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4: "I realized that it was you who held me under
–felt it in my fists, in my feet, in the hollows of my eyelids"
Two and a half years later
Time reversed. It rewound back to one year ago on the Valiant before the Toclafane and the world domination and the paradox machine, throwing the occupants of the Valiant all around the ship, until everything stilled. The year had simply …gone. But Lucy Saxon knew it had happened. She remembered.
Maybe it was the confusion after Time had been erased, leaving some of them with a whole extra set of memories. Maybe it was the loss of the paradox machine. Maybe it was because the Master was distracted with trying to find a way to beat the Doctor. Or maybe Lucy Saxon was a little less naïve and a little wiser than she had been the last time this moment happened.
Something was wrong with her. She wasn't a stupid woman. She had gotten good grades and gotten them honestly. She had been good at her job. How could she have gotten to be this way –an empty-headed woman who went along with her husband's plans to destroy the world without a murmur? It felt like she was living in a fog! She desperately tried to remember.
The Doctor's voice was echoing in her head: 'One thing you can't do is stop them thinking!'
Her right eye was beginning to itch.
Come on, Lucy –THINK.
She had said "Doctor." She had. She had wanted to say something else, something very important, but she couldn't…she couldn't… so she had said 'Doctor' instead.
And before that, ohhh, when he had that girl –what was her name –Tanya, and he said they should get to know each other and it might be fun, Lucy was so angry… but she knew she was going to have to, because the Master said, and there was no use getting angry because she couldn't… she couldn't say…
The itch grew stronger as she went back further.
Before, when that reporter woman came to speak to her –she couldn't even remember her name now –but it was like she couldn't speak to do anything but try to get the woman to leave because she knew too much –oh her eye burned –and then her tongue turned to lead and she had let the woman die, with only a whispered "I'm sorry."
I wasn't always like this, Lucy thought frantically, squeezing her eyes tight shut to try to stop the pain. What changed? What changed?
…"I can't marry you"…
Lucy jumped. Mrs. Jones was pointing a gun at the Master, who sneered, all the while looking for some sort of way out of this situation. The Doctor was speaking to her quietly. "Francine, you're better than him," he said. The gun clattered to the ground as he embraced her.
The Doctor and the Master were talking now, along with Jack –what to do with him, something like that. But Lucy couldn't hear it; it was all a blur, it was all white noise in her ears. The fog was pressing down, choking her.
The gun was right there, within reach.
Her eye was on fire, burning away the fog in her mind.
All Lucy knew was… she couldn't live like this anymore.
The shot rang out, loud and unexpected. All looked first at the Master, who staggered as red bloomed across his chest, and then to Lucy. Her eyes were glazed, but the gun in her hand didn't waver.
She had fought to be different. To be anything and everything Roxanne was not. She had fought for the freedom to be Lucy, not Roxanne's sister, not some empty-headed idiot. She knew how to shoot a gun because her father had a fondness for hunting, and Roxanne never went with him because she abhorred the mess that came with it. Lucy didn't enjoy it, but she learned how to shoot, and shoot well. She refused to be like her sister.
She had refused. Just like she refused now.
The Doctor caught the Master as he stumbled, and Jack grabbed her, taking the gun in case she decided to shoot anyone else.
Suddenly, she began to shake –and not from shock or trauma. She dropped and almost hit the floor before Jack caught her. She was violently having spasms in the Captain's arms, thrashing around like a fish out of water. "Doctor?" Jack asked, alarmed. Martha Jones ran to them to ascertain just what was wrong with her –but then the tremors stopped.
It had felt like her skull had decided to contract and then expand back into place while someone stirred her brain with a red-hot spoon, but it was over –a lingering headache behind her eyes was the only after effect. She opened her grey eyes.
"You can let me go," she said quietly to Jack. "I'm not going to shoot anyone else."
Everyone stared at her, but the Joneses in particular –they had seen her almost every day for a year. Lucy Saxon had perhaps been the best definition of "dumb blond." Now her voice, her eyes, and her face had filled in the blankness with reason, emotion, and a cynical twist to her mouth.
"What on earth?" Martha Jones whispered.
Lucy looked at the Master, who was pale and for once, not speaking. He was just staring at Lucy. "I worked it out," she said, and no longer did her voice have a haunted quality about it. It was sharp –angry. She gathered up her skirt and stepped out of her heels, padding in bare feet towards the two Time Lords. "You asked me to marry you, and I said no. And then you asked me what would change my mind, and I said, 'something pretty spectacular.'"
"A cerebral shift in judgment and self-determination is pretty spectacular," the Master rasped, grinning the wide grin he was known for, the one with a hint of madness.
"You did what?" the Doctor said, shocked.
"Oh, wow," the Master said, grimacing. "I'm dying in your arms, and you're still scolding me."
"You're not dying, don't be stupid," the Doctor said, his grip tightening. "It's only a bullet; just regenerate."
"No," the Master said, his eyes dark.
It had been instinct –years of hunting with Dad –and she was good with guns. She knew the shot had been fatal, though she hadn't meant it to be. And she knew that look on his face –his stubborn, you-have-no-way-to-make-me face. "I only did it because I knew you could," Lucy said, crouching down beside him. "You have to regenerate," she said, glaring at him.
"One little bullet, come on!" the Doctor urged.
His brown eyes stared up into hers, and she felt her veins turn to ice. "I guess we're more alike than either of us thought," he rasped. "I refuse."
Dread was setting in. No, no, no… you can't do this to me…
"Regenerate! Just –regenerate, come on!" The Doctor pleaded. "Please!"
"And spend the rest of my life imprisoned with you?" the Master said incredulously. Lucy looked from him to the Doctor, knowing where this was going. Knowing that he would never live like that. No…
"But you've got to. We're the only ones left." The Doctor's voice was beginning to crack from panic. "There's no one else. Regenerate!"
"How about that?" the Master mumbled. "I win."
"Don't do this!" Lucy commanded, feeling tears spring to her eyes, from anger –or was it pain? "Don't make me a murderer! Don't you dare!" Her voice faded to a whisper. "Please!"
"Will it stop, Doctor? The drumming. Will it stop?" the Master said hoarsely.
Lucy's frame began to shake with sobs. I didn't want this! She screamed inwardly.
His eyes met hers for the last time, and then they closed.
Song is 'Blinding' by Florence + the Machine.