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Without You Part 2

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:  Still long and slashless, but lots of booms to make up for it?
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.

Part 1

~

The Brigadier sat with his back straight against the wall, watching his captors warily.  They'd been taken to a small cell after a thirty minute ride in the back of a van.  It wasn't any place the Brigadier recognized, though he'd kept a keen eye out for ways he could escape.

Of course, the Master was unhelpfully out cold the whole time, making any escape attempt impossible.  He could have just left the Master, but while the Master might have had no problem with that had their positions been reversed, the Brigadier couldn't condone just leaving him.  If he'd had the connections he had back in his own time, the Brigadier might have chanced running away in order to come back for a rescue attempt.  He didn't know anyone here, however, and he couldn't risk losing the Master in this unfamiliar London.  He was one old man against many soldiers and he'd need the Master's help to not only get out of this, but to get back to his own time.

They'd taken his cane away as well as his gun and walking was painful without it. He ignored the pain though, refusing the soldier's offer to help.  Their captors had so far been completely silent on the reasons for their captivity as well.  In short, he'd learned nothing of use for when the Master finally did wake up.

They'd both been thrown into the cell unceremoniously, their captors not even bothering to put the Master on one of the benches.  They pushed him in and he'd have fallen to the floor had the Brigadier not caught him.  When they saw a figure of authority around here, the Brigadier was going to have a few words with them on the treatment of prisoners.  He managed to move the Master to one of the benches before settling himself down on the one against the opposite wall.  It wasn't very comfortable, but until either the soldiers gave in to his demands to see a superior officer or the Master woke up, there wasn't much else to do.

An hour and a half of waiting provided the former, if not the latter.  A young lad entered the cell, Sergeant by the look of his uniform (if things hadn't changed from the Brigadier's time) and newly promoted given the nervous air he had about him.  The Brigadier didn't stand to greet him, eying the dark youth with an impassiveness that made the young officer squirm.  "Ah," the young man said, clearing his throat.  "You are being charged with the illegal release of chronon energy inside a secure zone.  You will be held by the United Intelligence Taskforce until-"

"We're being held by UNIT?" The Brigadier asked in surprise.  "Good grief."  They were several hundred years into Earth's future and UNIT still existed.  He'd never thought it would last that long, to be still going in the twenty-fourth century.  There was bound to be official alien contact by now, after all, so UNIT must have changed from its original mission. 

Those questions he could dwell on later.  Right now he had a cell to get out of.

"Yes, sir, UNIT.  If you know who-"

"I demand to see whoever is in charge here," the Brigadier ordered gruffly.  Standing up to his full height, he was taller than the lad. That made intimidation even easier.  "In my day, prisoners were treated with respect.  Now, get to it and bring a finger print scanner.  What are you waiting for, man?"  He hoped that they still had his finger prints on file, at least in the historical databanks if nothing else.

"But... You-" the youth said, very flustered.

"With respect, soldier!  I may be retired, but you should still show respect to a ranking officer."

"Yes, Sir!" the Sergeant said, saluting smartly out of habit before he knew what was going on.  A scandalized expression crossed his face was he realized he just took orders from a prisoner.  Scrambling out of the cell as quickly as possible, the Sergeant didn't look back at the strange prisoner.

In the cell, the Brigadier smiled to himself.  Yes, he still had it.  No question on that.

Ten minutes later, a gruffer man came in the cell, followed by the original Sergeant.  This one carried a lot more authority in his shoulders, Colonel by the stripes on his uniform.  Definitely career military, early forties and sporting a thick mustache that the Brigadier heartily approved of.  "Who are you, thinking you're in charge around here?" the man growled.

The Brigadier frowned, wishing he had his cane to tap against the floor.  "It's generally polite to introduce yourself first."

"You're a prisoner of UNIT and you will respond to whatever question is put to you!"  The Brigadier didn't back down from the Colonel as the man advanced on him, not imitated by the show of anger.  The Brigadier was far too well versed in such tactics and didn't think this man was nearly as good at them as a commanding officer should be.  

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," he said finally, eyes slipping over to the Sergeant who was holding a PDA-like device in his hands.  "Is that the finger print scanner?  How does it work?  And can you cross reference it to historical records of the twentieth century?"

"I should do...  It's really simple, Sir.  You just-"

"Sergeant Kotoky, you are not to speak with the prisoner!"  The Colonel barked as he held out his hand for the finger scanner.  Sergeant Kotoky hastily handed it over, scrambling back with a quiet 'Yes, Sir' and his head down.  "This will tell us who you are, even if you won't," the Colonel said with a malicious grin that the Brigadier didn't like. 

When prompted, the Brigadier put his finger on the pad with little fuss.  It only took a second for the machine to get the prints and the Colonel passed the PDA-device back to Sergeant Kotoky who waited for the machine to come up with results.  "What are you and him doing here?" the Colonel asked brusquely, crossing his arms in front of his chest in a threatening manner.

"We were here because someone in this area is messing about with time."  It was a long shot as to whether they would believe him or not, but he only had to wait until his finger prints came up on the scanner to prove his claim. 

"And how do we know you aren't the ones messing about with-"

"Colonel Williams!" the Sergeant said, his eyes growing wide at the information on the hand held device.

"Not now, Sergeant!"  The Colonel snapped, much to the Brigadier's disapproval.  It was rapidly becoming clear to him that this man ran his unit through fear and intimidation - two qualities not known for breeding true loyalty. 

"But Colonel Williams, look at who he is!" the Sergeant said excitedly, pushing the scanner up for the man to see.

Williams snorted, looking up at the Brigadier and back down at the information in disbelief.  "It's some sort of trick, it is.  He wanted to be scanned, so it's gotta be a trick."

"I think you'll find it's no trick, Colonel Williams," the Brigadier said stiffly, wanting to get out of this cell.  "I suggest you let us out of here so we can finish what we came here for."

