Title: The Bitter End
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/The Master
Fandom: Doctor Who
Table: 1, 50ficlets
Prompt: 3: Break
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 wasn't going to break. He'd promised himself that, and he'd meant it.
The Doctor tested the ropes that bound his wrists behind his back again, hoping that he would be able to loosen them at least a little. At this point, his hands were starting to get numb, and that wasn't a very comfortable feeling.
But it was useless He was tied too tightly to even think about freeing himself; whoever had tied him up certainly knew their way around knots. It almost seemed that the bonds grew tighter when he struggled against them.
He didn't remember how he'd gotten here; the last thing he'd been conscious of was a sound behind him, then a blow to the back of his head that had him reeling. He'd seen an upraised arm holding something, and then .... blackness.
Then he'd woken up here, in this .... what was it? He supposed he could call it a dungeon, if he wanted to be polite. He could think of several other words that would fit, but none of them were the sort of description he'd use in company.
Not that having company would be a problem, he told himself wryly. As far as he knew, he was the only captive here.
There was no doubt that the Master had hired those thugs to come after him. He should have expected it, really; he was getting too close, becoming too much of a hazard to the other man's plans. He had to be neutralized.
And what better way to do that than to keep him captive, to hide him away until those plans had been finalized and put into motion? Then the Master would no doubt bring the Doctor out of this prison, to show off his accomplishment and revel in it.
The Doctor's small fists clenched behind his back, and he couldn't keep from grinding his teeth in frustration. When would the Master ever learn? He wasn't going to win. The Doctor wouldn't let him. Somehow, he'd find a way to stop this.
Once the Master had secured this planet, his next goal would be Earth. And he'd have the soldiers -- and weapons -- to launch a full-scale attack on the unsuspecting planet. The humans wouldn't have a chance.
The Master had told him that, taking great pleasure in stressing that there was nothing the Doctor could do. He was essentially helpless, and he knew it.
That fact had been reiterated to him over and over again, in the most smug tone of voice that the Master could possible speak in. He'd obviously thought that he could break the Doctor by threats, rather than by physical violence.
But the Time Lord didn't doubt that his adversary would turn to that, in time. Once the Master came to realize that he wouldn't give up, the physical torture would start -- and that would be what had the greatest chance of turning him into a sobbing, pleading mess.
He didn't want to think about it, didn't want to admit that it could happen. But that wasn't true.
The Master might not even have to resort to that. He knew how the Doctor felt about humans and Earth -- all he would have to do was to let the Time Lord view the carnage, the destruction of the planet he'd come to love, and that might be enough.
How was he going to manage to keep himself in one piece mentally and emotionally if the Master achieved what he'd set out to do? The Earth would be gone. The one place in the galaxy that the Doctor considered almost .... well, like his home, in some ways.
There were so many people there who he cared about. Jack. The Torchwood team. Some of his former companions. He couldn't let the Master win, couldn't let those people face destruction. It was up to him to save them.
He couldn't let himself be broken. If he did, then everything would be lost -- everything that he cared about. And he would more than likely be the Master's prisoner for the rest of his life -- if the other man chose to let him live as he was.
The Doctor shuddered at the thought of being forced to regenerate. He wasn't going to let that happen -- he'd fight it with all his strength, until the bitter end.
But he had no way of knowing if that would be good enough.
All he could do was sit here in his prison and wait -- and try to think of a way out of this situation. A way that would not only save himself, but save Earth as well. There had to be a solution, if only his mind could find it in time.
His head jerked up as he heard footsteps coming down the steps that led to the dungeon, a loud voice ringing out. Yes. It was the Master. The Doctor took a deep breath, closing his eyes for a moment. He wasn't broken. Not by a long shot. And he wasn't going to be.