It was requested that I do a series of one-shots to take place after "What Would I Be Without You," and I thought it was a great plan, though that is not required reading to understand this.
The Doctor had supposedly brought him here to see the world as it looked the first time electricity lit up the night. The Master thought he'd done it purely to see him wearing a ridiculous suit – he was resolutely refusing to confess to how comfortable it was.
"Ready?" The Doctor smiled and swung open the door. They stepped out into the light, the TARDIS as always going completely unnoticed by the people walking by.
The Master tugged at his cuffs. "If we're here to watch the lights, why did you bring us during the day?"
The Doctor grinned. "Well, we need to find good seats."
The Master looked at the tall buildings surrounding them. "You have quite possibly dropped us off in the worst possible location."
"I know just the place." He turned to lead them down the street and ran straight into a beautiful young girl.
The Master stiffened.
The Doctor didn't notice. "Are you alright?"
The girl looked at him desperately, her hands clinging to the Doctor's jacket. The Master didn't bother listening to her. He was too busy watching the Doctor's face. He started out confused. Then sympathetic. Then determined. It was an expression he was familiar with, usually in a fight against him. The girl pulled the Doctor flush against her, tears in her eyes, and the Doctor seemed to melt. It had only been seconds, but she clearly had him wrapped around her fingers.
It was disgusting.
He didn't have to look at it for too long. As he expected, the Doctor left with her, forgetting about him completely. He shook his head. Of course he left with her, why would he stay? The Master knew what they were doing would never last. He always figured that he'd end up doing something unforgivable and the Doctor would leave, disappointed. He should have known it was going to be an ape.
A weight settled deep in his chest. He was stupid for ever thinking the Doctor would prefer him to an ape.
The Doctor turned to him with an excited grin on his face. "What do you say, Master?"
The Master tried to smile, though he was fairly sure it came out as grimace.
The Doctor looked confused, but then the girl lead him round the corner, and he was gone.
The Master turned on his heel and folded into the shadows, disappearing in the best way he knew how. The Doctor's mind pressed after his inquiringly, and the Master calmly rebuffed him and drew up his shields. He wanted to lash out violently, maybe cripple the girl in agony, but right now he was burning cold, and while he felt rage, he didn't want to give the Doctor the satisfaction. If he was going to ignore the Master, the Master was going to ignore him.
He was blocks away now, and rather proud of himself for the amount of distance he had effortlessly put between them. He glared at the people who walked towards him, and felt marginally better when a few crossed the street to avoid him.
One man met his stare and discreetly pointed a metal box at him. The Master was so focused on blocking out the Doctor that he almost missed it. In the end what caught his eye was the technology. It did not belong. It was far more advanced than anything else, even if it was clearly poorly made. He growled at the man, baring his teeth. At that the man finally jerked back, ducking into a car and hurrying away.
The Master could not care less. If the Doctor wanted to figure out how the man got hold of a scanner and figure out what he was doing with it, fine. He just found a new pet, they could have tons of fun saving the world together.
Mary had come out of no where. She'd been so distressed, and it was only amplified by the frilly dress and the bonnet covering her hair. The Doctor wasn't sure how she found him, but then, people in need of help always managed to find him sooner or later. She had literally begged him for help, and the Doctor always found it hard to say no to people, especially when he could probably help her.
He just hoped the Master would be up for an adventure of a sort. He wasn't really sure how he'd take it. They hadn't really had to deal with humans yet, but the Doctor was hopeful. The whole thing sounded rather intriguing. There had been a lot of random disappearances that were always followed by power fluctuations, and now Mary's brother had vanished. Apparently the local police were stumped, and were trying to discreetly brush it under the rug. The Doctor had to admit, she could be onto something. It was hard to pinpoint, but something in the air tasted wrong. It really could be fun. It would be even more fun solving it with an equal by his side. Someone who could see the little details for what they really were.
"Don't worry, Mary, we'll find him." He gave her a reassuring hug.
