Actions

Work Header

Tender

Work Text:

This Doctor wasn’t one of the clingy ones.

She was lying on her side - slightly curled up and seemingly fast asleep - on the other side of the bed, beyond the Master’s reach and that wasn’t by accident. The one before her had started out like this, but had become one of the clingy ones (thanks to River fucking Song, no doubt), but regeneration had reset this Doctor to avoidance. This one didn’t hug people, this one didn’t touch without intent, this one didn’t cling. The Master didn’t mind, he didn’t take offence, and he definitely wasn’t thinking that it might have been nice to hold her.

He looked at her carefully, inspecting her features while she slept. She didn’t look like a killer. She looked quite innocent, actually. Peaceful, content, calm. She looked like a lie.

He probably wasn’t expected to stay. Almost certainly wasn’t. Just because this time she had fallen asleep before she could throw him out, that didn’t mean he was supposed to be here. As if on cue her TARDIS complained about his presence and he lashed out at it, doing the psychic equivalent of swatting at it with a rolled up newspaper. It lurked in the telepathic background, sulking, but didn’t do anything to draw further attention to itself.

He was - although he would deny it if she or anyone else asked - quite fond of the sleeping lie. Just him being here was proof of that, because he had never quite seen the point of sex with anyone but the Doctor. He enjoyed spending time with her. He cared about her. Absent-mindedly, without really meaning to, he started a mental list of ways he could murder her in her sleep.

He stopped the list at number fifty-seven, which would have required the teeth he’d had on the Cheetah planet and which would have been extremely messy. No point giving himself tempting ideas that he couldn’t follow through on. Besides, killing the Doctor while she slept lacked a certain respect, as well as being far too easy.

And it would, he finally admitted to himself, be quite nice to hold her.

Carefully he shifted across the bed, trying to close the distance between them without waking her. He hesitated as he reached for her, stopped with his hand hovering over her hip. This wasn’t really something they did. He moved slowly, ghosting his hand over her arm, his fingertips a few millimetres from her skin. He could feel the heat rising from her, and adjusted his almost-touch as she breathed slowly in and out. Maybe he should wake her, maybe she’d welcome the contact and they could fuck again.

I either love you or I hate you, he thought, but I can’t remember how to tell the difference.

He let his fingers brush against her cheek, stroking the skin almost tenderly. He forced himself not to pull away when her eyes opened.

They stared at each other in silence, a moment that lasted too long and not nearly long enough. She was going to ruin things, he could tell. Assuming that there was anything to ruin.

He kissed her before she could speak, but softly this time, gently, without urgency or demand for more. It was very much not the sort of thing they did together. It was... nice.

She pushed him away with a hand placed over his hearts. “Are you feeling alright?” she asked, sounding confused.

No, I’m not. “Just thought I’d try something different.”

“And?”

“Not sure I liked it,” he lied. “Bit boring.”

She licked her lips. “That’s a shame.”

The Master could have screamed. “If you say so.” He wanted to kiss her again, and he wanted to kill her, and the thought of each of those things made him want to do the other. Worst of all, he wanted to stay here with her, not even touching but so very close. He managed to keep his voice steady: “Go back to sleep, Doctor.”

“Not with you here.” She didn’t trust him. Well, he didn’t trust her either. Trust was another of the many things that they simply didn’t do with each other.

“You want me to leave?”

“Obviously.”

He could still kill her. He could kill her, and her friends, and he could kill her TARDIS as well. It wouldn’t be difficult. It would certainly be easier than living with this love or hate or whatever it was that he felt.

The Doctor turned onto her back and closed her eyes. “If you’re still here when I open my eyes you’re going to be very sorry.”

I already am. He sighed for her benefit and sat up. “Fine.” He looked at her again, but even with her eyes closed she didn’t look innocent any more – the set of her muscles had changed and she was the same bastard-idiot that she always had been. However sweet she had looked while she was asleep she was terrifying now, and beautiful for it. The further away he could get from her the better.

The Master turned away from the Doctor and started getting ready to leave.