Soul's Shadow

by TardisGhost [Reviews - 76]

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  • Teen
  • None
  • Action/Adventure, Character Study

"Och, don't call it that," said the Doctor, indignantly. "It's an ancient art."

"I don't care what it is," snapped Donna. "You always make it sound dangerous."

I grunted annoyed. "What's this about? What did you want to do?"

"It's… about your void connection," blurted the Doctor out and seemed stunned by his own words for a second. But he quickly caught himself. "I don't know if the Master is right and I don't know what he thinks he's found, but…"

"But you don't trust him."

"That's… well…"

"Well, obviously," Donna tossed in.

The Doctor was visibly unnerved by the whole situation, and immensely uncomfortable, too.

"I… there are a few devices and machines in the med bay. I'm pretty certain they might find a trace of at least void particles. Or… maybe not. It might just be a-"

"He wants inside your head," interrupted Donna. She rolled her eyes in his direction. "Not that I understand much about all that psychic stuff, but he thinks there might be a parasite or something."

"No-ooooo, I never said parasite! I said it might be a xherogromatic manifestation of hiuntra particles. They are said to have caused small cracks between worlds, back in the days when it was still possible. And at least the xherothintea extractor would be possible to detect traces."

"Yes, yes, whatever." Donna rolled her eyes.

"But… you think it's not particles," I concluded. "You think it's something that you need a psychic connection to discover." And I didn't like how that sounded. I also didn't like the idea of the Doctor snooping around in my head.

"Weeell…" He grinned sheepishly. "If the Master found it in your mind, then it's very likely that it's… Uh… you know…"

I hesitated, unsure what to do. The Master had said he wasn't certain himself how exactly this connection to the void worked or how and why it was even there to begin with. But then there was also this tiny voice in the back of my mind that reminded me that I could probably never fully trust him. There was a good chance that he was keeping things from me, even after he had opened up a little the evening before.

"Alright." I nodded slowly. "I want to know more about this, too."

There was a tiny squeak from behind me and when I turned, the little dragon sat straight, glaring at me with a slightly tilted head.

"He's not too happy about this, I think." The Doctor observed the little one.

"He?" Donna asked. "Did you find out its gender?"

"Oh, no. No, I didn't." He chuckled lightly. "I just use whatever comes to mind. I'm not even sure they have something like gender. But anyway…" The Doctor turned back to me. "I wouldn't ask if it weren't important. The Master might ignore all protocols when it comes to all things psychic, but there are reasons why Time Lords treat the subject so strictly."

I nodded. "Yeah, I know about it. Some of it at least."

"If there is anything you don't want me to see-"

"I'll shield it from you, yep, I already learned that."

"You… did?" The Doctor sounded honestly surprised. "So… you know how to hide stuff behind doors?"

"Doors?" I tilted my head. "I always put a sort of bubble around it. Guess that's the same thing."

The Doctor blinked, huffing surprised. "Yeah. Same thing. Just a little more advanced. You can easily peek behind a door, but not so much inside a sealed bubble. They only teach that to students with a little more… imaginative minds."

"I'll take that as a compliment," I said, grinning.

Oh, you definitely can!" The Doctor's face suddenly erupted into a wide beaming smile." Considering you're just human, I'd even say it's brilliant!"

"And there we go with the ego again," mumbled Donna in the back. "You know what? I'll take the little lizard and get us some snacks until you two are done. I'm not understanding a word you're babbling about."

"And there she's gone…" The Doctor glared at the door for some moments, an affectionate smile on his face. Then he turned to me and waved towards the jump seat. "This won't take long. Sit down."

So I did, letting my feet dangle in the air, waiting for him to start. It made me feel strangely nervous, for some reason. I had done this so many times by now, but somehow the thought of having someone else in my head now unnerved me. And not only me, judging by the uncertain look on the Doctor's face. He gnawed on his bottom lip, regarding me like a weirdly shaped package he wasn't quite sure how to properly carry yet.

"It's okay," I reassured. "If anything feels weird, I'll let you know."

"I really wouldn't ask this of you if it-"

"It's okay," I chuckled. "You won't hurt me."

The Doctor visibly winced, looking incredibly guilty all of a sudden. And a little ashamed as well. "It's not that. It's just… considered very intimate where we come from."

"I know." My hands in my lap were suddenly extraordinarily important to observe and I hesitated to add, "I also know why that is. But I trust that you won't go too far."

"You… do?"

His voice sounded so surprised that I had to look up again, seeing him perplexed. So I gave him a reassuring smile - or what I hoped resembled one. "Well, we're friends, aren't we? You might not like me as much as other humans, but… Well, I sense I can trust you with this, so let's just dive in, okay? I want to know more about this and I'm sure the Master won't tell me everything he finds."

"Yeah, probably not." A short smile twitched over his features. "Right… let's find this out then. Ready?"

The Doctor came a step closer and gently lay his hands around my head, thumbs resting against my temples. His skin was warm and the gentle touch made me relax and nod.

At first I thought he still hesitated, but then I felt the Doctor's mind slowly spreading within my own. The sensation was… weird, foreign. It took all of my willpower to not recoil from the contact, to allow the other presence to stay and to dig even further. I squirmed in my seat, trying to stay calm. Like the last time when he had been in my head, it felt entirely different with him. More like an intrusion, like having sand in your shoe or a grain of dust in the eye.

It made me wonder why it had never felt like that with the Master.

"Oh my," murmured the Doctor and I could sense a vague hint of surprise. "He left traces all over the place in there."

I blinked my eyes open, seeing the Doctor's face in an expression of what could only be surprise, but might also be… disgust? It made me wonder what exactly he could see or sense in there and quickly slammed a bubble around the more… intimate details in my memory. This, again sparked a twinge of surprise. Another one sparked through the connection when I felt him slide closer to my life force. I didn't want him to know what was there, so I gently nudged him in another direction.

"You're… quite good at this," the Doctor remarked, surprised. "Did… well, of course he did. Humans aren't trained."

"Yeah, I asked him to teach me a little," I confirmed, happy that the Doctor didn't try to creep back to my life force.

After a while I could sense him clearer, adapted to the way he felt and managed to relax a little more. And then there was the biggest spark of surprise and everything paused. The Doctor's awareness rested in one particular spot, one I couldn't exactly pinpoint. But he stayed there for quite a while and then slowly retreated from my mind.

I let out a relieved sigh when he was gone and looked up at him. "What did you find?"

He winced.

"No! Don't you walk in there, I said!" shouted Donna's voice all of a sudden, making us both jump.

The door swung open and with the most burning look of anger on his face I had seen in a while stepped in the Master. He was practically fuming, completely ignoring Donna's scolding from behind. I hopped from the jump seat to get out of the way, suspecting he wanted to speak to the Doctor.

But right as I took a step away, the Master grabbed my arm, hurled me against him and pressed his lips to mine. Completely taken by surprise I let out a small, muffled yelp, fully aware that everyone had just seen this. He retreated with the utmost gleeful grin, tapping a finger under my chin.

"That one's mine," he almost growled and then looked up at the Doctor.

I shily peeked over at him, too, finding the expected look of utter surprise. On the other side stood Donna with her mouth hanging open in a long, shocked 'O'. The Doctor rubbed the back of his neck, clearing his throat uncomfortably.

"She… asked me to."

"Why, yes of course she did," said the Master in a way that made clear he wasn't surprised in the least by this. "Doesn't mean you have to look."

"You wouldn't have told me," I still tried to defend myself.

"So? What are you going to do with that information, little one?" He glared at me.

"I… don't know. But I don't want to tap around in the dark." My eyes wandered to the little dragon on Donna's shoulder that observed us curiously, before they fixed firmly on the Master again. "I want to know what's happening to me."

The World shrunk to contain only the two of us for the fraction of a moment. I sensed there was more he wanted to say and I also knew he wouldn't.

"There is a small cluster of void energy inside your mind," muttered the Doctor. "I can't tell why it's there. Neither where it came from."