"Look at the pictures, Sir!  It is him, Brigadier Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart!" Kotoky said with awe filling his eyes.

Williams just looked all the more annoyed.  "That's impossible," he scoffed.  "The founder of UNIT died hundreds of years ago."

"And he's here now," an annoyed voice said from the other bench.  The Brigadier looked over to see the Master had woken up and was not happy with the circumstances he found himself in.  "The marvels of time travel.  Are we done here?  I want to get this over with."

"And who are you then, another man from the past?" Colonel Williams asked with a snarl.

"Time travel..." the young Sergeant said, eyes getting wider.  "If that's true, than you must be the Doctor!"

"Don't be daft, Sergeant Kotoky!" The Colonel went on berating the Sergeant, so he didn't see how tense the Master got at the name.

"Easy now, old chap," the Brigadier said gently, but the Master ignored him, staring at the wall with a frightening expression in his eyes. 

The Sergeant was star-struck enough that he lost his fear of the Colonel entirely.  "It's him, isn't it?  Colonel, they were found near a blue box, the Corporal said!  It has to be them!  Look, the DNA and blood matches and everything!"  The Brigadier was quite surprised when the young man pushed past the Colonel to shake his hand enthusiastically.  "Sir Alistair, it's an honor, Sir!  I'm terribly sorry about how you and the Doctor have been treated..."

"Respect for your commanding officer, Sergeant," the Brigadier reprimanded lightly.  The young man looked sheepish, chiming another 'yes, Sir' and a quick apology to Colonel Williams for his rudeness.  "And there is the matter of our capture," the Brigadier said, turning a less friendly look of reproach on Williams.  It was his men that captured them, no doubt about it.  The lack of discipline and courtesy had been appallingly telling. 

Right now though, there were more pressing matters.  "And he's not the Doctor.  He's... from the same race as the Doctor, but it's not him."  The Brigadier paused, unsure of how to introduce the Master.  That name was far too conspicuous and probably still on file and flagged as dangerous, along with most of his previous aliases that the Master had used over the years. 

"Koschei," the Master said flatly, still staring at the wall.  "That's my name.  That's all you need to know.  Now can we get on with this?"

"Yes, quite.  I'm assuming if you believe us,  you'll let us go now?" The Brigadier asked, looking straight at Williams.  It all depended how much faith they were willing to put in their technology.  He waited tensely as Williams glared at him but finally nodded.  For once, the Brigadier was glad of over-reliance on technology, since no one seemed inclined to dispute the computer's facts.

"Here's your cane, Sir!" Kotoky said, pushing his way back into the room.  The Brigadier accepted the cane, feeling much better with it back at his side as he stood up.  He wasn't usually a sentimental sort of person, but it wasn't just a physical feeling of something to take his weight.  It had almost become an old friend. 

Williams stood in the way of the cell door with a sour expression.  Before the confrontation could begin, however, the Master pushed through him, ignoring the Colonel completely as he walked down the corridor as if he owned the place.  The Brigadier followed after him, hiding his amusement from the fuming Williams and the stunned Kotoky. 

"What's important that's happening right now?" the Master asked, spinning around to face the two UNIT officers sharply. 

"I don't see why we should-"

"Because if we don't find the fracture point, all of time ends in an instant," the Master said with a sneer.  The Brigadier raised his eyebrows, but didn't comment on the Master's exaggeration.  He hadn't, after all, been all that concerned while it had been just them in the TARDIS.  The Master advanced on Williams, looking intimidating despite being a head shorter than Williams.  "Bang!  All your fault.  Time and space, all gone, because you wouldn't tell me about the world's current events that anyone could know by picking up a newspaper.  Is this making any sense in that tiny little brain of yours or do I have to explain it using even smaller words?  BANG!"

Williams took a step back in surprise as the Master shouted, glaring as he realized what the Time Lord had forced him to do.  Before he could start an argument, however, Sergeant Kotoky was only too willing to impress his new heroes.  "There's the President's speech, Sir," he said, looking to the Brigadier for approval.  Once the Brigadier nodded, he continued.  "We've been hearing news of a potential assassination attempt while she's on her official visit here, which is why everyone is so jumpy."

"Which president?" the Master asked, turning to face Kotoky and dismissing Williams in the same motion. 

Williams fumed, but silently.  The Brigadier kept an eye on him for trouble as Kotoky looked surprised by the question.  "It's President Esperanza Mendez."

The Master looked blankly at the man, the name not ringing a bell.  "She doesn't sound important," he said finally, not looking entirely certain on the matter.  "Anything else that's going on?"

"There's the talks of shutting down the mines and elections are coming up soon?" Kotoky offered helpfully.

"Well?" the Brigadier asked, staring at the Master expectantly.

"Not everyone is as fascinated as the Doctor was with all eras of human history," the Master snapped.  "I usually only started reconnaissance on a period when I got there and since we were kidnapped by these buffoons, I haven't had the chance to do that yet.  I need the TARDIS databanks and a news feed."

The Brigadier nodded, realizing the sense that made.  "Then we'll need to get back to the TARDIS." 

"You mean the blue box, Sir?  A squad just brought that in," Kotoky said, still eager to please.  "It really is an honor to have both of you here helping us, Sir Alistair."

"Is that so?" he asked.  Smiling, the Brigadier wondered just what the files said about him to get this sort of reaction.  Probably over-exaggerated PR for the files, no doubt.

The Master rolled his eyes, looking disgusted at the whole thing.  "TARDIS.  Now.  Before I die from gagging."

"Yes, Sir!  It's right this way, Sir!"  Kotoky lead them down the corridor, making up for Williams' lack of enthusiasm.   Williams himself had made a surprisingly discreet exit, but unless he actively barred their process the Brigadier didn't need to worry about wounded egos.