"Thank you, Doctor! Come with me, I'll show you where he was the last time I saw him!" She grabbed his arm and all but dragged him away.
"What do you say, Master?" He turned to look at the Master. He didn't recognize the expression on his face, but it quickly vanished and was replaced by a pained smile. "Master?" They rounded the corner. "Wait a moment, Mary." He pulled out of her hold and returned to the alley, but the Master was gone.
"Doctor, please, we don't have a lot of time!"
"Why?" He asked rather distractedly. His mind reached out and tried to press into the Master. He wasn't sure what had happened, but he was fairly positive he'd missed something important.
"What if Greg dies while you... what are you even doing?"
"My..." he wasn't sure what to refer to the Master as, especially in this era, "friend. He was right here."
"That happens a lot around here. Do you think he was taken?"
The Master's mind rebuffed him, and then his shields were up. "No, no, I don't think so."
"Then come on!" She tugged at his arm again, and the Doctor followed. He kept a close eye on the Master's presence. He didn't seem like he was panicked, but he was sure something was wrong.
The Master wasn't paying attention to anything. He'd found a park bench to sit on, and at some point a stray cat had decided it wanted his attention. He scratched her ears absently. His anger had morphed to melancholy, though he'd never admit it.
"I don't understand why he needs a pet." He told the cat. "Aren't I better than a pet?"
"I know, but I thought... he understood."
The cat said nothing.
"Oh, shut up, it's not like that. I'm not being melodramatic!"
"Right, like you're not. You said you were dying when you first came up."
"Meow." The cat seemed smug.
"No, I never believed it for a second."
The cat purred.
"Fleabag." She raised her head, and he made sure to scratch under her chin.
The lights were fading quickly now, and as the sun set, the night was lit up by rather dim street lamps. Then the sun was down completely and the house lights gradually blinked on until the night was lit up. It was rather beautiful in its own way. Not particularly impressive, but the Master could see why the Doctor liked it.
That reminded him of his own dismissal, and suddenly the bright lights made him feel cold.
He stood up. The cat mewed questioningly. The Master ignored her and kept walking. He wasn't quite sure where he was going but he kept the same direction. The last thing he wanted to do was run into the Doctor and his new companion.
The park was empty now that the sun had gone down, and that pleased the Master just fine. When three men turned onto the path in front of him he thought nothing of it. When five joined up behind them he narrowed his eyes and stopped. He considered turning and running back down the path. He considered ducking off the path and getting lost between the trees.
He did neither.
The Master was angry, and he was itching to take it out on someone. If these apes wanted a fight, he would give them one.
The men must have known he'd made them, but they kept their walk casual until they were a few feet away. They were wearing plain black suits, nothing flashy, nothing that would draw attention. One man smiled at him. "I have an invitation from my employer. He'd like for you to come with us and have a look at a project he's working on."
"No, I don't think so."
The man smiled. "I'm afraid you really don't have a choice in the matter. Boys?"
The seven men stepped around him and closed the distance between them and the Master. The Master didn't give them the opportunity to strike first. The second they were in range the Master grabbed the firsts collar and jerked his head down to collide with his knee.
He went for a killing blow and hesitated. His mind brought up the Doctor, and even though the Master was mad at him, this type of revenge seemed to be taking it a little too far. At least for now. Once it was clearly obvious that the Doctor was fully to blame, he'd go slaughter all of London.
A blow from behind knocked him to his knees and suddenly the Master was back in the fight.
He caught himself, scrapping his palms profusely, and used his knew position to knock another man off his feet. He was on him in seconds and smashed his head into the ground, knocking him unconscious.
A foot caught him in the stomach, kicking him off the man. He felt a rib crack. He shut down the pain receptor and jumped to his feet, dodging the fist that had come to finish the break. He grabbed the mans wrist and forced him to keep moving forward. When he was close enough the Master caught him hard in the ribs, grinning at the satisfying crunch as the bones gave under his fist.
