Title: Cat and Mouse
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/The Master
Fandom: Doctor Who
Prompt: 72, Stalk
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the Tenth Doctor or the Master. Please do not sue.
***He hated feeling as though he was a rat in a maze. And that was exactly what he was feeling like now, the Doctor reflected with a wry inward smile. In fact, that was exactly what he was -- and he was getting more desperate by the minute.
How had the Master managed to trap him here? It hadn't been that hard for the other man to do. He'd let his guard down, forgotten to watch his back. He was so used to having a companion by his side to do that for him that he'd relaxed for too long.
But he hadn't expected the Master to be lying in wait for him, not on the planet he'd been on. He had no idea if he was even in the same place. For all he knew, the Master could have taken him to some other place; he had no idea how long he'd been out, or what kind of havoc that madman might have managed to wreak in that time.
He'd have to find out, and get himself out of here, before it was too late. Whatever the Master had done, whatever he was planning, he had to be stopped.
Though that was certainly more easily said than done, the Doctor thought, resisting the impulse to slam his fist against the wall of the maze he was in. He'd been searching for a way out for hours, and all he'd done was confuse himself and probably get turned completely around.
He'd been in situations like this before. But even the sonic screwdriver appeared to be of little help this time; he'd been wandering the corridors of this place forever, getting more frustrated each time he'd thought he had found an exit, only to run into a literal brick wall.
The Master had outdone himself this time. He'd not only managed to trap his enemy into a seemingly inescapable place, but the Doctor was so frustrated that he couldn't make his mind work, couldn't think rationally and plan how to get out of here.
Was there even a way out? He felt that he'd exhausted every possibility, that there was no corridor he hadn't tried going down already. He was wandering aimlessly, not even searching for the door that led to freedom any more.
No, he told himself fiercely, shaking his head as though to clear it of the drifting mists that seemed to be clinging to his mind. He wasn't giving up. That was what the Master wanted him to do, and he wasn't going to give his rival the satisfaction of thinking that he'd won. The last thing he would do was admit defeat before it was inevitable.
That blow on the back of the head must have affected him more than he'd realized, he thought, wincing as he raised a hand to his head for what must have been the hundredth time.
He had a horrible headache, one that wouldn't go away. But there was more to it than that; he was disoriented, not knowing where he was or how he'd gotten there. If only he hadn't been unconscious; he hated not having a clear memory.
Still, he wasn't completely lost. His bond with the Tardis had grown stronger over the last few years; there was a sense that his ship was somewhere near. He didn't know how near, or if he could easily make it back to her once he got out of here, but she wasn't far away.
Which meant that he still had to be on the same planet he'd been on before -- unless the Master had somehow found a way to take control of his ship. The Doctor almost groaned at the thought. That was something else to worry about.
As if his headache wasn't bad enough already, he thought sourly, wanting to drop in his tracks and pound the floor with a fist in frustration. But he couldn't allow himself to lose control like that; it was imperative that he find a way out of this trap.
How long had the Master been stalking him to have managed to capture him and bring him here? He really had no way of knowing; the other man always seemed to pop up at the most unexpected times, like the proverbial bad penny.
It was really an uncomfortable feeling, knowing that his worst enemy was stalking him across the galaxy. And really his own fault that he'd been caught unawares this way, he thought angrily, his hands clencing into fists. He should have been more careful, should have kept it in the forefront of his mind that the Master was out there and was a threat.
Not only did the Master pose a danger to himself, but to others, no matter where he was, the Doctor thought grimly. He was never going to realize the folly of his ways; he'd always be a megalomaniac, convinced that his views of the world were the correct ones.
And it would always be up to the Doctor to stop him. Though at the moment, his effectiveness at doing so was rendered null and void.
The Master had certainly come up with an effective way to stop him from doing anything by having him imprisoned here. The walls couldn't be knocked down, and it was seemingly impossible to find a way out. But there had to be one; he couldn't be trapped here with no exit.
If there had been a way to get him in, there was obviously a way for him to escape, the Doctor told himself, taking a deep breath and forcing the logical part of himself to work. He just had to find it, shake off the muddled, disoriented feeling and use his brain.
He hated this game that the Master played with him, this deadly game of cat and mouse. He was the mouse, and the Master was lazily batting him about with one paw, waiting until the moment that he could pounce and catch the Doctor in his jaws.
That moment would come all too soon, the Time Lord told himself grimly. Now that the Master had him at a distinct disadvantage, he didn't doubt that the other man would stalk him until he had no choice but to fight back, to strike back in defense. It wasn't a position that he relished being in, but he hadn't been given a choice in the matter.
Sighing, he turned slowly in a circle, studying the walls around him. Had he already tried that path, the one that led off to his left? He was fairly sure that he had; it was hard to remember what he'd done and what he hadn't, with this headache plaguing him.
Frowning, he raised a hand to his head again, wishing the pounding in his head would stop. That was why he couldn't concentrate; if his head would stop reeling and the drumming against his temples would disappear, then he'd be more able to stabilize his thoughts.
All right. He simply had to concentrate on calming himself and centering his thoughts on this dilemma, and he'd be able to use his considerable intellect to get himself out of this situation.
Closing his eyes, the Doctor lowered his lanky body to the floor, taking another deep breath and trying to let himself go limp. He had to clear his mind, push away any outside influences that would get in the way of his thoughts, and face this with a rational mind.
After a few moments, he could feel the headache receding, the mists seeming to blow away from his mind. He felt stronger, more capable, his mind racing in several different directions, searching for an answer to the problem facing him. He couldn't keep back a smile of triumph; he'd known that his mind wouldn't fail him.
Of all the things that the Master could take away from him, he'd never be able to completely reach into the Doctor's mind. He'd tried to incapacitate the Time Lord's mental faculties before, but the Doctor had always been able to break through those mental bonds.
No matter how the Master stalked him, following him to the end of time and back again, the other man would never manage to defeat him. The Doctor was sure that he would always prevail; no matter what he might have to do, he would never let the Master win their eternal battle.
Just as he wouldn't win this time. Standing up, the Doctor turned towards the corridor on his right, a smile curving his lips. He had a feeling that he knew the way out, and he was going to find it as quickly as he could, turning the tables to his advantage.