The Year That Never Was

By: Light-Eco-Sage

Rated: Mature for romance/sexuality and language.

Summary: An alternate version of "The Year that Never Was", Series 3 Doctor Who. The Master will do anything to torment the Doctor, even kidnap the woman he loves, just to prove a point.

Disclaimer: Doctor Who is owned by the BBC.

LES: This story just came to me at work. Naturally, this is a reunion/romance story for Ten and Rose. But it has the Master mixed up in it, screwing everything up. That bastard. But the funny thing about the Master is he's one of those bastards that you love to hate. Oh, and this story assumes that you've seen the Series 3 finale. I don't explain the Toclafanes or the missiles or the paradox. But it's still all happening.

Chapter I: Captured and Kidnapped

One would think that if you traveled with the Doctor long enough, you'd be sort of used to having his plans go wrong and being forced to improvise. Therefore, Jack and Martha knew that they only had themselves to blame when the Master suddenly revealed that he could see through the perception filter and had swiftly captured their small group.

In the end, their plan to sneak onto the flying base and stop whatever the Master was planning had ended in failure. Captain Jack Harkness was quickly restrained since the Master dubbed the freak as the most dangerous of the lot. Unlike the Doctor, who abhorred the use of weapons, Jack had no problem using deadly force if necessary. It was a cynicism born as a side effect of being more than a hundred years old and unable to die, and from working with Torchwood.

The Doctor was restrained as well, but not as securely as Jack was. And Martha was barely restrained at all. In fact, the Master mocked the Doctor about her. "You are an old fool!" The Master exclaimed. "You've had a companion who could absorb the Time Vortex itself, and now you travel with some useless wench!"

Martha's mouth dropped open in disbelief. "Excuse me…!"

"Stop, Martha." The Doctor hissed at her. "He's just trying to offend you and make you upset. Angry people do not think clearly, am I right?" He directed this last sentence at the Master, who grinned madly.

"Oh, you think you've got me all figured out, don't you?" The Master said in a condescending voice that suggested he was speaking to a small child. "You may have known me the longest, but you don't know me. Not anymore."

"You're right. I don't know you." The Doctor agreed. "The boy that I used to play with would have never done the things that you've done. Staring into the Untempered Schism changed you… drove you mad."

"Changed us both, I think." The Master said. "What about you? Hailed as a young prodigy! Oh, your life was plotted out for you. Everyone thought that you'd go straight to the top. And then it was your turn to gaze into Time itself and what did you do? You ran. Branded yourself a coward, and then a thief for stealing the Tardis, a meddler, and finally, the murderer of your own kind." The Doctor didn't reply. "So, yes, Doctor, continue to preach your high and mighty ideals of non-violence and peaceful cooperation. Deep down inside, we both know that you're just as mad as I am."

"Wait!" Captain Jack Harkness called, tugging against the men who restrained him. "How do you know about Rose absorbing the Time Vortex? No one living except Rose and the Doctor were there! Even I didn't know about that until the Doctor told me. Answer me!"

"Quiet, freak." The Master snapped at him. "The only reason that you are not dead is because I have no way of following through at the moment. Though I do intend to see the full extent of your abilities. For example… can you survive without your head?" Jack didn't respond, but continued to glare at him. "I'll take that as an 'I don't know'. Well, fret not, you shall know soon enough."

"Answer the question." The Doctor hissed.

The Master stared at him. "Oh, well, since you so badly want to know." He moved closer to the window, gazing up at the clouds. "Tell me, Doctor, do you remember our years at the Academy?"

"Of course." The Doctor said.

"So, answer me this… out of the two of us, who became the most advanced in Cosmic Science?" The Master asked.

The Doctor didn't reply for several seconds. "You were the most advanced."

"Yes. Because I was able to hide my madness longer than you could conceal your cowardice. You stole the Tardis and ran away from Gallifrey while I stayed and studied. Those things that are outside your understanding… paradoxes and parallel worlds… these things are child's play to one with my knowledge." The Master met the Doctor's wide eyes. "Ah, yes! Yes! That's my favorite expression… well, besides the look that people wear as they die. But this is a close second: the horror as you begin to realize what I've done."

"How! How!" The Doctor bellowed. "I locked the coordinates on the Tardis! You shouldn't have been able to go anywhere in it except here and the end of the universe! Even you couldn't break through the lock that I put on it!"

"You're right. I couldn't." The Master admitted. "A stroke of genius that I never would have expected from you. But what you didn't realize is that it could take you to 'now' in an alternate universe. This universe or that one, it doesn't matter. As long as I arrived at the place and time that the Tardis was locked on. So I traveled there and brought you… shall we say… a gift?" The Master snapped his fingers and the doors to the room instantly opened. Two of the Master's guards came into the room, dragging a young, blonde human girl in between them.

Only two people in the room recognized her, two men who cared desperately for her in their own ways. Jack Harkness was very fond of her, and she probably would be a good contender for his affections if it weren't for the Doctor. He knew that she'd understand… the Doctor was a hard man to compete with in terms of romantic affection.

But the Doctor felt his hearts clench. He had longed to see her again, the woman that he loved more than anything. But he'd rather see her in her parallel universe, safe, than here in the Master's clutches. A single word escaped his lips, her name. "Rose…"