Hi all. Yep, late again. I'm sorry guys. I promise I will not make you wait this long again and I mean it this time. I would have had this posted two days ago if had let me but it wasn't uploading documents! Promise!!! No major warnings this time, only mention of past rape and some minor violence. It's gonna get very nasty again next time though - so get ready!
Ewen: Thanks :) And yep, fighting back does not improve things for Ten, as you'll find out in this chapter! And the next one is gonna be a really tough one for me to write...
rara saryn: No probs in missing chapter 23, I was just pleased to hear from you :) What did you think of EoT in the end? Only one month til series 5/Whatever now, starting to get really excited!!! Enjoy this chapter :)
acelticdream: Thanks for another review! And you'll find about more about Eros next time :) Hope you like this chapter.
TimeLadyofthePrings: I do have to be so careful with how far I let the Doctor go. I also think it would be so wrong to make him kill someone. He never would, after all! Ten will never die! I'm still in denial! *Sob*
Time Lady 802379: *Peeps round the corner at you.* You hate me don't you? I've taken a very unreasonably long time here! If it helps, that was a very impressive quick review! I really hope this update wasn't so late cos I really don't have enough money to pay for your funeral! Hope this chapter made up for the whole making you wait thing!! And could I offer you a banana by way of an apology? Two bananas? You can't resist can you!!!
Thanks to Suzie for beta-ing this for me!
Please read and review people!! Reviews help me write faster! Honest! :)
A Christmas to Remember
Rosita was sitting, perched on the edge of her seat, watching a very frustrated Jackson Lake pacing up and down the small room. He had one eye permanently on the front door, the other at the little clock on the table. Jackson had hardly spoken to her at all for the last twenty minutes and any words he did say were spoken in anger or impatience. If there was one thing Rosita knew for sure, Jackson's pacing and irritation was not helping their situation one iota. If there was another, it was the realisation that he was making her very dizzy.
She cleared her throat and hoped to Heaven that she was not about to cause yet another argument.
"Jackson, please sit down." She offered, as kindly as she could manage.
Lake shook his head. "I would prefer to stand;" he replied frostily.
"Then could you try standing still?" She tried again. "Your pacing is making me nervous."
He laughed nastily. "Oh, my apologies Rosita. God forbid you feeling uncomfortable. Forgive me, but I was not aware that you also suffered from the unpleasantness of seeing the one you love in horrendous agony." He turned away from her. He didn't want to her see the tears that were now threatening to spill. Rosita could only watch him, sympathy again flowing through her. She didn't know what to do to help her friend. She knew how tortured he was by what he had seen happening to the Doctor, she knew how wrecked he was that he couldn't help the man he adored. But she had to make him see that pacing, getting annoyed and hitting out at the others he cared about was not the answer.
"Jed will help us." She whispered. "He's not been gone long. Just be patient, Sir."
"Oh, where is he then?" Jackson threw back. "Rushing out into the snow at the mere mention of the name Waters, without even a bye-your-leave. He could at least tell us what his plans were. Just what does he think he is doing?"
She frowned. "He's out there, trying to help us! He is at least doing something!"
Jackson turned to look at her at those words, his eyes flashing with anger. "And you mean what exactly by that statement?"
Rosita swallowed. "Nothing."
"Oh yes you did," he shot back. "You meant that Jed is out there assisting the Doctor and making something happen while I am stuck in here, not able to do one single thing to help!"
"That is not what I meant, Jackson," she yelled, jumping to her feet.
"Of course it was," he retorted. "And you know what Rosita? You would be right. I am useless!"
She had heard enough. Rosita, fighting to control her own emotions, hurried to him then and placed her hands on his arms. "Sir, that is not true and you know it. You are the one the Doctor trusts. You're the one he connected to, who he has the bond with. You are not useless to him or to me. Believe me."
He was desperately trying to compose himself. He needed her support, wanted it but at that moment, all he could think about was the Doctor and his own inability to save his lover. And then there was the hatred boiling inside of him for the men that were tormenting the Doctor, maybe at that very second. Now was not the moment for weakness. He would not cry. He had to stay strong. And that meant not letting Rosita in. So, as gently as he could, he took a hold of her hands and firmly pushed her away.
"We are wasting time here, Rosita." He told her.
Rosita knew her comfort had just been refused and she didn't appreciate it. Why wouldn't the stubborn man accept her help? Couldn't he see that he needed a friend? She gave Jackson a frosty glare. "Right, well, what do you suggest we do then?"
