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The best part of this, the Master decided, was that he now had the perfect excuse to stick long, painful needles into the Doctor's body whenever he felt like it. Womb pregnancy had been almost unheard of back when there had been a Gallifrey, and engineering a male pregnancy was incredibly dangerous. So much to the Master's enjoyment and the Doctor's suffering, there were endless tests, regular injections of various chemicals and hormones, and even implants surgically, delicately inserted into his guts. Most of it was even necessary.

He'd taken extraordinary delight in operating on the Doctor. It had been incredibly intimate, feeling him from the inside, having his life so utterly in his hands. One operation hadn't even been to make any changes at all; he'd just needed to see all that blood and pulsing life again, hold a beating heart in his hand and spend a long time deciding whether or not to squeeze it like an orange. The surgeon's art was almost better than the power rush of domination.


No, he'd been wrong. The best part of this that the Doctor submitted willingly, even eagerly, to the Master's slightest whim. The Doctor trusted him, needed him. It suited his plans perfectly. And oh, he had such plans.

But every plan had to start somewhere.

"Take it out! Undo it!" the Doctor shouted, straining at the metal bindings. If he wasn't careful, he was going to break something, probably a blood vessel or a wrist. "This is wrong, it's impossible, you can't do this!"

"Oh, do shut up," the Master said. The Doctor had been going on like this for a while. It was a shame that the shock had worn off, because now the Doctor's usual tedious moralizing was back. Fortunately it had come with a healthy dose of fear. The Master loved feeling that through the Archangel link. The Doctor was, in fact, rather terrified.

He should be. Pregnancy was likely to kill him, unless the Master was very careful.

"I believe you need some time to think," the Master told him. He held up a needle and waved it in front of the Doctor's face. "Nighty-night," he said, and injected the sleeping drug. The Doctor's buzzing panic faded as his eyes rolled in his head and he went satisfyingly limp.

Perhaps he shouldn't have killed all the humans yet, the Master reflected, as he hauled the Doctor off the laboratory table and dragged him into the hallway. Keeping a few docile soldiers around, or even his failing Lucy, would have spared him the grunt work. Unfortunately, the Toclafane were not graced with subtlety. There was only one human left in the universe, and the Freak barely even qualified for that.

He dumped the Doctor's naked body onto the floor of his new cell. It was rather nice for a prison, really. A soft bed, a small library, a private bath and even a little kitchenette. The president wasn't going to be needing his suite anymore. The Master had already taken care to remove anything sharp or useful for escaping, and even if the Doctor did get up to his old tricks, there were plenty of hidden cameras, and of course, he could see everything the Doctor thought, feel every emotion.

Trapping him in the Archangel network had been, if he said so himself, a stroke of genius. When he'd first caught the Doctor snooping around in there he'd been furious, but a moment's reflection had shown him the possibilities. When the Doctor stopped snooping and began actually weaving himself in, opening up billions of pathways into his normally guarded mind, it had been a hundred birthdays rolled into one.

The Doctor's sheer need for him had been the cherry on top. A pathetic combination of survivor's guilt, loneliness, and lost friendship that would be almost too easy to exploit. But first things first.

When the Doctor woke up in a soft, warm bed, he fervently hoped it had all been a dream. Trapped in the deaths of billions of humans, forced to watch the Earth burn, and then... his hand flattened against his abdomen, and his eyes opened wide. He couldn't have. He must have been lying. Some twisted mind game, a trick to amuse himself. The Master couldn't have done something so... so perverse.

He had. Oh Rassilon, he had. What was he going to do?

"Oh, Martha," he whispered. "I'm so sorry." It had all gone pear-shaped in the worst way, and she'd looked so betrayed just before she'd died. He'd failed her, failed everyone. The screams still echoed in his mind, mingling with the screams of Time Lords and Daleks. Another race dead, and quite possibly this one hurt the worst.

There was still the paradox machine. If he could escape and figure out how to disable it, he was fairly sure this would all be undone. Back to 9:02 am, back to when there were still so many choices he could make. He knew the Master would have it heavily guarded, though, and he didn't have the key to his ship even if he could get past however many Toclafane surrounded it. Oh, his poor ship.

The weight of all the grief and horror made it hard to breathe, but he forced his lungs to do their job. No matter what had been lost, no matter what madness the Master had done to him, he would find a way to undo his failure. Whatever it cost.

He could feel the Master in his mind. Not pushing or probing, just a constant presence. Listening, watching, lurking like a very patient jungle cat. Perhaps he knew how exposed the Doctor's mind was, how easily he could move through it, so he didn't need to dig his claws in and tear him apart. The Doctor had struggled in vain to disentangle himself from the network once he'd realized his mistake, but after endless days of listening to humanity die his best efforts had failed. He'd expected a tremendous rush of psychic energy to pour into him and save him, but in taking down all his defences he'd made himself even more helpless. He struggled now to erect some kind of makeshift barriers, and to reinforce whatever walls still held.

