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Without You Part 1

Without You
By: Memory Dragon
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who, nor do I make any claim to.
Characters: The Brigadier, Simm Master, Tenth Doctor
Warnings:  It's looooooooooooong.  And it's a gen fic without any real slash.  Oops.  Well, I did consider it but it was all like...  I'm doing this from the point of view of the Brigadier.  Sex is right out and since Ten is only in the ending, might as well just skip the slash all together.  Which probably wasn't the greatest idea considering I'm writing it for a kink meme of a slash community, but hey...  Like it anyway, please?
Original Prompt: The Doctor dies, permanently, and the Master somehow, accidentally ends up taking over his role of galactic saviour.
The Doctor comes back (don't care how) and the end up having awkward good guy sex.

Notes: Written for the best_enemies anon meme.  
Author's thanks: Thanks once again to nemaline !  She took time out of her busy, busy schedule to get this betaed for me and I love her for it (even if she didn't notice I switched Kotoky's name to Brook at least five times... <3 ) !

"But I think he's underestimated me yet again. He underestimates how much I've gotten used to the life of a wanderer. How much that's home to me now. Just because he hates being alone so much..."
-The Fifth Doctor, in the Big Finish audio play Circular Time

~

Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart was retired and happily so.  The fact that people still called him the 'Brigadier' despite many efforts to get them to address him differently had stopped bothering him years ago, but it still remained that he had gotten older and wasn't up to the adventures like he used to have at UNIT.  To be honest, it felt more natural for him to be addressed as the Brigadier than even his own name sometimes, so he was hardly one to argue when old habits died hard.

So when Doris called him while he was down at the pub with a few old friends, he wasn't all that surprised to hear someone who called him 'the Brigadier' was desperately demanding to see him.  He still did the odd under cover job for UNIT after all and he was well known in certain spheres for having quite a bit of influence.  Probably an old friend from UNIT that had found a bit of extraterrestrial trouble that needed sorting discreetly and he was usually more than willing to help.

When Doris said the man looked exactly like that Prime Minister who had been shot shortly after taking office, the Brigadier's blood ran cold.  He had no personal knowledge of the Year That Never Was, but he knew what had happened and who 'Harold Saxon' was after the fact.  Doris had chided him at the time for being the one man in the United Kingdom that didn't vote Saxon, but he'd always known something was off about that chap.  He hadn't been overly surprised to find out it had been the Master in disguise and that the rescue had been a damned near thing too.

What the devil was the Master doing at his home? 

The Brigadier put a quick call into UNIT, not mentioning the Master by name but asking for back up if he didn't call back within an hour.  If the Master was at his house, he couldn't risk him hurting Doris, so discretion was the better part of valor until she was safely out of the way.  After that he rushed home.  Doris was, thankfully, fine.  No hypnotism, no plastic flowers on the counter or anything else suspicious the Master might have given her.  She was just a little concerned by their 'guest's' odd behavior, but unharmed. 

He kissed her and told her to go to her brother's house to stay there for the night.  Doris was a good woman and she did as instructed, leaving with a worried glance.  What he'd done to deserve her, the Brigadier honestly couldn't have said.  But he was hardly about to let her near one of the most dangerous criminals the universe had ever known, even if it was just to offer him tea.

Waiting until he heard her car drive away, the Brigadier walked into the living room.  His eyes scanned the room with a keen intelligence that had never left him, taking in all that he could with the quick glance.  There was the Master, pacing his living room with wild eyes.  The bleached blond hair was new and the Master's sense of style was...  Well, he couldn't have imagined either of the other Masters he'd met ever wearing a black hoodie, even if it was in disguise.  Still, this was without a doubt the same villain who had tried to destroy and conquer Earth so many times.

"Well," the Brigadier said as the Master spun around, surprised at the sound.  He must have really been agitated, not to notice the Brigadier had come into the room.  "What have you come here for?" he asked, not drawing the old revolver he kept on him, but keeping his hand near it. 

The Brigadier watched as the Master glared at him, taking stock of the man.  It was obvious by the pacing and how he held himself that the Master was both nervous and agitated, which was why he hadn't drawn his gun.  It was more than just the grunge look, because there were circles under the Master's eyes and an almost feverish look in them.  That said, the Master had obviously come here for something and he hadn't hurt Doris which meant that for now, he was unlikely to hurt the Brigadier.  Years with the Doctor had managed to teach him that shooting first wasn't always the best answer, even if it was his first thought. 

