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10 April 2008 @ 02:29 pm
In No Particular Order: Meme response for prettyarbitrary  

Title: Civil as an Orange (coda to Killing the Groundhog)

Author: x_los 

Rating: PG

Pairing:  Three/Delgado!Master

Summary: The morning after. FLUFF.

A/N: request for prettyarbitrary. Title from Beatrice in Much Ado about Nothing. Now with more editing! I can't stop editing this, every 5 min some sentence is wrong.



“Civil as an Orange”


“Let’s go out and get breakfast,” the Doctor murmured, talking as quietly as if his voice might wake someone up. He draped his hand over the Master’s thigh contentedly. They hadn’t slept yet, but it had suddenly occurred to the Doctor that he hadn’t had anything to eat since lunch yesterday.


“Mm,” the Master’s own hand dropped lightly onto the Doctor’s chest, “We’d have to materialize around my TARDIS first to pick her up, but I don’t see why not. Where would you like to go?”


“Somewhere with something rich to drink.” The Doctor thought of warm chai coating his tongue in New Delhi or chicory coffee in New Orleans. He smiled in anticipation and adjusted his arm so the Master rested a bit more comfortably against him. “You choose.”


“I don’t much feel like completing the short spatial, the long spatial and the temporal repairs before I’ve had anything to eat,” the Master groused, seeming more boneless than putout. “Actually,” the Master considered, “Before we start on the TARDIS, we should fix you.  And it's unwise to attempt such a delicate level of contact on empty stomachs either.


"I’ll patch up the short spatial circuits and we’ll depart England. The change of scenery will do you good. And me.” He pinched the skin of the Doctor’s arm between his thumb and forefinger as viciously as someone thoroughly satisfied could manage. It wasn’t terribly impressive. The Doctor made an amused little pout, muttered ‘ouch,’ and the Master railed on. “Don’t think I’ve forgotten what an odious non-month you’ve put me through. You’ve a fine mind, but oh Doctor, how you do use it to annoy me.”


“Me!” the Doctor laughed, “And what precisely have you been doing these past months, old chap? You can’t seek out a bull, dance about in front of it with a muleta, and then get shrewish when it charges.”


“Now there’s an idea. My dear, you’ve hit upon it.”


“What, the perfect metaphor for your bloody-mindedness?”


“No. And I’m not ‘bloody minded,’ I’m focused. I meant you’ve found us a good place to breakfast.”


***


A long, broad path traced along the Guadalquivir River in Seville. In the early morning, just after sunrise, the streets were unpeopled. Sevillanos were late risers, as a rule. The light in the sky was the pale cream-blue of the inside of a robin’s egg, and it rippled across the bunched-silk of mackerel clouds. The sun hung full-swollen like a yolk.


The city had existed since roughly the ninth century before the Common Era calendar began. It was older than them both together—that was comforting in its way, the Master thought, leaning on the stone ledge of the wall ensconcing the river.


The Doctor made disparaging remarks about Franco and occasional scathing jokes about the Guarda as they breakfasted. Both drank thick hot chocolate--this was the first city chocolate had reached in Europe, and you could still taste the kinship to the original Aztec brew in the glutinously rich drink. The Doctor swirled his fried, cinnamon-coated churros, with their soft doughy centers, through the beverage. He popped them into his mouth, chewing, and continuing his commentary when he finished the delicious drenched bit.


The Master bit his long tostada, savoring the warm almond chocolate paste on the pillowy bread as he observed the wide, slow coursing river. In the same downward glance the Doctor’s green velvet-sleeved arm on the ledge next to him arrested his eye. He smiled to himself and privately forgave the Doctor for the Time Paradox and a number of other things. Not that the Doctor had to know that.


“It’s a beautiful town, even so,” the Doctor said when he’d finished eating. He plucked a sour, inedible orange from a tree next to him, tossing it up in the air with one hand. Seville Orange trees blanketed the city, but their fruit was too bitter for much of anything but marmalade and liqueurs. The Master took another and laid it in the Doctor’s open palm. Grinning, the Doctor began to lightly pass them both from hand to hand.


“But Doctor,” the Master said, mock-scandalized, “Can you really approve of the blood splattered mother of the inquisition? The seat of Latin colonialism? Every glorious palace you admire was built with gold taken by force from the conquered native empires, and they didn’t fall gently.” He chucked a third at the Doctor, who began to juggle in earnest.


