The food Gerion's wife brought was simple. Freshly caught fish, mushrooms, root vegetables and some bread. Enough to sate us, and strangely tasty despite the plainness. Or maybe even because of it. Since I didn't have breakfast, this was my first meal anyway. Only the Master complained, stole some of the Doctor's share and didn't show even the slightest sign of remorse at the other one's devastated face.
After the meal we sat around the fire, whilst wind was howling outside. I was hellishly tired after this day, only halfway listening to the Doctor's ramblings about how he had showed the people here some new techniques to hang up... I didn't remember what. Something about the decorations. It wasn't important. And eventually the two started bickering anyway.
"I'm going to crawl under some of those pelts," I mumbled, heaving myself from the log I had been sitting on. "What're you guys doing? You don't sleep as much, do you?"
"Nah, not necessary." The Doctor waved it away with a grin. "I might stroll around outside for a bit. Watch the stars. Something like that. Might go back to the TARDIS and get a few books."
"You mean, sneaking around and see if you can find out what's bothering people here?" the Master mocked, smiling satisfied as the other Time Lord winced a little at his words. "Eh, whatever. I'll come along, before I die of boredom."
"Y... you sure?"
The Master shot him a dark look. "Yes. And you better keep your babbly mouth shut. If I have to stay among those primitives, at least I need something to do."
I giggled quietly and left the main room to enter one of the smaller ones. It actually were only niches, covered by some cloth, instead of having a door. In each of the few sat a straw bed with linen beddings and pelts for blankets.
I dreamed of the sea. Of a roaring thunder storm, raging above grey waves. A sail flapped above my head, about to snap or tear. It was cold and wet and there were screams. And the sound of huge wings above our heads-
With a gasp I awoke, shivering from the intensity of the past images. There was no storm, only the wind, howling over the roof, reaching inside every crack of the wood. It was pitch black and cold, even under the pelts. The shine from the fire was gone, so the Time Lords were probably still out.
I honestly had no clue how to make a fire without the modern comfort of a lighter, so I stayed in bed, ignoring the cold and the dark and the wind that sounded like wings. How much time passed like that I could not know, but at one point I heard the door creak open, steps entering. Shortly after there was an orange glow shining through the cloth, illuminating the tiny room a little.
Immediately I felt safer, the images of my dreams and of the fantasies the darkness had invoked left me.
I heard the words, almost whispered. My eyes crept open, finding the Master poking his head into the room. When he saw I reacted, he slipped in, looking almost uncomfortable for a second, before he straightened. He had changed clothes, still all in black, but now it was only a short-sleeved tunic with a belt around his waist, instead of a gambeson.
"'s still night," I mumbled sleepily. "What'd you want? 'n where's the Doctor? Y'haven't murdered him, have ya?"
The Master chuckled. "No, sadly not. I fled his endless ramblings. Wandered around the area for a bit, but it's honestly rather boring. No idea what you like about it so much." He leaned with folded arms against the door frame. "Found some interesting tracks, though. The wind has already destroyed them, so they might fool me, but..."
"But your gut tells you there's more to it?" Yawning I sat up, wrapping one of the pelts around my shoulders.
I had mostly undressed, was only wearing some undershirt and shorts. And it was weird to see clear, since I hadn't taken out the contact lenses. According to the Doctor, I could wear them for roughly a month, before I'd have to change them.
"Something like that," the Master admitted. He seemed strangely thoughtful.
"Hey, can I ask you something?" Since he was here anyway, and obviously in the mood to keep me awake, I could at least try to squeeze some information out of him. His eyebrow shot up, as a question, maybe as a sign for me to continue. I had no clue and spoke anyway. "It's uh... because of this whole telepathy thing." Now I had his attention, but suddenly felt insecure and anxious to actually ask about it.
"Go on." He nodded.
"I... I don't understand any of it. But it seems to help you, doesn't it?"
I remembered how he had held me the last night. I had been asleep too fast to know how long he had stayed, but still...
The Master squinted his eyes at me, scowling.
"Maybe it does. What's it to you?"
"Mostly? Curiosity," I admitted. "For me it's a completely foreign thing and... Dunno how to put it. It seems so..."
He chuckled and tossed an mused glance at me. "Intimate?"
Well, that wasn't the word I had wanted to use, but only because I didn't want to think of it as such. Was it, though? Was it for him? The Master laughed quietly and strode closer, dropping to the bed to sit there cross-legged (at least he had no shoes on), facing me.
"I'm still not sure it really does something," he told. "Not... in a direct sense. The drums are still there, but..." His gaze drifted away, seeking for words. "It's like I get distracted. And then I don't notice them so much. For a while."
"That's... better than nothing, isn't it?"
He frowned, pursing his lips slightly. "Not enough." He tapped against his head. "That bloody noise is in my head all the time, never stops, never quiet. It drives me mad. Some days more than others."
"And right now?" I had a sense he was keeping me awake because he needed some distraction. Having something like that permanently in one's head surely must be bothersome.
The Master shrugged. "Not worse, not better."
"Then buzz off and le'me sleep."
He snickered. "Didn't you want to learn about something, just now?"
Okay, he was searching for distraction. I groaned and shook my head. "Yeah, no... not now. When I'm properly awake."
The wind howled, tore at the house. I shivered, wishing for the warmth of the fire to spread faster. The Master seemed to notice too, his eyes wandering to the ceiling for a moment, before they returned to me.
"I'm sure you'll understand while only half awake," he mocked and leaned a little forward. "And I'm bored anyway."
"I get it. I've got nothing to say in this." I let out a pointedly annoyed sigh. "'kay, shoot, 'n don't you dare taking me for stupid."
"So, skip the basics?" He poked out his tongue, eyes crinkled with mirth.
"I hate you."
"Doubtable. Alright, the basics then." He chuckled.
"'n what if I just lay down again 'n ignore you?" I mumbled, willing to do exactly that.
"Really wanna find out?" His smile was charming, dangerous.
I snorted out a chuckle, rubbed over my tired eyes and slightly shook my head. If I weren't so knackered I'd actually be thrilled to get that lesson, so I straightened a little and gave him my attention.
"'kay, 'kay. 'm listening."
Gods, what would I give for a coffee, right now.
"Good little human," the Master mocked and clapped his hands together.
He made himself comfortable on my bed, sitting in an almost meditative position, right in front of me, obviously far too happy about his silly victory. I, too, sat a little straighter; the only way to feel a little more awake. That and the fact that I was, indeed, curious about what he would tell.
"You already know that it's about touch," he started and reached out his palms towards me. "It's actually as simple as that."
Confused I blinked until I understood that he wanted my hands. So I stretched them out and he slowly stroked a finger over my bare arm, making me shiver as the touch sent a light tingling straight into my mind.
"For a mental contact we need skin, or... rather nerve endings. The more of those touch, the deeper the connection. You can literally feel it. Close your eyes, lil' lumin and listen to it."
So I did, breathing slow and paying close attention to what was going on in my head. His finger drew a line over the back of my arm, then slowly to its more sensitive underside, and I could indeed feel how the connection strengthened. The Master took my other hand, as well, turned both in a way that my palms faced him directly. His hands slid over them, hovered over my fingertips with his own for a moment, then pressed them together.
I gasped, temporarily overwhelmed by his presence in my head. And... mine in his. Like an opened flood gate, a stream of energy. We poured into each other like smoke, spread, hovered, tasted, explored. It wasn't like the last time, however. I didn't lose the sense for myself, still felt my own body, my heart, thudding frantically against its cage, pulse throbbing in my fingertips. But I also felt parts of his mind, shapes and movements, vague hints of emotions maybe.
Then it was gone.
My hands fell down onto the pelts, my eyes opened, my ears heard the wind rattling at the wood, heard the fire, faintly crackling in the other room.
The Master looked... confused.
"Did that hurt you?" he asked puzzled, but not concerned.
"N... no." I shook my head, uncertain why he had asked that.
"You reacted so strongly, I thought..."
"Did I?" I stared at my hands, then back at his face. "It didn't hurt. Not at all. It's just so... alien." I cringed at my own word, but I had no other to describe the feeling.
The Master lifted the brows, tilting his head a little. "You felt it before. And far more intense at that."
"Yeah... but then it was so much it was just... too much, you know?" I tried to explain, uselessly gesturing around with my hands. "Like when it's so loud you can't actually make out anything anymore."
"Mhm... I see."
He seemed in thoughts for a good minute, making me wonder how all of this might feel to him.
"So... nerve endings," I went on, tearing him out of the thoughts. "Explains why you thought, snogging me would be a good idea," I grumbled.
He giggled to himself, childishly.
"You'll never forgive me for that, he?" He chuckled some more and leaned forward, stretched his hand out toward my head, hesitated.
I wasn't sure what he wanted to do. His hand hovered near my temple, his eyes rested on mine, boring into me as if he contemplated hypnotism. His head moved a little closer and I froze, but he stopped there, near enough to unnerve me. His hand lowered, thumb stroking over my lower lip. The mental connection flared alive again, almost as strong as before.
"Now imagine how intense it would have been," he whispered, "had I used my tongue."
I swallowed, unsure if I should move away or if I was too hellishly curious. In the end I did nothing and the Master moved away from me again to sit straight. A breath escaped me, accompanied by an involuntary shiver. Losing the mental contact felt almost as intense as gaining it. I swallowed again, peeked up at the Master and found his eyes alight with amusement and a little mockery.
"W… wa... wait. If it gets that intense… And if this is about nerve endings…"
An impish grin faded onto his lips.
"I mean… No idea what you guys have down there," I babbled on, gesturing towards his crotch, "but doesn't that get… really intense?"
"It does." The Master chuckled.
If it was that overwhelming just from a kiss... I couldn't even remotely imagine how... The Master laughed out, tearing me out of the thought. Confused I looked at him.
"You're hilarious, you know that?" he taunted. "Did you just seriously contemplate sleeping with me, just to find out?"
"Wha'? No! Hell no!" I called out, blushing slightly. Okay, maybe I had. For a second. A very short one.
"Liar." He giggled and poked my head. "That curiosity of yours will be your death, one day. You know that?"
"Shut up." I shoved him away with both hands, unable to keep the grin from my face.
The Master hopped from the bed and wanted to leave.
"Oi, don't just run off," I scolded. "You woke me and didn't let me sleep. I barely learned anything. At least tell me some more."
"Maybe tomorrow night." He turned to me, grinning nastily. "You're not the most important thing on my list."
I groaned annoyed and dropped back while he left, giggling to himself. Bugger. Well, he had offered me enough knowledge to lay awake for another while. There were so many things I still didn't understand. And I sensed that he wasn't entirely honest about what effect I had on his drums; why I had an effect at all.
At least there was a fire again, crackling in the cold of night. The wind was still howling, rattling at the wood, sometimes... just sometimes... sounding like huge wings, flapping above my head.