Doctor Who - BBC
<< Previews <<>> Start <<
Night had settled over the planet, its sky only illuminated by the lights of the still ongoing festival and countless stars. So many places to go, so many things to see. Seeing places... the Doctor always had emphasized that this was enough. But interfering here and there was at least as much fun.
Interfering... There was an additional reason she was staying and not running away right now. And that reason was still imprisoned and heavily guarded.
With a sigh Roka leaned against the inn's wall and slightly sunk together, breathing clouds of vapor into the air. The cold sobered her a bit up again, as did the pain on her chest that seemed to get worse. This patch had only stopped the bleeding, not healed anything.
Next to her the doors opened, letting out some of the warm light and the loud noises, together with a small swarm of people, lastly followed by the young Master and Darook.
"Leaving so soon?" Roka remarked snidely. "And that without even blowing up the inn. I'm almost disappointed." She knew it wasn't fair, but since his future version was ignoring her, this one was good enough to let her frustration out.
"That wouldn't be a bad idea actually..." He turned towards her, then eyed the building, scratching his beard. "Got everything I wanted from that place anyway."
Darook gave him a warning look. "Not with me around."
"Tzz, you're such a spoiler, stick-head. But fine." He shrugged and wanted to walk away.
"Wait a second!" Roka suddenly called out. And when he threw an annoyed and disgusted glance at her, she glared back, having a grim smile on her face. "You haven't paid me for my service."
The Master laughed out and seemed to sense some fun ahead, since he came closer to tower above her like a predator. Roka, who had gotten skilled at that, simply ignored it, which in return slightly irritated him. "Go inside and bug my future about it," he grumbled. "That gloomy mood seems to be your fault anyway."
She opened her mouth, but closed it again, now unsure what to say.
A mean laugh came from the Master. "Why, you look quite miserable too. Got abandoned? Like a dirty little puppy?" He put on a mocking pout. "What a shame."
Roka scowled. "You really can be disgusting."
"Oi, don't tell him that" Darook tossed in. "Just makes him proud."
"Shut up, stick head."
"See? That grin's bigger than your ego, and that's really hard to manage." The small guy evaded a kick and snickered at him.
"You won't remember this, right?" Roka now dared to ask.
"No..." he squinted at her. "And I don't like that question. What do you want?"
"Just some... insight." She hesitated for a bit, then continued, "No idea what's wrong with him? I mean you... whatever." She rolled her eyes.
"No. I couldn't get a single word out of him." The Master looked a bit puzzled. "Which means this must be something serious. And I don't like that." His gaze wandered over her, this time longer, soaking in every detail, as if to find out who she was and what she could mean to his future.
"I think..." Roka tried to choose her words carefully. "You did something you're regretting now. More... than one thing actually." It was just too tempting to get some insight from himself. "Running away doesn't seem to be an option, since he's still here. But... I don't know... just... help me." She hadn't wanted to say the last part out loud, but if there even was the slightest chance of fixing the situation somehow, she had to try.
Darook stood next to them, his head wandering back and forth between the two, until he only stared at the Master after he forgot Roka. "Why're ya staring at that wall?" He scratched his head. "Let's go back."
The Master looked at him, then back at Roka, his eyes thoughtful and dark. She noted how they were a lot less... mad. At that age the drums must have been a lot quieter. But in a way this calmness made him also seem a lot more dangerous. Less chaotic, more calculated. She had to imagine a chess player, patiently awaiting his turn to beat his opponent with a surprising move. And she knew, had they met at this stage, he wouldn't have taken her along, would have killed her probably the first day.
"I don't get it," he finally said in a cold tone. "But my instinct tells me to interfere."
With that he grabbed Roka by her jacket and dragged her back into the building. She had no idea what he had planned and tried to free herself from his grip while stumbling after him. Eventually she saw they were approaching the other Master, who was sitting on the edge of a bench, staring at the crowd as if to decide how to best ruin the evening for them, and his fingers drummed a rhythm of four on the table. As he saw the three approaching his look turned surprised.
The young Master tore Roka in front of him and threw her right onto the older one's lap.
"Talk." He commanded, then rolled his eyes at himself. "Don't gimme that look. I know I'm rubbish at that." Without another word he spun around, now grabbing the extraordinarily curious looking Darook and dragged him into the crowd.
It took both of them several moments to grasp the situation, but then Roka remembered, where she was sitting right now, blushed horribly and wanted to get up, fast. She almost managed, but then she got torn back again and the Master wrapped his arms around her shoulders, leaving her no room for struggle.
