Because the Doctor really is a teddy bear, no matter what the Master thinks. ;D
Also because I needed to cheer myself up after EoT. ;D
It's cracky and fluffy and sacharinely sweet, but hey, what else do I write? ;D
N.B.: The title is meant to be reminiscent of the title of the episode "The Doctor Dances". Really. ;D
To cuddle: verb. 1. To hold (affectionately). 2. To lie close: to snuggle.
Also: activity that the Doctor (see also: Oncoming Storm, Lonely God, Ka Faraq Gatri, Time Lord) enjoys.
The Master had rather expected it, really. It only made sense that someone as open and caring and emotional and guilt-ridden as the Doctor was all the time would want to be held and soothed and comforted. (And snuggled, of course).
He just hadn't expected that he himself would – at any time, ever – reciprocate or even share the sentiment. After all – "to snuggle"?
For one thing, he'd thought that the Doctor would be a bit too bony. Skin and bones, that was all this regeneration was (well, besides a brain and a mouth that never stopped moving). He was just a lean form with sharp, angular joints and not an ounce of body fat. Cuddling the Doctor, he'd thought, would be rather like cuddling a skinny Christmas tree. Not to mention that porcupine hair …
He realized rather early into their cohabitation, however, that this was simply not true. The Doctor might not be a teddy bear (though he had been a bit of a teddy bear in his fifth regeneration. Or a puppy – yes, that was what he had been. His fifth incarnation had been a blond puppy – but this was his tenth incarnation, so where had he been going with this whole train of thought, anyways?), but he was by no means uncomfortable to hold. When he relaxed, the sharp contours of his body softened, and his skinniness, rather than making him feel brittle, just made him feel fragile and delicate and in need of protection (and a nutritionist, but that was neither here nor there). His hair, too, was much softer than it appeared: almost fluffy.
The Master learned most of these things during various ill-fated visits to hostile planets during which he'd had to run away while holding an unconscious Doctor. It happened more often than he'd expected. To his surprise, he found that he hadn't even been tempted once to leave the Doctor behind. (Well, once. But it had been a bad day.)
Also, he had never been able to imagine, off the top of his head (or even the bottom of his head), a situation in which cuddling the Doctor would even be a remote possibility. After several centuries of fighting across the cosmos, it had became impossible to believe – despite the incredible amount of tension they shared – that they would ever, or, indeed, could ever coexist. But then they'd been on the Valiant and now here they were in the TARDIS, so the Master had been forced to strike that objection.
Mainly, though, he had never considered the possibility that he'd enjoy cuddling back. Cuddling. It was such a … fluffy word; it suggested rainbows and puppies and white picket fences and all sorts of things that the Master shuddered to think about. He had never dreamed of wanting to cuddle.
When he realized that he did indeed wish to cuddle, though, it actually made sense (in a weird, nonsensical way. Then again, what had made sense since they'd reached the TARDIS and the Doctor had proceeded to snog the living daylights out of the Master?).
Cuddling was, in a sense, the Doctor literally giving himself to the Master in a way that really nothing else was. Because cuddling wasn't just physical or mental or emotional: it was all three. It was the acknowledgement that the Master made him happy, that he sought the warmth and comfort from the Master. It was completely voluntary and completely innocent and therefore completely, indescribably Doctor-ish.
It was also another method of possession. Sure, he had the Doctor, and the Doctor would do practically anything he wanted him to do, but understanding that and expressing it were two different things altogether. The Master really, really, really just wanted to have the Doctor forever. Oh, and possibly take a trip around the multiverse and find everyone else who'd ever loved the Doctor (well, this regeneration, at least; that was a start) – that Rose chav who'd tried (failed) to replace the Master when the Doctor had thought he was all alone; Jack, the time travel freak, who thought that he had access to things other people owned; Martha, who thought she has pulled one over the Master when really all she'd done was give him to the Doctor and, in the process, lose the Doctor himself – and laugh in their faces and watch their collective expressions as he kissed the Doctor so hard fireworks exploded behinds his eyes and the Doctor let him. He wanted to do whatever he could to say this-is-mine and don't-you-dare-touch-him, and physically holding him was one way.
So yes, he did want to cuddle the Doctor. And the Doctor wanted to cuddle with him, too. Simple, yes?
No, because there was no way the Master would ever let the Doctor realize he wanted to do something as undignified as cuddle.
So he brooded and sulked and then he planned and schemed for a few days, while his not-quite-a-teddy-bear raced around the TARDIS as per usual. Obliviously.
Phase One began after a particularly trying adventure. They had been separated, the Doctor had been captured and tortured, and the Master had been nearly killed no less than seven times. Ergo, upon their return to the TARDIS, the Doctor was acting ever more emotional and needy than usual. He had that look on his face – that sort of blank-expression-but-shattered-eyes look that this incarnation carried off so well – and he nearly jumped into the Master's lap when they reached the TARDIS.
The Master suggested a shower; the Doctor complied. It was a nice, warm, satisfying shower. When the two left the bathroom, the Doctor was contentedly exhausted. The Master, for his part, was actually rather tired – but sleep had to wait today. He had a plan.
He carried the Doctor over to the bed and gently placed him down on it, then clambered in himself, turning away from the Doctor, as per usual. He did not miss the Doctor's quiet whimper as he moved away, but he ignored it – again, as per usual.
The Doctor was asleep within five minutes. The Master waited five more, just to be sure, and then rolled over to face him. Time for Phase Three.
He simply observed the Doctor for a few minutes, drinking him in. The Doctor looked young and almost vulnerable (scratch that, quite vulnerable) in his sleep. That long, pale neck disappearing into the V-neck of the flannel pajamas, just a hint of white, unmarred chest visible at the top and the faintest of shadows, indicating a collarbone; his hair, still damp from the shower, hanging in dark, loose tendrils, flexibly molding itself against the contours of the pillow; eyelids, closed over brown eyes that always held so much emotional; a comfortable, splayed position, sprawled across the bed, that highlighted just how rarely the Doctor ever really relaxed during the daytime. The Master watched him, drinking all this in.
All this was his.
He leaned forward, then, scooching over towards the Doctor, slowly, careful not to wake him. Slowly, he pulled the Doctor back into a loose embrace: one hand resting on one angular hip, the other right by his collarbone, his legs hooked around the Doctor's. He moved around for a moment more, adjusting, and then he settled down.
Yes. That was right. That was good. To feel the Doctor against him, utterly relaxed and content and needy … Needing him. Wanting him.. Dependent upon him. Even in his sleep, the Doctor snuggled into the warmth the Master offered.
The Master had been planning only to keep this up for a few minutes, but before he knew it, he was asleep.
Mmm. Warm. That was nice, that was very nice … Brilliant, in fact. He was usually cold at night, but right now he wasn't. He was warm and comfortable and there was a reassuring hand on his hip and a body behind him telling him that this was not a temporary state –
Wait a minute. Hand. Body.
Wait a second minute. That meant …
"Um." He paused. "Master? What are you doing?"
The body holding him briefly tightened its grip as the Master woke up, and then relaxed again. After a moment, a voice in his ear replied:
"Just be quiet, Doctor."
The Doctor tried, he really did, but he just had to know … after approximately one hundred five and three-fifths seconds (all right, exactly one hundred five and three-fifths seconds), the Doctor asked, "Is this cuddling?"
"No." The Master's voice was slightly annoyed and slightly tired, but mostly just defensive and maybe the slightest bit amused. "Now, be quiet, Doctor."
The Doctor squirmed for a few moments more before reaching an almost perfectly comfortable position. He could practically feel himself purring in happiness – and he might actually have done so had he not been sure that it would have succeeded in gaining him the Master's never-ending mocking. He felt himself soaking up the affection like sunlight, leaning into the Master.
He managed to keep quiet for a full two hundred four seconds this time. Then:
"Are you sure it's not cuddling?"
"Doctor." The Master's voice was patient – too patient. He was acting much more accommodating than usual. "If I were not positive, why would I say I was?"
"Oh. Right." He paused against. "It does feel like cuddling, though. A lot like cuddling. Really a lot like –"
The hand on his collarbone withdrew slightly. A soft whimper escaped him and he leaned up immediately, following the Master's hand. "Be. Quiet."
There were still cuddling when the Doctor fell asleep twenty minutes (and nine and two sevenths seconds) later, much warmer and happier and content than he had been in years (at the least).
The Master allowed himself a small sigh of relief. That had been close.
The next time they cuddled, he had to make wake up before the Doctor did. It was like ninja-cuddling. He had to make sure the Doctor didn't catch him. A ninja, that was what he was.
Then again, it had been rather nice, seeing how much the Doctor had enjoyed – needed – the affection …
He ghosted his hand back over the Doctor's collarbone before settling into a more relaxed position; within minutes, he was asleep as well.