Lake gestured angrily towards the door. "The Doctor gave me a name. We should be out now, searching for this Professor Waters." He rested his hands on his hips but could not relax. "We are sitting around and doing nothing and it is wrong!"
"Jed will be back soon -"
"WHEN!" Jackson exclaimed so loudly that he caused Rosita to jump in surprise. "Where is he?"
Rosita had had enough of his tantrums.
"Sir, sometimes you really do remind me of the Doctor!"
"Well, that's very kind of you to say," Jackson shot back.
Rosita frowned. "It wasn't meant to be a compliment."
"I'm aware of that," he replied. "But I took your attempted insult as one regardless." He threw his arms up in frustration. "This is madness, Rosita, this sitting around, just waiting! We can do nothing but depend on Jed. What if he lets us down?"
She pursed her lips together. "We have to trust him, Mr Lake. We have no reason to doubt him."
Jackson smiled coldly. "After everything we have seen the past few days, do you not find it difficult to trust anyone?"
"Not Jed," she replied softly.
He glanced at her. Oh, but of course. How had he missed the obvious signs?
"I see, Rosita." He told her, in almost a condescending tone. "I understand why you trust Jed, stand up for him so determinedly. But I do not have the reasons to believe in him like you have, do I?"
She had reached the end of her tether. "And what is that supposed to mean?"
Jackson sighed. "That you will support your lover over me."
Rosita slammed her hand down on the table beside her. "He is not my lover, Jackson!"
"Yes he is, my dear." He waved a hand. "Why be so shy? It's surely better for him to be you seen as your lover than your client, isn't it?"
She went red with shame and anger. He carried on, not caring about the pain his words were causing.
"Trust me, Rosita. Your private life is none of my concern. My only wish is to find the Doctor. And therefore finding this Professor Waters."
Rosita couldn't help it. She was so embarrassed, so taken aback by his bluntness and cruelty, she suddenly wanted to hurt him back.
"Jed knew of this Professor Waters. That's why he left this house." She stepped closer, her tone vindictive. "But maybe we don't need Jed, after all. Tell me, have you heard of Professor Waters, Mr Lake?"
"Maybe I have! Perhaps I know him intimately?" His eyes were blazing. "We are both very aware, Rosita, that I remember very little and you have no idea just how useless that makes me feel!" He wagged his finger in her face as his voice grew louder with his irritation. "I felt the Doctor's fear, his pain. I alone know how alone he is and how afraid he feels. That is my burden to bare! MINE!"
He stopped, seeing Rosita's anger subsiding, again being replaced by sympathy and her eyes suddenly becoming watery. He took a step back, surprised by not only his own outburst but his whole behavior those last few minutes.
"What has happened to me, Rosita?" He whimpered. She said nothing.
He covered his face with his hands as he retreated away from the concerned Rosita and sank back into an armchair, his shoulders shaking with grief and frustration.
"I apologise, Rosita. For the way I have spoken to you tonight, about Jed." He didn't look at his friend. "You must hate me."
She couldn't help but laugh and he glanced up at her in astonishment.
"Something is amusing?" He asked her softly.
"No, Sir," she responded hurriedly. "But do you really think that I hate you?"
"You must do," he replied in a small voice. "The way I treated you. Continue to treat you. It is cowardly and I despise my actions."
"And I know that you don't mean it," she told him, kneeling before him and placing her hands on his knees with comfort. "I know how hard this is for you, Jackson. And I know it's ripping you apart but you have to keep it together. If not for your own sake then for Freddie and the Doctor's. They need you to keep your head."
"He'll die, Rosita." Jackson hissed. "Those monsters will kill him and I can't help him."
"That will not happen," she stated, with conviction. "Believe me."
He reached out and took her hand, squeezing it gently. She smiled back warmly.
At that moment, the front door was flung open and a snow-covered Jed raced into the room, pulling a very timid young man along behind him. Jed came to an abrupt stop in front of Jackson and Rosita, giving the boy a push forward.
Jackson looked from one lad to the next and then grabbed Jed by his coat.
"Where have you been?" He fumed. "We were worried."
Jed pulled free of Jackson's grip and glared at him. "I'm sorry I took so long but Toby here lives a mile away. I ran the whole way. Toby, meet Jackson Lake and Rosita. Now, why don't you tell them what you told me?"
Toby looked aghast. He shook his head desperately and stared down at the floor, his sweaty hands grasping his hat for dear life. He was clearly terrified and didn't want to be there.
Jed frowned. "Don't be scared, Toby. These are good people. They won't hurt you."
Jackson groaned impatiently. "Jed, what good is this? Who is this young man? And why bring him here? The boy is obviously frozen with fear."
"Toby is a friend of mine. I knew I recognised the name the moment you said it, Mr Lake. Waters. Toby used to work for him and I remembered him telling me stories from his time there." Jed grabbed Toby's arm and hurled him forward again. "He's the only hope we have. He knows this Waters and where he lives. If he tells us, we can find the Doctor!"
"What is all this noise?" All four of the room's occupants jumped at the sound of the new voice. Jed's sister was stood in the hallway, Freddie in her arms. "Jackson," she continued, "your son was trying to sleep."
Jackson sighed regretfully and rushed over, taking his son from Helen and hugging him closely.
"Forgive me Freddie," he whispered. To Toby, he urged; "Please, my young man. If you know anything that can be of help to us in finding our friend and perhaps saving his life, you would have my eternal gratitude."
Toby flushed, unable to look at the gentlemen who addressed him. Rosita moved closer and put her arm gently around the boy. "Please," she said softly; "you have nothing to be afraid of here. We would never hurt you. I know your scared but you needn't be." She couldn't stop the tears forming in her eyes. "The Doctor is a hero, he saved all of us and now, he's being tortured. You can help us save him. Please Toby."
At the mention of torture, Toby quickly looked up at Rosita. She realised that all colour had drained from his face and he had gone from looking scared and nervous to downright terrified.
"S-someone's been t-tortured?" He stammered. "By t-the P-professor?"
Jackson gave Freddie back to Helen to look after and moved to stand beside Rosita, his hands outstretched as he beseeched Toby.
"Toby, the man I love is being tortured and perhaps even killed by this evil man. YOU know what he is capable of. I can see how scared you are." He placed his hands together in prayer. "Please Toby. Please help us find and help an innocent man. A wonderful man. I beg you to help me save him."
Toby hesitated for a moment, staring down at his feet. Finally, he looked up and gazed intently at Jackson. He cleared his throat. Jackson waited, with baited breath.
"I worked for Professor Waters for two years," Toby said quietly. "He lives at Princeton Halls, a large manor house about 30 minutes ride South from here, in the country. The Professor is a very rich man." He paused, to control his breathing, before continuing on. "He used to be a well respected Professor of medicine. He lost his job and the friendship and respect of his peers because of his," he hesitated again before finishing, "his experiments."
Jackson swallowed hard and Rosita swayed uncomfortably on the spot.
"Experiments?" She inquired. "What experiments, Toby?"
Toby looked at Jed and he nodded encouragingly. "Keep going, Toby. You're doing great."
He steadied himself before pressing on. "I don't know exactly what the Professor was doing, it was very secret and I was just a servant in the main house, but I knew it was bad. I would clean his laboratory sometimes and the room would be covered in blood." His eyes filled with the tears. "The man is a monster."
"Why did you leave?" Jackson asked.
"Another servant saw something," he replied; "something that terrified him. He told me I had to leave right away, that night. He said Waters was a devil and we would lose our souls if we stayed. I was already worried enough by that house and the strange goings on so I was happy to leave with him." He glanced at Jackson. "If Waters is hurting your friend, experimenting on him, you probably won't what to see the results, Sir."
Jackson shook his head, grabbing Toby's arm in a fierce grip. Toby cringed from the touch but Jackson was too swept along to care. He had to get the information he needed out of the boy, he had to find the Doctor.
"Toby, can you show me where this house is?" He urged.
"The boy gasped and pulled free of Jackson's hold. "No Sir," he told him, firmly. "I got away. I can't go back there. I won't."
Jackson rubbed an impatient hand through his hair. "If you don't," he stated grimly, "my friend will die."
Toby shook his head desperately. "If I go back there, I will die. They will kill me, torture me. Please, Sir!"
Jackson tightened his hold, not caring whether he hurt Toby and Rosita saw the boy's fear and desperation grow. Soon, he would be useless to them.
"Stop, Jackson." She snapped and Lake turned away dejectedly, his hand covering his face in despair.
Rosita moved forward, putting her arm around Toby, comforting him. "Please Toby. You have to help us. If you can't show us where that house is, would you tell us. Give us directions so we can save our friend for ourselves?"
Toby glanced at Jed. "He'll kill you all."
"Let us worry about that, Tobe." Jed told his friend. "And believe me, if the Professor has hurt the Doctor, he's the one who is going to be in danger."
Toby seemed to wait for a moment, considering. Jackson was nearly at the end of his tether but a glance from Rosita kept him silent. Finally, Toby spoke up.
"Alright," he whispered. "I'll tell you where the house is, the quickest way to get there is only a thirty minute ride."
Jackson leaped up. "I don't have a horse," he gasped. "What am I..."
"You can borrow ours." Helen said. "And I will look after Freddie."
Jackson gazed at her. "Thank you," he whispered. "Thank you so much."
He rushed towards the door. "Come Toby! Tell me!"
Toby held up a hand and pursed his lips together. "It's not far, Sir, but it is in the middle of no where. You need my help." He glared at Jackson. "So stop ordering me around and make sure you do exactly as I tell you. Got it?"
Jed couldn't help but smile. Rosita raised an eyebrow.
Jackson frowned but what could he say? He nodded obediently.
"Good," Toby said, now with a hint of smile. "Now, listen."
The Doctor was so cold, he thought he could actually freeze to death and regenerate there and then, in the snow. He was trudging through the trees, walking through the grounds of the Professors house, being supported carefully by Dick. The Professor and Saunders were marching on ahead, leading the way and Mark was bringing up the rear. Waters was discussing the Doctor with Saunders in loud tones, causing both the Time Lord and Dick to flinch.
"I checked him when he was asleep," the Professor was saying. "The recovery of his feet is quite astounding. He should have been unable to walk for weeks with an injury like that. Truly fascinating." The Professor looked over his shoulder. "Hurry up the pace, Richard. Or must we have a repeat of the recent violence?"
"Ignore them," Dick muttered to the Doctor. The Time Lord was only wearing his robe and Dick could feel how cold he was. He was trembling and the snow and ice must have been hurting his feet. The cruelness of the situation was just too much for Dick. He put his arm around the alien and pulled him close, hoping to pass some of his own body heat onto the Doctor, keeping him warm any way he could. The Doctor stumbled and Dick pulled him on. He had already fallen down once in the snow, leading to Mark's great pleasure in beating the Doctor with a stick until Dick had shoved him sideways to stop him. Dick had no intention of allowing something similar to happen again.
"We have to move faster, Doctor." Dick breathed. "They will hurt you otherwise."
"I'm sorry." the Doctor hissed to Dick, his teeth chattering. "I'm so sorry about what I did back there. When I lose control, I don't like what I become."
"Don't worry." Dick told him, through gritted teeth. "Doctor, it's not your fault."
He glanced at the Doctor. "It was very interesting to see a flash of the real Time Lord, Doctor. The real you, as it were."
"That was not me."
"If you say so."
Dick growled in annoyance and pulled the Doctor on, moving him away from the sneering Mark. He clutched his friend to him, holding him tightly.
"I don't blame you, Doctor." Mark whispered. "You were right to fight back."
The Doctor sighed. "You don't understand, Dick. I could have committed murder and then I'd have been no better than those animals that have hurt, tormented and raped me." His voice broke and Dick grabbed at his hand, praying that the Time Lord kept it together. The bastards would love nothing more than to see him broken and Dick would not let that happen.
"I can't let it happen again, Dick." The Doctor whimpered. "I will not lose control again. I can't."
Dick looked on grimly. "You may just have to, Doctor." He muttered back. "You may have no choice."
They walked for only a few feet more when suddenly the Professor stopped ahead of them and raised a hand, bringing the group's journey to an end. They had arrived at a small wooden hut with a very large, wooden door. And standing around the hut were four slaves, each grasping a lit torch, flames flickering up to the sky from each one.
The Doctor's eyes widened. He had been afraid of fire, in other lives and it still bothered him now. Fire was definitely not something he enjoyed. Breathing heavily, he tried to back away and Dick held onto him, in a firm but not painful grip. Dick shushed in his ear and patted his back, trying to comfort the Doctor somehow. Secretly, Dick was very afraid by what the Professor had planned, especially as he had not been told.
Dick cleared his throat. "Professor, the Doctor is freezing," he stated. "He needs clothes."
