At first, the Master thought that the best way to make use of his new toy would be to test all of its physical limits, in every way he could think of. He had Captain Jack Harkness shackled up in one of the Valiant's conference rooms, now converted into an impromptu dungeon of sorts, and proceeded to experiment with the various tools at his disposal. He considered himself an innovative artist dabbling in a new medium. He did his best to come up with new and exciting ways for the Captain to die, so that neither of them would get bored too quickly. While the mere sight of the temporal abomination in front of him was enough to make him sick to his stomach, he found it deeply satisfying and even soothing to watch Harkness killed and resurrected over and over again. He thrilled at destroying Harkness' flesh, and then watching the wounds heal up, the bruises and lumps disappear, the broken limbs right themselves and become whole again.
“My God. You're like a perpetual blank canvas,” he breathed, quite impressed. “Ha! That's a perfect description of you, eh, Jacky boy? A dull-as-dirt, impenetrable void. But the right kind of genius--one with art truly burning in his veins--can bring out such color and beauty in you, even if it is so very...fleeting.”
Jack didn't make any reply. He was usually so very charming and witty, but, after what had taken a damned long time, the Master had finally managed to make him shut up. At the beginning, the unflappable Jack would take the abuse and just flash his winning smile, teeth shining like luminescent pearls. Then the handsome hero would laugh and say with a grin, “Is that all you got? My little sister could stab harder than that!” After about the tenth hour or so, however, he'd been worn out and stopped being so chatty.
Finally, most of the creative possibilities were exhausted and the Master was no longer amused by using pedestrian tortures on his unbreakable plaything. He briefly contemplated throwing Harkness off of the platform of the Valiant, and then thought better of it. He could have had Jack video-taped as he fell, screaming and flapping and probably cackling insanely as the air turned to ice in his lungs and he contemplated what the impact would feel like. It would all be so lovely, but then the Master thought of the mess. It would be an absolutely hideous job for some poor bastard to have to clean up, and the healing process from that one would take so long, it would just be boring to watch.
He'd thought about torturing Harkness sexually, of course, but quickly discarded the notion, or at least the notion of doing anything to him physically. For a person such as the randy Captain Jack, bodily contact in any form was vastly more desirable than none at all. So the Master simply had him chained in an empty, unpopulated space of the airship, the only contact he had being with whoever was made to bring him his “meals”, if they could even be called that. Denying him any and all corporeal pleasure was definitely the best form of torture of all.
The Master had Lucy tease him by stripping naked a few feet in front of him and twirling around. She posed prettily for the two of them, displaying her pale, perfect skin and elegant curves to their best advantage.
“Look at that. Will you just look at that?” The Master said, shaking his head and marveling. “That's just...phwoor! Turn around for us, will you, my love? Yes! Now that, that is the world's most perfect arse. You must concede it. It just is. I want to meet the deity that came up with the design for that arse so I can shake its hand and say thanks.”
Lucy blushed and lowered her eyes demurely, extremely pleased with the flattery, and the Master whistled and applauded appreciatively. “Excellent work, darling! Thank you. You can get dressed now. Oh, and please go and tell Cook that we'll be wanting something exotic from the Endangered Species list tonight...perhaps some panda, if it's fresh? There's a good girl.” After she left, the Master leaned over to Jack and touched him conspiratorially on the shoulder. “Now I know you're at least half-poof, but that's got to make your mouth water. Come on, am I right?” He patted Jack chummily and goaded him with “Eh? Eh?” until they were both laughing naughtily like a pair of old mates.
Jack chuckled and said, “Your wife is completely and utterly gorgeous...and probably the most pathetic creature I've ever seen in my life. And you...you are the biggest asshole in the universe.” Jack kept laughing, and so did the Master, even as he picked up the cattle prod and zapped the other man with it.
“Ooh, how rude! And I was just trying to be helpful,” the Master said to Jack's limply hanging head. He didn't know if he was dead or only mostly dead, and he didn't care. “Giving you a dose of reality, Jacky, showing you some of the things you're never going to have again. I do mean never, you know. I'm going to keep you chained in whatever darkest hole I can find for the rest of eternity, and you'll never touch or taste anything worthwhile ever again. And you know why? Because you're one of the Doctor's pets, yes, but, honestly, more because of what sick, twisted freak you are. The Amazing Undead Boy...I should put up a circus tent and sell tickets.”
