If there was one thing the Master loathed, it was silence. He loathed quite a few things. The Doctor, the drums, humans, sentient creatures other than Time Lords, boredom, waiting, and Time Lords were just a few things he loathed. But among the myriad things he loathed, he loathed silence most of all. In the silence, the drums were always so much louder.
Without background noise to stifle the drums, they grew louder and louder until nothing existed except the four constant beats in his mind. He did everything he could to fill the silence, but it was never enough.
That was before the Time War. Now, it was even worse. The constant chatter from the imbeciles that had called themselves Time Lords was gone, and the drums were agonizing in their absence. Even the Doctor's mind was closed to him.
Somehow, the bastard had managed to shutter his thoughts from everyone, even his Master. The Master would have tried to figure out how it was possible, but the drums beat too loud for him to think about that. Instead he turned his mind to a much more pressing problem in his quest for interstellar supremacy: Martha Jones.
He ignored the Doctor completely; the other remaining Time Lord was annoyingly tight-lipped about the whereabouts of his human pet. Instead, he decided to pay a visit to the only other person on the Valiant who could help him locate the troublesome Miss Martha Jones.
The lower decks of the gunship were hot and stuffy even to the Master. They had to be agonizing for the servants on board. The thought made him smirk. He idly tapped the drumbeat on the walls as he journeyed to the place where he had the Freak chained up.
On the way, he grabbed the black briefcase that held all his torture equipment. No reason not to have a little fun.
To the Master's surprise, the Freak grinned widely when he saw him approach.
"Good day, Saxon," he said cheerfully, then grimaced. "You know, it wouldn't kill you to put a clock down here. Good day sounds like I'm saying goodbye, which is kinda awkward when you just got here." He shrugged as best he could with his arms chained. "So, what can I do for you, your Lordship?" The sarcasm on the last word could have killed at least three species that the Master knew of.
The Master grinned evilly. "I'm just going to ask you a few questions."
Harkness didn't even blink. He did, however, leer. "Is that right? And what if I don't answer?"
Deciding to ignore everything he said for the moment, the Master pulled a long, serrated knife out of his briefcase in reply.
"Kinky," Harkness remarked. "Then again, I already noticed you have a thing for chains." He rattled said chains for emphasis.
He quirked his head to the side like he was pondering an especially intriguing puzzle. "What about the Doctor?" he asked.
"What?" the Master asked.
"He doesn't really seem the type, but you never know."
"What?" the Master repeated dumbly.
Harkness rolled his eyes. "I'm just asking if the Doctor is into chains. Simple question."
"I'm asking the questions," the Master snarled.
"Actually, that was really more of a statement," Harkness retorted. "Also, you know 'I'm asking the questions' is ridiculously cliche, right?"
The Master buried the knife in Harkness' trachea. It was extremely satisfying. It took forty-two seconds for Harkness to revive. It took forty-four seconds for him to start talking.
"So, were you and the Doctor a couple?" he asked.
"Not to repeat myself," the Master stated.
Harkness rolled his eyes. "Are you ever going to ask me any questions, or are you just going to stand there saying you're going to ask me questions. If you just want to kill time, I can think of plenty of more entertaining ways." The leer was back.
"So can I," the Master said evenly, removing a scalpel from the briefcase.
Harkness was unfazed. "I kind of meant like sex. Friends with benefits?"
"We aren't friends," the Master pointed out, thrown off balance by the sudden topic change. "Besides, psychopaths don't have friends."
"I meant you and the Doctor. There's no way you two haven't shagged. Also, I've had seventeen psychopathic lover; you can make it work. But not a one was as pathetic as you are."
"Who the hell do you think you are to call your lord and Master pathetic?" the Master sneered, seizing Harkness by the throat.
Harkness looked at the hand around his neck and raised an eyebrow, not even trying to respond. Irritated, the Master released him.
"You know," Harkness mused as soon as he could speak. "The Doctor is kind of oblivious when it comes to love. And by kind of I mean ridiculously oblivious." He fixed the Master with a look that almost be called concerned. "Was he ever actually in love with you?" He sounded concerned too.
The Master didn't respond. Instead, he carefully gouged Harkness' eye out. To his credit, Harkness only screamed once. Then the Master started breaking bones. That got him a few more screams. At thirteen fractures and three bones jutting out of the skin Harkness went into shock. Since shock was supremely boring to watch, the Master slit Harkness' throat.
When the freak revived, the first words out of his mouth were "You are such a drama queen."
The Master sighed in resignation. "Let's just cut to the chase." He refused to react when Harkness rolled his eyes.
"Where is Martha Jones?"
The Master dislocated Harkness' shoulder.
"Where is Martha Jones?" he repeated.
"Why should I tell you?" Harkness asked, sounding more curious than defiant.
"Because it will make the pain stop," the Master crooned. The promise of an end to pain worked almost every time.
Apparently, this was not one of those times. Harkness laughed in his face. "You can't possibly expect me to believe that kind of bullshit."
The Master dislocated Harkness' other shoulder and smashed in his kneecap. It left Harkness with an agonizing choice; slump in his chains and put all the pressure on his dislocated shoulders, or try to stand up straight and put the pressure on his broken kneecap.
"Just tell me where Martha is, and I'll stop. Tell me where she is and the pain will go away." The Master made sure to keep his voice soft and gentle, almost seductive.
Harkness was now in too much pain to laugh, but he still managed to chuckle softly.
"Three reasons I don't believe that," he said. "One: seventeen psycho exes. I know how you think. You aren't just gonna stop playing with your favorite toy."
The Master kept his face carefully blank, curling his lips into a gentle smile. Harkness was perfectly correct, but no need to tell him that.
"Two: I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've used that exact same promise," Harkness continued. "I was the best interrogator the Time Agency had for at least a decade. No one ever keeps that promise."
The Master raised an eyebrow. A professional torturer, even one who had supposedly 'reformed', was the last person he expected to travel with the Doctor. He would have to look into this. He wondered just how much of the Freak's knight-in-shining-armor attitude was an act.
"Three: Even if you weren't a psycho, and even if you planned to stop, you can't make the pain go away," Harkness concluded. "I've been craving death for longer than most humans have been alive. Don't make promises you can't keep."
The Master's second eyebrow joined the first. Of course the Doctor would want to travel with someone just as broken as himself. That explained why he would travel with the abomination known as Captain Jack Harkness.
"But, seriously, I know you're not over him, believe me I sympathize entirely, but isn't this a little much?"
The Master was starting to get seriously annoyed with the Freak's random changes of topic. "Why are you so sure me and the Doctor were a couple?" he asked, wondering what had given it away.
"Because he's still alive," Harkness replied bluntly. "You could have killed him three months ago. In fact, that would have been the smart thing to do. He's your very worst enemy. He always foils your evil plans. I'd be willing to bet that, more often than not, he's the only one who can stop you. So why haven't you killed him?"
The Master faked a grin. "I want him to watch as I destroy everything he loves."
"Well, yeah. That's kind of my point. He broke your heart-sorry, hearts. You want to prove to him that you can destroy him the same way he destroyed you. Of course, I don't think he even realizes he hurt you. Why is that? I'm getting a major spurned lover vibe, here."
The Master couldn't even formulate a reply. A part of his mind wondered why he was still here, talking to the Freak. He broke the Freak's other kneecap to make himself feel a bit better. It didn't help as much as he hoped.
"Wait, I think I got it." Harkness was actually smirking, despite the pain. "He didn't leave you. You left him. You probably broke his hearts just as badly as he broke yours." Harkness caught the Master's gaze directly. The blood running down his face from his empty eye socket caused him to look slightly demonic. It made the Master feel slightly uncomfortable, but he told himself that it was just because the Freak was a fixed point.
"That's not why you hate the Doctor, though. You obviously hate him just as much as you love him. You hate him because he moved on. He can function without trying to destroy you. You can't. You want to fix that. You want to make him loathe you, so you don't have to love him anymore. It doesn't work, you know. You're stuck with him."
The Master wasn't used to his victims giving him pitying looks, nor was he used to them picking apart his worldview in minutes. Jack Harkness was intriguing, that much he was certain. He would have to see what it took to break the man. This might prove to be fun. At the very least, it would distract him from the tedium of global domination.
He buried the serrated knife in the Freak's heart and walked off, idly tapping the drumbeat.
Up on the bridge, he ran through the Freak's words again. Was he ever actually in love with you?
If there was one thing the Master loathed more than silence, at that moment it was Captain Jack Harkness.
A/N: Someday, someday I'll be able to write something without angst, but I fear that day is yet far off.
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