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The Doctor stood outside the bedroom, debating going in. The TARDIS had been in the Vortex for two days, and he wasn’t planning on leaving it any time soon. Not with so unstable a traveling companion.

He’d got the Master to the TARDIS med-bay, and removed the bullet before he died. The other Time Lord was stable, but still unconscious, and the Doctor had made preparations for when he woke up.

He’d debated locking him in his room, but decided that was too extreme. If he was ever going to get the Master to trust him, he’d need to give him as much freedom as possible. So he’d locked all the doors to the console room, taken everything the Master could conceivably use as a weapon or means of suicide and put it in his own room, then locked that as well.

He sighed, and opened the door.

The Master was awake, in a dressing gown and pyjamas, sitting at a desk writing something. When he heard the door open, he looked up.

“So, you’ve got the best of me again. Come to gloat?” His voice was laced with bitterness and frustration.

“Of course not,” the Doctor scoffed.

“Why not? I’m at your mercy. You’ve got me right where you want me. If the situation were reversed, I’d gloat.”

“Except for one thing. I’m not you.”

“Ah, yes, that’s right. You’re the sanctimonious Doctor, who’s going to keep me a prisoner until I ‘mend my ways.’” He laid sarcasm on his voice with a trowel.

“You’re not a prisoner,” he protested.

“Aren’t I? You won’t let me leave the TARDIS, even if you materialized it somewhere.”

He fidgeted. “Not yet.”

“Not ever. I’m not stupid, Doctor. I’m your prisoner, and you’re my jailer.”

The Doctor sighed. “Fine. Have it your way, then.” He moved to leave, adding over his shoulder, “You’re free to go anywhere except the console room.”

“How very kind of you,” the Master replied, mockingly.


He resolved to stay away from the Master, who remained in his room, but then he realized that he hadn’t eaten anything since he’d been on the TARDIS, so he went to the kitchen to get him some food and tea.

“My ration of bread and water?” the Master asked drily.

“You’re not a prisoner, now eat!” the Doctor growled, setting it down.

“Oh, I don’t think so. I won’t take anything from you.”

“You’ve got to eat.”

“You can’t force me, Doctor. I believe a hunger-strike is traditionally the only form of protest prisoners can engage in?”

“Fine. Go hungry.” He left again, deciding the Master could fend for himself.

The next day, against his better judgement, he went to see the Master again.

“How are you doing?” The other Time Lord ignored him. He sighed. “Look, I’m sorry.”

The Master stared at him. “Sorry?! For what? For keeping me here?”

“For what I did when we were younger.”

“Which part, exactly? The way you broke your promise? The way you abandoned me? The way you threw me to the wolves?”

“All of it.”

“Oh, no, Doctor, you’re not going to get what you want. Not this time. I won’t give you absolution. Not for what you did to me, and not for what you did to Gallifrey.” The Doctor winced. “It’s funny, really. For all your complaining, you never hesitated to do what they asked you. You might have hated them, but they were still your people, born under the same stars, walking under the same sun. Now the stars are still there, and the sun, but Gallifrey is gone. Because of you.”

“Stop it,” he pleaded quietly.

“Are you pleased with yourself, Doctor? Two entire civilisations, wiped out in an instant.”

“Stop it! I did what I had to do!”

“And do you regret it, Doctor? If you had it to do over again, if you could go back and change the past, would you still do it? Knowing what it’s like to be alone?”

He hesitated. “Yes.”

“You’re lying. You’re right, you’re nothing like me. I wouldn’t have hesitated to destroy the universe if it needed to be done, and I’d never regret it like you do. Ironic, isn’t it, Doctor? Of all the people who could have survived, your friends, your family, it had to be me. Perhaps it’s fated. Perhaps neither of us can exist without the other. Still, you must hate me.”

“I don’t hate you,” he said softly.

“Oh, please, Doctor, spare me the platitudes,” the Master sneered. “You can’t have me rampaging around the universe, so you decide to keep me here. It doesn’t mean you give a damn about me, we both know that. But I’ll escape someday, you mark my words. And then I’ll make you pay for everything you’ve done to me!”

“I’m sure someday you will. But not today.” He left, trying not to think of what the Master said. It was true, all of it. He’d committed genocide twice over, once on his own people, and now he and the Master were the only two Time Lords left. He took a moment to muse on the irony of that; the Master had always been indestructible, coming back despite being trapped, incinerated, bereft of any more regenerations, killed and left on Skaro...rather like himself, really. And now he had to somehow keep him in check. He sighed, and went to get something to eat.