The Professor ignored Dick completely, choosing to watch the Doctor closely instead, apparently delighting in the alien's obvious fears. "Here we have our next test." He announced, clapping his hands for silence. "Doctor," he stated; "Your power to move objects and men of course by the power of your mind is fascinating. I wish to see more of this but this time, I will be in control." The Professor rubbed his hands together in glee. He stepped back, away from the Doctor.
"Now then, go into the hut please."
Dick rolled his eyes in disgust. "Just what kind of a man are you?" He argued "You cannot put the Doctor in there."
Waters smiled calmly. "I don't intend to. I'm not addressing the Doctor, Dick."
Dick was confused. "Good," he answered, nervously. "Some common sense at last."
The Professor's smile widened.
"Assist Peterson into the hut and lock the door, please." He addressed his orders towards two servants and then watched contently as they rushed forward to follow his instructions. Dick stared at Waters in shock as he was gripped by the two men and pulled towards the small hut. "Wait..." he objected but no one answered him as he was dragged unceremoniously along the ground.
"What are you doing?" The Doctor snapped but he too was ignored. Soon, the slaves had forced Dick into the hut and had slammed the door shut behind him, locking it and hurriedly moving away. Mark and Saunders were smiling excitedly and they laughed when the sounds of Dick throwing himself against the wooden door were clearly heard.
"Let me out of here!" Dick was screaming. "Let me out right now!"
The slaves then stepped forward with the torches, the flames lighting up the darkness.
The Doctor took a step forward, only to be restrained by Mark and Benjamin. "D-don't," he stammered in disbelief. "Don't do this."
The Professor chuckled. "Begin the experiment," he stated and waved his hand.
"No!" The Doctor yelled, pulling for all he was worth against his captors, desperate to get free and help his friend. At their Master's command, the slaves obediently tossed the lit torches onto the wooden hut and within seconds, the building's roof was ablaze. The Doctor could only stare, horrified, as the flames quickly spread. Dick had a matter of minutes only before he would burn to death. How long he had before he would be consumed by the smoke, the Doctor couldn't tell.
Dick began to scream in horror and the Doctor's hearts ached. He wanted to comfort the man but what could he say? What could he do?
"Please!" Dick was yelling, "Please open the door, Professor! I beg you! My family..."
The Doctor glared at the Professor, completely not believing that the man could truly go this far.
"Do as he says," the Doctor demanded. "Open the door."
"No," the Professor purred. He moved to stand in front of the Doctor, his hands clasped behind his back, watching the building being wrecked by the flames. It was clear he was enjoying this sick scene. "You are not in charge here, Doctor. No orders from you."
"Waters, let him go!" The Doctor was beside himself. "Let him go now or I'll..."
"You'll what, alien?" Waters was loving the Doctor's panic. "I know how powerful you are, Doctor. Do as I say, use that power for me, for Dick. Save him!" He narrowed his eyes when the Doctor didn't respond. "Why do you wait?"
"Because I can't do as you ask!" The Doctor shouted, gesturing angrily. "You have to let him out now!"
"This is disappointing! Come on, give us a show!" Saunders jeered. "If you are so powerful, Doctor; why not get him out of there?"
Mark laughed. "You seem unsure, Doctor. And I thought Dick was your friend..." He shook his head sadly and the horrible men laughed together, revelling in the Doctor's despair.
"Please!" The Doctor pleaded with the Professor desperately. This could not happen. "Please don't do this!"
The Professor smiled nastily at the Doctor. He was wide eyed and the Doctor could see very clearly and frighteningly that the other man was completely insane. "You save him!" Waters cried passionately. "You want him alive? Then you save him!"
"I can't!" The Doctor shouted back, still being manhandled by Mark and Saunders. If he wasn't being held by the two men, the Doctor couldn't say for sure as to whether he would have killed Waters in that moment, with his bare hands. "I can't lose control! Don't you understand, you stupid little man? If I let go, if I let myself become THAT again, I could kill you all!"
The Professor shrugged. "I will take that risk!" Dick let out a guttural cry and the Doctor stared at the burning hut, agonised. The Professor glared, taking hold of the Doctor's chin painfully and forcing him to look at him. "You don't have any choice, Doctor. You do not act and he dies. You want to save his worthless life? Then go ahead. Show me what you can do."
