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The Final Game

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Title: The Final Game

Author: x_los 

Rating: NC-17

Pairing: Three/Delgado!Master

Chapter: Part I of III

Summary: In which the Master wins, and the Doctor's attempts to talk his way out of it prove less than successful. Darkfic with consent issues. 

Beta: deborah_judge, which went much like:
Me: How can I kill my purple prose?
Her: mean, how Delgado!Master /talks/?
Me: ...ah.
Her: Yep.





"A criminal strain ran in his blood, which, instead of being modified, was increased and rendered infinitely more dangerous by his extraordinary mental powers. Dark rumours gathered round him..."

--The Final Problem, Arthur Conan Doyle





When he was with the Doctor he did not close his eyes. Not ever. He’d spent enough time over the centuries with his eyes tightly closed, never looking down, imagining that the mouth on him was his mouth, the hands steadying his hips were his hands, to waste the moment when the name he choked when he came was actually the right one. He snapped his hips into that finally willing mouth with his eyes wide open and shuddered through a climax still looking at the Doctor, still mapping him with his hands, with his mind.


When the Doctor pressed his head to the inside of his thigh and nuzzled like an adoring pet, like a kept thing, so deliciously dependent on him, so obviously unable and unwilling to leave, the bliss he felt burned him, and he wished he were already hard again so he could take him, just for that.


He pulled the Doctor up and kissed him brutally, pushed into the other’s slack mouth and needily fucked with his tongue. The Doctor didn’t make a sound either of pleasure or protest because he couldn’t make any sound at all.




Installing himself properly on the throne took roughly a week. He’d kept the Doctor at his side, hoping to wear him down with inclusion, with attrition. The Doctor always thought he knew best how to go about things—and with the exception of the Master himself, he was right. There was no one better qualified to assist Earth’s new ruler, or with more of an interest in making life bearable for Earth’s inhabitants. It was only a matter of time before the Doctor got tired of watching the inefficiency of the Master’s troops, the unnecessary suffering of the humans, and had suggestions of his own.


The Master welcomed the prospect. Ruling a world by oneself with not so much as a single competent, trusted lieutenant was exhausting. And the Doctor fully co-opted would be an able partner. A brilliant consort. He just had to be brought around to see that for himself.


They could be so good for this planet, for the Doctor’s precious humans, the two of them. So the take-over hadn’t been bloodless—within a generation there’d be an end to war and famine, and the population would flourish thanks to anachronistic medical technology and science, grow to higher levels and enjoy a higher standard of living than they ever could have without him. Wasn’t that better? He was sure the Doctor was going to enjoy being a god—smiling that cheerful grin as their adoring human subjects acknowledged him (the humans, he expected, would break within a generation or three—an eye blink, really), their Master’s merciful other half.


Channeling all the Doctor’s scattered benevolence, energy and intelligence into a single cause that he had to look at every day, that he couldn’t flee from as soon as his self-appointed task was done, would make the Doctor realize his own power. He would have to grasp his own majesty, confronted with the daily evidence of how much effect he could have on these tiny human lives. He’d be so grateful for his patient Master’s devotion, for how tirelessly the Master had worked on his behalf, when he came to a proper understanding of his new role. The Doctor would be lovelier than ever in his unbridled power, and constantly on his knees worshipping his own god. From a purely selfish perspective, he was rather looking forward to that bit. Well, notpurely selfish, as the Doctor was going to enjoy that as well.


On the second day of his imprisonment the Doctor had managed to knock the Master out. And then he’d tried to run. He’d been shot in the leg by the Master’s guards before he got a hundred yards, and the Master tightened security further when he came to, because he shouldn’t have made it ten yards.


The Master had blinked blearily and staggered over to where the guards (off-planet mercenaries, loyal solely to the Master’s galactic banking reserves, next to which the Doctor’s good intentions held little interest and even less bargaining capability) were holding the Doctor. He’d not been treated yet, and he winced when the Master knelt to touch the wound. He pressed it almost tenderly, parting his lips and closing his eyes when the Doctor hissed at the pressure, and opening them again as if he was shaking something off. The Master brought a hand under the Doctor’s chin, forcing him to meet his eyes.