And yet, still, after all that, Jack--that hideous aberration--laughed and smiled whenever anyone else was around, his mind seeming as unchangeable and indestructible as his flesh. It vexed the Master, but he had more important matters to tend to. Destroying everything the Doctor loved while planning a coup d'etat of the entire universe at the same time was a full-time job.
The Doctor himself was no fun at all. He was like a wheelchair-bound basset hound; a worthless, wrinkly, silent lump with sad, heartbroken eyes. The Master sometimes wanted to change him back to his normal age, so that he could have something worthy of his skills to play with. He wasn't a complete idiot, though, and knew it would be too foolish a risk to give back his enemy's youthful energy. Besides, the Doctor would have just sat there, anyway, staring at him with the same eyes, looking much prettier but still offering nothing but the eye-rollingly tedious line, “I only have one thing to say to you.”
So, instead, the Master would sit with him and tell him everything about his fun times with dear old Jack, going into intricate detail about their little adventures in pain and humiliation. The Doctor listened to all of this impassively, but still, the Master knew that every word was like a needle in the eye.
“I have no idea how you can stand to be near that...thing. He's so deeply, fundamentally unnatural. Not to mention all those dimples, all that grinning. It would drive me mad. Plus he has that 'indefatigable human spirit' thing that you know I despise. And, you know something? He's never called me by my name. Not that I've instructed him to...that's something I reserve for very special relationships,” the Master said as he chuckled and petted the old man's head affectionately. “Still, it irks me.”
“He won't,” the old Doctor croaked.
“Oh no?” the Master said, pleased to have provoked the Doctor into speaking, even briefly.
“No. Not him. Never,” the Doctor replied, something vaguely like a smile forming in the deep wrinkles of his cheek-flaps.
“But you will.”
“Hmm,” the Master mused, and left the Doctor to his decrepitude.
The Master ruminated on this conversation for some time, and later that evening in bed with his wife, he asked, “So, what do you think of our Captain Jack?”
“Too many dimples. And those huge teeth of his are absolutely terrifying,” Lucy said, cuddling up against him, ready as ever to stroke his ego--and whatever else came to mind--as much as he wanted. “I much prefer men who are more mysterious...more subtle.” She smiled and slid a hand across his chest, nuzzling her face against his neck.
“Well, yes, but beyond that,” he said, grasping her hand to halt her temporarily. “The bland, good looks and annoying personality aside, is he really all that repellent, would you say?”
Lucy looked confused and a bit frightened, as if not sure what she was supposed to say. “I...I don't know. Harry, I mean, Master, what are you talking about?”
“Just an idea, my precious,” he said, kissing her reassuringly on the hand. “Daddy's formulating a new plan. You know our little emergency exit strategy, yes? I'm not sure how it well will work, exactly, but I might just have a new wrinkle to add to it.”
And so, when the day finally came (as the Master secretly knew in his heart it would) that the Doctor finally got around to defeating him, Lucy shot the Master to keep him from being imprisoned. He caught a glimpse of pain in her eyes as she did it, mixed with a tinge of relief. It didn't matter; she'd do as she was told, regardless. Captain Jack Harkness himself took the gun from her and held her by the arm, and the Master smiled to himself, smiled at the Doctor, smiled at his victory.
Later, after the Master was nothing but smoldering ashes on a somewhat melodramatically constructed funeral pyre, Lucy Saxon came to give her respects, escorted there by none other than Jack. She walked up to the smoking remains and picked up something from the ground. Jack approached, looking simultaneously sympathetic and suspicious.
“Mrs. Saxon...Lucy,” he said gently. “I'm sorry about everything you've been through. Hell, for what we've all been through. We can't really stick around long, though. We're expected somewhere else.”
“You're being so kind to me,” Lucy said, looking at the ring in her hand, a keepsake of her marriage. “I don't know why. I was as bad as he was, wasn't I? Just as rotten and evil.”