To his surprise, the Master didn't try to stop him. He was afraid of what that meant.

It was days before the Master appeared in the flesh. The Doctor had been sleeping fitfully when suddenly a hand spread against his belly, and he jolted awake.

"Good morning," the Master greeted, all toothy smiles. The Doctor was reminded of a particularly satisfied crocodile. He looked down to see that the sheets had been pushed aside, exposing his nakedness. He flushed and scooted away, pulling the bedclothes up as he did. It wasn't modesty, he told himself. It was just that the last thing he needed was to feel more vulnerable.

"Some clothes would be nice," the Doctor said, pointedly.

"Oh, did I forget about those?" the Master said, innocently. "I'm sure I can find something for you. Not sure what I did with that old suit of yours."

The Doctor suddenly, intensely missed that suit, and his coat, and his sonic. What he wouldn't give to have his sonic screwdriver back.

"Maybe if you're good," the Master told him.

"What's 'being good' in your world?" the Doctor asked, dryly. It wasn't as if he had any intention of being cooperative.

"I'm so glad you asked," the Master replied, settling fully alongside him on the bed. "For a start, you need to take care of yourself. You're eating for two, now."

"Stop it," the Doctor spat. "You can't seriously expect me to go along with this... this..."

"New life? Blessed miracle?"


The Master looked offended. "That's our child you're talking about."

"Our-- You--!" the Doctor sputtered. He crossed his arms defiantly.

"Oh, don't pout," the Master said. "Isn't this what you wanted? A new generation of Time Lords? A family?" He leaned close. "To be a father again?"

"Not like this," the Doctor said, wishing he didn't want all those things. Wishing he didn't need to want them. It was his fault that his people were dead, his fault his own granddaughter--

"Shh," the Master said, resting a hand on his chest, over one heart. "I know."

The Doctor really wished that hand wasn't so bloody comforting.

"I know this is difficult for you," the Master continued. "You've been through a great deal. You need time to adjust. It's perfectly understandable. But you haven't eaten anything in days. It's not healthy. Now I've brought you some breakfast, and I want you to eat every bite."

There was a tray full of food on the nightstand. The Master placed it on the Doctor's lap. French toast and bacon and bowls of fruit and vegetables. The Doctor's stomach twisted with hunger.

"I made it myself," the Master said, as if that made a difference.

The Doctor sighed. "Fine," he said, picked up a rasher and tore off a piece. It was only to keep his strength up for escape, that was all.

A surprisingly short amount of time later, the only things left on the tray, aside from the crockery, were pieces of green melon and cauliflower. This body didn't like those very much. He leaned back, feeling stuffed.

"Much better," the Master said, approvingly. He took the tray and stood up. "I'll be back later with something for you to wear." Be good, and get what you want: the message was loud and clear.

"Thank you, Master," the Doctor said.

The Master awarded that with a shot of forced pleasure that left the Doctor breathless, long after the Master had gone.

"You couldn't find anything more... dignified?" the Doctor asked, making a face. He was used to stylishly-cut suits, things that hugged in the right places. This was just a few steps up from a hospital gown. At least he had trousers again.

"The Toclafane killed all the tailors," the Master said, shrugging. "Now come on, it's time for your check-up."

"I don't need one."

"Yes, you do," the Master said, making it clear that he would brook no argument. "Your condition isn't exactly natural. You may not care if our child survives, but I don't believe you're ready to die of sepsis when it rots inside you."

The Doctor shuddered. "All right, all right. You've made your point."

It was a short walk to the lab, and of course he had to disrobe again and climb back onto that table. He tried not to flinch as the metal bindings locked around his limbs. The Master scanned him with one gadget after another, and pressed his fingers around the shape of the womb he'd forced the Doctor's body to grow. The Doctor felt more than a bit sick at the sensation of the hard, unnatural lump inside him.

The Master gave him a disappointed look for thinking such a thing, and then left to rustle through a fridge full of small glass bottles. He returned with three and a needle.

"Intravenous is a bit old-fashioned," the Doctor said, aiming for bravado and not quite making it.

"Twenty-first century technology," the Master said, resigned. "We just have to make do." He was suddenly amused "Don't tell me you're afraid of needles."

"Of course not!" the Doctor said, but the Master just looked at him knowingly. "Oh, very well. Maybe a bit." He mentally stuck his tongue out. Needles were just so... pointy. There were a lot of things he didn't like that were sharp, like the wrong ends of pitchforks and guillotines. There wasn't any reason he shouldn't find them unpleasant.

