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The Doctor couldn’t sleep. Most days, this wouldn’t have been anything particularly unusual. She was a Time Lord, she only needed to rest maybe once a week at most. To keep up pretences around her companions, she’d just disappear into her bedroom and tinker with a box of scraps for eight hours or so. 

 

Today, though, she really was trying to sleep. It had been a week and a half since her last rest. Not exactly coincidentally, it had been a week since she’d first seen Gallifrey burned to the ground. 

 

Her attempts to sleep hadn’t been going well, and this was the third night in a row that she’d tried. Every night, she’d ended up staring at the ceiling, mind going over and over the smoking wreckage of her home planet. 

 

The Doctor had never been much of a one for religion, but she’d found herself praying to any god that happened to be listening to just knock her out for a good few hours. 

 

It was hour four of her third night of staring at the ceiling when she felt something brush against her mind. A familiar touch, one she knew all too well, and one that she really, really shouldn’t- 

 

“...Contact.” Might as well. She’d figured he’d get out of the Kasaavin’s realm eventually, and at least being yelled at by her ex-best friend would spice up the night a little. 

 

“Doctor. You don’t sound all that happy to know I’m alive. I should be offended.”

 

“Probably,” she said, not much in the mood for verbal sparring. 

 

“Being short with me, are you? You’re usually so talkative...”

 

“Yep.” When was he going to get to the yelling? This regeneration of his had seemed quite fond of yelling. 

 

“You weren’t like this with O.”

 

She stiffened. The Doctor had been doing her best to forget about O. Not least because of the betrayal, but also...the things she’d said to him. The things she’d done with him. Things that the Master knew about in intimate detail, quite literally. 

 

“No response, Doctor? Come now, you know how you felt about him. How you felt about me...” Oh, she couldn’t even see him and yet she could see the shit-eating grin he’d be wearing right now. She could just picture him laid back in whatever ship he’d managed to steal this time, enjoying every moment of her discomfort. 

 

“I didn’t know who he was,” she said back against her better judgement. 

 

“But you liked him, didn’t you? ‘I’ve never met a human who gets me like you’. ‘I don’t know what I’d do without our conversations, O’.” The Master’s voice echoed around her head, an insultingly high-pitched mockery of her own accent. The Doctor seethed

 

“So, the person who knows me best in the universe knows how to create a fake personality that I like,” she snapped. “That’s not surprising.”

 

“You know, I genuinely wasn’t expecting that first voice message,” he said then, and the Doctor’s hands curled into fists so tight that her nails cut into her palms. 

 

“Don’t,” she said, unsure if she was pleading him or warning him. 

 

“Four minutes about how soft my lips look and how nice it would be to kiss them. You can be quite the romantic, Doctor, can’t you?”

 

“Shut up.” She could just cut off the contact, but some twisted part of her made her stay. Wanted to know where this was going. 

 

“I told you I wanted to kiss you, too. That much wasn’t a lie. All that flowery nonsense about wanting to do it under the stars on a beautiful clear night, though... That was a lie. And you fell for every word of it.”

 

The Doctor snatched one of the pillows from the top of her bed, pressing it against her chest and curling around it. Her whole damn torso ached with regret over O. She knew where this conversation with the Master was going. She was going to let it go there, because more than anything, she missed talking to someone who understood what she was going through. If she couldn’t be understood without being mocked, then fine. She would take it over being alone. 

 

“Then, of course, there was the night we spent together. Your friends in peril, mysterious aliens about to attack at any moment, and you still had time to let your human crush break you in a little. Naughty, naughty, Doctor.”

 

“I would never have done that if I’d known it was you,” she said, fingers gripping the pillow so tightly that her knuckles went white. Was that really true? Deep down, she was uncertain. 

 

“But you did do it, love. You let a human you barely knew strip you naked and sleep with you, and you enjoyed every second of it.” The Master sounded so smug. So pleased with what he’d done to her. Even though the Doctor had foiled his plans in the end, this had to be the most Pyrrhic victory she’d ever won. She’d come away from it broken and exhausted, and apparently the Master was doing just fine

 

“Shut up,” she said, her voice sounding weak even to herself. 

