Summary: Crack!Response to Survival. The Master employs amazing long-term pick-up strategies, at the expense of the Doctor's sanity and Bernaz the Sentient Muskrat of Woe.
Beta: The lovely bagheera_san , who made this much more fun.
A/N: While bagheera_san joked that "the serious!fic could be the sequel to this! Which would be both comic and tragic," which was actually pretty awesome, they're written as detached, non-linear perspectives.
Survival Take One
Sometime after thwacking his nemesis over the head with a bone the Master began to regret his abrupt decision to embrace his animal instincts. The Cheetah, while a fun crowd, lacked a lot in the way of metallic embroidery and ships capable of four-dimensional travel. They couldn’t support him in the lifestyle to which he’d become accustomed. Additionally, the Doctor was an awfully heavy armful, and without technology the Master was having a less than pleasant stroll. But this planet would serve his purposes for the time being, and he consoled himself with the knowledge that he was going to really enjoy at least one aspect of slumming it for the next few weeks.
He and the Doctor’s unconscious body had relocated with the rest of the Cheetah to Omega knew where, probably even further away from his poor lost TARDIS. She would be so cross when they were finally reunited that he’d have to install a whole new operating system just to get her to shut up about it and stop simultaneously flushing all of her toilets while he was showering. Which might seem a mundane issue, but the Time Lords had long ago opted to perfect vortex manipulation, giving up on ever understanding the more subtle vagaries of plumbing. He himself had been trying to redo his spare bathroom for well over a century.
The Doctor began to stir, and the Master quickly dusted off his black suit and concentrated on perfecting the ‘charmingly smarmy’ to ‘death-by-cyanide-rictus’ ratio of his smile. He tossed his thwacking-bone around a bit, just to occupy his hands. The Doctor coughed, wetly and unsexily, and rolled over to squint blearily at the Master.
“Are you ill?” the Doctor asked with a puzzled frown. Ah. Too many teeth, then. The Master opened his mouth to deliver cutting invective, something memorable like, “I am sick… of looking at you!” or “Only mentally!” but his wit was tragically curtailed, smothered in its cradle by the Doctor cutting in, bogarting the last word as usual.
“Did you— you did. You knocked me out. You knocked me out with a pony thighbone. Why, on wherever the hell we are, did you feel it necessary to desiccate a pony skeleton to smash my skull in?”
“Your thick skull is fine--”
“Where did you even get a pony?!”
“The kittlings bring back strange things!” The Master was defensive. The Cheetah, for all their faults, were some of the best hench-creatures he’d had all century. “Do you know how many random homeless people they fetched before managing to get it right and find you? Mind you, I did have to sketch them a picture in the dirt of your fetching ‘questioning jumper’ ensemble and I can see how they could have become confused.”
He’d removed that particular eyesore while the Doctor was sleeping, leaving his best enemy in a nearly respectable dress shirt. If questioned, the Master would say wools were unsuitable to the climate, but really he just heartily loathed the article of clothing in question. The Master had left it on a tree branch somewhere in hopes some fashion victim of a bird would pick it apart to use as nest bedding. And then a predator attracted to the nest’s bright colours would hopefully eat that bird: fitting punishment for having made such egregious errors in interior decorating.
“The Cheetah just ate the pony?”
“Oh heavens no, Doctor, it lived a long, happy life, giving their children rides and teaching them lessons about caring for it, and for each other, before a tragic accident involving an open barn door and slippery grass cut short--- OF COURSE THEY ATE THE PONY!”
“They might have ridden it about,” the Doctor sulked.
“They have a breeding population of proper horses, as even you must have noticed while they were running you down on them. So why would they also need the Shetland for riding purpos—look, much as I want to have an argument with you about the relative load bearing capacity of a Shetland pony, how many hands high you can estimate the animal to have been from looking at this bone, average Cheetah size demographics and how astoundingly thick you are, have you noticed we’re on a different planet? Less desert, more deciduous?”
The Master felt this was the kind of solid rhetorical line he’d been groping for all day. Well, technically, back on the bone pile he’d been engaged in rather more literal groping, but if the Doctor’s mild concussion kept him from remembering that bit, so much the better. It would heighten the surprise of the Master’s next brilliant move!
“No. No, I didn’t notice our scenery change. Because before I could really take in my surroundings, someone thought it was incredibly necessary to knock me out. With a pony thigh. What exactly was your plan here? Going to wake me up, taunt me a second time, give me a few more smacks and see if it takes? One of us has rather a few regenerations left. I’d say at your current ‘attempts on my life’ to ‘Doctors you have offed’ ratio you’ve got a full morning ahead of you.”
“Something like that.” The Master brought down the pony bone he’d been tossing about the whole of the conversation on the crown of the Doctor’s skull with a sharp tap. “You talk too much.” The Doctor slumped forward onto the grass of their new home. The Master gave his impromptu club a victorious twirl. Later he thought he’d whittle it into a shank.
The Doctor woke up again, annoyed before the fog even cleared from his vision.
“Oh come on, twice in a row is just cheap.”
“Not if you fall for it,” echoed from some other corner of the--- cave? Were they in a cave now?
The Master strode into view, carrying what looked to be a freshly cooked dead animal wedged on a moss-encrusted twig and set it in front of the Doctor, pulling off a bit of it for himself and shoving it on yet another green-fuzz bedecked stick.
The Doctor looked at the dead animal. The Doctor looked up at the Master. The Master smiled, all creepy innocence and awkward over-sexuality, like a little girl in a pre-teen beauty pageant, and looked intently at the Doctor.
The dead animal* didn’t look at anything, being deceased. It had been a very perceptive sentient muskrat not long ago, though, and would have rolled its eyes if it could have.