"I'm hardly going to be chopping off your head," the Master said.

"Stop reading my mind," the Doctor demanded, nerves frayed. "I demand that you get out."

"No," the Master said, calmly.

"It's obscene! You don't... you can't sit in someone's head like this. It goes against everything--" The Master shut him up with a mental slap that left the Doctor stunned.

"You do not tell me what I can and can't do," he said, leaning ominously over him. "I want that to be perfectly clear in your disaster of a mind. Now you're going to be quiet and still while I give you the shots that keep you alive. Is that understood?"

The Doctor nodded. He flinched with each painful jab, and suspected the Master took care to make them hurt more than they should, but he kept his mouth shut.

The chemicals rushed through his bloodstream, propelled by both hearts. His arm was sore, and after a few minutes he began to feel lethargic and shaky.

"What did you do?" he asked, the words slurring. "In the... in the bottles, what..."

The world slipped away.

When he opened his eyes, time had passed. He felt sore all over.

"Don't try to move," the Master warned, looking down at him with something that might even be concern. "You had a bad reaction."

A sudden, surprising fear clenched around his hearts. "The... Is it...?" he asked, unable to say the words.

"The baby's fine," the Master said, giving him a soft smile and stroking his forehead. "You've been unconscious for a week."

A week. Bloody hell. "Please, stop this. It isn't going to work," he said.

"Yes, it is," the Master insisted. "I just needed to find the right combination. I kept you out until I found it. You should thank me for that."

The Doctor gave a dry sob of a laugh. "This is madness."

The Master simply smiled.

They fell into a regular schedule after that. Every other day the Doctor was brought to the lab, where the Master would run test after test and then give him another round of injections. He did seem to have found the right combination, as they only left the Doctor feeling a little tired rather than almost killing him. Usually he ended up taking a short nap once he was brought back to his room, and the next day, the lab-free day, he always felt strangely energized.

The Master told him not to bounce too hard off the walls on those days. It was particularly difficult being locked in when he wanted to run and run on some alien world, when he ached for his TARDIS, when he missed his companions, when he needed space. There wasn't enough space, even in his large suite. Near the end of the day he would get so jittery that he couldn't concentrate enough to read or write and his mind was such a relentless jumble of thoughts that eventually the Master would have to come into his room and force him to calm down.

Sometimes that meant another shot, or his mind being wrenched quiet. Usually, though, it meant talking.

The first thing they'd talked about was the War. The Master had been there, he understood like no one else could. He knew about the unspeakable horrors, the painful losses, the sacrifices. Once the Doctor had started to talk about it, it had been so easy to keep going, to unburden himself at long last. He felt absurdly grateful, embarrassed by how much he needed it. When he'd finally told the Master how he'd done it, ended the Time War, afterwards it felt as though he'd been gutted and then filled with helium.

When the Doctor had run out of words, when there were no more ghosts to exorcise, the Master drew him back and back. Their dance across the cosmos, battle after battle, going backwards along their personal timelines.

Do you remember...

Oh, that time when we...

I had you just where I wanted you, until...

He made the Doctor laugh, and smile, and shake his head saying no no no, it went this way, you've got it all wrong. It was suddenly everything the Doctor had ached for, from the moment he'd realized that the fascinatingly smart old man at the end of the Universe was his oldest foe and oldest friend. Even with the endless tests, even with the way the shots screwed with his system and his moods, it felt as though he'd been given a gift, a second chance. This was the Master he'd longed for.

Do you remember the Academy? he'd asked, finally, and an old memory that wasn't his own was suddenly there, filling his mind, and it was so exquisite that it made him ache. The Master had left him alone that night, and the Doctor had lain awake, turning it over and over, reliving that memory, that cold winter afternoon outside the dome, when they'd kissed.

That was when the touching had begun. Oh, the Master had touched him constantly before that, helping him walk when he was tired, clinically probing during his check-ups, even caring hands on his face and his body when they were together in his room. The Doctor was used to those by now, after so much time. Had it really been months? The bulge in his abdomen proved as much.

He wasn't horrified anymore, if only because he was used to his situation. And the Master had made the situation quite simple for him: either help him keep the baby alive, or die horribly when the baby died inside him with no way out. He was a living incubator, and didn't have a choice. So he'd accepted it, at least for now.

He didn't really want it to die. He often found himself holding a protective hand over where it was growing, wishing for it to be a better Time Lord than he'd been. It was life, and he'd seen too much death to not cherish it for what it was. Hope, the future, a chance for something better. Was this how mothers felt? He thought he understood Jackie better now, and Francine. Odds were, though, that it would never survive, no matter how skilled the Master was at genetic engineering. It was a miracle it had even lasted this long, and who knew what the chemical cocktails were doing to the Doctor's body? He might fail before the baby did, and regeneration wouldn't be likely to spare it. It would be burned out of him with the excess regenerative energy.

