Title: Where Hides Sleep
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/The Master
Fandom: Doctor Who
Table: 1, 50ficlets
Prompt: 30, Sleep
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 lay still in his bed on the Tardis, staring up at the ceiling. Sleep, for some reason, had been more and more elusive these past few days.
Maybe it was because of his most recent encounter with the Master. But he'd never had trouble with being able to sleep after their battles in the past .... no, that wasn't entirely true. He'd had problems before. But never like this.
Truth be told, he didn't want to go to sleep. Whenever he did, the dreams would attack him, dreams that were more memory than dream, leaping out at him with vicious teeth and claws extended, ready to rip him to tiny shreds.
The Master had never had such an effect on him before, but then, their battles were becoming more fraught with physical pain than they'd ever been. He could only blame that on the fact that the body he was in was one that attracted the Master.
He winced, turning onto his side and sliding one thin hand under his pillow. He liked this body, and he wanted to keep it for a long time. But the fact that his greatest enemy was physically attracted to it was a horrible impediment.
Their battles in the past had always been fought on a more mental level -- but the playing field had changed, and the Doctor was less sure of how to handle himself.
He'd never really thought that the Master could feel physical desire for him. He'd never felt that for the other man, not in any way, and the idea that his worst enemy could actually want him was more than a little disconcerting.
But it wasn't only that. Behind their battles, there had always been the knowledge that the Master's ultimate intent was to make the Doctor bow to him, to admit that the Master had won and that he somehow owned the Doctor.
His small hands clenched into fists, his lips thinning into a straight line as he lay there in bed in the darkness. That was never going to happen. He would die first. The Master would never own him, not in any way. He'd never give in to that.
Each time they met, the Master taunted him, tried to shake him, to somehow make him feel that they were connected and that he needed the other man.
He didn't, the Doctor told himself fiercely, his fists still clenched. What he needed was to vanquish the Master for good, to make sure that his evil couldn't spread. To imprison him someplace where he could do no more harm.
Somehow, he was never quite able to do that. He tried, and he'd come so close to succeeding so many times. But the other Time Lord always managed to elude his grasp -- leaving him wondering just when their next confrontation would be.
The unease of never knowing just when the Master would show up in his life had caused him far too many sleepless nights. Not that he needed as much sleep as a human did, but still, he wasn't at his best unless he got some rest.
A thought struck him, his eyes widening as he turned the idea over in his mind. Could that be some sort of strategy on the Master's part? To wear the Doctor down, to make him feel that he always had to look over his shoulder? To weaken him with his own paranoia?
It would be the sort of thing that the Master would think of. And quite ingenious, especially if it was working without the Doctor realizing it.
Could it be true? Had he alighted on the reason behind the Master's taunts the last few times they'd faced off with each other, the intent behind everything he'd done? It was certainly plausible, all the more so as he thought about it.
If he could keep the Doctor in a constant state of worry, keep him from sleeping, from being at his best mentally and physically, then it would be easier for him to take what he wanted when the time was ripe for it. It was how the other man's mind worked.
The Doctor's lips curved in a smile. Yes, it was how the Master would think -- but he wouldn't believe that the Doctor might come to the same conclusion.
It wouldn't be easy to get himself past those dreams -- no, memories -- that haunted him, but he'd be able to do it. They were only memories, after all -- they were in the past, and they couldn't come back to him in any way but his own mind.
And he wasn't going to let them. Yes, they could disturb him -- but only if he allowed them to. That was one thing that the Master hadn't counted on. He hadn't expected the Doctor to have the presence of mind to be able to banish those memories. Well, he was wrong.
Closing his eyes, he pulled the covers up over his bare shoulders, feeling more at ease than he had in a while. Now that he might have discovered what the Master's plan was, maybe it would be easier for him to get the rest he needed.