CH1 The north wind blows...
"Master, just calm down. Just look at what you're doing. Just stop! If you could see yourself…"
The Doctor was perilously close to pleading now, physically restrained by the customary couple of mindless guards, looking up at the only other Time Lord in existence, beseeching him to understand, to realise…
The Master sighed, bored of the proceedings. Such a brilliant man, and yet so stupid! "Oh, do excuse me," he said to the cameras. "Little bit of personal business. Back in a minute." He turned to his military monkeys. "Let him go."
The Doctor found himself flung to the floor, and prostrate on the ground before the Master. This situation was just getting more and more out of hand, and if he couldn't stop it now… "It's that sound, the sound in your head. What if I could help?" he asked desperately.
The Master rolled his eyes contemptuously. "Oh, how to shut him up?" A glint came into his eye that made the Doctor's hearts clench in horror. It was the look the Master had when he was so certain of winning his childish, deathly games that he was prepared to tell anyone listening exactly what his plans were. It was generally at this point that most people would give up hope. Of course, for the Doctor, that point wouldn't come yet, but it was still a look to be feared.
"Memory Lane!" the Master announced. He clicked his fingers imperiously, and more soldiers (how many did he need?) hurried down from the bridge of the Valiant towards a seemingly very normal piece of panelling in the wall. "Don't open it just yet," he told them. "I want to tease him a little first. I think I deserve it."
The Doctor stared, completely lost.
"Lucy, dear," the Master called, in a mockery of a loving husband. The beautiful young woman came eagerly, slipping a hand round the villain's waist, standing pressed close to his side, and smiling at her husband.
"Aren't we just the ideal picture, Doctor?" the Master asked, placing a hand round Lucy's shoulders. "A Time Lord and his beloved human companion?"
"Whatever you're planning with Martha," the Doctor started, his voice lowering angrily, but the Master waved his hand dismissively, cutting him off.
"Oh, lovely Martha over there doesn't interest me at all. After all, she's not the girl you fell in love with, is she? As I'm sure Martha knows. You really have been cruel to her, you know. All those times you've blown her off, and don't you pretend you didn't know how she was feeling."
A ragged gasp came from Martha across the room, and one Time Lord turned to look at her briefly, but the Doctor's eyes were still fixed on the Master, and his gaze was wild now, comprehension lending him utter despair.
"Rose," he said.
"Ten out of ten!" the Master cried, jubilant. "She'd been working so hard to get back to you, Doctor. Amazing, for a human. D'you know, her version of Torchwood made a dimension cannon? And who would volunteer first to cross over, but our dear little Rose. Just for you, of course.
"You've already seen my renovations in the TARDIS, haven't you? We worked long and hard to get that mood lighting exactly right, didn't we dear?" This last comment was thrown casually to Lucy, who simpered at him a little. "Well, a paradox machine just waiting to be used was always going to weaken the dimensions a little. Not a problem unless someone is weakening the walls from the other side, too."
Another snap of the fingers, and the panel was pulled back. There was no dramatic hydraulic hiss or mechanised movement. Just the reality of a piece of wood heaved off the walls to reveal a cage, a large one, maybe three yards by two, the old fashioned kind, the type with a bit of rust on the iron bars, a huge padlock and a steel bowl of dubious looking water in one corner. It was occupied by a young, blonde woman who looked up with such fear in her eyes when light flooded her jail, and those eyes were so familiar to the Doctor. And not just the eyes, but the fear in them, too. Her face was practically the same as he remembered, a little thinner, perhaps, and the bags under her eyes were purple and puffy, her lashes strangely free of make-up, but still recognisable. Her clothes might have been fashionable once, practical for a working day in an organisation where you might be doing paperwork or you might be saving the world, but they were worse for wear now, her jeans torn and her shirt stretched by rough handling. The stains weren't too bad; there really wasn't that much blood. Just a bit over her right arm and on her left knee, where the once-blue denim was now ripped and a murky brown.
Her voice was exactly the same.
Her tears were so different.
"She came through a couple of days ago. Such fortunate timing, don't you think? Coincidence is such a beautiful thing. Anyway, she realised she was on the TARDIS and started questioning me straight away—she's really quite plucky, that one—until I realised who she was. I'd been through the TARDIS memory banks, you see. Saw that touching transmission you made to Darlig Ulv Stranden, which actually means 'sick wolf beach' for your information, but of course I only saw up to your beautiful confession, my dear. Not hard to work out what you would have said, Doctor. And all the pictures of her in your room, so sweet. Anyway, once I realised who she was, I captured and imprisoned her, and waited for you to arrive so my plan could begin."
Neither of them was listening. The Doctor had run forward to the cage as soon as she called his name, only to be caught again by the Master's soldiers. The tears were cascading freely down Rose's face, leaving clean trails where they washed some of the grime away.
Somewhere outside the world that solely included the Doctor and Rose, Jack revived, drew in a strangled lungful of air, and before even waiting to let his head recover, pressed his wristwatch into Martha's hand.
"Teleport," he said grimly.