“Come on now,” the Doctor insisted, handling the burden easily, “the city of flamenco! The glittering jewel of Andalusia! The world’s largest cathedral!”


“Yes, it’s gorgeous, I think they burn the heretics there!” The Master raised an eyebrow to ask if the Doctor could take another, and the Doctor smirked, indicating he was more than capable. The Master timed the shot and the Doctor caught it.


Don Juan, Carmen—”


“An entire opera pivoting on the axis of crippling poverty in a cigar factory.” The Master grinned and shook his head. “What will you romanticize next?”


“Tapas, the April feria with its casetas, oh we should see that together some day, it’s thoroughly charming—”


“The feria with its bullfights, all that blood, your precious humans screaming and cooing over boys being gored and animals being speared?” The Master twirled a fifth orange in his hand, waiting for a moment when the Doctor could incorporate it into the movements of the spheres.


“No worse than the Death Zone, is it old chap?” The Doctor was cheeky and undaunted. “Are you going to toss that thing at me or palm it ‘till the sun’s high? I thought we might leave before noon. It can get up to 46.6 °C on a day like this. You’ll sweat in that black jacket.”


“And you in your velvet,” the Master snorted, shaking the orange at him, “Can you handle a fifth?”


“Why Master,” the Doctor positively smoldered, “I can handle anything you throw at me.”


“Anything, my dear Doctor?” The Master flat-out leered.


“Oh, absolutely.


                The Doctor caught the fifth orange, and they spun about him in perfect grace. “Told you I could,” the Doctor’s tone oozed smugness.


                “I never doubted you for an instant.”


                "How very gratifying to hear! What should we do after this, then?”


“We’ve nowhere we need to be, no one is dictating our actions but ourselves, and there’s not a single infringement on our schedule. As soon as we effect the repairs, the entire universe will spread out before us like a banquet. Surely you have some idea of what you’d like to do after being stuck for so long in such a dull birdcage?”


“As a matter of fact, I do. But I was attempting to be polite.” The Doctor admitted, still keeping all his citrus airborne.


The Master folded his arms over his chest. “And here I thought this regeneration didn’t comprehend the vaguest notions of civility!”


“Ha.” The Doctor skillfully, one by one, eliminated the oranges from the circle. He used a graceful motion of his wrist to fling each in turn back behind him into the river. “Maybe I’m fully versed, but non-practicing.” He bowed, courtly, and the Master clapped, expression rich with sardonic amusement.


“Now I’ve performed for your delight,” the Doctor raised an eyebrow, “Perhaps you’d agree to a visit to the Kesshin jungles when we’re done restoring my poor girl? That’s where I was headed when the High Council intercepted me. I’ve never been.”


“Meaning I’ve an opportunity to play guide then,” the Master was pleased, “You’ll love it. The trees there sing in chorus. Some of them are even quite communicative, if you’re an appealing enough psychic conversationalist. I trust you’ve kept in good mental form?”


“Er,” the Doctor rubbed his neck, “Not precisely, no.”


“Oh Doctor,” the Master threw up his hands in exasperation, “Genius is wasted on you. You’re possibly the second greatest psychic of our generation and you’ve entirely let yourself go out of laziness!”


                “Meaning I’m the second greatest to you, then?”


                “Well,” the Master smirked, “Naturally.”


                “You were always such an egotist.”


                “Ah, but then I was always right. I’m perfectly delighted to parade you about the Kesshin jungles to all of my arboreal acquaintance, but there’s something you can do for me, first.”


                The Doctor was fully literate when it came to reading the glints in his partner’s eyes. This one was quite precisely intelligible. The Doctor rolled his eyes and stepped a bit closer, put his hand over the other man’s.


                “Again? How can you not be tired? We didn’t sleep at all. I’m rather impressed with us.”


                “As you should be,” the Master brushed his other hand over the Doctor’s knuckles, “And I did warn you I was going to channel my annoyance with you into something more productive.”


                “And threatened me with unspecified dire consequences if I begged off,” the Doctor chuckled, “I remember.”


                “And wasn’t someone bragging about being able to handle anything?” The Master leaned in, managing to convey ‘towering over’ the Doctor with body language if not with actual height.


