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Author's Note: Set between "Utopia" and "The Sound of Drums".
Acknowledgements: My betas seriously rock, and I would never have got this finished, let alone polished and posted, without them. Special thanks to renn for oh the many drafts, cadhla for multiple angst-ridden phone calls, researchgrrrl for betaing while I was staring at her from across the room, fan_eunice for hand-holding and squee, giglet and aj both for God love them reading it and giving feedback despite not having seen series three, agentxpndble for the most entertaining and enthusiastic first-time beta notes ever, which were also insightful and delightful and a huge help. And as always, beloved nostalgia_lj for CAPSLOCKS and encouragement.
To Make In Hell For Us A Heaven
What fascinated the Master about fucking Lucy was the sense of power.
Time Lords, though they had all the necessary equipment, lacked one thing that made sex priority number one for the human race: the biological need to reproduce as early and as often as possible before their mayfly life spans ticked away. The mating drive had been practically bred out of the people of Gallifrey. It was a wonder they'd survived at all.
He'd always laughed at these humans, little better than animals, driven by raw need. It made them easy to manipulate. Play to their basest instincts, and they almost didn't need to be mesmerised to do his bidding. They would follow him because of his smile, his power, his slick marketing campaign. And even the wolves this little world produced would follow the sheep. And they would follow the man who controlled the food source. Power. Power over a tiny inconsequential backwater of a planet, but it was a start.
With just a sample showing of trinkets any Time Lord child could have constructed by their second year at the Academy, he'd secured a contract with the Ministry of Defence and begun his meteoric rise to power. Within three months, every man, woman and child on the island had an Archangel mobile. Within a year, his bid for Prime Minister had been launched to unprecedented success, aided by the desire to prolong Britain's Golden Age despite Harriet Jones' spectacularly public downfall. Everything was sailing along exactly to his plan.
The troublesome Miss Martha Jones and her family was being monitored, their every move recorded. He'd even sat at an outdoor café in London three mornings in a row, sipping coffee and watching Martha walk past him on her way to work. She'd even stopped once to buy a copy of the Big Issue mere feet from him.
He could have reached out and snapped her neck with one hand.
Instead, he'd smiled at her and raised his mug as she'd fished coins from the bottom of her purse. Just a simple medical student, rushing off to her job at Hope Hospital. Her biodata bore no signature, yet, that would indicate she'd travelled through the Vortex. All he had to do was be patient, and wait. Martha Jones was just another human, an insignificant little cog in the wheels that would eventually grind this world to dust.
Lucy Cole should have been just as insignificant. A prop, a resource to be used and discarded. He'd had no intention of shackling himself with a companion until he'd realised none of the vapid toffee-nosed skeletons in haute couture would waste his precious time trying to get their well-manicured claws into him if he were completely unavailable.
Lucy Cole should have been just another piece of the perfect disguise that would give him the victory over the Doctor he had always craved.
Lucy Cole was something else entirely.
His editor had actually introduced them. The pale, demure little assistant editor had appeared at his hotel suite in her suit that might have been fashionable for a woman twice her age, but made her seem dowdy and drab instead of chic and professional. Her red lipstick was the only sign she was alive inside her perfectly coifed shell. She'd been all business--had barely met his eyes as she'd outlined the press launch details of his autobiography which she'd ghost-written based on the elaborate fiction the TARDIS had created for him that was Harold Saxon, billionaire genius behind Archangel Network.
Lucy spent two weeks interviewing him for the all-important personal touch, appearing every morning in a different suit and matching shoes, smiling politely at his jokes, accepting his offers of tea and coffee with politeness but no sign of ambition beyond performing her function to the best of her ability. But she'd seemed flattered enough when he'd asked her to accompany him to the gallery that wet Thursday afternoon.
