CHALLENGE 4: "But I rather like hope. Hope's a good emotion."

Faith and madness 998

Her whole world narrowed to the throbbing as she pressed her bruised face against the cold tiles.

It hurt.

She hurt.

But that was nothing new. Pain had become a way of life; like lying and trying to hide.

Don't show weakness. No one needs to know.

She'd learned long ago that fighting just made it worse. Fighting made everything worse. It was best to just give in and accept it. Embrace it.

A slam registered from far away and that was her cue to move.

He'd be so cross if she were still in a crumpled heap when he returned. Her dress would be dirty and he'd so liked her new dress.

Pretty dress. Pretty girl.

With infinite care she raised herself up, wincing as her ribs protested. Her arms shook and she feared she'd just fall flat on her face again. The thought of the resulting pain was enough incentive for her to drag herself along, crawling over the floor until she could lean against the wall.

The effort cost her and she panted heavily, every single one of her injuries alive and burning.

Twisted wrist. Bruised rib, maybe broken. Bruised jaw, split lip.

And a partridge in a pear tree. On the day the world ended my true love gave to me...

She swayed slightly to the tune in her head. Maybe the broken rib would require a few days in hospital. Maybe even under sedation. Heavy sedation. The idea of that state of non-existence filled her with blissful longing.

If I should die before I wake.

"Do you want some water?" The question came from the silent corner.

She glanced over and the man shrugged uncomfortably.

"I can ask Tish to bring you some."

She shook her head, immediately regretting it as dizziness swamped her. "No."

Her refusal sent him back into his corner, silence reigning in the room until it seemed he couldn't help himself.

"This- he was never like this."

Her lips curved. "He was always like this and you always defended him. He hates that about you."

"And I hate this about him." He nodded to her state and she flinched.

"Don't pity me."

"Why not? Got nothing better to do. Lots of time on my hands..." he trailed off and stared at his hands.

Hands wrinkled, marked and withered.

Time on his hands. Hands of time.

He clenched his fists. "Why do you let him do this to you?"

"Why do you?" Her voice was soft. "We all suffer for love."

"Not like this. That's not love!" He snapped. "You don't know love."

"But I do. Love bears all things, believes all things. Endures all things." Her breath caught on the last.

"Like that?" He nodded towards the window.

There is no window. There is nothing out there. It was all a dream. A nasty dream. Don't look.

"Does love excuse the suffering of the entire human race? The planet? How do you bear that? Hmm?"

"I believe."

"In what? In him?" Disbelief and disgust was etched into his face.

She closed her eyes blocking him out.

He continued. "Listen to me, this isn't love. Love is kind, remember that? He isn't kind."

"But he can be." Longing filled her. "He can be so very kind, Doctor. Loving, caring. That's what I believe. That this madness will end and he will be my sweet Harry. "

"You believe a fantasy."

"We all have hope, Doctor, even you."


"You hope to return to her. I hope he returns to me. Sometimes when he looks at me I can see who he really is. I live for those times."

"They make it easier to bear, do they?" He mocked.

"They're enough. Don't despise hope, Doctor. It's all we have."

"But I rather like hope. Hope is a good emotion. But not where he is concerned."

"And I am so concerned!"

The Master's manic grin bore down on them.

He skidded across the floor to the Doctor and poked him. "Are you concerned about me? Aww touching."

The Doctor turned away to stare out of the window.

Don't look. There's nothing there.

"Aw, now he's giving me the silent treatment. However will I cope?" He laughed and, catching sight of her trying to inch her way up the wall, strolled over nonchalantly.

"Lucy!" He tugged her against him. "Hurting, my sweet?"

She nodded.

"Humans are so fragile." He cradled her chin in his hand and brushed a thumb over her split lip. Something flickered in his eyes. "You break so easily. But you taste delicious. Still, we can't have a broken Lucy, what would the neighbors say? Let's fix you."

She smiled.

Broken Lucy.

The Master held her gently against him. "See, Doctor when you have your woman in your arms there's nothing better. Except this," he smirked and pulled Lucy back slightly, staring into her eyes. "I suppose, if it's my last chance to say it, Lucy Saxon, I love you."

A noise burst from the Doctor's throat and the Master chuckled.

"My telepathy scores were always better than yours." He smirked. "I wonder if Rose knew. Probably not. You never were any good with women. Unlike me. Well, can't chat. Byebye now."

He swept Lucy up in his arms and carried her to their room, dancing and smiling.

He put her down and his face softened, his mask- the cruelty and arrogance- seeming to fall away until it was just Lucy and Harry at the end of the world together.

"So, my sweet Lucy. My love," He kissed her gently and traced a line across her cheek. "What did you and the Doctor talk about?"

A different kind of faith

She turned her face up for his kiss. "Nothing important."