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Confessions

Confessions
By: Memory Dragon
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who, nor do I make any claim to.
Characters: Fifth Doctor/Delgado Master
Warnings:  Just angst this time, really.  I suppose I should say something about the spoilers for Planet of Fire.  There are lots.
Original Prompt: Delgado!Master/Three. The priest outfit.
Notes: Written for the best_enemies anon meme. Also, it's Fivey instead of Three.  -_-;;;  I'm apparently terrible at actually following the prompt?  This one is so simple too.  Shouldn't have been all too hard, but nooooooooooooo, plot bunnies took my mind hostage until I worked for them and told me to write it as Five, who I have a lot harder time writing, than Three.  Where does that make sense?  Ah, well.  I tried.  Also, this makes yet another Delgado Master fic with other Doctors.  I think I've officially written one for all of the Doctors I've watched.  What can I say, I do like him.  XD  Well, I take that back.  I haven't done one for Four yet, and I think I've watched more than enough of him to attempt it, but... Meh.  Maybe eventually, but not now.  <3
Thanks: Many thanks to my beta, nemaline . 

~

The rain poured down on him, soaking the Doctor through despite his hat and the umbrella he had fished out of a closet.  Even the celery pinned to his lapel looked exhausted, wilting under the constant barrage of water.  It was the sort of day that one stayed inside to read a book, curled up in front of a fire.  Granted, that wasn't something that tempted him often in this particular regeneration, but he was really beginning to rethink his current course. 

He could have at least landed the TARDIS a bit closer.  Then again, considering who he was visiting, a longer walk was in his best interests, generally speaking.  Just not when it was pouring rain and the Doctor was already under the weather. 

At least he found the little chapel easily enough.  The Doctor's memory was in top form and the chapel looked almost exactly as he expected it to.  He hesitated at the vicarage door, but there didn't seem to be anyone home.  Fiddling with the device around his neck that was protected from the rain, the Doctor walked into the chapel.  He closed the umbrella and tried to dry himself off in the foyer as much as he could, which didn't help his overall dampness, nor his image of being a drowned rat when he caught his reflection in a mirror.  Still, he did his best to at least attempt to look respectable before going through the big doors into the church proper. 

He didn't expect to see the Master up at the alter cleaning.  He knew that particular regeneration of the Master had been a little on the obsessive side as far as cleanliness went, but he never quite expected the Master actually doing the more manual bits of labor.  He always assumed the Master had servants or anachronistic nano bots to do the work for him.  The Master looked far more relaxed than any time the Doctor had seen this regeneration in his memories, polishing the alter methodically with satisfaction on his face.  It was almost as if the Master were enjoying it.

Seeing the Master alive and well after what the Doctor had done... it twisted the Doctor's hearts, knowing this was the past and the future had just ended.  He couldn't bear to think about it anymore, so the Doctor pushed himself to speak.  "I... I hope I'm not intruding?" the Doctor called out softly, jumping as his voice echoed in the church regardless.

The Master looked up, a professional smile crossing his face  The Doctor couldn't see any physical evidence of a change, but the Master was no longer as relaxed as before.  "Not at all, come in.  Can I get you anything?  Tea?  Or a towel, at the very least."  The last sentence came out with a disapproving tone and the Doctor realized he was dripping on the clean floor. 

"I'm sorry," the Doctor said, embarrassed.  "I'll clean it up again."

The Master sighed and shook his head, giving the Doctor the distinct impression that he wouldn't be able to clean the floors enough to please the Master's high expectations.  If he weren't trying to keep the Master from knowing who he was, the Doctor would have reminded him that the Master had been far worse in his second regeneration than the Doctor had ever been.  The point of the trinket around his neck, however, was to keep the Master from knowing who he was, so he stayed silent as the Master told him not to worry about it.

"If you'll just come this way?" the Master asked politely, though the Doctor could see it was no more than a front.  The Master's afternoon without being bored to death with the woes of his parishioners had been interrupted.  Had the Doctor not known exactly what devilry the Master was getting up to, he might have felt bad.  He remembered too well those who had died for the Master's folly this time, however.

And now the Master had paid for the Doctor's.

Pushing that thought aside, the Doctor thought it might just be better to get what he came here over with.  "I came to... Do you have confessions here, or is that just Catholics?"  He should have looked it up before he came.  The actual rituals were far more the Master's area of interest than his. 

The Master chuckled, shaking his head.  "I'm afraid that is, as you say more the realm of Catholicism.  But I'll be willing to listen to your troubles in my office, if you wish.  You may not be part of my flock, but I'm willing to help anyone who has lost his way."

He was laying this whole priestly bit on a bit thick, the Doctor decided.  Still, pity that.  The Doctor had been hoping for a nice, anonymously enclosed confessional where he wouldn't have to see the Master's face as he said what he came to say.  It was cowardly perhaps, but the Doctor never was very good at telling the Master what he needed to.

