Soul's Shadow

by TardisGhost [Reviews - 79]

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  • Teen
  • None
  • Action/Adventure, Character Study

"That's not mood light, is it?"

Donna's question was obsolete. We all knew it. Those criss-crossing red lines that filled the whole corridor were clearly laser beams. And, after having watched too many movies in my life, there also was no doubt that they were deadly.

The Master glared at the beams with a wrinkled nose and pursed lips, seemingly wanting to obliterate the obstacle by willpower alone. In the end, he picked up a small, loose scrap of broken machinery from the ground and tossed it between the beams.

To absolutely no one's surprise, it got obliterated before it even touched the ground. The stench of melted plastic was all the incredible heat left over. That and a tiny pile of black ash.

"Well…" Donna stemmed her hands into her hips. She didn't look too happy.

Jenny said nothing. She had been rather quiet since a while; not sulking, just… quiet. Maybe she was in thoughts, maybe she contemplated her role in this world she had been tossed into. A world she didn't seem to know much more about than we did. For a brief moment I thought about talking to her, but I had no idea about what exactly. I seldom knew what to talk about with people. Only with Donna and the Time Lords didn't it feel like an effort. They didn't mind me being myself, talking about nonsense, sometimes, or  about any random topic. But regular smalltalk? I just never got the hang of it. So I left the strange girl standing and decided to keep the Master some company while he tinkered with a nearby console.

"Can you hack it?"

"Mhm… Think so. I just wish I had my screwdriver, that would make everything so much easier." He grunted and tapped some symbols on the display.

"If anyone shows up I can shoot them." Jenny came to join us, showing off a rifle she had found earlier. The place had them lying around almost everywhere. "It's still loaded."

"Oi, no shooting no one," protested Donna.

The Master rolled his eyes. "Ineffective. There's too many to kill them all. But go ahead. It doesn't matter how many of you bunch die. You can always make more within seconds, can't you?"

Jenny pursed her lips and turned away, positioning herself at the corner to guard it. Somehow it was unfair how he treated her, but then again did he treat everyone with contempt. Usually.

"There's more of these." Donna walked along the walls, notepad in hands and observing the small metal plates while she moved away. "Always eight numbers, counting down the closer we get."

Soon, everyone was out of hearing distance so I stepped next to the Master, nudging him. "Two hours, huh?"

He threw me an annoyed glance, but then seemed to get that I referred to his estimation of how much time we would have in the prison cell. "Well, I wasn't wrong. Although it's a shame they got out earlier. I had plans."

"The sort you wanted to bore me with?"

He stopped tinkering and hooked a finger in my collar to drag me closer, grinning and leaning down to my ear. "I was actually going for round two. But now that needs to wait until you can shield your mind properly."

I coughed and grinned back, poking my tongue out. "That's not necessarily negating my question."

"I can still taste your hormones, little one, you can't tell me you were bored." Swiftly he dipped forward, stealing my opportunity to answer with a kiss.

I smirked against his lips and playfully pushed him away, but he only tugged firmer on my collar until there was an indignant squeak from nearby.

"Oh, I just knew it," gasped Donna. "Having a scratch." She air-quoted the sentence with her fingers. "You slept with him."

My head instantly heated up. I couldn't look her in the eyes and instead glanced down at the control panel, barely able to hide my smile. There was no way I could have kept this from her forever.

"And how is that your business?" drawled the Master. "She's basically my possession. I can do what I want."

"What? Against her will?!" exclaimed Donna.

"Not at all," I said firmly.

This definitely was the moment to step in. No matter what reputation the Master had built for himself, I wasn't going to let an accusation like that go without protest. Maybe it was ironic, but he was the first person to actually value my boundaries. At least in some areas. Which was still more than I had gotten from anyone else so far.

Donna snapped her mouth shut, staring at me with so much disbelief that I almost felt bad. But no, this time I would not let anyone guilt-trip me into anything. Or out of anything.

"We've got better things to do now," I remarked.

"I can disable the grid, but the laser emitters are sensitive as fuck. We need to move carefully. And slow. One at a time." The Master tapped a button on the screen and the lasers went out. "This is only a hack. Can't do more."

Donna glared at me and I shrugged, grinning. She let out a sigh and shook her head. This would never be something she'd understand, but, knowing her, she would accept it nonetheless.

"So… who's first?" I asked, eyeing the innocent looking corridor.

"You." The Master promptly shoved me forward. "If anything feels fishy, stop moving."

"Wh… why me?"

"Cause the more cross over the more time those sensors have to recover, idiot. Now go."

I swallowed, taking a step forward. He was protecting me, making sure I would be safe before anyone else.

Another step.

Or he was simply aware of my bad body-perception and how clumsy that made me sometimes. Which still could be seen as protecting.

