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He strolls through the halls of the Master’s TARDIS—through Lolita. He runs one hand along her walls, as he does when he walks through the Type T-40 that he’s bound to—the TARDIS that, as much as one set of his memories, protests, is his. Lolita doesn’t respond to his touch, doesn’t answer in his mind. He understands. She has her Master, and a TARDIS never divides its loyalties.

His Lolita died in the War, when the Master abandoned her for the Doctor—Time Lords often divide their loyalties. He misses her, and he misses the Type-40 that should fill the empty space in his mind, the TARDIS that’s responsible, partially, for the patchwork person he’s become. Rubbishy junker, interfering addled busybody, mixing him up the way she has, trying to make him into the Doctor when he isn’t. The Doctor’s old girl, and his, this new person’s, even dearer friend. Half of him, when he’s already two halves the whole. He should work out a lease system, he thinks. Charge for synapse space. He really needs to get all of these subletters together, arrange some room for him in between all of their differing claims. They’re all his property now, after all. Well. Not the TARDIS. But the two others.

They’re dead, like Lolita, and he’s the benefactor and not certain he feels like he’s benefiting. They’re ghosts and they are going to have to learn to rest peacefully, or it’ll be sleepless nights for him for the rest of his life.

Damn, damn, damn, he needs a name.

He turns a corner, hand still trailing along the wall, and without thinking he turns in at the first door on the right. This should be the Herparium, and it shouldn’t surprise him when it is, but it does. The Master’s memories come as instinct still, startling bubbles of certainty and knowledge, and each one that finds its mirror in reality, that finds confirmation, unbalances him.

He is the Master.

He is the Doctor.

He isn’t either. He’s the blurring, the tmesis, the portmanteau, the word between the two, made up of the two, fusion/fission. The blend. Of oil and water.

Charming.



His Converse sink into the mulch with each step he takes, bringing out its sharp tang. The spring and give of it underfoot add life to the walking, life to the feel of the earth, add to the richness of the composition.

Which it is, of course.

Everything in Lolita is composed, everything the Master turns his hand to engineered and controlled and formed for effect. Nothing is haphazard, nothing is accidental, what one sees, what one experiences in the Master’s presence, in his home, has been crafted and influenced and bent out of its natural shape so that it might better impress, better sway, better overwhelm. This room no less than any other.

His next step falls on firmer ground, thick and soft/hard, like stepping on the back of a child, giving flesh and hard bone and the resilient-brittle strength and resistance of both.

(He’s broken the spines of children, he realizes, a foot in the small of the back or at the base of the neck, stamp hard or reach down and pull up. Parents watching and the sharp crack of bone and oh, they never thought you would, did they? Look at them, so surprised. How delicious. How fantastic.)

(No. No, that wasn’t him. That was the Master. Not him.)

(But the memory is still good.)

The surface under his foot shifts and slides, and, dazed by the sudden pleasurable/terrible his/not his memory, he corrects his balance by taking a step that’s almost a trip forward, putting more of his weight onto the rippling length of vertebrae and muscle as he does so.

He catches himself against a tree, the wet scrape of the bark slick-rough against his hand, and jumps and swears as something clamps down on the back of his thigh, a pincered sting straight through the fabric of his dark trousers.

He knows what it is—the snake he’s just stepped on. When he looks down, the pit viper’s kneading at his leg, working poison down its hollow fangs into the muscle.

Trimeresurus flavoviridis, common name “habu,” found on the Okinawan islands, not overly poisonous but enough to be irritating. This one’s a record-breaking member of its species, judging by the dimensions of its head and the bulk he’s just tripped over—over seven feet. Life on Lolita must agree with it.

He reaches down, ready to snap its neck and fling it away. It’s a common species, easily replacable, there’s no reason to forgive it its cheek, its trespass. No reason to deny himself the small satisfaction of destroying a life that’s had the temerity to inconvenience his.

But he catches the movement before he can wrap his hand around the snake’s throat, shifting up to stroke down the side of its triangular skull, the smooth interlocking scales and the ridge above the eye, twisting into its mind and…

There.

Unconscious.