The familiar blue police box looked even more out of place in this high tech UNIT HQ filled with computers and futuristic lab equipment than it had ever been in his own time.  It was being moved by a group of soldiers who were directed by a very efficient and solemn looking woman.  She looked a bit familiar, though the Brigadier couldn't place the resemblance.  Sergeant Kotoky saluted her as they approached and she waved the men to stop.  "Captain Benton, this is Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.  The Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart!  He's come with this man from the past to-"

"Captain Benton?" the Brigadier asked, finally placing the semblance.  Yes, she did have John Benton's nose.  His eyes too, surprisingly enough. 

"That's impossible though, isn't it?" she asked, looking suspiciously at him and the Master.

The Master currently didn't have any patience to deal with disbelief.  He pushed past all of them, shoving the key into the TARDIS door.  The door, however, refused to budge.  Pushing the key a few times, the Master cursed and kicked the door, shouting abuse at the blue box as Kotoky explained to Captain Benton what was going on. 

Putting his amazement at the young woman aside, the Brigade focused on the Master.  "Is the key damaged?" he asked, coming to stand by the Master.

"She won't let me in!" the Master said, glaring at the police box as though his will alone could open the door.  "The stupid thing doesn't trust me not to just take off again!  I did that on one of the planets and she hasn't forgiven me."

Considering the situation, the Brigadier placed his hand on the door thoughtfully.  "It's just a matter of trust?"

"No, she's offended by our fashion sense.  Why else would the bitch lock me out like this?" the Master hissed furiously.

The Doctor had always talked about the TARDIS as a living being.  He also talked that way about Bessie, however, so the Brigadier had never paid it much mind.  If the TARDIS was capable of trust as the Master said though, she was probably a lot more than just a machine.  It wouldn't be the oddest thing he'd seen with the Doctor and he'd learned over the many years of working with the Time Lord to simply accept the impossible explanation.  Saved a lot of time, trouble and frustration on the Doctor's part and a lot of confusion on his. 

Feeling a little awkward at what he was about to do, the Brigadier cleared his throat and tapped against the door politely.  "I'll look after him and keep him from leaving, if that's what you're worried about, Ma'am," he said stiffly, much to the Master's surprise.

Just like that, the door popped open.  Well.  At least he hadn't made a damned fool of himself, talking to a wooden box.  The Master was muttering again under his breath about something that sounded suspiciously like "She always had a thing for you," but the Brigadier really had no idea what to make of that implication.  A sentient ship he could handle, but one that fancied him...  He was a married man, after all.

He followed the Master inside, much to the chagrin of Captain Benton and Sergeant Kotoky.  "Wait!  You can't go in..." Captain Benton yelled as she and Kotoky followed in after them.  They both stopped, staring around them in awe and wonder at the world inside the police box. 

"It's..." Kotoky started, his mouth hanging open.  "It's... It's bigger."

"Yes, it's bigger on the inside," the Master snapped, his fingers flying over the console as he switched on the monitor.  For a brief moment, the Doctor's body was on the screen, but he quickly switched it over to a local news channel.

It wasn't like any sort of news program that the Brigadier had ever seen, but the Master seemed to understand it all, looking up every so often as he browsed through the text of information on another monitor.  The Brigadier wouldn't even begin to know what to look for, so he sat down on the bench to rest his leg. 

The two UNIT officers slowly made their way over, still in shock over the dimensions inside the time machine.  Time to jolt them out of it.  "You are both officers of UNIT," he said with a carefully raised eyebrow.  "Stop gawking and go back to your duties."

Sergeant Kotoky's cheeks colored and he hastily excused himself to find the Colonel.  Captain Benton, on the other hand, saluted to him.  "I'm in charge of keeping an eye on the... on the blue box, Sir." 

That suited the Brigadier very well, actually, since it gave him a chance to talk to her.  "Very well then, keep an eye on it."  He gave her a smile that she hesitantly returned.  "Captain Benton, was it?  What do you know of your family history?"

"Well, Sir," she said shyly, glancing up at him then over to the Master who was pointedly ignoring both of them.  The Brigadier motioned for her to go on.  If the Master yelled at them for being disruptive, the Brigadier had more than enough practice at handling an irate Time Lord.  She continued on without further prompting.  "I know my family has worked at UNIT for generations.  My Great-Grandfather made colonel, but most of my family didn't get much higher than a sergeant."

The Brigadier nodded in approval, knowing UNIT was in good hands.  "When I first started UNIT, there was a young man, a Sergeant John Benton, who served under me.  He was one of the best officers I know and a damned good man in a tight spot.  It's good to know there's still a Benton working at UNIT."

At this, Captain Benton's eyes widened and she saluted him again.  "Thank you, Sir Alistair!  I'll do my best to live up to my ancestors."

"Just Alistair please, Captain Benton," the Brigadier said.  He'd never quite gotten used to the 'Sir' in front of his name and all that knighting business had been a lot more pomp and circumstance than he ever really wanted.

Captain Benton nodded, though she was still a little bit star struck around him.  He doubted he would be called anything more than 'Sir' from here on out, but that that kind of 'Sir' suited him just as well.  She looked back over to the Master, who was muttering to himself absently as he searched.  "Is he the Doc-"

"No, I'm afraid he's not," the Brigadier said, cutting her off with an apology as he kept his voice low.  "He's another Time Lord like the Doctor.  Though he's...  right now, he's really trying to help.  I suppose that's what matters."

It still didn't quite sit right, that he was helping the Master, of all people.  The Master was the only one who could figure out what was going wrong and fix it, however, and if he stopped being an evil megalomaniac in the mean time it was all the better.  He had some long overdue years of community service to go through. 