"She has this black stuff in her head?" called Donna. "Ohhhh, that can't be good. Not good at all. And you stop grinning, bloody moron!" She slapped the Master's arm. "At least the Doctor told her something. You creep around in her head without even asking."

"Oh, I don't need to." He chuckled, completely ignoring the woman's ire.

"Your trace is practically everywhere," mumbled the Doctor, and again I wasn't sure if it was shock or disgust. Or both.

The Master smirked at me, looking like a mischievous school boy for a moment. Then he turned to the Doctor, grinning. "Did you like it?" he breathed. "Feeling so much of me in your head? Did you taste it?"

The Doctor… blushed. His face turned as red as I had never seen it before and he frantically looked around as if to find somewhere to hide. The Master stepped closer to him, reaching his hands out to grab the other one's head firmly." If you want to feel me in there… all you have to do is ask."

"Get off of me," the Doctor brought out through gritted teeth. His hands grabbed the Master's wrists, but couldn't get him to move.

"Stay away from my property," snarled the Master and let go abruptly, turning on his heel and leaving with wide steps. When he passed me he ruffled through my hair, not even stopping.

And then he was out of the room and I was left with perplexed silence and two staring pairs of eyes. They had witnessed what I had hoped to keep for myself for… preferably forever.

"He bloody kissed you!" called Donna, exasperatedly. "That twat deserves to be stranded on some deserted moon and if I have to I'll do it myself!"

"It… it's okay, Donna." I held up my hands to stop her.

"And then calling you his property! That guy has nerves."

"I don't mind, really. Calm down."

"Calm down?" Donna practically fumed and it surprised me that there wasn't smoke coming out of her nostrils.

"I don't think she minds much," said the Doctor from behind, tone nonchalant and even a little… amused?"

I blushed horribly, slumping together a little. Donna glared at him, then at me, looking very much like a goldfish. "Don't you dare tell me this wasn't the first time," she brought out.

"Uh… if you ask like that…"

"He gave you some psychic training," stated the Doctor. And I nodded. He then beamed at Donna, his usual toothy grin in place. "Ah, well, happens. Touch telepathy, you know?"

"I do not!" Her eyes wandered between the two of us.

"Requires lots of nerve endings touching. Makes it easier. And just sort of… happens. Sometimes. You humans always confuse everything with romance, but this is more a practical thing, innit?" He nudged my shoulder.

I hurried to nod, sensing he was making up a cover for me to calm Donna. She wouldn't understand. And she really seemed to accept that explanation.

"Time Lords," she muttered, shaking her head. "You're such a weird bunch, you lot. It happens. Only you can say that." She let out an exasperated sigh. "And that just now? He waltzed just in and… and…"

The Doctor rubbed his neck, giving me a side glance. "Weeeell… just claiming territory, I guess. He is a bit possessive."

Donna threw her hands up. "Just listen to that man! You know what? I'm out. You know what you're doing, I hope. And you know you can always talk to me if not, right?"

"I know." I nodded again, giving Donna a warm smile and watched her leave the room.

Which left me with the Doctor, who seemed to know exactly that his words before had not been the entire truth. To my surprise he did the same as the Master when he had left and ruffled gently through my hair, a pleasantly warm smile on his face.

"Seems I have misjudged the situation," he said casually.

I blinked at him. "Not telling me to keep my distance and all the other stuff?"

He shrugged, digging his hands into his pockets. "I can't say I completely understand… but, for once I'm pretty sure he's not hurting you."

"How so?"

The Doctor winked. "Cause he would hurt himself even more. This…" He tapped his head. "It's not something we do lightly. And certainly not with everyone. It can go wrong in so many ways I can't even begin somewhere."

"Mhm…" There was so little I knew about it all, even now.

The Doctor bumped his shoulder against mine, having to bend quite deep to do so. "Want to join me? There was a certain place that sells amazing ice cream that I wanted to check out."

When I looked up he winked at me and I laughed about his childish behaviour. "Alright. Why not."