He detaches it from his leg, fingering the two small holes in his trousers and the wet trickle of blood and venom beneath. His body will take care of the poison quickly enough.

The Doctor’s body, and the Doctor’s impulse, letting the snake live. The Master’s trick, overriding its mind easily, in and out without a second thought.

Would he do that to a person? In and out and easier to overpower than to argue, or to listen?

He won’t know. Not until he’s challenged.

The two small wounds sting, and the poison burns as he continues walking, but it’s almost stimulating, a deep muscle-ache that loosens as he walks, as the poison’s circulated out from the bites, diluted and filtered. The faster he walks, the better his leg feels, exertion speeding up his circulation, until he’s running, running through the mulch and the damp and the trees and the startled snakes, hanging from the trees, resting on warm stones, half-buried in bark and leaf litter, jerking back into tongue-flicking S’s as he brushes by.

Running. The Doctor loved to run.

He loves to run.

The landscape proves as familiar as he expected/didn’t expect it to be. He comes out of the trees, into a clearing dominated by an Aztec-style temple, tiers of steep stone stairs leading to what should be the sacred space at the top, but which is instead a terrace incongruously bound by elegant balustrades, a widow’s walk for viewing the forest below.

He’s already halfway up the steps, still running, even though the footing’s treacherous, the stairs uneven and narrow, before he notices there’s already someone at the top.

The only other person on Lolita besides the Master.

Lucy.

Date: 2009-01-19 03:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sky-w-diamonds.livejournal.com
Lucy hasn't seen Harry for a very long time.

Or it feels like a very long time, at any rate; comparatively, it is. Before this, after all, she'd spent most of her time with him, faithful companion who took him to bed, whom he took to places and times beyond her imagination and watched in wicked satisfaction as she was allowed to finally wreak the madness that lived in her head. Who kissed him and fucked him and mocked him when his ideas got a little too far-fetched. She's seen the end of the universe; Lucy Saxon knows better than most people that nothing lasts forever, but still. Even so, she'd thought that this perfect existence with her perfect husband might well go on forever.

She'd thought they might never see the Doctor again, at least not without him having been drawn to them by Harry and his machinations. But fate, as such things have it, seemed to have conspired against her. And so when Harry kissed her deeply and told her that he had things to do, darling, it would be best for you to make yourself scarce for a while, Lucy didn't argue. She was not one to be cast aside like a piece of rubbish, one of Harry's minion slags, but she'd seen enough of him and the Doctor during that year to know better than to try and interfere.

There's more there between them than she'll ever be able to know, but she trusts that Harry will come back to her. He may love the Doctor- he does love the Doctor- but not the way he loves Lucy, and she'll be there waiting whilst he has his fun. Indeed, it's probably best she isn't there to watch the two of them. She doesn't really want to see how much of a hold over her husbands hearts and mind this man has, even though she already knows it.

So she hasn't seen Harry in a while.

She's taken to wandering stretches of his TARDIS, trusting the ship to take care of her just as her husband does, and today, the room she enters is rank with the smell of damp earth and vegetable life. It's the conservatory at Tarminster left wild to grow for hundreds of years, and Lucy smiles a little to see a venomously green snake on a nearby branch, coiled in ropes of scaled strength. Lazily, it lifts its head, tongue flickering and black bead-eyes lidding and unlidding in her direction, curious about this newcomer in its domain. Lucy dares take a step or two closer, kitten heels sinking into the mulch, passing fingertips over the snake's cool side. It's idle, somnolent, but she can feel the muscle underneath the scales. Lucy's always liked snakes.

Her shoes come off after a moment or two, and she pads through the jungle barefoot, a little smile tugging at her lips. Even if she can't have Harry here, now, there are pieces of him everywhere on his ship, and Lucy takes them and covets them like precious things.

The jungle, like many things aboard Lolita, goes on for far longer than she might have anticipated, and when it does end, it's only to make room for a wide greensward. There's high sky overhead, and an open breeze, and before her a massive ziggurat, of the sort Lucy's only ever seen as ruins. This one is no ruin, though, and when she sees a flight of stairs leading up the side, the only logical next step is to climb them.