As the Doctor was ushered into the vicarage, the Master's eyes lingered on the temporal perception filter around his neck.  Did the Master suspect..?  No, there was no recognition in his eyes.  The filter was working.  To the Master, he was just another human.

With a towel and tea, the Doctor sat across from 'Victor Magister' and wondered what he was doing here.  It was against all the Laws of Time and was such a big mistake.  But here was the Master, sitting across from him, disguised as a vicar, and nothing short of wonderful. There was something unmistakably attractive about the Master in that outfit.  He'd also rather liked the glasses the Master wore as part of the disguise.  Oh, thinking like that was getting him no where.

"Now," the Master said, folding his hands in front of him as he slid behind his desk.  "What can I do for you, Mr..?"

"Smith," the Doctor replied automatically as he cursed his inability to think ahead.  The perception filter was working, but the Master was far from stupid.  He couldn't just use his regular alias.  "Ah, Edward Smith.  It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Vicar."

The Master's eyebrows raised a fraction of an inch as he poured the Doctor more tea and the Doctor fidgeted.  Had the slip up been noticed? The Master smiled charmingly, though blandly, just as if he were bored to tears and wanted to get this over with.  The Doctor recognized the expression from their days back at the academy during particularly dull classes.  No, it was thankfully still working.

"Mr. Smith," the Master said, amusement slipping into his voice as he said the name, probably thinking of the Doctor.  "Tell me of your troubles then, Mr. Smith.  What is this 'confession' you feel you have to make?  Raised Catholic, were you?"

That was a lovely excuse for the Doctor's earlier slip up and he pounced on it.  "Yes, quite.  I've fallen away from the faith though and haven't kept up with things, unfortunately."  He did know enough about the history of the Catholic and Anglican churches to bluff on that account - he'd been there for half of it and would probably go to the rest at a later date.  It was just a matter of keeping the rituals straight that got the Doctor into trouble, which was rather the Master's strong point.  "I was just passing through when I saw the church and thought I might drop in," he continued, hoping the excuse would work.

It was a weak story, but the Master didn't seem suspicious.  "Then there is still hope for your soul yet if we get you away from those Catholic devils.  Now, what is it you wish to confess?"

The Doctor fidgeted, really wishing the Master didn't have to take such pleasure in returning to the subject so quickly.  He was probably enjoying tormenting the poor people from the village who came to him with their troubles, and the Doctor was no exception.  It really didn't help that the Master was staring at him with an almost predatory gaze.  "I did something terrible," the Doctor started hesitantly.  "Or rather, I didn't do anything."

"The sin of omission?" the Master asked thoughtfully.  He folded his hands in front of him on the desk.  "How intriguing.  Sometimes there's nothing you can do to-"

"But this time there was something I could have done," the Doctor said, looking down.  He couldn't fool himself with that platitude.  "It wouldn't have even been hard, but I just stood there and watched.  It was horrible." 

Shivering at the memory, the Doctor could still see it so clearly.  The Master in his stolen body standing among the flames and the smile falling from his face as he realized the Doctor wasn't moving.  The smell of flesh starting to burn as the flames turned malicious filled his nose despite how he knew it wasn't real.  The worst of it was the Master being so sure the Doctor would save him, but all the Doctor did was watch.

He jumped as the Master's hand rested on his shoulder, opening the eyes he hadn't realized he had closed.  When had the Master come around from behind the desk?  The Master left him for a moment, going out into the hall and searching through a closet.  "I'm fine, really," the Doctor said, though he didn't feel it.

It earned him an exasperated sigh and a reproachful look from the Master, who came back in with a blanket.  What was the Doctor doing, accepting the hospitality of a man he had just betrayed and left to die?  He was only compounding the sin by visiting the dead man because of his own selfish need to see the Master again.  "I'm sorry," he said, standing up to leave.  "I shouldn't have bothered you.  I'll leave and-"

"Please sit down, Mr. Smith," the Master said.  He started to wrap the blanket around the Doctor when it was obvious the Doctor was trying to avoid accepting any other debt. 

The Doctor didn't think about what he was doing.  The Master was leaning over him, looking very good in black and so near.  Nearer than he'd let the Master get to him in so very long and all the more forbidden to him due to the Master's death and his priestly guise.  He leaned up, kissing the Master as his hand reached up to caress the Master's cheek.

It was marvelous, being this close and oh, he'd forgotten how good at kissing the Master had been in this regeneration.  It wasn't anything the Master particularly did.  In fact, in terms of skill he'd usually always let the Doctor lead, following and matching, greedily basking in the Doctor's affection without showing anything more than the Doctor had.  But there was a passionate energy that translated into everything this Master did and the Doctor had been addicted to that feeling.  He found himself hungrily pulling the Master toward him, wondering what it would be like to have held the Master in his time line like this.  He never had, and oh, he wished he hadn't been so stubborn now.  But the Master had killed so many people and...

