The Doctor attempts to stand, but the Master gives him a swift kick, so he falls backwards. His bones ache. He's been that age in that wrinkled, miserable body for nearly three months now. It almost feels like it's how he should be. Old and falling apart.
"Do you know what I found?" the Master's face is split in two by, quite possibly, the most enormous grin the Doctor has ever seen him wear. Terror shoots through his hearts.
"I can't imagine," he replies as nonchalantly as he can make himself sound, "Enlighten me."
The Master grabs a hold of a laptop and turns it to face the Doctor. A MySpace page appears. Martha's MySpace, he remembered her writing in it on occasion. He also remembered telling her that it was silly to write in there, because no one would believe her, anyway. Of course, she didn't listen.
"Did you know," the Master grins, "How incredibly enamored of you she was? Well, is, I suppose. There are rumors that this Martha Jones is still wandering around on that little planet somewhere."
The Doctor glares at him. This man, this man he once knew, once considered a friend. In many ways, he hates him, especially for how he shames Martha. Mocking her, smearing her name in his broadcasts. He wouldn’t be surprised if the Master has gone so far as to change her interests on her MySpace page to silly things for no other reason than to say he did.
The Master points to several specific lines in her page, "You're not on her top 8. Maybe she doesn't love you that much."
"I never got into MySpace." The Doctor replies with a little sigh, "Is this going somewhere, or are we going to blog for a few hours?"
"Did you love her back, Doctor?" the Master asks suddenly, and his voice is so utterly sincere in its curiosity that he can almost believe that Koschei is asking Theta Sigma about a girl in class, rather than the Master demanding an answer from his prisoner the Doctor.
The Doctor doesn't really have to think about it to know the answer. Absence has made his hearts grow fonder, and he knows now that the feelings he had for her before have strengthened. He misses her. Misses her so deeply. His friend, his companion---of course he loved her. It was impossible for him not to.
He can only hope she lives long enough for him to say that he does.
"Leave her alone," he says, and apparently that is answer enough for the Master. He waves to the guards, who push a slim woman into the room.
The Doctor is startled, at first. The dark complexion, long dark hair, and the black pants and red leather jacket, they all look like Martha, at first. A second glance and he realizes it's not. It's Tish. Latisha Jones, her sister. He's seen her before, when she was brought before the Master for questioning, but he's never seen her dressed like this.
"Do you like the outfit, Doctor? Familiar? One of my men found it in the remains of a retail outlet. Martha Jones has good taste." He glances at Tish. "Why don't you have nice clothes like that? All business suits and boring high heels."
Tish doesn't look up, not even as she's led to the front of the table, to stand near the Doctor. Whatever the Doctor doesn't understand about this situation she must know, because she looks so…resigned. So afraid, too. A bruise darkens her right cheek, and the Doctor doesn't have to look across the room where the Master's wife sits to know it mirrors Lucy's bruises. A dark circle, the same shape as the Master's ring.
Every bruise he sees on one of his beloved humans makes the Doctor hate the Master just a little more.
"What's this about, Master?" He looks away from Tish, her defeated expression more penetrating than any of Francine's glares.
The Master drops into a chair, as if watching a show. "Well, I figure it's been three months. You must miss Martha very much. And if you do love her---as I suspect you do, you've always been such a sap---well, a replacement for her would be good."
The Doctor looks to Tish again as the Master continues, "And Tish here, well, she's never been very good with holding onto a boyfriend, have you, Tish? You must be awfully lonely. I thought you two could get acquainted."
"In the way you make your wife get acquainted with your masseuses?" the Doctor's voice is sarcastic, but the Master's is not.
"Yes, exactly." The Master pulls out his screwdriver and fiddles about with it. "Perfect sort of Sunday night show. Besides, of all the things we've done together, Doctor, I don't think I've ever seen how you have sex! It'll be fun! I can learn so much about you." He grins. "So go on. Give her a kiss. You kissed Martha once before, didn't you?"
The Doctor stands apart from Tish and doesn't move towards her. "You can't be serious---"
"I've already spoken to Tish about it," the Master says, and he twists his ring with a finger. Tish recoils into herself further.
"'Spoken' with your fist, then, Master?" the Doctor lets out a disgusted sigh, "Brute violence and forced sex. And you used to be such a classy enemy, too. What happened? Or are there just not enough children's shows in the world for you to watch, you have to create your own entertainment?"
"All television signals have been blocked by the network," the Master replies, matter-of-factly. The laser screwdriver is pointed at Tish. "She won't be as easy to kiss if she loses the ability to use her legs, Doctor."
It's Tish who moves first. She straightens her head and steps towards him, sliding her arms around his waist. She's painfully shy in her actions, and the Doctor can't quite make himself react back.
"It's rude to reject such a pretty lady, Doctor." The screwdriver goes off, and hits the conference table right behind Tish. She jumps, and cries out in alarm. Her arms pull away from the Doctor's waist and leap around his neck as she kisses him.
It's quite possibly the most unpleasant kiss he's ever had. She's terrified, he's angry, and the Master is giggling in the corner at the two of them. His teeth cut into her lip, and she's entirely too tall to be kissing him, and she's not the woman he wants to be kissing anyway. He thinks he should make this more pleasant for Tish's sake, should kiss her back in some way, but he can't make himself do it. Tish deserves better than that.
Martha deserves better than that. And, in the end, this is all about Martha---the victim that got away from the Master.
"Now, Tish, hop up on the table there and straddle the Doctor's hips. He's skinny, so I'm sure you'll be able to fit those two tree trunks around him."
She breaks the kiss, and looks up at the Doctor imploringly. She wants him to save her. To not do what the Master wants but to not let her die, either. While she looks at him, she complies, sliding up onto the conference table. Her hands sit to either side of her and she waits---either to be shagged by a man, an alien, that she doesn't know, or to die at the end of that laser screwdriver.
"I know you're older than Martha, Tish, but tell me, will this be your first time?" the Master asks, leaning forward and chuckling, "The Doctor, here, he was quite the ladies' man back when he was at the Academy. Do you remember that, Doctor?"
The Doctor clenches his jaw, but that only seems to fuel the Master's amusement. This is all a game. A funny funny game that he gets to watch. The Doctor has never considered himself a violent man, but in this moment, he wants to punch that grin off of the Master's face.
"Oh!" The Master bounces from his seat and grabs one of the cameras still left from the original attack. "This is something I think that everyone should watch, don't you? It's still primetime, so we'll keep it just within the building, does that sound all right? Oh, even better, we can just have it stream into the telly in your mother's cell, Tish."
Tish cries out at that, "No! I'm doing what you want! Why are you doing this?!"
"No, Latisha," the Master growls, his happy demeanor gone for a violently angry one, "Why are you doing this? Submitting so easily? You're trying to stay alive, so you're going to do what I tell you." And again for a happy, smiley Master. "It's what your mother would want. Now, Doctor. Get undressed, would you? Playing the self-righteous one probably means you're a bit out of practice, right? The whole situation doesn't work so well if you're just going to stand there."
The Doctor looks to Tish, then over to the cameras. Poor Francine. Lost one daughter, and she was probably already informed what the Master wants done to this one, as well.
"No." The Doctor says, "I'm not…no. Tish doesn't deserve this. None of them do. Leave them alone."
"Oh, fine. You don't have to undress if you're that nervous. Just unzip." The Master smiles again. The Doctor swears he can smell brimstone and hear the cries of Hell in the Master's smile.
"I'm not doing this," the Doctor shakes his head, "This is your equivalent of what? Rape? Do you honestly think I'm going to do that?"
The Master rolls his eyes, "Oh, don't be so melodramatic. It's just her sexuality. Humans flaunt their sex like it's nothing. Mini-skirts and tight pants and overly high high heels. They want to be used."
"She doesn't want it," the Doctor says, "And, no offense, Tish, I don't really want you either, so I'm not going to."
A very small smile appears on Tish's face, but is erased instantly by the booming voice of the Master.
He puts a hand to his ear, "I'm sorry, was that you defying me? Do you want her to die? You do, don't you? You want her to die. I can do that." The laser screwdriver is out again, and pointed at Tish, whose hands go up in surrender.
"Then do what I say," the Master growls, "Obey me. Show me your complete submission by sleeping with your companion's innocent older sister. Or I'll kill her, and you can explain that to the darling Martha."
"You kill her, and I'll…" the Doctor swallows, but raises his jaw, "I'll die."
The Master rolls his eyes, "Don't be stupid."
"I mean it." The Doctor straightens. "I'll refuse to regenerate."
The Master looks at him in horror, followed by disbelief, "That's not possible."
"You know it is, Master," the Doctor replies, "You've seen it done before, just as I have. You kill her, and you had better take extra good care of me, because I'll die if you break me. Just be dead."
His old enemy laughs. It's a bubbly, maniacal, and entirely false-sounding laugh. The Doctor has used the same laugh before, when faced with things he did not want to happen.
"What makes you think I want you to live, hmm?" The Master points that laser screwdriver at the Doctor, and his face contorts into anger when he doesn't react. "You're my enemy! Mortal enemy, Doctor! What makes you think I want you for any longer than I need?"
"Because I remember the way you were, Master," the Doctor all but spits his reply, "'A cosmos without the Doctor scarcely bares thinking about'---you need me. You kill her, and you lose your toy. And in the end, you have the universe, but no one to show off what you've done to."
The Master's grip on the screwdriver tightens. He twists it in-air, then points it at Tish. Her hand tightens in the Doctor's. She's so afraid. So fragile and so afraid.
"You die for one of them, you leave the rest of them alone," he says. His voice sounds almost victorious as he continues, "You only get one, Doctor."
The Doctor straightens. Tish cowers. He thinks about Jack, the man he abandoned. He thinks about Francine, no doubt screaming at whatever monitor she was chained to look at. And Martha. Martha, out there somewhere. Out there somewhere for him.
The Master's trigger finger twitches.
"Leave her alone," the Doctor demands.
The Master growls, "Is she the one you want?"
"I won't regenerate!"
"You only get one!"
"Leave her alone!"
"Is she the one that you want?"
"Yes!" the Doctor cries out, "Yes, she's the one I want, leave her alone!"
The Master's hand turns, then turns back to the Doctor. He flips the switch. The Doctor ages. Older and older and---his body flails and aches and hurts and it's as if he's living a hundred thousand years in the seconds before he crumples back to the ground, an old man.
Tish drops next to him, looking every bit the part of Martha she was supposed to play as her hand takes his.
"Guards, take Jack, bring him to the laboratory, we're going to see how long it takes for all his limbs to grow back once I've cut them off. Multiple tests should be good, I think." The Master grins down at the Doctor, and the Doctor stares back up at him.
Tish is pulled roughly away.
"Get her into a maid's outfit, her and her mother," the Master says, "Minorities, aren't they? Yes, they belong in the work force."
He leans down to the Doctor, "And you. Loyal and true and sweet. Like…a poodle." He gives the old man a kick. "You're my dog now, Doctor. I like that you've learned how to beg. It's becoming."
The Master leaves the Doctor on the floor, a broken old man who still just barely manages to hold onto his moral high ground.
An hour later, Francine comes in, dressed in the most uncomfortable looking of maid's outfits, instructed to give him his food in a doggie dish.
She gently places the food before him. "Martha was right about you," she says.
"She's right about a lot of things." The Doctor attempts a smile, but his aged face hurts too much to manage it.
"I'm sorry," Francine says, her voice on the edge of breaking, "And I'll make up for this. All of this, Doctor. Somehow." She stands, quickly, and rushes from the room.
He's not an Oncoming Storm. Rather, he's become a slow, oncoming tide. The Master will drown in the loyalty the Doctor has earned this last year.
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 2,511