"What's wrong with you?" the Doctor's voice asked softly.
Only then did I realize he was still in the canteen with me. Everyone else had already left. Silence laying itself upon the room like a heavy blanket, his question staying unanswered. I remembered how he had left, the previous evening, just like that, as if I was none of his business. Then, I hadn’t thought much about it, but now that I had seen how he treated everyone else...
“You don’t like me,” I concluded quietly, breaking the uncomfortable silence.
“What?! Why would you think that?” the Doctor defended himself. He was seated at the same table, but a few chairs away, letting it bob up and down. Now he dropped all legs to the ground.
“I’m the only one you’re barely talking to, you keep avoiding me, just run off... It’s... I don’t know. Let’s just say, I can sense that it’s true.”
Which wasn’t wrong. During my life I had developed quite the sense for when people didn't want to have me near them.
The Doctor gnawed on his bottom lip for a moment, then rubbed a hand over his face. “Nooo, it’s not that, really not,” he babbled. “Besides, I'm not running off, right now, am I?" He tried one of his cheeky smiles, but failed at it. "I... just barely know you.”
“You know none of the crew, here, and treat every single one a lot friendlier.”
“Oi! That’s not tr-”
“Oh, stop it!” I let out, a rare anger bubbling up inside of me. “I can’t stand it when people try to be polite. Just tell me and it’s okay.”
I sent him a dark scowl, wishing I could let him feel how annoyed I was. Why do people always believe, it’s better to pretend to be kind, when they actually don’t want to have to do anything with another person?
“Lucy... it’s complicated,” he tried again. I scoffed and rolled my eyes, what elicited a tired sigh from him. “See, I sometimes take humans with me. To travel and see the stars...”
“What’s wrong with me, then?” I grumbled. “Each time we met, you tried to get rid of me as fast as possible.”
“That’s only because I have all hands full with the Master!” His hands shot up defensively. “I really don’t want him to harm anyone. And that’s the full truth.”
“Still... That’s only one part of the reason, isn’t it?”
The Doctor let his hands fall into his lap and his face took on a guilty expression. “Well, it doesn’t matter much, now. Even if we weren’t stuck, I wouldn’t leave you on your own, as long as you have no place to go. That’d hardly be fair.” He tried a smile again, but that one also wasn't a success, bringing forth something that was more akin to a grimace.
I dropped my head, shaking it lightly as I sighed out more frustration. This wasn’t going anywhere. He kept avoiding a real answer. There were so many things I wanted – needed – to know, but now I wasn’t much eager to ask them.
“Alright...” I raised my head again and looked him in the eyes. It felt uncomfortable, but for different reasons than usually. Still, I kept my gaze locked with his, knowing that people could find such a behaviour highly unnerving. The Doctor, albeit alien, seemed to have the same reaction. “I too barely know anything about you. I’ll keep out of your way from now on.”
“Wha’... hey, that wasn’t... Lucy, wait!”
I didn’t. I didn’t want to hear any more excuses and explanations that explained nothing at all. I didn’t want to stay in his presence any longer, knowing I wasn’t welcomed anyway.
The good mood from before was now entirely gone as I realized how damn lonely I still was. Among people, but still entirely on my own. None of them cared, no one truly wanted to have me here. It was the same as always.
On the way to my room I passed the cell the Master had been put in. His behaviour from the morning came to mind and I stormed past it with a growl, but then halted and turned. None of his behaviour made much sense to me and still I had the feeling it was easier to understand him than anyone else here. The blunt, straight forward way of his was quite refreshing. And maybe he simply had been in a bad mood in the morning.
The scanner still recognized me and let me in. When the door opened I almost bumped into the Master, who was standing near the short corridor, fiddling with some device. It looked like the blue wand-thing the Doctor had used a few times.
"Trying to escape?" I concluded.
The Master only hummed confirming, paying me no further attention. The device in his hands emitted a thin laser beam, cutting open the hull of a panel on the wall.
"The Doctor has a similar device. Are those some special Time Lord tools?"
The Master stopped in his actions and gave me a sarcastic smirk. "Bollocks. It's a laser screwdriver."
"The Doctor's is sonic. But that's stupid. Laser is much better."
I blinked and eventually shook my head. "Why didn't you try to get out, yesterday?" I wondered instead. "Or was it because of those drums?"
A dark scowl deepened on his face and I swallowed. Had I said something wrong? He seemed angry.
"None of your business, ape brain," the Master sneered and continue to open the panel.
