A wide grin formed on the Master's face as he trod in front of me, eyes sparkling with anticipation.
"That is indeed a splendid power, you got there," he remarked, then pointed at the Doctor, directing my gaze away from himself. "Was it intended that he's not dead?"
I glanced at the unconscious Time Lord, trying to make out if the Master was right. He used the distraction. Hands lay themselves around my head from behind, two fingers of each hand pressing against my temples. I startled, stumbled backwards and bumped against the Master. He slipped into my mind effortlessly, filling it with his presence. I felt the entity fight back, roaring and laughing, but the Master seemed to be able to prevent the thing from lashing out physically, to use its power against him, like it had allowed me to do with the Doctor.
All I had left was my own body, my size, my dexterity. No one was going to take this from me! I let myself fall, the movement too sudden and unexpected for the Master to catch me. I rolled to the side, sprang to my feet and ducked away, vaguely aware that I wouldn't be able to do any of this without the thing that possessed me.
"No, I'm not going to give this back!" I spat. "Once and just once it's my turn."
The Master let out a small laugh and towered above me, without attacking again."And what will you do with such a power, little one?"
Hatefully I glared up at him. "Take revenge," I growled. "I'm not allowed to die. I'm not allowed to be part of anything. I've done nothing to deserve that! Nothing!" I yelled, letting out everything that gnawed on me. "If my whole existence is so damn wrong, then I'll show them how bloody right they are!"
"Ohhhh, so you want to crush them with your own hands?" A mad gleam sparked in his eyes.
"Heh, yes." I gave him a grim smirk. "I've had my fill of humanity, of life. I'm done being left behind and ignored."
As I spoke the entity chuckled in my mind, let a surge of energy rush through my veins. It felt amazing. I knew I could do whatever I wanted, now. Nothing and no one was going to stop me.
Except for the pitying look the Master tossed at me. His lips twitched in a sarcastic smile.
"And you'd be okay with someone else doing this for you?"
I subtly winced at his words. They had hit a spot within me, one I couldn't so simply ignore. The beast didn't like that at all, roaring and clawing at my mind with fury, pushing me to action. My eyes pinched shut in the sudden pain, a groan escaped my mouth.
All this strength... but it wasn't really mine. It wouldn't let me do as I pleased, would only use me as a tool...
Again there were fingers at my temples, almost gently I felt the Master's presence slip into my head and squirm his way through the flow of thoughts and emotions. I didn't struggle, yet; the seed of doubt he had planted making me momentarily unable to decide what would be best.
Both streams of energy fought in my mind and for the first time I felt how truly ancient this entity must be, how its essence was nothing but pure malevolence, destruction, chaos, a flame that would consume all of reality if given the chance. It roared and flailed without mercy, without giving a single thought to my wellbeing. My head throbbed in hot searing pain as it fought the Master.
Time Lord, it growled mentally, You can't win this! I am! And you are so much less!
So? You still have no right to be here. This human belongs to me.
Puzzled I blinked at the Master. Hadn't he pushed me away just some hours ago? Hadn't he done his best to make me stay away from him? How could he still claim ownership?
He only smirked cheekily and poked out his tongue, a look in his eyes as if he had heard my thoughts.
Then give in to me! The entity spoke again. You could own and rule all of time and space with the power I'd give to you!
"Mhm... tempting," the Master responded aloud, yet his voice oozed with sarcasm. "But I'd rather do that without giving up control over my own mind."
And with that he pushed more of himself against the beast. I gasped as I felt... him. Determination, anger, pain, amusement and so much more. All those foreign sensations that weren't my own, and still so shallow, as if he was only brushing the very surface of my mind.
It was enough, however, to make out the distinct difference between him and the entity. Whilst the beast seemed pure and utter evilness, the Master was... more. There was an unbelievable capability for violence and cruelty inside of him, but I also felt his deep longing to be free again, free of the Doctor and the TARDIS, free of the drums that drove him to more chaos than he actually wanted.
Only a second could have passed like that, feeling like an eternity. The Master chuckled all of a sudden, ceasing his attempts to fight the thing. Instead he caught my eyes with his, smiling impishly.
"Do you feel it?" he muttered. "What this thing truly is? Is that what you want?"
I didn't have to ask what he meant. It was clear. Would I give in to the thing it would rob me of my ability to act and think for myself. It would simply use and throw me away at the first opportunity. Anger welled up inside of me and this time I was sure it was my own. I didn't want to be used like that.
"Why?" I only asked, my eyes filling tears of frustration. "Why can I never have anything?"
You refuse! A roar rumbled through my head, painfully letting the walls of my sanity vibrate. Useless human! I don't need one like you.
Its presence clawed through my mind, ripped at parts of me I couldn't even name, instead of simply leaving. If it couldn't have me, it wanted to destroy me. My sight blurred, black dots started to dance in front of my eyes. I tasted blood and gasped. But only a second later the Master was back.
"Oh no, you don't," he growled.
