The Doctor held the sonic screwdriver up, waved it around and frowned.
“What is it?” Rose asked.
“I can’t find Faith or Buffy,” he stated, feeling frustrated. He had picked up the signal of a slayer last night, but now there was nothing. At least one of the slayers had been in this world, but now none of them were. What did that mean? Had one or even both of them been injured and died? He sighed, not even wanting to think about that possibility. Whatever happened to them was his fault. He had been stupid enough to fly right into the Master’s trap.
The Master… maybe he had them. If the Master took them into his TARDIS he might not be able to pick up their slayer powers with the sonic screwdriver. Of course it wouldn’t be good if the Master had them, but at least that would mean that there was a chance that they were alive.
“What about the others? Can you find them?” Rose asked. It definitely wasn’t good if the Doctor couldn’t find Faith and Buffy, but they might still be in the TARDIS, which could be anywhere in time, space, or even another reality.
“… or the TARDIS?”
“The TARDIS isn’t here,” the Doctor said, confirming Rose’s worst fear. “... unless it was shielded from me.”
“Who could do that?”
Rose frowned. That Master again. Who the hell was the Master and what did he want?
The Doctor sighed and glanced to Rose.
“He laid a trap for us and I flew right into it,” he admitted. “I tried to follow him to find out why he was after you.”
Rose stared at him, not sure what to think. They were supposed to go search for the reality Faith and the others were from. Was the Doctor that concerned for her that he postponed that search and tried to follow the Master? Or did he want to get rid of the threat on her life so that he could bring her home to her family and leave her once more? A part of her felt like that thought was ridiculous and paranoid, but on the other hand, the Doctor had abandoned her. Maybe he really didn’t want to have her around. Had she done something to upset him? She had wondered that a lot already.
Rose was about to ask the Doctor why he went after the Master when he exclaimed:
“Found Jack, he’s here.” Swinging the sonic screwdriver around he then pointed in one direction. “That way.”
That said he got onto his horse. Rose did the same, feeling glad that Pete had a few horses on which she had been riding quite a lot over the past years.
Kahlan was already sitting on her horse, looking at the Doctor curiously.
“What kind of magic is that?” she asked gesturing at the device the Doctor was holding.
“Magic? Oh, this isn’t magic,” the Doctor said, but he supposed that it would seem like magic to someone like Kahlan, who wasn’t used to technology. He guessed he would have a lot to tell her, which would keep them busy on their journey and him from worrying too much about his lost companions.
Rose watched as the Doctor and Kahlan talked. They were getting along well and had been talking for hours during their ride. None of them seemed to notice that Rose hadn’t been participating in the conversation in a while. Typical. The Doctor had found another woman that was fascinated by him and seemed to forget her completely. It wasn’t the first time that this happened, Rose thought, remembering Reinette and Sarah Jane. And now there were Kahlan, Martha, Faith, Buffy, Dawn, Willow and Ruby. And that were just the women. There was always someone else. Rose had once believed that the Doctor needed her, but that wasn’t really true. He needed someone. And it wasn’t hard for him to find someone who was willing to travel with him and keep him company. She had kind of known that for a while, since she met Sarah Jane actually, but she hadn’t truly let herself grasp it. She had held on to the belief that she was special to the Doctor.
Rose was pulled out of her thoughts when Kahlan stopped her horse and held a hand up.
“We’re not alone,” she whispered drawing her knives. A moment later a group of women appeared out of the nearby woods. They were all dressed in red.
“Sisters of the dark,” Kahlan said, not sounding happy at all, but before she could say anything else the Doctor jumped off his horse and made a step towards them.
“Hello, nice to meet you. I’m the Doctor.”
Kahlan frowned and jumped off her horse as well, knives at the ready. Rose quickly followed.
“Yes, nice to meet you, too. Very nice,” one of the women said looking the Doctor up and down, then her eyes travelled to Rose and she looked even more appreciative.
“Very interesting hans.”
The Doctor looked at the woman puzzled, but before he could ask what “hans” were Kahlan stepped in front of him and Rose, her knives held high.
“You will not get their hans!” Kahlan’s voice sounded firm and threatening. The Doctor had never heard her speak like that before. She always seemed so friendly and gentle.
“We will see about that, Confessor.”
The Doctor didn’t like the turn the conversation had taken. “Why don’t we all calm down and talk about this,” he suggested.
“Are you ready to give up your hans willingly?” the woman in red asked.
“I’m sorry?” the Doctor muttered.
