I Do... See It Now
The thing that woke up the Doctor, as strange as it may sound, was the cold. He was a space traveller, he had had picnics on the coldest planet that ever existed, picnics that had ended with ice cream and various states of undress. So why did that bother him? As fast as his sluggish mind allowed him to, he realized that he knew that kind of coldness and it had nothing to do with the lack of blankets(which, on top of everything, weren't even missing- instead they were rolled around him as if someone deliberately had done so). No... It was a cold that he hadn't experienced in 5 years, ever since the Master moved in the TARDIS with him.
Every morning, the Doctor would wake up, his lover wrapped around him, fingers dancing lightly on his chest or stomach or even lower if the other was feeling particularly playful. No matter what. No matter where. No matter the fight they had had the previous night. Which, of course, made the Time Lord wonder what had changed now.
Granted, it took him far too long for something as significant as this, but the memory made his skin crawl. Yesterday. Not bothered by his nakedness, in all fairness he was terrified there would be no one to notice it, he jumped out of the bed. Million scenarios crossed his mind, from the Master dying from that potion, how hard would it have been for the countess to slip something "small" in that vial after all, to him waking up as he was and taking off. Whatever it was, there was one thing certain- his Master was gone. And that thought made him want to puke, if the ball of nausea was anything to go by.
That thought was what turned his face into a priceless picture when he bargained in the kitchen on his way to the TARDIS control room and saw the Master calmly sipping on his tea, dressed in an old-fashioned suit Theta didn't even know his lover had.
"Ah, you decided to wake up, after all," the other Timelord noted. Quickly, he took in the other's appearance and scrunched his nose. "Although, I do find your choice of attire questioning."
Deep blush spread over the Doctor's face (and neck, and chest but the Master willed himself not to stare too much at those areas) and that comment.
"I woke up and the bed... You were... I thought!"
His arms were flying all over the place and once he realized it, the Doctor glued them to his side. With that and his blush he resembled a rather awkward looking half red robot. It was the second time the other man had turned him in a babbling idiot and they still haven't had a conversation lasting more than half an hour. It was disgraceful how much power the Master held over him even now. Realizing that, the Doctor vowed to not lose his temper, or at least try.
"You haven't changed," he stated, matter-of-factly.
"Oh, as sharp as ever," the other man nodded approvingly, mockingly. "I see that hasn't changed."
The comment made the Doctor draw in a sharp breath and almost open his mouth to retort something just as sarcastic. But he thought better- it would have been a shame to break his promise so early. Instead, he opted for making himself a cup of coffee and with glee he realized the other man's eyes were following him.
'Good, let him be the embarrassed one for a chance,' he gloated. He hoped it was just childish stubbornness that made him sway his hips as he walked but he had a strong suspicion it was something more. Which was plain ridiculous because that man there wasn't his Master. He was cold and sarcastic and... okay, yes, he was kind of like his Koschei but it was more like the Koschei with anyone else but him.
A curious question popped in his mind and he decided to test it.
"What are we going to do now, then, Koschei?" He tried so hard not to put emphasis on the last word, it rolled out of his mouth so naturally that he was sure he had done it right.
"Never call me that again, boy!"
But judging from the reaction he got, the clenched fists, the blush spreading over the other man's cheeks he must have done something wrong. Or maybe not. Perhaps it was the ease with which he said it that enraged the older looking man.
"Why? And don't call me boy, I told you I'm..."
"Old enough, yes, I heard you. That doesn't stop you from acting like a child. Who in their right mind would fall asleep in the same bed as their nemesis?"
"Who in their right mind would invite them?!"
"Dully noted, I won't make such a preposition again."
Silence fell over them as the Doctor tried hard not to laugh at how childish both of them were being. Even the Master cracked a smile and wasn't that a miracle?
"I'll... I'll go dress up then," the younger looking man offered, when they just continued to stare at each other.
"That would be the wise thing to do, yes."
The Doctor spend half an hour in his closet, not that he was going to admit it, deciding what to wear. Should he go with something more official to go along with the other's clothes? Or maybe something more... youthful? He didn't know if the Master would see it as an insult to his current state. And the last thing he wanted was for them to break the fragile truce they were in.
In the end he opted for his old faithful brown suit.