My head felt as if it would split open. Hot burning pain pulsated through every fibre of my body, a whimper escaping me. The Master growled in frustration, retreated just enough not to cause me pain himself any longer, while the beast filled all of my mind with its deep and cruel laughter.
"Too shallow," the Master grumbled, brows knitted together. "Remember? This works with skin contact."
I swallowed and nodded, sensing what he meant, even before his hands fell from my temples and slipped under my hoodie and shirt. A shiver went down my spine as his cool fingers sprawled across my back, almost gently pushing me closer to him. Instantly the intensity of his presence in my head increasing. I glanced up at him, seeing his eyes closed in concentrated eagerness.
And still I wasn't entirely sure if I wanted to rid myself of this power. The beast fought back again, not with pain, but with reaching out for all the things hidden in the dark. It showed me how I could make everyone suffer for what they had done to me, showed me how my life could be if only people would be forced to see me. It would not matter anymore how different my brain worked, how incapable I was of acting and reacting like other humans.
I could drench the earth in blood and fire.
A sob shook me, my teeth clenched. What did it matter if I would get lost in this process? Who would care? Everything was so cold, it made me shiver. No, I didn't care that much about revenge. I only wanted it to stop. All of it.
And then there was something else, a sensation as if something warm wrapped gently around my chest, as if a soft blanket got thrown over my mind. A weird, unexplainable feeling of... warmth, of being accepted, of not having to prove or bring anything. There was no need to. I simply belonged, had found a place to stay, where I was welcomed and warmly smiled at.
I simply swam in this feeling until it burst in a bubble of rage and hatred, of frozen fire, splintering into shards that shred my soul into pieces.
"Shit. How bloody strong is this thing?" the Master growled, tearing me back into the present.
Had those warm feelings just now come from him? Had he countered the beast's strategy with them? An alternative to rage and chaos, revenge and hatred. I knew he didn't care, but still...
Or did he?
The beast screamed in my head, showed me images of power, of strength and dominance. But suddenly they seemed so... useless. That wasn't what I wanted. Not like this.
"Get rid of it, please," I mumbled. "It hurts. It's cold. This is worse than dying."
Much worse. Back then it had been warm. Just falling asleep while being held, listening to fire and ocean waves under the starlit sky. Now it felt as if every cell in my body was frozen and burned at the same time, all while the thing in my head laughed at all the fun it had with my suffering.
"I can't," the Master suddenly muttered. "You're not a Time Lord. Your mind is not... I can't get deep enough." He growled out his frustration and suddenly bore his eyes into mine. "I need stronger contact."
"O... okay," I responded confused, surprised I was still able to speak or think within the onslaught of pain and anguish that raved through my head as the entity understood it wouldn't get me.
The Master dropped his forehead against mine and I felt the connection strengthen just a little. Not enough. It wasn't enough. I knew it without him telling me and saw it in his look. His hands vanished from my back, landed on my temples again, instead, thumbs stroking over my cheeks. "You're so going to hate me for this," the Master muttered with a small, strained smile.
And then he leaned forwards, his fingers pressing against my head, his lips suddenly moving against mine. I winced in surprise, but instantly felt the connection flaring alive to a strength I hadn't anticipated. The Master's energy in my head suddenly got crystal clear, intertwined with my own essence, wrapped itself around my thoughts, slipped inside every gap.
The beast screamed out in rage, fought back with all its strength. I felt its hatred, I felt warm lips on mine, slow and careful, tasting of time. My thoughts got unravelled, ceased. I was... no longer me. He drove deeper and, at the same time, I somehow did the same to him, was inside his mind as much as the other way around. There were no eyes to see, no ears to hear, and still I was flooded with images and sounds, memories, emotions, intermingling with my own, creating a feedback loop.
It only seemed natural to respond the kiss, deepening it even, my hands fisting into his shirt. My pulse raced, or was it mine? Beating once, twice, three times. Everything blurred, melted together.
There was... nothing, and all at once. Within my mind I was stripped, standing bare and yet not naked. The Master was the same, without any masks, without pretending. Only the raw essence of who we were, swimming in the darkness, intertwined and one. No, it wasn't even truly dark. Golden light swam within and around, endlessly tiny sparks of... time? Where did he end? Where did I begin? Did any of it even matter? In this space no judgement could exists, no coldness, no hate, nor any pain.
It was an embrace, warm and soothing and so completely filling the both of us that nothing else could exist in the same space. In some vague corner of my consciousness I heard the devil scream in rage one last time.
And then there was silence.
The beast was simply gone, the kiss tapered off, it's slowing also untangling our minds. The Master was careful in what he did, made sure I found the way back from us to myself. Only when it was done did he slowly retreat from me physically. As his lips left mine, the presence of his mind vanished at last, leaving me suddenly bare and empty, shivering from a coldness that existed in my mind alone.
How had I never realised how lonely it could be one's own head? It was confusing, dizzying almost. I swayed, only staying upright because I still clutched his shirt. Everything spun and I allowed myself to gently drop forwards, against his chest, to breath slow and deep until the world stood still again.