The first quarter of the corridor was behind me. I glanced back. Everyone was watching me. The two women gave me encouraging nods, whilst the Master stood there with folded arms, furrowing his brows.

I took the hint and continued, moving through the corridor with slow steps, treading as lightly as possible.

He hadn't denied anything, just before, had even claimed ownership over me in front of Donna. Not for the first time. He wasn't hiding this thing between us, no matter if there was a name to it or not. It was there and the Master seemed to have no intention of denying it.

I was almost at the end. Only a few steps were left. I walked as if I were balancing over a black abyss, anxiously trying not to think too much about the consequences of triggering the lasers. And then - I was on the other side.

I turned around, nodding to the others to follow. To my surprise, the Master sent Donna first. Did he take his role as protector that seriously? Or did he stay to make sure Jenny wouldn't do something stupid in her childish enthusiasm?

Donna moved as slow as I had, occasionally tossing me a glance. I did my best to encourage her, hoping my few words and smiles would suffice. They probably would. Donna was a lot braver than I, after all.

How strange it had felt to sneak inside a space that showed no signs of danger. It made me wonder just how many actually trapped corridors we had passed already.

Donna reached me in a lot less time than I had needed, her confidence showing in the proud smile she wore. Running with the Doctor… It did things to people, made them braver, bolder. So why couldn't it have the same effect on me? Instead, it needed a literal madman to boost my confidence.

"That was something." Donna beamed at me and turned around. "Now you two. Come on. Don't dawdle."

The Master chuckled and moved before the girl could. "You wouldn't sound so brave if I told you before that the lasers are booting up already." He walked with confidence, although his steps were light and deliberate. "If you hadn't been dawdling then I would be in less trouble now."

Right as he said that, the first lasers behind him flickered back to life. Only a few. And then some before him. I gasped and Donna clutched my arm.

The Master didn't stop.

More beams came back to block his path, but he simply slipped under the first, hopped over two others and bent backwards to avoid another. All that without slowing down and without even taking his hands out of his pockets.

"Hello there," he nonchalantly greeted, suddenly hovering over me with a mischievous grin that was too proud - and too attractive - for his own good. And if it hadn't been for Donna watching I would certainly have dragged him down to kiss the stupid expression out of his face.

"Stop flirting, you two. What about Jenny?"

"'M not flirting," I mumbled. It was hard to keep the smile from reemerging, as if my face muscles just didn't want to obey me any longer.

The Master poked me in the ribs and went to the console from this side of the corridor. He tilted his head and read what was written on there, then shrugged. "Can't do anything. There is a security code that blocks my hack."

"You can't just leave her here!" Donna protested. "Listen, I know you don't like anyone - well, almost. Or maybe you just-"

"Stop babbling." He rolled his eyes.

"Don't worry about me!" came a call from the other side. Jenny waved at us, smiling widely. "It's no problem."

I watched as she took some steps backwards and then… ran. My eyes didn't leave her for a second, I couldn't believe what I saw. Behind me Donna gasped. Jenny reached the beams. She did a flick over one, slid below another, jumped through a gap. She moved with a speed and skill that made it hard to follow.

And then she was with us. Jenny shot straight, like an athlete after a performance. Her breath was a little heavy, but not as one would expect after this show. She beamed at us with a wide smile and proud eyes. Her gaze wandered to the Master.

"Did I do good, father?" she asked.

He swallowed, glaring at the girl. "Don't call me that." But this time his voice didn't sound angry, it was almost choked. "But… yeah… guess that was quite decent."

Donna nudged him. "Come on. It was brilliant." She nudged him again, nodding at Jenny and mouthing what looked like 'two hearts'.

The Master grunted, but then really stepped forward. He looked Jenny up and down and placed his hand above her chest, closing his eyes.

Seconds stretched into a small eternity. Could she really be a Time Lord? What would that mean to him? I remembered Donna mentioning that he and the Doctor were the only ones left of their kind. And the Master had spoken of a war. Now that I thought about it, this probably wasn't that much of a mystery and, puzzled together, those two facts printed a pretty obvious picture. Maybe it was even the reason why the Master hadn't yet made a serious attempt to escape the TARDIS.

Finally, he opened his eyes again and swallowed. "Two hearts." He sighed and rubbed a hand over his face. "I have no idea what to do with you, girl. And I'm not going to babysit you."

"I can take care of myself," she announced proudly.

The Master grunted. "No shit. Well, don't die until we get back and… whatever… Maybe the Doctor will have a look at you."

"She's coming with us?" Donna sounded so hopeful.

I glanced at the Master, trying to read what was going on inside of him. But, of course, that was of no success. He tossed a last dark glare at Jenny and stormed away.

"That Source of yours must be close by."