The Master didn't think as he moved. He lashed out at whoever was closest, sometimes using his fists, other times his nails to inflict pain. When he had the drums fighting had always come easily, but with them gone he found himself growing tired.
Something dropped over his head, and then an arm wrapped around his neck, dragging him back and cutting off his air. The Master's hands automatically scrambled for the man's arm, but they didn't find any purchase.
The man tightened his hold and used his superior height to drag the Master up on his toes.
The Master snarled and threw hatred at his mind.
The man grunted and pulled him tighter.
The Master was confused. He reached out. And found he couldn't. Something was blocking him, keeping him firmly within his mind.
The three remaining gathered round, panting.
"Little fucker cut me!" One of the man swore, holding his bleeding hand tightly.
The Master tried to speak, but it came out as a chocked grumble. He settled for kicking the man quite firmly in the stomach, and once again in the chin before the man who had him dragged him back.
"Christ, he's annoying. Are you sure you're doing it right? He should be out by now."
The Master tried to laugh, though the sound was cut off. His bypass hadn't even kicked in yet. He could do this all day.
"Bastards making us late." The second muttered.
The third grinned and walked out of the Master's line of sight. The Master struggled in earnest; he wanted to see. The man holding him chuckled. "Ready?"
That probably wasn't good.
He was thrown down. Before he could get to his feet under him something cracked him hard in the head, sprawling him on his front. Black spots danced in front of his eyes.
"Who is this guy?"
"Hit him again!"
This wouldn't even be happening if I'd just killed them.
They hit him again, and he was out.
The Master woke up. He kept his eyes closed, his breathing even, and didn't budge his head from where it rested against his chest.
He couldn't tell if there was anyone in the room with him. Being unable to reach out was strange. It was as though a limb had been removed.
Something heavy hung around his neck. His first thought was that it was a collar. He dismissed the thought within seconds. The Master had worn his fair share of them, and this was definitely not one. It was more like a necklace, and a rather heavy one at that. It didn't take a great leap to realize that this was probably what was caging his mind.
His body was slowly coming back to him.
There was a dried blood matting his hair. It still felt mildly tacky, which meant he hadn't been unconscious long enough for it to dry completely.
There was something in his mouth. It tasted disgustingly metallic, and the Master had to consciously suppress his gag reflex.
His tongue moved across it. It was smooth, and while it was in his mouth, it was not holding his jaw open like a ball gag would. He could feel where it pressed against his lips, and where it rested as it wrapped around his jaw to meet at the back of his head.
The Master's hands twitched, and for the first time he realized he was restrained.
He was sitting upright, his wrists were strapped to the chairs arms, and his legs were secured tightly as well. He could feel something around his chest, which made his ribs ache in time with his breathing.
All things considered, he wasn't particularly worried. This was not the first time he'd woken up in such a position.
He'd learned all he could with his eyes closed, and he was ready to get on with things. He lifted his head and opened his eyes.
The man in front of him looked positively gleeful. His back was towards the Master, but he was dancing between a series of consuls, his white lab coat twisting around his legs. The Master looked up, and was a bit distracted by the enormous machine that seemed to be built around the chair. Large metal arms are positioned in thirds around him, with a matching set just behind. The Master's mind worked out the mechanics of it while his eyes sought out the crucial components. It was a generator, that much was certain. He couldn't tell what it generated though.
For the first time since his capture the Master felt a little concerned. He'd built his fair share of doomsday devices, and he could say without question that this was one. And moreover, that it was currently focused on him. He tugged at his arms, but the chair held fast.
He did not have that strong a self preservation instinct, but even he knew that this was not good.
A few of the men the Master encountered in the park walked into view. They scowled at him from across the room.
"Where are the others?" The man in the white coat asked.
"Your boy over there put them in the hospital."
