Title: Enemy Mine
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/The Master
Fandom: Doctor Who
Prompt: 17, Enemies
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.
***The Doctor leaned against the console of the Tardis, looking down at the various buttons and screens without really seeing them. What he was seeing, in his mind's eye, was the face of a child he'd known long ago.
Was that possible? Had the Master ever been a child, or was that face just a figment of his imagination that his thoughts brought to life? It was hard to believe that such a madman had ever been able to possess the innocence of youth.
But he had, the Doctor reminded himself with a sigh. They both had. They'd both been children at one time, happy and carefree, without a worry in the world.
All that had changed when they'd both been through the tests to become what they were. He'd only been ten -- hadn't he? he wasn't sure just what his exact age had been -- and the Master had been a year or so older. So young. Too young.
Their friendship had been blown to smithereens by the tests -- the Master wanting to outstrip the rest of the candidates, and ending up being the one out of all of them who had somehow taken a terribly wrong turn and become something none of them wanted to be.
Yes, he was a Time Lord -- he'd achieved his goal. But at what price? His sanity, and the safety of the rest of the universe.
Ever since then, he'd been a loose cannon, a question mark -- and no one had been able to control him. The High Council of Gallifrey had tried, but they'd been singularly ineffective; the Doctor could certainly attest to that.
He'd been the one sent out too many times to capture the Master, to foil his plans, to bring him to justice. And every time, he'd succeeded -- though sometimes he'd felt that his victories came at much too high a cost.
But that wasn't something to think about now. He had to concentrate on the present, and on reaching the Master and managing to stop him this time. Though, of course, he would keep all of those other times stored in his prodigious memory.
The Master definitely didn't change, he thought wryly, his hands tightening on the edge of the console. It was always the same goal at the center of all his plans: destroy part of the world, and live to control the part of it that he deigned to leave in existence.
What he didn't realize was that his plans always had a fatal flaw -- and that he wouldn't be allowed to rule over a world that he'd brought to the brink of destruction.
The Doctor smiled grimly at the thought. Playing these games with the Master had always been a little like playing croquet with live bombs -- exciting, sometimes exhilarating, but always with the potential to blow up in his face.
It had probably been ordained since before their births that they should be enemies -- but still, he was always a bit saddened by that thought. They had been playfellows when they were very young, and he'd never thought that friendship would come to a sudden end.
End it had -- their talks, the time they spent in argument or agreement, came to a screeching halt with the testing. The Master had turned away from him, as he had from everyone else, firmly putting up walls that no one had been able to scale.
And from those days on, their relationship had become something twisted and tangled, an enemy mine that the Doctor had to pick his way through with the greatest care.
He'd tried to reach out to his friend; he'd desperately tried to keep the Master within the folds of the High Council. But he'd failed miserably in doing so, and no one had ever let him forget that -- holding him up as an example for the Master's behavior in some ways.
After all, he hadn't exactly obeyed their rules either, had he? No, he'd been too lax in so many ways, too forgiving. He'd had such a fascination with humans that he'd made many of his race turn away from him in disgust, feeling that he was more human than Gallifreyan.
Even the bond that he'd formed with his Tardis had been alien to the others of his race, and slowly, little by little, he'd become a pariah amongst them. Friendly to his face, but turning away from him in their minds, until he was left alone even in a crowd of people.
He'd tried not to let anyone see how much that had hurt -- but he'd never been able to hide it from the Master. And his one-time friend had used that against him, as well as a host of other things that he knew about the Doctor.
Eventually, that friend had become his greatest enemy -- and that enmity had continued through the centuries, growing stronger with each time the two of them squared off against each other.
This time probably wasn't going to be any different from all the others, the Doctor thought unhappily, clenching his fists on the console of his ship. But maybe it would have a different outcome -- though he'd learned not to hope for that.
There was no hope of turning back time to the point where they hadn't been enemies, and starting them out on a different road. All that he could do was hope to be the victor in this round, and keep himself from stepping into a minefield that he wasn't prepared for.