The Sound of Silence
Disclaimer: Doctor Who belongs to various persons and corporations that are not me or associated with me. This piece of fanfiction is written with the admiration and respect for the original work. I claim no ownership of Doctor Who's creations. No profit is made from this material, now or in the future.
Lucy was scared of the dark.
When she was a little girl, her nanny would sing her songs about falling down, read her fairytales about never growing up, and watch her like she was broken. Everyone said that she was silly and not very bright. They told her there were no such things as monsters. She told them she wasn't scared of monsters.
"Then what are you scared of, dearest?" her mother asked as she sat on the white sheets of Lucy's white bed in her white room.
"Nothing," Lucy answered but her mother mistook it for silence.
When she was twelve, they decided she was too old to be afraid of the dark. They took all the lights away, locked the door, and wouldn't let her out until she stopped screaming. They saw the quiet as a good thing. She didn't tell them that that's what she had been afraid of all along.
Lucy learned to lie.
When she was a woman, she tried to grow up but all it felt like was falling down. She was good at telling stories, men liked her weak handshake, and women assumed she was lost and tried to help her. She earned a degree in literature and took a job in publishing. Her parents bought her a three million pound flat in central London and said they were proud. She painted all the walls white and threw away the curtains. She lived alone so no one could ever turn the lights off. Some days, she didn't notice the shadows and smiled at her books under the lampshade.
Lucy met her husband.
They sat in a restaurant by windows on a summer day. Harold Saxon drew all the light to him and seemed to eat it up in his hungry eyes. There was no doubt in her mind that he was wrong, but that didn't mean he was bad. She forgot her name. He laughed at her and decided what they were going to eat. They discussed his book and fairytales. He didn't pretend it was anything more than lies. She fell into the sound of his voice. It filled her head and made her feel bright.
"What is your greatest fear, Lucy?" he asked and she decided to tell the truth.
He grinned and heard what she meant. She thought she might be in love.
"Do you hear it?" she asked in return. His face went slack in surprise and then blank. It was the same expression she hid behind when she was listening. There was knowing in his pause. She knew she wasn't alone.
"The silence. It's always there. In my head. The endless silence. The sound of nothing."
"What does it say, Lucy?" His fingers tapped the side of his wine glass and she was glad for the noise. He tied her down with it so she could think. She thought he might understand more about her than she did. He made her feel safe.
"It's calling to me. It wants something from me."
The dessert arrived and he asked if he could take her to the end of the universe.
Lucy reached for his hand.
She walked on a world where all the light had gone out. She met monsters that never grew up. She learned the Master's name, heard his story, and cried. She had never been so cold or alone. She thought there was no point. There was no point to anything, not ever, not if it was only coming to this.
The Master held her until she didn't feel anything anymore.
"I could save them," he whispered with his lips to her ear. "I could rip open the sky and burn history. They could descend through a crack in Time, if I held it wide for them. None of this has to happen, because it did. I could do that and you could help me. Or we could leave here now. I could take you away from this and choose to save only you. What do you say, Lucy? Shall we save them?"
She hid her face in his body and listened to the four beats inside him.
Lucy made her choice.
When she danced to the music at the end of the world on a ship called the Valiant, she was sure that this was what she had been born to do. Just as the drums called the Master to set the universe on fire, the silence had cried out to her, begging her with the voice of a billion children to save destiny from the dark. Humanity would never end and though the silence might be filled with screams, it meant someone was still alive and she wasn't alone. It was so much better than the quiet.
Lucy was glad it was over.
But it wasn't. She couldn't understand why it was still there. The sound of silence in her head. She did her duty. Together with the Master, she had saved them all. She had thought that that would mean something and she would be free. She thought it would let her go.
"It will never let you go, darling," the Master told his reflection. He adjusted his tie in the mirror of their white bathroom while she sat on the white counter in her white dressing gown facing him. He glanced at her and exaggerated a scowl before cupping her chin. He tried to erase her dismay with a thumb brushed across her lips. "The silence. The nothingness. The darkness. It's inside you. It's the most important part of you. It's why I adore you, Lucy Saxon. That will never go away.
Once you realize that, then you will be free."
The Master patted her cheek and lifted her off the counter. "And look at what it has made you. The mother of a brand new future, great and terrible and so very, very lucky. After all, you belong to me. Now smile, there's a good girl." His eyes laughed at her, at his own private joke, and she marveled that she could hate and love him at the same time. The Master was so good to her but he was so bad for her.
He left her standing in front of the mirror. She looked straight into her own eyes and saw nothing. She heard only her own silence.
Lucy scared herself.