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Killing Time

Fic:  Killing Time

Author:  CrabbyLioness

Characters:  Jack, Master, UNIT

Summary:  Set after The Sound of Drums.  The Master is killing time.  So is Jack.

Word Count:  804

Rating:  PG for adult themes.

When Jack comes back to life this time, he's still wearing the heavy restraints the Master uses when Mrs. Saxon joins them.  The floor is slick with his blood and the room reeks like a charnal house.  The lights are dim.  He can see the Saxon's guards just outside the door.  Down the hall, he can hear a technician working on a panel.

Mrs. Saxon has gone, but the Master is there.  He watches Jack's face with an expression of sheer delight.

"I love that.  I love watching your face when you come back from the darkness.  There's the panic, the confusion, the moment when your predicament sinks in on you, the anger, and the calculation.

"But what intrigues me is the flash of hope.   It's never on your face when I kill you, only when you return."

Jack's heart skips a beat.  A huge grin lights up the Master's face.

"Ah, you didn't know I'd seen it, did you?"  He bends down closer.  "But I see everything.  I saw you when you toured the Valiant in that group of petty dignitaries after it first opened.  I watched the UNIT staff sneering at you for being Torchwood.

"Where does that hope come from?  The Doctor can't save you.  Your team can't reach you.  Is little Martha the medical student going to come back for you?  Oh, come on!   You're completely surrounded by my people.  There's no escape for you.  There's no one here who doesn't hate your guts.  How can you have hope?  Have you gone mad?  Or is there some god that speaks to you on the other side of that black veil, pats your head and gives you a cheery, 'Chin up, my boy' before sending you back?  What is it?"

Jack tries to speak, but he can't.  He ducks his head and opens and closes his mouth.  The Master gives one of his theatrical frowns.

"Oh, I'm sorry.  I'm being a terrible host, aren't I?"  He splashes a cup of water at Jack's mouth.  Jack swallows what he can, wets his lips, and takes a few breaths before speaking.

"You're a psychopath."

The Master smiles.  "Yes.  And?"  He gestures for Jack to speak again.  Jack stares at him, panting, and refuses.

The Master pouts.  "Is that all?  Aren't you going to play with me?  I love playing with you."  He looks at his watch.  "Ah well.  Time to dress for dinner.  Don't worry.  We'll play more later.  I'll tell the Doctor you're indisposed.  He worries about you, you know."

The Master leaves the room.  He says something cheerful to the guards.  After he leaves, a janitor steps up to the door with a hose and starts washing the floor.  He glances at Jack out of the corner of his eye, makes a superstitous gesture warding off evil, and resolutely keeps his eyes off Jack while he hoses down the room.

Jack glances at Mohammad and closes his eyes  There's no reason to do more right now.  Nothing appears to have changed since the last time the man was here.  There's still no signal from anyone.  He's still locked up in the clutches of a psychopath.

A psychopath.  It could be worse.  Psychopaths have trouble with the concepts of scale and proportion, especially when it comes to emotions.

Saxon's people controlled the Valiant.  They had locked up or killed most of the UNIT staff who ran it.  But at the core of the ship, the "insignificant" "nonessential" UNIT personnel remained.  Jack had met them  during his tour.  Mohammad's janitors, Ryan's maintenance crew, Carmelita's mechanics, Weng's kitchen staff....  A small army.

Not combat troops.  Not officers.  Nobody "important" with any important codes or passwords.  Just the support staff.  The ones whose tender care kept the Valiant running every day.  And they were still UNIT.  They had still sworn an oath to protect the Earth from aliens invaders like the very one who dared turn their pride and joy into his private castle from which to rain fire and destruction onto their planet.

UNIT hated Torchwood, of course.  Always had, always would.  They were bitter rivals.  But there's a world of difference between a sibling rivalry and a blood feud.  "Brothers in arms" wasn't just a trite phrase.  Jack clung to that knowledge, and to the knowledge that he was in the best place to use it.

Now wasn't the right time.  They were too few in number to take down the Master by themselves, and Jack wasn't going to waste their lives if he had another choice.  He waited for a signal from them, from Martha, from the Doctor, from the very vibrations of the ship, from the Master himself.  When the signal came, he would be ready.  Until then he closed his eyes and rested, listening to the reassuring sounds of Mohammad's mop swishing over the floor and Ryan cursing the "stubborn" panel.

Comments

( 47 comments — Leave a comment )
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jadesfire
Jun. 28th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I like this, a lot. You've got the Master's voice really nicely and you paint the scene really vividly.

And I love the sibling rivalry/blood feud comparison - works perfectly.

Nice work :)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - crabby_lioness - Jun. 29th, 2007 02:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crabby_lioness - Jun. 29th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC) - Expand
skitty_kat
Jun. 28th, 2007 05:15 pm (UTC)
*shudders*

I just knew someone would write something like this after the Master's line in Sound of Drums. You just know he's going to be gleefully killing Jack over and over again. Poor Jack. I love how he has that spark of hope every time he comes back. And your Master is just right.

Thank you!
crabby_lioness
Jun. 28th, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC)
I tried not to write anything too specific, just window dressing. And to give it an upbeat ending.
(no subject) - skitty_kat - Jun. 28th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crabby_lioness - Jun. 29th, 2007 02:17 am (UTC) - Expand
crystalshard
Jun. 28th, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, I like it. You've got psychopath-Master down very well, along with Jack's own innate stubborness. Very good.
crabby_lioness
Jun. 29th, 2007 02:16 am (UTC)
Thank you. And Jack understands psychopaths a little bit better than the Master would like.
naye
Jun. 28th, 2007 05:31 pm (UTC)
This is so, so good - almost speechless with sheer "wow" at the force of the words and the emotions. I love - Jack. Being Jack, still hoping, even through the worst moments. I love that he knows what he has in these ordinary people, personnel so insiginficant that a psychopath bent on conquering all would never even notice them. And I love that they're there from the beginning of the scene; the technican working on a panel, nothing to really pay attention to, just there. Still there at the end, but with so much more behind it - not just a technician, but a person with a name, and the potential to save the world. Awesome!
crabby_lioness
Jun. 28th, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you. The scene wouldn't work without Ryan there at the begining.
nnwest
Jun. 28th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
I really like this. I could really see this exchange taking place. Very, very well done. Excellent Master voice.

One random thing reading this made me realize is how much Simm's Master reminds me of Pegg's Editor from 'Long Game'. Both written by RTD coincidentally. Seems he only has one model for insane-evil. :)
crabby_lioness
Jun. 29th, 2007 02:24 am (UTC)
Thank you. I don't know about the one-model though. Lucy is clearly insane and evil in a different way.
(no subject) - nnwest - Jun. 29th, 2007 02:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crabby_lioness - Jun. 29th, 2007 05:41 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nnwest - Jun. 29th, 2007 01:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crabby_lioness - Jun. 29th, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
telperion_15
Jun. 28th, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC)
Very nice. Great little scene.
crabby_lioness
Jun. 29th, 2007 02:19 am (UTC)
Thank you.
tonko
Jun. 28th, 2007 06:59 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I love this. The Master is perfectly evil, and I love Jack's grim patience and awareness of the "unimportant" people he can trust.
crabby_lioness
Jun. 29th, 2007 02:27 am (UTC)
Thank you. I imagine an immortal has to learn patience. And that nobody is unimportant.
jigot
Jun. 28th, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
This is great. I love the Master's voice in this - it's perfect.
crabby_lioness
Jun. 29th, 2007 02:22 am (UTC)
Thank you. Russell Davies and John Simm gave us such wonderful fodder, didn't they?
laurab1
Jun. 28th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
I like that. Perfect voices.
crabby_lioness
Jun. 29th, 2007 02:18 am (UTC)
Thank you.
adafrog
Jun. 28th, 2007 08:49 pm (UTC)
oooh, very nice. I adore Jack lying in wait.
crabby_lioness
Jun. 29th, 2007 02:20 am (UTC)
Thank you. He has the patience of a hunter.
(no subject) - adafrog - Jun. 29th, 2007 02:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crabby_lioness - Jun. 29th, 2007 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
galaxy_song
Jun. 28th, 2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
aaaww poor Jack can see the master doing this to him. very good fic
crabby_lioness
Jun. 28th, 2007 09:11 pm (UTC)
Yep. But can the Master see Jack doing this to him? That's the question.

Thanks. :)
larielromeniel
Jun. 29th, 2007 05:15 am (UTC)
I can really see this happening. It would be fabulous.
crabby_lioness
Jun. 29th, 2007 05:38 am (UTC)
Thank you.
atheneunknown
Jun. 29th, 2007 06:01 am (UTC)
This is so good. The Master is goregously written, and Jack...well he's Jack.

Goodness I cannot wait.

And I really want to compliment you on the way you wrote Jacks observational skills in this one. I can almost picture his mind racing as he's figuring out what options he has when the time comes.

Well done.
crabby_lioness
Jun. 29th, 2007 04:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It's a common mistake evil overlords make when they take over enemy castles.
sal101010
Jun. 29th, 2007 10:17 am (UTC)
This is very good - shuddery. Just one quibble though - I think you may have used the wrong reign. The Master is reigning from his castle, and raining fire and destruction down...
crabby_lioness
Jun. 29th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you. *fixes* :)
mickeyk
Jul. 6th, 2007 12:53 am (UTC)
Great story, and it still works, after the finale! Brava, brava!
crabby_lioness
Jul. 8th, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
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( 47 comments — Leave a comment )