The Doctor sat curled up in the corner in a prison cell trying to work out how on Gallifrey he was going to get himself out of this one. He'd only come to the planet to find a present for Kos, who would be staying, as instructed, aboard the TARDIS. It wasn't his fault that he knew nothing of the planet's cultures... The one planet in the universe he knew nothing about beyond their renown for making some of the most beautiful gifts in the universe, and it had to be the one that got offended by every little thing.
Okay, maybe it was his fault a little bit, he really should have done his research first. Still, too late for that now. First, they'd said, he was dressed too provocatively, obviously come to seduce the population. Well, of course he'd insisted his husband would not like that, and that was the last thing on his mind. It was a normal way of dressing where he came from. (Okay, so that might be stretching it a bit... okay a lot, but he wouldn't be seen dead in those hideous robes!) Which they had also taken offense too, because apparently it was a crime to be married unless you were royalty, or royalty chose you. And doubly illegal if you were of the same gender (seriously messed up, if you asked him!).
Then there'd been the licking incident. Apparently they didn't take kindly to him licking their most sacred monument. Well how was he supposed to know that that particular little statue was sacred? It was nothing particularly special looking. A mere ornament really, if you asked him (which of course they didn't). And finally, or maybe firstly as it was how the others had been caught, there had been the problem of trespassing in the Royal Palace, in the princess's chambers no less. And to look upon their majesties without permission, particularly when they were, as she had been, not fully dressed, was a very serious crime indeed. So he had been thrown into jail, with a psychic damper in place to stop him calling for help (until morning they said, when they would remove it so his illegal husband would feel the pain of his torture) although he had yet to figure out how they knew he had psychic ability, when they obviously didn't, and hadn't even asked his species. He had handcuffs, cruelly tight, cutting into his arms every time he tried to move, and one of his legs was chained to the wall. There was bruising all over him from his less than gentle escort to his cell and if Kos didn't work out something was wrong pretty soon, he couldn't see how he'd get out of this one at all. Daybreak, and it would be over for him.
Meanwhile, on the TARDIS, the Master was getting worried. Theta had been gone far too long. He'd said an hour, two tops, and he'd been gone at least three. What if he was in trouble? What if something had happened to him? But he'd know, wouldn't he? If Theta was hurt... For one thing he'd feel it through their mental connection, forged the day they'd married. He probed with his mind, using that connection, which was so much stronger now than the day it had formed, and yet... There was nothing. He couldn't even feel Theta's presence. There was definitely something wrong. He should never have let him go...
He practically sprinted to the console room, asking the TARDIS to give him everything she knew about the planet, biting his lip as she told him about the stupid laws they had. Getting scared when she moved on to the subject of punishments. He'd have a psychic dampener, and it'd take weeks to find him if he wasn't very clever, and that would be far too late. He sprinted to the wardrobe room, finding some bland robes that should be inoffensive, and reluctantly removing his wedding rings, mentally apologising to Theta, but knowing it wasn't worth the risk if he were going to rescue him. He shoved his laser screwdriver in a hidden pocket, and the psychic paper in another. One of Theta's preferred tools, but useful none the less. He selected a clipboard, making sure he had plenty of paper, and a pen. Finally he selected a pair of clear-lensed glasses - brainy specs as Theta called them. Definitely fitted the image he was going for though. Then he set the TARDIS co-ordinates, moving to the nearest prison to their current location, hoping that he was right, and that he wasn't too late. He stepped outside, to see the darkness that comes just before sunrise. He couldn't have long if what the TARDIS told him was true. At least they were a planet in, and fully aware of, the Shadow proclamation. He had planned meticulously, even in the short time he'd been given. He stepped through the prison doors, with an air of importance about him, striding in as though he owned the place. An act well practiced over the years. It was amazing how easily he fell back into it. Master of all. It was almost comforting in the absence of his husband. He didn't let his true emotions show though, because he was terrified for Theta. His Theta. And they had to think he was in complete control. He rang the bell at the desk, and stood there impatiently. The sun was edging towards the horizon. He didn't have much time.
In his cell, the Doctor had fallen into an uneasy sleep, tossing and turning as much as his bindings would let him. Deep sleep evading him without warm arms around him, and a warm body next to his own. His face was tearstained, and he shivered from cold, just wanting his Koschei more than anything. He woke with a start, crying out, just one word.
He coiled into a tighter ball, tears streaming down his cheeks. He'd never see him again. And if Kos saw him... It would break his hearts... Light started to stream in through the window. Daybreak. And he had absolutely no plan.
The Master rang the bell again, and finally one of the natives scuttled out. Just as the sun broke the horizon. Dear Rassion, he hoped he wasn't too late. He gave a haughty look, and pulled out the psychic paper, jotting down a few notes, shaking his head and tutting, muttering under his breath.
"Waiting time too long... Inadequate staffing perhaps?"
The native coughed nervously,
"Can I help you?"
"Ah yes, intergalactic prison inspector." He flashed the psychic paper, "I'm sure my superiors sent word of my imminent arrival..."
The native spluttered, taken by surprise, of course.
"I... We... Er... That is, I knew nothing of this, sir..."
The Master grinned.
"No matter. I personally find surprise inspections a lot more revealing, even if the usual policy requires notice... Now then, let's start with you. You will be my guide, if you have no objections. Name, and rank."
He poised his pen over the notepad, ready to scribble it down.
"Errr, Ma'kari, Sir... Junior prison officer"
"Excellent, Ma'kari. Now, I wonder if you could tell me something of your current prisoners. Do you have a full sheet of names, crimes, and punishments to be carried out, along with trial dates?"
He grinned as he scuttled away obediently. Oh he did miss power, in some ways. But he could still feel his insides churning. It was daybreak. He just hoped he wasn't too late.
The door to the Doctor's cell creaked open, and two guards marched in, unchaining his leg, and hauling him roughly up.
"Come on, you vermin, can't keep the judges waiting..."
He perked up. A trial? Then maybe, just maybe Koschei would have a chance... But then he remembered the psychic dampener. He wouldn't know where he was. Maybe his luck had finally run out.
The Master was looking through the paperwork, making a few notes, trying to look professional. And then he found what he was looking for. Theta. He pointed at the page.
"I see you have a new prisoner. Not yet tried. Tell me about him."
Ma'kari nodded, proceeding to tell him of the crimes committed. And the punishments. It was all he could do not to shudder. To storm off and find him and break him out. But if he failed, they'd both be in hot water. No, better stick with his original plan.
"And when is his trial?" he asked as casually and officiously as he could.
"Why, it's being carried out as we speak. You may watch on the videolink if you wish. Since it has started, you may not attend in person. Prison rules I'm afraid."
He nodded. Speaking was impossible for fear of making a mistake, following him over to a screen, notebook and pen gripped tightly in his hand. And there was Theta, in the middle of the screen, on his knees, handcuffed, face tearstained, looking completely terrified. Like he'd lost all hope. Like he knew that he'd lost everything, and this time there was no way to escape the inevitable. That daybreak had brought his destruction. 'Not today, my Theta', he murmured to himself, in the confines of his own mind, 'not today...' He swallowed, mustering the strength to keep up his act.
"He looks like he's given up. Why?"
The alien grinned. "Knows he's guilty, doesn't he... Knows that he's run out of time, and he'll likely never see that 'husband' of his again. And he's been crying, begging that they keep the psychic damper on. Because they are to take it off for his torture, so his husband, another law breaker, will suffer with him, and when it comes to his execution..." he grinned, an evil, toothy grin, "well, it'll break his heart, won't it?"
The Master's hearts almost stopped at that. Even in his last moments, all Theta wanted was to lessen his pain. He wanted more than ever to sprint down there, break him loose, and laser down every single sodding one of them who'd dare hurt his beautiful Theta. Yet he still kept his calm patience after years of practice, he was rather good at it.
"I assume you -do- have a Shadow Proclamation torture licence... I shall have to see it of course. Preferably before any sentence is carried out on the prisoner."
Ma'kari nodded again.
"It's not in my authority to delay sentences, but I shall send a message with your request, and take you to see the licence. We also have licence for many manners of execution, if it would please you to see those..."
The Master nodded, refining his plan to a slightly different one. It could work even better than anticipated.
"Yes. Also, if possible I would like to speak with the prisoner before his..." he swallowed, almost imperceptibly, hating to say the word when relating to his Theta, "execution... In private if possible. I hope this won't cause too much inconvenience..."
The prison officer nodded.
"I'll send word immediately. Of course I can't make any promises as to what shape he's in..."
His hearts sank, but he nodded anyway.
"Of course. Thank you for your time. Lead on. And may I remind you that as an official of the Shadow Proclamation inspection department, I have the authority to carry out justice on those who do not submit to my inspection. Do I make myself clear?" Oh yes, heads would roll if anything happened to his Theta. There was a frantic, vaguely terrified nodding, as his guide scuttled off to lead the way.
The Doctor was getting more scared by the second. Yet still not for his own life, because that really didn't matter. No, he was scared about what might happen to Koschei. How much this would hurt him. Break his hearts in two... What it might do to him.
"Oh Kos," he murmured, as he was lead from the court room, found guilty, and sentenced to a long, painful torture, followed by execution, "I'm sorry... I love you... always..." He made no struggle as he was thrown into a room, nor as his arms and legs were stretched out, chaining him in place. It was only when they reached for the psychic damper he tried to pull away. He wished he could feel Koschei's presence once more, but couldn't bear knowing the pain it would cause him.
"No, please, do anything to me, but don't take it off. My last request, surely you'll grant me that?"
But all he got was laughs, a hard slap around the face, and the damper torn off. And despite himself, he felt a wave of delight. He could feel him again, within the very same building. He'd come to rescue him. Oh, he should never have doubted him.
'Koschei...' he sent through the psychic pathways to his mind, 'close off your mind, quickly... Please, don't let them hurt you too... I love you... AAAAAAGH!' he screamed aloud too, as the first strike of pain flowed through his body. He just hoped Koschei was sensible enough to shut him out, and quick enough to rescue him...
The Master shuddered, raising a hand to his head, closing his eyes. Theta was hurting. He hadn't been quick enough. He forced himself to shut Theta out as much as he could though. How could he rescue him if he couldn't think from pain? But he let some of it stay in the back of his mind. A reminder and an incentive to hurry.
"Are you okay, sir?"
He looked up to see a concerned Ma'kari.
"My race are slightly psychic. I assume the torture started. Had I been warned I could have blocked it out immediately, but I felt his pain resonating through my own mind. And a name... Kos...chei? I think that was it..."
"I apologise, I was unaware. And yes, I believe that is the name of his beloved husband. He's been saying the name a lot. I do kind of pity that poor sod. Doesn't even know where his husband is, and will have to feel him tortured to death... Still, they're both criminals. Deserve it, don't they."
The Master was speechless, about ready to punch this alien in the face, before lasering him for good measure. Theta most certainly did not deserve that. Sure he'd made a mistake. Some quite big mistakes in fact, but the only ones here who deserved any of that pain were the ones doing this to his perfect Theta. And they would get it if he didn't get his Theta back in one piece. He'd proved in the past what he could do, and he would most certainly do so again to protect his husband.
"You know, most of the universe would disagree with you. They would see no crime in this... Koschei... Not in being married to this other man. I, of course, may not divulge any personal opinion, as it would be unprofessional. Especially given your laws. Now, you were going to give me an audience with the prisoner, I believe."
The officer shrugged. "The universe can say what they like, it's not right, unless you are Royalty, or in the favour of Royalty. I would never dream of -marrying-. But yes, my superiors have given permission. You are not only to talk with him, but as a senior member of the Shadow Proclamation, you are to take part in his torture. After all, that is part of your role, is it not?"
The Master went pale. He couldn't help it, the thought of torturing his beloved Theta was unbearable. How could he -ever- do that? How would he ever forgive himself? What would it do to Theta, to see him walk in there, with hopes of being rescued, only to have them torn away when he joined in?
"I can't." He couldn't say any more for a moment, for fear he might give it away, and lose his hope of saving him. Ma'kari grinned nastily.
"Oh, I think you can... After all, you wouldn't want anyone... Doubting your identity, would you... As I'm sure you're aware, it's our duty, should we encounter someone impersonating a senior member of the Shadow Proclamation, to carry out their sentence. You do, of course, know the consequences?"
He was trapped, and he knew it.
"Very well, very well, but I am to interrogate the prisoner first. In -private-, with no surveillance. Secrecy of my report and Shadow Proclamation secrets and all. With the condition that you give me use of a psychic damper. If I'm in close proximity, I won't be able to tune his pain out."
Of course, he intended to make use of it in an entirely different way... With a little tweaking of the settings it would soon become a good enough psychic amplifier for the TARDIS to receive their precise co-ordinates. If need be...
"Agreed. Please step this way, you may start immediately..."
"Very well. Have you ceased the torture?"
"I have sent word, and they shall stop when you enter the room, no sooner."
Damn it, he was going to have to risk feeling his pain again, he needed Theta to know that whatever happens he must show no recognition.
'Theta. Theta Sigma, I am coming for you. You'll be safe soon love, I promise. I'm in disguise though, so whatever happens don't let them know who I am. I love you.'
He winced, shutting off his mind again. Poor Theta.
And indeed he was poor Theta. Weak from pain, he only just managed to comprehend what he was being told. Oh, he should never have doubted his Kossy. And the thought of him made him stronger, the thought he would soon be rescued. Be safe, in his Kossy's arms. He could bear any amount of pain for that privilege. The door swung open just as another wave of pain rushed through his body, bringing a scream to his lips, just as a familiar figure stepped in, accompanied by another prison guard. And it was all the Master could do as he stepped in to see his Theta in such a state not to run to him and free him. To fight of every last one of these bastards and carry his Theta to safety. And he barely held back the tears, or the anger in his voice, or the sadness at having to play at the tough senior officer of the Shadow Proclamation, when he was the one he had to be tough to. He put on what he hoped was his most tough and officious voice. Rassilon, he was losing it. Not that long ago he had the skill of 'faking-hating-Theta' down to a fine art... Where had he gone wrong? Probably the moment he agreed to marry the wonderful thing, he supposed. Well, he was more than happy with -that- arrangement! 'Focus, Koschei' he thought to himself.
"Release the prisoner, and take us to a suitable place for the interrogation. Remember, if you are found to be spying on an inspector of the Shadow Proclamation, the consequences will be severe for you all..."
He glared at them for effect, and to make himself feel better too.
"Can he walk?"
"'e'll walk, or he'll be -made to walk, won't you, you scum?" jeered one of Theta's torturers, unstrapping him from his bonds, and watching him collapse unceremoniously to the floor. The Master had to fight himself hard not to rush over and catch him. Last time he'd been the cause of him falling down, while in full hate-Theta masquerade, and yet he still hadn't been able to stop himself from catching Theta. From holding him again. And it took every last inch of his will power not to. He couldn't hold back an extremely apologetic look, and from sending him a massive apology through the link between their minds, until he received the stern command from Theta to shut up and get him out of here.
It took a lot of struggling on both their parts to get to the interrogation room - physically on Theta's part, hardly able to hold up his own weight, and trying to keep up the act on Koschei's, the pain of his Theta tearing him apart from the inside out, especially knowing he could so easily reach back and help. He had tried of course.
"Let me help him. He's no use to me unconscious, or even delirious. And bring me some water for him. He needs to speak, dammit."
But the answer had been less than satisfactory.
"Are you at the Shadow Proclamation going soft or something? You and your excuses, when really you're just squeamish. There's no rush, if he faints, you can wait it out. After all he'll not be with us much longer..." an evil grin once again adorned Ma'kari's face. There was nothing for it but to struggle on.
Eventually, though, they were left in peace, with a small glass of water, for which Theta was very grateful. Koschei pretended to wait for him to finish before starting anything, flicking to a clean page on his clipboard, but in the meanwhile they were already conversing mentally.
'Theta, you are a right idiot sometimes, you know that?! I've been worried sick about you. And with good reason too.'
'I know...' he sounded sorry, ashamed, but more than that in dreadful pain, and oh Rassilon, Koschei wanted to cuddle him so much. 'I'm sorry Kos... I only wanted something special for you... But thank you for coming after me...'
'Theta Sigma, if you thought I would EVER leave you when you were in trouble, you're more of an idiot than I thought. Now, I need to interrogate you about things, but if we get this right, you'll be free in no time, and we'll be away from here before you know it. You just need to trust me. Firstly, make your verbal responses as slow and weak as you can.'
And with that, he started the verbal questions - name, species - that sort of thing to start with, then things about the prison, how he was treated before the trial, etc. All the while continuing to talk to him mentally.
'We'll have more time to discuss the important things this way if you do, as they're bound to be watching, despite what I said to them. Secondly, I have been told I am to torture you. Even if my plan to release you works, they may insist, or both our necks will be on the line. So if that's the case, I plan to do something a bit different.' he grinned, sending a mental wink. 'Please act in pain for me...' he looked down, sadly. Unfortunately he didn't think Theta would have any difficulty with that. 'And thirdly, the TARDIS is on standby. Plan B is I fiddle with the mental damper to make it amplify, and she'll come straight too us. Finally Plan C. You won't like this, but it's our only option if things go wrong. I have my laser in my pocket and I will take down every last stinking one who dared lay a finger on you, while carrying you safely home in my arms. Any questions?'
He stopped asking questions verbally for a moment too, looking down at his page of notes.
'Yeah, what's Plan A? You've not told me...'
Koschei grinned again.
'You'll see. It starts now...'
He looked as though puzzled at his notes, underlining one word, looking up at him.
"I'm sorry, I must have heard you wrong, I've written here that you're a Timelord. I thought your kind were extinct. Died out in the Time War?"
Theta's eyes brightened as he realised what was happening. Even when in severe pain and nearly broken, he could catch on pretty quick... Sometimes...
"No, you heard me right, sir..." he coughed, a few drops of blood splattering to the ground. That was not good. Not good at all. "I was the last survivor of the Time War... Well... Thought I was... Until Koschei - that's my gorgeous husband - turned up again. But there's no others... Just us... Soon to be just him..." Theta sighed very convincingly. "I hope he doesn't take it too hard. I'd hate to think he'd go on aimlessly without me when he still has such a wonderful existence left to live..."
Koschei was scribbling notes like mad, trying not to well up at his words, the sentimental idiot!
"I need to talk to someone. You stay there..." he tried to look menacing, bless him (thought Theta), but menacing doesn't work when you're so worried about your husband and he's the one you're trying to be menacing to. Besides, Theta couldn't have gone anywhere had he wanted to. He was far too weak to do anything of the sort.
Koschei left the room urgently, marching up to Ma'kari. This was the part that would make or break the plan. If he got this wrong, then he'd probably have to go straight to Plan C, or they were dead.
"There's a problem. A -big- problem. Are you aware of the penalty for execution of a member of an endangered species without proper authentication. Even I am not Senior enough to grant such permission. So if you would be so kind as to give me a copy of the laws of your planet, along with a full report of the prisoner's crimes, and the sentence decreed by your judges, I will take him to someone who can decide the appropriate action and carry it out. You will be spared from any judgement yourselves as this is first offense, and the full sentence had not yet been carried out, but consider this an official warning." He paused to scribble something else on his paper. "The Shadow Proclamation will, of course, be notified of this, for future reference. Now, prepare those documents, along with a list of all staff here, and I shall be on my way with your prisoner."
Ma'kari looked positively terrified. Definitely a good reaction, he was playing his part well. Now all that remained was to see how compliant he would be.
"O-of course, Sir. M-may I ask the species in question... So we may know I'm future, should we detain one..."
"Timelord..." he grinned at the look on his face. So he'd heard of them then?
"I didn't know... And yet he's shown no resistance... But I thought they were wiped out? The Time War..." his eyes narrowed "how can you be so certain he's not lying... If he knew the laws of the Shadow Proclamation..."
"I thought so too, yet here he is... And I have the technology on my ship to run diagnostics. If he has lied, I will immediately return him to you to resume punishment. But if he tells the truth... Well it's my neck on the line as well as yours... Now then, shall we get on?"
He smiled menacingly, jotting down a few more notes.
"Of course, I'll get everything you need sorted as soon as possible. In the meanwhile, the prisoner is due more torture... From yourself..."
Ma'kari grinned. He had long suspected there was more to this man than it seemed. He just needed to find a hole. And Koschei could barely withhold a shudder. This was where he really made it, or broke it.
"I'm sorry, but I cannot do such, under Shadow Proclamation Statute 441, once a prisoner has been confiscated, any further carrying out of the sentence is strictly prohibited. He is to be left alone until he is in Shadow Proclamation hands. That applies to myself as well."
Rassilon, this had better work, it was a long time since he'd taken on a disguise, and he was getting rather rusty.
"Very well, I shall organise the paperwork, and an escort back to your ship. For the safety of our people, of course."