 

“Well, fine, if you’d rather have the visuals than the audio...” He trailed off. For a moment, his words didn’t click, and then an image rushed into the Doctor’s head and she knew exactly what he meant. And she hated him. 

 

Herself, seen slightly from above, flushed and smiling with her hair in a mess and her shirt pushed up. Kiss me again, that vision of her said, and then it faded out into another scene. 

 

A different position, this time- seeing herself from the Master’s point of view with his lips pressed against her neck, his hands on her bare back, holding her close. Soft noises, careful not to wake any of her companions, as they rocked against each other with increasing desperation. 

 

One final scene- her head tipped back, lower lip caught between her teeth, eyes screwing shut for a moment as she shuddered with pleasure. 

 

“Stop. Stop it.” The Doctor shook her head, trying to clear it of those images. Unbidden, more flooded in- those same scenes from her own perspective, O’s kind smile, the way he’d been so gentle with her. Not a hint of the Master about him, and yet somehow he’d been different. She’d chalked it up to the new body, but there was no denying it now that he’d known her. 

 

“You liked O,” the Master’s voice said in her head. “Imagine how much more you’d like me. All the skill, all the knowing what makes you tick, none of the awful human stumbling. I’d play that body of yours like a fiddle, Doctor. I’m sure you’d be able to sleep after that.” 

 

She stiffened, throwing up some better defences around her thoughts. He’d done far too good a job at distracting her. Laughter echoed in her head; clearly her efforts had been noticed quickly. 

 

“My dear Doctor, put up as many walls as you like. If you didn’t want me talking dirty in your head, you could have kicked me out the moment I mentioned O. But you didn’t, did you? Deep down, you want me. So now, where were we... Ah yes, playing you like a fiddle.”

 

The Doctor wasn’t telling him to shut up, wasn’t cutting off contact. She gripped her pillow tighter, said nothing. Tried hard not to hate herself more than she already did. Failed at that. 

 

“You do have such flawless skin this time around... I think I’d like to mark it up. Some nice bruises on your neck, and scratches down your back. You could heal them, of course, but I don’t think you would. I think you’d spend days admiring them in the mirror.” 

 

Why was he right? When had her eyes closed, when had she started pressing her legs together that tightly? The Doctor sucked in a breath. Time to get herself under control. Fight back a little. 

 

“You sound very sure of yourself for someone who’s slept with me once,” she said. A weak attempt at grasping back some control, but an attempt nonetheless. 

 

“Once? My dear Doctor, you must be forgetting our Academy days. We were like rabbits back then, and I got to know you very intimately...” 

 

“Different body, different rules,” she said, feeling a little of her usual confidence returning. Shakier than usual, but coming back nonetheless. “Are you sure you were as good as you thought, or was I just being nice because I thought you were a sweet human?” He’d been good. Very good. But he didn’t have to know that. 

 

“I know what you look like when you’re enjoying yourself,” the Master said, sounded more irritated than smug this time. 

 

The Doctor said nothing back, just sent him an image of the face O had made when he came. Privately, she’d thought it was cute, but more importantly, it was vulnerable. That’s what the Master wouldn’t like. 

 

She felt a growl of annoyance echo through her mind, and managed a whole two seconds of a smug grin before an image was thrust into her mind, and her eyes widened. 

 

Her on her back, the Master’s hand around her throat, her neck and shoulders covered in purple bruises and red, bloody bite marks. Him above her, hair a mess, back scratched up, his lower lip caught between his teeth with pleasure. That definitely hadn’t happened, but he’d always had a good imagination- always been a better telepath than her. She shivered, letting the image linger in her mind for longer than she really should have. 

 

“What’s that, then? Some fantasy you get off to when you’re bored?”

 

“Oh no, Doctor. I found that in your head when I had you distracted.” She froze. Okay, so maybe her thoughts had wandered a little in the previous two nights she’d been unable to sleep. But that wasn’t a fantasy, that was just- just an image. “I was surprised, too, but...mm, pleasantly so. I’d be happy to make that little scenario a reality, Doctor. Any time.”

