Battered by LN29 [Reviews - 5] |
Part of a series, but can stand alone, as usual. My first, and probably last, attempt at writing Lucy Saxon. I sympathize with what she must have endured, but logically, she probably wasn't an absolutely wonderful, selfless person before all this started. I wanted to write a plausible motivation for her inaction, her standing by while her own planet burned. Yes, she's scared of the Master, and rightly so, but there's more to it than that...
Okay, in the timeline of this series, this takes place before "Broken." Hence the fact that he's not the emotional wreck he was in "Broken" and "Defiance" (I've slightly altered the dates in "Broken," so that it starts about a month after the Year began, as opposed to three weeks, like it was originally.) So, Lucy's right, much worse is in store for the Doctor. :(
A soft noise startled the Doctor out of his first fitful sleep in weeks. Instinctively, he braced himself, heartbeats quickening as he tried to mentally prepare himself for whatever the Master had devised for him now. Trying to control the fear which had been beaten into him, forcing his sorrow and misery into submission. However, nothing happened. The lights stayed off. No mocking voice rang out, no purposeful footsteps approached his tent, no cruel hands seized hold of him. Nothing outside moved. But the soft sound continued, and with a start, he recognized it as the sound of crying. A woman crying.
Unable to completely repress his suspicions, but curious all the same, the Doctor cautiously pulled himself out of the tent, and looked around for the source of the crying.
Huddled in a corner of the main deck, just barely visible in the dim light, was the last person that he’d expected to see in here. Her knees drawn up to her chest, head buried in her arms, weeping softly, was Lucy Saxon.
In the month since he’d been imprisoned here, he’d seen her by the Master’s side, standing by while the world burned below them. But in that entire time, she’d never so much as spoken to him personally, much less sought him out. In fact, he had never seen her without the Master, and he couldn’t help but suspect a trap. However, she seemed to be genuinely in distress, and there was no sign of anyone else…
He moved a little closer, this elderly body awkward and uncoordinated. Lucy’s head shot up, and she met his gaze.
“Stay away!” she warned, her voice shrill, but shaky. He merely looked at her.
“You knew I’d be here.”
She hadn’t come in here by mistake, that much he knew. He was locked in here, the doors and control systems all sealed with isomorphic controls to prevent him from leaving or accessing anything. There was no way she hadn’t known he was here. But why had she come? Why had she chosen here, of all places, to break down?
“Leave me alone.”
“If you wanted to be alone, you wouldn’t have come here,” he said gently.
Her eyes blazed.
“I don’t want sympathy,” she spat. “Least of all from you.”
Her hostility was understandable, considering the influence she was constantly exposed to. Aside from the fact that she was being seen in a moment of weakness, by the Doctor, of all people.
“Then what do you want?”
She opened her mouth, but instead of answering, the tears began flowing again. In spite of his hesitancy, the Doctor couldn’t just sit there while she was so clearly upset. She’d come here for a reason, though what that reason was, he couldn’t be certain. In fact, looking at her now, he wondered if even she knew.
He approached her cautiously. Despite the fact that the Master insisted on moving him around in a wheelchair, the Doctor was capable of independent movement. To a limited, painful degree…
“Keep away,” Lucy warned. “He’ll kill you if he knows you spoke to me.”
“If he wanted to kill me,” the Doctor replied frankly, “he would have done it a long time ago.”
He sank to the floor, close enough to converse, but still a safe distance away so as not to startle her, and keeping himself out of her reach. He was still uncertain of her motivations, but over nine hundred years of instinct could not be overcome in a month, and he still wanted to help her, if he could.
Now that he was closer, he could see her clearly, and he caught sight of the bruises, standing out in stark contrast to her pale face and arms.
“He hit you,” he stated, and was startled at the anger he felt.
“Of course he did,” Lucy said with a bitter laugh. She gestured to his own injuries. “He does it to everyone. Why should I be an exception?”
“Lucy…” he whispered, unable to hide his sorrow.
“I told you,” she snapped, “I don’t want your sympathy.”
“Then what do you want? Why are you here?”
She was silent for a long time, hugging her knees to her chest.
“I didn’t want this…” she finally said.
“All of it. Everything.” She looked him right in the eye, and he saw a sudden flash of extraordinary pain, usually so well hidden, reflected there. “I just…” she shrugged helplessly.
Was she trying to justify herself? Was that why she’d come? But why would she feel she had to justify herself to him, of all people? He didn’t understand it, but if she wanted to talk, he was willing to listen.
“When I first met him,” she continued, “he was so kind. Charming, funny, handsome, powerful, rich…everything a girl could ask for. And I thought…when he showed interest, I thought…I don’t know what I thought…”
“You thought he loved you,” the Doctor finished quietly.
“Love,” she said scornfully. “What a little fool I was. It’s never about love, is it?” She didn’t give him time to respond. “It’s all about power, and allowing someone else power over you.” He didn’t know what to say to that. “By the time I…” she shook her head, “it was too late.”
“It’s never too late.”
He wanted to help her, he honestly did. Yes, this was the woman who had danced while the world burned, who had embraced the Master as he slaughtered millions, but his anger with her had long since faded, replaced only with pity. He knew that she was just as much a prisoner as he was. He was completely unable to help anyone down on Earth, or anyone here on the Valiant, but maybe he could help her.
“I hate him,” Lucy murmured, with weary venom. “I stayed with him because I loved him, and I thought he loved me. Then I stayed because I thought I still loved him, and I wanted him to love me. You know him better than I do,” she added, looking up abruptly. “Do you think…did he ever love me?”
For all her anger, and insistence that love meant nothing, there was a kind of wistfulness and longing in her tone that she couldn’t hide. He wanted to lie to her, to assure her that the man for whom she’d sacrificed everything had, at one point, loved her. But he couldn’t summon the strength to lie convincingly.
“I…I don’t know…” he faltered. But this seemed to be all the answer she required.
“Well, I do. I was a pawn, nothing more. I still am. One of his playthings. As we all are.”
“You can still end this,” he urged, summoning every ounce of earnestness left in his hearts. “You can save yourself.”
“It’s too late,” she said flatly.
“It’s never too late.”
“Yes, it is,” she insisted. “I made my choice a long time ago. For better or for worse. This certainly qualifies as worse, but I’ve got no other option.”
“You always have the option to stand up.”
“What, and end up like you?” she demanded, getting to her feet. “End up like that friend of yours downstairs?”
His heart constricted at the mention of Jack, and guilt and sorrow threatened to overwhelm him. He pushed it back, refusing to submit to it right now, and reminding himself that this would not be forever. Martha was still out there, and she’d succeed…
“Standing up worked out really well for you,” she continued. “Tortured, locked away, crippled, hopeless…”
“It’s not hopeless!”
“How can you say that?” she demanded, looking as though she were on the verge of tears again. “How can you possibly believe that? Look around you! Look at yourself, look at your friends. Look at this world! He’s won, and there’s nothing that will change that.”
“So you’re giving up?” he asked softly. “This is it, for you? You really want to live like this for the rest of your life?”
“Don’t you dare judge me!” she almost shouted. She paced back and forth fiercely. “You know as well as I do what happens to those who defy him. Do you honestly think he’d let me just walk away?” He had to admit, it was unlikely. “He’d kill me, and if I was lucky, he’d do it quickly.”
She spun to face him, crossing her arms.
“And I suppose you expect me to say I’d rather die than let him do this, than live with him. But I won’t…I don’t. I don’t want to die. I want to live, and if this is what it takes to stay alive, then so be it.”
“Lucy…” he started helplessly, but she cut him off.
“Look where rebelling has gotten you! No, I’ll take my chances, and I know how cowardly that is. I never claimed to be brave. I’m a coward, and I know it.”
“Save your breath. I’m not interested in your reassurances. I know what I am. I hate him, and I hate what he’s done, but I will do whatever I must to stay alive.”
He studied her, an overwhelming feeling of sympathy and sorrow washing over him. He knew that she was suffering at the hands of the Master, probably more than any of them could guess. He knew what the other Time Lord was capable of, and knew just how cruel he could be. The fact that she’d been brought so low that she had come to him showed how miserable she was. And for all her bravado, for all her insistences that she didn’t care what he thought, that she didn’t want his reassurances or sympathy, there was something in her voice that told him differently. Something in her eyes as she watched him, a desperate desire for absolution. To be forgiven for what she was doing. To be reassured that she was not a monster too.
While he disapproved of her attitude, he could clearly see what had brought her to this point, and her motivations behind her actions. Chances were that if she defied the Master, she would suffer greatly for her actions, and the poor woman was just trying to stay alive. He did not believe in compromises of that nature, but he could certainly comprehend what she was doing.
“I understand,” he said finally.
She froze, eyes widening.
“Yes. I don't agree, but I do understand.”
“And…” he hesitated for a moment, but decided to risk saying it, “I’m so sorry.”
For a long minute, she said nothing, only stared at him. He met her gaze, not making any requests or judgments, not trying to communicate anything. Merely waiting for her to speak.
“Worse is coming.”
“What?” he asked, honestly caught off guard by those words.
“For you,” she said. Her voice was devoid of any emotion, flat and without pity. Or hope. “Much, much worse. You aren't broken, and it angers him. He won't stop until you are.”
“I will not break,” he said simply.
“I would not count on that,” she replied solemnly.
A shiver of fear ran through him, though he kept from showing it. What more could the Master do? He’d imprisoned the Doctor. He had torn the TARDIS apart, forcibly severed the connection between the two of them. He was torturing Jack, he’d enslaved Martha’s family. He’d forced Martha to go on the run through her ruined world. He’d ripped the very fabric of time with his paradox. He had slaughtered humans by the millions, had completely destroyed the world that the Doctor had come to love so dearly…what more could possibly happen?
Yet he was not so na´ve to believe that this was the worst it would get. He knew the Master too well for that.
“I won’t be able to stop it,” Lucy added.
“I’m not asking,” he replied. And he honestly wasn't.
“And I wouldn’t even if I could.”
“Like I said, whatever it takes.”
“You don’t sound so sure,” he couldn’t help but point out.
“I am sure,” she stated, her expression firm and emotionless. She was locking herself away again, withdrawing back into the shell she’d been forced to develop.
“This conversation never happened,” she declared, her voice hard.
“Yes,” he agreed. She was right, if the Master knew about this, they would both suffer.
“If he asks, you never saw me.”
“No matter what he does or says, you never spoke to me.”
Her voice was authoritative and commanding, but at the same time, as brittle as glass. And there was a small underlying plea as well. A hint of desperation.
She turned without another word, and walked toward the door.
“Lucy?” he called after her.
She didn’t respond, but halted just short of the doorway. He hesitated, wanting to say so much, wanting to do anything to help, but unable to find the words or do anything to save her. Not if she wouldn’t save herself.
“Take care of yourself.”
For a long moment, she didn’t move. Then she turned back around. eyes searching his with a curious sort of look.
“Do you fear him?”
“Do you fear him?” she repeated, and he knew what she meant. Who she meant.
He hesitated, considering the question, and how he should answer.
The Master had once been his friend. He was the only other Time Lord in existence. He was all the Doctor had left of his species. But the Master was mad. Completely mad, and that madness was frightening to behold. This man held all of their lives, and the lives on the planet below, in the palm of his hand. They were subject to his every whim. He took every opportunity to inflict pain on the Doctor or the others, his every action motivated by a desire to cause the Doctor more pain. The Master was unpredictable, and malicious, and he was a killer.
And worst of all, the Master enjoyed every minute of it.
It was against his very nature to admit to fear, but she had been honest with him, this once. He owed her that same courtesy, at least.
She nodded slowly.
“Do you hate him?” she asked.
He feared the Master, hated every action the Master took against the world and the people he loved, hated how helpless he was to save anybody. But no matter what he did, no matter how cruel he was, the Doctor could not bring himself to hate the other Time Lord.
Silence fell. Her gaze was curiously blank as she turned away, opening the door to let herself out.
“Then you’re a fool.”
And the door slammed shut.