Abruptly, the Doctor pulled his tongue out of the Master's mouth and leaned back, maintaining as much of his usual stoney distance as he could.  "I'm terribly sorry," he said, twisting the filter in his hands and willing it to work.  "I don't know what came over me.  Please forgive how forward I was."

For a moment, the Doctor was sure the temporal perception filter wasn't working.  There was a sharpness in the Master's eyes and his fists had curled in fury... only to relax seconds later as the filter pushed whatever those thoughts had been aside.  The Doctor let out a breath of relief.  Still working.  He probably had one, possibly two more times of it pushing the Master's thoughts away before the Master would be able to overcome it.  He needed to pay more attention.

"It's quite alright, young man," the Master said, patting his shoulder awkwardly.  He moved a way much to the Doctor's regret and relief, and attempted to hide an appreciative glance in the Doctor's direction.  "You'll find I'm not quite as strict as some of my brethren on the subject of homosexuality and I don't have to be as celibate as your Catholic priests."

The Doctor swallowed heavily at the obvious invitation, firmly telling his body no.  He was hardly going to sleep with a man he'd just watched die.  The Doctor had already made his bed and the Master... the Master would never be in it again, because of his actions.  The Doctor's eyes felt surprisingly wet and he had to close them quickly to keep any tears from flowing.

He heard the Master sigh and could picture the look of disappointment on his face, but the Doctor couldn't look back up.  "Why don't you continue telling me what happened?" the Master suggested after a few moments to let the Doctor compose himself.

He didn't want to continue, not in the slightest, but he couldn't back out now, not when he had come this far.  Opening his eyes, the Doctor took a deep breath and stared into his tea cup.  "I... I had a friend once.  A very dear friend, one I loved very much."

It was more than a little awkward talking about the Master like this right in front of him, and that gave the Doctor pause.  He took a drink of the tea before continuing, letting the hot liquid warm his throat.  Tea was always the best cure for the cold.

"This 'friend'," the Master asked.  "Was he also a lover?"

The Doctor blushed and nodded, though their relationship had been far more than that.  "We were rather young and I'm afraid we did get up to a few things of that nature.  But we weren't what you might think of as lovers.  He was my best and dearest friend above anything else, and it was far more than a normal relationship."

He set his tea down, returning to staring at it moodily as the Master motioned for him to go on.  "We eventually grew apart though and something happened, something terrible that I really wish I could have stopped.  I failed to help him when he needed it though and he was never the same after that."

The Master leaned forward, folding his fingers together in front of him.  "So your friend changed because of this horrible event?  Perhaps change isn't always a bad thing.  He could have gotten stronger because of it, even if you didn't see it."

The Doctor shook his head sadly.  "Not in his case.  I'm sure he thought so, but the event corrupted him and he started to do all these terrible things.  He killed people when they got in his way, without even the slightest bit of remorse and... I didn't try to help him.  I should have, but I was just so scared that I ran away." 

"It might not be too late to reach him," the Master offered.

Looking up, the Doctor wondered if the Master had figured it out and was just tormenting him.  He could both physically and metaphorically reach out to the Master right now, before most of the worst had happened.  If he had actually tried to help the Master in this time stream instead of falling back on the bickering banter to cover the hurt and betrayal at what the Master was doing, he might have been able to change things in the past.  He could have kept it from coming to this. 

If, if, if.  Tegan had liked that word, but now even that memory was rendered painful by her departure.  She had been right.  Not even the Doctor knew who he was anymore and she had jumped ship before she saw the worst of him.  He could only be grateful for that in retrospect. 

"Thank you for that," the Doctor said, "but I think it's rather too late.  I wasted too much time and I lost my chance.  I didn't realize until it was far too late for either of us and we had both gone too far."

"Why do you think that?" the Master asked, a note of actual curiousity entering his tone.  The Master was a surprisingly good listener in this regeneration, if not entirely sympathetic, and the Doctor wished he had known that.

"He killed too many," the Doctor replied.  A third of the universe.  How could the Doctor even begin to forgive that?  He couldn't even let himself think about it for too long, much less forgive it.  Then there was his sin...  "In the end, I couldn't forgive that, so I watched him burn to death, without lifting a finger to stop it."

"He burned to death?" the Master asked.  His surprise as hastily covered and the Doctor fiddled with the perception filter again, pouring more of his own mental powers into it to keep it working.

"He burned," the Doctor said, closing his eyes again.  "And it was well within my power to stop it.  The worst of it as that he believed I would save him. But I didn't.  I stood idle and watched.  It was... I never want to see it again, but every time I close my eyes-"

The Doctor cut himself off as a hand covered his.  The Master had reached over the desk to take it and the Doctor stared numbly down at their interlocked fingers.  Why was the Master being so kind?  He thought the Doctor was just a normal human, didn't he?  So why was he taking his priest-disguise so far when he didn't need to? 

"If he was that evil, isn't what you did a good thing?" the Master asked, an unrecognizable look in his eyes. 

"I do think it should be," the Doctor admitted.  "It really should.  That's what I thought at the time, that if I saved him and let him go free, how many more people would die because of him?  Their deaths would be my fault as well then, for letting him go.  Any cage I could construct he would be able to find a way out of." 

The room was silent as the Doctor kept his eyes on the Master's hand.  It squeezed his gently with an understanding that baffled and gratified him.  "The only way to keep him from hurting anyone else was to let him die.  It was the only thing I could do.  I didn't want to, but I had to," the Doctor said pleadingly.  He couldn't help it.  The Master might not recognize him, but he desperately needed the Master to understand and forgive him.  It was an impossible hope, but one he clung to nonetheless. 

However, the Master didn't offer words of absolution.  He calmly started to pour more tea into the Doctor's cup, letting go of his hand to do so.  The Doctor already regretted the loss of warmth.  "I betrayed him, didn't I?" the Doctor asked, looking away.  "He did far worse to me, but that hardly excuses what I did.  Tegan was right.  What have I become?"

"You are no more than you have always been," the Master said calmly.  He stood up and came around the desk, leaning over the Doctor - not threatening but with interest.  The Doctor pressed himself against the back of the chair to regain some of his personal space.  "And yes, you did betray him.  You betrayed him in the manner of your conscience and he betrayed you in his own way.  Neither of you acted outside of your character, though the fool should have realized sooner that you were a always a coward who ran away.  My dear Doctor, I doubt I will blame you any more than you can blame me.  There is very little point to such an endeavor when it is a simple matter of who we are."

The Doctor looked up, surprised at the candid bitterness in the Master's words.  He knew.  The perception filter wasn't working and-

The Master reached forward, grabbing the device around the Doctor's neck.  "Forget," he commanded.

Blinking, the Doctor found that the Master was invading his personal space in a way that wasn't unpleasant.  What happened?  He could remember telling the Master about his betrayal and then...  it was getting increasingly harder to think with the Master this close and the Doctor rather found he was initiating another kiss before he realized what he was doing.  Giving the Master the best night of his lives wouldn't be awful of him, would it?  Yes, it would be, since nothing could make up for what the Doctor had done, but he couldn't stop himself from needing the Master. 

This would be the very last time.  Just once more, before the Master returned to living in his memories.  The Doctor could no more stop himself than he could go to the controls and keep the fire from burning.  That was who he was, and the Doctor didn't know if it was good or bad. 

"My dear Smith, I think it's time that we came to your penitence," the Master said after the kiss was broken, gentle hands combing through the Doctor's still damp hair.  Though his words were light and joking, there was an acceptance in his eyes that the Doctor so desperately needed.

The Doctor didn't think about whether or not the Master remembered.  He simply let himself fall, feeling the same terror as he had falling to his death on the radio tower.  This time, the Master was here to catch him.

* * *

The Master watched the Doctor leave.  The idiot hadn't bothered to say good-bye, instead slipping out after one last sorrowful kiss while he thought the Master had still been sleeping.  Typical Doctor behavior, dashing off in the rain from which he came, too cowardly to bid a proper farewell.  The fool had even thought such a primitive perception filter would keep the Master from knowing who he was.  The Doctor was still so very naive in certain respects.

"So, one day you shall watch me burn," the Master said to himself as he watched the Doctor's retreating form from the window.  "My dear Doctor, how very intriguing.  How very thoughtful of you to let me know in advance."

The Doctor's guilt would one day be his downfall, but for now the Master would make do with it merely being useful.  He would be prepared for the day the Doctor described.  Until then, he had a summoning to prepare and the Doctor in his own time stream to look out for.  It was hardly likely he'd burn with all this rain about.  Turning from the window, the Master resumed his efforts to clean.

He would look forward to that day, if just to see the look on the Doctor's face.

~FINI~

Quote of the Fic:

"The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves."
-Sophocles

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
pride1289
Jul. 9th, 2011 04:44 am (UTC)
I always feel sad while reading fics like this. Where the Doctor goes back to a Master he hasn't killed yet.
Then when it's over I just want more of the hurt.
|8>

(amazing as always, btw! <3<3)
dragonofmemory
Jul. 9th, 2011 03:25 pm (UTC)
It was a plot I had in mind while writing my Nine fic, since it was the alternate version of that prompt. I think that's why Five hijacked the plot of this one instead of it being properly Three. That original plot still wanted to be written. I'm really glad you liked it!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )