A Teaspoon And An Open Mind: A Doctor Who Fan Fiction Archive
Multi-Era, Tenth Doctor
Broken by LN29 [Reviews - 5] Printer
Author's Notes:
I have no excuse. Except that this is what happens when I'm really sick, and trying to sleep.

Thanks to my Doctor Who companion book (SO not the use they intended it for) and to the Sarah Jane Adventures episode, Death of the Doctor, for filling me in on the locations and futures of various companions.

I decided to intersperce these with the scene where Martha and the Doctor completely beat the Master, putting my own interpretation on lines based on the past I established.

Happening about simultaneously with "Silence," "Lost," and "Defiance."

Please don't hate me!


Tom’s body crumpled to the ground, and the Master laughed. Then he looked at Martha.

“But you, when you die, the Doctor should be witness, hm?”

He took a deep breath.

“Almost dawn, Martha. And planet Earth marches to war.”


----------------------------------------

As well as the Doctor knew the Master, the Master knew him equally well. And as such, he knew that the best way to hurt the Doctor, to crush his hearts even more than watching his favorite little planet enslaved, was to watch one of his companions die.

But Martha Jones eluded him. No matter how much he searched, how many continents he tore apart, he could not find her. Could not touch her.

And as for Jack, killing him was only effective for so long. It ceased to have an impact. Ceased to be as much fun. And ceased to hurt the Doctor as much as the Master would like.

Oh, it broke the other Time Lord's hearts, to see his human pet in pain, and the Master had to admit that there was something bizarrely satistfying about watching the freak dragged back into life time and time again. But he wanted more than that.

However, luck was on his side. In converting the TARDIS into his paradox machine, he was able to bypass any of its security systems, and hack straight into its databases. And soon, he found exactly what he needed. A list of names. Of all the ones still on Earth. And with the resources he currently possessed, that was more than enough.

--------------------------------------

“Citizens of Earth, rejoice and observe!”

The doors slid open, and Martha entered the room. The Doctor tried not to react, not to show the emotion he’d trained himself not to demonstrate. But the sight of her, alive, was almost too much.

She walked, tall and confident, her eyes meeting his for a moment, before she stood before the Master.

“Your teleport device. In case you thought I’d forgotten.” She tossed it to him. “And now, kneel.”


------------------------------------

“Oh, Doctor!” The Master’s voice rang out, high and mocking.

The Doctor flinched, unable to help it. It had been over a month since the Master had brought the “Toclafane” through to the 21st century, and commenced with his slaughter of the human race. One month since Martha had escaped, and Jack and the Doctor had been imprisoned. A month in which the Master took every opportunity to cause him pain.

Still, if he didn’t comply, it would only mean that one of the Joneses, or Jack, would suffer for his disobedience. So he slowly pulled himself out of the tent the Master had erected, still awkward in this elderly body.

“Oh, good boy!” the Master crowed, bounding up to the Doctor.

The Doctor met his eyes, feeling a mixture of defiance and pity welling up in him, as he always did these days. And along with it, abhorrent, but undeniable...fear.

“Up you go.”

None too gently, he hauled the Doctor up into the wheelchair he always kept on hand.

“Could you give us some privacy?” the Master requested, turning to the other occupants of the room, who quickly retreated, emptying the large room until it was just the two of them.

The Doctor faced the man who had once been his friend.

“What do you want?” he asked.

The Master bounced up and down on the balls of his feet, and the Doctor knew that this did not bode well for him. He steeled himself for whatever torture the Master had in mind.

“Come and see this!”

The Master caught hold of the chair and propelled it across the room, to where several large monitors adorned the wall, allowing the Master to see anywhere and everywhere in his new empire.

Reluctantly, the Doctor forced himself to gaze upward, seeking out what the Master wanted him to see. If he didn't, he'd quickly learned, the Master would only draw things out until the Doctor consented to watch.

Somewhat to his surprise, he saw the image of a hapless woman, being held at gunpoint by several of the Master’s soldiers. For a split second, he was terrified that it was Martha, but the next instant, he knew it wasn’t. So why was the Master showing him this?

He glanced over at the Master, who looked far too pleased with himself.