"It's about time you got back," the Master said.  "Go on then, aren't you going to arrest me?  Where's your back up and gun to threaten me with?  Greyhound one to base, five rounds rapid, and all that?"  The Master bounded past him, looking down the hall and finding no one else in the house.  "You sent that woman away at least.  Good.  I can't stand tea.  That's all you humans think about is tea.  Don't you ever-"

"I highly doubt you're here for a social visit," the Brigadier said, leaning on the cane he brought with him everywhere now.  A bad fall in the 90's guaranteed that, but he was used to the aching hurt.  Besides, a second gun was hidden in it and another reason he hadn't drawn his other weapon.  "Out with it, man.  What do you want?"

The Master stilled, then backed away with the same manic energy.  "Still have the rubbish mustache, I see," he said, looking over the Brigadier with the same critical gaze that the Brigadier had used earlier.  His hazel eyes rested on the cane for a few seconds, but he didn't comment.  "Some things never change.  That's good, actually, really just...  He'd have said it's brilliant, this time around."

The Brigadier brought the cane down on the ground with a sharp bang.  The odd thing was that the Master jumped, the second time he'd been startled since the Brigadier had come in.  Intrigued, the Brigadier raised an eyebrow that the Master steadfastly ignored.  "Why are you here?" he asked again finally.

Looking away, the Master surprised him further by being unable to meet his eyes.  Well, now the Brigadier really had seen everything.  "He's dead," the Master said flatly.

A second eyebrow joined the first that had been raised.  He motioned for the Master to sit, but the Master simply glared.  The Brigadier took a chair, the high-backed reading chair Doris liked, not the recliner.  It never did to be too relaxed in the Master's company.  "Who's dead?" he asked, half guessing at the answer, though scarcely believing it.  There was only one person the Master would have gotten this worked up over. 

"You know who," the Master spat, the energy that had been coursing through him before nearly exploding as he went on.  "The Doctor's dead.  Who else matters?  He's dead.  Not mostly dead, he's not getting better and he's not coming back!  The Doctor is dead."

"I'd have thought it wouldn't have bothered you."  The Brigadier leaned back against the chair, watching the Master thoughtfully.  "You always looked pleased about it, when you thought so in the past."

"I don't think he's dead, Brigadier.  I saw him die."  Crumpling down on the couch across from the Brigadier, the Master curled up and put his arms over his head.  The Brigadier watched him dispassionately, though he was honestly getting a little worried.

He and the Doctor had gotten into their fair share of disagreements, but despite that, the Brigadier had an unshakable faith in the man.  The Doctor wasn't infallible, however.  Whatever the truth was, it was obvious the Master believed it.  He had seen the Master lie numerous times in the past and this wasn't acting.  "You saw him die, then.  What's the matter with that?  Weren't you the one to kill him finally?"

For one moment, he thought the Master was going to stand up and strike him.  He sat there impassively, showing neither fear nor anger at the threat in the Master's tense shoulders.  He simply watched and waited for the Master to control his temper or to attack. If it ended up as the latter, the Brigadier had his cane ready.

The Master didn't move from the couch, however, instead visibly calming himself down.  "That's why I came here.  None of that weeping and crying and sentimental crap his other companions would do.  Just the calm acceptance of an old soldier who's already seen too many people die in front of him.  Perhaps I should send more plastic flowers to their graves?"

It wasn't worth it to answer that, not when the Master's maniacal and insane laughter covered anything the Brigadier might have said.  He waited for the Master to stop, who was now rocking slightly as he held his head.  The Master obviously wasn't mentally stable, but that was really no surprise. 

To be honest, the news of the Doctor's death hadn't quite sunk in yet. He could mourn later though, if it became necessary.  Right now, he was forced into playing the Master's game and what was certain was that the Doctor wasn't here to back him up. 

Finally, the Master started speaking again, this time less cryptically.  His voice cracked slightly, but his words were other wise expressionless.  "I destroyed an entire world after he died, just to celebrate.  I let that stupid old man he'd been dragging along with him go once I found the TARDIS and just took off.  I destroyed all life on Dalton 6 with a nano virus.  It only took me a month.  Then I took over the the planet Persephone and watched it destroy itself in civil war after I left."

"So you came here to brag about how much you can do now that the Doctor isn't around to stop you?" the Brigadier asked, for the first time showing anger.  The Master never changed.  "He would have stopped you.  If you're going to-"

"Shut up!"  This time the Master did stand, moving like lighting to invade the Brigadier's personal space and pointing a finger at his chest.  The Brigadier didn't back down, still furious over the Master's words.  "I'm not here for your stupid moralistic lectures.  I got enough of them from him.  The Doctor is dead, so hush now and listen to me."

