AN: This is my first attempt at writing a fic (although it is the second one I am publishing) so please be gentle. That being said, I would appreciate constructive criticism. All my chapter titles are song titles (followed by the lyrics) that remind me of what occurs in that chapter because I am extremely creative and original. The fic title comes from Florence + the Machine's "Never Let Me Go". Also, please take note that this fic has a lot of references to assault, rape, and suicide interwoven throughout the chapters, so if you find any of these triggering, just turn back now. I really don't like when the author puts warnings at the beginning of chapters and it spoils what will happen in that chapter, so I am putting the warning here, and only here. Also, the whole story (approx. 16 chapters) is pretty much written so it shouldn't take too long to get the entire story up.
I also don't own Doctor Who. Obviously.
"I told myself – as I've told myself before – that the body shuts down when the pain gets too bad, that consciousness is temporary, that this will pass. But just like always, I didn't slip away. I was left on the shore with the waves washing over me, unable to drown."
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Chapter 1 – Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)
Here I am a rabbit-hearted girl
Frozen in the headlights
It seems I make the final sacrifice
I look around but I can't find you
If only I could see your face
I start rushing towards the skyline
I wish that I could just be brave
I must become a lionhearted girl
Ready for a fight
Before I make the final sacrifice
- Florence + the Machine, "Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)"
It's dark. Too dark. She can never remember it being this dark anywhere on the TARDIS before.
She's not on the TARDIS. Something went wrong at their last stop. There was a man. Another Time Lord. The Doctor knew him. What did he call him? The Master?
She can't remember why they separated. She has a vague recollection of him telling her to run.
Her head hurts.
She moves to get up to find a light. That's when she realizes she is tied up. Her hands are bound together behind her back, tied to a pole. There is about four feet of slack rope between her and the pole. If she could stand up she might be able to walk around a bit. She pushes herself back against the pole and tries to use it to help herself stand. But the movement makes her head spin and she immediately slides back down.
"Doctor?" she calls out quietly to check and see if he is there with here. The only response she receives is silence.
Think, Rose! Think! If you can remember how you got here, maybe you can figure out what to do next.
She rests her head on her knees. Why does her head hurt so much?!
Then she remembers.
The TARDIS had just landed on a planet. Per usual, it was not where they intended to go, but that had never stopped them before. When they started exploring, it didn't take them long to determine that something was seriously wrong.
It was like walking through a ghost town. They were walking along a dirt road, lined with small stores on either side. It was one of those towns where shop owners lived right upstairs and everyone knew everyone. The kind of town where there should be some large event every other weekend in which the whole town becomes involved, celebrating their town history or something like that. But there was no one on the streets. No one in the shops. It was the middle of the day and there was no one anywhere. Occasionally they would catch a glimpse of someone peering through a window at them, but as soon as either she or the Doctor glanced up, the curtains would quickly be pulled closed.
She asked the Doctor what was going on, but he was so focused on their surroundings that he didn't seem hear her. He had just said something about turning back when they finally saw someone. A man in a suit stepped out from the shadows. She had never seen him before, but the Doctor must have recognized him because he immediately grabbed her arm, pulled her backwards, and stepped in front of her, shielding her from any danger this man might pose.
They started speaking in a different language, but for some reason, she couldn't understand it. The Doctor told her once that the only languages the TARDIS couldn't translate were the impossibly old ones that no one could understand anymore, like what they saw on the impossible planet orbiting the black hole, and Gallifreyan. They had to be speaking the latter. But how? How could this man know Gallifreyan if he wasn't a Time Lord? She thought the Doctor was the only one left. Even though she couldn't understand the words, she could tell by their tone and how tense the Doctor was standing that this was not a happy reunion.
After a short while of them talking, Rose noticed the Doctor's hand reaching slowly towards his pocket. Then all of a sudden he quickly pulled out his sonic screwdriver and pointed in above the man. Something fell on top of him, but Rose didn't have time to see what because the Doctor grabbed her hand and they started running. Fast.
When they were about half way back to the TARDIS, they turned a corner and hid in an alleyway. Rose could hear the man get out from underneath whatever was on top of him and scream in frustration.
The Doctor grabbed her arms and turned her towards him, making sure he had her full attention. His tight grip only increased her fright about the situation. Panting, he explained, "That man. He's a Time Lord. He's called the Master. I'll explain later. But he's extremely dangerous and he hates me. Run as fast as you can, faster than you've ever run before, back to the TARDIS. I'm going to go the other way and try and distract him. If I'm not back within 20 minutes…" He made sure she was looking directly into his eyes as he said the next part, "Leave without me!"
The tone of his voice and the look in his eyes told her that this was not something she could argue with. So she nodded. She would split from him and run back to the TARDIS, but she would wait for him. Like Hell was she ever going to leave without him.
So she ran. She ran fast. She didn't have far to run. As she turned the next corner, the TARDIS came into view. She pulled the key out from around her neck and was about to slide it in the lock when she heard something behind her. She spun around. The Master. He had a steel pipe in his hands. The next thing she knew, the pipe collided with the side of her head. Then everything went black.
Rose tries her best to get free of the ropes. She tugs at the rope on her wrists, which results in nothing but rope burn. She even tries to untie the rope connecting her to the pole. But for some reason, she can't find any knots. After about half an hour, when her fingers are raw from clawing at the rope and pole, she gives up and tries to think of her next move. She would try and see if there was anything around her that would help her sever the ropes, but, even though her eyes have adjusted enough for her to see faint shadows, it is still too dark to make out any objects. She knows if she waits long enough the Doctor will find her. He always does. But she hates the idea of being that girl who is always waiting for a man to rescue her. She is going to do everything she possibly can to get herself out of this.
She hears a door open and bright light pierces into the room, causing Rose to turn her head away. When her eyes readjust, she sees that the Master is standing in the doorway, smirking at her. She already dislikes that smirk.
He turns on the rest of the lights in the room. Rose takes this opportunity to look around, trying to find something. Anything that can get her out of this situation. But there is next to nothing in this room.
It is more like a prison cell than a room. There is one door, the one through which the Master entered. There are no windows. There is a cot against one wall, with a thin pillow and a single blanket. In another corner there is a toilet. That is it. Nothing else. This did not look like some place she wants to spend even one night.
"Well?" the Master starts as she finishes taking in her surroundings, "What do you think?" He gestures to the room. "I made it specifically for you. Well, I guess not you, specifically, but I knew the Doctor would have some human travelling with him. He always did have a soft spot for humans."
He walks towards where she is sitting. She backs as far away from him as she possibly can. He just looks at her and smiles again. He touches the rope connecting her to the pole, and glances at her raw wrists and bleeding fingers.
"I take it you already had time to examine these. Do you like them? No knots." He pulls something that looks a lot like a sonic screwdriver out of his pocket. "Made it a while ago. Modeled it after the one your Doctor has. Love the rope setting. It just takes two severed ends of rope and connects them. No need for knots. Hope I didn't make them too tight. That's a lie. I actually do."
He grabs the rope and pulls it so that she has no choice but to come closer to him. She tries to kick him, but he grabs her legs and pulls out another piece of rope. She tries to struggle and kick him off her, but he is a lot stronger than he appears to be. He ties her ankles tightly together and then attaches that binding to the one around her wrists. He maneuvers her so she in kneeling up in front of him. He takes one hand and brushes it over her face and through her hair. Rose knows pulling away will do no good, so she stares him straight into his eyes, hoping he will think that she's not scared of him. She is.
"I can see why he's kept you around. You're a pretty one." Then he looks into her eyes. "And you're feisty too, aren't you?"
She doesn't respond.
"Good." He stands up and walks back towards the door. "That just means I'll have more fun breaking you. I have a feeling you'll be here a while. We're in an untraceable location. I won't bother explaining how that works. I've left your Doctor a series of clues. The quicker he gets through them all, the quicker you get out of here. And you had better hope for your sake that he gets here quickly. The longer you're here, the worse it's going to get for you. But I wouldn't want to give you false hope. There are a lot of clues. And they're cryptic. I was the only one who could give him any sort competition in the intelligence department back on Gallifrey. Oh, he'll figure them out, but it'll take him a while. I owe him some suffering. The best way to make him suffer is to make you suffer. You'll start to hate him for allowing this to happen. He'll blame himself. That's what I want."
And with that, he turns out the lights and is gone. She is left alone in the dark to think about everything that just happened. So they had a past, the Master and the Doctor. They knew each other back on Gallifrey. Somehow they both survived the Time War. And at some point in time, the Doctor did something that angered the Master. But the part that scared her the most was how confident the Master had sounded when he told her she was going to be there a while, and how the longer she was there, the worse everything would get.
She doesn't even want to think about what that might mean. If it hadn't been for the way the Doctor reacted when they first saw the Master, how he used himself as a human (or rather Time Lord) shield to completely block her from his sight, and the fear she saw in his eyes and heard in his voice when he told her to run, she might not be as scared. But her instincts are telling her that this man is completely mad. There is no predicting what he will do to her, or how long it will take the Doctor to find her. But she has to have faith. She has to believe he will find her soon. If she doesn't, she's not sure how long she will last here.