Soul's Shadow

by TardisGhost [Reviews - 78]

Printer Chapter or Story
  • Teen
  • None
  • Action/Adventure, Character Study

Author's Notes:
There will be mentions of past abuse... nothing explicit, but it's there. Just a little TW here. :3

I hope you're all okay out there. The lack of light always makes me super tired around this time of the year *sigh* And I'm so absolutely not at all in the mood for Christmas. It just doesn't feel like it, idk.

Kira wriggled out of my hands and crawled up my shoulder, nudging his snout against my cheek. I looked to the side, right into his purple little eyes and he licked my nose.

Warm. It was such a warm gesture. The knot in my chest loosened and tears welled inside my eyes. I couldn't hide. I had to face the truth that I would vanish one day and leave everyone behind. It would all end.

A shuffling nearby startled me. And then there was a voice. His voice.

"I ran again, didn't I?" The Master was leaning against one of the coral pillars, arms wrapped around himself, his face not showing any emotion. But his words told another story, as did the mere fact that he had returned instead of vanishing for days. "It's not as if I wouldn't know," he mumbled. "The old man just reminded me how little time you humans have."

"Yeah," I choked out, trying to keep my eyes dry. "I had the same thought."

The Master stared at me, his face unreadable. "You always complain I'm running. But if I don't…"

Feeling uneasy, I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, uncertain how to proceed. "Can't blame you," I confessed. There's… nothing I can do about it. No matter what…" It was so hard to keep my voice steady. I heard it slip and jitter.

I couldn't help it. The tears just started to fall completely on their own when he approached. I plugged down my glasses, trying to wipe the tears away, but they just kept coming. Maybe I was dreaming, maybe it all wasn't real, but it felt as real as anything could feel when the Master suddenly wrapped his arms around my shaking form and pressed me tightly against him, when he let me sob into his shirt and let me cling to him as if the universe itself was trying to tear me away. I felt his chin on my head and Kira's nose against my cheek and there was the rapid thudding of two hearts, beating faster than I was used to.

"It doesn't matter, you know," he said quietly. "Maybe you're just a blip in the eternity of my life. But I will remember. I will always remember."

"Promise," I whispered, clawing my fingers tighter into the cloth of his shirt.

The Master chuckled. "You're such an insufferable, miserable creature, and you're soaking my shirt with your useless human tears. You really think I could forget?" He gently pushed me away, swiping his thumbs over my cheeks. A soft smile was playing on his lips, his eyes were warm, making my heart hurt even more.

"You will," I breathed. "Everyone does, in the end." My breath quivered, remembering all of the times I had been forgotten, abandoned, discarded, betrayed. "No one ever seems to remember me when I'm gone for too long."

"I'm not human, don't forget that. And neither is he."

I felt Kira sprawl on my shoulder, taking up as much space as he could, as if to tell me that he was there and present, and I felt my heartbeat slowing, my breath ebbing. The little one seemed to have a calming effect on me, again. Like the last time.

"You must be tired," the Master said, reaching a hand up to flick my forehead with a playful smirk. "Get some sleep before the Doctor gets us into trouble again. Your pathetic organism will break down otherwise."

"Ouch." I held my hand against the spot he had flicked and scowled. "Do you have to get mean all the time?"

The Master snickered and poked his tongue out. "Not going to change."

I huffed, letting my hand sink. But my mood hadn't brightened too much. There were still so many worries, so many thoughts.

"Want me to join you?" came his question. It sounded not as teasing as usual, not even amused. Instead, his words were quiet and composed. Or so I thought, until I saw something dark swirling within the depths of his eyes.

"I uh… You're right. I'm actually really tired. Maybe I should sleep." I looked away, gnawing on my bottom lip. "You… really think this is a good idea?" I waved my hand between us. "You n' me. Doesn't matter what we call it… or… don't call it."

"Yes!" he growled, towering over me with a dark glare. "I think this is the best idea." Gently cupping my face with both hands he leaned down and breathed a kiss to my lips. "You're my biggest chance to get rid of the drums. Don't forget that. And there is no reason at all not to enjoy the process."

"So…" I swallowed, my voice carrying a little hope. "It's still the same deal. We're using each other. Nothing more."

He seemed to catch up on my train of thoughts, his lips twitching upwards. "Yeah. Nothing more."

It was the easiest thing for me, pretending it was all just to gain some sort of advantage. Even when something more was, obviously, going on. But the Master was right, it was no use putting names to everything, defining what lacked all definition. I returned the smile, taking a step back.

"You coming with me then?" I asked, having maybe a little too much hope swinging in my voice. "We didn't really do any actual… practise, last time. Might catch up on that."

The Master snickered and followed. "You know, I'd absolutely consider mindfucking you as real practice."

I slightly winced, rounding a corner to my room. "Don't call it that."

There was a laugh behind me, mocking and amused. "Since when are you so prude?"

"'m not… That's not…"

"Well, what else would you call it then?" He bent slightly down to me, nudging his shoulder against mine.

We entered my room and Kira flapped to a pile of pillows he had chosen as a resting spot.

"Dunno," I replied, grabbing some fresh underwear and a plain black t-shirt from my wardrobe. "I'll go, have a shower first. Make yourself comfy. And don't bite each other."

I nodded at Kira, who was staring intently at the Master, clearly not too happy about having him here. I didn't care. The little one would have to learn to deal with the Master, if he wanted or not.

After this long day I took a few minutes more than necessary to finish my shower, brushing my teeth and slipping into a pair of boxers and the t-shirt I had picked before. My hair were still a little damp when I stepped outside, finding the Master with a book in hands and my dragon sleeping already.

The Master looked up when I came close and put the book aside, standing up and striding over to me. There was an indecipherable look in his eyes as they wandered over me.

"You know… I think you made quite the impressive progress." He tapped against his head. "Just holding hands while practising shouldn't be necessary anymore."

"No?" I looked at him, leaning against my desk. "What do you suggest then?"

A mischievous smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. "Well..." His hands moved up to open the first few buttons of his black dress shirt and I watched, too perplexed to say anything, how he peeled himself out of waistcoat and shirt and tossed both over a chair. "Don't just stand there," he teased. "Off with those clothes."

I blinked and shook my head. "Err… You were right. I am pretty knackered. Not sure I'm really up to… whatever the heck you want to try this time."

He started to laugh, startling Kira for a moment. He stepped towards me, grabbing my waist and drawing me closer, his fingers playing with the hem of my t-shirt. "Who knows. Maybe I just like playing with you."

And suddenly it was back, without explanation, without me knowing what triggered it; a feeling I hadn't had in a long time. One of sudden defiance and disgust, one of wanting nothing but to squirm myself out of his grip and run away. The Master stilled, looking at me with confusion. Only his hands crawled under my shirt, making me freeze as they found skin. But all he did was to initiate contact and carefully slip into my head.

What's wrong? What did I do?

I let out a shaky breath, trying to shake off the state of slight panic, but without success. So I did the only thing that made sense and focused on it, tried to catch the place where it lingered to find its root.

Images flooded my vision, my mind, my memories bubbling up from places I barely seemed to remember, yet were still as vivid as yesterday. Moments rushed by, of years long gone, laughing, enjoying, exploring - with another face, a human face. There was nothing explicit, but the impressions were distinct enough. Then… a gradual loss of my freedom, drifting step by step from pleasure to… duty, to something I had to do, rather than wanting it. And when that wasn't enough anymore… manipulation, psychological torture… until I caved in, until I gave my body just to have some moments of peace again….

The memories stopped, leaving me panting and shivering. I had been so sure to have left all that behind, to be able to simply enjoy what should be enjoyable. But something in the way the Master had just acted…

You feared I might force you. His voice in my head was quiet, thoughtful. You felt your control slipping and that frightened you.

Perplexed, I blinked up at him, trying to sense if he was mocking me because of it. First, it was me who sought out intimacy, only to then shy away from it? It must look incredibly stupid to him. But there was no taunting remark, no mocking glance. Instead, the Master retreated his hands and cupped my face.

"'S just sleeping, little light," he said quietly, thumbs stroking over my cheeks. "Just that. And only if you agree."

I swallowed a lump in my throat and nodded. "S… sorry. I don't know where that came from."

"I just told you." Now the mocking smile was back, but it was soft. "Your memories paint a pretty disgusting picture, actually. Makes me want to kill that man who did this to you."

"But…" I shrunk together somewhat. "Normally I feel so safe with you."

That made him chuckle, but then he got serious, his hands wandering from my face to my shoulders. "First, you thought I didn't want you. So you could flirt, you could tease, you could dream and yearn and nothing would come from it. That made it safe."

I swallowed again, sensing there was some truth behind his words and hating him for knowing me so well that he could clad my own thoughts into words I wasn't able to put together myself.

"And now… now you fear I might want more than you are willing, or able, to give. And that I might be the same as this other person… and just take what I want." A somewhat sad smirk appeared on his face. "Can't blame you."

I turned my head away, rubbing my arm uncomfortably. "I… don't want to feel like that. I thought it would be behind me."

"I can put that shirt back on, if you want." His eyebrow shot up. "Actually, I just wanted to add a little more skin to the equation. Touch telepathy and all." He gave me a wink and also a reassuring smile. The last few days he had been doing that a lot; being weirdly considerate and careful.

"No, it's okay." I poked my fingers slowly into his chest in front of me. "I shouldn't be so squeamish."

The Master scowled, then suddenly flicked my head again with his fingers. "It's just a sort of trauma response. Believe me, I know what those look like." He bent down a little, his invading of my personal space almost negating his words. "I'm not ever going to do anything against your will. Not with this stuff. There are some rules of my people even I hold sacred to this day. But don't tell the Doctor." He chuckled. "So… sleep?"

To think that he, of all people, would be so determined to have my consent was weird. But I sensed that he spoke the truth. What had he said? A trauma response? I didn't feel especially traumatised. Not after so much time had passed. But maybe it had only been hidden.

Letting out a long drawn breath, I finally nodded and we climbed on the bed, the Master staying on his knees and glaring at me. I mirrored his pose, stiffening a little when he took the hem of my shirt again. There was no danger in this, I reminded myself. I'm in control of the situation. He's not going to… I nodded again and allowed him to pull the cloth over my head, tossing it to the floor. Now I was only wearing my boxers and felt incredibly vulnerable for a short moment.

The Master looked at me, the smile on his face barely even there. He stretched out his hand, placing it on my chest, right above the heart. His eyes closed as if he were listening. Just listening. The warmth of his hand made me relax. I'm safe. Even though he claimed me as his own.

"Always feels strange that you only have one," he said, and it took me a good moment to realise he meant my heart.

The Master lay down, waiting. And I joined him, having my back against his chest and immediately feeling our minds connect again, pouring into each other like warm smoke. Safe.

A low chuckle reverberated through my head. Far from it, little light. But he still held me closer, allowing our selves to intermingle deeper and deeper with every breath until I no longer cared about anything.