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From Russia With Love

From Russia With Love
By: Memory Dragon
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who, nor do I make any claim to.  I also don't own the song.
Characters: Tenth Doctor/Delgado Master
Warnings: Again, not beta'ed at all.  And I finished this pretty late at night, so I suspect there will be more than a few typos...  Also, it epically fails at a drabble, being over 2,100 words.  -_-;;;  The angst made me do it...  I suppose there are a few spoilers for The Dark Path, but nothing major that most everyone doesn't know regardless.
Notes: Written for the best_enemies drabble prompt, "Russia and/or America" using the former prompt.  Why?  Cause my Russian ballet teachers were my second parents growing up and I'm a sucker for the old James Bond song.  <3  Also, it uses the backstory from the DW novel, The Dark Path.  What can I say, I liked that one.  You don't have to have read it to understand though.


The Doctor hadn't really been thinking when he decided to go to the ballet.  It'd just been one of those things he did to forget about the death he'd caused and not think about the lives he ruined.  He was tempted to just put the TARDIS on random and see where she took him, but part of him wanted to make sure she was okay after the Master's tinkering with her.  Hadn't had the chance to test her, really, since meeting his former self and crashing into the Titanic.  So he set the controls to Moscow, Russia, not really setting a specific date but landing him sometime after the Soviet Union had dissolved.  Still sometime new, someplace exciting and he hadn't been to Moscow in centuries. 

When he heard that they were playing Swan Lake at the Bolshoi Theatre, well...  He couldn't exactly not go, right?  He turned to Martha, to explain how Swan Lake premiered there and how he'd cheered Tchaikovsky up the night after and no, not the way you're thinking so get your mind out of the gutter, Miss Jones.  Then he remembered Martha was gone. 

Right, Swan Lake.  Brilliant, it was.  Far too long since the last time he'd seen it and there was no better place in the universe to catch a showing of it.  Allons-y!

The performance was top notch.  Really, it was brilliant and he wasn't just saying that.  The Bolshoi Ballet proved that it was definitely worthy of being a world famous ballet company.  The pas de deux was gorgeous, the music superb, and the dancing in general was flawless and moving.  He was so caught up in the story, that the Doctor had almost completely forgotten the ending had been changed to where Odette kills herself.

When the ballet had finished, the Doctor found he had tears flowing down his cheeks.  Too many people had died recently.  Astrid and the Master...  Oh, Master...  Why hadn't the idiot regenerated instead of dying in his arms?

"Doctor?  It is you, isn't it?  And the name you've taken up calling yourself now, if I remember correctly..."  a familiar voice asked from the row in front of him.  Quickly, the Doctor wiped away the tears and put on a silly grin to mask his grief.  Who did he know in this time period?  Stalin was dead, so he wasn't in trouble any more.  Besides, that hadn't technically been his fault and-

"Master?" he gasped, shocked beyond all measure at the ghost of a man in front of him.  Only, it wasn't the Master who had just died in his arms not too long ago.  Rassilon, this was...  As beautiful as the theatre around him was, suddenly there was nothing in the universe but the Doctor and the man in front of him.  The smile slipped from his face.

The Master frowned lightly, his beard only just starting to show bits of grey  and was barely noticeable in the dimmed light of the theatre.  He crossed his arms over his chest and regarded the Doctor with a worried expression.  "'Master?'  Are you quite alright, Doctor?  You look as though you've seen a ghost."

He was unable to speak, just staring at this first version of his best enemy.  Not the Master's first regeneration certainly, but the first one that had called himself the Master and started down the path of destruction.  Compact body, lightly greying beard, tailored suits and all the gentlemanly finesse and polite charisma that had been so unique to this regeneration of the Master.  He felt the hand on his arm rather than saw it, looking up into the concern of the Master's eyes.  "My dear Doctor, it's me, Koschei.  Don't tell me you've forgotten me?"

Koschei.  Koschei.  This was before he'd turned into the Master, before Darkheart and the betrayals and the death.  If he could talk to Koschei now, warn him, tell him the truth, the Master wouldn't have let himself die, right?  He wouldn't become the Master, even, he'd still be the Doctor's best friend, not enemy...  It was tempting, so very tempting, and the Doctor felt how very easy it would be to change the course of history now.

Trembling lightly, the Doctor didn't say any of that.  Instead he smiled again, trying to regain his composure.  He wasn't yet to the point of breaking such laws and they held him fast like chains over his hearts.  "Of course, Koschei!  Look at you!  All beardy and smelling of cigars and the suit...  Good choice, by the way.  This is brilliant.  Really, brilliant. You don't know how brilliant, especially seeing you here in Russia of all places.  That's how we found your name, remember?  All that researching into primitive cultures and there was that old folk lore story about a man who was impossible to kill.  You always had a thing for immortality."  Ignoring the disapproving looks of the ushers, the Doctor jumped down the row of chairs and hugged the Master tightly.  Perhaps just a bit too tightly.  "How long has it been since I've seen you?  Centuries?  Well, I'm older now. Won't run away from you this time."

If the Master... If Koschei was surprised by the sudden nearly tackle hug, he didn't show it.  He did awkwardly pat the Doctor on the back before coughing politely to warn the Doctor that the hug was just a little too tight and a little too long.  The Doctor jumped back sheepishly.  "I see you haven't given up your tendency to babble," the Master said with a long suffering sigh.

Rocking back on his heels, the Doctor stuck his hands in his pockets and grinned.  Despite all the sorrow and the hurt and the grief the Doctor felt, seeing the Master...  Seeing this Master, out of all of them, it made his hearts twist in a way he had to swallow heavily to cover.  Focus on the good bits, because the Master (it was so hard to think of him as Koschei anymore, not when it'd been so many long centuries since he'd spoken that name) was regarding him thoughtfully and he couldn't be allowed to know what happened.  He really hadn't been more glad to see his dear friend.  "Yup," he said, drawing the word out with a smile.  "That's me.  Never know when to shut up, hey?  I reckon you'd put up with me regardless though."

"Even though you've run away from Gallifrey without me?" The Master said, arching an eyebrow coolly.

The Doctor winced, remembering all too well why he'd done that.  It'd been a bit of a challenge, after all, to see who could get off the planet first, and the Master had gotten himself embarrassingly caught and placed under house arrest for a decade.  Which the Doctor had absolutely no part of in an attempt to gain his freedom first, most definitely not.  Well, maybe a little.  Well, maybe a lot, but oh, it had been worth it to get the pictures of Koschei cursing everyone at the tribunal.  "Look, I'm sorry about that, really I am, but..."

The Master waved him off with a knowing smile.  "I've managed on my own, as you see.  I decided to try out this habit of yours of picking up lower life forms and taking them around the universe.  It's been most... intriguing so far."  The Master paused, clasping his hands behind his back as he noted that the Doctor was alone.  "Ailla, my current companion, is very brilliant scientifically, but she said she had no desire to see a ballet tonight.  She doesn't quite appreciate the fine arts as she should.  I assume your companions were the same?"

At this, the Doctor lost eye contact and suddenly finding the ground much more appealing.  This was exactly what he'd come to forget, not having the Master by his side or any of his companions.  "Martha... just left.  There was another girl, Astrid, who I thought might come with me but... she died."  Died trying to save him, of all things.  That hadn't hurt nearly as much as the Master's death though, going through that year planning what he'd do with the Master after the capture, all the things he could show his old friend and enemy, of being friends again and finally being able to help with the drums that plagued him...  Only to have the Master refuse to regenerate in his arms. 

Right.  Not helping.  Before he could bounce back with a sufficiently cheery smile and a bit of babble though, the Master's hand was gently squeezing his arm in concern again.   "Why don't we go out for dinner," the Master said tactfully, avoiding the true subject.  "We could use the time to catch up and I know Ailla wants to meet you."

I bet she does, if just to arrest me.  The Doctor was hard put not to say that out loud.  Spoilers.  "Can't," he said with a rueful expression.  "No, really, I can't.  As much as I would love to, this is-"

"Crossing our time streams?" the Master said with a chuckle, surprising the Doctor.  Had he been that obvious?  And he'd been trying so hard not to...  "Come now, Doctor.  You've never cared for such rules in the past."

Oh, the Doctor wanted this.  He stared at the Master, at Koschei, yearning for just one night with the man.  One night out of many that he had foolishly spent half way across the galaxy instead of trying to look up his old friend more than once every few centuries.  But if he did... 

"I'm dead in your time, aren't I?" the Master said curiously, watching the Doctor's reaction carefully.  "And you don't want me to know."

"What, you dead?" the Doctor covered easily, burying the grief so deep that the Master would never find it.  Turning to one of the few people still left mulling about in the theatre, he dragged the Master behind him with boundless energy.  "Excuse me, but could you tell me if Koschei could die?"

The short man looked at him blankly, but the red haired woman he'd been speaking with turned to look at them, pushing her glasses up her nose thoughtfully.  "Koschei?  Like that old folk tale?  Didn't he hide his soul in a needle, inside an egg, inside of a duck, inside a hare, all locked up in an iron chest?  He couldn't die, unless you got the egg, but-"

"That's the one!  Silly me, forgetting all of that," the Doctor said cheerfully.  He turned back to the Master with a click of his tongue and a wink, leaving the two theatre goers bewildered at being ignored so quickly.  He could hope against hope that this might change his Master's mind, to be reminded of that seeming immortality.  It was futile to even dream of it, but some how the Doctor couldn't stop himself.  "Isn't Russia brilliant?  You couldn't go just anywhere and have that question answered!  See?  Who'd want to go through all that trouble just to kill you?  Nah, you'll be around a longer yet, I reckon."

"Perhaps," the Master said with a small nod of his head, smiling in spite of himself at the Doctor's enthusiasm.  "I take it there are other things you can't tell me then?"

