
"A bump on the head." The senator nodded. "Not unusual if your master was cruel. The streets of Rome are littered with sad demented fools whose former masters had beaten the light of reason out of them. But if that's your condition, have solace in the knowledge that you are not that far gone. At least still you can talk and think like a sound human being."
"I don't think that my former master used to hit me." Marcellus objected hesitantly. "I mean, sure he was cruel enough to sell me into prostitution, but I can't remember him beating me or anything."
"If he did you wouldn't know, that's the point Marcellus! You naïve little lamb! Now I believe that a condition as such can be treated. All you must do is open your mind and search for traces that you could use to uncover the rest of your memories. Tell me anything that you can remember Marcellus, even if it is just a smitten of a information."
"Anything that comes into your mind."
"Well, I can still remember the first client that I've served." Marcellus uttered. "I remember it vividly because he made me lick up his…"
"No you silly boy!" Yelled the senator, pulling a disgusted face. "No nothing about whatever filth you are forced to do in this perverted house of pleasures. Really, if you continue to talk like that I would indeed question the poor state of your mind. I meant that you have to tell me something that is not connected to the lupanare. Can you do that for me Marcellus?"
"I'll try." Marcellus answered, and went through his limited recollections again although it was more to please the senator than anything else. He had no hope of uncovering something new to tell. However, he suddenly realized, there was something remarkable that had been occurring to him for a while, something that might be worth to tell the good senator.
"I don't really know if this counts as a recollection." Marcellus said, awkwardly. "But I do have some reoccurring dreams which seem pretty strange."
The senator clapped in his hands. "Right. Let's hear it."
"I was sitting in a room in the dark, tied up to a chair. My old master was there too."
"Was he punishing you?"
No, he was not saying anything. He didn't do anything. Actually I was the only one who was speaking. I was yelling at him, calling him names, making him angry. He came over to me and called me a murderer, I laughed at him and spat in his face." Marcellus voice trailed off as he looked at the senator worriedly. "If I had really done that it's actually no wonder that he hit me in the head. I was absolutely insufferable and had no respect for my master."
"I doubt if this had truly happened my young friend, now do go on."
Marcellus looked down at the bed sheets, thinking furiously. "I also made fun of someone called the Doctor. I called him an idiot and pestered my master with the knowledge that I, that I…"
"You did something awful." The senator gently suggested. "Something that qualified the label murderer that was marked on you."
Marcellus nodded slowly. "I killed people. I tortured them. I killed my master. I actually killed him more than once, and mocked him by laughing about it. There was no regret in my words, and no repentance in my heart. I enjoyed every second of it. Oh God this is horrible!" Marcellus uttered as he snapped out of his train of thoughts and let the true meaning of is own words sunk into him. "I dreamt that I was a cold blooded monster!"
"Calm down my young friend. As you suggested, it's still merely a dream. Now you mentioned someone called the Doctor. Can you find another memory that's connected to this physician or whatever he is."
Marcellus closed his eyes for a moment, digging deep into his mind. "The Doctor." He said in a sudden straightforward voice, as if this information was somehow solid, like a fact. "He is not a physician, the Doctor is his name." He opened his mouth to say more, but his mind shut down immediately. "Ehm, I don't know…" Marcellus stuttered. "There is nothing more to say about him really."
The senator had immediately noticed the young man's reactions as he tried to recall the memories of the man behind the unusual name. It seemed to him that this Doctor person could be an important key to open Marcellus memories of the past, so he decided to push it a little further, although he had also noticed that it made the poor slave anxious.
"Does he appear in any other dreams of yours?" He asked encouragingly.
"I don't think so." Marcellus closed his eyes again, trying to work around the massive wall that his mind has pulled up in front of this part of his memories. "Wait, there is this old man, he's the Doctor. Or at least I've made him old, he's not that old by himself really." He shook his head, trying to get the confusing information sorted out. "I'm sorry sir. This really makes no sense at all."
"Tell me everything just the way as it comes into your mind. Dreams are elusive little buggers, they may be incoherent and strange, but they contain more than often a core of truth. We just have to cut out that core and discard the rest. So go on Marcellus. Nothing is too strange for me."
And so Marcellus continued to tell the senator about his unusual dreams. He told him about the glistering floating metallic spheres that considered him as their lord and master and maimed and murdered on his request, he told him about a gigantic palace in the sky shaped like a bird, that floated so far above the earth that it could almost touch the stars. He told him how he was so clever that he could make a machine that could counter act time, and how he killed the future kings and emperors of the world only to crown himself Caesar to rule over all the nations of human kind as a mad tyrant with a thirst for blood. He told him about the Doctor, and his voice trembled ever so slightly when he mentioned his name, and recalled how he was his enemy, his counterpart, and his equal. A man who lived by his high moral ground, who tried to save and mend, while he was out for destruction. An exceptional man who was forgiving and kind, while he sought vengeance and could never forgive.
The senator did not speak, only listened patiently, sometimes nodding, sometimes encouraging him to go on. When Marcellus was finished with his stories, he looked into the older man's face, seeking a reaction, expecting a sign of repulsion perhaps for all the wicked and horrible scenes that he had painted before the good senator's eyes. But there was no judgment in the older man's face, his smile remained friendly and honest.
"You must think that I'm mad." Marcellus sighed, his cheeks were flushed bright red.
"Nonsense boy. Only a fool will condemn a man for what he dreams."
"But I did all those horrible things. I tortured people, just for the fun of it." Marcellus clutched his hair in despair. "I think I might be ill in the head for making these things up."
"Listen dear Marcellus. You know that these are dreams. You have done none of those things so you shouldn't feel sad or remorseful about it. I only pushed you to recall them because I believe that they might reveal something about your elusive past."
"But how do all these delusions make sense?"
The senator shook his head, sadly. "I'm afraid that I cannot provide you with an answer just now my lovely young friend. I wished that things were much more simple, but the dreams that you describe are so vivid and detailed, with every aspect of it brought so plausible to my ears that I have real trouble with separating the grains from the wheat and distill the truth out of the imaginary."
"I haven't told this to anyone." Marcellus confessed. "I even think that I didn't realize I had those dreams before tonight. I mean, I recall them of course, but I have never thought about them for long, let alone put them into order." A cold sliver of fear ran over his bare back. The more he thought about his dreams, the more they actually frightened him.
"Maybe I'm being punished for all those vicious things that I have done."
"Marcellus, stop those gloomy thoughts immediately." The senator muttered. " If you start reasoning like that you may indeed be not much better of than those poor fools wandering in the streets. Here." He poured some wine into the cup and handed it over the slave. "Drink this down and we shall stop talking about this for tonight. Curing your condition is one thing, but I'm not ready to lose such a fine and true young lad in the process. Let us prepare for bed and have a good night sleep. We shall speak of these matters another time."