Of Assassinations and Reunions

Rassilon's Fortress- Tortured Souls

"Let her go," The Doctor said his voice low and deadly. Across the room, Rassilon only laughed, his face full of malicious amusement and at his feet, Rose lay on crumpled knees. He yearned to be at her side, to press what little strength he had left into her, but heavy chains bound him at a distance. Too far to touch, but close enough to see the pain etched on her face.

"Now why would I do a thing like that?" Rassilon asked. He bent down, handling her bruised cheek, staring into her eyes. "This little thing is much too powerful to leave on her own."

"She's just a girl, just a human girl. This isn't her fight."

"Doctor, don't." Her voice rang with quiet firmness, though it was marked with an edge of pain. "It won't do any good."

"I'm afraid she's right you know." Rassilon continued, his voice strangely pleasant as if they were friends having a normal conversation. "This became her fight the moment she was born."

The Doctor shook his head. "Just let her go."

"Impossible. Rose and I are going to have grand time together, aren't we dear?"

He stroked her hair lightly and the Doctor hissed instinctively even as Rose jerked away. He glared through blood dripping from his forehead, hatred burning bright in his heart.

"As for you Doctor….." Rassilon strode towards him, his smile falling into a glower. "I'm afraid it just won't do to keep you alive. It just won't do at all."

"And just what will killing me accomplish? It won't bring back the time lords, it won't save Gallifrey."

Bitterness swelled in his mouth, a taste stronger than the tang of blood. Regret, anger, fear, he felt the swirl of emotions fighting for a space in his heart, begging for dominance. His body, wracked with tremors, didn't know which way to go, which thought to think. And Rassilon's stare, mesmerizing and all-powerful, threatened a thousand awful fates for the universe. Rose, turning to look at them, reminded him of all that he had all ready lost, everything this man had taken from him. He had destroyed the Doctor's home with a mere idea, stolen his mother in vengeful anger, and was now on the verge of taking all he still cared for. River, trapped in some hellhole prison. The Master, no doubt murdered on sight. And Rose, his precious Rose, battered and broken. And it wouldn't stop there. Somehow this man, this terrible man of power would find his others friends from Rory and Amy to Sarah Jane, no doubt kill his Tardis and murder the entire time-space continuum on his way.

"You're wrong. I will save Gallifrey and with your death no one will stand in my way."

"I will." John's familiar voice echoed in the silence that followed. The Doctor watched Rassilon's face as it pulled into an anger so strong it painted the very air around them. He forced away the shock, pulling again into his cool collected manner.

"An instantaneous human-time lord biological meta-crisis.," he finally said. "I'd didn't think it possible. Your heart must be very strong indeed to handle the strain."

"I manage." John replied curtly. "Now, I suggest you release my friends."

"You come with no weapons and expect me to answer to your demands? I think not."

Before the Doctor could even blink or think to give a warning, John was on his knees crying out in agony as Rassilon pumped pure energy into his chest. Rose went rigid, straining at her bindings, her eyes desperately searching for John's. Their gazes locked and in that look at thousand words passed, only the least of which was I love you. The Doctor looked away, still having the time to feel heart break when only the danger of the situation should have struck him.

"How's the heart feeling?" Rassilon taunted. "Still strong enough for you?"

John tried to answer, but could barely even breathe in the aftermath of his shock, let alone speak. His legs trembled, threatening to give out. Through their telepathic bond, the Doctor felt his pain resonating in his mind, echoing off his own lingering pain, the two frequencies amplifying the more they met. In a matter of minutes, both of them would be incapacitated, leaving Rose to fend for herself. This realization hit them simultaneously, inspiring a new wave of strength. She couldn't be left alone.

"Unfortunately, Doctors, I only have a limited amount of time, so I'll to make this quick. The question is, who shall I kill first?"

Rassilon paced back and forth, looking between the Doctor and John repeatedly, frowning like a child in the candy aisle who can't decide what they want. Finally, he spun on his heel turning to face Rose instead.

Instantly, the Doctor was on his feet, ignoring the blinding pain and overwhelming head ache. John, too, straightened, pulling out his screwdriver as the only available weapon.

"If you hurt her…." John's face blazed with ferocity, ready to give anything for her protection.

"Well, well, well," Rassilon turned around, grinning viciously. "Look at this new development. You love her too, don't you? Our little Rose has certainly been busy. So tell me, dear, which Doctor shall I kill first?"

Rose shook her head, disgust emanating from her face. She tugged again at the ties on her wrist, knowing it would prove useless.

"May the void swallow you and never spit you back out," she spat angrily. The Doctor couldn't help the small grin at her interesting word choice. How appropriate coming from a girl who had crossed the void more times than any human had ever dared before.

"You're quite the little spit fire aren't you? No matter, a decision must be made and if you won't make it, then I will."

He pointed to John, letting more lightning energy split across the distance. Again, he cried out, this time falling almost immediately to the floor. The screaming in the Doctor's head reached new volumes, pressing louder and louder both internally and in the real world. John writhed uncontrollably, his fingers clenching on empty air, trying to find some kind of purchase. Rose screamed as well, great sobbing cries, full of anguish and loathing. She begged and pleaded, tears coursing down her face. Like a trapped animal, she struggled ever harder to free her hands, causing blood to flow from the broken skin on her wrists. And through it all, the Doctor watched helplessly. Too connected to John's mind to free himself from the pain, he began to doubt if he could even live through John's death. He felt so connected, the sheer agony so real. He was sure his body would burn out with his other self.

Only the timely arrival of a guard, saved his life and sanity. Rassilon withdrew the torture, and John fell absolutely still, forced unconscious by the pain. The Doctor held on to wakefulness only by nature of his two hearts. Rose stopped her screaming, but worked ceaselessly now against the ropes.

"Sir, there's a level five situation in the cell block."

Rassilon let loose one cosmic shout, reverberating in the mental space more than the physical world, before he fell back into a deathly calm. He bore down on the guard his gaze huge and intimidating.

"What happened?"

"Sir, we don't know. There was an electric disruption and then suddenly prisoners were on the loose. They're armed, sir, and in full rebellion."

"Impossible." Rassilon paused, throwing and uneasy glance at the Doctor and then at Rose. "Make sure Prisoner 1 is killed immediately. I want him dead before he causes me anymore trouble. I should have finished him when I had the chance. As for the rest of them, do what you want. Alive or dead, they're of minimal importance to me."

"Yes, sir."

The guard hurried from the room, no doubt grateful to still be alive. He had almost made it to the door, when Rassilon gave one final thought.

"And if that man isn't dead in the next five minutes, then I assure you, you will be, Lieutenant."

The man nodded his head, his eyes dilating in fear as he ducked out the door.

"Well, Doctor, congratulations. Your little humans downstairs have made quite the stir."

Through labored breaths, the Doctor spoke, "Humans always have a way exceeding expectations."

"They won't last five minutes against my guard. They're not fighters or even strategists. A strong heart and good intentions only get you so far."

The Doctor grimaced because he knew it was true. Of his friends, only River would be remotely prepared for the skill of Rassilon's men. Even if they could make it out of the prison level, the sheer numbers awaiting them between here and there could defeat them no matter the skill level. He swallowed heavily, closing his eyes, trying not to see the timelines tangling every which way in his head. There were so many variables so much going on, any given timeline was only a billionth of a possibility. But in every one, death loomed as an inescapable end, the inevitable reality he would have to face.

A/N Been awhile, I know. But summer is growing on me, getting me anxious to write again. I really want to finish this soon though, just so I can focus solely on 100 songs. I think I'll probably 'retire' once I finish both projects. It's so long between updates now, it practically feels like I'm done anyway. I don't want to abandon stories though, so I'm for sure planning to finish. I hope you enjoyed this chapter!