Rating - PG-13
Disclaimer - Not mine. Belongs to BBC and RTD
A/N - SPoilers for Partners in Crime and Fires of Pompeii. Very obvioulsy AU from the Sontoran Stragegem.
"Donna," he asked quietly when she returned from her room in the Tardis.
"What Doctor?" She said equally as quiet. He noticed that she didn’t come to sit on the captains seat with him, she stayed at the opposite end of the console.
Still shaken by Pompeii, he thought to himself. The way he’d been. "I can’t save them," he’d admonished her angrily.
"Save someone," she’d pleaded. "Just one person. Save someone."
That’s what he’d done. He’d saved one family. He’d left a city to burn, it’s people to, he shuddered at the thought. He’d destroyed one family and later saved another. It hadn’t made him feel better though.
"Donna, I’d like to take a short trip. Would you come with me?"
"Where are we going Doctor?"
"Do you remember I told you that I took a companion after the last time I saw you?"
"Yes," she nodded and bit her lip. "You said it didn’t go well. Said you destroyed her life. Half of it anyway."
"I did," the Doctor nodded. "I," he looked down. "She died. Not with me. Well I was there but it wasn’t because of me. It doesn’t matter, she’s dead now. Gone."
"Where do you want to go then Doctor?"
"Her family, see it’s complicated. She left me and she fell in love with someone else. Another alien. They had a family and then she died."
"She died?" Donna repeated.
The Doctor nodded. "Her family they went to live on Desidera. I’d like to go and check on them."
"Of course Doctor," she came over and sat next to him. "I’m sure they’ll be glad to see you."
"No," he answered. "Her husband, um the Master he’s called, he blames me. He blames me that she’s dead. He won’t want to see me."
"Doctor I don’t think you’re in any shape to start a fight. Sometimes it’s just best to let things go."
"I don’t want to start a fight," the Doctor said. "I won’t try to talk with them. I just want, I just want to see them and make sure they’re all fine."
"Of course," Donna smiled encouragingly. He was glad a few moments later to have her with him. She slipped her hand into his and squeezed it gently, reassuringly. Together it would be all right.
He stepped into Amarate, the capital city of the planet Desidera and immediately stopped in shock. In front of him was a large portrait of the Master. ‘Emperor Saxon welcomes you,’ was written in large red letters beneath it.
"That’s Harry Saxon!" Donna announced. "He was the bleedin’ Prime Minister."
"Time Lord," the Doctor shrugged.
"An alien?" Donna asked. "Is he who?"
"Yes," the Doctor answered. "And apparently now he’s become Emperor. At least we’ll know where to find him."
He tugged her through the winding streets of Amarate, not paying attention to anything but how to get to the imperial residence. What did it matter what the city looked like? They wouldn’t be staying long, just a pit stop to assure himself that the Master and the children were fine and then they’d leave.
"Who’s she?" Donna asked breathlessly.
"Who’s who?" The Doctor turned to look where she was pointing.
"There are statues of her everywhere. Pictures. Do you know who she is Doctor? A goddess of theirs’?"
They were in a large square and he looked at the statue in the middle of the fountain sadly. A marble woman kneeling, her arms around two small toddlers. The cheek bones were high, higher than any other human’s he’d ever seen. The skin nearly as creamily flawless as the original had been. The wide eyes of the statue seemed to stare at him just like the real ones always had.
"It’s Martha and her children," he said softly.
"Was that your companion?" she asked.
"Yes. Yes, she was."
They were in front of the imperial palace then. He’d watched the place for a few moments and then led her around the side to an unguarded gate there. He didn’t step inside onto the lawn though, just stood staring through the ornamental bars at the scene he saw there.
Tish and Leo, older now, about 8 he thought, playing on the lawn. Leo chasing Tish with what looked like a small, squirming lizard as she ran screaming toward the Master. The Master, stubble covering his chin, tie loosened, sleeves rolled up past his elbows, sitting in a chair and quietly watching them.
"Daddy!" Tish shrieked as she ran toward the Master. "Daddy make him stop! He’s got a nasty lizard and he’s going to get me with it!"
"Leo," the Master called out as he let his daughter curl up in his lap. "Be nice to your sister!"
"She started it." Leo pouted.
"I don’t care who started it mate," the Master replied as the little boy drew close. "Put Lisander back in his box and come apologize to your sister."
"Yes Daddy," the little boy sulked as he put the lizard in a box on the table. He turned and curled up in his father’s lap on the opposite side of his sister. Instead of apologizing he stuck out his tongue petulently.
The Doctor looked away then as he heard a door to the imperial residence open and a young woman came out onto the lawn. He felt his fingers clench around the bars. "Emperor Saxon?" A soft voice lilted.
"Yes Tanthier," he heard the Master reply without turning around.
"You’re Minister of Finance is requesting to see you," she answered and bowed her head. "If it’s to your liking I could also begin the children’s lessons now."
"Of course Tanthier," he nodded before pushing the children gently off his lap. "Please tell Minister Ashai that I’ll be along momentarily. Children go with Nanny Tanthier for your lessons. I’ll see you tonight at dinner."
"Yes Daddy," Tish agreed as she reached up to hug her father once more.
"Right Daddy," Leo agreed and slipped the box holding the lizard into his pocket.
"Leo?" The Master beckoned his son with his hand. "Give me Lisander. I’ll keep him until you’ve finished you lessons."
"But Daddy!" Leo protested.
"Minister Ashai is a fan of lizards like Lisander," the Master explained. "I’m sure she’ll think meeting him is a treat. Now leave Lisander with me and go to your lessons."
"Yes Daddy," Leo replied sulkily as he passed over the box and then allowed his father a kiss on the cheek.
"Good boy," the Master answered and then watched as the nanny he’d called Tanthier led them away.
The Doctor looked over at Donna holding tightly to his hand and could see her smiling at him reassuringly. He couldn’t make himself leave yet. Couldn’t bear to go. He’d leave once the Master was inside. She simply nodded as if she understood the silence and let him continue to stare.
Instead of following the children inside, the Doctor watched as the Master refastened his sleeves, slid on his jacket, dropping the lizard inside the outer pocket with a familiar pat. He’d ran his fingers through the hair he still kept short and adjusted his tie. The Doctor expected him to turn and go inside then. Instead he pulled something small from the inner jacket pocket and stared at it with a sad smile. The Doctor watched as he ran a finger absently over the glass.
"I miss you," he heard the other Time Lord say simply.
He couldn’t control the wetness on his cheeks and once the Master had gone inside he felt his knees weaken. He sat and sobbed silently against the garden gate then as Donna rubbed his back like a child.