She'd left his suite at four with the understanding that his driver would be by to pick her up at seven sharp for the opening. As she'd descended the steps of her townhouse, the dove grey silk sheath dress beneath her black wool coat had made her seem untouchable. As she slid into the hired car, her hand was warm and dry in his. Her nails were varnished, but in a pale pink shade meant to accentuate a natural look. It was safe, demure. Her blonde hair was twisted into a simple chignon that made him want to introduce entropy into her carefully maintained existence. That was a normal, natural response so far as he was aware. He'd never been able to view order without wanting it to descend into chaos. Particularly by his hand.
What had surprised him had been the need to feel her skin beneath his fingers. See her neck and cheeks stained with a flush of heat caused merely by his proximity. Rip the pins from her hair and wrap the length of it around his fist. All evening long, he'd been aware of how her fingers curled around the stem of her champagne flute. How her foot arched in its high-heeled shoe. At dinner, as she'd nibbled poached salmon, he'd wanted to reach out and touch the sweep of her brow with his fingertips.
Afterwards, he'd walked her to her door, his hand chastely on her elbow. And when she'd raised her face, tilting her head back to offer him her mouth, it had simply seemed the thing to do, to maintain the perfect fiction of Harold Saxon. He'd meant it to be an empty gesture. The next stage direction in his carefully crafted script. He'd been play-acting. Performing the role as if he meant to take the award. But what he had wanted, as he'd bent his head to hers, had been to see the lipstick smear.
What had surprised him as he'd pulled back had been the rush. When he'd seen exactly what effect he'd had on her, it had been a kind of power he'd never sampled before. Her eyes had been dilated; her breath coming just that bit faster. The pulse beating in her throat for him. She hadn't even known who he really was--he'd only shown her the façade. But instead of being sickened by how easy it had been to make her desire this Harold Saxon he had invented, the simple fiction he wore like a coat, he'd felt something twist inside him. Something shift.
Lucy Cole was something entirely new, and when you had lived as long as he had, when you had sampled every kind of depravity and vice the universe had to offer, the thrill of discovery was in itself a delicious kind of pleasure he couldn't help but want to prolong.
He hadn't gone upstairs to her flat. He could have. She would have welcomed him in with the myth of coffee or a brandy, and it would have ended with the fact of sexual intercourse, quite possibly just inside the door, on the cold marble floor of the foyer. Instead, they'd murmured empty words about how he would see her in the morning, and she had gone inside. He had been driven back to his hotel where he'd sat in his suite in the darkness, tapping his fingers in time to the drumming against the glass tabletop until dawn.
He'd had a smear of red lipstick along the side of his finger. He'd washed it away with expensive soap, but he could still see it when he closed his eyes.
She'd arrived at her usual time the following sunny Friday, they had worked as they usually did, and as much as she had surprised him by accepting his invitation to lunch, he had been surprised to have made it. He'd covered his unease with a patina of bright and empty chatter, and tried and failed not to stare at the blue veins beneath the white skin on the inside of her wrist, and think about what a bite mark would look like, just there beneath her tennis bracelet.
They'd begun seeing each other socially, carefully orchestrated public appearances where he was charming and she was charmed. And the Master began seeing Lucy when he closed his eyes, and the drumming pulsed through him. But he didn't kiss her again until the end of the universe.
It was a simple plan, and one that pleased him. And if it didn't work, well... then he would kill her and find someone new. Elegant.
She'd thought the TARDIS was some kind of modern art at first. His driver had taken them to the warehouse, and then been told to wait. In the vast empty space, she'd looked at the wooden box lit by the single naked bulb, and turned to look at him quizzically. So he'd begged her indulgence for a moment, and covered her eyes with his gloved fingers. Pressed himself gently against her back and walked her through the doors.
Her gasp had delighted him. Made him laugh like a child, and he'd tugged her by the hand up the metal stairs to the time rotor, even as she frantically looked back over her shoulder to stare uncomprehending at the warehouse floor still visible through the open door.
"Bigger on the inside. C'mon, they all say it. Please, you have to say it. Just for me."
She'd frowned. "Is it a hidden door?"
"Is it a trick?"
"No. Well, wait... yes. Yes, it is a trick. On the universe, actually. That's exactly what it is. Dimensionally."
"And if I walk back out that door--nothing will have changed. This is here. As impossible as it is, it is here. And so are we."
''Yes. Please don't be thick. This won't really work if you're thick. I need you to be clever, my darling. Can you do that, for me? Be clever?"
She'd met his eyes, her gaze cool. "I knew Harold Saxon was a lie, but I didn't know what kind of lie until just now. What kind of lie are you really? What kind of lie are we?"
He'd grinned then, so relieved. "Oh that's my clever girl."
"Harry, you haven't answered my question."
"If I tell you, then I might have to kill you."
"Then you had better tell me, and find out."
"I'll do better than that. I'll show you."
And he had. The doors had slammed shut, the time rotor rose and fell, and the TARDIS went screaming through the void to the only other destination she could. He'd taken her to Utopia.
It had been maddening, searching the vast reaches of the galaxy and finding nothing. Nothing but lower races, lesser life forms, no sign his people had ever existed, let alone where they might be hiding. The universe had gone silent, the voices of his people just a long-faded echo in the vast emptiness. The sound of the drums had swelled and filled the spaces they'd left.
Since he'd been trapped on Earth, the drums had became more than just the staccato beat of his hearts, the thrum of blood in his veins. The drums became the beat beneath his every thought, his every action. They were echoed in the pulse from the Archangel Network that carried his whims and desires and dreams to the sleeping minds of the sheep that populated this little blue world. The drums, the never-ending drums, were a part of him. Proof that he was completely and utter alone.
"Everything's dead," she'd whispered when he'd thrown open the doors and shown her Utopia. "Oh Harry... everything's dead."
"This is what I am," he'd whispered as slid his hand over Lucy's neck and felt the pulse beating beneath his fingers. "This is what I have always been. The end of all things. Do you still want me?"
She'd looked at the gaping maw of Entropy, then back at him. And then she'd smiled.
It had never occurred to him, when he'd smiled and flattered and courted the perfect little Tory trophy wife that he'd look into her eyes and see madness reflected back at him. It was still a little, petty, human kind of madness. But madness all the same.
When he'd kissed her again, and every kiss since, it was as if to devour her. The hunger that rose in her was intoxicating, addictive, and for a Time Lord who had never once been motivated to sample the simple pleasures of human flesh, he willingly drowned his senses in the scent of her heated skin, her taste, the slip-slide of the silk of her dress against her thighs.
He could have made her love him. He could, in fact, make her come so hard she couldn't breathe. He could make her let him fuck her against a wall while the PM, half the cabinet, and her own parents were in the next room. Or watching, for that matter.
He could have made her love him, but he didn't have to. He didn't have to toy with her tiny human mind, or whisper any lies in her ear.
Lucy hadn't needed the whispers of the angels in the heavens telling her to trust him, believe in him, follow him. The drumbeat in her blood had been there before the last of the fifteen satellites was launched, and Britain and the world had embraced Archangel Communications and its new Chief Executive Officer with open arms. It had been there before he'd set down the manuscript on the table and patiently told her everything they'd written was a lie. Every photograph a fake. Every testimonial the result of a post-hypnotic suggestion at best, freshly dug grave at worst.
It was there before he'd taken her to the End of the Universe.
In Lucy, he had a willing partner in all things. Not because she coveted a share of his power, or wanted to be declared Empress at his side, but merely because she wanted to serve him. Wanted to care for him. Wanted to be whatever he wanted her to be. Chantho's decade of fawning affection had been like a cage, binding him into the small shape he'd worn. But Lucy's was a key. And, oh, the doors he would open and the thresholds he'd cross, with the love of this fragile human woman.
When he'd first fucked Lucy, up against the TARDIS console with the empty skies of the end of the universe stretching out around them into eternity, he'd been amazed at the sense of power.
And he tried to pretend he didn't know just how much power that gave her over him.