Chapter Ten

A Heart to Hearts with Koschei

Everyone had gathered in the console room. The Doctor sat in the jump seat and looked around at each of his silent companions. Eventually, the silence was broken.

"We have to do something." said Michelle.

"Yeah? Well, I'm open to any ideas you have!" Amy snapped.

"I don't know, do I?" Michelle yelled, anger filling her. Amy was about to retort when the Doctor stood.

"Enough! For some reason, someone's out to get Robyn. Arguing won't help us figure out who or why!" said the Doctor. Michelle and Amy shared a look but didn't continue.

"Is it that thing?" said Robyn from the corner of the room. Everyone looked at her.

"What thing, sweetie?" asked Amy.

"The thing that daddy and Michelle were talking about before," she answered.

Amy looked at the Doctor, confused.

"That was nothing. It was just Michelle throwing wild theories about. Completely ridiculous theories!" he said with an air of finality.

"My little sister is in danger, dad! I'd take wild theories over the nothing that we have so far! What is it?" Jenny asked. The Doctor looked at Michelle and gave a slight shake of his head. Michelle ignored this.

"I'm done hiding things from my friends, Doctor," she stated, looking to the rest of the group.

"I've got a theory…" Michelle started, and the whole zero room conversation came back to her.

"Michelle? Why have you pulled me in here?" the Doctor had asked.

"When we were bringing the Master back, I felt something. I looked out to the Valiant and sensed something besides the Master. Like it wasn't him that orchestrated the whole Robyn kidnap thing." was Michelle's reply.

The Doctor looked worried.

"You think maybe the Daleks or some other creature did this?" he asked. Michelle had the feeling he was playing dumb and growled.

"Doctor! You have gotta stop pretending you're the last one! We have someone locked up on the TARDIS that's living proof you're not!"

"The Master is a freak coincidence, Michelle! They're all gone. None of them are coming back. Ever!" he yelled and exited the room.

After Michelle had explained her theory, the others all agreed with the Doctor. At least, most of the others.

"I say it can happen." Robyn said. Everybody turned to face her.

"It's impossible!" The Doctor retorted. Rory and Amy nodded. Robyn looked hurt and Jenny smiled. She looked at the Doctor.

"Not impossible. Just a bit unlikely," she said, mirroring the words he had once said to Donna on Messaline. The Doctor rolled his eyes and sighed.

"Ok, let's say this is even remotely possible. Why would they want Robyn? What use could she possibly be to the Time Lords? It's not like they need the psychic energy," he pondered.

Michelle closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

"There's only one person that would know," The Doctor looked at her.

"No. It's too dangerous. Your powers don't work on him. If he tried to hurt you, you could die," he said.

"It's the only option we have. Unless you can think of some other way," she eyed him, knowing he'd have to admit she was right.

"Fine. But I go with you," he demanded. Michelle nodded and they both left the console room.

Once they reached the Masters room, Michelle turned to the Doctor and opened up a telepathic link.

"I should go in alone. He hardly sees me as a threat. If we both go in, he'll think we're ganging up on him. We want him to feel safe," she said. The Doctor nodded once and Michelle released the deadlock.

She hesitantly opened the door and entered. The Master, on seeing her, backed against the back wall.

"No. You can't… You can't be here. I could… I could hurt…" he stammered. She took a tentative step forward and he shuffled away from her.

"You won't hurt me," she said, believing it to be true.

"I will. I don't want… But I can't control," he said, becoming more scared. Michelle knelt down next to him and placed her hand on his arm, opening her mind to him.

"Koschei…" she said quietly. This was enough to calm him and he looked at her.

"What… How can I…? What do you need?" he said, fear slowly leaving his voice.

"We need to know who's making you do this. Why does this person want Robyn dead?" she asked.

"Not… Not dead. Not her… Not dead." the Master said.

"What do you mean?" asked Michelle slowly.

"It's a test. Not for her. Nobody wants anybody dead. Least of all me." he stated, looking at her.

"What kind of a test?" Michelle asked, still not quite sure what was going on. The Master reached out to her and she flinched. His hand reached her face.

"I promise I won't let anybody hurt you," he said. Michelle searched his eyes and the pieces of the puzzle that were her dreams were slowly falling into place. The picture she found was unsettling. Michelle pulled away and nodded, shocked.

"Ok. Thanks, Master. That's all I need to know." Michelle said shakily. She stood and backed away from the Master, not taking her eyes off of him until she was out of the room. She closed the door and activated the deadlock again.

"What happened?" the Doctor asked, worried by her expression. Michelle shook her head.

"Nothing. We just… spoke," was her reply. The Doctor was going to push her for an answer but she walked away from him towards the garden room.