Soul's Shadow by TardisGhost
Summary: She learned it the hard way. Some people were never meant to exist. Not even the Doctor wants her as a companion. But then the Master saves her from certain death and discovers that this human girl might be of more use to him than he expected.
Categories: Tenth Doctor
Characters: Donna Noble, Original Companion, The Doctor (10th), The Master (Simm)
Genres: Action/Adventure, Character Study
Soul's Shadow by TardisGhost
Chapter 17: Chapter 17Author's Notes: Rewatching the first seasons I realised what a prick the Doctor sometimes can be to humans, lol. Guess being near the Master doesn't make it better.
"Oh what the everlasting…?" a voice tore into the blackness of my sleeping mind, my body, however, too heavy to respond. Only the voice, very close to my ear kept on talking through the dark. "What the hell do you think you're doing there, ape?"
"Morning, sunshine!" the Doctor's voice greeted from behind me, sounding highly amused. "I told her not to, but guess she was too sleepy and probably about 96.3727% unconscious, so... Well, anyway. The closer, the faster the transfer."
"Doesn't need to be that close," the Master grumbled and pushed against my shoulder, rolling me onto my back and away from him.
My mind struggled to comprehend the situation, blackness still engulfing my thoughts, my bones and muscles were too heavy to move. Slowly it dawned on me. Where I was. And with whom. And especially in what position! Still, I kept silent, stayed in the darkness behind my closed eyelids. Just a little longer. I'd have to deal with reality too soon. And the small, somewhat awake part of my brain was curious what they would talk about.
"By the way," the Doctor drawled, "it will take another ten minutes, roughly, until the transfer is complete."
The Master groaned. "Don't I know? I literally feel it, moron."
There was the sound of a chair that got dragged closer, rustling of cloth and then the Doctor again, his voice soft, this time. "What were you even thinking? That was unnecessary."
Next to me I felt the vibrations of the Master's silent laughs. Only after a pause did he give an answer. "Look at you, Doctor." The name sounded weirdly spiteful. "Scolding me for saving a life. Oh, the irony."
"You know what I m-"
"Maybe I wanted a pet."
The Doctor sighed annoyed. "Humans aren't-"
"Tell that someone who believes it. I'm tired of that phrase."
A pause stretched for almost a minute, only interrupted by the noises of alien machines.
"Maybe, for once I felt the unexplainable urge to do something... kind." The last word carried a weird undertone, making me remember the last utterance from him I could remember before... dying?
"You really think I'd buy into that?" the Doctor asked calmly. "Don't get me wrong, Master, I'd love to. Really."
"Told you already. Pet."
The Doctor sighed again. "Alright... let's just assume that's the reason. Why that one? There are... billions on earth alone, not to mention future and history. And those wouldn't have required... weeell... such drastic actions."
The Master shrugged, I could feel the motion. "Felt like it. Boredom. Wanted to try something new."
"Oh come on," the other Time Lord spat, "when have I ever agreed to be honest to you? Wouldn't that be absurd?"
"You could try. We don't have to fight all the time."
"Yeeeeah..." the Master drawled, "become friends with your dungeon-keeper. Thought of that already. Might get me free in the end, what do you think?"
"Oi! I'm not your... ugh..."
The Master snickered, clearly enjoying himself. My urge to just move got stronger. It's so hard not to twitch a muscle when you're awake, but I really didn't want to miss any of this conversation, way too curious to learn more about the two.
The Doctor sighed wearily and shifted audibly. "What now?" His voice had suddenly turned soft.
"I don't know," the Master drawled lazily, "A steak would be nice. I feel a little... drained."
"Ugh... I mean, what are we supposed to do with Lucy?"
"Humans eat steak too, don't they?"
Oh god, it was so hard not to start laughing. I needed every last bit of composure not to react. And also to not let my stomach grumble. That would have been inappropriate...
"Oh, come on, Doctor," the Master sneered, "how should I know? Humans are your speciality. Think of something. Nice little cage. Maybe put a pillow inside."
Again there was an exasperated groan. "We can't just keep her here!" the Doctor exclaimed. "That would be abduction! And I'm not trusting you one bit not to harm her further!"
"Oi! I didn't lay a hand on her!"
For some seconds there was utter silence stretching across the room, eventually ended by a barely audible, "Oh." It finally seemed to dawn on the Time Lord what actually had happened. "I... thought that had been your doing..."
The Master snorted. "Sure. Because that would make soooo much sense."
"Weeeell..." Another pause, longer this time. Then the Doctor spoke up again, his voice thoughtful and a little sad. "Still... we can't just drag her around. Let's bring her back home, inform her family... friends. Someone will take care."
A huff came from next to me and I felt how the Master shifted slightly, leaning closer to me. "Ah, you're so wrong again, Doctor," he told, somewhat mockingly, somewhat thoughtful. "There's no one to inform. And if you're so dumb to bring her home..." He tapped a finger against my forehead. "You'd just do it again, right?"