She leaves her shoes at the bottom, and relishes the exertion of the climb.

It feels good, to stand at the top and gaze out over this improbable forest; Lucy's got used to standing at heights and looking over the world below. An expression of the power that she truly has, now, with Harry. Yes, it suits her very well indeed. She's also entirely alone up here, which, at the moment, also seems fitting, though she doesn't quite enjoy that aspect as much. She sighs, leaning against the balustrade, watching for small movements in the forest below.

When the black figure of a man comes dashing out of the trees, Lucy's eyes narrow, and she shifts, watching him. Black his clothes may be, but the way he runs, all lanky, flailing limbs and none of Harry's self-possession makes it clear who he is. Well well, whatever could he want?

Lucy watches patiently as he ascends.
Edited Date: 2009-01-19 03:28 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-01-19 03:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] watch-is-me.livejournal.com
When he finally notices her, the first thing he does, because he is partly the Doctor, is trip.

He throws out his hands, catching himself but scraping his palms badly on the rough stone, the chipped and worn engravings of human sacrifice and god-king worship. His knees bang against the sharp edges of the stairs below, and he swears, without thinking to stop himself.

"Shit. Fuck. Ow."

Date: 2009-01-19 03:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sky-w-diamonds.livejournal.com
Elegantly sculpted eyebrows lift in wry amusement as the Doctor trips over his own feet and barely manages to catch himself on the steps. It would have been a messy thing indeed if he hadn't, she imagines; they're steep steps, and none too forgiving. It might have been entertaining at least to witness a regeneration, she will concede that, but it'd be a shame to lose this body; the Doctor is very pretty, after all.

One bare foot taps against the stone, toes dragging across the sun-warmed tiles as she watches the Doctor collect himself, grumbling under his breath.

'Difficulties, Doctor?' She inquires mildly as soon as he finds himself near enough to be able to hear her.

Date: 2009-01-19 04:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] watch-is-me.livejournal.com
It bothers him, the body. He's not entirely sure whose it is. The Doctor's Ninth was the Doctor's and then it was his, whoever he is. This one—it might be the first that's properly his, from regeneration on, but he's been wearing it as the Doctor. Looking in a mirror, he sees himself and he sees the Doctor. He's been considering forced regeneration, to correct the disorientation, but it's his. His body, and it is quite handsome, and he's not going to be forced out by the Doctor.

"What?" She's speaking to him; it takes him a moment to orient to the name. "No. No difficulty." He walks out to the middle of the open terrace, by her, to get the view, and realizes there's blood under his feet. Old stains, rust-colored and dark with age, runneled and caked into the outline of a double-headed serpent engraved into the terrace stone, Gallifreyan symbols worked into the design, discreet, visible only to someone who knows to look.

He goes down on one knee, runs one hand flat across the stone, across the pattern and the blood. He remembers this. He remembers doing this. There was a species that carried Huon in their blood, and he had wanted it, that illegal, dangerous, powerful energy. So he had come to them, as he always did, as a god, a lord, a Master. And they had died, willingly, terribly, in blood and life and consciousness extended as long as he could force them to obey, to listen to him in their minds telling them not to die, not to die, because the pain quickened the energy, made it more potent in the blood.

He had kept this temple. A memento. A time the Doctor had not been there to stop him.

He remembers the power that energy gave him, the threats he could make, the planet he destroyed as an example.

Earth and Gallifrey were only the most recent in an uncountable number.

He pulls his hand back, grimed with the old blood and with new blood, dewing up from scrapes on his palm, stands, and hands in pockets, surveys the view, before turning to face Lucy.

The Master's wife. "Hello, Lucy." He looks at her as he never did when he believed himself the Doctor, really taking her in, the cold, still, mad, perceptive eyes, the poise of her, the person. He can see her as something other than a victim, someone to save. He finds he enjoys running his eyes over her—she's quite beautiful, quite something—and when he gets to her bare feet, mulch still clinging to them, he raises an eyebrow at her, amused.

Date: 2009-01-19 04:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sky-w-diamonds.livejournal.com
There's understanding in his eyes, and old, terrible memory as he runs a hand across the bloodstained stone, and Lucy watches with intrigue despite herself. She had seen the blood, the old carvings in the stone, but they'd meant nothing to her. The Doctor seems to read a story in them, and it's power in his eyes, there, the same thing that had drawn her to Harry, that still draws her to him. She had seen the Doctor's face many times over that year, haggard and shadowed with memory, but this is different, somehow. She swears for a moment she can see a smile on his lips.

Strange.

Even stranger, though, is the way he looks at her. It's just as faint as the smile had been, but there's appreciation in his aspect, and he doesn't just look at her face, the way he did when last she met this particular Doctor. He takes in all of her, her clothes, the body beneath them, but she's equal to that, and gives him a wry sort of half-smile when he lifts an eyebrow at her dirtied feet.

'Heels aren't precisely the best thing for rock climbing, you understand,' she offers as explanation, and it's her public voice, the perfect little socialite, amused at an indiscretion that isn't really one at all.

Lucy shifts over slightly, making room for the Doctor should he wish it. 'I must say,' she comments idly, turning back to look out over the vista before them, 'I hadn't thought I'd get to be seeing you at all during your little sojourn as Harry's guest.'

Date: 2009-01-19 04:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] watch-is-me.livejournal.com
He takes her invitation, leaning on the balustrade next to her, looking out over the landscape and reflecting on how good it is to be above, to look out and know that everything he can see is his or could be made his—the horizon a promise of more. To see, to explore—to possess.

"Everything the light touches," he remarks, apropos of nothing but his thoughts, and throws a wry grin sideways to Lucy, a grin at his own expense. Because, wonderful, he's a man who can think of conquering one moment and quote Disney the next. This will all take getting used to.

"Well. I don't think you would be seeing me at all, if you were seeing who you think you're seeing. You see—of course, you don't, but you will—" he reaches out and takes one of her hands, turning it over to kiss her palm, lightly, a gesture both formal and courteous but with a touch of intimacy, lips to soft skin instead of the lines of tendons. "—I'm not the Doctor." And he grins at her, mischievous and guileless, as though he were letting her in on secret, a surprise party he'll be holding for himself later—shh, don't tell him!

Date: 2009-01-19 05:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sky-w-diamonds.livejournal.com
She catches the grin, but it gets nothing but a dubious twist of the lips in return. The Doctor's look suggests that it's a reference she ought to get, but Lucy's hardly about to ask for clarification.

He's being very innocuous for the moment, which, Lucy has to admit, she's rather surprised about. She'd have thought that he'd jump on the first opportunity he had alone with her to try to reason with her, 'save' her, persuade her away from Harry if he could. That's what the Doctor's all about, after all, and even if this one isn't quite the same as the one from her own universe, Lucy hardly expects anything less from him.

Except that then he speaks, and Lucy turns to face him, her expression faintly incredulous, but guarded. Who she thinks she's seeing? The Doctor, of course; she's certainly hardly likely to mistake him for anyone else.

'Oh?'

He doesn't seem to be listening, though, as he takes one of her hands- and his long fingers are cool and deft, just as Harry's- lifting it to his lips to brush a kiss against the palm. It's a chivalrous gesture, but something about the Doctor's mien makes it at once intimate and mocking, and Lucy blinks at him, thrown entirely off her guard. Not that she's about to tell him as much. But that- that is not remotely the Doctor, that gesture, and the man offers a very convenient explanation in his next words.

Well. That would account for it.

Delicately, Lucy removes her hand from his, regarding him coolly. The British aristocracy long ago perfected the art of looking down their noses at somebody no matter how much taller than them they actually are, and Lucy is as adept at it as however many generations of Ladies of Tarminster were before her. Her eyes dance with curiosity, though, and amusement that's not quite as indolent as it was before.

'Indeed? Then I suppose the polite thing to do would be to ask who precisely are you?'

