Title: Take It As It Comes
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/The Master
Fandom: Doctor Who
Table: 6, 12_stories
Prompt: 6, Pain
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 winced as he turned over onto his back, pulling the covers up around himself and staring up at the ceiling of the Tardis. How long had he been lying here? He had no idea, but it seemed like a very long time to his muddled senses.
He'd managed to stumble back to his ship after his last encounter with the Master; he could remember making it through the front door and into the control room, pressing a few buttons and sending the ship back out into time and space where he couldn't be followed.
There, he'd thought as he'd slumped against the console. He was safe again -- at least for a while. The Master wouldn't be able to follow him.
Thankfully, he'd been able to make it down the corridor to his bedroom and strip off his clothes before he'd passed out, the pain that had been meted out to him finally overtaking his senses.
How long ago had that been? He squinted at the clock by his bed, a wry smile crossing his lips as he did so. Why did he feel the need to keep a clock within close range? He was a Time Lord, after all. Time shouldn't matter to him.
But there were times when it did. He couldn't help but wonder just how much time he'd whiled away without really caring that it was passing, knowing that he would always have much more time than most of the rest of the universe could even begin to dream of ....
Sighing, he rolled onto his side, trying to find a more comfortable position. He was trying to distract himself from the pain that seemed to be seeping into every crevice of his body, trying to convince himself that he could get up and go about life as usual.
No, this time he wasn't going to force himself to do that. His body was resilient, yes, but he needed time to recover from these battles with the Master. The other man always seemed to know the best way to wear him down, both physically and emotionally.
At least this time there had been no companion for him to threaten. That was one good side to all that had taken place.
He'd made the right decision when he'd chosen to travel alone; this way, he wouldn't risk anyone else's life along with his own. The Master would have no one else to strike out at; he'd only be able to take out his anger and vengeance on the Doctor himself.
There was no one for the Master to use against him, no life that he could weigh in the balance. The Doctor wasn't going to give him that chance again -- he'd had it too often in the past, and he wouldn't hesitate to use it in any way that he could.
Maybe that was why he'd been particularly virulent in his physical punishments this time, the Doctor thought, wincing again as he shifted to lay on his stomach. Oh, that was a mistake -- he quickly turned back onto his side, slipping one thin hand under the pillows.
He was only waiting for the Doctor to have another companion, so that he could hand out that pain to someone else as well as his intended victim.
The Master had long since discovered that the best way to wound the Doctor was to strike out at anyone he cared about -- and the Time Lord wasn't going to let his greatest enemy have that kind of an advantage again, not if he could help it.
How much longer could he keep withstanding this kind of physical pain? His body would recover, much more quickly than a human body would. But it not only tore at his body each time the Master took out that anger on him, but his mind as well.
Sooner or later, he would break, shattering into minute shards that would be impossible for anyone to piece back together again.
It was one of his greatest fears, the idea of breaking down in front of the Master, finally giving that maniac everything that he'd wanted since they'd first squared off against each other. And he was becoming more and more afraid that it would actually come to pass.
He'd held out against the other man for centuries, shoving that fear aside and refusing to let the Master see it. But he couldn't help having a sneaking suspicion that it was all too obvious, no matter how hard he tried to push that fear down and keep it hidden.
His body was capable of bouncing back very quickly; and, strangely enough, as he himself got older, his body seemed to get younger with each regeneration. He was certainly growing more handsome with each one, he thought, another smile curving his mouth.
That was yet another problem he was having to deal with. Unfortunately, the Master seemed to be much more attracted to this particular body than any other he'd ever had.
He definitely didn't want that. The last thing he needed was for the Master to keep pursing him through time and space because of some warped sexual attraction, his need to control the Doctor fueled by nothing more than a twisted desire.
But it looked as if that might definitely be the case, the Doctor told himself with a sigh, closing his eyes and wishing that he could close these disturbing thoughts of his mind.
They'd fought their battles across a universal setting, and there had been many times in the past when the Master had admitted to a physical attraction -- but the Doctor had never given in to that, not once in all the centuries that they'd been at each other's throats.
That hadn't happened until he was in this body; somehow, there had been some wall that had crumbled between them that had kept the Master from crossing that particular line until his desire had grown too strong for him to hold it back.
Just one more problem for him to deal with when it came to the Master, added to all of the others, he thought bleakly, curling into a fetal position under the covers. It wasn't any more comfortable than lying stretched out, but at least he felt more .... protected.
That was ridiculous, he told himself sternly. He was on the Tardis. No harm could come to him here; he could relax and know that the Master couldn't get to him.
No one was going to put him through any pain here on the Tardis; the only thing he would feel here was whatever he chose to remember, and whatever he might happen to bring on himself. Though he knew from experience that remembered pain could be just as acute as the actual experience.
The Doctor pulled the blankets up around his shoulders again, grateful that the Tardis kept the temperature to whatever he might require. She was doing her part to make him more comfortable, and he hoped that he would be back to normal within a few days.
Possibly even within a few hours, if he could put these disquieting thoughts out of his mind and look towards the future, rather than at what he'd so recently been through.
And if that future happened to hold more pain, whether inflicted by him on the Master or by some other enemy, then he would take it as it came to him. He really didn't have much choice in that matter; it was part and parcel of being who he was.
His immediate goal at the moment was to concentrate on recovering; hopefully, he'd feel more himself once his body had the chance to recuperate.
The Doctor sighed yet again, burying his face against the pillow and wishing that sleep would grant him a temporary release.