There was another terrified cry from the inferno before them and then, the Doctor was horrified to hear a small whimper from inside. Dick was reciting a prayer, the only comfort he had left. It crushed the Doctor to hear him.
"Our father, who art in Heaven. Hallowed be thy name..."
The Doctor knew he couldn't wait a second longer. He would not leave this good man to his fate, the one man who had tried to show him any friendship since this whole nightmare had begun. Dick would die a horrible death, burned alive as everyone stood by and watched and the Doctor could not deal with that guilt. He closed his eyes, allowing the tears to fall down his cheeks, knowing what he was about to let happen. He could feel the Time Lord Victorious waiting there, deep inside, ready to be unleashed. With a heavy heart, he concentrated, knowing he was about to lose his control. He drew the power from deep inside of him, felt it climbing up inside of him, taking him over and then, he was lost.
When he snapped open his eyes, they were flaming red. With a cry, he pulled free of Saunders and Mark and the two men were sent hurtling through the air by the unseen force. The Professor backed away quickly, watching the Doctor's actions intently. The Doctor gazed back at him and then turned his attention to the fire before him and the still whisperings of the tormented man stuck in it's belly. Standing tall, the Doctor held his hands outstretched before him and closed his eyes again, using his entire strength, everything he had inside of him was forced against that locked door, battering it as he attempted to throw it off of its hinges. Slowly, the door came loose and a few seconds later, the Doctor screamed his anger as it was tossed uselessly away, missing the fallen Saunders by inches.
With a cry of fury, the Doctor rushed forward, pulling off his robe as he ran, now the pain coming from his beaten ankles completely ignored. He raced into the wrecked building, naked and furious, ignoring the heat surrounding him. He was burned badly by the flames and he was choked by the smoke, yelling out his outrage and agony. Still though, he went on, single minded and intent on saving the one man who had aided him. The Time Lord Victorious did not fail, would not fail. This time, he would win. Coughing madly and preventing himself from bursting into flames only by the power of his mind, he finally saw Dick, barely conscious and moving pitifully. His lips were still moving and though the Doctor couldn't hear him, he knew the poor man was still stating his last prayer, still pleading with his God for help.
"Don't worry, Dick." The Time Lord Victorious hissed. "God has answered. Your Lord is here."
Peterson gazed up, breathing hard, his eyes as huge as sauces as he stared up at the Time Lord standing over him. The Doctor grabbed at Dick, throwing the robe around the other man's shoulders. He held him close to him and began to drag him back towards the door. Every time Dick could feel the flames near him, the Doctor waved a hand and they vanished. Dick could almost sense the incredible power radiating off of the Doctor. Here was a man who could control fire. Dick was awestruck. At last, he felt grass at his feet and knew they were out. In seconds, the Doctor had released Dick and both men fell to the ground outside the flaming barn.
Mark stepped forward cautiously and the Doctor glared at him. Mark didn't move. He wasn't stupid. He wasn't ready to take another flying trip. He looked questionably at Waters and the Professor nodded, stepping forward beside him. They both had guns in their hands and a slave each standing beside them. They pointed their weapons at the slaves, making their intentions clear.
The Professor smiled.
"Doctor?" He asked, politely.
The Time Lord saw what an atrocity the men were about to perform, just to prove they were in charge and not him. He again saw the terrible insanity in Waters' eyes and knew he would kill all those servants just to prove a point, to reaffirm his power over the stronger alien. The Doctor swallowed hard. He knew he would never be able to control the power enough to save every single slave before they pulled their triggers. It was over. He closed his eyes, willing himself to calm down, to allow the Time Lord Victorious to retreat once more.
Finally, the red mist left him and he could see properly again. He was free. With a gasp, he collapsed to his knees with a pained cry, landing clumsily beside the whimpering Dick. The Doctor lay there, his body wracked with shame at what he had just become. Not only had he lost control again but he had allowed Waters to command him, he had become the slave. He was nothing more now than these men's pet. And he couldn't fight them, not now. He cringed when he felt a hand touch his and he opened one eye nervously. He saw Dick, crouching beside him, reaching out to grasp his hand.
"Thank you, my friend." Dick mumbled and the Doctor squeezed the human's hand in response.
