quirkysmuse: (drwho-general)
[personal profile] quirkysmuse
Fandom: Doctor Who
Title: Of Monsters
Author: [personal profile] paynesgrey
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,190
Characters: Eleventh Doctor, the Master, Twelfth Doctor
Spoilers: For the end of "The Time of the Doctor".
Notes: Written the "Old Friends" one-shot challenge at [community profile] who_contest. I really wrestled with this concept for awhile, but I'm much happier with it now. Hope you enjoy it!

Summary: In the midst of dying, the Doctor sees an old friend in the in-between.

“Oh, look who it is,” droned a sneering voice from across the bar. “Come, everyone, look who’s decided to join us for a drink!”

“Shut it, Loki,” said another gruff voice in the darkness. This voice belonged to someone who preferred to wait in the dark, hiding from the ultra blue light of the bar. He also preferred the bones and flesh of children, which made his presence so appropo at such a gathering. Through the blackness, he glared at the auburn-haired trickster. “He has as much right to be be here as you.”

In the center of the bar, a stark light illuminated a lonely station full of bottles containing various liquids and ales. Small, hairy creatures buzzed about, making sure everyone’s drink was full and paid for, and not caring what sort of beasts fed to their business. He mused that it was the sort of bar Jack Harkness would probably go to, or perhaps some of his enemies, and as he surveyed the lot waiting for him, he rather wished Jack was here to keep him company.

“Really, we’re supposed to be supportive,” said the gruff voice, faking some cheer. “At least, that’s why I’m here.”

“The Boogieman gets a conscience. Give the monster a prize,” droned Loki.

“What are you even doing here, Trickster?” hissed a female’s voice. The Doctor recognized her as Lilith, queen of vampires, mother of demons, etcetera, etcetera.

“Penance and community service,” he said, though it was probably a lie.

“Humph, we all know why you’re here Loki. You could never fool us. There’s a woman influencing you,” accused the Boogieman. The Doctor watched as Loki scowled, pulling his face out of the bright light into the darkness. He said nothing for a turn, glaring into his drink.

The Doctor plopped down in an empty seat across from him, and next to the famed witch and child eater, Baba Yaga.

“Fairy tales,” the Doctor mused. Someone harrumphed. “The lot of you are only stories and myths.” The Doctor furrowed his brow at the drink set in front of him: black tea.

“That’s why we’re here,” said Lilith.

“That’s why you’re here, Doctor,” said a voice he recognized. The Master. He couldn’t see his face in the light, but he knew him. He would know him if the man said nothing. His presence, his very being, always struck a chord with the Doctor. They had been so close once.

“And what face are you wearing today, my old friend?” the Doctor asked, and the Time Lord friend revealed himself. It was the same as he’d last saw him, the same face of Harold Saxon that had been resurrected and used as a pawn by the Time Lords.

But was the Master even real? Did he even survive after going against the Time Lords in those last days of the Time War? The Doctor stared at him, impressed. He wondered...just maybe. Did the Time Lords save the Master too?

“They gave us both new regenerations,” he said. “Isn’t that funny?” But why, the Doctor thought. What was their reason…?

“What are you doing here? And how did I get here?” The Doctor looked around at the monsters and devils sitting with them. Some of them started to chuckle. “I was regenerating. I was between…

“You still are,” said Loki. “As I am still screaming in agony as the serpent’s venom hits my skin. My dutiful wife can only keep up so many times. Sometimes the earth has to rumble with the screams of my pain.”

“But he said...you were here because of a woman…” the Doctor said. He remembered.

“Boogieman likes to tease me about all the women he can’t have. I am here because I am like you. I am a monster. I am a fairytale in a story. I am a myth. So are you Doctor. We are in between.”

“And then you begin again,” said the Master. “As I will.”

“You’re...you’re out there. Aren’t you? You’re still alive out there. With the Time Lords,” the Doctor breathed, feeling a rise of panic. Suddenly his voice seemed different. His blood felt older. His hearts, his liver, his legs, his eyes...none of them seemed the same.

“It’s a split second here, and then you’ll be back. Here time is paused. You’re still changing,” said Lilith. “Oh look, see the light? How magnificent! I bet your blood is wonderful.” The Doctor saw her lick her lips. He looked down at his hands. The golden energy was seeping out. His hands... they were changing like the rest of him.

“What is the meaning of this? I’ve never been here before; I’ve never had this sort of vision between regenerations!” he yelled.

“The landscape is different,” the Master said. “You get to start over.” He rounded the bar and came to the Doctor’s side, hovering over his shoulder, whispering in his ear. The Doctor shuddered. “Isn’t it exciting? Aren’t you happy? Look at the potential! Just think of the stories they can write about the new you! Just think of the trouble you’ll find!” The Master leaned against him, his head using the Doctor’s shoulder as a pillow. He sighed dramatically.

“The universe won’t even have a chance to prepare... Oh, the chaos you will bring!” The Master’s words chilled his blood and sent a wave of panic through him.

“Don’t you see, Doctor?” said another voice, an alien god of Destruction known as Havall that he’d encountered once before. “This is a warning.”

“No, a new beginning,” said the God of War once worshipped by the Sontarans.

“I shouldn’t be with you lot; I shouldn’t be here,” the Doctor pleaded. “I’m not a monster!”

“Aren’t you?” the Master whispered closely next to the shell of the Doctor’s ear. “Perception. It’s all about perception. You have a new set of lives, Doctor. I hope to see that you make them very exciting.”

“Yes, they will write new stories about you,” Loki said.

“Stories that will bring terror,” the Boogieman added.

“Maybe stories that will bring false hope,” Lilith chimed in.

“Either way, Doctor, the Time Lords have breathed new life into you that comes with a brand new power,” the Master said. “Who knows what kind of person you’ll become. Who knows what sort of destruction you will bring in your wake.”

“I-- I,” And he was almost finished changing. He felt unstuck, moving out of the darkness, sitting in a bar stool that was hazy. His tea blurred in front of him. Voices around him began distant and hollow. He was going back… wherever that was.

Snapping like a rubberband, he changed. In between saying goodbye and being born again, he felt outside himself. A young woman stared at him in horror and hesitation. A weird pain burned in his abdomen. His brain felt like it was swirling around like hot soup.

Where was he? And had he just been dreaming?

Who was he?


Pain. Pain. Confusion. Then... he lurched forward. The laughter of an unkind familiar rolled around in his soupy head, leaving him bewildered and cold.


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