"Well I'm sure it was an accident, you must not have explained what we were doing well enough." He turned to look at the Master, and his face split into a huge grin. "Ah! You're awake!" He abandoned the consul and jumped onto the platform with the Master. The man from the park turned and walked out of sight.
"You must be wondering where you are! Oh, where are my manors? I'm Vincent Kelley, and you are just about the most interesting person I think I've ever met." He reached out a hand and pet the Master's face.
The Master recoiled. With the exception of the Doctor he didn't care for people touching him. Especially not apes who kidnapped him.
Vincent giggled and pulled the Master's face back, both hands smoothing over his cheeks and up into his hair, carding through it curiously. "You know, it is very rude not to return an introduction."
The Master glowered.
"Ah, right." Vincent touched the gag. "Sorry 'bout this. We didn't use one the first few times, but it got a bit loud, and I can't have you making too much noise."
The Master arched an eyebrow.
"I know, I know, but... well, you'll see. And afterward I'm sure you'll agree."
That did not sound particularly promising.
Vincent hummed and sat down in the Master's lap. "You're the prettiest we've had by far." He turned the Master's face in his hands. His fingers traced over the Master's lips, thinned by the gag, and the Master didn't miss the way he licked his lips. When he finally looked in the Master's eyes, the Master tried to look as menacing as possible, though it was rather difficult in his current position. Vincent didn't seem to notice. He just kept running his hands along the Master's skin, dipping his fingers below the collar of his shirt, tugging at his hair.
"You are very beautiful, but this," Vincent pulled a square metal device from his suit pocket, "tells me you are so very old."
The Master scowled at the device. It was the same he'd seen pointed at him this morning.
"You're older than anything I've ever seen. And yet so beautiful. Perfect, really. And you're just oozing energy. Maybe that's why you looks so young. The weird thing is your energy was just leaking into your surroundings! It hung all around you, it was so easy to detect! I had the boys throw this together before they met with you." He fingered the necklace. "It's making your energy stay within your body. It'll make it easier to access. Now imagine if I could not only access, but harness that! If we could all stay young forever!"
He cast a hand above them. The Master refused to look. "That's what this is! I've designed it to harness energy and use it to generate youth. You want that, don't you? To save the human race? It'll come at a price of course, but imagine the possibilities! And really, in the face of that, your sacrifice is almost noble, don't you think?" His hands returned to their tasks, one scratching at the base of the Master's skull, the other unbuttoning the top of the Master's suit and slipping inside. The Master forced himself to remain still and not try to squirm out of the way.
"Of course, we're going to have to work together for this to work. The machine needs to calibrate to your specific energy field, or else you'll just, well... burn up, really. Just like the last one."
There was a loud creak and a slam. Heavy footsteps echoed around them, and then a group of men the Master didn't recognize walked into view. He was annoyed. That made escaping trickier. Who knew how many guards had remained outside his view.
The men walked to the consuls, and slowly the machine started to hum. He noticed they all gave the machine a wide berth. He'd hoped Vincent would get up and join them, but he took no notice of them.
"I've tried old men. It didn't work, they just turned to dust. I tried young men, once an infant just born. That's why we use the gag now, you see. You wouldn't believe the screaming. It killed them too. It took longer, but the end result was the same. You though." Vincent tipped the Master's face up and kissed the gag, licking at what he could of the Master's lips. The Master wanted to bite him. "I think you'll do nicely."
The hum was louder now, but Vincent remained with him for another twenty minutes before he sighed and stood up. "Show time, I guess." He kissed the Master's forehead and stepped down. "Do me proud."
He grabbed a pair of dark goggles, and shooed away the man standing at the main consul.
The hum increased dramatically, and the outer arms started spinning. Lights were coming on inside until the Master had to close his eyes to keep from being blinded.
"Now, you're going to feel a slight pinch!" Vincent shouted over the noise.
There was a loud click, the arms raced so fast they created the illusion of a solid wall, and then electricity shot up the Master's spine.
The Master couldn't make a sound.
"This is just a test run!"
The Master's fists were clenched, his finger nails digging into his already skinned palms.
"A calibration really! We've done all the calculations, but without dissecting you I can't really be more precise without just, ah, guessing as it were. So I'm sorry, but this is going to hurt a bit before we get it right!"
There was a low hum that was building in intensity, gradually growing louder until the Master could feel it resonating in his fingers.
Then it slammed through him.
The Master screamed around the gag. It felt as though every cell in his body was twisting and bending in time with the pulsing light that now whited out his vision. It felt like being taken apart at a molecular level.
He fought it with everything he had. He bit down hard on the metal in his mouth, shut his eyes, and tried to hold himself together.
Just when he felt he couldn't hold on any longer the hum began to lessen. The light faded, leaving behind dark spots in his vision, and the arms began to slow.
There was movement through the arms of the machines, and he could just make out Vincent shouting commands. Then the voltage increased, and a muffled screamed tore through him, shredding his defenses and leaving his muscles alternately tensing and spasming in its wake.
It was a gift when he finally lost consciousness.
The Doctor was starting to feel impatient when they finally reached Mary's house on the edge of town. He wanted to go back and find the Master, who now felt very far away.
The Doctor snapped back to Mary, a large smile automatically covering his face. "Ah. Yes. Of course, where were we?"
He followed her through every room of her house. He questioned the people who worked within and the neighbors, generally looking for anything unusual. He knew they were on the right track. There was something so very wrong with everything, he just needed to figure out where the epicenter was.
He was so busy searching that he didn't notice the sun go down.
When he finally looked up the sky was black and the twinkling of lights lit up the night. He frowned. He was supposed to be looking at this with the Master by his side. He must be feeling so betrayed. It was so hard to remember to keep that in mind. The Master had spent so much time alone that now he viewed everything in the worst possible light. Everything was a slight.
He saw the Master's face before Mary had dragged him off. And...
How had he missed that? Something had happened, something he hadn't seen. He needed to find the Master now. His hand was on the door.
"I'm sorry, I need to –"
The lights flickered and went out.
Mary scoffed. "I know we payed the bill, but they are always doing that! Bloody useless."
The Doctor opened the door and watched as every house's lights flickered and went out. That was it. The Doctor raced out the door and into the night with Mary close behind him. "Where are we going?"
"Where there's still power!"
They raced past dark windows, but the Doctor could still see light ahead. They dodged cars and went around corners until finally they arrived at a huge manor. It was the only place left with power.
The Doctor pointed his sonic at the gates and then pushed them open.
"You can't go in there!" Mary hissed before following.
"Vincent Kelly lives here! He's the richest man I've ever heard of, and if he catches us..."
They arrived at the front door. Like the gate it was locked, and like the gate the Doctor got through it. "As a general rule, if you're looking for where the bad guy is, try behind the locked doors in the places you shouldn't go."
He opened the door silently and they slipped inside. While all the lights were on, the main floor was empty. He didn't want a fight, but he had to admit he was expecting one. Guards are the second indicator that you're going the right way. Find them and you're nearly there. So where would they be?
"What do we do now?" Mary asked.
"Shh." The Doctor said. "Hear that?"
"That... humming." The Doctor could feel it in the floor.
The lights flared bright and then cut out.
The Doctor knew what he was looking for, and he found it. A large metal door hidden behind a hanging tapestry. He used his sonic to unlock it and opened it soundlessly. They stepped through and hurried down the stairs.
Now that they were heading down the setting began to change, and the Doctor had admit, that was a bit worrisome. The technology was all out of place. This was far more advanced than it should have been.
It was still dark and they hadn't been spotted, but they needed to cover a lot of ground to get to the bottom of the stairs before the lights came on and all without being heard. He couldn't see the guards, but everything else was present, there was no doubt in his mind that they would be there.
He took Mary's hand and dragged her down as fast as they could go.
The lights didn't come back on all at once, but a definite glow was beginning to leak into the room, and the Doctor could see that he was right; there were at least a dozen people below them.
They still had one more level to work down, but they still hadn't been spotted. They were helped by everyone focusing on the machine that dominated the room. The machine was bad. Whenever there was a machine something bad always followed.
The brighter the lights became the more the people raced around, checking what looked like rudimentary computers as they came on, and checking printed feed outs.
"Did we get the data?"
"Yes, but it still didn't work, something's missing."
"Did it cause that surge at the end?"
"No, we thought increasing the power might correct the catalyst but the system couldn't maintain it."
"Why would you think increasing it would help?"
"It's really the only variable we haven't explored due to, well, obvious limitations. He's already proved that his body can handle the current –"
"By what, not bursting into flame?"
The lights came up. The Doctor put on an extra burst of speed.
"Yes, of course, what else?"
The people gathered around one machine, looking intently at the screen.
"So all we need to do is figure out how to maintain the current at the correct level and it should work."
They made it to the bottom. The Doctor darted behind a machine, and Mary collapsed against his chest, breathing hard. "Did you hear that? He's alive!" She whispered.
The Doctor frowned. He wasn't entirely sure that this "body" was going to mean her brother specifically. If what they were talking about meant what he thought it did, and the black outs happened as frequently as Mary described, there was every chance her brother had died in an earlier test.
While Mary tried to peak around the metal siding of the machine they were hiding behind, the Doctor's eyes searched out the cage he was sure would be holding potential victims. He found it rather quickly, possibly only because he knew what to look for. From this angle he couldn't tell if there was anyone in it.
A man in a long white lab coat jumped onto the platform with the machine, and the Doctor's attention was dragged back. Considering everything, the man was most likely Vincent Kelly. He doubted the owner of something as lavish as this manor and everything therein was likely to play second fiddle to anyone else.
He moved within and was obscured by a metal fixture. "See? That wasn't so bad, was it?"
Vincent turned and jumped back down. "Excellent job on the gag, by the way. I didn't hear a thing."
The man smiled and pushed up his glasses. "He also didn't bite his tongue off."
"Ah! A plus!"
"Well, yes," the Doctor said, stepping out. "That is good, considering that would have killed him too. Nasty thing to bite off, you know. Drown you in blood, that."
Guns were trained on him now, but that was hardly new.
"Nice machine you've got here. A little advanced for your time though." He slowly and calmly slowed closer, admiring the machine as he moved.
"Who are you?" Vincent asked.
"Me? I'm the Doctor! And you are Vincent Kelly, our resident rich person. I've heard a great deal about you. Interesting stuff. Now where did you get this?"
There is almost a glazed look of confusion on Vincent's face before he merely accepts it, blinked, and moves on. It's clear no matter what he may be doing that he is not afraid of reprisal, whether this was because he found himself above such things or because he truly felt he was doing no wrong, the Doctor has yet to determine.
Vincent turned to his machine. "It came to me in a dream. All these lights and wires and silver... I didn't understand it, but the dream kept coming and eventually I found a man who helped make the dream a reality."
The Doctor loved it when the bad guy started to monolog. They always got a little too absorbed, and failed to notice anything else. He started to edge closer to the machine.
The guards didn't seem to know what to do, but the Doctor wasn't trying to touch their boss, and their boss didn't seem to mind, in fact it seemed he was encouraging inspection of the machine. They kept their guns trailed in his general direction, but no one tried to stop him.
The Doctor ran his hands over various terminals as he passed them, interjecting an "oh, ah, yes, very nice thing you've done here," as he passed. In truth he could care less about what he passed. Just one glance let him know the machine would never actually work. At least, not without a serious overhaul, and even then it would be iffy.
When he reached the platform a guard finally moved to stop him.
"No, let him look!" Vincent said cheerfully. "I welcome new ideas! You see, Doctor, we need to find a way to stabilize it."
"Oh," the Doctor said carefully, "You're having trouble stabilizing it. That just so happens to be my specialty. Let me have a look."
He stepped up onto the platform and his blood went cold.
The Master was unconscious, his head lolling on his chest. The Doctor couldn't feel the familiar press of his mind, and from this angle he couldn't even tell if his chest was rising.
In two large strides he was across the room and kneeling in front of the chair, cradling the Master's face in one hand, the other trailing to his throat to feel for a pulse.
Vincent stepped up behind him. "Ah! You see the genius of it! It's perfect really, this is the first time anyone has lived past calibration! Think of what his cell structure must be like, oh, it gives me chills!"
The Doctor pressed his hand to the Master's chest and felt shallow uneven breathing.
Vincent casually walked around behind the Master and gripped his hair, using it to draw up his head and show off the gag. "And isn't he lovely? It is a shame about the gag, but one of the first younger men we tried nearly brought the roof down! It was just plain luck no one heard him, so we've been using this ever since."
The Doctor was beginning to shake with anger. Vincent didn't seem to notice.
Vincent touched the necklace. "This was a stroke of genius, it compresses a person's energy, giving the machine better access and utilizing everything! Nothing is wasted!"
"So what happens to him?" The Doctor's voice was like thinly veiled steel.
"Him? Oh, I don't know. The machine is utilizing him to function at the moment, but once we find the perfect equilibrium and it runs on its own, I think the power itself will keep him alive. Once it stops theoretically that would mean he'd die. But this is science. We'll find it eventually. And once it works people would be able to come and charge up! The energy would keep them perfect forever."
"And what gives you the right to take his life away?"
Vincent grinned. "It's all for the greater good. I'm sure if he was fully capable of understanding he'd agree."
"Is that what happened to my brother?" Mary shouted, stepping up behind them.
Vincent began his justifications, but the Doctor wasn't listening. All he could hear was the very subtle beat of the Master's hearts. It was far weaker than it should have been, and the absence of his mind ached.
The Doctor stood up in one swift move, and raised his sonic screwdriver over his head. The machine cracked loudly, spraying sparks all around them. A series of explosions raced up the body, and then the frame work was coming down.
The guards scattered to avoid getting caught by the falling metal derbies. "No!" Vincent shouted.
The Doctor ignored them. Amid the fire and destruction he used his sonic to unlock the metal restraints holding the Master to the chair, and scooped him up. He ignored the tendril of fear when he received no response
Mary was at the cage, and a young man that was clearly her brother was clinging to the bars. The Doctor unlocked the door, and stood back as two young men and three young women raced out. The Doctor strode from the room, and up the stairs, leaving the room to burn.
Oddly enough, outside it was raining. He supposed that it was rather fitting.
Mary and her brother were waiting for him. The Doctor felt guilty at the sight of them. For a moment he'd forgotten all about them.
The Master lay limp in his arms as they walked, and the Doctor was growing more concerned with each step. He didn't want to stop – he wanted to keep going until he found the TARDIS and they traveled far away from this place, but he couldn't. He was too concerned. He needed reassurance.
He ducked into an alley with a metal overhang blocking the rain, propping the Master up, pulling him tightly to his chest.
Mary and her brother peered at him curiously, her brother especially. Like the Doctor, he couldn't quite believe the Master was alive either. They kept their distance, though. The Doctor can tell that they're afraid of him now, but he's having a hard time finding it in him to care. Not while the Master look like this. All he can do is watch the water still running down his face to his collar.
That grabbed his attention. The ugly piece of metal hanging off his neck. He ripped the necklace off.
His first impulse was to throw it as far as he could, but reason chimed in, and he stopped at the last second. He didn't want anyone else finding it. He settled for tucking it deep into his jacket pocket.
He could feel the Master now. It was faint, but he was there.
Mary leaned in close, and the Doctor struggled not to tense up and pull the Master away.
She hesitated briefly, clearly not missing it, and then kept moving, touching the metal still wrapped around his face. The Doctor felt a brief flash of guilt. He'd been so preoccupied with escaping that he'd forgotten all about it. Mary followed the metal to where it sat heavy behind the Master's head, quickly undoing the clasp and pulling it out of his mouth. She gently pressed his chin up. "He means a lot to you."
The Doctor nodded.
Mary smiled and took her brother's hand. Together they sat in the rain and waited.
The rain had nearly stopped when the Doctor felt the Master stir.
He tightened his grip. He'd been sleeping next to the Master with extreme regularity now, so he fully expected it when the Master jerked out of his arms with a gasp. He knew exactly how to pull him back, smoothing over his mind, and whispering softly in his ear. The Master may not like to admit that he found it soothing, but the Doctor could see that he did.
Mary and her brother on the other hand, were completely startled after sitting in silence for so long.
The Master fought the Doctor for a moment before he realized where he was and who he was with. The Doctor wasn't sure why the Master seemed surprised to see him. Then his eyes darted to Mary and his face closed off. He pulled out of the Doctor's arms.
This time when the Doctor tried to pull him back, the Master didn't come willingly. In fact quite the opposite, he began to struggle in earnest.
Normally the Doctor would let him go. Let him put distance between them, if only because restraining the Master never worked, but this time... the Doctor had been terrified of losing him. He pulled the Master back, hard and fast and buried his face in the Master's neck, breathing in the sent of wet skin, tangling his fingers in his hair. While he could feel the Master fight, he was in the wrong position. He couldn't get the leverage to break the Doctor's hold. The Doctor could tell Mary didn't understand, but he's past caring.
"Let go," the Master said. He winced when his voice cracked, embarrassed by the sound. He tried to pull away again. "Damn you, let me go."
The Doctor pulled the Master in tighter, his mind wrapping around his as closely as possible. He tried to mesh their minds together, but the Master slammed his shields up and tried to shy away.
He had an idea, but the Master could be a confusing person. He needed to know for sure. "Please tell me what's wrong?"
The Master scowled at Mary, and the Doctor had to wonder if it was truly as simple as embarrassment over being seen in such a state by humans.
But no, that really didn't make any sense. It had to be something else.
The Master elbowed him sharply and tried to leave his embrace again.
The Doctor pulled him back and ran down his list of frequent triggers.
Had the machine made some kind of rhythmic noise? No. Did he just not want help? Possibly. Probably in fact, but he usually shouted about that sort of thing. Jealousy? It was a ridiculous notion really. What did he have to be jealous of? His mind summoned the first time they'd met Mary. The first time he'd noticed something was wrong. He focused on the Master's face for the fraction of a second when he'd seen her. He'd looked so defeated. Then he'd closed off.
The Master was growling now, insulting him surely, but he wasn't really hearing it. He grabbed the Master's chin and kissed him. The Master fought as he always did, but it was one of the many things the Doctor loved about him.
"So...we'll just be going. Thank you, Doctor. So much." Mary stood up, tugging her brother up behind her, and waved. The Doctor smiled. She'd been fantastic.
She turned the corner, and the Master bit him. "Aren't you going to go after your pet?" He growled.
The Doctor attacked the Master a bit more brutally. He didn't stop until he coaxed a whimper from the Master's abused throat. "Let's go home." He stood up, keeping the Master firmly in the circle of his arms.
"I don't need your help!"
Ah, there it was. The Doctor smiled. "No, but I want to."
The Doctor stepped out onto the planet, pulling off his sunglasses with a content smile. The Master stepped out behind him, scowling. The Doctor grabbed his hand before he could get far.
"The first rule is generally 'Don't Wander Off,' but I think I need a new one for you. How about... 'Rule One: Don't Get Kidnapped.' Sound good?"
The Master rolled his eyes. "It's not like it happens all the time."
"Yes it does. All the time."
The Master tried to frown disapprovingly, but it turned into a fond smile. "Lies and slander."
"You love it."