AN: As good an ending place as any. I'm going to be moving tomorrow so I'm not quite sure when I'll be getting the next chapter up. Hopefully Monday or Tuesday but depending on how long it takes me to get everything set back up it may be later. As a reference, I totally picture Kitty speaking like a more thoughtful Harley Quinn though when I tried to write that accent in it was terrible. So picture what you will, but that was what my original intention was. As always, thank you all so much for reading and for your kind reviews! I'll see you sometime next week with the next chapter!
Someone was pulling him upright. Hands were loosening his collar, smoothing back his sweat drenched hair, and making soothing noises at him as he whimpered at their touch. "Oh, Cupcake," a sad voice said from his side, "you're so much worse than you ever let us know."
There was a sharp pain against his neck and a hiss as a needle gun injected something into his veins. He willed his eyes to open, but failed, as hands began to rummage through his pockets. "What's the matter with him?" a strange voice asked from nearby. "Is he alright?"
"He had a flashback," a more familiar voice said as hands unbuttoned his suit jacket. "He'll never admit it in a hundred thousand years, but he's suffering from post-traumatic stress from the Last Great Time War." Fingers closed around his tool kit and pulled it from him. He heard it click open then back shut before being replaced. "I suppose you'd know it better as shell shock."
"Oh," the strange voice said quietly. "After my bother came back from the Great War he would have these terrors at night. He wouldn't recognize us when we tried to wake him up and sometimes... well, sometimes he'd go to the kitchen, get a knife, and attack us screaming that we were the Austrians. We had to start tying him to his bed at night." There was a long pause. "That's not going to happen to the Master, is it?"
"No," the familiar voice said firmly, hands leaving him. "Things will never get as bad as all that." There was a sigh of frustration. "Of course he wouldn't have his screwdriver on him. That would have been too easy. If you could hand me his present, sweetheart?" Something large and bulky was shoved into his pocket.
The smell of ammonia invaded his senses and he lurched forward, eyes opening, as he gasped loudly for breath. "There we are," the familiar voice said comfortingly as hands came up to steady him. "Welcome back to the land of the living, Cupcake."
He looked up to recognize a familiar face wreathed in unruly blond curls. "River," he gasped. "Wha-What happened? Where are we?"
"We're safe enough for the moment," River said fondly, touching his face gently to wipe away a bead of sweat that was dripping down. "You just take a bit of a rest while I figure us our way out of here." Squeezing his shoulder affectionately, River stood. Drawing her gun with one hand she touched an earpiece with the other saying "River Song to Base, I've got the Ego in check," as she winked at him saucily. With that she stepped around the machinery that had been blocking him from Dalek sensors, her voice becoming quiet and muffled before fading away completely.
He watched the space where she had left his view, fighting back the urge to call out for her and beg her to return. He couldn't quite remember what had happened to him but he knew that River was his way out. She'd saved him from the Time-Lock. She could get them out of this mess as well.
"Er, hello," a soft voice said from his right and he jumped, pressing himself tightly against the wall as he spun towards the danger. There was a woman, more of a girl really, crouched down on the floor near him. She smiled at him weakly, looking nervous as she twinkled her fingers at him in greeting. Out of time, his mind supplied helpfully taking in her heavily curled blond hair and old-fashioned pleated pencil skirt and stockings. "Hello," she said again seeming to take his silence as a good sign. She extended a hand towards him, her smile warming. "I'm Kitty."
He said nothing, staring at her hand distrustfully until the girl faltered and lowered it with a pout. She had an American accent, he realized absently. When would River have gotten the chance to collect an out of time American?
"We've actually already met," Kitty said, her gaze going to the ground as she began to flush slightly. "But River says you won't remember since it hasn't happened to you yet so I guess this is our first meeting so you should really tell me your name even though I already know that you like to be called the Master even though River calls you Cupcake which is funny because when I made you cupcakes you hated them and-"
"Breathe," he ordered. He swallowed heavily, beginning to relax as the girl gasped loudly and silenced, her face going beet red. Well that answered that question, he thought darkly. She was one of the Doctor's future human pets. And she knew him. That was a miserable sign if there ever was one. If this girl was from his future then what about River?
