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17 March 2008 @ 11:35 pm
#3 Ends  
hello kids! look, i'm finally updating, how about that? er, it isn't that dark thing i said i was going to write though, but that's on its way i promise.

Fic Name: Come to Utopia (alternately titled 'Making Amends')
Rating: PG for the light swearing
Prompt: #3 Ends
Claim: Ten/Master
Word count: approx 3,500 most of which is dialogue as usual.
AN: inspired by a really, really old letter in the DW magasine, which commented on how bleakly LotTL painted the end of the human race, leaving them screaming against the darkness after the promised hope of 'Utopia.'
Summary: More AU. In which the Doctor, having saved the Master's life at the end of LotTL, returns to Utopia to rescue the human spheres he was forced to trap there, the Master gets sick of the sound of his own voice, and the universe nearly ends twice.

“The call came from across the stars, over and over again.”

Come to Utopia

The last time he visited Utopia, the Master was treated like a god, strolling amongst his chosen people. He was wearing a new and very expensive suit and there was a beautiful woman clinging to his arm. That was back before he’d completely broken Lucy, when her eyes had still sparkled and she laughed at his jokes after the punch-line, rather than seconds before. Once he’d finished inspecting the new ‘Toclafane’ and filled them in on the final stage of his plan to take over and then destroy the Earth, he’d taken her back to the Doctor’s TARDIS and fucked her on top of some of the Doctor’s favourite books. That had been a good day.

Since then, things have changed quite dramatically. This time he is squatting in a puddle behind a large rock with his greatest enemy. They are both wearing perception filters tuned into the visual wavelength of the human spheres and neither of them have washed properly for the last two weeks because the TARDIS cannot be prevailed upon to provide hot water. It is also the same day and so the Master can hear the voice of his former-self beyond the rock, which makes the whole experience, if possible, even more galling. Hell could not possibly be much worse than this. He should have died whilst he had the chance.

By now, an enormous cloud of giggling and chattering spheres has massed overhead, which means it’s almost time for his speech. The Master briefly considers warning his former self not to underestimate Martha Jones despite the major problems this would cause in his own personal timeline. He glances sideways at the Doctor who has crept up the rock for a better view.

“Don’t even think about it,” the Doctor says, without looking at him.

The Master scowls and fidgets. Then, from the other side of the rock, he hears himself clear his throat.

“You were told to come to Utopia,” his former self says quietly into the newly descended silence, “and so you did.” The Master remembers how, at this point, he shook his head sorrowfully. He wonders now whether the Doctor will be able to see the smile this movement was supposed to conceal. “But Utopia doesn’t always mean paradise. It is also ‘no place’, which you learned to your cost. You learned it was this: an empty rock in a dying universe. And, of course, after thousands of years of waiting and hoping it would, this rock offers you no more salvation than the one you struggled to escape. The end of the universe is coming, and soon, much sooner than you can possibly imagine. When it does, there will be no refuge in Utopia, you know that. If you stay here the universe will end and you will die with it. The only refuge lies in the past, far away from this terrible darkness. If you stay here there will be no escaping it, but if you come with me I promise I will save you.” There is a high pitched wail of applause. “No one is going to save you except me,” the former-Master shouts over it. “I will rip open the sky for you! You will escape this!”

It was his greatest moment of triumph thus far. The Master sitting in the puddle behind the rock glowers, his fingers tapping idly against his knee.

“Nice speech,” the Doctor murmurs, sliding back down to join him. “Very… etymological.”

“I know, thank you,” the Master says. “But having it confirmed by you, well, I don’t need to tell you what that means to me.”

“Nothing, is it?”

“Oh, please. Don’t flatter yourself.”

There is burst of activity from the spheres and the Master hears his own voice raised in faux-sincerity: “For me? Oh, no. Really, you shouldn’t have.” He shudders.

“Ugh, this is the part where they start trying to give me gifts. Endless lumps of rock in ‘interesting’ shapes, and t-shirts that read ‘I went to the end of the universe and all I got was this lousy death sentence’. I don’t think I can bear this much longer. Can we leave now?”

“You know we can’t.”

“No,” the Master says, pointedly. “I can't leave because your crotchety old TARDIS has locked me out of all the main systems. You just won't leave. It’s not actually the same.”

The Doctor grins at him. “You're right. How about ‘we’re not leaving’? Better, at all?”

“But why?” the Master whines. “Tell me: what do you actually expect to happen?”

The Doctor shakes his head. “I don’t know. Something.”

“What? Is the void going to open? Will there be choirs of angels? A small deputation from another universe with open arms and fuzzy blankets?”

“I don’t know.”

“I ask only because I want to be prepared. Fuzzy blankets give me a rash. I would have to insist we leave. In fact, I do insist we leave. Let’s leave now.”