Their little moment was rudely interrupted when the Professor grabbed Dick forcefully and dragged him roughly to his feet, gripping him tightly. Dick was helpless in his bruising grip. He could only moan from the pain. Waters shook Dick viciously and leaned in closer. "I suggest you listen to me now, boy. I know you have befriended that freak of nature, bringing him glasses of water, comforting him. You work for me, understand? I catch you disobeying me again or even talking to the Doctor again without my permission, the next fire I set will be on your own house, while your family are inside." He shook him again. "And I will make you watch before I kill you too." He pushed Dick away from him and the other man just managed to keep his footing. "Do I make myself clear, Peterson?"
Dick could do nothing but nod grimly. What choice did he have?
The Professor glowered at Dick but seemed satisfied with his response. With a smile, the cruel man moved to stand in front of the crumpled Doctor. He was slumped on the ground, utterly exhausted, eyes tightly closed.
"Excellent demonstration, Doctor." The Professor taunted him. "A very good effort, I am most impressed."
The Doctor opened his eyes feebly, stared up at the Professor and blinked. He was so devastated, so tired, he couldn't bring himself to reply.
"Take him back to the house, Mark."
Mark smirked, hurling the Doctor to his feet and giving him a vicious shove. The Time Lord was far to weak to object. He went along with the cruel human quite obediently, only pausing for a second to give Dick an apologetic glance. Dick didn't respond, he couldn't take the chance anymore. Everything was very clear. If he attempted to help the Doctor again, the Professor would murder his family.
He had no choice now. He had to obey.
Dick hovered for a moment, watching the Doctor and Mark disappearing into the darkness, angry that Mark didn't even give the Doctor his coat and the chance to cover himself. Soon, Dick could no longer see them as they were no longer illuminated by the fire still flaming behind them as they made their way back to the mansion. Dick looked towards Waters questionably, wondering what his next move would be.
Waters scoffed nastily before addressing his former loyal servant. "Go back to the house. I want the laboratory and the Doctor prepared for me upon my return. Any mistakes Dick and I will hold you responsible. I am assuming you can work out what would happen then?"
Dick flinched and looked down at the ground. He nodded solemnly.
"Good," The Professor sneered. "Now go." He snapped his fingers to two of his slaves "You! Help him. The rest of you can go. Return to your duties."
The slaves fell over themselves in their hurry to obey their master and without another word, Dick turned on his heel and, allowing himself to be supported, he and his companions followed the Doctor and Mark back to the house. Unbeknownst to the Professor, Dick covered his face with his hands, hoping to stop the tears that were threatening to spill as the enormity of his ordeal struck him. He had almost been burned alive by a man he had once loved like a father. Dick had never been in so much despair. How could he abandon the Doctor now? Just after the man had risked everything to save his life, had risked his very soul? He knew what it had taken for the Doctor to do that, all for him. But, at the same time, he would not risk the lives of his family, of his tiny children. As he walked, all he asked himself repeatedly was: Just what was the right thing to do?
The Professor was pleasantly unaware of his servant's struggles. For him, everything was going swimmingly.
Hands clasped behind his back proudly, he nodded to the man waiting opposite him, waiting for instructions.
"Saunders," Waters barked; "Fetch my driver, please. Tell him to prepare my carriage. We have one more test to carry out and then, I will wish to leave at once."
Saunders grinned excitedly.
"Sir, is this final matter still to be my honour to perform?"
The Professor nodded. "Oh yes. I believe the Doctor's reactions to you carrying out the final test on him will be most enlightening."
Saunders smirked, rubbing his hands together in anticipation. "Good."
The Professor seemed amused. "And when the tests are complete, all will be ready for us to leave this place." He placed a hand on Saunders shoulder. "I am grateful for all your efforts, Mr. Saunders."
Saunders looked intently at the other man. The Professor certainly appeared in an uncharacteristically buoyant mood right then, perhaps even giddy. Saunders decided now was the time to once again bring up a matter that had never been too far from his mind.
"Sir, once the final experiment is over, will I then have completed my agreement with you?"
The Professor eyed him. "Yes," he answered.
"And then, you will be so kind as to keep your part in the matter?" He swallowed nervously. "I will receive my payment as promised?"
The Professor smiled. "Of course, Benjamin. I am a man of my word."
Saunders smiled happily. "Thank you, Professor.
Waters nodded in return, turned back to his mansion and clasped his hands together. "We are nearly there now," he whispered, more to himself than to Saunders. "Soon, it will be time."
"Time for what?" Saunders inquired.
"Time for my esteemed former colleagues to eat their words."