“Don’t try that again.” He said very calmly. He’d not treated the wound other than to give the Doctor a penknife to get the bullet out and some rubbing alcohol to clean it up with. It’d heal by itself, given Gallifreyan robustness, and if it slowed the Doctor down a little while he was still inclined towards escape attempts and other dramatic gestures, so much the better.


There were international organizations to dismantle, UNIT among them. The Master made an inroad there. Standing before the Doctor’s former co-workers, all of them bound and haggard from the detention camp, he’d turned towards the other Time Lord.


“People with their expertise and organizational skill do present a danger to me. I’d be wise to simply eliminate them.” He examined his fingernails. “Their deaths would be regrettable, but necessary.”


“You can afford to be merciful, can’t you?” The Doctor said, guarded. “Look at them—without their weapons and resources they can’t possibly present a real threat to you.”


“Nevertheless, it’s better to err on the side of caution, isn’t it?” The Master’s tone was pleasant. The Doctor didn’t say anything, but the Master pressed the issue. “Well, Doctor? Isn’t it?”


Captain Yates was curled around Jo protectively, as if the weight of his body on her shoulders could keep her from being hit. Or worse. Jo was lovely, and the guards were physiologically similar to humans, so there was the threat of worse. Yates seemed to think he could hide her from the gaze of strangers, tucked against his heart like a secret.


She looked like a wilted flower in the same bright dress she’d been wearing the day of the invasion. It was dirty now from days of wear. The sweat and the grime on the cheery print looked garish. Obscene. They all looked like children, with their faces so soft and slack with exhaustion, so vulnerable.


Jo could see the Doctor. They all could. They were all looking at him, and the pressure of their eyes made his skin crawl, made him feel so ashamed to have spent the night somewhere comfortable, for having been allowed to shower, for having been given clean clothes stolen from his own TARDIS.


Benton seemed to have been shot at some point. The shoulder of his sweater was caked rust-brown, and his arm hung stiff and awkward, like a stranger to his body.


“Please spare them,” the Doctor seemed to slump in the asking. They looked so tired, and they’d taken him in when he had nowhere else to go, and he wanted nothing so much as for them to survive this.


“For all of their lives?” The Master seemed amused. “You could give me more than that.”


“Please, Master.” The Doctor insisted, quietly, catching his eye and holding it with a searing, intense gaze. “Please,” he repeated.


The Master made a motion with his hand, and the guards prodded the tattered remnants of UNIT out of the room. “There now,” he rested a hand on the Doctor’s back. Jo looked over a shoulder for a last glimpse of the man who’d been her best friend, her mentor. Her eyes widened slightly at the too-familiar glide of a hand across the velvet covering the Doctor’s back. Even from across the room she could see the Master’s fingers find the Doctor’s shoulder and tighten in a possessive clutch. The Doctor caught her starring and winced visibly as the Master continued with “That wasn’t so terrible, now was it?”


And then they were out the door, and the Doctor was fairly certain he’d never see any of them again.


“Tell your people not to hurt them. Don’t let your troops touch them.” He started at the inappropriate volume of his own voice. The surprising force.


“They won’t be harmed.” The Master promised. “The mercenaries are very professional. No sloppy abuse. No nasty surprises. Your friends will be fine, Doctor.”


“They need medical care. And some new clothes.” His voice was quiet now. All the fight had gone out of it.


“Of course Doctor,” the Master soothed, his hand stroking gently. He pretended not to notice the way the Doctor was tense, nervous under his touch. That too would pass in time. “They’ll be properly cared for. I’m not a monster. Good beds and medical attention all around, since you asked.” He dropped his hand awkwardly. Cleared his throat.


“Shall we see how the Distribution Centres are coming along? That should put you in a better mood. I’m told the food allocation at least is going well, though there may be some teething troubles with the new housing assignments...”






When a week had passed and things were a bit more stable it was time. The hour arrived for dinner, and the guards failed to bring the Doctor food. Instead they escorted him somewhere he’d not seen yet—the Master had chosen a large, comfortable hotel in London as his base of operations, and the room the guards brought the Doctor to was clearly one of the luxury suites.


It was suspicious, how the guards never roughed him up when fetching him for the Master. Even if they were professionals, as the Master said, they still might have gripped him harshly. Left light bruises. But it was as if they’d been instructed not to. They handled him like a china doll. They were almost respectful.


Blinking in the hard sunset light from the long bank of windows running the length of the strange new room, the Doctor was left alone with a table set for two. He lifted the silver bell-shaped lid of the tray. Roast duck with a glaze, some vegetables. The Master entered the room and smiled at the Doctor’s cautious exploration, and the Doctor set the lid back down with a startled clang and an expression of smothered embarrassment.


“I see you’ve not lost your appetite down in the cells, my dear Doctor.” The Master made an expansive, pleasant gesture that indicated the table. “Won’t you sit down? I find I’m rather hungry myself.”


“No doubt a long day of tedious dictatorship has tired you,” The Doctor replied archly, not moving towards the offered seat. “Whose slave labor would I be exploiting if I ate this, then?”


“Oh Doctor, don’t be tiring,” The Master frowned, taking a seat himself and flipping out a napkin adroitly to cover his lap. “Naturally I don’t have a human cook. Do you think I want to be poisoned? I accept that it’ll take the people of Earth some time to understand that this has been a change for the better. A new world of opportunity has opened to them—they’ll see that eventually. Until they do I’ve no intention of employing them as domestics.”


“And so you’ve whipped us up a supper yourself?” The Doctor raised an eyebrow. “How delightfully domestic of you. I didn’t know you still dallied in the kitchen.”


“I’m afraid I’m rather too busy to roast you any chickens,” the Master twirled a fork between his thumb and forefinger. He seemed to be struggling with some tightly wound internal tension. “But I’ve obtained an excellent chef from off-world whose record of serving people in delicate political situations is impeccable. And I’m paying him considerably more than slave wages.”


Still the Doctor hesitated. The Master sighed and leaned back in his chair, dropping his fork with a clatter. “Honestly Doctor, you’ve not eaten properly in days. You send your trays back nearly full—the guards tell me you’ve touched nothing but what comes in individually wrapped packages. As if I’d try to drug you,” the Master scoffed, seeming almost offended by the suggestion. But then his tone softened. “You can’t survive on crackers, you know. Sit down before you fall down.”


Grudgingly, the Doctor pulled out his chair and settled in it, lifting the silver lid of the chaffing dish cautiously, like the pin of a grenade. He pulled the warm plate into the place before him and doled out a bit of onion gravy from the pitcher onto the meat.


It was Sunday, the Doctor realized with a start. He’d begun reckoning time in relation to the Master’s triumph, rather than human weekdays. But this was a proper Sunday roast. And it was good, he noted, shoveling the vegetables into his mouth gracelessly. He even devoured the mashed swede—and he hated mashed swede. The Master’s cook had certainly made a good start at learning something of human cuisine.


The Master ate with considerably less fervor, seemingly amused by how the Doctor cleaned his plate. “That’s better,” the Master praised, incredibly pleased with himself, as if he really had made the whole damn thing with his own hands.


The Master passed the Doctor a plate of puddings. Their hands slid across each other during the exchange, bringing the electric rush of physical contact with another Time Lord, the hot press of another consciousness against his own. The Master’s thoughts sparked across the back of the Doctor’s mind like a fact hovering at the edge of his recall, and he ached to open, to draw the Master in and soothe the itch, to experience that sweet, triumphant satisfaction of fully knowing again.


“Thank you,” The Doctor said tightly.


“My pleasure.” The Master’s lip quirked, his expression half-amused, half indefinable.


“This is certainly an improvement over my cell,” the Doctor noted to break the coiled silence. ‘Cell’ was a strong word for a single room in a luxury hotel, carefully stripped of anything useful, but the Doctor fiercely resented being confined—being stuck on earth in one time line was indignity enough.


“I’d very much like to see the UNIT prisoners.” The Doctor leaned forward with an elbow on the table to catch the Master with a direct gaze. It was, on occasion, possible to tell if he was lying by a certain involuntary tightening of his eyes, and the Doctor needed all the leverage he could get.


“What,” the Master scoffed, “As if I’m going to let you leave the hotel? You’d abscond from any escort I could provide you with in a quarter of an hour. I couldn’t be responsible for your safety, running about in London trying to undermine me. You might very well be shot simply by accident.”


“I meant that I wanted to know if they were alright, though your concern is touching.”


“You’re unpleasantly sarcastic this evening. Not one of your more appealing moods. Your precious friends are well provided for. I saw that their own medic got adequate supplies with which to tend to them.” The Master poured himself more wine. “They’re being held in one of my detention centres. I’ve designed them in such a way that the whole structure comes practically pre-assembled. You’ll see for yourself, when we make inspections—from the ground breaking to the completion of an entire facility in the space of an hour. Truly remarkable engineering, if I do say so myself.” The Master smiled at the Doctor, self-satisfied.


From his pointed, put-on bored expression, the Doctor wasn’t willing to admit to an appreciation of the Master’s scientific prowess. Irritated, he directed the conversation back to the Doctor’s question. “Snugly installed in their own little military base—your associates must feel quite at home.”


The Doctor seemed to take his measure, then nodded guardedly. “You’re getting awfully comfortable with militarism yourself. Is this the new dining mess, then?” The Doctor mocked between bites of the pudding.


“Not quite.”


The Doctor chewed slower. “I could do with another blanket, down in my room, if you’ve one to spare. I imagine your resources are rather ample at the moment. Your people took out everything but one sheet. They seemed to think I would do myself an injury with the duvet.” The Doctor hadn’t thought of strangling himself until he’d thought to wonder why all the linens were gone. The suggestion had chilled him. It made the desperation of his situation all the more apparent to him.


“I’m sorry to hear you were cold.” The Doctor resented the Master’s sarcastic politeness, but the Master pressed on, tone infuriatingly fair and accommodating. “You might’ve asked for whatever you needed. Within reason, it would have been granted to you.”


“So you’ll give me a quilt, then, without fear of me making some desperate attempt?”


“That won’t be necessary.” The Master lowered his fork to the tablecloth very deliberately. Straightened the plate and the utensils absently, so that the lines between them were exactly correct. Took up his wine glass and sipped, not meeting the Doctor’s eyes.


“How do you mean?” The Doctor asked, picking up on the Master’s too-deliberate movements, the tightness in his muscles. Jumpy as a bridegroom before his wedding night. The Doctor had seldom seen him more tightly strung.


“You won’t be returning to that room this evening.”


“This evening?” The Doctor asked.


“No.” The Master took another drink. He looked up and found the Doctor’s eyes. “You won’t.”


Or any other evening, the Doctor realized. “Oh.” He murmured.


The Master stood up and walked over toward the Doctor. His steps were unnaturally even. He pushed the Doctor’s empty plate under the cover, laid a hand on the bared table and drummed his fingers once, lightly.


“I don’t think I have to tell you—” he began, but cut himself off. Paused. “Well. You understand me.”


“Too sordid to say explicitly, is it?” The Doctor’s tone was flat.


“Have it your way, then.” The Master’s hand traced the line of his face. “Don’t bite.” Lingered under his chin. “Don’t resist. Explicit enough for your taste?”


“Or?” The Doctor held. “Or you’ll what, exactly?”


“Must you?” The Master snapped, dropping his hand.


“If I’m to prostitute myself I’d like to know the terms.”


“That’s not—”


“That’s exactly what this is.”


“I won’t kill anyone.” The Master leaned against the table, facing him, arms crossed over his chest. That gesture had never looked so defensive to the Doctor before. “That’s not the alternative. But then you can do quite a lot to a person before they expire.”


“Well then, dear, darling, Master—” the Doctor oozed sarcasm.


“Shut up.” The Master hissed, leaning forward and pinning the Doctor in the cage of the chair with his hands on the arm rests, “If you’re going to do that, just shut up.”


“Is that a command, Master?” Again the Doctor’s tone neutered the word.


“Everything I say to you now is a command,” the Master growled, “and you’d do well to get used to that.” He swiftly destroyed the aching space between them, shoving his tongue into the Doctor’s wet mouth. He imagined it welcoming. It had been centuries since they’d kissed. It felt exquisite. He thought he might have moaned.


With a hand on the back of the Doctor’s neck, he crushed them together, sucking at his lips, tonguing the roof of his mouth, running his free hand through the Doctor’s soft curls.


The Doctor was stock-still. He hadn’t given the Master so much as a stilted breath. He hadn’t moved his lips in the kiss, not at all. After a moment the Master drew back and blinked at the Doctor. The Master’s expression nearly quirked into a bewildered smile, looking almost stupidly confused for an instant, his face vulnerable.


Determined, he grabbed the Doctor’s hand, dragging him up out of the chair and into the bedroom. The Doctor couldn’t see his face, which was just as well. His bright grin was inappropriate to the situation, and it only would have made the Doctor nervous. But he couldn’t help it. He wanted to laugh. Finally, finally.


The Master turned and kissed him again, his hands working off the Doctor’s jacket. Unbuttoning his shirt and tugging it out of his pants proved a little difficult. The Doctor’s belt barred the way, and pulling it off without his help would be awkward.


“Aren’t you going to help me?” He broke off and asked the Doctor. Mouth shut, the Doctor took a step back. He paid attention not to the Master but to what he was doing—unbuttoning a cuff. Unbuckling and setting aside his belt. Removing his pants. Going so far as to fold them. He looked only at each article of clothing as he took it off. He might as well have been alone in the room.


The Master watched, off-put by the slow, cold movement. Taking advantage of the Doctor’s plodding, he shucked off his own jacket. The Doctor finished before him.


“You’re still not helping me,” he teased, watching the Doctor as he worked, hurrying along.


“Undress yourself!” The Doctor snapped.


The Master hadn’t expected the whip-snap of the tone. He continued silently, and then walked to the bed.


“Come here.” He patted the space beside him. The Doctor obliged and sat down nearly a foot away, staring ahead at the wall. Exasperated, the Master pushed him down on the bed. “Scoot up,” he insisted, and the Doctor did. Pleased, the Master straddled him, bending to pepper his face with kisses, running his hands down the Doctor’s chest, delighted.


He sucked at the Doctor’s neck, seeking a spot he knew would elicit a response. Nothing. Surprised, he braced his arms on either side of the Doctor’s face, staring down at him in the semi-dark room. “Different reactions in this body, then?” He tried, smoothing his face to something that encouraged confidence.


“I wouldn’t know.” The Doctor said, staring somewhere around the vicinity of the Master’s chin.


“Oh come now,” the Master encouraged, “You’ve some idea. You must! Tell me. Or better yet, show me.”


The Doctor didn’t do either. The Master sighed. “Fine, I can see I shall have to go exploring,” the Master’s wasn’t bothered. He was finally where he wanted to be, and that made him patient, put him in too good of a mood to get easily annoyed. “I’m sure I can find something. Though you’re being singularly unhelpful tonight.”


“I wonder why.”


The Master snapped his eyes closed with a wave of anger. When he opened them again, he’d calmed himself.


“If you haven’t anything useful to say, then kindly keep silent. My patience isn’t infinite.”


The Doctor didn’t say a word. The Master slid a hand down and found the Doctor unstirred. A bit insulting (he was certainly more than ready himself), but he wasn’t going to quibble over it. A few strokes changed that, and the Master was much more confident, smirking as he palmed the hot, solid length.


“There we are,” he whispered, bending to kiss the Doctor again, swiping his tongue over the closed lips. “Open up,” he demanded, and the Doctor did. He tried to prod the Doctor’s tongue into action with his own. That wasn’t terribly successful. He put his unoccupied fingers to the Doctor’s temple, pushing in and singeing his mental fingers on the Doctor’s impenetrable resistance.


“Let me in,” he demanded.




“Oh really, Doctor—”


“No.” The Doctor looked a little afraid. “I’m not having you in there. God knows what you’ll do to me.”


“You know what I’ll do!” The Master insisted. Was the Doctor really going to play the ingénue? All the tension of the past months—he hadn’t been imagining that, not with their history. What the hell did the Doctor think he was bothering with Earth for? This couldn’t come as any kind of surprise to him.


So he wasn’t happy with how he found himself in bed. That was understandable. The Master had expected to win that particular war only slowly. But they’d always worked well here, no matter what their arguments in the unforgiving light of day. It was what happened outside bedrooms that had tripped them up.


“I’ll make you feel wonderful.” The Master tried, gently rubbing the heel of his hand on the Doctor’s temple. “You’ve always loved this.”


“I don’t want to ‘feel wonderful.’ And I’m not letting you in.”


“Is it what they’ve done?” The Master asked, not unkindly, referring to the High Council’s violation of the Doctor’s mind. The Doctor winced and said nothing. “Not tonight, then.” The Master let his hand drop down to the Doctor’s hip. “We’ll try it when you want it—whenever you’re ready. When you realize you can trust me.” Perhaps he was going about this the wrong way, the Master decided, altering his course slightly.


“We’ll have to confine ourselves to more physical pleasures,” the Master said with a smile. “Not that that’s any hardship. Turn over.” The Master left and came back with a tube of something cold that made the Doctor shiver when it touched his skin.


“Sorry,” the Master muttered, tone genuine, “I’d forgotten you had to warm it in your hands a bit first. It’s been some time since—” He broke off with an exasperated sigh at the Doctor’s failure to move without being asked. “Oh for—” He positioned the Doctor’s hips correctly, sliding him up on his hands and knees. The Doctor let his limbs be guided, but didn’t help at all. “I didn’t know we were going to be playing Simon Says,” the Master mocked his rag-doll of a partner, “You could show some basic initiative.”


“Could I? Lovely.” The Doctor sounded less than enthusiastic.


Fine. As you like.” The Master slid a finger in, feeling the Doctor tremble slightly at the intrusion. At least something of him was honest, and eager. The Doctor caught his hips before they could slam back, but the Master saw the muscles jerk with the repressed impulse, and felt an upwelling of glee. Yes. Oh yes. And another finger—the shudder that produced was gorgeous.


“Ready?” He asked after a minute, hoping the Doctor was, because he could hardly wait to be in him.


“Would you care if I weren’t?” The Doctor didn’t seem interested in an answer. Swallowing, the Master declined to dignify that with a response, pushing himself in slowly.


So achingly tight. Such a wonderful clutch, like the muscles themselves wanted this. As he pushed in the resistance seemed playful, a challenge, and as he pulled out the Doctor seemed to clutch at him, desperate that he not leave. He reached down and found the Doctor hard. Good. The Doctor couldn’t try and pretend now that this didn’t affect him, that he didn’t want this.


Building a rhythm was like walking a long, lovely path back to where they’d begun. A tiny whimper, quickly suppressed, escaped the Doctor when the Master moved inside him just right. And another slipped past his lips. And another tumbled out of his mouth. Each a little louder, less successfully smothered. He milked the Doctor’s cock with a hand, balancing his weight on his own knees and on the Doctor. The Doctor tried to say perfectly still, but his strong arms trembled with something that wasn’t strain. There, at last, the Doctor gave a long, drawn cry.


Oh he’d known he could win the Doctor back. Win his body, and his mind, and his love, and his co-operation. Words lied, but the body was true. It didn’t even try to claim it didn’t want this. The Doctor’s skin was wet with sweat and clung to his. The Doctor’s muscles had stopped tensing uncomfortably where the Master laid his hands. The Doctor’s cock had stopped lying limp and unfeeling, as if uncaring that the Master was looking at him, touching him. The Doctor’s body acknowledged him properly now. Rejoiced in his possession.


When he whispered, “Move with me” the Doctor’s hips followed his, working in counterpoint. Where he ran his fingers over the Doctor’s arms his touch left goose bumps, and elicited soft, hushed noise. He pulled back and licked a broad, flat line from the Doctor’s coccyx to his neck and fastened on the spot he’d tried earlier, this time attacking it with tongue and teeth. The Doctor mewled uncontrollably, unable to suppress it as he had earlier. The Master realized that, until he’d heard that sound, what he’d felt upon conquering Earth was only the echo of victory. The substance of it was in that cry.


He pulled back and the Doctor came with him, as if drawn along in exquisite concert. The Doctor pushed forward and the Master toppled deeper into him. The Doctor moaned as the Master slid down, burying himself to the root. The Master knew the sound so well he bucked his hips involuntarily, hearing it. The action brought the sound back again, and that was serendipity.


He felt glorious like this. Empowered, desired, and he had to have him, had to have more of him, needed him so much. He wasn’t ashamed of that here. He couldn’t be, not now, in the face of how felt to have the Doctor with him, like this.


Home was the Doctor. And it was warm. And it was perfect. And it was theirs, just theirs. “Doctor,” he gasped out, so fucking close, lips trembling as they framed the word “Oh god—”


And the Doctor was saying something. The Master wanted to hear him, because he always did. Hope soared in his breast, and he was so deliciously near to toppling over the edge, and they were never so blessedly close as when they could come together.


“Doctor?” He asked, unable to keep it from slipping down into a moan, “Oh Doctor, Doctor—”


“I said you’re pathetic.” The Doctor sneered, his tone unfathomably cold. He said it again for good measure, smoothing it over his tongue. “Did you manage to hear me this time? You’repathetic.”


It took an instant for the Master to process the words. It took another to believe he’d actually heard them. Several more passed before the Master could think past the rage that made his stomach tighten and curl like something detached from his will, some foreign thing inside him that hated him. He was a statue, frozen, though he didn’t remember having stopped moving. He lifted his hands from the Doctor’s skin, not feeling its texture. They were shaking slightly.


“You—” he whispered. He swallowed. He was small now, and he was helpless, because he couldn’t, couldn’t even. And he was so angry. But it was useless, uncomprehending rage. “Youcan’t—” he tried again, louder, but his voice was unsteady.


He could taste the Doctor in his mouth, and feel the residual warmth of the Doctor’s skin in his hands, and he could smell him, and he was breathing him in dark lungfuls, taking the Doctor’s atoms into his own body, and he was in him, and the Doctor wasn’t even there. How could he have thought they were each other’s, if it wasn’t true? It shouldn’t be possible, for him to think that if it weren’t true. It wasn’t fair.


But if it were, how could the Doctor have said that, how could the Doctor have done that, how could the Doctor not have wanted him, needed him, just as much as he—as much as—


He pulled out, ignoring his persistent, stupid hardness. He didn’t want it anymore. He couldn’t look at the Doctor. He groped for a dressing gown from the back of door out of habit and left.




The door clicked shut. Slowly, the Doctor unbent from his tense pose, slumping down into the bed. The Master’s bed—the Doctor didn’t really know where else he intended to sleep. If he intended to sleep. The Doctor wished he could shower, but he was so tired that seeking the bathroom out seemed too much to ask of his body. And anyway, it was sure to be somewhere outside the door. He wasn’t going to venture forth and run the risk of confronting the Master again.


It didn’t feel like winning, but people were dead, and he couldn’t just. Couldn’t just. The Doctor was glad he’d been looking down so he didn’t have to see the Master’s face. He breathed into the dark and inhaled the sent of the Master in the sheets. He crawled up and found it pooled in the pillowcases. He pushed his face into the soft fabric and wanted to cry, but breathed until he was calmer. He told himself he didn’t want to come until his erection slowly subsided. He told himself the bed was warm and soft, and that he needed to sleep, because he hadn’t in days, not properly, anyway, until his body listened and his hearts slowed. He warned himself not to dream, because he couldn’t bear that. And he didn’t.