                “Well, anything you can throw at me.” The Doctor bent in, brought their faces close, and raised a cavalier eyebrow.


                “Why Doctor,” the Master’s eyes went hooded, and he pulled the words out low and supple, “is that a challenge?”


                “It did sound like one, didn’t it? Those repairs don’t need to be completed just now, do they?”


                “At our leisure, of course. Though I do wonder,” the Master pulled back slightly, “When do you intend to tell your UNIT friends that your exile is at an end?” The affair with the Axos hadn’t fled his memory.


He didn’t want the Doctor rushing off to tell the humans too quickly, while everything between them was still tenuous. Such a meeting presented a temptation for the other Time Lord to recover some lost sense of obligation upon seeing his favorite downtrodden pets and leave him. On the other hand it was equally unappealing that the Doctor should avoid going back and explicitly saying his farewells and resigning his position.


Leave the window open, and the possibility of return would remain, a sore festering at the back of the Doctor’s mind. The Master knew how the Doctor ran when confronted with obstacles. Conflict between them was inevitable.  The stubborn Doctor would have to compromise, which would sit ill with him. And if the Doctor couldn't sustain a psychic defense against the Council's collective long-distance assault on his memory centers by himself, then there would be UNIT, waiting for him to wander back, a comfortable haven just through a door he’d never properly closed.


Something of his unease must have shown on his face, or tainted the tone of the question. The Doctor gripped his hand a little tighter, and the Master winced at being transparent as a windowpane.


“You choose when I go,” the Doctor said, quietly, “In a day, in a month, it’s all one to me. We’ll simply return to today in their timeline. I’ll explain the council saw sense and pardoned me, and I’ve long-neglected business to attend to elsewhere in the universe.”


“The Council, see sense?” The Master laughed, trying to cover whatever relief his expression must have conveyed. “Now who would be taken in by such an obvious fiction? You must have told them very little indeed about our illustrious home world.”


“I was rather busy dealing with threats de jour, yourself included, to conduct lessons in xenosociology.” The Doctor looked up and caught sight of a black-garbed old woman coming down the path in their direction, probably en route to the cathedral. The city was waking around them—from a ways off he could hear the clatter of shutters opening to receive the cool morning air.


“So,” the Master so liked establishing structure, and he planned their day with not a little glee, “wring the last smidgen of energy out of you, sleep, fix you and then the ship, and it’s off to the Kesshin jungles. Amenable?”


“Perfectly. And you’ve a bit of the chocolate paste on your upper lip.”


The Master froze, annoyed. “What, this whole time, and you’ve not said anything, just let me go on looking ridiculous?”


“You did not look ridiculous, and I was rather waiting for the appropriate entry point in the conversation to do this,” the Doctor slid his mouth over the Masters, licking the chocolate neatly off his lip and then dipping to kiss him soundly.


“There,” he broke off, “got it. Perhaps we should—”


“TARDIS.” The Master demanded, eloquent in his simplicity.


“Right behind you.”

 
 
 
Deborah: Cassandra by Thatlldopigdeborah_judge on April 10th, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC)
Whee! Happy!fic! I'm running, but just needed to read this and tell you how happy it made me.
x_losfic: Threex_losfic on April 10th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Their cuteness is such legend.
(no subject) - deborah_judge on April 11th, 2008 12:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - x_losfic on April 11th, 2008 01:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deborah_judge on April 11th, 2008 02:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - x_losfic on April 11th, 2008 03:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deborah_judge on April 11th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - x_losfic on April 11th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
aralias: master yayaralias on April 10th, 2008 08:25 pm (UTC)
killing the groundhog may be my favourite thing you've ever written. and this is lovely :) i should have asked for a time stamp myself, but it would probably just have been this so everything worked out well.

i love the juggling and the line about the council seeing sense being an obvious fiction and... well, all of it. the font goes a bit weird sometimes, but that's about all that could possible be wrong with it. sweet and sarcastic and absolutely what i want from my doctor/master relationship :)

x_losficx_losfic on April 10th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
killing the groundhog may be my favourite thing you've ever written.

