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03 April 2014 @ 01:21 pm
Observer Effect  
Title: Observer Effect
Author: x_los
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Three/Delgado!Master
Summary: "Doctor/Master, The Mind of Evil, missing scene with the Doctor tied up awaiting the Keller process" One of Two answers (this is The One Without Sex). (a tidied old B_E kinkmeme fic, original here: http://community.livejournal.com/best_enemies/13938.html?thread=246130#t246130)
Beta: elviaprose


The Doctor’s only for an instant surprised to find the Master waiting for him in the Process Room, leaning against the wall in an indolent pose. Stupid, the Doctor thinks to himself. He was stupid to allow himself to be herded by the Master’s gunmen, and he’s an outright idiot to be surprised at the result. The Master usually knows what he’ll do before the Doctor’s figured it out himself.

The Master’s had the luxury of looking at him from the outside, of making a study of him. He sees only the conclusions the Doctor comes to, the actions he decides to take. The Doctor, in contrast, oversees the messy business of reconciling his own scattered impulses and reaching those conclusions. Inconstant as an atom, the Doctor never simultaneously understands both current position and his direction. He’s always too far busy moving to form a clear idea of the path he takes. To himself, the Doctor seems so indefinite.

It galls him to think that the Master must find him rather obvious.

The Master has to choose between being the one holding the gun on the Doctor and being the one to handcuff him into the chair. The Doctor takes comfort in knowing that at least it must annoy the Master to hand off either pleasure to a subordinate, who won’t properly appreciate it. The Master chooses the gun and circles the Doctor, pointing it right between his eyes, letting the Doctor understand what he could do if he wanted to. The Doctor finds his small comfort insufficient to the hour.

Mailer had better wait outside, hadn’t he? Mailer closes the door behind him, and the Master catches that from the corner of his eye and ever so slightly starts. It suddenly occurs to him what he could do, if he wanted. And the Doctor can just see his mind working even as a discreet smile pulls across his face.

The Doctor wonders how differently the conversation might have gone had Mailer absently left the door open.

The Master leans over the Doctor, his hands on either side of the chair. While explaining that he intends to subject the Doctor to his pet parasite, he drags a slow, pressing hand across the Doctor’s jacket, fishing out his amplifier. He presses it into the Doctor’s neck with a firm, gentle insistence.

Again he’s over the Doctor, “I really would like to stop and watch your nightmares—”. Voice almost wistful.

“Then why don’t you?” The Doctor snaps.

The Master arches an eyebrow. His eyes flick over to the closed door. He leans in.

“Why Doctor,” he breathes it out, half a chuckle. “It’s been some time since I heard such an enticing invitation.” The Master’s anticipation is too obvious. The Doctor is afraid of the machine--of what it represents, of its capacity to know him, of what it will show him. His stomach clenches, and he cannot determine which cause is most to blame, whether his own terrible desire or terror itself has wrenched his body still.

The Doctor curses his mouth as the Master takes a few steps back, watching the Doctor intently. The Master leans against the wall, legs crossed and arms folded over his chest as before, looking for all the world as if he’d quite like to lick his lips (if dignity didn’t forbid).

The machine starts to pulse, and the Doctor knows he can’t feel the flames, not really. Nor are the metallic screams real. Last year he’d been forced to consign the alternate Earth to the flames, and even as his TARDIS dematerialized, he’d smelled something. A horrible odor had snaked through the doors of his TARDIS just as they shut, and he couldn’t stop himself from wondering, just for a flickering moment, what the smell could be. He couldn’t un-know (because he realized, even in the instant of wondering) that it was Liz’s hair, burning. Telling himself that it wasn’t his Liz, as he fought urges to wretch or sob, had been useless. Telling himself that he can’t smell it now, because it isn’t real now—what difference does it make if it’s real, when atoms of a dead friend are in his nose and his mouth and his lungs and monsters are screaming and he can feel his face twist into grimaces like his bones are burning melting away and he wants nothing, nothing in the world more than he wants it to stop.

And then the air is blessedly cool and he can only smell the sterile processing room and the Master’s light cologne. Could only hear the quiet throb of the air conditioners, and the Master saying “shh, it’s all right. I have you”. His fingers are stroking down the side of the Doctor’s face, and the Doctor can’t even remember, can’t care that it’s the Master’s who’s done this to him. He’s just straining against the handcuffs to push his face into the Master’s sleeve, his mouth moving in inarticulate shapes against the suit fabric.

“I,” he tries. Swallows. “I—”

“Shh,” the Master’s fingers light in his hair. “There now. Didn’t I stop it when it got too much?” And the Doctor stupidly nods, only grateful that it’s gone, that it’s ended.

The Doctor presses into his hand, willing him not to step back, not to take away safety and comfort and pressure and the smell of his soap and light, clean cologne, as if the other sensations, the ones he doesn’t want to think about, will well back up in his memory to take his place the moment the Master stops touching him.

“What do you see?” The Master asks, peeling the amplifier off the Doctor’s skin and tracing the raised bump that marks where it had rested with an idle finger. His voice is just a shade too tight for the question to be casual.

The Doctor rests his cheek on the Master’s forearm and weakly closes his eyes. He doesn’t want to think about it. He doesn’t want to disobey.

“An entire world, consumed in flames. A world like this one, simply lost. I tried,” his voice drops close to a whisper, “I tried.”

“Oh,” the Master manages to sound so disappointed in that one syllable that the Doctor wonders what it is the Master wanted him to say. The Master slides his hands away, and the Doctor wants to ask him to stay with him, wants to say ‘please’ and ‘Master’ if he has to, but he’s recovering his presence of mind now and he bites his lip until the need passes.

The Master turns his back to the Doctor and has a palm on the door, but pauses at the sound of the Doctor’s voice.

“What do you see?” And the Doctor is looking down at the knees of his pants and not at the Master, not even turning as far as his bound position will allow, because his face is still slack and he’s beginning to comprehend the shame of his position again.

The Master laughs, and it’s thin. There’s so little of the glee of his normal chuckle that it’s hard to hear the kinship in the sounds.

“Nothing you’ll ever be able to,” he offers, and closes the door behind him, leaving the Doctor to wait for him to send Mailer in to uncuff him.
elviaproseelviaprose on April 3rd, 2014 11:51 pm (UTC)
I'm really glad you're reposting these. I enjoyed this one particularly on the meme, and never got to say. What I like about this one, broadly, is the way that the Doctor showing the Master his true self, his deepest fears and desires, is what drives the Master back away from him. The Master doesn't want the Doctor's openness, he wants his obsession, I guess. Although how it got to be that way is an open question. It's too simple to say that the Master doesn't want the Doctor to be himself, exactly, because there's so much history there.
x_losx_los on April 4th, 2014 01:49 am (UTC)
I think of it more as--D!M going 'the core of me is you, but I'm not saying it atm' and Three saying 'the core of me is /me/, my experiences and choices that don't involve you' and D!M having wanted a reciprocity the Doctor can't honestly offer--which is pretty much what you're saying? But yeah, I think he wants the Doctor to be himself, just--to be, fundamentally, whatever his outward choices, concerned with him, which would be fair b/c the reverse is true. In a way, why does he ask a question he knows the answer to, esp. if he knows he doesn't like the answer? Why doesn't he believe the answer/why does he think something may have changed?

Thanks for your comment!
Same Nameunknown20troper on April 7th, 2014 02:15 am (UTC)
That last line - wham!

Like, it's literally what makes it for me. How he refuses to answer Three's question directly and instead just drops what might be a hint, the intensity of emotion I literally hear in what he says even though this isn't an auditory medium at all... and that part of why he won't tell the Doctor, I'm sure, might be that he fears the Doctor will mock for it.

And that the Doctor wants him, yet never is capable of saying it, even though that might make the Master happy (or at least less disappointed about not having anything to do with the Doctor's fears, though if he actually considered some of the ways he could've been featured in them, he'd realize he actually has it pretty good). That even though he thinks he's obvious to the Master, he's not, not entirely.

And the title fits so well.
x_losficx_losfic on April 9th, 2014 02:03 am (UTC)
Yay! V. happy it works for you! I mean capable is an interesting word, b/c I think he totally CAN say it, wants to say it even, but find it morally impossible to deal w/ the consequences and so resists doing so. But yeah--so like some woobie ass scene of D!M dying and Three never resolving things between them!! could have been the greatest fear and D!M would have been all :3 , or something more 'what if you didn't care?' or 'I fear my desire for you omg!!', but equally it could have been REALLY fucking unflattering you-related fears, D!M, so basically suck it up.

Yeah, I like that he is and isn't--I mean maybe d!M can see his direction but not apprehend his position or something. And thanks re: title--the fic's about taking the observer effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect_(physics))/the Jane Goodall primatology version thereof and the uncertainty principle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle) too personally, in a way. Probably this is gross abuse of pop science, buuuut I found it generative.
Same Nameunknown20troper on April 9th, 2014 02:23 am (UTC)
Yeah, 'capable's "interestingness" might have been why I used it, actually. 'Cause yeah... capable... He might be, might not. Either way, he's certainly not doing it, and until he does it, he might as well not be capable.

Yep, I can see that being what he was hoping for. And hmmm... the Doctor was shown having multiple big fears under the Keller Machine (all of those various enemies, as well as the Inferno world; and in the God Complex/Time of the Doctor, his greatest fear apparently became the Moffat Crack), so maybe D!M would've gotten to see the fear he wanted if he just dug deep enough. Which might kill the Doctor, though, unless he kept on taking breaks for recovery time. And even then, he just didn't have the time, what with the Machine suddenly developing the ability to wander around killing people and him needing to get the nuke. Yeah...

Thank god, D!M, that he doesn't think you are as abominable as the Daleks! 'Cause if you went there, you might not be coming back...

:D Haha, yeah, they'd totally have less problems in their relationship if they just learned to suck it up, see each other's POVs more, stop focusing so intensely on certain ideas they have. Which, yeah, they both only manage to after the Time War (and the Master takes a particularly long time of it).

Well, it isn't like Doctor Who is scientifically impeccable so hey...
x_losfic: My Sandwich!x_losfic on April 11th, 2014 03:23 am (UTC)
Fair enough, my greatest fear is the Moffat crack as well...

hank god, D!M, that he doesn't think you are as abominable as the Daleks! 'Cause if you went there, you might not be coming back... Fact.