Title: Balance of Power
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/The Master
Fandom: Doctor Who
Table: 5, sound_of_drums
Prompt: 17, Power
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 glared up at the Master from where he knelt on the ground, his hands tied behind his back, forced to his knees by his adversary. He might be the one in the less advantageous position now, but that didn't mean he was beaten in any way.
"You're insane if you think that I'm going to give you the Tardis, or help you destroy even a part of Earth," he ground out through clenched teeth. "You may think you hold all the power, Master, but you don't. It's always been a game of give and take between us."
"Give and take, you say?" the Master drawled, raising an eyebrow and looking down at the Doctor. "You're the one who's always done most of the giving, Doctor. And I've always been partial to taking -- especially if I can take something from you."
The Master walked around his captive, keeping his eyes on the Doctor even when he was behind the other man and he knew that the Time Lord couldn't see him. "Do you remember the first thing I took from you that was precious, Doctor?" he murmured, his voice husky.
The Doctor remained silent; he wasn't going to answer that question and give the Master the satisfaction of hearing the regret in his voice. Those words had been put aside forever; he'd sworn that he wasn't going to relive those memories at any point in his life.
What the Master had taken from him was something that he could only give once, something that he should have been able to bestow on someone he loved. It shouldn't have been ripped from him against his will, one cold afternoon in a deserted dormitory of the Academy.
"Your virginity, Doctor," the Master whispered, his eyes on the Time Lord's face. "That's what I took -- the one thing that you can never get back. I'm the proud possessor of your innocence -- or, should I say, the one who ripped that innocence to shreds."
The Doctor still remained stubbornly silent; he wasn't going to let the Master goad him into saying words that he might regret later, words that might be used against him at some point. He had to keep a cool head when dealing with this egomaniacal monster.
"I can have you again if I want, you know -- and even if you don't want it at first, I have ways of making you come to me," the Master purred, reaching out to cup the Doctor's chin in his hand, forcing the other man to look up at him. "And you'll come to me eventually, Doctor."
It was harder than ever to keep himself silent; the Doctor wanted to burst out in angry denial, to negate the words that his nemesis was saying. It wasn't true. He would never come to this man of his own free will. He would never be with the Master unless he was forced into it.
"You may claim that you don't want to be with me, Doctor, but you do," the Master said softly, his gaze locked on the Doctor's face. "Deep inside, you're aroused by the thought of us being together without you being forced into it. Admit it, Doctor. You want me."
The Doctor shook his head, wishing that he could dislodge the Master's grip; he hated having the other man so much as touch him fleetingly. "No. You're wrong. I don't want you. You may be able to arouse my body, but that's purely a physical reaction."
"Oh, I know that well enough, Doctor," the Master purred, smiling. "But that physical reaction is just the first step to convincing your stubborn mind of what you really want. And I know it's hidden somewhere in your subconscious. You just won't give in to that desire."
"There's no desire for me to give in to," the Doctor stated, feeling uncomfortable. His words were true, of course. Weren't they? He'd never wanted the Master. Not when they were young, and certainly not now, when this man had tried to kill him so many times over.
How many times had the Master tried to take his life? There were too many to count over the centuries of their enmity. He didn't want to be with someone who could treat him like that, someone who had no regard for his well-being, someone who didn't care about him at all.
Oh, all right, maybe this was the Master's twisted, perverted way of saying that he cared. But it wasn't a way that the Doctor wanted to give credence to; it wasn't the kind of caring he wanted in his life. This wasn't love. It was subjugation. Control.
He'd been right about one thing -- the Master did hold all the cards, at least for the moment. He wasn't in a position to demand anything of his nemesis; he had to be careful with his words and his actions. It would be too easy to anger the Master.
He could very well hold the fate of worlds in his hands, and he'd have to measure whatever he did carefully from here on out. The balance of power between them had always been fragile, but he had to tip the scales in his favor, if he could.
If there was some way to work his hands free of their bonds .... The Doctor tried furtively to move his wrists, but that avenue seemed closed to him. The bonds were cruelly tight; there was no way he would be able to wriggle out of them, no matter how hard he tried.
At some point, the Master might actually free his hands -- though even if he tried to use anything around him as a weapon, including the sonic screwdriver, it was a fairly good bet that the Master would already have anticipated that move and prepared for it.
"Come now, Doctor, it's not so hard to say the words, is it?" the Master asked, breaking into his thoughts. The other man's voice sounded faintly annoyed, as though he was losing patience; the Doctor knew that he would have to say something to appease him.
"I'll never give in to you, Master," he said, his voice firm and clear. "But you can try all you like. You may be able to take my body and get some kind of physical response out of me, but my mind is going to stay as stubborn as it's ever been."
"Is that a challenge, Doctor?" The Master's grip on his chin tightened, but the other man didn't look entirely displeased. "I'm always up for that. It will be entertaining to break you down a little at a time -- and to have your final capitulation in the end."
"If you think that you'll get that, then you're mistaken," the Doctor said, feeling uneasy. He had expected the Master to be angered at his words, not to take them as a challenge. There was no telling what sort of trap this psychopath could have planned for him to fall into.
He had to maintain the balance of power between them, he cautioned himself again. Give the Master an inch, and he would take a mile. It was an old cliché, but in this case, he knew it was true. And he didn't intend to let that happen.
"I can get whatever I want from you, Doctor," the Master told him, his tone betraying a hint of annoyance. "You can struggle all you like, but you know that you'll have to give in to me in the end. You'll have no choice. I hold all the cards this time."
Did he? the Doctor wondered. That might be how it looked on the outside, but the tables could turn in his favor at any moment. He simply had to know how to play the game correctly, and to strike at precisely the right moment .He done it before; he would manage it now.
"Are you so sure of that, Master?" he inquired, keeping his voice quiet and calm. "You might think you can control me -- but I think you'll learn differently if it comes down to a contest of wills between us. Even if you do have me at a disadvantage at the moment."
With those words, he hauled the Doctor to his feet, starting to untie the ropes that bound his hands behind his back. The Time Lord felt a surge of optimism; it looked like this might be more of a fair fight than his usual bouts with the Master turned out to be.
He would still have to be cautious, and find out just what this megalomaniac had in mind before he made any decisions about what to do. But the playing field had just been made more even -- and the balance of power could be tipped either way.