The Doctor smiles, but says nothing. A drop of water lands on the Master’s face, then another. He closes his eyes and inhales.

“Please tell me it hasn’t just started to rain,” he says.

“You know, I think it has.”

“Oh, I hate you.”

“I know,” the Doctor says. He peers out across dark surface of the planet then says thoughtfully, “When I was a kid, I used to try and guess what the end of the universe would be like, because nobody would ever tell you. I imagined there would be thunder at the very least. Maybe some lighting and a few strong violin arpeggios. After that, this is a bit disappointing really. No wonder they didn’t talk about it.”

By now it has begun to drizzle: lightly, but persistently, like a broken shower in a cheap hotel.

“This is the way the world ends,” the Doctor says. “Not with a bang, but with a whimper.”

“Saving yourself the trouble of original thought?” the Master asks snidely.

“With the quotation? Yes, I suppose,” the Doctor says. “Clever of Dorothy Sayers to say that before you.”

“Well, at least Dot was fun,” the Master retorts. He brushes the water from his hair and stands up. “I don’t remember it raining last time I was here so I must have gone back to the TARDIS.”

He removes the perception filter from around his neck and is immediately surrounded by the clamouring spheres. The sky hasn’t split open. They haven’t escaped. It’s so dark and so cold and they can feel the end approaching fast. When will the sky open?

“Soon,” the Master says, soothingly. “Soon, I promise. Now, how long have I been gone for?”

Three minutes, three long minutes, they tell him.

The Master thanks them calmly, makes more promises he doesn’t intend to keep and walks back to the Doctor.

“We have to go,” he says.

“We can’t,” the Doctor says. “Something is going to happen. Don't you want to know what it is?”

“I’ve already been gone three minutes. The universe ends four minutes after that. No one is coming. We have to go now. More than that, we have to run.”

“But-” the Doctor says.

Now, you idiot.”

They reach the TARDIS with seconds to spare. The Master pulls the doors shut, and the Doctor skids into the console. In one sweeping movement he chooses a new time and location, takes off the handbrake and fires the ignition. The TARDIS shudders and whirrs alarmingly, but manages to enter the vortex. The Master lets go of the breath he has been holding on to.

“What were you thinking?” he demands of the Doctor’s back. “Was that really your plan? Just stand there hoping blindly that the end of the universe isn’t as bad as it sounds? What are you, a child?”

“Look, just – shut up,” the Doctor says. The TARDIS stops suddenly and he turns around and starts for the door. “Come on.”

The Master suspects, before they step outside, that they are back on Utopia again. He hopes fervently that he is mistaken, but they haven’t been moving long enough to be anywhere else.

Sure enough, when the door opens it is onto the same dead planet as before. This time the TARDIS has materialised beside a large black furnace, diagonally opposite their last hiding place. The spheres are shrieking with excitement. Several swoop by narrowly missing the Master’s head. His former self shouts, “I will rip open the sky for you. You will escape this!” He turns to the Doctor, who has the decency to look guilty.

“You stupid, sentimental bastard," he says, hanging the perception filter back around his neck. "Tell me, have you even thought of a new plan?”

“Actually, I have. And it’s a good plan. Perfect… in its small way.”

“Well, why didn’t you do it last time rather than causing a serious temporal paradox at a major point in history? Thanks for that, by the way, I do so appreciate the chance to be eaten by reapers before I die.”

“Oh, like that’s ever stopped you before.”

I knew what I was doing.”

“So do I.”

“Do it, then. No rush, except the universe is going to explode in,” he checks his watch, “nine of this planet’s minutes.”

“We can’t. We have to wait for our other selves to leave.”

“Sorry,” the Master says. “I must have misheard that. Do you remember the part where we only left four minutes-”

“Yes, yes, I know,” the Doctor says. “But the TARDIS is parked a lot closer this time. We should have at least two minutes.”

“Two whole minutes? Well, in that case I’m sure we’ll be absolutely dandy, won’t we? You idiot.” He punctuates this last statement with a kick to the furnace, which makes a very satisfying clang. “Oh, and, in case you weren’t listening last time, let me reiterate: I hate you.”

“Received and understood.”


The rain begins again. The Master fingers the electric bracelet around his wrist and wonders again whether smashing it very hard against something very hard will have any effect. Probably not, he concludes. Pity.

He doesn’t ask what the Doctor’s “plan” is because there are only a limited number of options and the Doctor doesn’t seem to be building a matter-imploder out of all the least broken bits of TARDIS. Not that that would work, obviously, but if anyone is arrogant enough to believe they can avert the end of the universe with a homemade bomb, well, it's one of them.

Apparently, however, even the Doctor has decided that this would be taking his messiah complex too far, and has opted instead merely to play Noah. The stupidity of this optimism is almost touching, but not quite.

The Master checks his watch again, four minutes and 20 seconds, and looks up to see himself walk out from behind the rock. He decides he definitely needs a haircut, but with the end of the universe looming closer with every passing minute, this is perhaps a moot point. The Doctor of ten minutes earlier says, “we can’t. Something is going to happen.”

Idiot,” the Master mutters again. His former self grabs the Doctor’s hand and pulls him bodily towards the TARDIS, an incident the Master is profoundly grateful to discover he has already edited from his memory. He wonders whether the Doctor is going to make a smug remark about what was clearly only an attempt to save his own life, but the other Time Lord is already striding out into the open.

“Listen up,” the Doctor shouts. “Oi! Listen. You all have to come with me, now. Everyone. Every single one of you into my ship, now.”

There is massive uproar from the spheres, who are still waiting for their miracle. The Master leans back against the door of the TARDIS and does not remove his perception filter.

“Quiet,” the Doctor bellows. “Now, we don’t have much time. I’m sorry, but the sky isn’t going to open.”

“Your fault,” the Master points out. “Not mine.”

“Is that helpful?”

“I’m not taking the blame for your stupidity. Oh, and we have three minutes and ten seconds, by the way.”

The Doctor continues to shout and order and cajole for another two and a half minutes, but the spheres seem unable to cope with the notion that they have been lied to. They refuse to abandon the Master who was so good to them, who promised he would save them, and so they refuse to accept the Doctor’s offered salvation. The Doctor gestures furiously at the Master and tries to explain that the situation has changed, but by the time the Master says “one minute,” he has failed to convince any of them to escape with him.

“Forty seconds” the Master says.

The Doctor lets out a wordless howl of frustration, and rushes back through the TARDIS doors. Once again, they only just make it back into the safety of the vortex before the universe collapses around them. Then they land again, far too soon.

“Oh, no you don’t,” the Master says, moving to intercept the Doctor as he starts for the door. “Not again. No. Absolutely not. What are you going to do this time – cry until they give in?”

“We can’t just leave them to die,” the Doctor says, helplessly. “We have to do something. You promised you’d save them, remember?”

“I didn’t mean it.”

“I did. Get out the way.”


Please, get out the way.”

“No,” the Master says again, holding the door shut. “There are already two of you out there, not to mention three of me, which I like to think means the reapers will eat me first. It’s over. The universe has ended. Get over it. Rassilon’s balls, was it like this when you destroyed Gallifrey?”

“It wasn’t,” the Doctor says, “I mean, I didn’t, well, I couldn’t then, but this time I-”

“No,” the Master says. “And if you’re about to suggest we build a matter-imploder I swear I will find a way of making sure Beethoven was never born, understand?”

“Yes, all right. Fine,” the Doctor says. He pulls off his coat and throws it over one of the ridiculous coral-shaped arches. The Master remains by the door, just in case, until the Doctor has plotted a new course and set the TARDIS in motion. Only then does he take a seat at the console, whilst the Doctor remains on his feet, needlessly fiddling with various dials.

“I’m sorry,” the Doctor says eventually.

“I don’t care.”

“I really thought I could do something for them.”

“I said: I don’t care. Weren’t you listening?”

The Doctor shrugs, either to imply that he wasn’t or that he doesn’t believe this. He picks up a square disc the Master recognises as one of Yana’s and slots it into the main screen. The console starts beeping softly, Come to Utopia: an inverse rhythm out of sync with the Master’s own. It reminds him of long evenings spent drinking coffee with Chantho, trying to maintain that ridiculous hope. He feels his left eye begin to twitch.

“If you can’t stand the silence could you fill it with something else?” he snaps eventually. “Haven’t you got anything by Queen? Everyone has something by Queen.”

“It helps me think,” the Doctor says. He gets to his feet suddenly. “And right now I’m thinking that we could probably trace this signal back to its point of origin where we’d be able to find out who sent it and why and why they didn’t turn up.”

“What a brilliant plan,” the Master says. “Do tell me how it goes.” He puts his feet up on the console and closes his eyes, but it is a futile gesture of resistance because he can still hear the relentless Come to Utopia over the drumming and the Doctor’s enthusiastic typing.

At last, the Doctor yells “gotcha!” and the TARDIS gives an almighty lurch as it changes course. “Ten thousand and thirty four years in the past,” the Doctor explains as they land again. “Fancy seeing how much the landscape has changed?” He waggles his eyebrows.

“No,” the Master says, but, without anything better to do, he gets up and follows the Doctor outside. This time the planet is silent and empty, but otherwise they might not have moved.

“So this is what ten thousand years does to a place,” the Master deadpans. “Remind me not to book any holidays here. Sorry, do I get holidays? I forgot to ask before I signed up to this eternity in bondage. I don’t, do I?”

“We could go on holiday if you like,” the Doctor says absently. He is adjusting the controls on a portable tracking console, which now begins to emit the earlier rhythm, Come to Utopia. “Where d'you want to go? How about Saturn, early seventieth century? I quite fancy some skating. Oh, or Barcelona. I never got to go to Barcelona. You know, they have dogs-”

“Forget it,” the Master says. “How long do we have to wait before your practical jokers show up?”

“Hmm?” the Doctor says, now waving the console around seemingly at random. He frowns. “Soon. Actually they should be here already, I don’t really understand what’s going on. These seem to be the right co-ordinates.” He looks up. “Sorry, but did you say: practical jokers?

“You know,” the Master says, spreading his hands. "‘Come to Utopia – enjoy pleasant views and traditional local cooking’. That’s either a “hilarious” gag or a message from someone with serious delusions about what constitutes a pleasant view. But, unfortunately, the stupid little human race believed it, lapped it up, and spent ten thousand years just staying alive for the chance of reaching this blesséd Utopia. There were even songs. Normally I’d be applauding, but whoever sent that message forced me to spend seventeen years of my life trying to get to this shit hole, which kind of prevents me from seeing the funny side of the thing.’

The Doctor starts laughing.

“You know, I’m actually touched to see you taking pleasure in my pain,” the Master says dryly. “It shows that my influence on you has not been for nothing.”

“Oh, don’t flatter yourself,” the Doctor says, still grinning broadly. “Come on, we can go back to the TARDIS now.”

“So… we’re not waiting, then?”

“Nah. You were right. No one is coming.”

“Oh,” the Master says, the truth dawning like the putrid green sun of the Folgaria system. “No. No, no, no-”

“I love a good self-fulfilling prophecy, don’t you?” the Doctor says, happily turning the still-beeping console over in his hands. “You were right, I was wrong. The universe has to end and there’s nothing I can do for the human race now, except give them something to live for. Ten thousand years worth of hope! And, OK, so there’s no much to look at once they get here, and they start to give up-”

“Stop it,” the Master says, warningly.

“But then you come along-”

“Shut up.”

“And you make them believe again,” the Doctor says, beaming. “Brilliant. Teamwork in action. Just like old times, eh?”

The Master pinches the bridge of his nose and exhales. “I want,” he says slowly, “to leave this planet and never ever return. Can we do that?”

“Absolutely,” the Doctor says. “Anything for you. Saviour.” The Master glowers. “I’ll just amplify the signal and off we go.”

“Good,” the Master says.

The Doctor finds the correct setting on the sonic screwdriver and presses it to the console screen. Come to Utopia becomes briefly louder and then re-attunes itself to a silent frequency. He sets the console on the ground and gives it a small pat of encouragement. “That’s it. We’re done,” he says, standing.

They head back for the TARDIS, the Doctor whistling something that sounds suspiciously like ‘Utopia, Utopia: land of all our hope-ia’ until the Master accidentally steps on his foot.

“Where now, then?" the Doctor asks as they reach the police box. "Barcelona?”

No,” the Master says, wearily. “I hear the dogs smell awful.”

The Doctor grins and opens the TARDIS door for him.
Current Mood: awakeawake
Aubrey: DW*M/10: My best enemyallfireburns on March 22nd, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
I may or may not have a slight obsession with "Utopia", and this story is a wonderful resolution to the things left unsaid about that in the whole Utopia-Sound of Drums-Last of the Time Lord arc.

...he’d taken her back to the Doctor’s TARDIS and fucked her on top of some of the Doctor’s favourite books.
That made me giggle. A lot. Because he would. The bastard.

“Nice speech,” the Doctor murmurs, sliding back down to join him. “Very… etymological.”
That is just a FANTASTIC line, and so very much the Doctor. You've got both of their voices down - especially the Master - which is hard to do and I don't see it often enough. And the Doctor's insistence on staying and fixing it and figuring it out breaks my heart. In the best way possible.
aralias: ten is gleefularalias on March 24th, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
...he’d taken her back to the Doctor’s TARDIS and fucked her on top of some of the Doctor’s favourite books.
That made me giggle. A lot. Because he would. The bastard.

i imagine it must have been wickedly uncomfortable to have 'hard times' (or whatever) sticking into your back (innuendo overload only partially intended), but fortnately lucy was too aware of her situation by then to complain.

glad it worked for you because i was a bit worried about whether it really was a resolution or not.

also, i may or may not have a slight obsession with the master's way of talking :) he's just so fun to write.