He'd done it. He'd actually done it. Now he just had to get Theta safely aboard the TARDIS, and it would all be over.
About an hour (local time) later they finally left, Theta barely conscious, Koschei suspected the guards had sneaked in to rough him up some more, using the psychic damper so he wouldn't know, but they were so close now, it didn't do to comment. He wouldn't risk everything now. Even though he was fairly sure that Theta was wincing a lot more as he walked now. Maybe a few broken ribs?
"Chain him to me. That way he can't escape, even when we're aboard my ship..." oh, it was so hard not to say 'our' ship. Still, not long now, and he could be Theta's husband again, not Harold Saxon, inspector for the space rhinos. He was handcuffed to Theta, and handed a chain as well, attached to a collar round his neck. Oh, he was -keeping- that! But that wasn't important right now. The important thing was to make sure there were no slip ups now. That he got Theta safely home, so he could care for him. And then they were off, at a much faster pace than Theta could handle, but with guards behind him kicking him, and shoving when they thought the Master wasn't looking, and when he stumbled, which he did quite frequently, hitting him cruelly. Poor Theta could barely stand, let alone walk at the pace required, and yet Koschei dared not speak up for fear of ruining the whole thing. After all, they were chained together now, which saved half the trouble for them should they figure things out. Although he fully intended to inform them once they were safely in the protection of their TARDIS. They made it outside without further mishap, but it was then that Theta's legs gave out, collapsing to the ground, barely conscious, hitting his head hard and no effort of bullying would get him up.
"You..." Koschei pointed at one of the guards. "Take his legs. It's obvious he won't make it to my ship by himself, and since his death will lead to thorough investigations into your practices..." he was getting into the swing of this now. Threaten them before they had the chance to threaten you... Before they could question your authority.
"Very well." Ma'kari snapped his fingers, and the guard grabbed Theta's legs. Koschei looped his arms under Theta and lifted him rather less gently than he would have liked. Of course he would have -liked- to have cradled him protectively in his arms while decimating these bastards for doing this. Maybe he'd let himself kill off -one- of them before they left. Sure, Theta wouldn't approve, but it had been -ages- since he got to decimate anything, and he was certainly craving it now, especially after what they did. He found his mind drifting to the last time he'd killed someone...
Bolts of energy spewing from his hands, right into the chest of their Lord President. "YOU MADE ME!" he'd yelled. And true, that was one part of it. He'd turned him insane and megalomaniacal just for the chance to live. But that alone wouldn't have been enough to risk death himself. No, there was more to it than that. You made me... Turn on him. Hate him. Lose him. -Hurt- him. That was what he'd -really- meant. He'd killed that bastard before they'd even been fully dragged back to the time lock. With his own life energy no less. You hurt my Theta. You face my wrath. Whatever the cost.
They finally reached the TARDIS, and Koschei took the documents.
"Thank you for your help, gentlemen. Someone will be in touch with a follow-up to my inspection. I bid you farewell. Please wait here while I secure the prisoner on my ship - the key for the handcuffs if you please. I have one last thing for you before I leave." 'And if you have any sense you'll leave now', he thought, with a menacing glint in his eye, taking the key from them, and reaching for his TARDIS key, and quickly dragging Theta inside, kicking the door shut behind him and quickly unchaining Theta, scooping him into his arms and lying him on the pilot's chair, covering him carefully in the blanket the TARDIS had kindly brought for them, and pressing a tender kiss to his forehead.
"Watch him..." he murmured to her gently, finally able to drop the act, and pulling his wedding ring back on, instantly feeling better, running his thumb over it. "I have some unfinished business to attend to..." A little malice entered his voice at that, some of the old fire entering his eyes. A touch of the insanity that had possessed him for so long, taking over, pressing him back towards the edge of madness he'd lived at for almost all of his lives, he strode to the door before either of them could protest, stepping out and slamming it closed. At least Theta was safe now. And then, with no warning but the fire in his eyes, he strode up to the nearest guard and punched him in the face.
"You bastards. No one. Hurts. My. Theta." he snarled slightly, producing the laser screwdriver from his pocket. "And you will -pay- for it, every last one of you." his eyes filled with fire, anger, insanity, control slipping further from him, but he didn't notice at all, too caught up in revenge. He twiddled the settings. To hurt, to torture, but not kill. They would feel Theta's pain as their own, every last one of them. After all, it wasn't as though they were the freak who he could kill over and over again...
"Wh-what are you doing?" a terrified voice called out shakily - Ma'kari's.
The Master approached slowly - for that's most certainly who he was at the moment (for Theta's perfect Koschei would never give in to revenge while leaving his Theta to suffer alone in their TARDIS) - like a wolf with his prey, preparing to pounce.
"A Shadow Proclamation inspector?" There was prominent disgust and anger in his voice "Really? I am the Master of disguise, and I work for no one, space rhino or otherwise. And no one hurts my husband and gets away with it." he snarled again, ready to fire. "Say you're sorry."
But Ma'kari stood there, silent. Defiant. Too terrified to object, but never willing to give in. The Master sent a laser pulse to him with an evil grin, oh it was good to be hurting those who had done so much to his Theta, and Ma'kari fell to the ground, writhing, but to his credit, he never made a sound. The Master stalked closer.
"I said say you're sorry. You tortured him. You wanted me to torture him. How dare you even suggest I do such a thing to something so precious? Say. You're. Sorry!"
But still he remained silent. Another shot fired, sending him squirming again, and yet there was still not a sound, and he was getting impatient now. No one defied him. He was the Master.
"I am the Master, and you will obey me! SAY SORRY!"
Ma'kari managed a terrified whimper.
"I was doing my duty. He was guilty. I'm sorry."
The Master grinned. He was still hypnotic then.
"Tough." He upped the settings, moving in for the kill. "Any last words?"
Nothing. Just a cowering shape. How pathetic. He fired one last time, seeing the shape convulse, hearing it finally scream in pain before falling still. Dead.
"Right. Which of you is next?" he turned on them. One stepped forward, presumably an attempt at stopping him, but he shot him down before he was even close, a laugh the likes of which he hadn't produced for a long time escaping him. He turned, looking for his next victim, plunging into the depths of anger and insanity. Another went down, and another.
"You'll pay, you monsters, for what you've done..." he snarled.
"You're the monster!" called out a voice. Presumably one of the remaining guards. He nearly turned on him and shot him down dead on the spot. But suddenly something stopped him. Something clicked. A conscience perhaps? He'd not had one of those before. Or perhaps it had been suppressed by the drums? What was he doing? What was he becoming? He turned and fled to the TARDIS, before he could do any more damage. Before anything else could go wrong. He moved to the console, trying not to think about it as they dematerialised to safety. Once they were safely in orbit, however, he leaned against a pillar, sliding to the floor, head in hands. He'd relapsed to his old self, and he hadn't even noticed. He'd killed a man who had done nothing more than his job. Hadn't even been involved directly in hurting his Theta. And several more besides. Even they had only been doing their job. They deserved it more, perhaps, but the way he'd been going was more than one of revenge. He'd become something he loathed again. Maybe he wasn't as changed as Theta thought... Maybe there was more to it than the drums... Maybe it had been him too...
"What have I done?" he cried out loudly, mournfully "What am I?" And suddenly he remembered, guilt levels expanding exponentially. Theta. He quickly got to his feet and ran over to Theta, completely unconscious on the chair, and severely damaged. He needed to treat him, his guilt could come later. Especially the guilt of abandoning Theta for revenge. He scooped him gently into his arms, tears flowing down his cheeks, and carried him to the medical bay.
"Oh Theta," he murmured, a softness re-entering his voice as he cradled his love close, "my precious Theta, I'm so sorry. I'll never abandon you again."
And so the Master took to caring for his poor husband, patching him up, cleaning his wounds and assessing the damage done, using every second to make his love more comfortable, to make him better, and to repair the physical and mental damage done.
"Oh Theta," he murmured fondly when he finally woke up, "how do you always manage to attract such trouble?"
He never did let Theta out on his own again, but he also kept that one secret from him. He found he couldn't let Theta know what he'd done and face that disappointment, or whatever other reaction he might receive. Still a psychopath after all. Theta's tamed psychopath.
Set in an AU where some time after End of Time, Ten and Simm!Master meet up again. The drums are gone, and the two of them are married. And then the Doctor just HAS to get himself in serious trouble, and it's down to the Master and his elaborate disguises to rescue him before it's too late.