It quickly opened and he started to fiddle with a bunch of wires. I pursed my lips at the insult, feeling all the pain from before rising to a new peek. I swallowed it all down, took a quiet deep breath and tried it once more.
"I just thought... because you said they are quieter around me." Somewhat nervously I fiddled with my fingers, glancing this way and that.
It seemed as if he was now completely ignoring me, but after some seconds he gave up on the wires and turned to face me. There still was such a darkness in his eyes, dangerously sparkling at me. His nose wrinkled in disgust as he looked me up and down.
"Might have been an illusion. Was too subtle to really tell." He shrugged. "So, how about you get lost and let me finish this. I don't assume you'll let me out yourself."
"I don't have the security permissions to do so," I grumbled.
"So, you would if you had?" There was a nasty smile on his face, one that told what exactly he held of that possibility.
"Not if you keep being a prick."
The Master let out a humourless laugh. "I'm simply me. But how could you know? You're nothing but a picked up stray." He poked a finger at my chest, leaned down to be at my eyelevel. "You're a pet. A toy. Nothing more. Don't you forget that, human."
It hurt. It really did. Why the hell could I have been so stupid to believe that he would care? Even if it had been for his own sake, even if he would have only used me to sooth the noise in his mind. No, I had thought there was something more, a small connection, a weird spark of companionship, maybe.
You're such an idiot, I scolded myself. Just because he wasn't human, didn't mean he would act better than them in any way. It also could mean that he was a lot worse. According to the memory snippets I had seen, he seldom cared for anyone. So why for me, a random human that had been fun to play with for a bit.
"Why did you keep me alive?" I muttered. "If you hate me such much, why go through the trouble?"
Swiftly he tossed the laser screwdriver in the air, let it perform a flip before he caught it again, a mocking grin on his lips. "Told you. It's useful to have people owe you something. And it's funny messing with you. You're so sensible. So... breakable." He chuckled, slightly bent over to hold a hand in front of his belly, a tinge of madness in his voice as he broke out into a full laugh. "Oh, look at your face. It's priceless!"
"Arsehole," I brought out through gritted teeth, trying to keep the tears at bay. "I hope you'll rot in here."
With that I hurled around and left the room, his laughter following me into the corridor. My hands were clenched to fists, my chest aching from all the frustration. I stormed away, not caring where I was heading. My body needed to get rid of all the negative energy, I needed to move, no matter the direction.
After what felt like half an hour I came across the control room, finding it empty. Only the roof was open, revealing the sight of the black hole above our heads. A little hesitantly I stepped in, trod in the middle and dropped to the floor. My back leaned against one of the tables, knees bent and drawn against my chest, whilst I glared up into space, my eyes fixated on the all consuming maw.
Like the first time, the sight was breathtaking and a feeling tugged at me, as if the hole wanted to swallow my very soul. Would I sit here long enough, would that happen? Would I just vanish? Black holes were said to be portals, or gateways to the fifth dimension. Maybe, if a person fell into one, would their entire existence vanish? As if they had never been real in the first place.
“I can make that happen, little one.”
My gaze tore away from the hole, rushed through the room, but found nothing. It had sounded deep and rough and so close to me. But no one was here.
“I am here with you.”
I winced at the voice and sprang up, turning around myself on the spot.. Still nothing. Had I gone mad from staring at the black hole for too long?
“Wh... who’s there?” I muttered.
“I am the darkness in your mind, little one,” the voice spoke clearly. “I am right here with you. Don’t look out. You can’t see me. Let me in, little one. Let me in and I can give you whatever you desire. I am power, I am the black sun. Let me in and never be lonely again.”
“Master?” I asked hesitantly. “Is that you messing with me?”
Hadn’t he told something about this telepathic stuff working remotely as well?
“I am more than any master,” the voice continued. “I am more and I am old and I am power. I will lend that power to you, child of man.”
A cold shiver went through me as I turned to find the speaker. By the sound of it, he must be standing right next to me, but there was only cold air. And what it spoke... As if it had heard the dark thoughts that had ran through my head, seconds before.
“What are you?” I finally whispered. “A ghost? A hallucination?”
It was all it said and what followed was silence alone. I swallowed, contemplating the weird offer. Years of horror movies should have actually trained me to outright refuse. There were few possibilities regarding the nature of this entity. And none of them were particularly good. None of them would hold a happy end for me, that I was rather certain of.
On the other hand... was there really something to lose for me? The worst case would probably kill me and that... well... A nasty, bitter smirk spread on my face, one thumb idly stroking over an already healed cut.
“’kay... Do whatever. I don’t care.”