eloriekam: (Doctor (Ten) Ood by jordansavas)
[personal profile] eloriekam
Title: Whispers from a Black Hole: Pain
Author: [personal profile] eloriekam/[livejournal.com profile] eloriekam
Rating: Teen
Characters: Ten, Martha, Jack, Master (Jacobi, Simm)
Disclaimer: I don't own the Doctor or the other characters, but like many fanfic writers, that doesn't keep me from returning them rather beat up.
Summary: He misses, and sees, and they spar again on the plains that no longer exist.
Word Count: 2175
Author's Notes: Some dialogue reproduced from Utopia. I wrote this about 18 months ago, which might be the longest I've let a completed fic sit around! Part of an idea originated in this fic.


"More and more... as though they're getting closer..."

He rather felt trapped between pulsars, here at the end of the universe with Jack and all these terrified, determined humans who wanted to go to Utopia. But this brilliant, gentle genius in front of him...he focused.

A goateed man with mesmerizing eyes stood in front of him and laughed.

Now dressed darkly with a high collar, pressing him back to a walkway. The walkway, turning. More laughter. To take over the universe. Air, below him, and still that laugh, that familiar look, those eyes, so piercing, always, speaking of history.

That was impossible.

He tried to tamp down his senses a little. All that potential, timelines, ending, but Jack's whiplashing revival... no need to wonder any further.

"...No rest for the wicked." Professor Yana stood. He tucked away undignified frazzlement and smiled. Humans. Searching, questing, even at the universe's end.

Jack was working the keypad furiously. Almost done.

Can never hold me here...

Ahahahahahahaha....

A new regeneration, for this war, brand new hard fingers digging into his shoulder.

That part of his brain was empty. As empty as, if he were to address the situation honestly, the universe now.

If proximity to the end of the universe was doing this to him, no wonder the Time Lords had never come here. Not even in the Time War had they quested to universe's end to win.

Martha started going on about a fob watch.

No, no, no. He thought about Joan. "...would anyone here have died?"

No. Just, actually, properly, no.

"Don't be ridiculous."

"Same watch, same writing, same everything." Martha, doctor in training, had had to stand there and listen to him scream.

This time was making him daft. Get the rocket launched, get the humans on their way to Utopia, and leave.

"You might not be the last one!" Jack thought that was good.

"... all of them, they died." It hurt, like the fire and ice and rage Timothy Latimer had called him. Night, storm, heart of the sun, running him through from the inside out.

Tension, winding, coiling, stretching, straining.

"What did he say, Martha?" She hesitated, stammering, flustered. No wonder, but he couldn't think about that now. Another Time Lord. He couldn't. "What did he say?!"

"He...looked at the watch like he could hardly see it." Fear flickered briefly in Martha's eyes. Heart of the sun. Had the boy seen the sun? "Burn with me, Martha..."

He sucked in a breath and tried to calm down. "What about now? Can he see it now?" And which Time Lord could it be? Why were they here? Had Martha's curiosity unwittingly broken the perception filter and unleashed madness on them all?

The TARDIS was back there. The TARDIS, his TARDIS, the last one, lonely ancient orphaned sister of her kind, protector, was in the same room as a Time Lord who had used the chameleon arch and was in possession of the fob watch with the Time Lord consciousness.

This was horrifyingly bad. Consciously or no, the TARDIS wanted other Time Lords. She was meant to have more than one pilot, more than one inhabitant who knew her, knew Time.

Reduce the targets. The clock was counting down anyway. He had to get the humans out of here. Jack was going on about something or other that might possibly be relevant, but he refused to take his focus away from the panel in front of him.

"The Face of Boe... he said..."

Ignition.

Flare, burning, fire... he looked right into the room under the rocket, its glow lighting his face, but hardly saw it.

Spark.

Inrush.

Cascade, glimmer, shouting, whispering, screaming, throb-throb throb-throb, watching the sprung trap, not a polite even humming but this sharp relentless glow, too much after so long a silence, but oh, his brain was made for this, to know a Time Lord whenever, however he saw them, for Gallifrey to cut through and sharply call him, and this was sharp, but another mind that knew Time, knew him, knew Gallifrey, the Time Vortex, twin suns shining on a civilization unimaginably ancient to the two stubborn apes next to him....

The Face of Boe.

"You are not alone."

He deserved to be alone. Killer of his own kind. Oh, he deserved to be alone, but he'd woken up in silence after all that burning, and he didn't want the stillness, wasn't meant for this stillness. Had put a hard shell around the stillness, so the echoing didn't drive him any more mad.

The shell was cracked, so cracked, everything pouring through.

Such a kind face for the renegade who made him look conformist. Two renegades, dueling through space and time, their interlocking dance known to the entire Council, whispered in that high Citadel nestled among mountains lit by two suns.

I... am... the Master. Eyes slitted, plots brewing.

The TARDIS started shouting at him. Timelines bubbled and burst and oh, it hurt, and she had been trapped, was trapped, was about to be trapped for her instincts, Time's creature, born for the winds of the Vortex, who ran free in Time's winds, shivering and coiled and struggling.

Just the three of them, Chantho, and the Futurekind now. He ran.

Like he'd run from the Untempered Schism.

He was bred for it, engineered for it, the product of oh so many generations of Time Lords before him, to want and need Time, and to want and need other Time Lords hum away in his head. It was part of him, like two beating hearts, like his reflexes, like the number of dimensions in which his brain could compute, like that twist to his chromosomes recombining when he died.

Another Time Lord. He was running toward another of his kind. In his mind-expanse, he faced off against a man with a sharpened, deadly foil, interlacing spiked bars on all sides. His feet and hands moved swiftly, and he held the other's weapon-wrist in his free hand, staring in wonder.

"You're alive..."

The other threw back his head and laughed. "So...are you. Or are you, Doctor?"

He couldn't help it. He reached out, interlinked, two hands of two people lacing together, because oh, he wanted that shouting jumble in his head to quiet to order and he wanted the silence to end. No human companion, no companion from anywhere, could answer that need.

"It's been a long time."

"It has, hasn't it?" Lips curled in a smile, and memory jolted him as he clung desperately far above the ground.

Sudden and sharp and agonizing, and he was holding the other's weapon hand, and... oh. Malleable.

"Why?"

"They're coming closer." The appearance shifted, changed to Professor Yana's gentle face, now set in hard lines of madness.

He dropped out of the mindscape, repulsed and recoiling and he wanted, but didn't, and how far had he run as his old friend, best nemesis was tricking and stabbing him?

The Master had his DNA. His first right hand. Oh no no no...

He could feel the scream building, in the part of his brain so long silent and now so painfully awakened. It wasn't conscious on his part, it was urgency, and distress, and it was meant to keep other Time Lords away or bring them in to help, and the buildup hurt almost as much as the Master's mind-foil running him through, because the scream wouldn't help. It was utterly pointless, but it was who he was.

Saving another Time Lord from themselves. Let it not end in burning and death this time. This was the Master. He could help him, if only he could get in.

"Let us in!"

"They're coming!" Poor Martha. She had unleashed so much... but had she?

Finally, they were in the room. Oh, if only he hadn't left the TARDIS open, but this was the Master. He probably would have worked something out, and he was standing there, right there at the door, and they met each other's eyes, and madness and contempt flickered in the other's, and he knew it was unwarranted and dangerous, but he knew the look on his face was no different than if he'd seen an oasis when he hadn't had water for oh so long.

The cruelest mirage. The other Time Lord stepped back, closed the door.

It hurt, oh it hurt, and it felt like the TARDIS was hitting him with a mallet, which he supposed was only fair, but it worried him, because she never did that, not ever, and now his hand wasn't in the room.

"Let me in!" He turned and turned the key, then tried the sonic. He could feel himself screaming, that instinctive alarm for distress or danger, and knew the Master would hear it, pick up the nuance, and laugh. He knew, too, the fire building in the other's cells. This close, it was unmistakeable even though he had shuddered away from any link except simply knowing the Master was there. Time's fire, a potential, almost a narcotic really after so long...

"We're the only ones left! It's just the two of us! Let me in!"

"The Master... reborn..."

The pain scaled unimaginably higher, as if to punish him for being instinctively attracted to the first glimmerings of regeneration. He panted, and gasped, and never mind the pulsars from earlier, this was a million million pulsars, all jabbing out with that deadly blade, and the TARDIS was yanking frantically on their bond, and oh, Jack and Martha were back there by the door, because Jack had hit the lock with his gun so they could get in, which created a bit of a problem with the security of the door once they were inside, but they'd needed to get in at that moment, he'd have to remember to thank Jack for reacting to his urgency, assuming the pain ever stopped, it felt as though all his cells were sparking fire, a sympathetic throb to the inferno unleashed in his TARDIS, oh it hurt....

"Doctor! You'd better think of something!" Looping impossible time back there, and he couldn't look at both of them, couldn't even look at one of them right now, oh, he just wanted to help the Master, be with another Time Lord who hadn't been driven mad by power and war with the Daleks, but he could hear a drumbeat of four distantly, and if that was him, he was in trouble, but it was hopefully the Master, which would mean only one of them was mad and there was still a chance to keep the Master from doing too much damage in time and space with the only remaining TARDIS in the universe.

"...tell you all my plans while you work out a way to stop me. I don't think." Young voice, old madness, same clever, clever mind.

"Hold on," Martha gasped, "I know that voice!"

Something niggled at him when he heard her say that, but another Time Lord, that Time Lord, had just regenerated inside his TARDIS, and oh, this wasn't going to go well, but he had to try.

"I'm asking you, really, properly, just stop, just think!"

"Use my name." Cool, commanding. The title, the name Time Lords carried to everyone else.

"Master...." he poured so much desperation and need into it, channeling the knifing pain of just now. "I'm sorry."

The old nemesis was most definitely not impressed. "Tough!"

If a TARDIS could actually gasp in shock, struggle against shackles not yet born, his was doing so. He knew the Master was taking her into flight.

Sonic screwdriver. Sonic. Not good on a deadlock seal. But the TARDIS coordinate controls weren't deadlock sealed. He raised the sonic and activated a certain setting, bracing himself against the TARDIS as she did the equivalent of grabbing him and shaking him. Owww, ahh, ouch, oh....

So much pain. Wasn't it enough, that the Daleks kept coming back? His own people, well, the only other survivor of his race, had stabbed him in the mindscape, let his regeneration process run amok to the extent that it came dangerously close to setting off the same process in him, refused to listen, and his ship was frightened and angry and not being at all subtle in letting him know.

He winced internally as she snapped the pain down to him as well as he destroyed parts of her console.

"End of the universe! Have fun! Bye-bye!" Yes, the Master's talent for mockery was undiluted and unchanged.

"Stop him!" Martha yelled.

Sorry, Martha, so sorry, I just did all I could...

His only comfort at the TARDIS faded away, moving into the Vortex, was that the pain, still shrieking along every synapse and nerve, was fading. Yet, so was his hope of no longer being the last Time Lord. That pain, that would always run him through ruthlessly. Universal balance. He now bore the pain spread across an entire species, crammed into one physical body and a brain that took in Time, with all its pain.
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