"I've got us our path out!" River said brightly, stepping back into his line of vision. Yes, this was a different River. Her hair was longer, even more unruly than the River he had arrived with and the grey dress she wore set her eyes off much nicer than the white jacket the younger River had been wearing. Not that he ever paid much attention to what the woman wore. She surveyed the scene before her, taking in the girl's flushing face and the Master's back pressed tightly to the wall and smirked widely. "Being a bit forward, are we Kitty? Be careful not to scare our Cupcake off, he's an old-fashioned gent."
He gaped at River in horror as Kitty's face somehow went even redder. "I'm not-" she began to protest.
The ship lurched heavily beneath them. River staggered heavily but somehow managed to stay upright as Kitty shrieked and he scrambled for a handhold. "That was our cue," River said reaching down to give him a hand up. "We need to get a move on."
His knees trembled and nearly gave out as he stood, River and Kitty catching him being the only reason he didn't fall to the floor once more. Gritting his teeth he cursed this weakness, arm automatically going around the human girl's shoulders as he struggled for balance.
A second explosion rocked the ship and River swore loudly. "We're behind. Keep the doors unlocked for us," she said, reaching up to touch her headpiece once more. Frowning at him, she sighed deeply. "Kitty you're going to have to help him walk. The stimulant isn't kicking in fast enough. Keep a tight hold of him. We're going to need to move fast to catch back up to our plan."
What stimulant? he thought as Kitty let out a nervous sounding half giggle and said, "Alright!" a little too brightly for his liking. He rolled his eyes, glaring at River as the human wrapped her arm around him tightly and practically nuzzled –nuzzled!– herself against him. He would have rather been cuddled by a rabid Raxacoricofallapatorian but, as the ship lurched for a third time, he knew there was no way he was going to be able to stay on his feet in his current condition.
"What plan?" he growled out instead, resisting the urge to retch as the human girl sighed happily against him.
"Spoilers," River said cheerfully, seeming to take great pleasure in his discomfort as she led them to the door of the stasis chamber. She reached up to touch her earpiece once more. "Door one." She paused, listening to someone on the other side. "Yes, I know we're behind! He's much worse off than I expected. Now if you could open the door please Base?"
With a shuddering groan the door slid open revealing a wall of fire, the shattered remains of Daleks littering the floor as a roll of smoke invaded their room. As one they recoiled in horror, River shouting "Shut the door! Shut it!" as Kitty staggered back and fell, taking him with her. Smoke filled the room as the door slowly slid to a shut, cutting off the fire from them once more.
"Damnation," River growled, holstering her gun as fans roared into life, sucking the smoke from the room. "We're cut off."
"Are you alright?" Kitty asked him, large brown doe eyes looking at him worriedly as she helped him back to his feet.
"I'm fine," he growled, fighting back the urge to snap at her. Needing her help as he did he was going to have to play nice until after they had escaped the fire blocking their path.
"What can you give us as an alternate route?" River asked the person on the other side of her earpiece. She stood in the middle of the room, coiled with unused energy as she surveyed around them for other ways to escape. "I see an old teleportaion coil in the corner," she said crossing the room to the pile of junk. "If you can get one end open I can try getting this side operational." Hauling a large piece of sheet metal off of it with a grunt she surveyed the damage with an appraising eye. "Well what other options do we have? The vents? My dear, you've been watching far too many science fiction movies."
His legs were beginning to feel stronger as Kitty helped him cross the room to stand by River. Glancing down at the pile of dented metal and severed wires he mentally calculated the effort it would take them to get it operational and came up with an answer he didn't like. "Fixing this quickly is impossible," he said darkly. "If we're going to escape we need a different route."
"Oh don't be so pessimistic, Cupcake," River scolded lightly, calmly reaching into his suit pocket to remove his tool kit. He rolled his eyes at her intrusion but didn't protest as River snapped open the kit and removed a portable soldering iron. "If we remotely attach my Vortex Manipulator to it we'll get this fixed in no time."
"If you have a Vortex Manipulator why don't we just use that to escape?" he demanded, pushing Kitty away from him as he reached out to help River lift a particularly large chunk of metal.
"The Doctor damaged it while we were on the Ood homeworld," River said with a smile, ripping out a mass of wires and tossing them carelessly over her shoulder. He opened his mouth to protest their removal but she was already rerouting a second set of wires from the connection terminals to the secondary displacement device and of course! He could see it all in his head now, how they could put the machine back together, boost its power, and do it in the fraction of the time it would take them to put the fire out. "Now it only takes me into the TARDIS," River continued even though he was no longer listening. "Which may be helpful, but it's the wrong TARDIS for you."
He ripped off his suit coat and scarf, absently handing them to Kitty as he rolled up his sleeves. "I'm going to need a fission battery and a dozen exothermic couplers," he said to her, pulling off a panel to survey the damage there. "And a working dissimilation crystal."
Kitty looked from him to River, her face blank. "You need what?" she asked, looking nervous.
"One of those glowing tubes, a dozen small horseshoe looking things, and rip open control panels until you find something that looks like a quarter-sized diamond," River said helpfully, gesturing back at the still standing stasis chambers.
Kitty scrambled into action, reaching the first stasis chamber as the ship shook once again, the groaning sound of metal tearing echoing up from below.
River glanced at her watch as she twisted wire together and soldered it to the circuit board. "We have seven minutes," she said offhandedly. "Hand me that replicating ion accelerator, would you?"
"Seven minutes until what?" he asked, ripping the device from its place and handing it to her.
"Until you're supposed to be in the docking bay crashing into me as I wait for you," River supplied, wiring the device in with a smile.
"Will these work?" Kitty asked, running back up to them, her hands full of parts.
He took them from her, eyeing them carefully. "Some of these are damaged," he said, holding up a coupler. "Get more."
"On it!" Kitty said, dashing back off again.
"And I need a larger dissimilation crystal!" he snapped after her. "This one's too small!" With a growl of frustration he went back to work, tossing aside the damaged couplers and the crystal as he slotted the battery into its place. "Are all of the Doctor's little pets so useless?"
"Oh, be easy on her," River scolded with a smile, up to her elbows now in the battered machine. "For a flapper girl she's adapting surprisingly well to all this. Besides, she has such a crush on you. It would be a shame if you destroyed her dreams so soon after you've met her."
He rolled his eyes at her, and grunted with annoyance. "Aren't you supposed to be constantly saying 'spoilers' at me? Or has the Doctor gotten rid of that rule?"
River shrugged. "While the Doctor abhors spoilers you seem to rather like them," she said, smile widening. "Would you rather I stop telling you things before I let slip the romantic evening you have planned for Kitty then?"
Freezing with horror, he turned towards River slowly. "I-" he sputtered lowly. "I wouldn't-!"
"No you wouldn't," River agreed cheerfully, winking at him. "But it would be funny if you did."
"Is this one better?" Kitty asked, interrupting him before he could explode into a full rant. She looked at him intensely, her eyes begging for his approval as he glared at her darkly.
With a grunt he snatched the crystal out of her hands, being careful not to touch her skin as he did so. "It's fine," he muttered under his breath, dropping it into its place. River grinned at him, handing him the soldering iron as he fixed the crystal in place. "The dissimulator is done," he said shortly, pulling back and standing back up. His knees trembled slightly as he stood but at least he was able to stand on his own this time.
"I've got the control unit operational and hooked in," River said, snapping her control panel shut and standing up as well. She reached up to touch her earpiece. "We're ready Base, do you have a lock?"
Kitty offered him his suit jacket and scarf back and he took them, shoving his scarf into his pocket as he slid the jacket back on. The human was blushing as she shuffled up to him awkwardly, her eyes bright with adoration as she looked up at him. He resisted the urge to gag and wondered what sort of brain damage had occurred to his future self that allowed him to put up with this sort of nonsense.
"No, we need him as close to the docking bay as possible," River said into her earpiece, turning away from him slightly. "We're almost out of time."
"You know," Kitty said, batting her eyes at him as she reached up to smooth down the lapel of his jacket. "I think you're the smartest person I've ever known. And," she giggled sweetly, "you're just so handsome! Even like this."
He stared down at her dispassionately, mentally vowing to himself that whatever the future brought, this would never happen. He plucked her hand off her chest, dropping it as he stepped away. "Don't we have a time limit or something?" he growled, turning his back on the human and stepping closer to River.
"Yes, as close as you can make it," River said, turning back to face him. Her hand dropped to her side and she grinned at him widely. "It's been so good seeing you again, Cupcake. I've missed that face of yours."
"Aren't you coming?" he asked, huffily crossing his arms as Kitty slinked up to stand next to him again.
"Not this time," River said. "After we send you off I'll teleport Kitty and I straight to our Doctor's TARDIS and we'll be off. So this is goodbye for us now."
"Goodbye!" Kitty squealed, throwing her arms around him as he jerked back and raised his hands to ward her off. Standing on her tip-toes she pressed a kiss to his cheek as she squeezed him tightly. "I'll miss you!"
River laughed at the shocked expression on her face, gently reaching out to pull Kitty away before he snapped and struck the idiot human. "We'll be seeing him again shortly," she soothed as Kitty began to wipe away tears.
"Yes, but it won't be this Master," Kitty said tearfully.
It was official. Apparently his next regeneration was going to suffer from massive brain damage and insanity. He made a mental note to die next time rather than regenerate again. Anything to wipe this horror from his future.
"Your present is in your inside pocket and don't forget your tool kit," River said, breaking into his thoughts as she offered him the closed case.
He took it, tucking it back into its spot as she and Kitty took several steps back. "I would say that it was a pleasure," he started as the teleporter beside him slowly hummed into life. "But that lie wouldn't even begin to cover things."
River laughed loudly. "I'm never going to stop teasing you about this day," she said warmly, pressing a button on her Vortex Manipulator.
There was a rush of nothingness as the world dissolved around him. Before he could blink it was back, his surroundings different and somehow shorter than it had been before. He swore loudly as gravity kicked back in, hitting something soft and warm that grunted in protest as they crashed to the ground together. He struggled to detangle himself from it and then froze as a laser pistol dug itself deeply into his jaw.
"It's me!" he protested, recognizing the blond curls of River Song.
She looked up at him, eyes softening with relief as she pulled the gun away and helped him to his feet. "Oh thank goodness," she sighed. "I was told to expect you a minute and a half ago and I was starting to worry."
"Glad to know you waited," he growled, smoothing the wrinkles from his jacket. He could smell the faint scent of jasmine on the fabric and he glared down at himself darkly. It was the scent of that Kitty girl's perfume. He was going to have to burn this suit now. He had liked this suit.
"You would not believe the weirdness I've just experienced," River said, wrist coming up to fiddle with her Vortex Manipulator.
"I think I may have a general idea of it," he muttered, tucking his scarf more firmly into his pocket. Around them the ship lurched once more and they both swore. "Any time now, River," he said, reaching out to grab onto the white fabric of her jacket.
"I'm having problems locking onto the TARDIS," River muttered, brow furrowed as she worked. "For some reason there seems to be two of them. There. Got it." She reached back and grabbed onto his arm tightly as the ship shook once more. "Hold on tight!"
They reappeared in his room, crashing down onto his floor in a tangle of limbs and bruises. Rubbing the back of his head, he glared at his bed balefully. The least the TARDIS could have done was break their fall, he thought darkly as River rolled herself off of his legs.
"Ha, made it!" River groaned, sitting up with a grin. "And all without the Doctor knowi-"
"River! Master!" Their heads whipped over towards his fireplace as the Doctor leaped out of his armchair. The Time Lord's hair was in disarray, stubble graced his cheeks, and dark circles were under his eyes. "Where have you been!?"
River sighed in annoyance. "Damn."