“Well then, isn’t this just perfect...” The Doctor growled to himself.
Not only was he now stuck inside a dungeon cell deep in the Himalayan mountain region after a rescue mission gone wrong, but no one knew he was down here, he was going to be executed tomorrow morning and the worst thing was the fact that he was sharing this cell with-
“I’m not sure what you’re complaining about, Doctor. It’s your own fault for getting us into this mess!”
The Doctor sighed before turning to face the Master, who was standing in the corner.
“Excuse me, but whose idea was it to get the Frillion’s involved on this UNIT rescue mission? It certainly wasn’t mine!”
“Maybe so, but I seem to recall that it was your idea to blatantly disobey one of their strictest laws.”
“Well, how was I supposed to know they disliked vegetables?!”
The Master gave him a deadpan look with the tiniest of smirks. “You honestly didn’t know that they’re one of the biggest carnivorous alien species in the galaxy? Even I knew that!”
The Doctor glared at him in response. “But they’re honestly going to execute me just because I was eating some celery?! That’s ridiculous! I was hungry!”
The Master chuckled. “It wasn’t just that, Doctor. You also kissed the governor’s wife-”
“I thought she was his daughter! And besides, it wasn’t even on the lips!”
“-you destroyed their ship-”
“It had weapons on it and they were pointed at us!”
“-and to top it all off, you decided to be a show off and engage their most honored warrior in a fight. And you beat him in a very humiliating way.”
At this, the Doctor smiled. “Well, I may not look like a spring chicken but I can fight just as well as the rest of them!”
The Master only smirked. “You did it using a spoon.”
The Doctor shrugged in response. “What can I say? I have a creative mind.”
The Master chuckled. “Meanwhile, all I did was deceive them into attacking Earth. Something which, I must add, they’ve been planning for a while.”
The Doctor went back to glaring at him. “This is incredibly unfair!”
The Master shook his head. “Not really.”
The Doctor sighed and rubbed his forehead. “So how on Earth are we supposed to get out?”
The Master shrugged. “Not sure. But if I were you, I’d get started now. After all, I’m not the one that’s going to be executed tomorrow.”
He chuckled as the Doctor glared at him before he sighed and looking around their cell. So far as he could tell, there wasn’t a way out as there was only one high up window, there wasn’t anything he could use to open the cell door and there didn’t appear to be any weaknesses or cracks in the wall.
“What’s the matter, Doctor?” The Master taunted him. “Can’t figure it out for once?”
“Oh, do shut up!” The Doctor snapped, moving to a wall. “I need to concentrate!”
The Master just shrugged, still smiling, before he sat down.
Several hours later
Day had turned into night and the Doctor hadn’t quite figured out how to escape from the cell. He did have a plan, but it was a rather vague and tricky one.
However, the Doctor knew that he’d have to wait until morning before he could attempt anything as it was too dark right now.
It was getting colder, too.
The Doctor and even the Master were shivering as the temperature inside the cell dropped considerably as their breath formed clouds in the chilly air.
“My word, it’s cold...” The Doctor mumbled.
“Well, considering the fact that it’s nighttime now, we’re in one of the coldest mountain regions on this planet and we’re in a prison cell, that’s not surprising.” The Master commented, smiling even as he rubbed his arms to try to keep warm.
The Doctor only sighed, deciding not to bother gracing him with a response.
Eventually, fatigue began catching up to them. With all the excitement that had happened that day and how long they’d managed to stay awake for, it was no surprise that they were getting tired now.
The Doctor had tried his best to stay awake but he couldn’t ignore it much longer. So he yawned and shuffled over to the bed.
As he sat down, he couldn’t help but notice how the Master was beginning to shiver. The Doctor frowned, knowing it was too cold for him to sleep without a blanket. And the only blanket in the cell was on the bed. It was small and thin but it was still better than nothing.
However, he also knew that the Master was too stubborn and prideful to admit that he was cold, so he lay down on the hard mattress and tried to get comfortable. This proved to be a rather difficult task seeing as how the pillow was also hard.
As he lay there, cold and uncomfortable, he tried to ignore his nagging conscious that was scolding him for not helping the Master. He tried to reason with himself that he wouldn’t want to be kept warm even in these cold temperatures and besides, the Master deserved to be cold.
However, this only made his conscious worse.
Let it never be known that the Doctor isn’t compassionate; even towards his worst enemies.
After ten minutes of this inner turmoil, he finally sighed and looked up; seeing that the Master was still shivering, leaned up against the wall.
“Master?” He called out.
He paused, before swallowing and saying, “I think we should share a bed.”
The Master stared incredulously at him. “What?!”
“I don’t mean in a crude way. But it’s obviously too cold for the both of us so I just feel that if we-”
The Doctor frowned. “I didn’t even-”
“No.” The Master firmly interrupted him. “I would much rather freeze to death than have to huddle together with you just to keep warm.”
The Doctor glared at him before sighing and lying down again.
Oh well. He had tried and it was a stupid idea anyway.
But it was probably about an hour later that the Doctor - after somehow being able to drift off - woke up, both out of the cold and because he couldn’t help but hear how cold the Master was, as well.
The Master appeared to be in a fetal position, shivering so badly that his teeth were chattering.
The Doctor sighed and got up. Even though the Master was probably his worst enemy at this point in time, both his hearts still held compassion for him. Thus, he felt that he had to do something about how cold they both were; the Master’s stubbornness be damned.
“Ugh... W-What do you w-want, Doctor?”
The Doctor just stared him down. “Look, it’s obvious that the both of us are too cold to get a proper night’s sleep, and if we’re going to survive tomorrow, we need to be well rested! So would you just swallow your damn pride already and let me keep you warm?!”
“No! I... I don’t need your h-help!”
“I beg to differ.”
The Master still refused to move, avoiding eye contact with the Doctor.
“Look.” The Doctor finally growled, fed up with the Master’s stubborn pride. “I will go over there and drag you over here if you don’t smarten up!”
The Master glared at him in response.
To make his point clear, the Doctor then got up and marched over to where the Master was.
“Don’t touch me!” He snapped when the Doctor reached down.
“Fine then.” He replied before sitting down beside the Master. “But I still don’t intend to allow either of us to freeze to death in here!”
“You stubborn old goat...” The Master muttered.
“It takes one to know one.” The Doctor countered.
They both sat there in silence after that, with the Master continuing to silently shudder as the Doctor struggled to think of a way to get through to him.
At first, nothing came to mind and the Doctor could feel the fatigue and the chilly temperature beginning to get to him again.
And then he was suddenly reminded of a similar situation from his childhood, he smiled wistfully and began to speak.
“Y’know, this situation rather reminds me of a time back on Gallifrey when we lived at the academy.”
The Master said nothing as the Doctor continued.
“I can remember one particularly harsh winter when the temperature in our shared dorm was cold; too cold for either of us to be able to sleep or concentrate on our work.”
The Master sighed, still silent. And so the Doctor kept talking.
“And I can recall that it was your brilliant idea to...” The Doctor suddenly chuckled, fondly remembering what had happened. “To start a fire using some candles to raise the temperature so we might be more comfortable.”
“However, it naturally went wrong and we almost got caught when the curtains suddenly went aflame. And I can recall...” The Doctor sputtered out a laugh. “I can recall... you... you panicking when it first happened and started running around the room.” He stammered as he continued to laugh, fond childhood nostalgia taking over his thoughts as the Master was looking at him now.
“Thankfully, we were able to put it out but the curtains were still damaged. And so we... we had to sneak out and find replacements even though it was past curfew.”
The Doctor smiled, remembering the events as if they’d happened only yesterday.
“And yet somehow, even with how awful we were at sneaking around, the teachers patrolling the hallways and how close we came to getting caught several times, we were able to find replacements and sneak back to our room without anyone finding us.”
“And even all these years later, no one knows what happened except for us.”
He sighed. “But it was still too cold so we had to share a bed in order to keep warm.”
He then turned to look at the Master. “Rather reminds you of something, doesn’t it?”
Silence fell between them for a few minutes as they both sat there, still tired and cold before the Master suddenly chuckled.
“You know Doctor; I seem to recall you doing nothing to stop me from starting the fire that set the curtains ablaze.”
The Doctor furrowed his brow as the Master continued. “Yes, it was my idea but the only protest you uttered was ‘are you sure that’s a good idea’.”
The Doctor nodded, chuckling as he remembered. “Yes, that’s right. Just goes to show how cold it was.”
Silence once again descended between them though instead of being tense or awkward, it was surprisingly... comfortable.
The Doctor eventually sighed. “Do you ever wish that things could just go back to the way they once were? You know, before we became renegades and ran away from Gallifrey?”
At first, the Master was quiet and the Doctor couldn’t tell if he was contemplating his words or just being stubborn again. However, he eventually spoke.
“I’m perfectly content with my life the way it is.”
The Doctor frowned. “That wasn’t my question.”
He once again fell silent for a few minutes before he eventually, in a very soft voice, spoke again.
The Doctor was content with his answer and so he didn’t say anything else, just nodding.
Surprisingly, the Master continued.
“I mean, things were so much simpler in those days. We weren’t running from anyone or anything, just...” He sighed. “Just to each other.”
Then, with an almost pained expression on his face, the Master looked at the Doctor.
The Doctor swallowed the sudden lump in his throat as he fought to think of a response.
“I’m not sure...” He finally told him. “Life, our different ambitions or our families... Any one of those factors could’ve been the cause for our falling out.”
The Master sighed, obviously dissatisfied with his answer but he didn’t say anything else.
And so the Doctor spoke again.
“I really miss you sometimes, you know? Like, whenever I get a new companion or assistant or whatever, I know I’ll inevitably lose them... It breaks my hearts but as a result, I sometimes wonder what it would be like to take on someone who’s my equal in basically every sense; physically, emotionally and intellectually.”
“And, despite how foolish I know this line of thinking is, I sometimes wish that you... you had joined me instead of going on your own.
The Doctor nodded before silence fell again.
After a while, the Master spoke again. “Doctor...”
“If... If I were to share a bed with you...” He paused before continuing. “There are some stipulations first.”
The Doctor nodded, trying not to appear too proud or hopeful that their shared childhood memories might’ve gotten through to the Master.
“First, nothing crude happens!”
“And secondly, nothing about what happened in this cell - what with the words we spoke and the things we’ll do - is to be told to anyone else!”
“Agreed. We’ll keep it a secret between ourselves. It’s not like it’ll be the first or only one so far.”
The Master smiled a little at that before they both got up and shuffled over to the bed.
The Doctor laid down first, getting somewhat comfortable and then watching as the Master - after briefly hesitating - laid down beside him, his back to him.
The blanket still wasn’t very big, but it was able to cover the both of them. The Doctor could feel how tense the Master was; as it had been centuries since they’d shared a bed, and so, without really thinking, he wrapped an arm around the Master’s waist; pulling him close.
He sighed in response to this, obviously uncomfortable, but he didn’t voice any complaints.
“Shh... Just go to sleep.” The Doctor murmured near his ear.
The Master could only listen to him, slowly closing his eyes.
The Doctor could feel that the tension in his body was fading away and soon, he could hear the Master’s gentle breathing as he slept.
The Doctor then smiled, feeling very pleased with himself for actually winning a battle of wits against the Master. However, his fatigue was again catching up to him and so closed his eyes.
Oddly enough, he felt almost like the Master’s presence, despite the fact that they’re bitter enemies and would most likely continue to be so even after this strange night, was actually helping him to fall asleep so quickly and easily.
And as he listened to the Master’s rhythmic breathing, his naturally cooler body temperature nonetheless warm and welcome in the cold cell, he drifted off to sleep.
The next morning came and all too quickly, the Doctor and Master were enemies again.
The entire mess was eventually sorted out, with the well-timed appearance of UNIT recruits - including Jo Grant and the Brigadier - and the Doctor’s fast wits and reflexes. He was able to get away from his execution at the last minute and then regroup with his friends and allies and help save the Earth yet again.
Unfortunately, the Master escaped too, having given the Frillion’s the slip. UNIT knew that they couldn’t waste time and resources searching for him in such extreme conditions and so they returned to the UK, hoping that he’d show up again soon.
And true to his word, the Doctor never told anyone about what had happened between him and the Master in the cell. Sometimes, he’d think about it a little too hard and someone, usually Jo (who was getting almost annoyingly perceptive), would ask him what was wrong.
His response was usually, “Nothing to worry about. I was just thinking of different ways to upgrade Bessie.”
He never let anyone find out the truth. It wouldn’t do to have any crude or inappropriate rumors circulating UNIT HQ, after all.