“What do you mean by “hans”? Rose asked feeling a little uncertain.
“She means your magic,” Kahlan stated.
The Doctor turned to her, smirking slightly. “I told you, we don’t have any magic.”
“Oh yes, you do,” the woman in red said. “And we will get it, one way or another.” That said she and the other women attacked.
----- ----- ----- ----- -----The Master’s TARDIS:
Martha woke up startled as a scream echoed through the TARDIS. For a moment she was surprised, unsure why anyone would scream inside the TARDIS. Then she woke up completely and remembered. This wasn’t the Doctor’s TARDIS and neither was it her room. It might look like her room, but that was just another one of the Master’s sadistic tricks. He liked playing with her mind; it was his favourite past time. He had done nothing but use his telepathic abilities to torture her mind over the past days, or was it weeks, months, years? Martha had lost all sense of time. It felt like ages since they had fallen out of the Doctor’s TARDIS, landed on that planet and been captured by the Master and his evil Mistress, Denna.
Another scream echoed through the ship. Faith! Martha jumped out of the bed and went over to the door, but of course it was locked. It was always locked. She was trapped in here and had to listen to Faith’s screams as Denna tortured her, trying to break the slayer.
Martha leaned against the door and sank down to the ground as another scream started. A tear ran down her cheek. She wished so badly that it would stop. She didn’t want to hear any more screams. On the other hand she knew that as long as Faith still screamed they hadn’t succeeded. Faith was still holding on and she was still alive. It probably wasn’t even that long since they came here. There was still hope. The others would find them. The Doctor would come, he always did. He wouldn’t abandon them, and neither would Jack. Oh god, Jack… Another tear ran down Martha’s cheek as she remembered what the Master had shown her. Part of the Master’s psychological torture was making her re-live ‘the year that never was’ in her mind. She saw the destruction of the Earth once more, all the deaths, the slave camps and everything else that happened during that year; she went through it all again and again. But she didn’t just re-live it from her own perspective. She relived it from the Master’s, the Doctor’s, her family’s and Jack’s. The Doctor and her family had suffered a lot, but it was worst for Jack. The Master had taken a ‘liking’ to him, because he could be tortured and killed in every way possible and would still come back for more. Martha trembled slightly at the memories. She probably didn’t even know everything that Jack had been through, but it already hurt so much to think about it. How could Jack still be the person he was? She didn’t think she would be able to, if she was in his place. She probably would never be the same person after this, if she every got out of here. She frowned and sat up straighter. Of course she would get out of here! They would come for them. They’d get her and Faith out of here; she had to keep believing that. She had to hold on to hope, it was all she had left.
Faith smiled up at Jack after he broke their kiss. Being with him was amazing. A second later the scenery around them changed and Jack was gone. Faith was startled for a moment, then she saw Dean coming towards her. The smile on her face widened. Dean reached her and kissed her as well, leaving her breathless. If being with Jack was amazing, being with Dean felt heavenly. It felt just… right.
Faith blinked as Dean vanished, taking the feeling of rightness with him. Her surroundings turned dark and stormy. Then she saw images pop up in front of her, images of people. She knew those faces. They were her victims, people she had killed. Guilt and regret washed over her as well as self-loathing and hatred for what she had done. A few moments later the images disappeared and her surroundings changed once more. Faith glanced around and froze. She knew this place. She had been here before and she instinctively knew what was coming. It was dark and she was back in that alley, the ally where she had killed for the first time…
A scream echoed through the alley, startling Faith, until she realized that it was coming from her. She froze, then her eyes opened, taking in her surroundings. Someone was towering over her.
“I told you, you should be thinking about me when you go to your safe place,” a soothing voice whispered into her ear. “It will help. All you have to do is imagine us together in a wonderful place and you will get through this.”
It sounded so easy, Faith thought. All the pain and suffering would be gone, if she just imagined herself with Denna. Denna would keep her safe from all those horrible memories. Denna didn’t care about her past, she loved her… No! What the hell was she thinking? Denna was an evil torturous bitch! She was in league with the Master and they had captured her and Martha. They were torturing her and probably Martha, too. She couldn’t give in, couldn’t let them win, no matter how much it hurt and no matter how wonderful the idea of no more pain was. She had to stay strong, for herself and for Martha.
Denna frowned. It had looked like Faith was starting to believe her and do what she was told, but, no, that stubborn look was back on her face. She had never encountered anyone as strong as Faith. Not even Richard had held on that long, and he was the Seeker. Plus, that was when she was on her own, now she had the Master’s help. He was in Faith’s mind, manipulating her little ‘safe heaven’, into which her mind resided back to during their torture sessions. As soon as Faith started to feel happy inside her own made up fantasies the Master would destroy them and make her re-live her own worst nightmares. Most people would have broken a long time ago, but not her. The Master said that it was because Faith believed that she deserved exactly what she got now, that she thought she needed to be punished for what she did in the past. Denna snorted at the thought. She had no idea why Faith felt so guilty. She hadn’t done anything worth losing sleep over. And she would soon realize that. Yes, Faith was still holding on, but not for much longer. She would break her, even if it was the last thing she ever did. Gripping her agiel tight Denna brought it down on Faith again until another scream echoed through the TARDIS.
----- ----- ----- ----- -----LotS-Verse:
Dean groaned and stumbled slightly before clutching at his chest. He tried to regain his footing when hands grabbed and steadied him.
Dean blinked, then nodded. “Yeah,” he muttered, even though he didn’t really feel okay. He felt drained, worried and pissed off. This was starting to get really annoying. First it had been just this distant feeling, that something was terribly wrong, but now… it was almost physically painful.
“Sit down,” Jack said. Dean complied and leaned against a tree. Then he glanced at Jack, who was hovering in front of him, looking concerned. Did the guy actually care about him? They weren’t exactly friends after all, far from it actually, they were rivals. On the other hand, Jack had never really treated him that way, had he? He had always been friendly. Well, he probably was a nice guy. Faith wouldn’t like him otherwise, would she? And that made the whole situation even worse. If Jack was an idiot or a mean asshole things would be far easier.
“Here, take this,” someone said. Dean took the bottle of water and then glanced at Cara who had given it to him. She looked rather concerned as well.
“I’m fine, really,” Dean said. Then he drank some water and leaned back against the tree again.
“It’s not me you should be worried about anyway.”
Jack frowned and nodded. He had no idea what exactly was going on. Either Dean was paranoid and completely nuts, or he somehow had a psychic link to Faith. And if that was true Jack really didn’t even want to think about what was happening to Faith. Every time Dean had these kinds of ‘episodes’ they were getting worse. He was starting to get concerned for both Faith and Dean.
A few hours later they were walking towards a river. Dean went a little ahead of the others. They were all hovering around him like he might collapse at any moment. He hated it! He was worried about Faith, as well as Sam and the others. He didn’t need people fussing over him like he was a child. He wasn’t sick after all. The wizard had said so as well. He tried to heal him after Cara asked him to, but there was nothing to heal. He wasn’t in pain now either, or felt weird in any way. He was fine… for now.
As soon as he reached the river Dean knelt down, grabbed his bottle - which Cara had insisted he kept – and filled it with water, while the others caught up to him.
“How are you feeling?”
Dean frowned and glanced at Jack who was crouching down a few feet away, drinking some water.
“Will you stop fussing already?” Dean complained. “I’m fine.”
“If you say so...”
Cara and Richard then announced that they would go hunting. Dean didn’t offer to join them.
“I believe there is a spell I could try to find out what is happening to you,” Zedd exclaimed.
Zedd raised an eyebrow. “No?”
“No,” Dean repeated firmly. “No magic!” No way was he going to let the wizard do any kinds of magical experiments on him. Something was bound to go wrong. He just knew it. And besides, he didn’t care what was going on with him or why he felt the way he did. What he wanted to know was where Faith was and what was happening to her.
The wizard didn’t say anything else. Instead he walked off, started a fire and prepared everything for when Cara and Richard came back with something to eat.
Dean sat down near the river, looking out over it. Jack soon joined him.
“He’s just trying to help, you know.”
“I’m not interested in his kind of help.”
Dean nodded. “With my luck something would go wrong and I’d end up as a chicken or something.”
Jack laughed slightly.
“Zedd probably wouldn’t mind. I’ve been told he likes chicken soup.”
“Very funny.” Dean glared at Jack.
Jack sighed. “Just trying to lighten up the mood.”
“I’m not in the mood for jokes.”
“I noticed. You never are.”
Dean glared at Jack once more. Why should he be in the mood for jokes? They were stuck on an alien planet with no technology. Sam was missing and so was everyone else they had been travelling with. Something really nasty was happening to Faith, whom he seemed to share some weird psychic bond with; and he was sitting here with the guy Faith had… well, who knew what with. A relationship? An affair? Casual sex? Whatever it was, he hated it! Oh, and on top of that he had trouble sleeping. Whenever he closed his eyes and tried to rest – which everyone constantly told him to do – he started to remember hell.
Dean quickly pushed away that thought. Thinking about hell so wasn’t a good idea. He then noticed that Jack was talking. He had been so lost in his own thoughts that he hadn’t even noticed what the guy said.
“… and you know, you are way too hot to be grumpy all the time.”
Dean’s head snapped around at that. Jack was smirking at him now, in a rather flirty way.
“Are you hitting on me? Seriously?”
Jack laughed at Dean’s disbelieving look, then shrugged. Dean groaned.
“Oh come on it’s not that absurd,” Jack stated.
“I thought you liked women,” Dean said, starting to feel a little uncomfortable.
“I don’t discriminate.”
Dean snorted slightly, then crossed his arms in front of his chest. “No offence, dude, but you’re not my type.”
“I’ve heard that before…” Jack said in a suggestive kind of voice.
Dean glared at him. “Seriously man, stop flirting with me! And while we’re at it… stop flirting with every woman I like as well.”
Jack raised an eyebrow at that, but then turned serious.
“How about I stop sleeping with Faith. That’s what you really care about, isn’t it?” he asked. As much as he liked Faith, he had known from the moment Dean showed up that things had changed. There was more between Dean and Faith and he wasn’t about to come between them. Dean was a good guy. Faith deserved to be with someone like him, someone normal. They had a chance at a life together, which was something Jack couldn’t really offer her. Yes, he could spend the rest of her life with Faith, but what kind of life would that be? She’d age while he stayed the same and eventually she would hate him for it or she’d be unhappy at the very least. It was how it always ended. Jack liked Faith way too much to do that to her, especially since there was someone else there that could make her happy, someone he knew she liked.
Dean stared at Jack dumbfounded. Had he just heard right? Was Jack actually offering to back off?
“… not that we are still sleeping together anyway…” Jack continued. “…. It was just that one time before you arrived. Well, not just once…”
Dean frowned. “Seriously? Just shut up.” He really didn’t want to hear that.
Jack smirked slightly. That was exactly the kind of reaction he had hoped for. Now he was sure that he had been right. Dean really did love Faith. It was written all over his face.
“Alright, fair enough,” Jack stated. “She’s all yours though. Just thought you should know.”
Dean wasn’t sure what to think. Part of him felt happy. It looked like Jack was backing off, which meant that his chances with Faith were a lot better all of a sudden. On the other hand he did feel a little mad as well. Why was Jack making it so easy for him? Faith was amazing, she deserved better than that. She was worth fighting for. Jack so didn’t deserve her at all. Dean started to feel sick at the thought that Faith was interested in Jack at all.
“You don’t deserve her anyway,” he snapped while getting up.
Jack frowned. That obviously hadn’t gone as well as he thought. There he was trying to be all selfless and doing what was best for Faith, and what did he get in return… He really wasn’t in the mood for Dean’s attitude.
“Look, I’m just trying to…” he started while getting up as well. Then he saw Dean stumbling and clutching at his chest before starting to fall. Jack quickly stepped forward and caught Dean before he hit the ground.
Dean blinked and slowly opened his eyes. As his vision adjusted he saw several faces above him, all looking down at him with concerned expressions.
“How are you feeling?”
Dean groaned, then sat up quickly before looking around.
“Easy, you should rest,” Jack said. Dean ignored him and got up. He stumbled slightly, but Cara caught and steadied him.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to get up already.”
“Shut up,” Dean mumbled, then looked around again.
“Dean…” Jack started, but Dean held up a hand.
“Just shut up for a moment. I…”
“What is it?” Cara asked.
“This is going to sound crazy, but I think I know where Faith is.”
“You what? Where is she?” Jack wanted to know.
Dean turned to Jack, looking a little bewildered. “Well, it’s not really that I know where she is exactly. It’s more like a… feeling. I can’t really explain it. But she’s that way.” He pointed to his left. “We need to go now.”
“Do you think that is a good idea?” Richard asked. “You just collapsed.”
“I. Am. Fine.” Dean looked at each of them in turn, daring them to say anything else. He really wasn’t in the mood for any more of their fussing. Faith was in danger, he simply knew it. And now that he had this weird kind of feeling that was basically drawing him towards her he would be damned if he wasted another second.
“Alright, let’s go.” That said he started to walk.
Jack glanced from Dean to the others, then shrugged before starting to follow Dean. Cara, Richard and Zedd quickly grabbed their belongings, then following as well.
----- ----- ----- ----- -----The Master’s TARDIS:
Martha gasped for breath, stumbled backwards and then sank down on her bed. She blinked and shook her head, trying to get rid of the memories that she had just been reliving in her mind.
The Master was standing in her room. He had been in her mind again, telepathically manipulating her once more, but then he suddenly stopped. Martha looked up at him, wondering what was going on. Then she froze. The Master was… flickering. It was as if his body changed or disappeared. For a moment he looked almost like a skeleton, not a real one though, it looked more… mechanical.
The Master frowned, cursed and then rushed out of the room.
Martha stared after him stunned.
The Master walked through the control room restlessly. His body was failing. His resurrection had gone wrong thanks to Lucy Saxon. He should never have married that bloody human! He should have killed her instead. But he didn’t. She had killed him, and then she interfered in his resurrection, which was as good as killing him again. Rage boiled inside of him. At the same time his hunger grew as well. He was always hungry these days. He was burning up his own life force which was accompanied by immense hunger. He needed to eat. Or maybe he wouldn’t. Why prolong the inevitable any longer? Why not just die right now and let Denna bring him back? It was what they had done a couple of times already. Whenever his body failed completely she brought him back. It was why he had chosen her as his companion in the first place. She was a Mord Sith, and Mord Sith could bring back the dead, or well, the recently deceased. They had other qualities as well, but this was the most useful to him in his current state. Unfortunately she couldn’t heal his body. She only brought him back, which meant that his body started to fail all over again. He did feel better though, after returning. He was stronger. But he didn’t like it anyway. He was depending on someone else and he hated it. It was why he needed to find Rose Tyler. He had seen in the Doctor’s memories what she could do, what she had become. She was Bad Wolf, an all powerful being. She could resurrect the dead permanently and make them immortal. He had wanted to find her ever since he first saw her in the Doctor’s memories, but now he really did need her. He even had her before the Doctor showed up and took her away. Why did he have to show up at exactly that moment? The Master frowned and pushed away that thought. There was no use in dwelling on the past. He had to concentrate on the future and make sure that his plans would succeed this time.
“DENNA!” he called and sent out a telepathic message at the same time.
It didn’t take long for his companion to show up. The Mord Sith entered the room and casually leaned against the wall, positioning her body in a sensual way. Most men would forget any coherent though in her presence, but the Master barely noticed her.
“How is your training coming along?” he asked.
“It is going well, Master,” she replied, a smile appearing on her lips.
The Master’s eyes fixed on her. “Is it? I was under the impression that you should have broken that slayer weeks ago!” he barked, feeling frustrated and annoyed.
“Well, as you said, she is a slayer,” Denna replied. “And she has that weird belief that she deserves…”
“Yes, yes… I KNOW ALL THAT. I was the one who told you about it in the first place.”
Denna winced slightly at his tone of voice, but a smile soon returned to her face.
“I am making progress. I think she is almost ready. As you should be aware of her fantasies are of me now. She believes that her friends have abandoned and betrayed her. Her spirit is broken. Soon she will be mine… ours to command.”
“If her spirit is already broken, what are we waiting for then?” the Master snapped. “I need her to get Rose Tyler NOW!”
“I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR PATIENCE!”
“There is a final test…”
“I am aware of that. It is my body that is failing, not my mind! I do remember what you have told me. And since Faith’s parents are dead I have arranged for someone else to come.”
“It needs to be someone she deeply cares about. In order for her to truly be mine… ours, she needs to kill someone that was important to her once.”
“I know that. Like I said, I have arranged everything. He is on his way.”
“Good. Let’s get him. As soon as I broke him and he tells her that he betrayed her she can…”
“No, I am tired of waiting. She will kill him NOW!” That said the Master went over to the console and brought the TARDIS back to Denna’s planet. Then he turned on the screen. A grin appeared on his face as he watched Dean Winchester talking to Jack Harkness. His smile widened. Soon his plans would unfold and on top of it he would get Jack Harkness back as well. He had missed his favourite immortal toy. There were still a few ways left in which he hadn’t killed the man yet…
“We shouldn’t rush….”
The Master turned to face Denna, his eyes boring into hers. She stopped talking at once.
“That’s better. Now, where were we…? Right…” He concentrated, thought of one of his favourite torture sessions with Faith and telepathically projected them. Then he watched on the screen as Dean Winchester stumbled and fell. A wide grin appeared on the Master’s face.
poster/book cover for this chapter: