Nice Things

Empires topple, asteroids explode, species are euthanized, and almost before the Master knows it, he is staring down the first anniversary of his thorny cohabitation with the Doctor. As this is also (roughly) the first anniversary of his latest resurrection, the Master feels that he deserves a birthday present. A year is an awfully long time to spend traipsing around the universe not conquering anything. In fact, the Master should be in for double presents, considering how slowly the time passed during that agonizing week when the Doctor parked them in Vienna and tried to wheedle the Master into booking an appointment with Freud.

One year with the Doctor ought to be worth at least two or three regular years. At least.

But the Doctor can't be expected to live up to his gift-giving responsibilities, no matter how much he owes. Responsibilities and the Doctor get along about as well as matter and antimatter, and he is no doubt counting the time in Earth years, pathetic ape fanboy that he is. The Master can look forward to being railroaded into a soppy dinner at the 1920's Savoy some other time. For now, it falls to him to find a present for himself.

With that in mind, the Master puts aside his current project - dismantling the room full of grandfather clocks and using the gears to create a cat robot which will scratch up all of the Doctor's furniture - and sets off in search of the Doctor's porn collection.

Finding it takes the Master two hours longer than it ought to have done, because someone keeps re-filing all the good stuff under 'e' for 'erotica', like a complete wanker. The Doctor can probably ramble on at length about how each of his precious volumes was very artistically blah blah revolutionized the sexual culture of blah blah the Doctor met that author once and blah blah shut up. Hell, that's probably the part that gets him off.

No matter. All the Master needs to do is find the best, most embarrassing prose, and then spend a rewarding week tormenting the Doctor into a squirming, red-faced wreck by reading excerpts aloud at inappropriate intervals. The Master's been saving this plan for a while now. Sometimes he does get to have nice things.

A funny thing happens, though, as the Master is hunting for that book of sonnets by the tentacle people of Alpha Centauri that he was sure he saw a few months ago, lurking near a pile of questionable cricket manuals. He runs across a very familiar title.

It's not erotica. It's not even porn. Just soft-core enough to get the juices flowing. But there is "Kiss Me, Kill Me" by Harold Saxon, in all of its bestselling glory, with a scuffed dust-jacket and several dog-eared pages.

The Master smiles a small and happy smile; one that he probably wouldn't recognize on his own face, if he saw it.

"Happy birthday to me."