A Teaspoon And An Open Mind: A Doctor Who Fan Fiction Archive
Tenth Doctor
The Drums by Space Gandalf [Reviews - 1] Printer
Author's Notes:
First Ten story, and really it's just a tiny thing... niiiice and vague.


The storm has ended. Rassilon and the other Time Lords have been carried back into the Time Lock, where they belong, and the Master has … sacrificed himself. For him. The Doctor realizes, as he lies on the floor cut by broken glass, that the Master was never really his enemy. He was a madman with a battle drum in his head. He was much more of an innocent than the Doctor. Just a child when the Time Lords did this to him, just a child when they forced him to listen. To the Doctor, he's still a child.

And suddenly he can hear it, louder than anything. Lying on that floor, a man as broken as the glass around him, he can hear a drumbeat in his head. Loud and fast as he breathes and closes his eyes — one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four , and it won't stop.

It's my hearts, the Doctor realizes. Just the beat of my hearts, nothing more.

The Master was tormented all those years by his own heartbeat. Driven mad by his own flesh. And why him? The Doctor wonders, Why not me? It's simply a fool's luck in the great lottery game of Fate. It could have been either of them. And the Doctor can't help wondering what it would have been like if he was chosen.

But it's all over now, isn't it? It's safe, he's made it out again, hasn't he? A man has knocked four times, and the Doctor can attest to his own... aliveness. There's hope now, at least. The Doctor raises his eyes to the new skylight (oops) and quietly says “Thanks.” Heartbeat still pounding in his head — one-two-three-four — he absentmindedly grabs a piece of glass. Tightening his grip, he stares out into the distance until something at the edge of his perception knocks. It knocks again, and two more times. And a weak, but clear voice rings through...

No. no no no no noNO, it can't happen, it can't, not to ME. No, no. please.

The universe isn't listening to this half-hearted plea. He doesn't have it in him anymore. The Doctor is too weary to fight Death today.

That doesn't mean he isn't going to try. Every bit of his soul rages against this injustice — that a Time Lord must change for nothing. Nothing but one life. ha. He can kill two with a single stare, doom four to eternal torment with a snap of his fingers, annihilate two races by pressing a button. One life is a blink of his eye, one life is a breath. One life is nothing. He grins terribly and twists the glass into his hand.

But something inside tells him this isn't what the Doctor does, that it's not what Sarah's Doctor does, that this isn't what his grand-daughter knows he is. That he isn't Rose Tyler's Doctor anymore. The Time Lord looks into Wilf's eyes — it's time. It's been time for much too long. And the drums start again as he opens the door and steps in.

the pain numbs his vision

his breathing is labored

the only thing he can say is 'no'

he feels himself slip

all he hears are the drums
everything's red

red

he screams but he can't hear

just

one
two
three
four


The drums stop. And it's much too quiet. He finally knows the answer to a question he asked a long time ago.

So long ago.

Yes.

yes this is death


The Doctor smiles, really smiles for the first time in ages. Then the red fades to black.

all is not lost


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