"If you want someone to listen to your ranting, I'm sure I could find you a prison psychiatrist."  The Brigadier didn't know what he expected to see in the Master's wild hazel eyes, but it wasn't the hastily covered betrayal and hurt that he saw there.  The Master pulled away abruptly, glaring as he backed off.  The Brigadier was baffled, not sure what the Master was getting at or why he had looked betrayed, of all things. 

Not quite believing what he was about to say, the Brigadier sighed and waved for the Master to continue.  The Master was obviously unhinged and if talking to the Brigadier kept him from going out and killing more people, it was probably for the best.  "Alright, I'm listening."

For a while, neither of them spoke, just wearily watching the other as they waited for one of them to make a move.  Finally, the Master continued on with his explanation, pacing this time instead of curling back up on the couch.  "I didn't enjoy it though, that should make you happy.  Killing all those people and watching them die didn't make me happy like it should have.  I thought with the next planet I'd try a longer dictatorship.  Except that damned TARDIS didn't go to the coordinates I set, setting me right in the middle of a nuclear holocaust." 

Waving his hands in the air in disgust, the Master glared at the blank television screen.  It wasn't on, but for some reason it offended him.  "I had to save the ungrateful revolutionaries and the planet just to get out of there alive.  By the time I got away, the TARDIS took me to another world that I had to save.  And another after that, and another..."

The irony of the situation didn't escape the Brigadier, but he hid his smug amusement with many years of practice from yelling at Sergeant Benton.  The Brigadier didn't believe in any sort of cosmic justice or karma, but it certainly served the Master right to be forced into helping people after all the crimes he committed.  A sort of community service, if you like.

The Master paused in his pacing, eyes moving away from the television screen and to a picture frame of the Brigadier and Doris on holiday with an unreadable expression on his face.  Whatever he thought of the picture, he didn't mention it.  The Master continued on with his rampage just as if he'd never seen it.  "I saved four planets, two moons, three space stations, and a Paramalde battle cruiser that had been converted to a transport ship for refugees, all because the Doctor was a sentimental bastard who let his TARDIS get away with anything!  She wouldn't even let me back in sometimes, until everyone was saved.  I didn't like saving all those people either, by the way.  I only did it to save myself."

The latter was said more bitterly in response to the Brigadier's eyebrows which had once more worked their way up his forehead.  "I wouldn't have thought otherwise," the Brigadier said mildly.  "Sounds like you've almost become respectable though, even if it is against your usual bad judgment.  You still haven't told me why you've come here of all places.  I'm hardly likely to help you get that machine of the Doctor's to work for you, even if I knew how."

The Master shook his head furiously, almost pounding at it as if he were angry with himself.  The Brigadier half stood, worried the Master might do himself real harm, but the Time Lord stopped and crumpled back on the couch again.  "Because he's dead," the Master said again, quieter this time.  "He wasn't supposed to die.  I... I tried to save him, if you'd believe that.  Not that you would, but I did.  He wouldn't get out of the way!"

He was right, of course.  The Brigadier didn't believe him, not entirely.  Oh, he had no doubt it happened the way the Master said, but there was more to it than just that.  The Master had to have another angle that he wasn't saying.  At the same time, given how agitated the Master was, the Brigadier did wonder if that really hadn't been one of his reasons.

Moving to the window, the Brigadier gazed outside into the small garden Doris insisted he keep once he'd retired.  The flowers really were more trouble than they were worth, but they made Doris happy...  What was he doing, thinking about flowers when the Doctor was dead?  He supposed it was just too hard to take in.  The Doctor had been too good at cheating death and too good a man to lose.  "So he's really gone this time?  Not just... slipped out from under your nose with a new face?"

"I'd have known him, even if he had regenerated," the Master snapped.  "Besides, he'd never have let me have his TARDIS again if he'd been alive." 

The Brigadier nodded, accepting that at least on face value.  "The Doctor was a good man," he said, still staring out the window as a deep sadness overcame him.  "All of them," he added mostly to himself, blinking back the moisture in his eyes.

It wouldn't do to let the Master see that sorrow, however.  The Master was just the sort of man to try and use it against him to get what he wanted.  Fortunately for the Brigadier, the Master didn't seem to know what he wanted right now.  "So what now then?" he asked, testing the waters.  "Where do you plan to go from here?"

The Master curled up into a fetal position on the couch, covering his head with his arms again.  Frowning, the Brigadier nearly told him to get his feet off the couch before he caught himself.  Now was hardly the time and he didn't think the Master let just anyone see him this openly vulnerable.  He was greatly surprised the Master was letting him see this.  Had the Master been anyone other than a mass murdering lunatic, the Brigadier might have felt honored that he was trusted this much.  As it was, he didn't really know what to do with the impossible man on his couch. 