"Stop thinking about it. You'll make yourself ill," the Master told him, when he found the Doctor in one of his black moods.

"Was this your plan all along?" the Doctor asked, feeling sorry for the poor, doomed life within him, sorry for himself for being so useless. "Make me want this... this thing and then let it kill me?"

"Of course not," the Master said, sharply. "Don't be ridiculous."

"It's killing me," he'd said, certain of it. "You're killing me."

"I'm keeping you alive," the Master reminded him. "I thought you were past that pathetic suicide wish."

"Don't let me kill it," he begged, suddenly so afraid. "Promise me you'll save it."

The Master looked at him carefully, and frowned. "Something's wrong. I'm taking you to the lab."

That was when the Doctor had been sick all over the bed, and then fainted.

When he woke up this time, he was sore all over, but his stomach bloody well hurt.

"Ow," he whimpered.

"Don't be such a wimp," the Master told him, but the Doctor could see he was relieved. There were scans and a small battery of tests, and just one injection this time, before the Master told him what had happened. "Hormone imbalance. I had to put an implant behind the womb, to keep things regulated."

"You what?" the Doctor gaped. Given how invasive the Master had been up to now, it shouldn't have shocked him that he'd ended up cut open. But surgery was, like pregnancy and needles, considered astoundingly primitive on Gallifrey. He had a mental flash of the Master's hands buried in his guts, and wasn't sure if it was his imagination or the Master being helpful.

"I'll have to replace it in a couple of months," the Master continued, ignoring him. "Don't worry, I haven't left a scar. You'll still be able to wear your bikini."

The Doctor glared at him, and then gave a strained laugh. "I'm falling apart," he said, certain that he was.

"No," the Master said, gently. "You'll get through this. We'll get through this."

The Doctor shook his head. "You've had to cut me open," he said, barely able to believe the words even as he said them. Grace had cut him open, Grace had killed him. He was panicking, he knew it, but he couldn't make it stop.

"It was just another procedure. I'm not some human with a scalpel. I know exactly what I'm doing." The Master reached into his mind and forced him to be calm. "You need to relax, so you can heal."

"What am I to you?" the Doctor asked, feeling like a thing, like a puppet, like a victim.

"You're the Doctor," the Master told him, kindly. "And I'm taking care of you. Now sleep."

The Doctor slept.

The pain had faded by the time he awoke, in his cleaned bed, but the soreness had doubled. It was just as well that the Master knew his every thought, because at least that meant his captor and torturer and friend was already there, bringing in food and water and medication. Time Lords weren't supposed to need medication, but there wasn't a word for what he'd been turned into.

"I won't ask how you're feeling," the Master said, helping him swallow some unidentified pills. The Master never told him what he was being given, and the Doctor knew that there was no point in asking.

"You already know," the Doctor pointed out, not for the first time. "You already know everything." He truly hated that, the constant, utter invasion of it, never having a moment to himself. But the few times the Master had pulled out, just for a minute, the Doctor had begged him to come back, to stay with him. He couldn't bear to be alone. He was such a wreck.

"I won't leave you," the Master said, knowing what the Doctor needed to hear. "I'm not leaving. I'll keep you safe."

"Master," the Doctor said, as much a plea as a sob, and oh, there was his reward, his hit of pleasure amidst the pain. "Master," he said again, and moaned softly as the Master obligingly toyed with his mind.

His body was falling apart, but oh, the Master held his mind together.

"Good," the Master soothed, pleased. "Very good." He stroked his hand over the bulge of the Doctor's belly, so lightly it didn't aggravate the healing insides under his unblemished skin. "Such a good Doctor. Say my name, and I'll make it feel so very good."

"Master, Master, Master," he breathed, couldn't stop himself, needed the Master so badly. He was certain he was losing his sanity. "Please stop this," he begged, when the pleasure eased again. "Please take it out of me. It's too much."

"No," the Master said. "If you want me, you won't ask me to kill it."

"You could transfer it to an incubator," the Doctor managed, despite the fog in his mind, the turmoil of his emotions. "Why didn't you just grow it in an incubator?"

"Because it has to be yours," the Master told him. "I can't transfer it. It's too late now. I looked at it with my own eyes, while you were splayed open on the table."

The Doctor saw it too, now, in all its bloody glory. The tiny, rough shape of the baby growing inside him. He did sob now, and clutched at the Master's shirt. "What have you done?" he cried.

"I've made life," the Master said, proudly.