The TARDIS landed with her usual announcement, only seconds after we had returned to the spot where we had parted. I had gathered one of the black stones from the meteor, at least hoping it belonged to it. Maybe there was something useful to be discovered from the stone. Trying was better than doing nothing, after all. And if it wasn't useful, it would still serve as a souvenir.
The Master hadn't said much more and the dragon fletching was sleeping on my shoulder, seemingly exhausted by the little action it had had. So the minutes it had taken to go back to the rendezvous point had been spent in silence.
When the door to the blue box opened, I saw Donna poking her head out, her look immediately resting on me. She grinned and waved me inside.
"Is it safe?" she asked, eyeing the tiny dragon on my shoulder. "Do you think it will attack us or anything? It's so cute though. How can something so adorable be so deadly?"
"It's only a child." I smiled. "I think if we treat it decently it won't become a threat."
"I hope so," Donna commented. "It doesn't seem evil."
I brought the dragon back to its terrarium, not at all sure if it even needed the place anymore. But better be safe than sorry. And it was sleeping soundly anyway.
I stripped out of the clothes I had now worn for several days, glaring at the coat I had gotten from Darwil. It had a cool, post-apocalyptic look, but wasn't really suited for everyday use. So it ended up in my wardrobe while I took a long shower, washing away all the grime and fear and everything that had happened during our trip through the destroyed city.
It was great to feel completely clean again, reminding me why I had never taken longer hiking trips. The comfort of being clean and having a bed outweigh the desire for adventure by far. Which didn't mean that I regretted anything. This trip had been a new experience on a whole new level.
To my surprise, there was a knock on my door, just as I was about to slip under my covers.
"What is it?" I asked. "Come in." The door opened. "But make it quick. I'm really exhausted."
"Mhm… depends on what you mean by quick."
I turned to see the Master entering, closing the door carefully behind himself. He slowly walked into the room, arms folded in front of his chest.
"What do you want?" I asked, barely able to contain a yawn. The exhaustion of the whole ordeal had finally reached me, making me almost numb to everything around me. And if he wanted to make a fuss about our talk from before I'd definitely just kick him out.
"Just checking on you." He shrugged. "I wanted to have a look inside your mind to see if that outburst of yours has left any traces."
"'m not going to burn down the TARDIS," I said amidst a yawn. "Too tired."
"That would be a rather bad idea anyway." A smile curved his lips upwards as he bent down to meet my eyes. "Never destroy your means of travelling."
"Yeah, no shit." I smiled back amused. "Well then. Have a look." I tapped against my head and sat on the bed sheets, feet still on the ground.
The Master dropped to his haunches in front of me, stretching out both hands to touch my temples. I frowned, remembering that this would allow him to be inside my head, without us really sharing the connection. And suddenly his fingers retreated.
"You don't like that." It was a statement, not a question.
I gnawed on my bottom lip, not sure how to word my feelings. But I didn't have to, he did it for me.
"You'd rather share." An amused chuckle followed. "You don't trust me, do you? You think I'll look at stuff you don't want me to see."
"Well, duh." I rolled my eyes, grabbing the edge of my mattress. "It's just… I never know where I stand with you."
Something lit up in his eyes. "You're still mad because I didn't tell you about the void."
"I'm mad because I don't know anything. I don't know… what I am to you."
"Does it matter?"
"Show me," I muttered. "I know it's possible. I've sensed your emotions and intentions often enough."
A slow grin spread on his lips, delicious and a little teasing too. However, there was barely time to wonder about his thoughts, he shot up and suddenly was on top of me, pressing me into the mattress, his lips on mine. I let out a surprised noise, trying to get my orientation back. My hands found the fabric of his shirt, rumpling it where I grabbed his arms, his weight on top of me barely allowing for any more movement. And the moment I caught myself enough to respond the kiss, I felt his mind flaring inside of me, different than usual, this time not the slow spreading of smoke, but a wave of liquid fire, flowing into every corner of my awareness and making me gasp, every nerve alight with a tingling sensation that was neither pleasant nor unpleasant.
There, little light, have a look.
The heated waves ebbed down to a warm current, still spreading, still rendering me completely unable to do more than accepting, barely aware of our moving lips, too aware of the heat that pooled elsewhere. And I felt… him. His thoughts, his emotions, everything, the heated desire for more, the strength it took him not to go too far, the possessiveness, the urge to see me bleed out my existence right in front of his feet, the wish to feel me contently snuggled up against him, the pleasure of having our minds connected in a way that was new to even himself. He wanted to rip me into the tiniest shreds, wanted to protect me from every pain, longed to see me snap for good and drown the universe in darkness as fiercely as he longed to just hold me tight and claim me in every way he knew. It all ran through my mind, all at once and with a force that took my breath away, that made my heart flutter against its confinement like a scared little bird. And amidst the flood I could faintly make out words.
I told you. You're mine. Everything you are.
The kiss was fierce, rough, sometimes almost more akin to bites. I shivered beneath him, unable to move, unwilling to, wanted to be drawn in, to be swallowed, getting one in ways I couldn't even describe. Only the muscle memory from our training sessions allowed me to keep us apart just enough, knowing we would both end otherwise. But the Master retreated before that could happen.
He loomed above me, supported by his arms to either side of my head, panting, lightly shivering and clearly as affected as I was, even though he had the audacity to keep his body from reacting. And all I could do was to stare up at him, completely overwhelmed.
"There's more where that came from," he rasped out, only slowly recovering. "Enough for your curiosity?"
I nodded as good as possible in the current position, unable to really speak. Everything I had just felt still lingered in my mind, like an aftertaste. It made my whole body tingle, made it hard not to stretch up to catch another kiss, made it almost impossible not to arch against him.
The Master grinned and rolled down from me, lying on his side and drawing me against him. I clung to his shirt, breathing in his familiar scent and trying to process the sheer duality of what he had shown me. It made no sense to me and still I knew it was all real and true.
"That's the most honest I can be with you," muttered the Master against my head. "And it's more than someone else would have gotten." And even quieter he added, "much more."
He drew me even closer, leaving me barely any space to even breathe. He wanted to crush me and hold me and I wanted him to do both, accepting what I couldn't quite grasp. For him to have shown me what was inside of him…
"Thank you," I mumbled.
There was a quiet laugh and his hand played with a strand of my hair. "If something ever grabs your mind again," he whispered, "and tries to douse it in darkness, remember this, will you?"
"Mhm," I made, shivering from the memory of how much this place had affected me. Even though it had certainly left me to wonder. "But why me?" I mumbled against him.
There was a long silence in which I already started to drift into sleep, wincing when he suddenly spoke up.
"Don't you understand?" he muttered close to my ear. "You can't be replaced. It wouldn't be the same. Maybe parts of it, but never the whole person." He chuckled, holding me close. "I doubt there is an equally twisted thing like you out there."
Shily I turned my head to look at him and saw his eyes twinkling with amusement and fascination. Or maybe I felt it. "Because of my connection to the void?"
"No." He flicked my head. "I don't think it's changing your personality." He drew me up to lay eye to eye with me, nudging his forehead against mine. "Because no one else would so nonchalantly tell me they want to see the world burn and act as if it's nothing."
I swallowed, remembering this scorching desire I had experienced.
"Tell me, little flame," he uttered against my lips, "do you feel shame because of it?"
My heart rate spiked once again, betraying whatever I would have told anyone else. Only with him, I knew, I could be honest. "No," I admitted in a whisper. "Not at all."
"You would have just stood there, watching it all get swallowed by the void-" he said, not questioning- "and admiring how beautiful it looks."
My eyes closed, a shuddering breath escaping. It was wrong, it was so horribly wrong and I just couldn't bring myself to care. He didn't wait for an answer, instead chose to taste it from my lips, our minds pouring into another the moment we properly touched. It wasn't as intense as before, making me realise just how much he usually held back.
What you felt wasn't even close to how deeply we could connect, he thought.
It was amazing.
Smugness spread in my mind and made me smile. He could be so damn proud of himself sometimes.
It's different to how Time Lords connect. His hand slipped under my shirt and he tenderly stroked his thumb over my back. Some… boundaries are missing. I honestly don't know myself how far we could actually go.
And I felt how the thought excited him, how it made him shiver with the pleasure of the opportunity to explore something entirely new to him. An excitement I definitely shared.
He retreated his head a little, regarding me with dark eyes. "See? I need to keep you. No protest. And no burning down any place while you're still inside."
I huffed and snuggled myself closer. "Okay, okay. I'll try. It's just…" Searching for words I drew lazy circles against his chest. "It's the first time I matter. Regardless for what. Usually, the best I can hope for is to be the least important person to someone." I sighed. "Which is still better than being completely unimportant, but still…"
The Master chuckled softly. "If the reason doesn't matter to you… then yes, you are important to me." Had he really said that or was it only in my head? I was so tired and it seemed as if he was using his hypnotism on me again. I could barely keep my eyes open, let alone distinguish between reality and dream. "But don't be fooled. This is only until you lose your value. Now sleep, little lumin. Sleep and forget I ever told you."
I didn't forget. But I also didn't mention it. Deep inside of me I knew I should still be mad at him for toying with me the way he had, but what use was it? He was… him after all. And his actions did yield the desired results.
Some I still couldn't wrap my head around. I had to ask him soon what exactly he knew about my connection to the void. I had suspected something like it some time ago already, but only because of the fletching. I had assumed it was causing it somehow, but that this connection was actually inside of me…
After the first cup of coffee I strolled down the corridors to visit the small dragon and was surprised when it suddenly and out of nowhere landed with a fump in my face. I yelped and stumbled backwards, grabbing the little one and tearing it away from me. My sight blurred. It had grabbed the rim of my specs and was holding on to them for dear life, squeaking a few times.
"You really need to learn how to fly properly," I sighed. "If you ever get bigger than a rat you could cause some serious trouble with your current performance. And give those glasses back." I plucked them from its tiny fingers and put them back on, giggling when I saw it hanging in my fingers like a little kitten.
"I still don't know what to call you."
It wriggled in my fingers, wings flapping expectantly, so I let go and watched as it tried to fly down the corridor next to me. The little thing would definitely need a lot more practice, or maybe its wings weren't quite big enough yet. Whatever the case, there definitely was no need to keep it in a terrarium any longer.
When I entered the console room I found the Doctor and Donna there already, quietly talking about something. They didn't notice me until the little one clumsily landed on the jump seat next to the Doctor, doing a little jump as if to ask for praise.
"Oh, hello there!" he called out, surprised. "Not biting me anymore?" But when he stretched out a hand, the dragon flinched away, regarding the Doctor with a stare.
"Maybe it just doesn't like men," pondered Donna. She stepped around the console and bent down to rub a finger over the dragon's head, smiling when it closed its eyes in pleasure. "Or it doesn't like Time Lords. Have you chosen a name yet, Lucy?"
I sighed, shaking my head and pouting. "I'm terrible at giving names. And I don't want it to be something boring."
"Mhm yes, I get that. You'll come up with something, I'm certain."
I looked up at her, giving a thankful smile. The one she returned was… strange. And now that I paid attention to it, there was a weirdly dense atmosphere in the room. My eyes wandered from her to the Doctor, who was also observing me.
"What… what's the matter?" I swallowed and licked over my dry lips.
"I wanted to ask you something," began the Doctor, nervously rubbing the back of his head. "And I know I shouldn't and I have no right, and…"
I narrowed my eyes at him. If this had anything to do with me and the Master again, I would not give him even the littlest of information.
The Doctor let out a loud sigh, glancing at Donna with a help-searching look.
"Don't look at me, Spaceman!" she protested. "I only wanted to know if she's alright. I've got nothing to do with-" she wriggled her fingers in a crawling manner- "this Time Lord stuff."
A bit alarmed, I turned around. "Doctor, what's she talking about?"