To Save Or Not to Save

Summary: Maybe the Master was never really sane all to begin with. Can he still be saved?

Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who

A/N: This is my first Doctor Who fic, as I only got into the show only recently, but I wanted to try writing a fic about this fab show! I hope it's not too terrible. Also, I don't know who was friends with the Doctor at the Academy besides the Master. So I made up a couple of my own characters.

:Spoilers maybe?:

For SoTD and TLoTTL

Flashacks

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The Doctor sits in his wheelchair staring out the window on the Valiant . The Master had left the deck ages ago with Lucy, leaving no doubt in anyone's mind about what the tyrant and his wife were doing. The Doctor sighed softly, shifting around slightly in his wheelchair. Being trapped in this 900 year old body was wearing him down, as per the Master's intentions, and the Doctor wondered if he'd be able to last the rest of the year before his plan went into motion. The Toclafane floated in the air, watching over their Master's silent prisoner, but the Doctor paid them no attention. Instead, he went back into his mind, thinking back on the good times he and his former friend had had before the insanity made itself aware.

Theta Sigma, aged nine, wandered the halls of the Academy, searching for a way back to his room. He had stayed behind after class had finished for an extra credit Time Lord project that he had been asked to help with. The boy sighed softly. He may have been brilliant for a child, but Theta had no sense of direction, which was pretty strange to him. Theta took a few steps forward when a hand clamped down on his small shoulder and whirled him around. Theta met the angry black gaze of a human-like boy named Akalita, who was a few years older then Theta, and one of the most good looking male students in the Academy. Of course, Akalita had taken an intense dislike to Theta immediately because of the boy's intelligance.

And of course, Akalita never went anywhere without his goons, Dug and Xizo. Theta had the urge to roll his eyes, but the older boys were all a bit taller then him, so he refrained from doing so at the time. "Well look who it is," Akalita said with a smirk. "If it isn't Mr. Bookworm." Theta backed away slowly, hoping to escape and started to turn to run, but before he could move any further, Dug and Xizo grabbed the younger boy by his upper arms and held him in place tightly.

Theta had a slight suspicion he knew what this gang up was about. A few days ago, he had been approached by Akalita who had demanded that he be allowed to copy the answers from Theta's homework, because the older boy never bothered to complete his work and was failing the Academy quite terribly. Theta had refused, which in turn had led to threats by Akalita, and Theta had been since looking over his shoulder. Today, however, he had quite forgotten Akalita's threat and was now about to pay dearly for it.

Theta couldn't help the tiny whimper that escaped his lips as Akalita moved forward, black eyes fired with fury. "Oh you'll be doing more then whimpering when I'm through with you, pipsqueak," Akalita snarled, lips curled. "This will teach you to refuse me!" Raising his fist, Akalita moved his fist to punch the helpless boy. Theta closed his eyes, bracing himself for the blow that...

never came.

Theta opened his eyes slowly, to see a boy standing in front of him. "Now Akalita," Theta's savior said in a mocking tone of voice. "Why don't you pick on someone your own size?" Akalita moved back, eyes narrowed. "Get out of the way, Koschei." The other boy sneered. "You forgot to say pretty please." Then the boy launched himself at Akalita, despite Akalita's size, and the two went tumbling to the ground. It was unfortunate that, at this moment, one of the professors came running out, having either sensed the fight or something similiar to that and was running to the boys. "Akalita Fumaldia!" The Professor yelled, grabbing each boy and seperating them.

The man saw Theta still being held by Akalita's friends and he barked, "What do you two think you are doing? Let the boy go." Dug and Xizo did so, afraid of the Professor. The man turned to the boy Akalita had called "Koschei". "Koschei Remana, why am I not surprised?" The Professor said, looking annoyed. "You two will be expelled this time for sure," The Professor admonished, grabbing Koschei and Akalita by their arms. Theta ran forward, hoping to save his savior from the disgrace of expulsion from the Academy. "Wait, Professor, please. He was only stepping in to save me. Akalita was threatning to beat me up and he stepped in," Theta said, protesting on Koschei's behalf. The man turned to the other boy, who ran a hand through his dark hair anxiously, blue eyes showing little emotion at all.

"is this true?" Professor asked, giving Koschei a stern look. Koschei shrugged. "Yeah." The teacher nodded. "You shall be excused just this once. I won't be so forgiving next time. As for you," The man said, turning to Akalita, "This is not the first time I have heard of your violent tendancies. Come, off to the headmaster we go." Akalita weakly protested, but nothing could be done.

Theta watched the bully as he was led down the hall and around the corner."Um, thank--" Theta said, turning around, hoping to give his savior a proper thank you, but the other boy was gone.

The Dctor sighed, frowning. He should have let it go then, just let it slide, but no. He had to go seeking the other boy out. The Doctor raised an aged hand to his nose and pinched it lightly, as if he had a minor headache.

Theta entered the cafeteria by himself, feeling stares directed at him, but when he looked around, his fellow students were talking to their friends and not looking at him at all. As Theta stood in line with his tray, waiting for his food to be served, he spotted the boy from a week before. The one that had saved him from Akalita. He was sitting in a corner by himself, eating and staring at the table with a scowl on his pale face. Theta frowned. He hadn't seen the boy at all the last week, and the Academy wasn't that big. There were potentials for Time-Lords, but rarely were you ever chosen to become a Time-Lord or Lady, unless you were a legacy or came from a powerful family.

Thanking the serving lady politely, Theta made his way over to the boy that, now that Theta could see him clearly, looked to be around Theta's age or just a little older. Theta stopped in front of the boy's table, causing his shadow to darken what little light there was on the table that the other student was currently occupying. The boy looked up, blue eyes dark. "Hey! What's the--oh. It's you." Theta frowned at him. "Are you always that rude?" The other boy grunted. "Only to people that are annoying me. What the hell do you want?" Theta suddenly had doubts about this boy, wondering if he should just back away now and pretend this whole situation never happened.

"I was coming over to thank you for last week, seeing as you ran off before I got a chance to do so," Theta said rather coldly and abruptly. "But as you seem the kind of person to be an ingnoramus, then never mind." Theta started walking away, when the boy was suddenly in front of him. "Excuse me??" The other student hissed. "Ignoramus. You know--an ignorant person?" theta asked with a smirk. "yeah, I know what that means," The other boy snarled, eyes narrowed. Theta took a step back. "If you were any sort of decent person, which I'd think you'd have to be to defend someone who's being picked on, then you should at least acknowledge when someone's trying to thank you for doing something nice," Theta snapped, slamming his tray down, splattering food all over the other boy before leaving the cafeteria, appetite suddenly gone.

The Doctor recalled the weeks passing slowly after that. he had avoided Koschei the best he could at the time, infuriated that the other boy just didn't seem to care about anyone else, just seeming to step in when it benefitted him. The Doctor had later found out that if it hadn't been for Theta's intervention on Koschei's behalf, the boy would have been taken off world to a mining colony as a punishment for his wild and unruly ways.

Three months had passed since the blow up in the cafeteria and Theta was feeling confidant enough to sit in there again. Koschei was sitting in his usual spot, but Theta looked away, still angry at the other boy. Theta smiled and thanked the serving lady as always, and when he turned around, Koschei was standing in front of him. "Come eat with me," The other boy invited. Theta hesitated, but followed when the other boy jerked his head impatiently.

Theta sat across from Koschei, curious as to why the other boy had invited him over. Sensing Theta's stare, Koschei lifted his gaze to meet the other's. "Do I have something on my face?" He cracked a grin. Theta grinned back. "No." Then he frowned. "But why--" "Did I ask you to come here?" Koschei finished knowingly. "Look..." The boy said, setting his fork down. "I didn't stay to talk to you three months ago because in my opinion, you were weak." Theta's jaw dropped and he opened his mouth. Koschei hurried on. "But when you came to me in the cafeteria that day... boy, did you prove me wrong. You have got some gall in you, after all. And then I found myself thinking, well, why didn't he stick up for himself?"

Koschei studied Theta carefully. The younger boy shifted uncomfortably. "I don't like confrontations," Theta said quietly. "I was going to figure out a peaceful solution--without violence, thank you very much," Theta said, becoming offended. Koschei held his hands up. "Woah! I'm not saying you're a wuss! I was just curious. Is that a crime?" Theta smiled slowly. "No, I suppose not." Koschei leaned forward. "And speaking of politness, I never got your name. You know mine, after all."

Theta turned red. "Oh, dear me, I'm sorry. Um, I'm Theta, Theta Sigma," The boy offered his hand in a shake and the other boy took it.

After that, Koschei and Theta soon began talking about things other then bullies, like where they planned to travel when they were time Lords and what they were going to do to help people. Theta and Koschei soon became the best of friends, inseperable and each balanced the other out. Theta grew to be more rebellious, unafraid of testing the rules a little more, while Koschei, much to the Academy's relief, began to quiet down a bit. However, things started to change when the two boys became teenagers and turned eighteen. Theta and Koschei were close enough to their graduations and were on the verge of becoming Time Lords. Theta started preparing himself studiously for the responsibility of being a Time Lord, studying whenever he could to pass his exams.

Koschei, on the other hand, fell into what you could consider a bad crowd. The young man began stealing, and the temptation to move on to bigger things intrigued him. Not to mention, discovering he had the powers of mental manipulation also encouraged him to keep fulfilling his dark desires. One night, Theta had had enough and confronted his friend. That's when it all fell apart.

"Koschei, you need to stop! Don't you see what you're doing to yourself?" Theta asked, concern on his features. "Theta. What I'm doing is experiencing freedom. C'mon. You need to quit burying your head in your silly books and come with me. We can explore the galaxies together, Theta. Just like we've always wanted to do," Koschei said, his dark eyes alit with fire. Theta shook his head. "In case you've forgotten, graduation is two months away! It's only two more months, Koschei. Please," Theta begged, watching as his friend packed his bags. "I can't, Theta. I'm fed up with all the stupid rules they have here. They're only holding us back from our true purpose," Koschei said with grave seriousness. "Oh? And what would that be?" Theta asked with disbelief. "Why, proving we're the strongest race in the galaxy, of course. We need to conquer the galaxy to make ourselves stronger, not by reading books," Koschei scoffed.

"I can't believe this... what happened to you, Koschei?" Theta asked in horror, backing away from his friend. Koschei stared at him for a moment and then snorted. "Hypocrite. You talk about wanting to free the galaxy, but--" fury came into Koschei's blue eyes. "You're just like them, Theta! Selfish! You're nothing but talk! You want to save the galaxy by reading BOOKS? HAH!" Koschei laughed. "And you want to ENSLAVE the galaxy!" Theta yelled with white hot anger. "Get out, Theta," Koschei hissed, eyes narrowed. Theta didn't move an inch. Stalking forward, Koschei raised a hand, backhanding his best friend, sending him to the floor. "GET OUT!!" Koschei roared. Frightened, Theta stared at Koschei for a minute, then left the room, not even looking back to see Koschei collapsing to the floor, face scrunched in agony.

The next morning, grave news had broken out all over the Academy. A TARDIS had been stolen. Theta had more then a suspicion of who it had been, but he couldn't bring himself to tell who the thief was. Instead, he just let the Headmaster worry about it, and tried to forget about Koschei. Theta, needless to say, graduated from the Academy with top honors, and promptly named himself the Doctor as a new way to begin his life as a Time Lord. Months passed before Theta re-encountered his old friend, by then having taken on the name the Master and completely turned away from what he had once been.

The Doctor shook his head. He was still determined to save his old friend, but that hope was growing dimmer by each day that passed. Perhaps Koschei could never be reached. After all, he had never been the particularly ideal student or friend to begin with. But Theta had ignored that and befriened the boy who had been deemed an outcast by other Time Lord and Lady hopefuls. The Doctor was jerked out of his thoughts as he heard the elevator door ding and the Master came out, singing and dancing, twirling Lucy in his arms. For a split second, the Master looked over at the Doctor, and for a brief instant, the Doctor could have sworn he saw a brief inkling of regret, which disappeared as quickly as it came. Even so, it re-inforced the Doctor's belief.

Not all is lost. Not yet. He can still be saved.

FIN

A/N: I Hope you guys liked it. It was my first Doctor Who fic, so... I hope it was OK.