For some reason I had awaited it to be the same library the Master had tried to keep me in, the last time I had been here, but then I remembered that the Doctor didn't even know about that room. The library he showed me now was a lot bigger anyway. Large enough to get lost in it, with lots of slim staircases, winding themselves upwards, pillows on the ground, small reading alcoves here and there and even a fireplace with armchairs and a small table. It currently wasn't lit.
And there were so many books!
"Whoa!" I let out, eyes wide. "Damn, that's a lot! Well... I probably can't read most of it anyway, but still..."
"Oh, don't worry about that," the Doctor told grinning. "The TARDIS' telepathic field translates every language on the fly, inside your head."
My eyes widened even more. "So that's why I could understand the aliens when we had coffee. Really every langue?"
"Usually, yes. For lesser known ones it might have a small delay, but that's rare. So, go ahead. I'll fetch you in a few hours. And if you need anything, the TARDIS will lead you. She seems to like you anyway."
"Huh, does she?"
The Doctor hummed confirming. "Peculiar thing she is. Some she hates, others she likes. Consider yourself lucky." He winked and turned around, hands in his pockets and whistling some weird melody.
Weirdly enough I felt no urge to grab one of the books. My mind was still spinning from... everything. I had been dead and then brought back to life. Someone else's life force was running through me. I still didn't exactly know what this meant. Sure, a living body was driven by electrochemical energy and all that stuff, but literal life force? I really was unsure what to make of it.
I didn't even have a clue what to make of... well... me. Obviously there were no plans for my future, since I hadn't planned for actually having one. The decision had been made without regrets. I had left everything behind, ready and even eager never to return. And now I wouldn't? In a different way than I had planned for, but still... Would the Time Lords keep me until they thought my state was better and then simply drop me somewhere?
Maybe I could just hide in here. The place was big enough, so many rooms, unopened doors. And if the TARDIS really liked me, maybe she would show me a little hiding spot. I didn't want to be in this library, I realized. It was cosy and huge and, at every other point in my life, the absolute perfection for my stories-hungry mind.
"Ah, crap, what happened to me?" I sighed, scolding myself for talking aloud. Even though I had always been pretty alone I had never started that habit. Maybe it was only because I knew I was heard? "I don't know what to do with myself. Is there a section of books to help?" The question was meant more sarcastically than seriously, but still. Who could say what this place might have to offer.
As I rounded another corner of shelves there was a door appearing, right in front of my eyes. Just fading into existence. This was so strange, impossible. Somehow I felt as if I had stumbled into Hogwarts and not into a spaceship. So I pointed an imaginary wand at the door and mumbled, "Alohomora."
And the door swung open.
My arm dropped. "You've got some humour, old lady," I muttered and smiled.
There were more book shelves in the other room, as a quick peek revealed. But the overall structure and tone was different. Curiosity was always one of my weakest spots, so I didn't resist the urge and simply strode through, finding myself in another library. One that seemed familiar, though.
Slowly I sauntered along the wall and glanced around the next corner. Right, this was the hidden study the Master had found for himself. So the TARDIS knew of it, but never showed it to the Doctor? Odd, but who knew what and how a sentient spaceship was thinking.
There was a table in the middle of this section of the room, large and filled with papers, books and all sorts of mechanical and electronic parts, wires, batteries, and whatnot. Amongst the stuff was a free spot and there sat the Master, on the table, cross-legged with closed eyes and wearing ear buds. It almost seemed as if he was meditating, his features calm, hands casually resting on his knees.
I was unsure what to do and whether or not to disturb him. So I stepped back and wanted to leave, when his eyes suddenly snapped open, boring into mine so intensely that I froze in place. His look was ice cold, almost angry. He pulled out the earplugs, without letting me out of sight.
"How the heck did you get in here?" he growled.
I opened my mouth to speak, trapped in his penetrating gaze, suddenly finding myself without words. I tried again, but simply couldn't. I wasn't even able to move.
What the heck?!
The scowl vanished from his face as he stood up to come over and tower above me, head slightly tilted. "What's that?" he asked with a hint of curiosity in his voice. "You react to me." Ungently he grabbed my chin, searching for something on my face, in my eyes. "Sit down," he commanded.
My body reacted. Just like that. In some vague corner of awareness I still realised that I acted without my own will. A second later I sat on the floor, puzzled blinking upwards. The Master sat on his haunches in front of me, a satisfied smile curving his lips.
"Mhm... curious. Now my hypnotism works on you." He chuckled with a sadistic glint in his eyes. "How did you get here? Speak."
"The TARDIS brought me," I told without hesitation. "A door appeared in the library."
His brows shot up. "Is that so?" Thoughtfully he stroked over his beard. I simply was confused as hell. This felt so weird, wrong. The Master grinned. "It seems your will is completely broken."
"That really surprising?" I shot back, frowning, somewhat surprised I could speak.
He only chuckled in response and rose to his feet again. "Stand," the Master commanded, his eyes lighting up in delight as my body obeyed against my own will. His lips spread to an almost charming smile, his voice sickeningly sweet when he spoke up. "Now shut up and get lost. I don't want you anywhere near me."
I obeyed. If due to his hypnotism or of my own volition was hard to say. His words were like a hot knife, slicing through my guts. They hurt, stung in my chest and made my eyes burn. What had I even expected? This was only some sick game, which's rules I didn't understand. It shouldn't surprise me. Not after what I had seen while being unconscious. Memories... His memories. A few of them at least.
Now that I recalled it, those images flooded back into my mind, accompanied me on the way back to the library. The Master had done horrible things, had revelled in blood and torture, had burned down entire planets only because he felt like it. Not to mention all the times he had spread chaos and destruction on earth alone.
Including that one year. One that never happened and did nonetheless. Spheres... floating spheres with long thorns and laughing, childlike voices. I groaned, swayed and steadied myself with a hand against some bookshelf.
"Don't you dare fainting, ape," a voice sneered behind me. "I'm not carrying you around again."
Perplex I glanced up and saw the Master had followed me, now standing a meter apart, hands tucked away inside his pant pockets. The images behind my eyes slowly vanished and with some deep, heavy breaths I leaned my back against the shelf, plugged down my glasses and rubbed the other hand over my face.
"Oh, don't worry," I spat back, slightly pissed, although I knew it was useless.
"Good." He smirked widely. "That would be no fun. And I didn't keep you to get bored."
I rolled my eyes. "Great. Thought you didn't want to see me."
"Speaking of which," he drawled, ignoring my words completely, "it's funny to make people do whatever I want. So..." He chuckled to himself, bending slightly down to my eye level. "Go and burn some of those books."
"No way!" I shot straight, glaring hatefully at him.
Some seconds spread between us, my contempt only growing with each. Hell! He could demand of me whatever he wanted, but not the books! That was just an unbelievable crime against... well... It just is!
The Master tilted his head a little more, brows knitting together, when he realized I wasn't going to move. "Only works halfway, eh?" he commented dryly.
"What does?" I frowned in return, putting my glasses back on.
"The hypnotism, idiot." He grunted exasperated, finally making me realized that I wasn't following his order. "How useless."
"Too bad," I sneered, "You could have lived forever without having to endure my useless boring self."
The Master gave me a mock pout. "Sweet. And let a chance slip to have someone be so deeply indebted to me?"
I glared at him, a heat bubbling up in my chest I hadn't felt in so very long. It's really not easy to make me angry, truly angry, I mean. I gritted my teeth, hands balled to fists. There was a serious urge to just punch his stupidly grinning face, to kick his nuts or whatever.
Instead, I took a long, deep breath, closed my eyes for a brief second and exhaled. "No, you're not worth it," I decided aloud, still giving him a mean look. "And I owe you absolutely nothing. Not for forcing something upon me I didn't want."
His fist slammed against the shelf behind me, his other hand on my collar, grabbing the cloth to draw me upwards. My whole body tensed, breath caught in my lungs. The Master smirked toothlessly, a cruel spark in his eyes.
"At least you're still afraid of me."
Was I? It was almost impossible to take my eyes from his, no matter how much I normally despised eye-contact. Something just kept me there, fixated, frozen. It didn't feel like fear. Why was he so bipolar? One moment acting almost gentle, the next snapping into this cold, distanced person. The one second I felt completely secure around him, the next I wanted nothing more but to run.
"As I see it," the Master continued, "you will have no choice but to obey me. And give me whatever it is I ask of you."
I huffed. "Only as long as your stupid hypnosis is working."
"That's not the only way I can force you, believe me." His voice dropped lower, got quieter, his look now dark. "You seem to know all too well that death is not the most threatening thing."
"Oi, leave her be, Master!" the Doctor suddenly called out from next to us. "Seriously, I can't let you out of sight for more than a second."
The Master turned his head, eyes glinting with contempt. He let go of my collar and stepped back. Why he followed the Doctor's demand was a mystery to me, however. I let out a breath and straightened my clothes.
"Maybe put that collar back on me?" the Master suggested with a sickeningly sweet smile, challenging the other Time Lord. "I miss those nice little zaps."
The Doctor grimaced and tried to hide the guilty look by turning halfway around. "You really left me no choice," he mumbled.
I cast a glance at the Master, unsure if I interpreted this right. He caught my eyes, scowling at my question look. The atmosphere got really unpleasant, so I decided to do something about it.
"Didn't you say you'd need some hours to fix your console?" I tried to distract. "You've been only away for a few minutes."
"Oh, yeah!" The Doctor's eyes lit up and he turned back to share his eagerness. "I was just tinkering about, when the TARDIS caught an interesting signal. Unusual signature. Very unusual. Got curious and landed us there. And... I thought you might wanna come along and have look?"
I glared at him, mouth dropping open. "M... me? But... I... I don't think I could be of help out there, really."
"Ahhh, don't need to be." He slightly bounced up and down. "Just look and see. Have some fun! Come on!" he encouraged, nodding his head backwards.
Just looking. Alright. I could that. I nodded, suddenly feeling a little surge of anticipation. But right as I wanted to move I already stopped and looked up at the Master. "You're coming too?"
Immediately the heavy silence from before was back, shortly after interrupted by a short cough from the Doctor. "Maybe... better not." His eyes shot towards the other Time Lord, who didn't twitch a muscle.
This hardly seemed fair, even though I had a vague clue that the Master would not make things easier, maybe would even try to flee. Still... I knew how it was to be the prisoner of another person. And my guts twisted, thinking about running around out there, while he had to stay behind.
"Oh, I'd be delighted to have a look," the Master said, smiling impishly down at me. He even lay an arm around my shoulder, making me tense up instantly. "I could show my new pet around. Wouldn't that be lovely."
"I'm not your pet!" I hissed and tried to get away from him.
The Doctor's eyes bounced between the two of us and finally he sighed. "Alright. I know this can only end in a disaster... but let's just try it out."
The pleased look on the Master's face clearly showed he was going to make me regret having spoken up for him. Still, something told me I had done the right thing.