"Where is the Doctor then?" Captain Benton asked, following his lead and keeping her voice down.  "This is his-"

"You.  Whatever-your-name-is," the Master snapped, his eyes fixed on the screen.  "Who is this woman?"

Captain Benton didn't take offense to the Master's rude manner, looking over at the screen obediently.  A worried expression crossed her face as she saw who it was.  "That's the President, Sir.  She's here for the next week to give a public address and open a few orphanages in part of her Investing in the Future program.  We've been getting reports of an assassination attempt for the past month."

"Is it her?" the Brigadier asked, studying the woman carefully.  She had a good chin.  Leaders needed strong chins and he approved of the look of her.  Platforms and campaign promises were naturally the most important thing when considering who to vote for, but he always thought a leader needed to look the part as well.

The Master stared at the woman on the screen, carefully taking stock of her as well.   "It has to be.  The fracture is wrapping around her so tightly it'll snap if we aren't careful."  The Brigadier hadn't realized that sort of thing was visible, but he accepted it as the Master quickly typed a few words into the databanks.  Hazel eyes slid quickly over the words that came up as he went on.  "Why is she important though?  And is whoever that's messing around with time trying to kill her or save her?"

"If they are trying to save her, isn't that a good thing, Sir?" Benton asked.

The Master gave her a cutting look, but she wasn't imitated by him, the Brigadier noted with approval.  "You apes have no concept of time.  There are events that are fixed in history and can't be changed.  The rest of time is constantly in flux and can change if someone wants to go around saving people like he's got nothing better to do."  Like the Doctor, the Brigadier surmised due to the scoffing tone the Master spoke with. 

"Some things, though, can't be changed," the Master continued.  "They're fixed.  Change it and then the web of time starts to fall apart.  If her death averts a major war that destroys all of humanity, do you still want to save her?"

Captain Benton didn't have an answer to that and neither did the Brigadier.  She stood there, looking conflicted as the Brigadier wondered if the Doctor ever had to deal with such a moral problem.  There was no clear answer to it, no right or wrong that could tell you what the morally good choice was. 

"How do you know that, Sir?" she asked, after a few moments, still reeling from the thought.  Her voice held a hint of accusation, like he was just making it up to torment her.  "How do you know when an event is 'fixed' or not? How do you expect us to believe you, if you say the President has to die?"

The Master wheeled on her, advancing until he was up in her face and glaring into her eyes.  "Because that's who I am," he said with a dangerous undertone in his voice.  "That's how I see things, every single day, all the time.  Every single second I see what could have been, what should have been and what must be in a way that your tiny human minds can't even begin to comprehend.  I can feel the Earth turning beneath us, hurtling through space at 107,300 kilometers per hour around the sun.  Your pathetic ape senses can't even begin to see the world as I do."

"M-Koschei," the Brigadier said warningly.  The name didn't sound quite right when he said it, but he didn't think his mispronunciation of the word was what caused the Master to look up in surprise.  With one final glare at Benton, he backed down and went back to the TARDIS databanks. 

The Brigadier patted Benton on the back as she relaxed, letting out the breath she'd been holding while the Master had been close.  It was both good and a little disturbing to know that the Master would listen to him.  It meant the Master could be kept in check, but why he had to be the one to do it...

"She's not supposed to die," the Master announced finally, a bit more subdued.  "Not yet, anyway.  The fixed point is about ten years from now, when she dies to save the Draconian prince during a shooting.  Changes the whole of history and the Draconians adopt her daughter to honor her sacrifice.  It starts a new age of trade and peace that will last for a few hundred years.  Meaning it's all peace and flowers. That should please you."  Though the Master didn't sound overly thrilled with the revelation himself.

"So that means whoever is trying to kill her now must be stopped.  Is it someone who doesn't like these 'Draconian' fellows?" the Brigadier asked, nodding to himself.  At least the question of morality could wait to be answered later. 

"Doesn't matter who's doing it," the Master said, angrily flicking a few buttons.  "We just need to stop them."

"And how do we do that?"

"It's someone trying to change time," the Master said thoughtfully, still reading through the database. "Time wouldn't be fracturing otherwise and we could leave it to UNIT to stop the attack since we know they would succeed.  It's someone who has been here for a while too, if you've been hearing about it for at least a month.  That makes the devices you used to track the TARDIS when it appeared useless."  The Master pulled out some paper from the pocket of his hoodie and started scribbling on it in words the Brigadier could barely make out.  "I should be able to rig up a primitive tracking device that should search out anachronisms.  I'll need to get access to all the security measures of the speech and UNIT's files on the threats so far."

Captain Benton looked to the Brigadier for approval and he nodded to her after a few seconds of thought.  Letting the Master have access to such confidential matters was against his better judgment, but it was their best hope right now.  "This way, Sir.  I'll take you to Colonel Williams to get the security access."

The Master scowled at the name, but started to follow after her.  He stopped at the door, looking back to the Brigadier who hadn't moved from his chair.  "Aren't you coming?"

"I'm too old for all this running around," the Brigadier said, waving him off.  "I'm retired, you know.    Go on.  I'll catch you up once things are more settled."

It was so brief that the Brigadier almost thought he'd imagined it, but he thought there was a flash of uncertainty and pleading in the Master's hazel eyes.  It was gone as quickly as it appeared though and the Master walked out without another word and slammed the door behind him.

Why the devil did the Master keep looking to him for guidance?  The Brigadier sighed, still not sure what he was doing here, going off on some crazy adventure at his age to help a reforming mass-murdering, evil megalomaniac.

He was about to go see about the security arrangements for the speech when an image flickered to life on the console.  A projection of some sort,  though much more advanced than any the Brigadier had seen before.  The projection stepped forward, revealing the image of the man he'd seen dead on the monitor, except not nearly as dead as the Brigadier had last seen him.  The Doctor?  Though he didn't show any outward sign of it, the Brigadier felt hope surge up at the sight of his old friend.  Perhaps the Doctor really wasn't dead.

"Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart!  Oops, it's Sir Alistair now, isn't it?  Good for you!  Good for brilliant old you," the image of the Doctor grinned broadly, rocking back on his heels as he looked straight at the Brigadier. 

"Doctor, you have quite a bit of explaining to do," the Brigadier said, putting annoyance in his tone to cover the relief he felt.  "Do you have any idea what-"

"If you're seeing this," the Doctor continued, cutting him off and growing more solemn.  "It means I'm probably dead.  I've been told it was coming soon and..." The Doctor trailed off, briefly fighting a look of fear off his face.

The Brigadier felt his hopes being crushed.  A recording.  The Doctor really was dead.  Seeing the recording of the dead man brought home that fact and the Brigadier felt his throat tighten at the thought.  The Doctor in the projection collected himself with a shake and continued on, oblivious to the now wet Brigadier's eyes.  "Well, hasn't happened yet.  Still a chance, right?  But if it does and you're seeing this, that means the Master's taken control of the TARDIS.  I've programed her to subdue him a little before taking him to you.  If he's still insane, well, I suppose you know what to do with him."  The Doctor looked sad at this and just a little guilty.  "Lock him up the best you can.  I know you'll make sure he's treated fairly.  If I've managed to fix him though...  I hope you'll look after him."

"Why me, Doctor?" he asked the projection, knowing it couldn't hear him but unable to help the question.

The projection kept talking regardless, not taking note of the Brigadier's bafflement and sorrow.  "I know it's asking a lot of you, especially after everything he's done, but I've been digging around since I heard the prophesy that said he'd knock four times.  I don't think this was all his fault, Brigadier."  The projection paused, running a hand through that already wild hair.  "He used to be a good friend of mine and he wasn't always like this.  I'd like to think there's still some good in him.  If there is, I know I can count on you to help him find it.  I know we haven't always gotten along, Alistair, but you're one of the best men I've ever had the honor of meeting.  I wouldn't have worked under anyone else during my exile to Earth.  You're one of my best and dearest friends, Alistair, and I know I couldn't be leaving him in better hands.  Thank you, Brigadier.  I knew I could count on you."

The projection flickered out of existence after the Doctor gave him a lazy salute.  The Brigadier wiped his eyes and shook his head.  The Doctor was a good man, all of them.  "I don't know what you're expecting of me, Doctor, but I'll make sure he doesn't get into trouble again," he said to no one in particular.  He didn't believe in ghosts after all, but he hoped the Doctor knew what he was doing.

* * *

The next day the Master was out in the city with Sergeant Kotoky, looking for people that didn't belong in this time period.  The Brigadier had settled himself in rather nicely, looking over the security detail and offering his advice.  UNIT's mission may have changed since aliens were common knowledge now, but the running of UNIT was still basically the same.  It was comforting to fall right back into familiar routines, even if he wasn't the one in charge any longer.

The Brigadier frowned at the file in front of him, looking over at Colonel Williams with no small amount of anger.  "This man, Private Thomas.  You've got him on duty during the speech, guarding the western side."

"Yes," Williams said, looking up from his paper work.  "Is there a problem with that?" 

"Is there a problem?"  The Brigadier asked, frowning at the man's incompetence.  Not even a mustache made up for this level of inadequacy.  "He shouldn't even be on active duty.  According to this file, he's got outstanding gambling debts and you're putting him on security duty for the President?"

Williams narrowed his eyes, twitching and twisting his pen in his hands.  "He's a good man.  What are you trying to imply with that?"

"Imply?  Good grief, man, he's a walking security breach!"  Out of the corner of his eye, the Brigadier saw the Master walk by the door.  The Master stopped and hung around just outside, but he didn't try to catch the Brigadier's eye so the Brigadier went back to upbraiding Williams.  "Anyone could walk up and blackmail him through those debts."

"He's completely trustworthy-"

"He's a hole in your security detail."  Bringing his hand down on the table, the Brigadier quickly lost most of the patience he had for this hide-bound idiot.  "Either take him off active duty or I'll take this to your superior officer."

For a moment, Williams looked like he was about to snap at the Brigadier.  He calmed down a few seconds later though, reaching for something in his desk.  "Fine.  I'll go do it now, Sir," he said acidly.  Standing up, Williams exited the room, rudely brushing past the Master.

Surprisingly enough, the Master didn't take offense.  He stood there watching after Williams before coming in the room.  "I don't trust him," he said by way of greeting.

The Brigadier raised his eyebrows.  Williams was a fool and a stubborn one at that, but he didn't doubt the man's loyalty.  Just the abilities of the superior officers that had promoted the idiot.  "What makes you say that?"

"Because he's not the type to calm down and not yell your head off for that."  Making a brief scan around the room, the Master walked over to Williams' desk despite the Brigadier's protests for the man's privacy.  He bent over, looking under the desk with a frown before pulling open the drawers. 

"What exactly are you looking for?" the Brigadier asked, resigned to the invasion of privacy as he continued browsing through the personnel files and making suggested corrections on the roster.  On paper, though he'd been given strange looks at the request.  He couldn't help it, but the Brigadier couldn't think properly using those little hand held devices.  Paper was much more soothing to him, even if it was more cumbersome.

The Master didn't answer at first, giving a disgusted look to an old banana that had been in one of the drawers.  "Williams did something when he was sitting here.  I heard a click," he said finally, getting down on his hands and knees to search under the desk.

"Age has been a bit kinder to your sense of hearing," the Brigadier said, though he had noticed Williams doing something behind the desk. 

The Master's voice was muffled under the desk, but still understandable.  "I know he did some..." the Master trailed off and suddenly Williams' chair was pushed back with a great force as the Master scrambled out from under the desk.  "Brigadier, get out!"

"What?" he asked, searching for his cane as he gathered the files together.  "What the blazes is going on?"

The Brigadier barely had time to grab his cane as the Master hauled him to his feet and started to drag him to the door.  "There's a bomb under the desk," the Master said tersely.  "We've got to get out of here before it-"

The bomb, for indeed there was one, went off without further warning.  The Brigadier felt himself being thrown to the floor and held there as the Master shielded him.  The force of the blast nearly caused him to blank out, but he heard the Master cry out in pain as he clutched at the Brigadier's back.  The Brigadier held on to consciousness stubbornly, because the Master probably wouldn't be the only one in need of medical attention. 

After a few tense moments of his ears ringing from the noise, the Master pulled off of him, hissing in pain.  "Are you alright?" the Brigadier asked, taking in what he could of the damage.  It looked like the room they had just left had been completely destroyed, the walls saving them from most of the damage.

The Master waved him off, clutching at his shoulder in pain.  "Just a bit of shrapnel," he said, gritting his teeth. 

The smoke was settling around them and they weren't safe in this part of the building.  "Come on," the Brigadier said, using his cane to stand up.  He gathered the papers he'd managed to grab before being dragged off, since they might be important now that they knew Williams was an enemy agent.  Then he helped the Master to his feet, letting the Time Lord lean against him as they walked further away from the blast site and the smoke.  He spared a brief thought to the people who might have been in the room next door, but he was only an old man and wouldn't be able to carry people out as he might have done when he was younger.  The Master needed medical attention and was someone he could help now.

He could tell the Master wasn't happy with the arrangement, but he was a lot more worse off than just that piece of shrapnel and he didn't have much choice in the matter.  It did leave the Brigadier with some food for thought, however.  Why had the Master saved him?  Telling him that the bomb was there was one thing and even dragging him out the Brigadier could see.  But the Master shielding him didn't make much sense.  The Master simply cared too much for his own skin to put his life on the line to save someone else.

They'd not gone a few yards before Sergeant Kotoky ran up, taking the Brigadier's place at helping the Master walk.  Captain Benton was close on his heels.  "Are you alright, Sir?" she asked as she came to a halt in front of them.

The Brigadier nodded, looking back the way they came.  "I'm alright, thanks to him.  There might still be wounded people back there though."  She didn't look like she wanted to leave them, however, so the Brigadier straightened and used his best drill sergeant voice.  "State your duty, soldier!"

"To serve and protect, Sir!" she yelled back with a salute.  She ran past them, only turning back once to make sure they were still making their way out.  He gave her a reproachful look, smiling to himself once she'd gone.  She was a good officer, that one.  John Benton would be proud.

"Do you have a radio, Sergeant?" the Brigadier asked as more people rushed towards them to help with the wreckage. 

"A radio, Sir?" Kotoky asked, looking very confused at the term. 

"A phone," the Master snapped, glaring at them both as if they were idiots.  "A direct line to your superior officers.  Something to call for help with, you idiot!"

"Oh, yes, Sir!"  Kotoky pointed to his ear piece.  "I've already called for help."

"Call in again and tell them not to let Colonel Williams off the premises," the Brigadier ordered.  "He's the one who set the bomb, Sergeant.  We can't let him get away."

"Colonel Williams?  But he-"

"Just do it!" the Master yelled, losing what little patience he had.  Kotoky nodded, relaying the orders.

Things went by in a blur of activity after that.  The Brigadier stayed with the Master until some of the higher ups arrived, then he gave his evidence against Williams.  The man hadn't even tried to run yet, assuming his witnesses would be killed by the blast.  Unfortunately, he was dead within a few hours of capture, making interrogation impossible. 

The next two days the Master spent recovering.  His tracking device ended up being rather useless, because whoever it was had been in this time period for too long to set off the counter.  He'd been right next to Williams, after all, and it hadn't gone off.  Either that, or whoever it was behind all of this had used contacts from this time period rather than doing their dirty work themselves.  Thankfully though, without Williams to set up security holes for them, they had a lot harder job to pull off now. 

Captain Benton took over the security detail.  She was a little inexperienced in the administration side of guard duty, but the Brigadier helped her map out a much better plan than Williams had by giving his advice freely.  The Master even came in and gave a few pointers.  Despite his personality flaws that had originally put off most of UNIT, he was now warmly received, much to the Master's own surprise.  The Brigadier had to hide a smile at that, when the Master's snapped response was greeted by a grin from Benton.  The Master hadn't expected that saving the Brigadier would endear him to the rest of UNIT who still didn't know his past.

The day of the big speech arrived and the Brigadier was privately very proud of the arrangements.  They were as prepared as they were ever going to be.  The Master paced restlessly beside him in the private VIP room they'd been given a small distance from the platform where the President and her guests would sit.  "You might as well take a seat.  You used to have more patience than this," the Brigadier said.

"I used to be the one planning these sorts of things, not trying to prevent them," he growled, though he did take a seat next to the Brigadier.  "It's not working."

"The security?" the Brigadier asked, though he got the impression that the Master was taking about something else.  Still, he couldn't exactly guess at it if the conversation were completely non sequitur.

"My name," the Master said, nervous energy barely contained in the Master's body.  "Koschei this, Koschei that.  I'm not Koschei anymore."

Not sure what the Master wanted him to do about it the Brigadier looked over at him curiously.  "You chose it," he said with a raised eyebrow. 

"I thought..." the Master closed his eyes, pressing his lips together as he tried to figure out what he was trying to say.  Just as quickly, he snapped his eyes open and started tinkering with the chronon reader device he'd made.  The Brigadier almost thought the subject was dropped entirely, but the Master started speaking again softly.  "I thought that without the drums, I might be Koschei again.  But I'm not.  The Doctor took them from me and now I don't...  I don't know anymore."