"I don't know.  I don't...  I don't want to be alone," the Master admitted weakly, voicing what the Brigadier had suspected.  "The Doctor did something to me before he died.  He... took the drums away, fixed this regeneration.  I don't know how, but he did and then he went and died without so much as asking what I wanted."

The drums?  The Brigadier vaguely remembered the Doctor saying something about that, on one of the peaceful nights at UNIT headquarters.  Liz had come down to visit, demanding the Brigadier stop working and come and socialize.  They'd gotten on the subject of the Master somehow, Jo asking how the Master could bear to do such horrible things.

The Doctor had worn those fancy smoking jackets and frilly shirts back then, looking older than he ever had since even though the Brigadier had come to understand that the Doctor had been fairly young himself back then.  The Doctor had been nursing a brandy appreciatively, rubbing the back of his neck when the question came up.  He'd said... he'd said that the Master had heard drums ever since he was a child, that they used to be very good friends until the Master had been pushed to do something terrible and the madness had taken root.  "They were a sign of madness, you see," the Brigadier could almost hear the Doctor saying, with a wistfulness in his eyes that turned to resigned sorrow.  Funny how clearly such a memory came back to him after so many years.  Before he'd known the Doctor was gone, the Brigadier doubted he would have been able to remember such details, but sorrow made such memories brighter.

Without the drums, did that made the Master sane now?  He hadn't exactly been acting it.  In fact, he almost seemed more unbalanced now than he ever was before.  At least he'd had method to his madness in the past.  "If the Doctor fixed you, isn't that a good thing?" the Brigadier asked, turning away from the window to keep a better eye on the Master.

"I didn't want to be fixed, not by him!  Not like that!"  The Master curled up tighter with a certain quality to his voice that made the Brigadier think he was just barely holding back tears.  "I wanted revenge!  I wanted Rassilon to suffer for all the things he put me through by giving the drums to me!  I wanted..."

Looking down at his watch, the Brigadier realized his hour was almost up.  He took a deep breath, weighing his options out in his mind as the military strategist in him had taught him long ago.  By all rights, he should let UNIT barge in and take the Master prisoner.  Lord knows that the Master had more than enough crimes to atone for, some of which included the deaths of his men.  The longer the Master stayed, the more likely he was to try to kill the Brigadier and other innocents as well if this current 'truce' ran out. 

That was hardly honorable though, considering the Master had come here to talk and... and to grieve, though the infernal man would probably never admit that.  If the Doctor were here, he'd probably have pleaded with the Brigadier to spare the Master, just this once, as he hoped for a break through. 

The Brigadier was a man of duty.  He would gladly lay his life down if that was needed to save the world and he would do it regardless of the thanks or lack thereof he would have gotten. But he also had a duty to his friends, especially ones that had already made that ultimate sacrifice.  As much as he didn't want to admit it, the Brigadier knew what the Doctor would have wanted him to do in this case.  The Master wasn't exactly in any condition to start killing anyone right now either.

Knowing he would ultimately regret this, the Brigadier walked past, briefly resting his hand on the Master's shoulder.  "There's an extra bedroom in the back.  You can stay here for the night."  The Master didn't respond or move in acknowledgment, but he knew the Master had heard.  Shaking his head, the Brigadier went into the hall to call UNIT.

"Hello?" he said into the receiver a few moments later.  "Yes, I'm fine.  No, I don't need backup just yet.  Keep it ready though, just in case.  Yes, I'm aware that mobilizing troops on a whim isn't...  I'm hardly the type to get 'hysterical' over a threat, now am I?  Look, just tell Colonel Brimmicombe-Wood to have those men ready!"

Hanging up with a huff, he was surprised to see the Master poking his head out into the hallway with a guarded expression.  "Calling for backup to take your guest captive?" he asked acidly.  

"I certainly didn't invite you here.  And I was calling it off actually," the Brigadier said, tired of games and bureaucracy.  "They're still on standby, if you decide to try anything.  This doesn't mean I trust you, you know."

Oddly enough, the Master just nodded, hovering hesitantly in the door way.  Damned if this wasn't awkward.  Out of all the people the Master could have wanted to see in the event of the Doctor's death...  "Have you eaten?" the Brigadier asked gruffly.  The Master shook his head.  "Well, you interrupted my dinner.  I suppose we'll just have to find something in the kitchen."

Without waiting to see if the Master would follow, the Brigadier went into the kitchen to prepare a small dinner for both of them.  Nothing fancy, just a few sandwiches to tide them over for the night.  Neither he nor Doris were very big on cooking, but he didn't need takeaway to survive like most young people did these days.  The Master ate without speaking, even accepting tea without complaint and the Brigadier was perfectly content with the silence.  It was better than awkward questions. 