“Don’t tell me you don’t recognize her.”

Startled, the Doctor looked closer at the woman’s face. She was bruised and battered, indicating that she’d put up a fight, and she was glaring at the soldiers as though she wanted to tear them apart.

He couldn’t suppress an astonished gasp as recognition flooded him.

“Ace!” he breathed.

“There we go,” the Master nodded.

The Doctor couldn’t take his eyes off of her, the woman who’d once been the young girl who’d travelled alongside him for so long. He hadn’t seen her since the day he’d left her on Earth. His heartbeats quickened.

“She was leading a resistance against me,” the Master added. “Isn’t that sweet?”

The Doctor recognized the dangerous undertone in the Master’s voice, knew it all too well, and realization struck him like a ton of bricks.

“No...” he couldn’t keep from whispering. "Master, no..."

The Master only smirked and pressed a button on the computers.

"No!"

“Yes sir?” a voice echoed through the room.

"Please, don't!"

The Master grinned at the Doctor.

“Kill her.”

NO!” the Doctor screamed, but the shots had already been fired, and Dorothy “Ace” McShane crumpled to the ground.

He didn’t even try to hold back the furious tears.

--------------------------------------------

“Down below, the fleet is ready to launch. Two hundred thousand ships, set to burn across the universe. Are we ready?”

“The fleet awaits your signal,” came the response. “Rejoice.”

Rejoice? What was that man rejoicing? The destruction of not only his planet, but the entire universe?

“Three minutes to align the black hole converters.”

Three minutes left. Then he could make it all right.


--------------------------------------------

Jo Jones, formerly known as Jo Grant, was clearly as environmentally active as ever, and the Master found her hiding in the Amazon rainforest, with one of the many tribes she’d befriended.

“Ooh, I remember this one!” the Master declared gleefully. “Back when you’d gotten yourself exiled on Earth. Good times...good times.”

The Doctor was trembling in an effort to keep from screaming at the Master. But he knew it would only antagonize the other Time Lord further. Still reeling from the death of Ace, the Doctor could already feel panic rising in him as the Master laughed.

“Kill me instead!” he requested. "Not her. Kill me."

The Master placed both hands on his shoulders.

“Now Doctor, why on Earth would I do that?” he inquired. He lowered his voice to a whisper so soft that only the Doctor could hear him. “That wouldn’t be any fun.

“Master!” Jack was present this time, grimy and battered, having been brought up from his basement prison. The Doctor could see him fighting to get free, his face drawn with pain he was trying desperately to hide, and he felt a surge of anger and sorrow for his imprisoned and tortured friend. “Leave him alone!”

But it was no use. The Master gave the order, and the Toclafane struck.

The Doctor tried not to look, but he could imagine every second of it, and felt her death like a blow to his hearts.

“I’ll kill you!” Jack screamed, his voice hoarse with rage.

“Shut up,” the Master snapped, turning his screwdriver on Jack, who collapsed, dead.

And then he burned down the forest Jo had loved.

Just because he could.

-------------------------------------------

“Counting down. I never could resist a ticking clock.”

Any time the Master could be dramatic, to draw out a moment, he would do so.

“My children, are you ready?”

“We will fly and blaze and slice. We will fly and blaze and slice.”

As they had already done.

“At zero, to mark this day, the child, Martha Jones, will die.”

No. Not her. Not her too.

“My first blood.”

Hardly.


-------------------------------------------

The Doctor could hardly recognize the couple on the screen as the young couple who had entered his TARDIS by mistake, so long ago. But it was clearly them, Ben and Polly, and if circumstances had been different, he might have been proud to see what they had become.

They were running an orphanage in India, and had remained there despite the Master’s tyranny, refusing to abandon their young charges.

It was there that the Master found them, and there that their lives ended.

At the sight of their broken bodies, a wave of fury swept over the Doctor, and if he hadn’t been so weakened, he might have leaped out of the chair to attack the Master. As it was, he gripped the arms of his wheelchair so hard that his gnarled knuckles were white, and bit his lip until he drew blood.

“Why?” he forced the word out through tightly gritted teeth, glaring at the Master. “Why?