 

“Not a chance,” she snapped. She’d slept with O, and that was enough. She never wanted to see the Master like that again. Never. She just hadn’t kicked him out of her head yet because...because...she was bored. 

 

“Fine. But just remember, Doctor, I could wreck you just like you want. I could have you moaning out my name. I’d make you come more times than any human ever could.” 

 

She didn’t say anything, mostly because she was focused on hiding the fact that her hand had slipped down inside her trousers. The Master was right, this would help her sleep, and she...she liked hearing him talk like this. It pained her to admit it, but it was true. 

 

“No snarky response this time?” The Master was silent for a moment, and the Doctor could feel him prodding at her mental barriers. One of her fingers grazed against a particularly sensitive spot, and she gasped, and then cursed herself, and then cursed herself again a moment later when she felt pure glee flood through their mental link. “Oh, Doctor... I might have known. Getting yourself off on me talking to you? That’s just filthy...”

 

“Shut up,” she said, and she sent him a new image. The Master with his wrists tied above his head, and her on top, hands pressed against his chest- in control, utterly. “That’s the only way I want to see you in my bed.”

 

“Hmm... I could get behind that. You do look very pretty on top, Doctor. Do you remember back in the Academy, when you used to ride me?” She did remember. Images flooded back into her head- blond curls falling in her face, desperate gasps and muffled noises as she’d rocked up and down in the Master’s lap. Not the Master, back then. 

 

“Koschei...” Her fingers curled inside of her, thumb rubbing insistent circles on her clit. This was a bad idea, she’d regret it in the morning, but for now- now she wanted to sleep, and she wanted the Master, because she always had, and right now he couldn’t hurt her or pull off any evil schemes. 

 

“Theta,” he said back, and his voice sounded surprisingly shaky. The Doctor frowned, pressing more against his mind and finding feverish undercurrents of heat, of pleasure

 

“Apparently I’m not the only one enjoying myself,” she commented.

 

“Can’t get enough of you, it seems. I like having your attention, Doctor. I would- I’d let you tie me down, blindfold me, anything you wanted if it meant I got to have you.” 

 

She had no idea if he was telling the truth. But oh, it was tempting. It was so tempting to find him, make these imagined fantasies into reality. The Doctor felt her toes curl with pleasure as she imagined it, her free hand flying to her mouth so she had something to bite down on. 

 

“You’re close,” the Master said roughly in her mind- a statement, not a question. “Theta, fuck, you look so perfect when you come. You always have. And it’s all mine to see. Mine.” 

 

The Doctor bit down on her fist almost hard enough to draw blood, back arching off the bed as electric pleasure crackled through her. She couldn’t get the image of O out of her head, how it had felt to have him hold her through her climax. How it would feel to have the Master do the same- with the same hands, but rougher, more familiar. Even though she couldn’t have that, couldn’t trust him. 

 

She felt the connection between them flare again only moments later, the Master’s own climax sending residual prickles of sensation through her. The Doctor just lay back, eyes half-shut, chest rising and falling fast. 

 

“I missed that. Liked it more in person, though,” he said. 

 

Me too, she did not say. “Not going to happen again. Not now I know who you are.”

 

“I believe you. For now.” The Master chuckled darkly, the sound rippling around the Doctor’s head in a way that made her shiver. 

 

“Get out of my head. I need to sleep,” she said shortly. The faintest feeling of regret was already starting to sink in, but for different reasons than she’d expected. Now, she didn’t quite trust herself not to do this again. Not to go further. 

 

“Sweet dreams, my dear Doctor. I’ll see you again soon enough, I’m sure...” The Master pulled out of her head before she could snap anything back at him, and she scowled. 

 

The Doctor rolled over onto her side, clutching that pillow to her chest again. Burying her face in it, and trying so, so hard not to imagine it was a real person in her arms. One real person in particular.

 

She would sleep that night, better than she had in months, even. But oh, she hoped that the price she’d paid was worth it.