Thanks, it's certainly mine. :)

sweet and sarcastic and absolutely what i want from my doctor/master relationship

Writing three/master is so much fun too! It's so snappy and just sort of writes itself.

the font goes a bit weird sometimes,

Oh, I see what you mean, black and grey? wtf? I'll have to look at that.
Pretty Arbitraryprettyarbitrary on April 10th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
*squeezes them with love* So cute! And the orange-juggling rocks.
x_losfic: Threex_losfic on April 10th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
It's bitchy!twee! Love their pottering old man grumbling!

And the orange-juggling rocks.

You know as kids the two wanted to run away and join the circus. Oh look, in Terror of the Autons he does...
(no subject) - prettyarbitrary on April 10th, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - x_losfic on April 11th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
GRITS in Misery: Beardy Masters appreciation societygritsinmisery on April 10th, 2008 09:01 pm (UTC)
Aw, me likes fluffy.
x_losfic: Threex_losfic on April 10th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
Me too. They're the easiest pair to make blazingly cute.
eviltigerlilyeviltigerlily on April 10th, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
Cute beyond words! And I love that line - Shakespeare and Doctor Who, two of my favorite things.
Love the details of the breakfast, Love how the pace of the fic matches Seville on a summer morning. Juggling!!!

You've a fine mind, but oh Doctor, how you do use it to annoy me

I could so hear that. The Master's abandonment issues are adorable. As is the ending.
x_losfic: Threex_losfic on April 10th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)
Mine too! I adore the crap out of Beatrice and Benedict as well.

Love how the pace of the fic matches Seville on a summer morning.

Ha, I lived there for a summer basically in the block I'm talking about, so I'm glad it came through.

The Master's abandonment issues are adorable

Aren't they?! Omg I love him.

Thanks for reading!
Daisydaisyrainwater on April 11th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
Sigh. I *love* Three/Delgado!Master fic. And this is so beautiful.

Thanks.
x_losficx_losfic on April 11th, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)
Me too! And thanks.
boulette_sud: DW - Master - In your iconboulette_sud on April 11th, 2008 02:48 am (UTC)
Aww, cute and funny. I am ever so impressed with how perfect the voices are, not only in this fic but all your recent ones.
x_losfic: Threex_losfic on April 11th, 2008 02:54 am (UTC)
Wow, thanks so much, that's really lovely to hear! I'm glad you liked it.
Bagheera: OTPbagheera_san on April 11th, 2008 11:03 am (UTC)
A long, broad path traced along the Guadalquivir River in Seville

OMG, I've been there! *cheers* The orange trees made me all nostalgic.

That was so nice and relaxed and so... possible for them. They're the only Doctor/Master who could have this perfect a happy ending.
x_los: Treex_los on April 11th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
It's where I lived when I was studying Spanish. I was like, 'Oh crap, have to write a setting... I'm just gonna cheat and put them somewhere I know well.' Basically this is my block.

They're the only Doctor/Master who could have this perfect a happy ending.

Oh true, the others would have to fight a lot harder for anything like it.
iyoku: silly hatsiyoku on April 11th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
So good. So very, very good.

I love the way you write Delgado!Master ^_^
x_los: Treex_los on April 11th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)
Wow, thanks so much, it's really good to hear I have a decent voice for him!
All the best fandoms have time traveling monks.: Three and Delgado!Master by calapineskipthedemon on April 11th, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC)
Sweet, snarky, fluffy fun! Very nice, and I adore your Delgado!Master.

:cough: I would also be interested in the continuing adventures of Delgado!Master and Three. For they are made of awesome.
x_los: Blue Willow Teapotx_los on April 11th, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much!

And that they are. I've been working on a longer one-off arc thing for them, structured like a Pertwee-era 6 part episode, but also separately toying with a series extension of Groundhog, or maybe an alt season 9 or 10 with Master trapped on earth as well so I could play with them both at UNIT, Master reluctantly, bitchily co-scientific advising. *shrug* Something should come of it, eventually.
Chaosorder_of_chaos on April 12th, 2008 08:18 am (UTC)
Those two are so very, very delightful/charming/adorable when they're happy. It felt like the written equivalent of a patch of sunshine.
*self-indulgently rereads*
x_losfic: Threex_losfic on April 12th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
I've never written it before, but I kind of love their established relationship vibe dearly. It totally writes itself. Thanks!