“Maybe,” Jack said thoughtfully. “I can't really say for sure. But you did the right thing in the end. You did what the Doctor wasn't able to do. You saved him from making what I'm positive would've been a horrible mistake...keeping the Master alive, trying to reform him.” They both chuckled darkly at this notion.
“I just feel like you're owed a second chance for that,” he said. “And...the look in your eyes. You always had this really familiar look, one I've seen in other people before. In myself, if I'm being honest. Time Lords can be very...overwhelming. It can be hard to see or think of anyone else once you've met one, you know?” They looked at each other, sadly and knowingly. “So, yeah, I'd like to believe that's what happened to you. You were overwhelmed.”
Lucy approached Jack slowly, gave him a cautious hug, and said softly through her tears, “Thank you for being so understanding. It was a very difficult marriage. I'm hoping to start my life again.”
Jack hugged her back a bit uncomfortably and said, “Anyway, I have some place to take you. You won't be free, but you'll get a nice rest, be taken care of. Maybe get your head back together. Does that sound good to you?”
Lucy looked up at him with wet eyes for a moment, then kissed him gently.
“Mrs. Saxon...we have to head back now, sorry,” Jack said, breaking off the kiss. “I need to get you to these people pretty quickly. The Doctor, well I don't think he'd really understand right now, so I'm trying to do this without...”
“You're such a sweet man,” she said, unrelenting, breathing against his lips. “I'm so grateful for the opportunity you're giving me. The chance to start things...fresh.” She kissed him again, deeply this time. Jack was overtaken by the presence of a warm body pressed against his, something he hadn't had in so long. She slid her tongue into his mouth, took his hand in hers, slipped the ring in her palm onto his finger.
The Master awoke, his being a fire rushing through Jack's veins. Jack made a choking sound, but the Master opened his mouth wider, inhaling and sucking on the tongue being offered to him. Lucy could taste the burning, feel her Master penetrate her mind once more. She moaned deliciously. He squeezed her perfect arse with his new hand.
After a long time, he pulled away. He opened his mouth and moved it around experimentally, touching his own jaw.
“Lord. My jaw...it's so square,” he said, with an accent and tone of voice Jack had never used in his life.
“Oh thank God it worked!” Lucy said, letting out a sigh of relief. “He was going to stick me in a sanitarium!”
“Oh, I'll stick something in your sanitarium,” the Master said and smacked her backside, then laughed with her and chewed on her lips. “But, later, my love. I have places to be.”
He went to see off the Doctor and Martha Jones. He flashed his brilliant smile, joked pleasantly with them, and they all basked in the glow of a world with that bad, bad Mister Master in it. He was so impressed with his own performance, he amused himself by coming up with a fantastic little story that implied Jack was to become the Face of Boe. He was delighted to see that the Doctor actually seemed to buy that one.
The ring worked perfectly. The Lazarus Labs technology in it not only helped to serve as a compact version of a Chameleon Arch containment device, but it also guarded him with a telepathy-blocking field to avoid detection. His new body might not be entirely to his liking, but it was wonderfully indestructible. He'd never have to worry about running out of regenerations again.
Well, it worked almost perfectly. The body was resilient, and so was the original occupant's mind. If it had been an ordinary human, the Master would have made short work of obliterating their consciousness, but Jack, as always, refused to die. The Master had to shove him into a tight little corner and keep him there, an irresistible force pressing down on him. However, he couldn't stop Jack from peeking in and making the occasional, unwanted commentary. After a time, he resigned himself with having to live with the additional nuisance, along with the drums. Well, at least someone else could finally hear them.
He chose to take Jack's place in Torchwood for the moment, delighting in finding new and fun ways to mess with humanity from inside the organisation meant to protect them from malevolent forces just like him. Jack's people weren't particularly bright, and he found it fairly easy to subvert their cause in little ways, taking his time in bringing them down, all the while seeming the same, charming, brightly smiling leader Jack had been. When Jack felt particularly rebellious and tried to break free, to find a way to warn the others, the Master simply flicked him back to his little corner with a mental finger.
Say my name, the Master would say, pushing him down, down, down.
Master, would come the reply. And you're still an asshole.