After dinner, he made sure the Master was settled in the guest room with enough blankets and pillows.  Then he walked a few houses down the block to borrow a phone from one of the neighbors, calling Doris to assure her that things would be alright. 

The Master was asleep by the time he got back, or was feigning it well enough to convince the Brigadier. Regardless, it saved them both from more awkward conversation.  The Brigadier watched the news for a bit before turning in to bed himself.

He lay awake that night, thinking about the Doctor. It was hard to imagine the universe without him.  Though the Brigadier had saved the world without the Doctor's help before, it was still somehow more frightening to know the Doctor was no longer there.  He couldn't quite bring himself to believe it either.  It wasn't like the Brigadier was prone to fits of denial, but the world without the Doctor was damned hard to think about.

* * *

The next morning the Brigadier woke to the smell of pancakes and bacon. Which was just a little odd, considering he knew they didn't have any bacon in the house.  Curious, the Brigadier went into the kitchen.  Any other person who knew the Master as well as he did would have found the scene that greeted the Brigadier there quite astounding.  There was the Master, in the middle of a near spotless kitchen switching back and forth between cooking the bacon and flipping pancakes with practiced grace. 

Even knowing that the Master had been trapped on Earth several times didn't really prepare one for the sight of the Master cooking and cleaning up after himself so neatly.  The Brigadier wasn't surprised by much anymore, however, and he simply took the sight in his stride without batting an eye.  "Trying to poison me now, are you?"

The Master looked up, glaring.  "Then don't eat any," he snapped.

It could just be a ploy to get the Brigadier to eat it regardless, sort of a reverse psychology or some such nonsense that went over his head which the Doctor might've gone on about.  However, for once the Brigadier didn't think that it was the case.  Maybe under different circumstances, the Master might have tried something, but he gained nothing from trying to poison the Brigadier right now and he would lose the one person on the planet who he could talk to about this. 

Besides, it did smell very good.  "Where did you get all of this anyway?" he asked curiously.  "And it's generally polite to ask before using someone else's kitchen."

"The TARDIS," the Master said, watching the Brigadier warily and ignoring the reproach he found there.  "I figured if I left things to you, we'd just be eating sandwiches. If it offends you that I didn't ask, then you can't have any."

The Brigadier admitted that was a very fine point and got out plates for setting the table.  He served himself from the neat stack of pancakes that were already finished, carefully separated from the bacon by the Master, which the Brigadier also helped himself to.  He nodded in approval at the taste, noting with interest that the Master relaxed slightly after that.

Once they had both eaten, the Brigadier took care of the dishes.  It was a bit unnerving how the Master watched him, but he didn't show it.  Every so often the Time Lord would stop watching to stare into his tea moodily.  Whatever his complaints against the beverage earlier, he didn't seem to mind it now.

"Why did you do it?" the Master asked as the Brigadier dried his hands.  "UNIT, I mean.  No one thanks you for it and half the world doesn't even know who you are.  So what was the point of doing it?"

"Someone had to.  The world isn't going to protect itself."  It had been his duty and the Brigadier took his responsibility seriously.  He hadn't even really thought about leaving it to someone else and there wasn't much more to it than that.  He didn't need thanks or fame at the end of the day, just the peace of mind knowing that the world was safe from outside threats.

The answer didn't satisfy the Master, however, who left his tea to resume pacing.  "Why did he do it then?  What was in it for him?  This isn't our planet and our own people exiled him and spurned him for it.  Why did he bother?"

The Brigadier didn't have to ask who 'he' was, instead he poured himself another cup of tea, stirring in milk as he considered the question.  "I suppose it was because he thought it was the right thing to do.  He didn't like anyone losing their lives, human or alien.  He couldn't just stand there and do nothing."

The Master stayed silent for a long while after that and it was the Brigadier's turn to watch him.  The Brigadier was used to seeing a self assumed confidence or an energetic tension in those shoulders, with coldness or disdain in his eyes.  There was an uncertainty that surrounded the Master like a cloak now and there was something else wrong that the Brigadier couldn't quite name.  For a normal person, the Brigadier would have said it was grief, but for the Master...

"The Doctor liked to cook as well," he said, watching the Master carefully for a reaction.  If the Master wanted to talk, maybe it was best just to get this over with so the Master could go bother someone else.  Besides, it would be good to talk about the Doctor, if he was indeed gone.  "Never as neat about it though.  Miss Grant complained bitterly after when she had to clean up, but he always made a decent meal out of it."

At first, the Master was startled by the conversation.  The Brigadier wasn't altogether sure he would respond, but he waited as the Master took the words in.  "He was always like that," the Master said quietly.  "Never bothered with recipes, just using whatever was on hand and making a mess of everything.  Even his TARDIS is a mess.  You could spend centuries sorting through it and it still wouldn't look clean.  You've seen how he kept his lab."

The look the Master gave him of long suffering disgust was almost comical.  If it had been anyone else with that expression, the Brigadier might have laughed.  There was too much blood between them for the Brigadier to drop his guard that much, however.  "I always thought there was some method to that madness.  It all looked the same to me."

The Master rolled his eyes, but didn't comment nastily like the Brigadier had assumed he would.  Instead, he haltingly started to talk about the Doctor.  First, angrily about all the times the Doctor had left him to burn or to whatever fate awaited him, then moodily as he spoke of how often the Doctor ruined his plans and finally fondly of their days at the Academy.  Through it all, the Brigadier listened.  He listened more to learn what he could about his old friend from someone who knew him so well more than because the Master needed to talk to someone, but in the end it all equaled the same thing.  The Doctor was gone.

"He wasn't supposed to die," the Master said quietly, frowning into his teacup as if he couldn't figure out why that was wrong. 

The Brigadier supposed it must be a bit of a shock, finally getting what he wanted for all those years only for the Master to realize he didn't want it so much after all.  "You must miss him."

"I don't..." the Master started as he got angry again, but stopped as he saw the Brigadier's raised eyebrows.  "I don't miss that over pompous idiot," he said after the pause, practically daring the Brigadier to argue with him.

"And yet you've done nothing but talk about him for the past three hours?" The Brigadier asked, noting that it was past time for lunch and they were on their third pot of tea.  Before the Master could argue, he went on with a matter-of-fact tone that was impossible to contradict. "It's been months for you since it happened, hasn't it?  Why did you come here otherwise?"

"Because I don't know what else to do!"  The Master was up, pacing around the room like a caged animal, terrified of what waited for him on the other side of the bars.  "Having power doesn't sound fun any more, killing people is boring and forbidden texts have lost their appeal.  I don't even have the drums any more!  What am I supposed to do without them?"

The Master spun around and snarled as he advanced on the Brigadier, who continued to calmly sip his tea.  "He didn't tell me what to do when the drums were gone!  He didn't even ask if I didn't want them. He just took them and died.  What am I supposed to do now?  I can't...  I can't stand being alone."

The Brigadier set his cup down, staring back at the Master levelly.  He didn't have to help the Master.  He wasn't the Doctor and had no obligation to aid this man.  In fact, he had every obligation to turn him in to finally pay for his crimes, not that any prison in this time period would really be able to hold the Master. 

Maybe it was age that mellowed him or perhaps too many years with the Doctor, but the Brigadier found himself standing up wearily, wincing as his back and knees protested.  "I'm assuming you've put that time machine of the Doctor's somewhere near by?"

Surprised by the sudden change of subject, the Master took a step back.  A guarded look quickly replaced the surprise as the Master tried to figure out what the Brigadier was up to.  "Why do you want to know?" he growled, eyes narrowing as he prepared for the Brigadier's new game. 

The human glared right back with the full authority of an officer who expected to be obeyed.  "I've gotten old and dashing about the city to get to it is out of the question.  If it isn't near by, then you'll have to move it so it is."

The guarded look turned to a sneer as the Master scoffed at him.  "And you expect, what?  To confiscate it for UNIT?"

"I expect to try and answer your question," the Brigadier said candidly. The Master's eyes widened, for a single moment looking completely unguarded and vulnerable.  It was in that moment he realized the Master was absolutely terrified of this drum-less existence and was just barely holding everything together. 

The expression was gone within a half a second and the Brigadier didn't let on that he'd seen it.  This 'regeneration' - or whatever the Doctor used to call it - was so different from how the Brigadier remembered the Master to be in the past.  He didn't even claim to understand how the Doctor's people changed their face, but he'd never seen the Master spiraling out of control like this before.  If it were anyone else, the Brigadier might have felt pity.  Which was just as well that pity for the Master was impossible, since the Master wouldn't have stood for it anyway.  Certainly not from the Brigadier, at least.

The Master swallowed once he regained his composure, back to watching him wearily.  "It's down the street," he said finally after some consideration.  Nodding, the Brigadier motioned for the Master to lead the way. 

The blue police box hadn't changed on the outside and the Brigadier gave the wooden box a fond pat before he stepped inside.  How the Doctor had fussed over that machine...  The inside of the box was much different from the last time he'd seen the inside of the TARDIS though.  No longer was it pristine and white.  The console room was dressed in warm colors and lighting, looking even more of a mess than it had when the Doctor had taken it apart. 

If he'd thought the original console had been beyond him, this mismatched bit of machinery made even less sense.  He looked around curiously, cataloging the differences as the Master strode in and spun around, glaring sullenly.  "Well, what now?  Where's your magic answer to the unsolved mysteries of the universe?"

"Is that him?" The Brigadier asked, his eyes catching sight of one of the monitors.  On the screen was a man in a torn brown suit and hair that couldn't seem to decide if it wanted to stick up or lay down.  There were cuts and bruises all over his pale face and hands and the man looked as still as death.  He felt like he should be reacting more, if that really was the Doctor's body on the screen, but it was just like seeing the face of a stranger.  The Brigadier saw nothing of the man he knew in that lifeless body, just an odd sense of isolationism.

The Master scowled, immediately reaching up and turning off the monitor.  Raising his eyebrows in question, the Brigadier had to admit he was more than a little surprised at this new development.  "I thought your people burned the bodies of their dead?" he asked mildly.  At least, that was what the Doctor had put on his forms at UNIT, in case the worst happened so they would know what to do with the body. 

The man on the screen had shown no signs of decomposition that should have been on a months dead body, however.  The Brigadier was no stranger to corpses and one that old should have long since started to show the signs of time.  Even Time Lords couldn't be exempt from that, could they?

"I put him in a time stasis chamber instead," the Master said, starting to pace again.

"A time what's-it?"

"A stasis chamber!  How can you be so dense as-" the Master cut himself off at the flash of anger in the Brigadier's eyes, presumably remembering the Brigadier was helping him and such patience was far from infinite.  Again, the Brigadier wondered how desperate the Master had become, that he forced himself to calm down and answer the Brigadier with a flatter tone.  "It keeps time from moving, alright?  So the body won't start to decompose.  I assume I don't have to explain how corpses decompose to you?"

"And you've set up a constant watch over it?" The Brigadier asked, ignoring the last comment.  The Master didn't respond, simply glaring at him.  Well, that did explain a few things, both in terms of the body and the Master's state of mind.  He couldn't let go of the Doctor and the fact was both haunting and frustrating him.  He wanted to get away from the Doctor's legacy, but couldn't.

The Brigadier took all of this in, but didn't say anything about it.  What would be the point, other than to taunt the Master?  He wasn't the sort of man to take pleasure in such things nor was it befitting someone of his rank, so he let it pass and kept the information for later.  "And what about this flashing light," he asked to change the subject.

Willingly distracted, the Master frowned and came over to stand at the console next to him.  "Someone is messing with time...  There's a blip the TARDIS is picking up a few hundred years from now, not that far away."

"So what are you going to do about it?" The Brigadier asked.  "Isn't that what your people do, fixing that sort of thing?"

The Master rolled his eyes.  "Did, Brigadier, did.  The Time Lords are gone.  Dead.  Deceased.  Burning for all eternity and good riddance to them.  It's just... just me left."  The Master had been working himself up into an energetic rant, but on the last sentence he faltered, glancing towards the now blank screen.  "It's not my problem," he finished flatly.  "Time will sort itself out."

"And if that 'blip' becomes large enough to destroy everything?  What will you do then?"  The Master shot him a dirty look, but didn't respond.  Taking a chance, the Brigadier pressed forward.  "If you're the last, that makes it your duty to fix it.  You're the only one left who can."

"And what if I don't care?  Did you think of that?" the Master asked acidly.  "Why should I care?  What does it matter to me if the universe burns?  The universe has never been very kind to me.  It never did anything for me.  It watched me burn and laughed as the drums drove me insane, so why shouldn't I do the same?  Don't lecture me on 'duty', gramps.  I don't care."

The Brigadier stood there impassively, leaning on his cane for support and not showing any of the hidden smile on his lips.  "Are you sure about that?  I thought you were looking for something to do?" he asked as if he were talking to a particularly dense student who still hadn't gotten the correct answer. 

The Master looked over at him with surprise evident on his face.  "I'm not going to save people.  That's what the Doctor did, fixing things.  I'm not him."

"I should say that was rather obvious," the Brigadier said, snorting softly.  He walked over to one of the benches and sat down, waiting for the Master to make up his mind.  "You don't have to kill people, you know.  You said that kind of life doesn't appeal to you anymore, so why not try something different?"

"Because I'm not the Doctor!  I'm not going to  just go around replacing him, doing all the things he would have done!"  The Master shouted angrily, balling his fists.

When the men were unfortunate enough to be over heard complaining, the Brigadier could usually square away their complaints with a single look.  It generally shut the soldiers and students up nicely and he rarely heard another protest after that.  Surprisingly, it worked just now against the Master too, though he still looked angry.  "You don't have to do things the way the Doctor did.  So long as you don't want to scheme to conquer half the universe and destroy the rest, you need something else to keep you busy.  This will keep you out of trouble and give you purpose with the Doctor dead.  Now, are we going or not?"

The Master rolled his eyes again, but started flicking switches and pressing buttons, bringing the console to life as the center column started to raise and fall slowly.  It was a surprisingly smooth ride, according to the Master who muttered something under his breath about the TARDIS having a thing him, but the Brigadier was just glad he wasn't being jostled about.  He was really too old to to be going off on these adventures...

The Brigadier walked out into London in the 24th century, not expecting to see much had changed.  In some respects, he was right.  London would never change, not in the feel of her.  There were a few obvious differences though, flying cars and fashions being the two that stood out to him the most.

Stepping out after him, the Master scowled, sinking further into his hoodie.  The Brigadier looked over at him, but the Master stayed silent, refusing to give the sort of soaring explanations the Doctor might have given.  He was about to ask how they could find the blip when hands came up around him, pressing a cloth to his mouth.

He could hear the Master shouting, but he payed no mind to that.  Using his cane, the Brigadier gave a sharp jab into the stomach of his attacker and was rewarded as the cloth fell away from his mouth.  The drug they'd been using made him a little light headed, but he fought the effects even as he struck at the man's knees.  He turned, drawing his gun and aiming it at the attacker. 

Unfortunately, he was very much outnumbered.  There were seven men and women - soldiers by the look of them, though they weren't in any sort of recognizable uniform.  It was in the way they held themselves and stood in formation, looking to the man whose knees he'd knocked out for orders.

With no small amount of dismay, the Brigadier saw that the Master was collapsed against one of the women, knocked unconscious by the drug and being held with a gun to his temple.  He wondered if the Master had always been this much of a handful for the Doctor. 

"Give it up, old man," the officer said, limping as he gasped in pain.  "We have your friend.  Just come along quietly and neither of you will get hurt."

"He's hardly my 'friend'," the Brigadier said, holding himself straight as he weighed his options.  Unfortunately, he was retired for a reason and holding off seven armed soldiers when he'd been in his prime would have been a difficult feat.  The Brigadier handed over his gun and held up his hands resignedly, wondering how he managed to get into this mess.

~TBC~

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
zagethe
Apr. 21st, 2011 06:09 pm (UTC)
This is wonderful. I wouldn't worry about the slash part. I mean I like sex in my FF as much as the next guy but seriously there are only so many ways that Tab A can go into slot B. Characterization and plot are my mantras and your story has both, done well.
dragonofmemory
Apr. 21st, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks! This is more what I'm used to writing, actually, gen fics without romance one way or another. Cy got me into the b_e kink meme though and I was a little worried when I didn't quite manage even non-sexual slash. I'm glad you enjoyed it!
edzel2
Apr. 22nd, 2011 07:53 am (UTC)
This is terrific! I've been pondering a drum-less Master since TEOT aired, thinking that this is probably really the only way to go with the character now (I hope the TV Show will do this too), and your drum-less Master is very much as I've imagined he might be. And the Brigadier! Lovely.

And I agree, the slash isn't necessary. Much as I love Doctor/Master slash, it is possible to tell a good story without it and your story is a good example IMO! I hope Part Two is up 'cause I'm dying to read more! XD
dragonofmemory
Apr. 22nd, 2011 01:39 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! I've actually written a bit more with the Master himself trying to get rid of the drums, but my usual beta reader is four fics of mine behind due to university nearly killing her, so it might be a while before I can actually post those. XD

Slash is something that's all rather new to me. As I've said before, I've managed at least twenty fics before, mostly without any sort of romance at all, so it was fun to go back to that.

It is all up, as I suspect you've already discovered... Thanks for your comments though!
choco_chick
May. 6th, 2011 06:22 pm (UTC)
I love everything about this story! This has rekindled my love for the Brigadier too! :D I've just finished listening to 'Sympathy for the Devil' and I cheered when Colonel Wood called the Brigadier hysterical ;) I can just picture him grumbling about hysterical old men thinking they can mobilize UNIT on a whim.
dragonofmemory
May. 6th, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Rekindled love for the Brigadier is always a good thing. <3 I had to sneak Wood in there, just because I did adore Sympathy for the Devil. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Also, I love your icon. <3
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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dragonofmemory
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