“There’s still bits of fur and feathers on it,” the Doctor offered sadly.
“I caught it though! For you, even! Aren’t you hungry?” The Master’s voice was awfully expectant.
In the Doctor’s mind, a few salient points of the situation suddenly arranged themselves into a pattern. It was a lot like how, if you’re a paranoid schizophrenic, prices in the supermarket arrange themselves into coded messages from the government, instructing you to wear tinfoil hats in order to fight aliens. In the Doctor’s experience that never worked—he’d go with wax paper over tinfoil every time. But given that he was dealing with the Master, the Doctor thought the more mental the line of reasoning behind his conclusions, the better.
“Let’s recap our situation briefly. You have knocked me over the head.”
“Twice!” the Master interrupted proudly, but also because he appreciated exactitude.
The Doctor conceded the point. “As you say, twice. And you dragged me here—by the hair, I presume?”
“Now that’s wishful thinking on your part. It would certainly all fall out. I had to use the scruff of your neck. You’re a hard man to drag, Doctor.”
“Back to your cave.”
“I prefer lair. You’ll love what I’m going to do with the place.”
“And you are now proceeding to provide me with, er, meat. Your kill, specifically.”
“Oh come on, don’t be churlish, have a nibble Doctor—It’s like tandoori chicken if there wasn’t any chicken about and I couldn’t figure out what I could use as a spice that wouldn’t give us food poisoning. But apart from that, it bears a striking resemblance!”
“You do know what all of this looks like. I know you failed introductory anthropology but no one could possibly fail it this hard.”
“Yes.” The Master seemed unperturbed, and was now munching on his own unattractive meat-stick, having apparently grown bored of waiting for the Doctor to come to the appallingly obvious conclusion.
“So when, and this was just a few hours ago, mind you, your eyes went all raver-y and you said you wanted to destroy me…?”
“Patience Doctor, let a man finish his meat stick. I burned energy dragging you in here that I’m hoping to replenish before we get any good ‘destroying’ in.” The Master waggled his eyebrows.
There was a long pause, so pregnant it expected septuplets.
“Can’t you ever just ask me out on a normal date?” The Doctor shrieked. “The Cheetah Planet? For Rassilon’s sake, I just want to go to the Olive Garden and order Veal Parmesan or something! Instead I’m trapped for an unknown period on a planet of frankly ridiculous looking carnivores with you licking your fangs at me—goddamit Koschei! I just wanted some appetizers and white wine! Maybe a Bellini! Why in nine hundred years have you never done the decent thing by me and bought me a Bellini?!”
“But we’re going to unleash our animal passions!” The Master gestured frantically to the meat sticks as if they were instrumental in proving his point. “Make like cats in heat! Unleash centuries of our smoldering sexual tension, which, by the way, you’re a lot calmer about recognizing than I would have thought you’d be, I was betting on having to break out our friend the Party Rock again and just letting you sort of come to in medias res —I cooked you this quaint little meat stick, even!”
“Oh my god,” The Doctor pressed a hand to his brow, “this is worse than the time with the Magna Carta! I wait centuries for you to figure out your fixation with me by yourself, come to terms with it, and perhaps suggest a trip to the pub, buy me a few drinks, try for a drunken snog, attempt a smashed lay and follow it up with an ‘oh, I didn’t know what I was doing, I was just so wasted, but listen, now that you’re in my TARDIS why not just have a shower, I’ll do a fry up, and maybe you should move in, you know, just for convenience sake,’ arrangement. But obviously you are actually this stupid. I don’t know what I see in you.” The Doctor, all vexed out, turned away, twirling his meat stick desolately.
“We’ll get out of here eventually, Doctor.” The Master put a hand on the other man’s shoulder and squeezed it consolingly, inching his hand ever so slowly towards the Doctor’s vulnerable, erogenous neck.
“You don’t even know where we are!”
“No,” the Master offered, “But my TARDIS has a new homing function and it’ll find me within, I should expect, a few more weeks at the outside. We shouldn’t shift planets before then. We’ll be perfectly fine, if a little more rugged than we might have liked.” Well, than the Doctor would have liked. The Master had been rather looking forward to the dirty, sweaty bits of finally capturing the Doctor, but someone was being a killjoy—
“Oh,” the Doctor huffed “I can’t stay mad at you.”
“Yes you can,” the Master corrected, shocked, “Frequently for centuries, about the stupidest things, like anyone even misses Logopolis! The Math Planet!--” He hated pronouncing exclamation marks, but as that had been the planet's proper name before he'd decimated it he might as well get the nomenclature right-- he kind of owed it that.
“I can’t stay mad at you when we could be having long overdue, therapeutic sex,” the Doctor amended.
“Oh, well then.” The Master tossed the meatstuffs aside and proceeded to put their cave to good use, the patient hand resting at the base of the Doctor’s neck becoming rapidly more interested in the joys of undelayed gratification. “Let’s find out if the Cheetah Virus can be sexually transmitted.”
“Eugh,” the Doctor groaned, half in exasperation, half in enjoyment as the Master did something more inspired than any twelve of his Doctor-baiting schemes together to the Doctor’s torso. “Fucking Cheetah planet.”***
*Which had been a sentient flying muskrat-type creature named Bernaz. Unbeknownst to the Time Lords, he had been up for a promotion at work and in a very good place in his relationship with his girlfriend, Shernaz, before his life was tragically cut short by a black-garbed man coming at him with a rock**. At any rate he’d been too young and full of life to be reduced to a poorly conceived courtship offering, and all this really was a pity.
**in the desperate, flailing attempts to ‘make it die’ of the type of man who’d never before so much as seen raw chicken
***If there were a sequel to this it would be titled Ace Has Two Daddies. So thank god there never will be.