The Brigadier pat his back absently, not entirely sure what to say.  He wasn't very good at all this metaphysical contemplation.  To him, the Brigadier would always be himself and those around him didn't dispute the fact.  The Master was a Time Lord though and a special case at that.  "You are someone who was touched by the Doctor," the Brigadier said finally.  "You always have been, even though you twisted that to suit yourself."

"I didn't want to be," the Master said, setting the machine aside as he curled up on the bench with his hands over his head.  The President was taking the stage, but the Brigadier paid her no mind.  UNIT was taking care of security and they would make sure things ran smoothly.  The Brigadier was far too old to start worrying about this sort of thing again. 

The Master was his responsibility now though, so he listened as the Master kept talking.  "I never wanted to be.  I just wanted power and knowledge... I was happy before he came along.  I didn't want the drums and I didn't want to be 'touched' or whatever you call it by the Doctor."

"I don't think I wanted to be either," the Brigadier said, leaning back against the bench.  The Master looked up at him in surprise, but the Brigadier remained stoic.  It was the truth.  How much easier would his life have been if he'd just gone into a normal branch of the military?  In fact, if he hadn't met the Doctor he wouldn't be in this mess.  He'd have just turned the Master in and have been done with it, happily so.  But at the same time...  "I think we're both better for it though.  Things would have been a lot duller around here without him.  If you're looking for a way to define yourself, why not just use 'someone who knew the Doctor' for now until you can find something better?"

The Master scowled, but he looked slightly less miserable than he had before.  "I don't need anyone else to define me," he said, more for the argument's sake than to actually dispute the fact.  "I won't-"

The machine beside him came to life, bleeping insistently with an ominous rhythm.  "Someone just jumped in?  How stupid are they?" the Master asked, jumping up as he grabbed the device.  Looking out over the crowd, the Brigadier tried to see if anything was different as the Master fiddled with the controls. 

The President was mid-way through her speech, but he couldn't see anyone else who could attack her.  The Master's eyes widened and he pushed the Brigadier aside as he looked to the platform.  "They've jumped right under it..."  He pressed the ear piece that UNIT had provided them, nearly shouting into the receiver.  "Get the President out of there!  There's confirmed time travel right under the platform and they could be planting a bomb or- Brigadier, where are you going?"

Panic crossed the Master's face, but the Brigadier still had other duties to perform.  Leaving the safety of the room to go out into the crowd, he started directing as many people as he could away from the platform.  He was vaguely aware of the President's speech halting as she was ushered away and the crowd started to rush out in panic.  "Steady on," the Brigadier yelled out over the screams.  "Stay calm, everyone.  The exit is over this way.  No, don't rush.  We'll get you out."

The bomb went off several seconds later and the crowd grew into full fledged panic.  Doing what he could to keep a riot from breaking out, the Brigadier found himself moving closer and closer to the platform as the crowd dispersed.

Fire was everywhere, but something small caught his eye above the smoke.  A child trapped by the flames was being pushed against the collapsing platform.  The Brigadier didn't think about what he was doing.  He started to make a beeline for the child, heedless of the danger and the pain in his leg.

A hand caught his arm, however, and he was pulled around to face a furious Master.  "Where do you think you're going?"

Bristling, the Brigadier didn't have time to deal with the Master.  "There's a child trapped over there."

"Yes, I know.  What of it?" The Brigadier didn't even grace that with an answer, simply leveling the Master with a look that sent chills down his spine.  "You'll never make it in time," the Master tried again, a bit less flippantly.  "That platform will kill you both!  Leave her."

"Maybe you can do that, but I can't.  I have a duty to protect people," the Brigadier said, shaking off the Master's hand.  He started walking again, pushing past the Master who tried to get in front of him.  "You have your duty and I have mine," he said finally, determined to at least save the child even if his own life would be forfeit. 

The Master grabbed his arm again, the panicked expression from earlier returning to his face.  "You can't," he said simply, eyes pleading.

"Let me go," the Brigadier said, tapping his cane impatiently.  He would use it against the Master if he had to, though he didn't want to.

Realizing this, the Master let go, taking a step back in fear.  It wasn't fear of the Brigadier but... was it fear of losing the Brigadier?  Before he could start towards the child again, however, the Master shook his head and pushed him back angrily.  "Stay here," he hissed with a look of resigned disgust, taking off towards the child at a breakneck run.  The Brigadier didn't even have time to protest.

"My daughter!" the woman he recognized as the President screamed, also making her way past the security that tried to push her out of the area.  She was strong enough to break past the guards and started racing in the same direction as the Master.

The Brigadier caught her as she tried to run by.  "Let me go!" she yelled, practically screaming at him.  "My daughter is back there!  I have to get to her!"

"Someone has already gone after her, Madame President," the Brigadier said calmly, holding her steady.  "There's nothing to do but wait."

The President looked up at him, no longer the calm, collected woman he had seen on the newscasts.  Her hair was out of its neat bun, sticking up every which way and her clothes were tattered and torn with scorch marks spotting the fabric.  She also had a bad burn across her cheek that looked like it needed medical attention.  She wasn't a leader right now.  She was a frantic mother, desperately looking at him in need of reassurance. 

"If anyone can do it, he can," the Brigadier said finally as the guards caught up to her.  It was a good thing too, because the platform collapsed in a cloud of smoke behind him.  They had to help hold her back as she screamed.

The Brigadier searched the smoke anxiously, waiting for a miracle.  If it were the Doctor, the Brigadier would have counted on such a thing.  The man had an impossible streak of luck and an inability to quit when the lives of others were at stake.  But the Master... 

The Master was walking out of the smoke, looking a little singed and carrying a coughing seven year old child.  The Doctor wasn't the only one who could command a miracle, it seemed.

Released by the awed guards, the President rushed forward.  She took the child from him, crying and kissing both the girl and the Master as she thanked him.  "I'll never forget this," she said quietly, once she'd calmed down.  The Master looked over at her.  He'd mostly been ignoring her, but something in her voice commanded attention.  "I'll remember what you've done today, Sir, for the rest of my life.  Maybe one day I can repay this debt.  Thank you."

Looking tired, the Master nodded.  She would remember and save that prince the Master had spoken of, ultimately creating peace.  The Brigadier motioned for the Master to follow back to UNIT HQ as the security guards took the President and her daughter away.  They walked back in silence and even managed to slip into the TARDIS without the rest of UNIT staff noticing.

Once they got back, the Master collapsed into a chair, lounging against the back as he sprawled out lazily.  The Brigadier remained standing, watching the Master thoughtfully.  That was twice now, the Master had actively put his life at risk to save the Brigadier.  Twice to prove that the first time hadn't just been an accident or act of madness on the Master's part.  Which meant he was, for whatever reason, invested in keeping the Brigadier alive.  It was an odd feeling, considering how many lives the Master had taken in the past, including several attempts that could have killed the Brigadier as well.

"What are you staring at?" the Master asked moodily.

Well, all this wondering about it wouldn't get the Brigadier any answers.  It was time for the direct approach and a thorough cross-examination.  "Why did you save me?" he asked, ignoring the Master's question.  "You've saved me twice now.  I'd like to know why."

The Master stiffened, the laziness falling from his body as icicles break and fall to the ground and he started to resemble a caged tiger.  "Who said I was saving you?"

Unamused by this game, the Brigadier threw him a look of reproach.  "You saved me once from the bomb, letting yourself get injured instead of that shrapnel potentially hitting me.  You were willing to leave the child there until you realized I was going in regardless.  That sounds suspiciously like saving someone, if you ask me."

"I didn't ask you," the Master said with a scowl, which turned to a glare as the Brigadier resorted to a raised eyebrow.  "Alright, I did ask.  So shoot me.  Are we done here?  Don't you have your little army of soldiers to check up on?"

"You still haven't answered my question."

"I don't have anyone else to go to, alright?" the Master snapped, jumping up from the chair and advancing on the Brigadier once again.  Just like the last time the Master had tried this tactic, however, the Brigadier simply remained impassive.  "Is this twenty questions all the sudden?  Why did you want to save her then?  You didn't even know her!"

The Brigadier leaned against his cane, watching the Master calmly.  Finally the Master took a step back, looking a bit more restrained.  Nodding his head in thanks, the Brigadier answered his question.  "I'm an old man.  I've lived a long time and served as a soldier for most of it.  I've long since decided to live my life to protect this world and its people and if it was a choice between my life and hers... I know where my duty lies."

"Is that why he did it?"  The aggression was gone from the Master's stance and he once again looked to the now blank monitor. 

Shaking his head, the Brigadier walked over to the chair the Master had vacated and sat down.  The Doctor was another matter entirely.  "He was more likely to run from duty than honor it.  No, the Doctor saved people because he cared about them.  He didn't just care about his friends or people he knew, but everyone."

"Well, I don't care," the Master said, crossing his hands over his chest.  It was such a childish expression that the Brigadier nearly told him to stop this temper tantrum and go sit outside the class until he could behave properly.  It was almost as bad as being transported back to his years as a teacher.  "Don't expect me to do it again," the Master went on, glaring all the while.

The Brigadier would have shrugged had he been the sort of person given to such movements.  Whether or not the Master cared wasn't his problem.  So long as the Master wasn't taking lives or trying to take over the universe, his job was done.  "Is the President safe now?  Who was it that attacked anyway?" he asked, changing the subject.

"Who it was hardly matters now, since they probably went up with that bomb."  Rolling his eyes, the Master went over to the console to check the readings.  "The blip's gone.  She's obviously safe for the next ten years.  Now what?  Everything's nice and happy and if it gets any sweeter my teeth will rot."

The Brigadier ignored the sarcasm.  Responding to that would only encourage the Master and that was the last thing he needed.  "Right now, I'm going to bed.  If you've found another blip by the morning, we can chase after it then."

"Not going to stick around and be called a hero?" the Master asked and for once there was no malice or anger in his voice.  Just plain curiosity, as if the Brigadier was a particularly rare and baffling native creature. 

"Ceremonies only get tiresome when you're my age."  He'd never particularly needed thanks for what he did.  It was just fulfilling his duty and that was thanks enough at the end of the day. Saying good-bye might be nice, but ultimately unnecessary.  "What do you need with thanks when you're retired?  You can go, if that's what you want."  It mightn't be a bad idea either, if the Master realized some of the good he'd done.  Also, the UNIT team here wouldn't be such a bad place for the Master, if he was looking for somewhere to stay awhile.  They didn't know of the Master's past crimes and they'd all started acting fondly towards him after the first bomb.

The Master looked like he was considering it, but he finally shook his head.  "I'll pass on the ape gratitude.  Good-night, Brigadier.  I'll find another blip for us later, for all the good it'll do."

The Master's face was sour, but the Brigadier noticed he was a lot more lively than he had been the night the Master had shown up on his doorstep.  "And take care of those burns," the Brigadier called out after him, making his way to the rooms he'd claimed as his own in the TARDIS.  The Brigadier sighed to himself, wondering if it weren't too late to find a way out of this mess.  "I hope you know what you're doing, Doctor."

~TBC~

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
zagethe
Apr. 21st, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
Heh, you know I can just see the Master doing all this and hating every minute of it.. lol and also how he would feel lost without the Doctor.
dragonofmemory
Apr. 21st, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
Definitely hating it all. XD I'd originally planned this with the Delgado Master, but someone posted that they wanted Simm Master after EoT, so I thought... why not? He is fun to write.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )