Saddness Seen 1/8

Spoilers for Season 3 - 'Sound of the Drums'

The night air was damp and cool as it blew lost sections of a newspaper beneath the brick bridge. The Doctor sat with his back against the wall, hardly caring that the cold hardness of the concrete had seeped through his coat and trousers and numbed his bottom. His legs were stretched out before him. His hands lay in his lap, absentmindedly twisting the buttons on his coat. The underside of the bridge was covered in evidence of years of water. Moss and slime grew in abundance and displayed the places the rain usually ran in rivers down the brick. The concrete covered ground boasted several puddles. Martha and Jack lay in between the puddles wrapped in their coats and a couple of old blankets they'd scavenged. The Doctor broke his silent stare at the opposite wall and smiled at them and their very human need for sleep. In some small ways the Doctor was jealous of them. If he could sleep then maybe his mind could sort through the events of the day as well. Instead he had to do it himself. He let out a little sigh and let his head fall back against the wall with a soft thud. He closed his eyes and tried to sort through the millions of thoughts coursing through his mind, all vying for attention.

The Master, alive and planning who knew what horrors for his beloved planet. The Doctor knew the Master did it all just to hurt him, and hurt it did. The pain was so great he struggled to keep it hidden from his companions but, left alone with his thoughts, he couldn't keep it down any longer. It buoyed to the surface as though it had been a child's ball he'd been holding under water. It grasped hold of his throat and chest and squeezed. The only other survivor of his beautiful home had to be the Master. Why couldn't it have been Romana or one of his other friends, or anyone else really? But no, it had to be the Master because what was life without irony? The worst part of it was they had been friends once, a long, long time ago. They'd been good friends, running around the university together making their professors wild. What had gone wrong? It was clear that the Master hated him, but why?

Oh he needed her. It seemed all the pain in him was connected. Think of one source and inevitably he'd arrive at that one. He rubbed the silent escaping tears away from his face. He let his hands fall down once more and listened to the sounds around him. The soft but incessant dripping, a couple of stray dogs calling to each other.

'Doctor.' He smiled at the voice.

'Rose.' He acknowledged and let his eyes open to see his former companion standing in front of him. 'Think of the sun and you come to me.'

They stayed as they were, watching each other. She bit the corner of her lip as she saw the pain and sorrow filling his eyes. She had hoped that the pain would lessen over time, but it only seemed to have grown… significantly. Something had happened. She held her left elbow with her right hand across her body and patiently waited for him to tell her.

'The Master is here.'

Rose nodded slowly in encouragement and gently asked. 'Who is the Master?'

'He's…' The Doctor rubbed his face again as he continued, muffling his words. 'Oh, he's another Time Lord.'

Rose's eyebrows raised a bit but she remained silent, sensing there was more.

'He's not a very nice Time Lord. More of the insane, psychotic variety.' The Doctor looked down at his hands. 'We were friends… once. Now he seems to have made it his life's work to torture me.'

Rose's eye filled with concern. She hated seeing the Doctor like this. 'What will he do?'

The Doctor jumped to his feet, needing more movement than sitting on the concrete was offering. 'Oh probably something on the destruction of the world scale.' He began to pace near her. 'I don't know what he's planning. There was a time when he'd tell me everything, made it much easier to stop him. But… this regeneration seems to like secrets.' He came to stop in front of her.

'I don't know what to do, Rose. He's hunting us and…' He trailed off and just stared into the distance.

'Where and when are you?' Rose looked around her for the first time. Under a bridge somewhere.

'London, 2007.' He said and, pushing his hands into his pockets, he began to wander in a vague figure of eight.

Rose's eyes fell on the makeshift table and chairs and the remnants of their dinner. 'Oh, you had chips!'

The Doctor nodded and walked back toward her. 'It felt a bit odd to have them without you, they were good ones too… you'd have liked them.' He smiled a bit sadly. 'They're the only taste I have of you really.'

'Y…you think about what I taste like?' Rose's eyebrows flew up and her face began to resemble her name. The Doctor's eyes lowered to watch her lips and he nodded. He drew in a deep breath and looked back at her. Rose was frozen by what she saw in his eyes. He raised his hand to her cheek, stopping just short so he wouldn't break the illusion that she was really there.

'Sometimes I wish you were really here. I need you. Mostly I'm glad you're not because where you are The Master can never harm you. Rose… I…'

'Who are you talking to?' The Doctor swiftly dropped his hand and spun to look at Jack who was lying on his side, propped up by his arm and watching the Doctor in confusion and concern.

'No one.' The Doctor answered quickly. 'Just talking out loud, helps me think.' There was no way he was telling Jack that he spoke to a figment of his own imagination on a regular basis. Jack wasn't buying his answer. He'd clearly seen the Doctor acting as though there had been someone standing in front of him and, judging by what he'd been saying, it had been Rose. But he let the matter rest for the time being.

Seeing Martha begin to stir as well the Doctor prepared to explain the relevant parts the plan that had been formulating in his mind. 'Right, we need to hide.' Martha moaned as she sat up, sleeping on hard concrete hadn't been the best thing to do as her body was loudly complaining to her. Jack turned to help her. While his back was turned the Doctor looked back at Rose and smiled softly. She smiled back.

'I'll see you later. Good luck, have fun and…' she paused and grinned at him, causing him to grin back 'I love you.' Then she faded from view, happy that she'd left him with a smile on his face at least and now that Jack and Martha were awake they'd look after him. The Doctor smiled in memory. She always said she loved him before she left. It had become almost a ritual, but a reassuring one. He had yet to say it to her… he wasn't sure he could.

Turning to see Martha and Jack ready and awake the Doctor bounced into action.