The Doctor nodded regretfully, realizing that he hadn't yet let go of the Master's hand.  He rubbed the back of it with his thumb thoughtfully, before squeezing the Master's hand for much needed comfort.  "There's too much I want to tell you and I don't think I could stop myself for long.  Just seeing you here..." 

He closed his eyes to avoid the disappointment he could see in the Master's face.  The Doctor could picture his expression as the Master sighed again without even needing to see it, knowing that the Master would be settling to make do.  He was surprised when he felt his hand being raised and looked to see the Master planting a kiss on his knuckles. 

The Master let out a low chuckle as the Doctor turned bright red, not entirely sure how such a chaste action had gotten him so very hot.  There was something in the Master's eyes as he looked up at him, the Doctor decided deliriously.  The intense desire that not even the Master's usual calm could mask and...  Oh, he hoped the Master wasn't going to keep staring at him like that.  The Doctor fidgeted, starting to get very uncomfortable standing in a public place.  "Ma- I mean, Koschei, I-"

"My dear Doctor, it's quite alright.  I shall just have to wait until I meet up with you again in my proper time stream."  The Master smiled charmingly, which the Doctor couldn't help but return even though he was already feeling the loss of the Master's hand once the other man had let go.  "Au revoir, Doctor.  I look forward to meeting you in that body..."

With that, the Master strode off, back into whatever miracle that had brought him here.  "Adieu," the Doctor said quietly, standing there for a few moments just staring at the door the Master had left through.  Shaking himself roughly, the Doctor pivoted and walked back to his TARDIS.  He ignored the endless throng of people as he walked out of the threatre, not a single one of them the person he wanted to see again more than anything.

He only just closed the TARDIS door behind him before he broke down sobbing.


Song/Quote of the Fic:

From Russia with love, I fly to you
Much wiser since my goodbye to you
I've traveled the world to learn
I must return from Russia with love

I've seen places, faces and smiled for a moment
But oh, you haunted me so
Still my tongue tied, young pride
Would not let my love for you show
In case you say no


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 16th, 2011 05:27 am (UTC)
*wibble* This was lovely, and oh so sad. And there definitely needs to be more Ten/Delgado!Master in the world, so I'm glad this is adding to that number. And somehow, I can totally picture this happening. Especially at a ballet. Good job!
Mar. 16th, 2011 05:33 am (UTC)
Many thanks. <3 I think I rather liked how this one turned out, actually. And there definitely needs to be more Delgado Master in general out there. I do adore him so.

Thanks again for the comments!
Mar. 17th, 2011 09:10 am (UTC)
This was simply wonderful - bittersweet and touching. I love the setting of this fic, the whole Bolshoi Theatre background and of having the Doctor meet his best friend before everything went wrong between them. The characterization of both Ten and Delgado!Master/Koschei was spot on and seeing them together, just having a polite, friendly conversation, was a joy to read. <3

Plus, I really like the idea that the two made a bet of who was going to leave Gallifrey first - it just sounds so... them. ^^
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:58 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks. It was originally going to be the actual Delgado Master... but then I realized how much more angst for Ten it would be to have Koschei Delgado there instead. I couldn't resist. <3

As to the bet... That I've actually stolen from another of my fics. Only, I can't remember which one cause I've worked on so many recently. -_-;;; It's possible it's an anon meme response I've sent off for betaing before posting it, which means I've probably given myself away with it. It is very them though. I think that's why I reused it.

Thanks again!
Apr. 7th, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC)
This was beautiful, in a heart-wrenching way 8(
Poor Doctor...10 and Delgado would be so good together too!
Apr. 8th, 2011 12:14 am (UTC)
Thanks. <3 There does need to be more Ten/Delgado Master in the world. I'm surprised there isn't actually more that I can find... Hm. I shall have to think on this.
Apr. 8th, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow! This is absolutely beautiful and so heartbreaking all at once, it brought tears to my eyes. I loved how surprised and overjoyed the Doctor was to see the Master, or Koschei, in that earlier incarnation, and the fact that it was Koschei who recognized the Doctor first was so sweet.

Poor Doctor, grieving over the loss of the Master in his time, and of course Koschei could see through his sadness knowing that he'd lost his Master in his time, he is such a brilliant telepath. Their conversation was also very touching, and I too loved the idea of them making that bet to leave Gallifrey first.

The part where the Doctor held Koschei's hand and caressed his knuckles was so endearing, and his shocked blushes when Koschei kissed his hand in return was so lovely. I had tears in my eyes again at the end where the Doctor was watching him leave with a longing expression, and waited until he was back in the TARDIS to break down. *huggles for Ten*

You really captured the two of them perfectly here, their characterizations were spot on. I love the thought of Ten/Delgado!Master together. Thanks so much for this wonderful fic, it was briliant, and I've saved it to my memories.
Apr. 8th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you! Though actually, I never pictured it as Koschei knowing telepathically, more just knowing the Doctor well enough and Ten being more than a bit obvious that something was wrong. Ten definitely needs some hugs after this one though.

Thanks so much for the comments! I'm really glad you enjoyed it!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


Anla-shok Na Ivanova
Memory Dragon

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