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Master and Commander

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She could hear her. The melody that always haunted her dreams. Always so faint and far away, so full of love and sorrow that it was almost unbearable and heartbreaking, and too much to bear. It had been so long ago since she had first heard her song, but it was forever imbedded into her memory, even after all these years, and she would recognise it anywhere.

But this time it was different. The call was different. More urgent. Like a mother calling her child home after being cruelly separated for so long. There was an urgency for her to hurry. To hurry back to her.

Rose closed her eyes and concentrated on the melody as the song rose in cacophony in her head, deafening all other sounds and senses. If she had opened her eyes she would have seen golden light swirling around her, growing and gaining momentum until she was enveloped in a golden hurricane; she standing lone and safe within the eye of the storm.

Rose gasped as she felt a gentle tug within her, but made no protest as she let herself go supple and compliant. She trusted the Tardis. Always had, ever since they had formed a bond.

She felt as though she were weightless and nothing, essentially becoming time particles floating through time and space, across galaxies and dimensions and eternal vastness, and pulled and gathered to an unknown destination.

Rose felt herself reforming, and felt solid ground under her feet as she was gently lowered. She opened her eyes and saw she was in a tiny room. A storage closet by the looks of it. Rose blinked slowly, still dazed from her experience, and could still hear the Tardis in the back of her mind urging her to hurry.

She took a deep calming breath and slowly opened the door a crack, peeking out into the unknown. The passageway she found herself in was all clear of life and activity. In fact, it was eerily silent Rose took a tentative step out and felt the mental nudge from the Tardis to go left, which she complied to do. She quickened her pace and paused as she walked by a window. She was high up in the air, on some sort of ship, and as she peered down she was surprised to see she was flying above what looked like Earth.

The insistent mental nudge snapped her out of her musings and she started trotting down the passageway, trusting the Tardis to let her know which door to stop at. And she did.
Rose came to an abrupt halt at a set of double door and balanced on her toes to peer through one of the small round windows. The doors were to the side and as she looked to the right her heart stuttered painfully as she caught sight of the Doctor. He was still as gorgeous and lanky as she remembered, with his fantastic hair sticking up in a gravity defying manner and his brown pinstriped suit molding to his trim form. He was slowly descending the stairs as he cautiously positioned himself behind a dark-skinned woman who was pointing a gun at a man. Jack was standing behind him, his face dirtied and bloodied, his clothes ragged and his blue eyes weary and strained.

Rose watched the scene play out, the Tardis letting her know she shouldn’t make her presence known just yet. The Doctor was talking to the woman, though Rose couldn’t hear what he was saying. The woman dropped the gun to the floor and burst into sobs, her whole body wracking with grief as the Doctor hugged her comfortingly and whispered words of reassurances to her. The woman pulled away from the Doctor and turned to go to a younger woman, who embraced her fiercely and protectively. Mother and daughter, Rose deduced. There certainly was similarity and familiarity between them.

The Doctor strolled up to the handcuffed man. Rose cursed that she could not hear them and she growled in her frustration, which earned her a reprimand from the Tardis to keep quiet. Jack seemed agitated as he came to stand next to the Doctor, his face plainly showing displeasure and uncertainty. The Doctor stood stoically, hands clasped behind his back and Jack crossed his arms over his broad chest resignedly. Rose was so focused on Jack and the Doctor that she didn’t notice the slim blonde woman in a fetching red dress slowly reach down for the gun.

The gun shot jolted Rose and she gasped as she saw the man stagger back, his eyes wide with shock at what had just happened. The Doctor raced to the man, catching him before he could fall and cradling him in his arms as he lowered him to the floor. Jack cautiously approached the woman in red, who was standing stiffly, and she numbly relinquished her gun to him.

The Doctor’s earnest pleas were muffled by the doors and Rose craned her neck to get a better view. The Doctor drew the man against his chest, his cries of anguish now heard plainly. Rose felt the Tardis nudge her, her instructions clear. Now was the time.

Rose steeled herself and opened the doors, marching past Jack who did a double take and openly gaped at her. Her gaze was resolutely fixed on the two Timelords and she didn’t spare Jack a cursory glance. Now was not the time. Rose headed straight to the Doctor and knelt by him.

“Let me fix him,” she stated in a clear voice that echoed through the now silent room.

The Doctor lifted his head slowly and stared at her with those chocolate brown eyes that were shimmering with tears. He dazedly stared at her with unfocused eyes, as though his brain couldn’t quite comprehend that she was here.

Rose smiled sadly at him. “Move over, Doctor. We don’t have much time. Ask your questions later, yeah.”

The Doctor’s mouth slowly opened, but all words failed him as he still clung to the other Timelord protectively. They didn’t have much time. Rose gently pried him off the other man and the Doctor slumped on the floor, just staring at her with a helpless expression. She gave him a quick reassuring smile and turned her attention to the man that lay before her. He was young and had a youthful, boyish round face, and his badly styled brown hair clung to his clammy forehead. Rose tentatively raised her hand and caressed his cheek and was surprised by a sense of familiarity that echoed around her. This was a man that she would get to know very well.

Rose closed her eyes and willed her power up, ignoring the gasps that echoed around her. She placed her hands on the Master’s still chest, his chosen name echoing in her subconscious, and poured her power into him. She sensed him healing and frowned when she noticed something, something embedded deep in his mind. The insane inducing sound of drums.

“My, you have some demons running around in there, Master,” she murmured. She let her power flow through his mind, healing his madness and casting out the drumbeats that the Time Lords had placed there so very long ago.

Suddenly he gasped as life returned to him and Rose grinned widely down at him. She sighed and pulled back her power, sensing it retreat back into her body. The Master’s eyes slowly opened and he focused on her. As Rose stared down into those ancient brown depths, she observed no hint of madness. Yes, he still had a tendency for cruelty and maliciousness, but she was sure that with the help of the Doctor and herself, it could be tamed. She sensed so much potential in him, and the Tardis recognised it, too. Otherwise she would never have given Rose explicit instructions to save him.

The Master frowned in consternation at her, but she merely gave him a beatific smile. Rose clambered to her feet and helped the Master up, ignoring the curious and bewildered looks he was shooting her way. His hands were still cuffed behind his back and she held him firmly by his upper arm.

“Come, I’ll take you to the Tardis,” she murmured, though loud enough for the Doctor to hear, who was still sitting on the floor, his face an open mask of absolute shock and horror.

After a pause, the Doctor slowly rose to his feet, opening his mouth to say something, but Rose beat him to it.

“Say your goodbyes, Doctor. I’ll meet you in the Tardis, yeah?”

The Doctor closed his mouth with much effort and thrust his hands deep in his pant pockets. He took a deep breath through his nose and internally came to a decision. He nodded, though those guarded brown eyes said that he planned to interrogate her very soon, though in the privacy of the Tardis. Rose silently nodded – this was the best deal she was going to get out of him.

She gently guided the Master to the elevator and he obediently complied, though she sensed that this was very out of character for him. Once the doors closed, blocking the shocked looks on the faces of all the people in the room, he turned those sharp, intelligent eyes on her.

“You bought me back to life?” he asked casually, though his body was stiff and belied his distrust, and his face was a carefully constructed mask.

Rose turned her head to stare him straight in the eye. “Yes.”

He blinked in confusion as he stared at her, his penetrating gaze willing her to spill all her secrets. She was human, that much was obvious. But then how was she able to bring him back to life?

“Why?” he asked, his voice deceptively soft.

The elevator doors opened silently and Rose pulled him along, though he willingly kept pace with her. He felt himself intrigued, a rare occurrence, and wanted to follow her.

She took a deep breath. “Let’s just say that the Tardis wanted me to save you.”

He chuckled, but without humor. “I cannibalised her. I highly doubt she would want to show any mercy towards me.”

They reached the doors that led to the Tardis and they stopped. She turned her full attention on him, those hazel eyes tinged with gold staring intently at him. Then she gave him a wide grin, her tongue sticking out between her teeth and he found he couldn’t help but glance down at that inviting mouth.

“Don’t know, but it’ll be interesting to find out,” she commented and then pushed open the doors. She had release her hold on him, but he followed her, enthralled. She strode with purpose towards the Tardis and the Master startled when he heard the distinctly pleased and welcoming hum of the Tardis. Rose stroked the blue wooden door affectionately and then produced her key from the chain around her neck. She unlocked the door and then glanced at him. “Coming?”

The Master glanced behind him and turned back to look at her. “Do I really have a choice?” he asked bitterly.

Rose’s face softened. “Not right now, Master, but I promise that the Doctor and I will help you. And I’ll personally make sure that he doesn’t make your life unbearable.”

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Rose,” he muttered darkly.

She held out her hand invitingly, that teasing smile still playing on her lips. “Then, for now, stay with me. Please.”

He frowned, resolutely staying put. “Why would I want to do that?”

“Because you need us.”

He snorted in derision.

“And we need you,” Rose continued in a soft voice.

The Master’s eyes narrowed in on her as she patiently waited for him to come to a decision. He was tempted to turn her down, but a large part of him knew she was right and that he didn’t have much of a choice. And a smaller part was curious. Curious about her. Drawn to her. Then another thought came to him.

“And what about the Doctor?”

“What about him?” she enquired.

“I don’t think he’s going to fancy sharing you with me.” It was meant as a goad, something to get a rise out of her. He imagined he could have a bit of fun making the Doctor jealous.

She surprised him by grinning even wider and the Master blinked at how beautiful she really was. “That’s where he doesn’t have a choice. Now come along.”

He frowned at her words, but followed nonetheless. Rose was not going to be easy to rile up or get a reaction out of. On the contrary, she seemed to be playing along and toying with him. He didn’t know whether to feel irritated or intrigued or just plain insulted.