"Let go! You're hurting me!" she protested. "That dumb mark is painful enough already. No need to make it worse."
"Then don't run off," the Master grumbled from behind and loosened his grip, without fully letting go of her though. "Thought for a moment you already had."
"Not yet. But I'm in a very good mood to do exactly that." She tried to turn her head to take a look at him.
"Don't..." he growled, and it surprised Roka so much that she didn't. Then he huffed. "My own past is mocking me with you. How ironic."
"A bit... can I... get up? This is weird." She felt still a bit uneasy like that. He didn't let her go and didn't even give an answer, so she sighed and tried to calm herself down. "Fine... then at least talk to me. Now that I literally have all of eternity... I can just do whatever I want, you know. Including just walking away."
"Where to?" the Master asked, astonishingly calm.
Roka smiled to herself. "Everywhere."
It hadn't changed that she'd rather stay with him, but if he wouldn't let her... Surprised she noticed how much the thought alone hurt. It was a strange, almost physical pain. Again she wanted to look behind her, but another deep growl made her give up.
"Isn't it funny..." he said, but didn't sounded amused at all. "It's such a bother to have people around. Never was really fond of it." There was a noticeable pause, before he continued, carefully putting together his thoughts. "I initially planned to dump you somewhere after a few days. Make a bit fun of you before and then just walk away... don't... turn around."
Pouting Roka stared into the noisy crowd. "Why are you telling me that?" she wondered. "And... why haven't you done it?" For a few seconds she thought about it, and when she got no answer, she asked quietly, "Why am I still alive?"
There still was no answer. But the question hovered around them, making the silence heavy. She didn't want to leave. The longer this thought rotated in her mind, the more it hurt. At her back she could feel the familiar doubled heartbeat, speeding up, slowing down, as if it would mirror the Master's own thoughts. Somehow it calmed her down.
"Because I like you, idiot."
Roka wasn't completely sure she actually had heard those words. Drowned in the noises of the inn, it could have been her imagination.
"You're like a shadow," the Master said, his voice thoughtful. "Always there, but never interfering, never judging... It's so easy to just get... used to it."
That made her chuckle. "I'm a ghost after all. No one notices when I'm there."
"It's noticeable when you're not." He huffed. "Weird, isn't it?"
What could one answer to that? Her mind was racing and blank at the same time. One issue after the other. She took some slow breaths.
"Do you hate the Doctor so much?" Roka eventually managed to ask. "So much you would rather murder someone you like, before even thinking about letting him go?"
"It's not..." he started protesting, but then went silent again. "I... hate that it's always about him. People only like him because of his stupid heroism." He grumbled a bit. "If you would count, I bet he killed at least as many people as I did."
"Well... being a turd certainly makes no one like you," Roka retorted, but then shook her head. "But you're wrong. It's not that. I simply wouldn't leave a friend behind. I don't have many of these, you know..."
He grumbled something inaudible to himself.
"You're a coward," Roka suddenly let out.
"What? No I'm not!" he protested promptly.
"Oh yes, you are." With a grin she leaned back at him and closed her eyes. "And a bloody idiot too." Now she giggled. It made sense. Unexpected as the thought might be, but it was the only thing that tied everything together. "It's not about the Doctor at all, right? You simply can't admit that you don't want me to leave you."
Satisfied she felt him wince and at the same time tighten his grip a little. Not a single word left him, but this reaction confirmed her thoughts.
"So..." she continued, a grim smile still on her face. "From a logical viewpoint... this eliminates every reason for us being enemies, right?"
"You're cheating!" the Master let out. "Screw your damn logic!"
Roka looked up and met his eyes. There was so much going on in them, it was impossible to tell, before he glared back, swallowed, and then hastily looked the other way.
"You're acting silly." She chuckled. "As if I wouldn't know what your round face looks like."
"Oi! It's not round!" He loosened his grip around her to turn her head away.
"Oh, it is. And if you wouldn't have grown a beard you'd still look like a rascal," she taunted giggling.
"Pfff... and you look more like a boy than like a woman!" he retorted with a hint of amusement in his voice.
"Maybe... but I'm hecking cute like that." She chuckled and looked back up to meet a sour look.
"Not even a bit." He turned away again, but peeked back, a slight smirk now on his face.
Then he grabbed her head and turned it away again, making her giggle.
"Ah, I get it. You are afraid I could punch your face, right?"
"What?! Don't you dare! No punching my handsome face!" He laughed, only short, and stopped immediately, as if shocked about it.