"Now you look like a proper gentleman. Although, I do know better," the Master noted with a smile, nodding approvingly as the other Timelord returned to the kitchen. "Would you like some toast with your coffee?"
"Yes, please." And wasn't that picture strangely domestic. The Doctor felt a warmth in his chest, as if his Koschei was here. Until... "Wait, why am I not a proper gentleman?"
"Oh, dear Doctor, I've been here for almost a day now and that's the first time I see you with clothes on. Should I say more?"
The Doctor just grinned, what could he say, the other man had one hell of a timing and there was no point getting all flustered about it.
"Your Koschei is a very lucky man."
Theta almost missed it, he knew he wasn't supposed to hear it. He wasn't even sure if the other man had meant to say it. When he turned his wide eyes towards the other man, he found him shaking his head, sad smile stretching his lips.
"Ah, forgive me for intruding in the matters of the heart. I was merely... envious, you could say."
"Of him? You mean to say...?"
"That I wanted you?" A laugh-like huff escaped his mouth "Dear boy, we all did. Didn't you find it peculiar that every time you changed, I changed with you. Always trying to complete you, like pieces of a puzzle. Granted, I didn't see it until now but he does, your Koschei. He would do anything for you not to feel lonely again."
Overwhelmed with emotions, Theta wasn't sure if he could open his mouth without ruining it so he stayed silent. Everything the Master said, it didn't make any sense to him, he couldn't quite comprehend it. Of course, he was certain now his Koschei had loved him before The Year That Never Was, they had talked about it, Theta far too anxious it had been just a game for the other man and he would soon grow tired of it. Koschei had assured him with words and kisses and hands and ... yeah, that, no, he was in that relationship for the long run.
Having mistaken the reason behind the Doctor's silence, the Master took a step back, a slight scowl on his face.
"Ah, but I'm just an old babbling fool. Forgive me if I had made you feel unwell."
Theta's eyes widened and he shook his head vehemently. "No, no, nothing like that," he insisted, hand outstretching towards the other man and fingers curling around his wrist. As if he was afraid the older looking man was going to run away. Maybe he was?"I'm just surprised!"
"Yes, your Koschei is a bit dense when it comes to emotions. Mind you, I would have been the same had I not just entered the mind of my future self. But he loves you, very much, indeed. With you the dr-..."
The Master's voice trailed off and he smiled. It wasn't a nice smile, all teeth and anger and the Doctor wasn't sure it was even directed at him. Nevertheless, it was the last thing he saw from that Master before the man before him ceased to be.
His body started twisting around itself and Theta felt an arching emptiness as he realized that man, that shadow from his past would never be again. It was silly, he realized it, he had done nothing but complain of the presence of the other man but now when he was finally getting what he wanted, his Koschei, he... What a spoiled child he was, he scolded himself.
The man beside him was already a few inches shorter, blond hair sticking out of the cloud of shifting flesh(they had been to London these past days and dye was the Master's ingenious idea of a disguise), when the Doctor first heard the moans. In the blink of an eye he was next to his Koschei, holding a hand, or at least he hoped it was a hand and whispering soothing words.
It wasn't as bad as the first time, now at least he knew no harm would fall on his lover, but it still hurt, seeing Koschei in pain. Finally, when it was over he could only drag the other man in his embrace, rocking them back and forth slightly.
"Hey," Koschei whispered, a bit breathlessly, "I'm all right now, it's okay."
The Doctor nodded but didn't release him or even loosen his hold.
"I'm really not sure what happened, Theta, but it's going to be okay now." Koschei rested his hand on the nape of the other's neck and with the other one he rubbed soothing circles on the Doctor's back. Eventually it worked and he was finally released.
"So." He smiled wickedly, once he was sure there were no tears on his Theta's face and wiggled his eyebrows. "Where were we?"
Sadly, the Doctor just shook his head, scoffed and left him in a pile of his own confusion, misery and unsatisfied libido. He really had no idea what had just happened. But why was he in that clown suit he hadn't worn in centuries?
A/N God, I can just picture the Master standing there, like a little kid, pouting and sulking. He is adorable! Anyway, I really hoped you liked the chapter because I had lots of fun writing it, especially some dialogues (I'm sure you can guess which ones). Thank you for reading!