The next day he was half considering letting the Master loose. He realised he’d been an idiot to think he could get through to him. The Master would no sooner stop trying to oppress and destroy than he would to liberate and preserve.

He couldn’t let the Master loose on an unsuspecting universe. With his powers of mesmerism, he’d wreak havoc in a matter of months, and the Doctor would always be trying to catch up. He decided to ignore the goading as best he could, and continue checking up on him. He headed to the room he’d given to the Master.


The Master clutched his head, moaning. The drums had been with him ever since he’d looked into the Vortex at the age of eight. Even when he was human, he hadn’t been rid of them. They’d been faint at first, but gotten louder, goading him to conquer. Whenever he was powerless, or his plans weren’t going right, they’d become deafening.

Now he was in the Doctor’s power, helpless, with no way of escaping, and the drums were painful. Kill him. Kill the Doctor. It’s the only way.

So when the Doctor came into his room, he launched himself at him and put his hands around his throat. The Doctor clawed at his hands, trying to draw breath, his eyes wide.

When he collapsed, after quite a long while, the Master grabbed his shoulders. He was only unconscious, not dead, and rather than finishing the job, he merely looked at him. No trace in this man of Theta, or of the other Doctors he’d known; the dandy, the one who insisted on wearing that ridiculous scarf, or the absurd cricketing gear, or that horrendously tacky coat. No trace of the one who’d almost killed him with a rock, or the one who’d trapped him in the heart of his TARDIS.

This one was just a skinny man in a suit with hair that seemed to have exploded. The Master could break him in half without trying. Certainly he should kill him, for keeping him here, for having the audacity to forgive him. The drums urged him on, but he fought off the desire to control, control.

He wasn’t able to fight it off completely; he grabbed the unconscious man before him and pressed his lips to his in a bruising kiss. The Doctor revived a little and struggled against him, but the Master ignored him. He moved down to bite at the juncture of his neck and shoulder, leaving a mark, and the Doctor cried out.

The Doctor pushed him off, and stared at him as if he’d gone mad. The Master moved forward again, pinned his arms behind him with one hand, and wrestled him out of his jacket. He had to let go of his hands to get it off completely, but rather than shoving him off again, the Doctor’s hands fisted in his shirt and pulled him closer.

The Master was surprised, but not displeased. He let the Doctor take off his jacket, as he pulled off the other Time Lord’s tie and shirt. With his hands on the Doctor’s hips hard enough to bruise, he sank his teeth into one of his pectoral muscles and the Doctor gave a gasping moan and arched toward him.

He let go of him long enough to remove his trousers and pants, then moved to unbutton the Doctor’s fly. He noticed with some satisfaction that he hadn’t lost his touch; the Doctor was hard already.

“This is going to hurt,” he said, wondering why he’d warned him, and thrust into him without any preparation. There was resistance, of course, but the Doctor forced himself to relax, and then he was moving, and it was hot and tight and Rassilon he’d missed this.

He realized something else. The drums had risen to a crescendo, then faded out entirely, leaving silence behind. He was alone in his head for the first time in centuries, the only sounds now the Doctor’s moans, his grunts, and the frantic, staccato rhythm of four hearts.

“Please,” the Doctor suddenly gasped out.

He looked into his face and smirked at the expression of pure, desperate need painted across his features. “Please what?”

The Doctor growled at him, but he rotated his hips, and the Doctor gave a ragged cry and gasped “Please…Master…”

It wasn’t a name this time, said with a mental roll of the eyes for the affectation. It was an acknowledgement, an admission of being owned, and it made the Master dizzy. He reached down and took hold of the Doctor, and with a cry of “Koschei!” he came all over him.

The Master might have protested at the use of the name he’d left behind so long ago, but with the Doctor contracting around him, he was coming as well, with a moaned “Theta!”

He pulled out after a moment, realising he’d finally got the better of the Doctor, fucking him in his own TARDIS. The Doctor stared at him with a glazed expression. “What now?”

The Master shrugged. “Still want to keep me here?”

The Doctor stared at him. “You know I have to.”

He smirked. “I might not mind, so long as we do that again.”