All Things Lost
"What I'm trying to say, in a really messed up way, is that you've got worse times coming for you. You can't just sit around and wallow about me getting trapped on Pete's World, because you've got bigger things to worry about, quite frankly. And you cannot change it. Not any of it. You can't go back on my timeline, you can't change what happened at Canary Wharf, or else you'll never meet your new friend and you'll never discover the Master and his plan. But let me tell you this – and now, here's where it gets even more complicated. You can't change that, either, because otherwise, you'll never see me again." She paused, and the corner of her mouth twitched up slightly. "I know, I know! You're thinking, what? I'm in another dimension, of course you're not gonna see me again. But you're wrong." Her bit of a smile faded as quickly as it came. "You're so wrong. Because he did what he said he was gonna do. He brought me back."
"Welcome to The Valiant, Rose Tyler," he announced, spreading his arms wide as he gestured around them.
"The Valiant?" Rose said questioningly.
"It's an airborne aircraft carrier that I've...requisitioned," the Master grinned. "I expect UNIT named it after you, Valiant Child and all that!" He started cackling with laughter.
She rolled her eyes and coughed a bit, spluttering in the thick, humid air. "And where are we right now, the basement?" she said sarcastically, squinting in the dim light, shifting on her feet uneasily. Her hair was starting to stick to the back of her neck and she was knackered. Travelling through dimensions seemed to take it out of you. She sighed, wishing she could have a nice, hot shower and then find the Doctor.
"Well done, you!" he answered patronisingly. "Your new home. Lovely, isn't it?"
"Look, if you think you're just gonna leave me down here after dragging me all this way - "
"No, no, no, no," he interrupted, tapping her on the nose. He moved in closer to her and she held her breath. "You don't get to make the rules, Miss Tyler. Now, follow me." He yanked on her arm and she yanked it back. But his grip was even stronger when he grabbed her again, and she was forced to let him guide her down the corridor.
There wasn't much to look at on this short journey to a holding cell, but she was quick to note in her head any possible escape routes. She reckoned the adjacent corridor, which they had to pass before he shoved her into her new confinement, led to the stairs or lift or something that would take them upwards from the bowels of the aircraft carrier to the deck.
"So. Here's what's going to happen," the Master told her cheerfully. "You're going to sit down here..." He waved his hand around the tiny room. She looked dismally upon her surroundings: four grey walls, a smaller-than-single bed pushed up against one of them, a desk and television screen against another, and a small wash basin and toilet in the corner of the room. How civilised this prison cell was compared to many others she had frequented in the past.
"And I'm going to be very, very nice and let you watch the CCTV footage of what's going on upstairs on deck." He grinned at her manically. "I'm sure you'll recognise him, even if he does look rather different from the last time you saw him."
Her eyes widened. "He's regenerated again?"
"Oh no," he chuckled. "Worse than that." At Rose's confused look, the Master continued, "I've disabled his regeneration capabilities. He looks very, very old, now, Rose. He looks his age. I'm sure you won't find him quite as attractive now!" He laughed loudly, folding his arms with an odd expression on his face to which Rose was now attributing to his characteristic of evil. He waggled his eyebrows at her and she looked at the floor, painfully reminded of another Time Lord who used to do that when he was teasing her. "Perhaps you'll want to go for that drink with me after all, then, eh? If Time Lords are your thing. 'Cos you won't want him now."
And with that, he turned and dashed out of the room. Rose, who had unthinkingly sat on the bed, rushed over to the door just as he was bolting it shut from the outside.
"Shit," she muttered to herself. "Stupid, stupid, stupid." She bashed her head against the door a couple of times, cursing herself for being so tired that she couldn't overpower him to free herself, that she'd sat down without considering how easy it would then be for him to lock her away. Her head started to pound and she winced. Fighting the urge to attempt breaking the cold, metal door down with her bare fingers, Rose instead shouted out, hoping the Master could hear her, "I'll save him, you know! Or he'll save me!" She paused. "Well, someone'll do the saving and someone will get saved, anyway. And then you'll be sorry!"
She heard the Master's laughter get quieter and quieter and sighed heavily, once more looking around the meagre room and its overwhelming sense of grey doom.
Still, she thought, as she trudged her way back to the bed, at least it's cooler in here than in that bloody furnace of a corridor.
And as she lay back on the mattress and closed her eyes in the hope of alleviating her headache with some rest so that she would be able to think of a better plan, she pondered the Master's reasons for going back in time to see her all that time ago. And she realised just what sort of person he was, and knew exactly the reason why.
She was stuck in that room for days, living on disgusting dried food that she'd found in the cupboards beneath the sink. She'd tried everything she could to get out of her imprisonment, kicking the door; dismantling the cupboard and then trying to wrench the door open with the pieces of wood and chrome; screaming and shouting obscenities and threats through the door to somewhere she hoped the Master could hear. She paced up and down the room, going out of her wit's end with worry about what to do. She tried to wash using the small sink, but she was aware she smelled terribly of unwashed human in spite of her attempts.
She slept fitfully and constantly had a headache, something she was now putting down to her transportation through dimensions via the Master's less than efficient method – a Time Lord science thing she couldn't begin to understand, no matter how much she had worked with her team of scientists at Torchwood to try and get that dimension cannon of hers working. She thought about all that work and realised what a waste of time it had been. She thought about those she'd left behind in Pete's World without so much as a goodbye. She wanted a hug from her Mum, a shoulder squeeze from Pete, a cuddle with her little brother and a gossip with Mickey and Jake. She hated the silence and isolation of this room and its grey, grey walls, and she felt like she was suffocating half the time, claustrophobic and restless and needing to breathe, needing to get out, needing to feel the sunlight on her skin. She felt useless, utterly, utterly useless. More useless than she'd felt in years.
But worst of all this that she had to endure was the little television screen on that desk against the wall opposite her. As the Master had promised, it had spurred to life to show her live footage of The Valiant's deck and main room. She was forced to watch as the Master paraded up and down, childlike with glee as he watched over his destruction of Earth; as he abused his staff with words and the woman in the red dress with his fist; as he taunted her Doctor, her poor, poor Doctor, helpless in his fate and trapped like some sort of animal, some sort of prize. Seeing all of this, the Master's treatment of everything around him, made Rose's stomach clench in disgust, and it wasn't rare for her to throw up into that little sink of hers at the sight of it all.
A woman called Lucy, the woman in the red dress, the Master's wife, of all things, came down to see her one day, though, out of the blue. She wore a white chiffon dress that day, and had a purple bruise over her left eye to accessorise it. Rose felt sick with both sorrow for Lucy, and nerves at what Lucy had come to see her for.
"Hello," Rose murmured, trying to decide whether she could push past Lucy and into the corridor or whether this was some sort of trap.
"Hello," Lucy replied. She looked dazed as she stepped towards Rose. "My name's Lucy Saxon. I have come to warn you," she whispered, her breath catching her throat. She glanced away and blinked back tears, and Rose bit her lip worriedly at what she was going to say. "He's decided he wants to...visit you."
"Harry. He's going to...he's going to let you out of this room later. But I don't know what he's going to do with you. But I think I guess."
"Right," Rose breathed out roughly. "So. What do you suggest I do?"
"I'm sorry. There's nothing you can do. If I let you out now, if I let you escape...he'll hurt me."
"Why are you with that man, Lucy?"
Lucy frowned, as if she didn't comprehend the question. As if there was an obvious answer. "Because I love him."
Rose sighed. "Right." She met her eyes steadily. "But you know what he is doing is wrong?"
Lucy hesitated, then said, "Yes."
"I hope you stay strong, and I hope you stay safe, Rose," Lucy said softly.
She closed her eyes and whispered meaningfully, "Thank you." When she opened them, Lucy was gone. The door was still open.
Rose Tyler, unable to bear the thought of the Master hurting Lucy even more if he realised she'd let her escape, walked over and firmly shut it, once again leaving herself trapped. She sat back down on the bed, glanced at the television screen, and swallowed hard. The Master was coming.