And Roka felt how some weight got lifted off of her. Somehow the ice was broken, she could sense it. "And there I have soooo many reasons to do so."
"Okay, okay. Let's forget about being enemies," the Master finally agreed. "And you stop nagging, you weakling. It will heal."
"Who says it's about the wound?" She couldn't suppress a nasty smile when she felt him wince once more.
"N... no reason is bad enough!" he protested.
"Stealing someone's first kiss and then pretending it didn't happen is. Believe me," Roka countered and at the same time cursed herself slightly. That had been a bit too much information.
The Master growled. "I said, forget abo... wait... I did what?" Silence spread for a moment.
"Nothing... you... imagined it." She bit on her lip.
"But you had a girlfriend!" he objected, ignoring her words.
"Hey! I told you it wasn't like that!"
"Fine, but... you're half a century old. That's old for humans. How can you not..."
"Glitch..." Roka grumbled, letting it be explanation enough.
"Oh," he made and then snickered. "Oh, this is good."
"It... totally isn't!" she protested and folded her arms. "What... was that even? I mean... that was totally random!" She threw a glance up and met his gaze, earning herself a venomous stare, before he grabbed her head with one hand to turn it away again. "And that's random too! What's your problem?"
The Master chuckled and leaned down, so close his breath brushed her ear. "Random is nice. I like chaos. But it's hard to control." His heartbeat sped up a tiny little bit, as did Roka's. She stiffened at having him so close. Would she turn her head now... she could just... "I'd just do it again." He muttered into her ear. "Steal a few more of these."
Then he receded and Roka could breathe again. "You... always simply take whatever you want," she said, a bit confused. It was so hard not to turn around, to ignore her racing heart.
"Don't want you to run away." He shrugged behind her.
Run? No... that wasn't at all what she wanted. But he gripped her too tightly, making her struggle to get free.
He snickered. "See? As I thought."
"Wha...? No... It's just...!" she protested.
"I... uh..." Her mind blanked for a moment.
"Spit it out. I'm curious," he sneered.
"Tha... that's one hell of an age gap!" she blurted out.
There was a tiny moment of silence, before the Master started to laugh out loud. Roka bit her lip and cursed under her breath. That had been random. And not at all what was on her mind. But he had stopped gripping her at least, giving her the opportunity to react, to...
He was still evil, her brain reminded her. And dangerous. And a bad person in general.
Roka abused his distraction, squirmed a little to get free at last, before her own mind could spit out more unnecessary things.
The Master still chuckled to himself. "If that's your only problem..."
She cut him off as she turned around and grabbed his shirt with one hand, making him go silent in an instant, as he realized that he was staring right at her now.
"Didn't I tell you?" She tugged lightly at him, dragging him down to her, without meeting much resistance, but a lot more confusion. "Ah, right... you were too busy ignoring me." A mean glint sat in her gaze, countering his expression. There was hardly any space left between them now and Roka saw the same longing in his eyes that she felt herself. The Master cupped the side of her face with one hand, swallowed, and Roka stretched a little, letting her words faintly brush against his lips. "I'm done running away."
Her whole being was aching, trembling, as she hesitated, feared to do the wrong thing. It was like electricity dancing through her, and a moment later she stopped thinking altogether, as the Master pressed his lips onto hers, almost forcefully, like a diver gasping for air. This time she responded immediately, stirring this unfamiliar flame all too willingly, while she clutched his shirt tighter.
Then she got grabbed at her hood and roughly torn away. She stumbled and caught herself, looking around perplex, before she saw they weren't alone anymore.
"Ugh, you can't be serious. I said talk, not..." The younger Master wrinkled his nose, at both of them. Behind him stood his blue friend and studied the scene. "Had I known this would happen, I certainly would have killed you on sight."
Roka blinked a few times at him, before her brain caught up again. And suddenly she could only grin widely and very nastily at him. "Actually..." she retorted, folding her arms in front of her chest. "I'm pretty sure you were just enjoying this. A lot."
"You have no idea," the older Master seconded and snickered at the disgusted face of his younger self. Then he raised and let his neck crack, before throwing glances at everyone, giving them all his roguish grin. "You know what? I'm up for some trouble. Let's mix this place up a bit."
For a second he looked at Roka and she almost feared he was running away again. But then he gave her a wink and she understood. They had all of time and space to fully solve this, but there was only one chance to have some fun with his past self and his former friend. And suddenly Roka was very eager for some trouble herself.