Cake and the Rani

by Primsong [Reviews - 25]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Action/Adventure, General, Humor, Series

4.

The Doctor barely had time to consider whether to stay or to leave and gather more resources first when the decision was made for him by the Master's TARDIS rematerializing in the kitchen again, complete with double-oven appearance. He quickly backed, sidling around the front of the store to where he had a view of the kitchen without having the Master between himself and a route of escape if necessary. One never knew what the Master might emerge with when he came out of his TARDIS and it was better to be prepared.

His adversary didn't come out immediately. After several minutes had passed, the Doctor was just beginning to ponder leaving again when the door abruptly opened.

"Where are you going?" a man's voice asked from inside the doors. "Up to no good, I'd warrant?"

"I've a little food distribution to see to," the Master replied with a restrained cheerfulness that made the watching Doctor instantly suspicious. "You do me so little honour, and here I've been generously feeding the poor. Ah!" He rubbed his hands together. "Just the last of a little game I've been playing with toys, or so I've been told." He added a dramatic sigh. "Everyone is forever underestimating me."

Walking over to the louvered pantry doors, he snapped his fingers. "Bakers! Up! Your Master has returned."

There was no answering movement. His brow furrowed and he reached out to tug one of the door-panels open, then stopped, considering the empty space where his hypnotised workers had lain. Slowly backing up, he studied the shuffle of footprints on the flour-spattered floor and smiled.

"Having a problem?" the voice inside the oven asked.

"A problem? Oh no, no. Quite the opposite, I think. A golden opportunity is more like it."

"Probably not so golden for whomever is at the other end of it," the voice continued, "If you're anything like I remember. I say, we're on Earth aren't we?"

The Master looked annoyed. "She was right about your talking too much," he said. "I hardly require your commentary, as you'll have no choice in the matter."

"Maybe, maybe not," the voice prattled on. "Though I must admit you seem to have the upper hand at the moment…"

"Quiet!" the Master snapped. He made a gesture and the oven doors swung shut.

"Oh, that's good!" the voice continued as it was muffled inside. "Very good. Just run away…"

The bakery was silent. The Master stood still a moment, as if listening.

"You may as well come out, Doctor. I know you're there," he purred in a satisfied voice.

The subject of his invitation didn't move.

The Master clasped his hands behind his back, still looking well-pleased with himself. "Very well. Perhaps you'd be interested in knowing I've picked up a… what shall we call him? A guest? Or perhaps you might prefer the term 'hostage'? I think he's someone you know quite well."

The Doctor became concerned. Had the Master taken one of UNIT's men? A highly-placed individual leader? He hadn't recognized the voice he'd heard, though at the same time it had struck a strangely familiar chord in his mind, not quite like something forgotten…

"I'm quite willing to introduce a bit of persuasive discomfort to him, if you insist on being stubborn about this," the Master continued. "It wouldn't bother me at all." He pulled a small weapon from his pocket and turned back towards his TARDIS.

If he hadn't heard the man himself he would think he was bluffing, but under the circumstances…well, it was all too likely the Master wouldn't be bothered. The Doctor didn't want some innocent's distress on his head.

"Very well," the Doctor said with annoyance. He kept his head up, stepping out into the open with confidence, as if he had been intending to do so anyway. "I see you've decided to become a bit of an entrepreneur. Never thought I'd see the day you'd be running a bake shop of all things, and with such interesting products."

The Master smiled at him smugly. "I try my best to please my customers."

"Yes, I've noticed that. One bite and they'll follow you anywhere, is that the idea?"

"You just don't realize what you're missing. I have an idea. Why don't we have a bit of tea and cake and talk this over like civilized beings?

"No, thank you." He leaned back against one of the tables and crossed his arms. "You know, thanks to you the men I work with haven't had any biscuits or cakes for some time. They're getting rather weary of crisps."

"Ah, crisps - what an idea, thank you; you always were bright. I'll have to remember to find a way to utilize the potato crops next."

"I suppose if anyone could give a new meaning to 'potato blight' it would be you. But neither of us are here for pleasantries; I know what you're up to, and you know I know it. Are you thinking to trade that hostage of yours for free passage to continue? And who is he?" he demanded.

"Now there's the problem," the Master said. "I have so many ideas on what to do with that hostage I can't quite decide which to do first. I'm sure you'll understand, being a shining light of brilliance in your own way."

"Oh am I?" the Doctor said dryly. "You're hardly one to be handing out insipid flattery without purpose. And you haven't answered my question. I'm not inclined to play your game at all if you won't define the stakes." He shifted his stance.

The Master knew what that stance could mean. "How about we start off with a taste, just a small sample of what I have in mind?" He pulled the compact weapon from his jacket pocket and smiled as he flipped it on, obviously pleased with himself. Turning slightly, he waved a hand and the oven doors obediently began to swing open.

"A positronic psychic stun-rod?" the Doctor observed, raising his brows. "Surely a bit of overkill, old chap? Humans don't need that type of power to…"

"Oooh, that's not…right," said the same man's voice he'd heard before. Frowning, the Doctor peered past his adversary into the open doors and found a lean, spiky-haired young man kneeling just a little back from the doors, his arms bound behind him. He appeared whole, though nearly naked, and was staring not at the Master but at the Doctor himself with something akin to dismay followed by a flicker of anger. "Overstepping yourself a bit, are you?"

"What?" the Doctor said, completely baffled. He had no recollection of ever meeting this man, yet there remained a indefinable familiarity with him. A very strong resonance, as if he were facing long-lost family. No, he had never cared much for his family; this was stronger.

"I meant him," the man supplied shortly. "Trying to get a two-fer, are you? Double your money's worth? And you expect me to cooperate?"

"Oh, you'll cooperate," the Master responded smoothly. "Now quiet!" He turned away from the man to face the Doctor he was more familiar with. "Know him?"

The Doctor was wary. "Should I?"

"Yes, why should he? And why should I be quiet?" the man was asking. "You always were too dismissive of others, you know that? Don't you think I should have some say in this ridiculously over-the-top scheming to…"

The Master whirled back and raised the rod towards him. The man raised his brows along with it, but closed his mouth.

"Come now," the velvet-coated Doctor was saying firmly, stepping forward as if he would circumvent him. "No need to threaten. It sounds to me like the chap has something to say; I'd like to hear it." Beyond the Master, he could see the kneeling man had a coiled length of chain about his ankle keeping him inside… and that his eyebrows were moving very significantly.

The Doctor blinked as he caught the message being sent. The Master was turning back to him, rod still in hand, his other hand starting to gesture towards the doors again as his mouth opened to say something.

"Hai!" He jumped forward, ducking to the side in a fluid movement intending to come up beside him to flip him and remove his weapon. At least that was the plan.

The man in the TARDIS suddenly lunged forward as the Doctor and Master were borne back towards him, leaping to the farthest extent of his chain, he head-butted the Master in the back. The Master's hands flailed, ricocheting between the two of them. There was a tremendous bang as they slammed into a metal rack full of cakes, splattering all of them with the multicoloured contents. In the confusion, there was a zzzzt.

"Oh no," the Doctor groaned, seeing his younger self collapse to the floury, cake-bespattered tiles in a heap of velvet, his white hair covered in white icing. "No, no, that's not what I…" Overbalanced, he fell to one side, his chained leg stretched out behind him, mangled cakes flattening beneath him.

The Master was climbing back to his feet from out of the mess, just beyond his reach. He scraped off a generous wad of cake and shook it to the side with a splat, then gave a little chuckle. "Not what I was planning, but it will certainly suffice. Ah, Doctor, tsk tsk." He looked from the sprawled velvet form to the ill-clad one now covered in icings and cake. "So, would you like to help me make him - or should I say you - more comfortable, or do I need to use this lovely little tool again?" He waved the psychic stun-rod. "I think you'll find both of yourselves in better shape if you cooperate."

The Doctor sighed. "When did this get declared Cooperation with Evil Lunatics Day? I don't remember reading this on the tin." Seeing the Master's expression hardening he squelched and staggered his way back to his feet inside the TARDIS doorway. "All right, all right…I can cooperate along with the best of 'em, bring it on."