Title: The Ravages of Eternity
Fandom: Doctor Who (Featuring Torchwood.)
Characters: the Tenth Doctor, Simm!Master (Rose Tyler, Edgar Allan Poe, Donna Noble, Captain Jack Harkness, Martha Jones, OCs)
Pairings: Doctor/Master; (slight twisted Doctor/Rose; one-sided Jack/Doctor, Donna/Martha; vague Mickey/Martha)
Genre: Adventure, Romance, AU
Spoilers: Minor spoilers for all new series Doctor Who through The End of Time Part 1, Torchwood seasons 1-2, and classic series companions. Major spoilers for Journey's End, the Specials, Torchwood seasons 1-2, and the classic series episode Earthshock. No spoilers for season 5, although some characters make an appearance.
Warning(s): Vague sexual scenes, dark themes, mild swearing, violence, death, a misleading and manipulative relationship, and minor gore. No worse than your average Torchwood episode. Chapters will be marked individually for some warnings, including violence and gore.
Excerpt: "I'm sorry," the Doctor starts. The Master wants to scoff and laugh, but he bites his tongue and listens to the Doctor, because that's how it all started: a chance, a hesitation, and a tiny spark of hope that has reemerged in the back of the Master's mind.
Author's Note: I spent nearly 6 months planning, writing, and stressing out over this fanfiction. While I have written a lot of Doctor/Master fanfic over the past few years as practice, this is one of the first things I've actually published online. I hope it's enjoyable and I have stayed true to the characters and the show.
This fanfiction was written in American English, and I have only strived to change my vocabulary, not spellings. However, I am not aware of all errors and there will be some out of place Americanisms. I avidly try to find and correct these to make the story more realistic. Feel free to point out any errors! I also greatly appreciate constructive criticism in reviews.
Thanks to all of my friends who helped to encourage me throughout the writing process.
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who, Torchwood, or any other concepts borrowed for this fan-work. Any historic peoples mentioned are used with the utmost respect to supplement the story. I am not making any profit from this. All due respect to the original owners.
Chapter 1 - Beginnings
"What if I ask you for help?"
Somewhere, in the back of the Master's mind, everything explodes and, whirring, rearranges itself, tucking a tiny spark of hope away.
He doesn't shoot down the Doctor's offer, doesn't scoff and laugh, but bites his tongue as the Doctor continues in his pleading speech.
"There's more at work tonight than you and me," he continues, still serious and dramatic. "I've been told, something is returning..."
"And here I am," the Master says dryly. The Doctor shakes his head.
"No, something more," the Doctor dismisses it instantly. The Master knows it's the same old story of eminent doom and destruction, and that the Doctor won't listen unless he makes him.
"What if it isn't?" he counters, "what if the drums, what if they know it, too?" The Doctor is rendered speechless; his eyelids are a confused flutter as he considers the evidence.
"No, listen to me, they said more. They told me…they told me I'm going to die. I've heard it again and again, my song is ending, He will knock four times…I'm going to die. And there's more, something's returning, something is coming. They said that the End of Time itself will occur, nothing about the drums, that is just the sound of your insanity," the Doctor continues, brushing away the Master's ideas. The Master runs his tongue over his grimy teeth as he smiles predatorily.
"You always think I'm mad, Doctor. I'm mad, so I hear the drums. If you'd just listen for once, just hear them," he closes his eyes briefly as he speaks, a man filled with passionate loathing of his fate, "you'd realize. I'm mad because of them." They pause momentarily, sizing each other up, calculating exact words to convince the other of their cause.
"I scratch your back, you scratch mine," the Doctor murmurs absently.
The Doctor takes a deep breath, tilts his head to the side, and wets his lips, as he always does when he's about to go off on a tangent. He starts, "You want to get rid of, or at least find the source of your drums-"
The Master mutters, "Among other things," but the Doctor carries on.
"And I want to find the Ood's prophecy, the End of Time, whatever is returning. I want to stop it. I can't do it alone, I know that now." He pauses briefly, like he'd just remembered something. "Your resurrection, as planned as it was, wasn't a coincidence. The timing is perfect. You're connected to it all."
"What would I get out of this, then?" the Master crosses his arms. He realizes suddenly that they're both still kneeling on the dusty, cold, grey ground, and wonders where the Doctor parked his TARDIS.
"You'd find the - We'd find the source of the drums, together."
The Master wants to scoff at the concept of 'together,' but he very pointedly asks, "What else?" The Doctor bites his lip, either uncertain of what to say or how to say something.
"What do you really want?" he asks, "all of these years, fighting."
"Power?" the Master says it like a question, not a reply. He doesn't understand what the Doctor's getting at.
"That's not it," the Doctor shakes his head, "You could've had so much power over the years, but you always ran into me, always bothered me enough that I stopped you."
"Hmm," he pretends to ponder the question, "Revenge? Fun? A challenge? I'm still not convinced that you can help me." The Doctor doesn't believe he's telling the entire truth, and the Master knows it.
"Come on, you can't have gone on with this for all of those years without a real reason!"
"The drums aren't reason enough?"
"Then let that be your reason to come with me, Master, and both of us can -"
"You still don't understand," the Master growls. "You never listen!"
"I'm listening!" the Doctor protests.
"No, you're not, you're talking, always talking, trying to figure me out" the Master counters, his voice beginning to rise higher and higher in pitch and desperation as he speaks. "Just you listen to me, Doctor, just this once," he pleads, and slowly leans forward, takes the Doctor's head in his hands, and mashes their foreheads and minds together.
They're both disoriented at first, but then the Doctor goes rigid with shock.
The drums beat their way into the Doctor's skull as well, and he gasps in shock, trying to pull away from the Master and his torturous echoes, but his enemy's gritty hands hold him there, force him to listen to the drums that beat away in the Master's mind.
"Wh-What is that?" he gasps, as if the Master knows, and the drumming continues to beat into both of their skulls, harder and stronger than ever before.
"It's...it's...We could find it...we could trace it like this," the Master laughs with glee. "Now you see, Doctor, this is my life. Every hour, every minute, second, and more than that. We're Time Lords," he pounds a fist into his chest, between his hearts, "We live between seconds! I feel that constant banging against my skull between every second, and I'm fully aware of every beat." He stares cross-eyed at the Doctor in their close proximity, who is too scared, too shocked, and too full of pity to pull away from his enemy and the noise.
"We can find it," the Doctor says, entranced by the Master's psychopathic grin. He closes his eyes for a moment before the Master feels him begin to pull away. The Master's hands linger and tighten on the side of his head, holding them together a moment too long. The Doctor panics and pleads, "Please, Master," a request simple enough, but sufficient in giving the Master momentary satisfaction. The Master smiles, releasing him so suddenly that they rocket apart.
Something cracks inside the Master's head and his vision is filled with electric blue light as the spare artron energy from his torn body torrents through him. It gushes through his every nerve and pore unpredictably, and he roars in agony. The Doctor's eyes widen, he's not sure how to help, and hesitant to approach the man writhing on the ground before him. He doesn't want to touch him, for fear of the energy and man that could kill him.
Inside the Master's head, the drums echo louder and louder, swell against his skull, and he grabs two fistfuls of his hair. The attack finally fades and his reality stitches back together. He's aware of the Doctor standing over him, staring down pityingly. He curls up on the ground, his body still aching and cold but caught in a pulsing inferno of energy. He pleads, "Help me," the words low and hoarse caught up in his tormented throat before he even knows what he's asking. The Doctor can only think of how strange they sound, how strange it always is to see the Master's plots turn on him and force him to entreat.
The Doctor springs into action. He isn't hesitant to touch his enemy now, and gently threads his arm around the Master's waist, pulling him up. He half-carries him through the dark, straining against his weight, finally reaching the TARDIS. The Doctor is inside with a snap of his fingers and a few psychic reassurances to the TARDIS. He gently rolls the Master onto the pristine white cot that the TARDIS has provided, and pauses on his way to the medical bay only to pilot them into the Time Vortex.
The blue box fades into the night just before search lights and gusts of wind from a helicopter sweep over the spot in the empty, dusty wasteland.
Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor is in the plain, white, sterile medical bay of the TARDIS, shining a light in the Master's unmoving eyes and checking his heartbeats with a stethoscope.
"Master?" he asks, concerned, "Can you hear me?"
After examining the Master for a moment longer, he sets to work, the Doctor healing his arch enemy.
When the Master wakes up, he feels as if his every atom has been stretched and fried, then pushed back together again. He keeps his eyes shut, trying to stay separate from the real world as long as possible. He wonders why he awoke so suddenly, and then notices a gentle prodding at the edge of his mind, which he quickly recognizes as the Doctor. He thinks, Get the hell out, and the Doctor's presence recedes.
"Sorry," the Doctor murmurs from beside him. He's vaguely aware of two ghosts of hands detaching themselves from his temples. He opens his eyes and then blinks at the bright, harsh light of the med bay. The room is too white, the light too artificial, the place far too sterile for his comfort. He realizes that he's shirtless and covered in wires connected to the TARDIS. The Master opens his mouth to speak, but his mouth is unexpectedly dry and gritty and his voice catches in his throat.
The Doctor squirts water from a sort of pouch (much like the ones Earth children carry in their lunches) into his mouth and he drinks greedily, just now realizing how thirsty and hungry he is. He tastes the added nutrients and vitamins in the water, making even it taste sterile. He wants real food, something warm and solid. Maybe even tea, which would help. He's hungry and weak, but the hunger is less now, a normal need for sustenance.
The Master starts weakly, "I can do that my-" but stops as his wrist jolts back suddenly and refuses to budge. The Doctor sets down the water the Master was reaching for. "Restraints? Kinky." He smiles a little.
"You were struggling in your sleep," the Doctor explains. "You went into a frenzy, nearly strangled me." The Master doesn't apologize or seem surprised, like most people would, the Doctor notes. "I connected you to the TARDIS. Only she has the right sort of energy to heal you. Now, you're the picture of perfect health." he unbuckles the straps as he speaks. The Master sits up and rubs his wrists. He pulls a few wires from his head and chest.
"You sure are great at playing Doctor," he says dryly. The Doctor gives him a look that he's sick of by now. He thinks. "Okay, clothes," he says, looking down at his bare chest and dirty black pants, "and a shower. And food."
"The wardrobe is six doors down, to the left. The bathroom is two to the right. The kitchen is the room without a door," the Doctor supplies awkwardly, turning around to fiddle with the equipment the Master was hooked up to.
"Where do you keep Narnia?" the Master snorts. He stands up cautiously, not trusting his legs, but they hold, even if they're a little stiff. He's had much worse nights. He leaves the medical bay with some caution, wary of the Doctor's sudden and uncharacteristic trust. He turns to the right instead, and attempts to open a door that has been painted light pink, with flowers on it. The handle shocks him and he jumps back, startled.
"Meet me in the console room, we'll need to talk," the Doctor appears just long enough to speak to him. He watches the Doctor turn down the hallway and disappear into the console room. The Master begrudgingly counts six doors down and enters the wardrobe, muttering to himself about what the hell he thinks he's doing here.