The question was clearly addressed to me and I had no choice but to finally open my eyes, meeting a wicked grin right above me. He knew! Probably the whole time already. I blinked a few times, letting my eyes adjust to the light, scowled at his stupidly grinning face.
"Oh, you're awake!" the Doctor called out. "That's err... we were just... I mean... you probably heard some of it."
I ignored the Doctor, stubbornly keeping my frown in place and my eyes locked with the Master's, even though I couldn't see them clearly without my specs. It wasn't necessary.
"Oh, what a dark look." He pursed his lips in a mock pout. "I saved your life, that should owe me at least a big thank you, my Lord and Master. I'll collect the rest of my payment another day."
"I hate you," was all I grumbled.
"Uh, uh, uh. That's not what you tell your saviour." He snickered to himself, turned away and swung his leg from the bed. "Okay, energy transfer done. Human alive. Payment... later." The Master stood and stretched his arms out. "I so need some food now! I'm starving."
"What do you think you're doing?" the Doctor finally tossed in. "Don't just run off and-"
"And what will you do to stop me?" the other Time Lord bent down to the sitting Doctor and gave him a nasty grin. "I already am a prisoner. There's not much more you can harm me with." With a huff he straightened, mockingly waved in my direction and left the room.
Careful not to move too fast I sat up and let my feet dangle from the edge. There still was a thin tube on a needle attached to the back of my hand. I wore the same clothes as before, Jeans and a tugged in plaid shirt. Both stained with now brown spots.
The Doctor sighed exasperated, before he glanced me up and down. "You humans are really dumb sometimes," he mumbled.
"Oh, thanks. And there I thought you were the good one."
He raised a brow at me, not much of the friendly attitude he had the last times was visible on his face. The look he gave me wore a weird kind of almost rage and... disappointment? It could have been something else, but my blurred sight didn't allow for details.
Abruptly he rose to his feet, staring down at me. "Everyone should value their life," he stated almost pleadingly, but still somewhat angry at the same time. "It's a gift. There's so much to offer the world, to experience... that's nothing to just throw away!"
I frowned up at him, having a sudden urge to just punch his face. Not that I am a violent person, but in this very moment the thought was extremely tempting.
"And who are you to judge me like that?" I growled.
"I am the one who made it even possible for you to be born!" he stated. "Probably. Maybe. I mean... somewhere in your timeline, surely. Anyway, let's forget about that." It seemed as if his mind drifted off for a moment, but then returned with full exasperated force. "I've seen enough of you lot throwing away their lives. And it's always for such stupid reasons. Temporary reasons, mind you. Lost a job? A loved one? Your crush turned you down? I tell you... a permanent solution for a temporary problem. It's dumb!"
For a moment I was speechless, then I sighed deeply and shook my head. "Wow," I mumbled, "you're a dick."
I had enough. Of everything. Literally. I shot up from the bed, ripped the needle out of my hand... and cursed nastily, because it hurt a lot more than anticipated.
"Ah crap! That doesn't look so painful in movies!" I threw it away anyway and stepped in front of the Time Lord, glaring hatefully up at him. "How dare you even?" I snarled, surprised I was able to sound so angry. "You have no idea about who I am and about my life and yet you assume to know everything!"
"Weeell..." he started, not budging, "It's always the same with your species. You live so short, you never think further than maybe a week ahead."
I let out a humourless laugh. "That's really what you think about us?"
"I've experienced it!"
"Well, duh! Then look again."
"Yeah, alright. Not all are like that." He smiled almost apologetically. "I know, I know. There are many with great minds, kind people, great thinkers."
I shook my head and sighed. Why did I even expect an alien with a who knew how long lifespan to understand? "For us even short moments matter," I still explained, my voice softening, more from exhaustion than anything else. "You're still wrong. I lost nothing. No one." With a sharp look I cut off his next words. "There was no such thing to begin with. You have no idea!" Suddenly there was new rage bubbling through my tiredness, tears prickled the corners of my eyes. I hated my voice for trembling. "You don't know how that is! How it feels to be hated by everyone just because you are a tiny little bit different! How it feels when you can't belong anywhere, when no one is ever waiting for you!" It hurt. Each and every of my own words hurt, letting the tears finally flow. They didn't fall by the fire, when I had breathed out my life. But now... now they had caught up. "You have no idea how it is to be all alone in the universe without a home or people to return to!"
It was as if electricity sparkled through the air, an almost palpable tension between the two of us. The Doctor was visibly shook, swallowed hard. His shoulders sunk down and what I could make out of his features softened. And then he did what I definitely had not expected. He stepped forward and just wrapped his long arms around me, hugged me tight.
For a second I was startled, but then the tension in my body melted away and I no longer fought the offered comfort, buried my face in his suit and just let the tears flow for a while, trembling and sobbing from all the accumulated pain in my heart.
"I'm sorry," the Doctor eventually mumbled. "Shouldn't have been so harsh." He rocked back and forth slightly, never letting go. "You're wrong too, though, Lucy. I know what that feels like." He sighed and in that moment I had the feeling he was seeking solace as much as I did. "I know it all too well."
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