The Master met his eyes evenly, and there was not the slightest remorse or pity there. No sanity, no reason. Only a cold madness that made his breath catch.

“Why not?”

----------------------------------------------

“Any last words?”

Martha, brilliant Martha Jones, remained stubbornly silent.

“No?”

He met the Doctor’s eyes, and he could see the mockery there.

“Such a disappointment, this one.”

A rush of fury swept through him at these words, but he fought it back. Now was not the time.

“In days of old, Doctor, you had companions who could absorb the Time Vortex.”

Had. A deliberate use of the past tense. Rubbing it in, one more time.

“This one’s useless.”

Never.


-------------------------------------------

The Master located Tegan, but it was too late. She was beyond his reach, beyond fear or pain, having died in the initial decimation on that very first day.

“What a pity,” the Master sighed, and left the room.

The Doctor sat in numb silence, trying to wrap his anguished mind around the fact that another one of his friends was dead. Had been dead, for almost two months now. That brilliant, stubborn girl who had made his life so difficult. Who’d argued with him at every opportunity, always fighting to go home. But she’d come to mean so much to him, and the very idea that she could be dead was unthinkable. That any of them could be dead.

Those people, so full of life. His friends, the closest thing he had to family. Who had been mercilessly slaughtered merely because they’d known him.

Guilt weighed him down, crushing self-loathing, along with terror at the realization that this massacre was only beginning. He had many, many more former companions on Earth, and there was nothing he could do to protect them. They were as helpless as he was.

All he could do was hope that Martha would succeed in her task.

He closed his eyes, surrendering to tears now that he was alone.

“I’m so sorry,” he whispered, not even sure who he was talking to. "I'm so sorry..."

-----------------------------------------

“Bow your head.”

Martha did so, and the sight of her in that submissive posture made his blood boil.

“And so it falls to me, as Master of all, to establish from this day a new order of Time Lords…”

Martha smiled.

“From this day forward…”

And Martha laughed.

The Master paused. This was not what he had expected. No one else had ever laughed.

“What? What’s so funny?”

“A gun,” she said, and the sound of her voice lifted the Doctor’s shattered hearts, just a bit.

“What about it?”

“A gun in four parts.”

“Yes, and I destroyed it.”

“A gun, in four parts, scatted across the world? I mean, come on, did you really believe that?”

“What do you mean?”

The Doctor finally spoke aloud, finally finding the words.

“As if I would ask her to kill.”

I’m not you.


----------------------------------------------

He slaughtered UNIT with brutal efficiency.

“Your precious little soldiers,” the Master smirked, as they watched the massacre. “Those were the days, weren’t they, Doctor?”

The Doctor didn’t reply, his eyes on the flaming buildings, unable to tear away his gaze, however much he wanted to. The flames filled his mind, echoing his own spiraling emotions.

But while the Maser ordered the destruction of all of UNIT, he paid special attention to a few soldiers, ones he knew that the Doctor had been acquainted with. As the Doctor watched in overwhelming horror, the Master hunted down John Benton and Mike Yates, along with anyone else he’d associated with in his days at UNIT.

Even Liz Shaw, who was stationed on a moon base, was not spared. The Toclafane could travel through space effortlessly, and they found her just as easily as anyone on Earth.

The Doctor felt sick at the extent of the destruction he’d just witnessed, along with anguish at the loss of his friends and companions. But he forced back any emotion, trying to remain outwardly impassive, even as he felt himself shattering inside. Any emotional response only served to delight the Master.

He only wished he were as numb inside as he appeared on the outside.

---------------------------------------------------

“Oh well, it doesn’t matter.” The Master was trying to retain his control. “I’ve got her exactly where I want her.”

“But I knew what professor Docherty would do. The Resistance knew about her son.”

Brilliant Martha Jones. He knew she could do it.

“I told her about the gun so she’d get me here, at the right time.”

“But you’re still gonna die!”

No. Not one more.


------------------------------------------------

The Master found Grace Holloway in a labor camp in America, where she was entrenched not only in the work required of her, but also providing medical services to anyone that she could.

“I remember her,” the Master said, staring at the screen, which showed Grace being dragged away from the other laborers. His eyes narrowed. “Oh yes, I certainly remember her.”

Any thought of protesting that Grace hadn’t actually travelled with him dissipated when he saw the look on the Master’s face, and he knew that the Master wouldn’t care about that.

“If memory serves…” the Master mused, “I’ve killed her before.”

He frowned.

“Guess we’ll just have to make sure we’re more thorough this time, won’t we, Doctor?”

The Doctor couldn’t even meet the Master’s eyes, and hated himself because of it.

Grace’s death wasn’t quick, and it wasn’t painless, and the Doctor didn’t trust himself to watch. He kept his eyes fixed down on the floor, trying to fight back his raging emotions, and his tears.

“You see?” the Master said, turning to the Joneses, who were present in the room for Grace’s murder. “This is what your daughter is going to get.”

The Doctor stiffened at these words.

This,” the Master continued, “is what happens when someone takes up with the Doctor.”

Guilt washed over him anew, crippling in its strength, knowing that it was association with him that had brought this on each of them.

Slowly, he raised his eyes to meet the Joneses', and caught Francine’s eye. Always, she had been the one to despise him most, to blame him for stealing her daughter, for the catastrophes that followed him wherever he went.

But to his amazement, there was no blame in her face. As she looked at him, there was only sorrow and pity. And anger, but not directed at him. In that moment, they were allies.

Then she dropped her eyes, and the moment passed.

-------------------------------------------

“Don’t you want to know what I was doing, travelling the world?”

“Tell me,” the Master mocked her.

“I told a story, that’s all. No weapons, just words.”

That’s my girl.

“I did just what the Doctor said. I went across the continents all on my own, and everywhere I went I found the people and told them my story.”

So many stories had ended this year. But not for much longer…

“I told them about the Doctor. And I told them to pass it on, to spread the word so that everyone would know about the Doctor.”

“Faith and hope? Is that all?”

Oh, Master. Sometimes that was all you had. All that kept you alive. And you always underestimate their strength.


-------------------------------------------

To his astonishment, Ian and Barbara hadn’t aged a day since he’d last seen them, so many years ago. It was as if they’d just left the TARDIS that very day. The sight of them made his breath catch. The very first humans he’d ever travelled with, and they looked exactly the same as then. Normally, he’d be concerned about this, but considering the current situation, their lack of aging was the least of his priorities.

“Professors?” the Master crossed his arms. “How impressive. And they’re married! How adorable is that? A TARDIS romance!”

He smiled at the Doctor, and gave the order for their execution, his fingers tapping out the drumbeat as he did. And the Doctor saw with his own eyes that even though they had not aged, Ian and Barbara were still as mortal as any human.

Sitting alone in his tent, after their deaths, the Doctor wished he could run far away, as had always been his custom, ever since he was a child. He wanted to flee, to outrun his emotions and the images he’d witnessed. But he was incapable of running, not only physically, but mentally too. He struggled to force what he’d just witnessed out of his mind.

Instead, he thought of Martha, and the plan he’d desperately whispered to her in those last few seconds. She was still out there, hidden from the Master, and if…no, not if. When she succeeded, they’d be able to reverse all this. Everyone who died would live again. Every human who had died...and every one of his friends...

The Doctor clung to that hope, though at the moment, it seemed very feeble indeed.

------------------------------------------------

“No!”

Martha’s voice was increasing in strength now, and the Doctor knew the moment was coming. He could almost feel it, the tension in the room building to an invisible frenzy.

“’Cause I gave them an instruction. Just as the Doctor said.”

A year in the making. A year of agony, anguish, fury, and heartbreak, and the only thing that had kept him alive were those few words he’d told Martha, knowing she’d understand what she’d had to do.

“I told them if everyone thinks of one word, at one specific time…”

“NOTHING will happen!” the Master rose. “Is that your weapon? Prayer?”

A hope and a prayer…

“Right across the world, one word, just one thought, at one moment…but with fifteen satellites!”

Realization dawned on the Master.

“What?”

“The Archangel Network,” Jack said quietly.

His hearts swelled again with pride and love. Jack and Martha. His dearest friends.

The only two left on Earth, his mind couldn't help but add…

But not for long.


---------------------------------------

“Brigadier Alistair Gordan Lethbridge-Stewart!” the Master declared. He took a long breath. “Quite a mouthful, isn’t it?”

The Brigadier had long since been retired from UNIT, and as such, had been spared the massacre that had claimed the others. Whether the Master had overlooked him on purpose, or by mistake, the Doctor couldn’t be certain. But in any case, the Master tracked him down to a refugee camp, hidden deep in Peru.

The Toclafane surrounded the camp, and the Doctor caught a momentary glimpse of his old friend in the crowd, attempting to shield several young people, before the attack commenced.

Tearing his eyes away from the screen, the Doctor forced himself to meet the gaze of the Master, who raised his eyebrows.

“Ooooh, if looks could kill…” he shook his head.

Then he sprang forward until he was mere centimeters from the Doctor’s face.

“Do you hate me?” he demanded. “Go on, Doctor, say it! Say it! Say it!!! Don’t you just want to kill me? Don't you hate me?”

“No…” the Doctor whispered, though he had to admit that it was tempting, so tempting. But he couldn't. “I…I for…”

The Master struck him across the face, so hard that he nearly fell out of the wheelchair, cutting off his words.

Then he left without another word.

-------------------------------------------

“A telepathic field! Binding the whole human race together, with all of them, every single person on Earth thinking the same thing at the same time, and that word is…Doctor!”

Doctor.

The word for healer. A name he had chosen for himself, so long ago. And now, after a year of helplessly watching their suffering, unable to stop anyone's suffering, he could live up to that name.

And the counter hit zero.


---------------------------------------

He destroyed the Powell Estate.

There was no reason for it. He knew as well as the Doctor did that Rose was far beyond his reach, safe in a parallel universe. Permanently sealed away, from both the Doctor, and the Master. He'd heard the Doctor telling Jack, back when they thought he was the professor, and he'd verified it for himself. And that fact infuriated him, the fact that he could not touch her.

So, in retaliation, the Master chose to destroy the sole remaining evidence of her existence of Earth, to wipe out the one place that still held her memory. He was brutally thorough, ignoring the fact that other people still resided in the building, innocent bystanders whom the Doctor had never even spoken to, much less known. But the Master didn’t care. To him, any life was merely a means to an end, and he tore down the Powell Estate until not even one brick was left standing.

And for the first time, the Doctor was glad that she was so irrevocably removed from this universe.

---------------------------------------

He could feel the surge of psychic energy as it swelled around him, and he opened his mind, letting the power flow through him. Surrounding his broken body, hearts, and mind, healing them all.

“Stop it! No, no, no, no you don’t!” But he could barely hear the words, for in his ears rang thousands of voices.

“Doctor!” Jack.

“Doctor!” Francine.

“Don’t!”

“Doctor!” Tish.

“Doctor!” Clive.

“Stop this right now, stop it!”

“Doctor!” Lucy.

“Doctor!” Martha.

“Doctor! Doctor! Doctor!”

So many voices. But so many were absent…


---------------------------------------

“Well…” the Master shook his head, “I don’t recognize that one.”

Knowing exactly what the Master meant by this, the Doctor forced all of his emotions into submission, and raised his eyes to see who the Master had discovered this time.

One year, he reminded himself. This wasn’t permanent. It couldn’t be…

He was actually surprised when he saw who had been captured, which didn’t happen too often these days.

“Donna Noble,” the Master read off her name. “Doesn’t ring a bell.”

“She didn’t travel with me,” the Doctor protested. “She’s innocent!”

All of them had been innocent, but if he could possibly convince the Master to spare Donna, at least, he would do so.

“Oh?” the Master raised an eyebrow. “According to your ship, she did.”

The TARDIS! Of course! That was how the Master had found out about each of his former companions, including the ones he’d never personally met!

The Doctor clenched his fists, furious on behalf of his ship. He’d already seen the monstrosity that the Master had cannibalized her into, had been forcibly cut off from her, and the empty space in his mind where she had always been was like a raw gash, even all this time later.

But for her to have given up the names of his former companions, she must have been thoroughly and wholly beaten down. He knew she loved his companions as much as he did, and would have protected their identities with everything she had.

And the knowledge of how broken she must be was like the death of yet another friend.

“Not by choice,” the Doctor forced his anger back, knowing there would be time to mourn for the TARDIS later. He tried to sit up straight, looking the Master right in the eyes. “Huon particles. They pulled her in, against her will. The moment she could leave the TARDIS, she did.”

“But you liked her…” the Master observed. He paced around the Doctor. “I see it in your face, Gramps.”

He laughed quietly.

“So that must mean…you asked her to come with you…”

“She said no,” the Doctor admitted.

The Master let out a bark of laugher.

“You mean someone actually said ‘no’ to the precious Doctor? Refused to be your little human pet?”

He eyed Donna on the screen.

“I think I like this one.”

He shrugged.

“Oh well.”

And he gave the order.

The Doctor closed his eyes, shutting out the sight of her body, reminding himself over and over that this would not be permanent. It could be reversed. If Martha could just succeed, all this could be fixed.

And this thought was the only thing that kept him sane.

---------------------------------------

“I’ve had a whole year to tune myself in to the psychic network and integrate with its matrixes.”

Burying his broken hearts so deep into his task, turning his anger to purpose.

“I order you to stop!”

But they were far beyond orders now.

“Doctor, Doctor, Doctor!”

He looked right at the Master, finally the one in control. After all this time.

“The one thing you can’t do…”

Kill them, crush them, enslave them, torture them. But no matter what…

“…is stop them thinking!”


-------------------------------------

“She’s pretty,” the Master commented.

The Doctor remained silent, feeling numb. His hearts had been so brutally battered that he was beginning to wonder how many times they could be broken, yet still continue beating.

Victoria Waterfield, the girl who’d joined him as an orphan, and had left to find the family he’d never been able to provide for her, currently cowered on the screen, surrounded by Toclafane. The people she was shielding with her body showed that she had not only found a family, but made one of her own too.

Still, despite her obvious fear, there was courage and defiance in her face too, and he wanted to be proud of her. But how could he be, knowing without a shadow of a doubt what was coming?

“Nothing to say?” the Master queried. “Really? You don't even care?" The Doctor inhaled sharply, refusing to speak.

"What do you think?" the Master demanded.

The Doctor kept silent.

The Master sprang forward, grabbing the Doctor's head, one hand on each side of his face, fingers knitting through his hair and digging into his skull.

"What do you think?!" he shouted.

The Doctor closed his eyes as the Master made forceful telepathic contact, slamming into his defenses, trying to access the Doctor's thoughts. His mental force was brutal, like a battering ram, smashing against the Doctor's mind. The Doctor closed himself away, agony searing through his mind, refusing the Master access, as he always did.

"Let me in!" the Master growled.

"No."

He would not allow the Master access. The Master must never breach his mental defenses. If he did, he would know what the Doctor had whispered to Martha, so long ago, and it would all be for nothing.

But it was more than that. His mind was his one final refuge, bruised and battered and wearied though it may be. The only part of him not subject to the Master. The mental battles were exhausting and excruciating, the Master's mind strong and relentless, but the Doctor was fueled by desperation and pain.

It was all he could do.

"Let...me...in!!!"

"No."

For an agonizing minute, they were locked in mental combat. But, as always, the Master could not gain access, and he released the Doctor with a snarl, turning his attention back to Victoria and her family.

He was completely helpless. Nothing he could say or do would save Victoria’s life, nor anyone else who the Master decided would die. He’d fallen so far…but he had to keep going. Despite the pain, despite the horror, he had to persevere. But he could barely fight the Master mentally, and was utterly helpless physically…

He turned away, refusing to watch as Victoria and her family were murdered. But their screams were broadcasted through the room, and they rang in his ears, echoing in the depths of a soul that would never be numb to pain or loss, no matter how much he witnessed.

He didn’t think he could live with that sound in his memory. He didn't think he wanted to...

And for that moment, the Doctor completely and honestly wished he were dead.

-------------------------------------------------

“Tell me the human race is degenerate now! When they can do this!”

Martha ran into the arms of her family.

“No!” the Master screamed, aiming his laser screwdriver and firing. But he couldn’t touch the Doctor now.

“I’m sorry.”

Sorry you’ve fallen so far. Sorry you hate me so much that you wish only to hurt me.

“I’m so sorry.”

Sorry I couldn’t help you. Sorry it’s come to this.

The Master’s eyes blazed.

“Then I’ll kill them!”

No!!!!

He effortlessly flung away the weapon.

Never again.


-------------------------------------------

Whether coincidentally, or intentionally, he saved Sarah Jane for last.

While the Doctor refused to allow himself to hope anymore, he couldn’t help but give thanks every day that passed without her death. It was one more day she’d managed to elude the Master’s searching.

However, she couldn’t hide forever, and one morning, over seven months after he'd siezed control of the Earth, the Master strolled up to the Doctor, looking terrifyingly thrilled.

The moment the Doctor saw the image on the monitors, he knew, and the knowledge struck him in a crushing blow.

A very familiar house filled the screen.

“She’d shielded her house from me,” the Master shook his head, mocking admiration filling his tone.

The Doctor’s hearts, which he’d thought had long since been numbed to pain, were pounding in his ears, and he caught his breath.

“Cheeky girl. Your best friend, I believe you once described her.”

No. Please, no.

He couldn’t help but look at the data on the screen, and saw in an instant that she was inside the house. No doubt she didn’t dare leave what had, up until now, been a safe place for her.

The Master looked fiendishly delighted, and his hand moved toward the button which would release the bombs.

A wild, unbidden desperation surged up in the Doctor, overwhelming any emotional restraint he’d cultivated.

“No,” he whispered. “Don’t.”

The Master froze at his tone, recognizing something new there, turning to meet the Doctor’s panicked eyes.

“What was that, Doctor?”

“Don’t. Please. Not her.”

The one thing he’d never wanted to do, had never let himself do.

“You’ve taken all the others. Not her, please,” he was pleading now.

He'd pleaded with the Master many times before, but never like this. Never so helplessly, so clearly yielding to the Master's authority, and the Master knew it. But if this was what it took, then so be it.

"Not her. Not Sarah."

The Master raised an eyebrow.

“Use my name.”

“Master,” he whispered.

“Louder.”

“Master!" he cried out.

For the first time in over nine hundred years, honestly meaning it.

The Master looked more triumphant than ever before.

"Please, Master. I’ll do anything you want, anything you ask. Anything. Just spare her.”

The Master was actually smiling at him, glorying in the Doctor's utter surrender.

“Are you asking, Doctor?”

“Yes,” he didn’t even hesitate. “I’m begging you, Master.”

There was a long silence as the Master stared at his captive.

The Doctor miserably met his gaze, allowing all his desperation and surrender and utter weariness to show.

All resistance gone, all barriers down.

Finally beaten.

Finally broken.

"I'm begging you."

“TOUGH!” the Master shouted, shattering the silence, and slammed his hand down on the button.

---------------------------------------

“You can’t do this!” the Master screamed. “You can’t…it’s not fair!”

He slowly advanced on the Master.

“You know what happens now.”

In a few minutes, he’d set this right. Destroying the paradox machine would reset everything one year. Everyone who had died, all of the people, all of his friends, his beloved family would live again. They would never know. No one would.

“No, no!”

“You wouldn’t listen.”

You never would.

“Because you know what I’m going to say.”

You’ve always known. No matter what you do, no matter who you kill…you know what I’ll say…

The Master cowered, pleading, looking almost as broken as the Doctor felt inside.

He dropped down beside him.

Faces swam in his mind’s eye. All the humans he'd seen slaughtered this year. And all of his friends. Ian, Barbara, Ben, Polly, Victoria, Jo, the Brig, Benton, Yates, Liz, Sarah, Tegan, Ace, Grace, and Donna…all dead by the Master’s hand. But not for long. They would live again.

It was over.

And he swallowed the last of his anger, wrapping his arms around the Master.

“I forgive you.”

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