Disclaimer: Just because I'm playing with Theta and Koschei for a bit doesn't mean I own Doctor Who...I fully intend to put the back again in more-or-less the condition they were in to begin with...(sellotape is a wonderful invention!)
A/N: The sixth instalment of my Metals series. The final ThetaKoschei (although there will be a TenMaster epilogue instalment soon!). The only way I can describe the process of writing this instalment is to direct you attention to Ten's heartbreaking wibbly-lip-face during the cafe scene in End of Time Pt One. I can't say I enjoyed having to break them but unfortunately, I didn't have much choice since their adult 'relationship' is so messed up. So there is barely any fluff in this one (although I stuck a tiny bit in at one point just to keep me sane) and it's very Theta-centric. Enjoy (if you can...)
A/N Take Two: Please remember that all reviews are greatly appreciated so once you've finished reading, have a go at pressing the purdy li'l button at the bottom of the page...pretty please with an even prettier Time Lord on top?
The crimson fields are no longer distinguishable from the pooling blood of the fallen; so many lifeless corpses. The remainder of the planet is littered with steel; the deep glimmering grey of weaponry and dead ships. In the midst of the battle-hardened ground, the Citadel, its dome smashed and broken, stands as the only refuge for those still plotting, and for two young Time Lords, whose love hangs by an already unravelling thread.
Theta looked around warily as an unfamiliar hand landed on his shoulder. He jumped; he just couldn't help himself, even though it had been several days since Koschei had died.
It wasn't the immediate, obvious changes that regeneration inevitably brought about that Theta lingered on, but the little, insignificant things that wouldn't have mattered to anyone else; the freckle under his right eye that didn't exist anymore, the tiny scar across his left earlobe that had been smoothed away, almost as if it had never been there. It was the way his hair was two inches longer and his eyes were a completely different shade of blue, almost midnight now. Those were the changes that killed Theta inside. Koschei wasn't exclusively his anymore and he envied humans with an excruciating ache. While they could enjoy every inch of the one they love, exploring every crease and crevice with infallible attention to detail and still remember every last blemish years later when they're old and grey, Theta knew that he would be in a perpetual cycle of loss and rediscovery. Forever.
"What's it like out there?" he asked with some trepidation. Koschei ran his new strong hands through his unruly brown hair and grimaced.
"Hell. Pure hell." Koschei's unfamiliar face was streaked with dirt and strangers' blood. Theta studied him, noting how his nose was half an inch shorter, how it crinkled at the bridge when Koschei spoke.
"You're going back." It wasn't a question, not really. Some things about Koschei hadn't changed and Theta knew the determined look in his eyes all too well. Koschei wanted to fight and kill and possibly die and change all over again. He merely nodded, avoiding Theta's gaze.
Silence enfolded them for a while, caressing them gently with its sweet sense of calm; the calm before the storm, or this particular storm at least. Koschei stretched out his hand, splaying his fingers and waiting for Theta to interlock his own between them. He did and realised with some surprise that their fingers fitted together more perfectly than they had ever done before…as if this new version of Koschei had been moulded especially for him.
"See," Koschei whispered softly. "I'm not so bad, am I?" To anyone else, it would have sounded like a quietly teasing rhetorical question, but Theta could hear the undertones of insecurity that only he could heal.
"No. Not at all. I'm still getting used to the new you, that's all…" He managed a weak smile, even as the tip of his nose grew hotter and he felt tears bubbling up, ready to betray him.
"Liar." The word was a sharp, steel knife stab in the pit of Theta's stomach. Koschei wrenched his hand from Theta's and began to laugh. It was a harsh, guttural sound that burst from him without warning and suddenly, he was sobbing. Theta shifted backwards slightly, shocked; in all their time together, he had never seen Koschei cry.
"Can't you hear it? The drumbeat…the constant drumming! The call to war! Oh, it's just waiting inside my head, ticking over…longing to fight! To die! For eternal glory! Can't you hear it, Doctor?" Koschei's choking breaths coughed out another laugh, but it died on his lips as he saw Theta's face. "Well…can't you?" he asked, afraid of the answer his question might bring.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, but it's all in your head, Kos. It's just you…" Theta shook his head sadly.
"Fine," exclaimed Koschei, jumping up with newfound exhilaration. "I don't need you, anyway!" His face split into a manic grin and Theta's blue eyes widened as the words sunk in.
"No! No, please…I can help, Kos! Honestly, I can! Just let me try!" He crawled towards Koschei, pleading, tearing at the hem of his robes. He couldn't lose Koschei.
"Oh, I think it's about time I left you behind, Doctor. I think I deserve more exquisite creatures, who won't need to snivel at my feet but will carry out my every whim." Theta shook his head, trying to pretend that he wasn't hearing the bitter, twisted words that were spilling from Koschei's mouth…a mouth that he had kissed lovingly for years. "Why do you think I changed my name to 'The Master'?"
"Don't say that, Kos!" Theta screamed, pummelling the floor in his frustration.
"You thought you couldn't cope with my regeneration? Well try and handle me now!" Koschei's voice was sneering and insane, as if something inside him had snapped.
"Kos…" sobbed Theta. "Please…"
"Use my name!" he commanded.
"Master." And Theta broke apart, his heart shattering into a million tiny shards of glass and ice.
The Master walked away, leaving Theta on the floor, broken and alone. His heart would never break again; it was pure, shiny, cold steel. Koschei was dead.
Gallifrey burnt. A blinding explosion of gold, silver, tin, copper, lead, and steel and above it stood the Doctor. A golden Child of Time watching its brightest flame turning into ash. The crimson fields and silver-blue rivers of Theta and Koschei were dead, just as the memories of those innocent sunlit days were buried in the Doctor's mind. He would never truly forget them but oblivion was peaceful and he barely noticed the trail of gold dust he left behind him.