"I can't," she protested.
"We can't stop him!" Jack argued. "Get out of here. Get out."
Martha looked at him and nodded once. She stood up, wiling the Doctor to look at her before she left.
"Aw, I nearly forgot you!" the Master crowed. Martha flinched. "The would-be doctor. But tonight, Martha Jones, we've flown them in, all the way from prison…"
The doors swept back as yet more soldiers came in, pushing before them the restrained Jones family.
"Mum…" Martha breathed in horror.
Francine was crying. "I'm sorry," she told her daughter.
Martha had to turn away, and she noticed that the Doctor was finally looking at her. So, too, was the famous Rose.
There was an odd thing. Rose had always been spoken about in the past tense; Martha had assumed she was dead. Obviously she'd been way off the mark, as she'd found out at the end of the world, but it was logical thinking. She was either dead or trapped; Martha had just picked the wrong option. From the way the Doctor went on about her, she wouldn't have left willingly, and he wouldn't have got rid of her like he had Jack. Martha had come to quietly detest the faceless Rose, but now she was looking at her, and could see the very real fear that the woman was suffering, she found herself pitying her. After all, it wasn't exactly Rose's fault that the Doctor kept going on about her. Or that Martha herself had fallen for the Doctor.
Jack had just noticed Rose, too. That was the point, for him, when he lost pretty much all his hope. If Rose was in a cage, the Doctor was as good as shackled. Rose hadn't noticed him yet, and he was glad for it. According to the Doctor, she was still under the impression that he was dead and not immortal. Maybe that should be the other way round. Whatever; her reaction was not one he wanted to deal with just now, and more to the point, he didn't want her to have to deal with it just now. He ducked out of sight.
Seeing Martha's face seemed to calm the Doctor. It reminded him harshly that there was a whole world, a whole universe still waiting to be saved. Refocused, he turned to the Master. "The Toclafane, who are they?" The Master just smirked. "Who are they?!"
The Master descended the steps, moving away from Lucy, and placed a hand on the Doctor's cheek. Neither Martha nor Rose could prevent the slight horror they felt at the gentle, almost loving contact, though the Doctor didn't seem to care.
"Doctor, if I told you the truth, your hearts would break."
Then he kicked him in the stomach, sending him reeling towards the cage, which he hit with a metallic clang. Rose immediately reached out between the bars, placing a hand on his shoulder as he groaned in pain, her fingers clutching at his suit jacket, the same suit jacket that he had worn for Christmas at her mum's flat, the same suit jacket he had worn whilst blowing up a sun, just to say goodbye.
Martha wanted to go to him, too, but three of the Toclafane descended from where they had been hovering round the ceiling and she jerked back.
"Is it time?"
"Is it ready?"
"Is the machine singing?"
The Master made a show of checking his watch. "Two minutes past." He bounded back up the steps again. "So! Earthlings. Basically, um, end of the world." The laser screwdriver was lifted above his head in a manner that really should have been ridiculous, but still made the hairs on the back of Martha's neck stand up. "Here. Come. The drums!"
Suddenly music was echoing round the Valiant. Voodoo Child. "Here come the drums, here come the drums…"
The music ceased to matter as the sky wrenched itself apart in a hideous replica of the Red Sea. Thousands upon thousands of Toclafane poured out of the wounded heavens.
The Master was distracted, watching his dubious allies, ordering them, explaining the situation cheerily to his wife. The lingering Toclafane on the ship had disappeared outside; Martha took the opportunity to run to the Doctor where he was pulling himself into a sitting position, obviously badly winded, leaning against the cage.
"I'm sorry, Martha, I'm so sorry."
She didn't know what he was apologising for: her family's incarceration, her own personal danger, the way he'd hurt her over Rose.
When he explained, when he told her what she must do in order to save the world, she could only listen in dumbfounded horror. A single tear slipped down her cheek.
"You can't ask her to do all that," Rose whispered.
That decided Martha. "Yes, he can," she said, determined now. "See you in a year or so."
With that, she stood up, and gave a last glance to her family.
"Good luck," Rose breathed, but Martha merely closed her eyes and activated the teleport. She was gone.
Suddenly, the Master wheeled around and grabbed the Doctor forcibly by the shoulders, pulling him to the window. He didn't resist, though Rose reached out for him instinctively as he was torn from her grasp yet again.
"And so it came to pass that the human race fell and the Earth was no more. And I looked down upon my new dominion as master of all and I thought it… good."
A moment passed, and the Master closed his eyes, relishing it. Then he turned brusquely to the soldiers.
"Take that one-" he pointed at Jack "-to somewhere below, out of the way, and lock him up. Kill him if he struggles. Those lot-" he pointed at Martha's family "-can become staff. But for now they can be locked up, too. And- oh, the girly's gone. Never mind. I'll find her later. And as for these two-" this said with a smirk to the Doctor and Rose "-well, they can stay in there." He was gesturing towards Rose's cage. "For my entertainment."
Imprisoned with Rose Tyler. Well, it wasn't the first time.