Date: 2009-01-19 05:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] watch-is-me.livejournal.com
He can see why the Master likes her, as she stands looking down at him, with that cultured, form-perfect disdain and under it, that interest. The awareness of a game being played. The Master's memories let him see her, not the victim, and the Doctor's spark at her curiosity and the iron core of strength in her, even it is shot through with veins of darker metal. Not afraid, this one. She could see the universe, live and die by a Time Lord, and never turn away.

"Straight to the heart of the matter. I can see why he likes you." Loves her. He does, he actually does, the Master, he understands that now, though it's still difficult to accept. Love. A human woman. It's such a vast universe, after the War, perhaps one needs contact like that. Perhaps he would have. Had he lived.

Perhaps he still does.

He perches on the balustrade, one foot still on the ground, balancing, the other leg pulled up against him, arm resting on knee, chin resting on arm.

"That, I'm afraid, is a question I can't answer. Not precisely."

He watches her, trying not to feel the need that he still carries, the Doctor's need, the loneliness like a weight not on his chest, but in it, like stone set above his breastbone, always there, heavy and hard to carry but impossible to remove. Perhaps it comes not with memories but with the body, the Doctor's tall, thin body with the flyaway hair and the dark eyes. Somehow, despite all of the regenerations during the War, the Master was never this tall—that's a novelty-that-isn't that he's still getting used to being used to.

"I can do you generals. I'm my own worst enemy and best friend. I've the memories of both the Master and the Doctor, until the very last moments of the War. I have two names, at present, belonging to two very dead and very stupid men. Brilliant stupid men, of course."
Edited Date: 2009-01-19 05:54 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-01-19 06:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sky-w-diamonds.livejournal.com
Lucy inclines her head ever so slightly in acknowledgment of the compliment he pays her- better than he'd done last time, certainly- but says nothing, leaning back against the rail to patiently wait for an answer. The one he gives is not terribly satisfactory. Indeed, all it does is raise more questions, and Lucy's lips purse slightly, taking in the information, studying him as if she could read the answers in his face.

If he's telling the truth at all, of course. Though Lucy rather suspects he is; the Doctor, after all, is nothing if not proud to be that; Harry's the one who goes about adopting disguises whenever he can find an excuse. And it explains the look in his eyes, what she thinks he's saying. The way he seemed to remember the blood spilt on the stairs, the decidedly appreciative way he'd looked her up and down when he first saw her. But she still doesn't understand. It's an explanation but not, and Lucy gives him an unimpressed little eyebrow.

'Perhaps you could do me the favour of elaborating somewhat.' At the moment, it sounds like he's saying that he's both Harry- or Harry before he ever called himself that- and the Doctor. An amalgam of the two of them. And if that's the case, that certainly merits more of an explanation. Lucy offers a faint smirk.

'Of course, I don't know all that much about Time Lords, but I wasn't under the impression that they came in two-for-one packages.'

Date: 2009-01-19 06:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] watch-is-me.livejournal.com
"It's more mixed nuts than buy one, get one. Mm. No. That's far too simple. It's a chemical reaction as opposed to a physical. The product may or may not have any of the properties of the reacting elements. You have had basic science, I'd hope? The bare rudiments?" He arches an eyebrow at her, and the condescension and skepticism there, implicit in the statement, draw from the Master long before Lucy ever met him.

Date: 2009-01-19 06:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sky-w-diamonds.livejournal.com
'Shockingly,' she says rather archly, 'yes.'

Enough to understand what the Doctor- or whoever he is- is talking about, anyway, which amounts to the sort of basic chemistry one studied as a girl at Roedean. A wry little twist of the lips, there; well, well, her education actually is good for something. What a novelty.

'Though I should say an explanation of the technical aspect of it isn't entirely what I wanted.' Lucy bites her lip, brushing a lock of hair behind her ear as she looks at the man, searching for the right words to phrase the question she wants to ask. Nothing about her life could quite be called ordinary any more, but this lands firmly outside the bounds of usual even for that. 'More an explanation of how it- how you came about in the first place. Last time we met, you were quite comfortably the Doctor; what's brought about this little crisis of identity?'

Date: 2009-01-19 07:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] watch-is-me.livejournal.com
"Oh, but I wasn't, was I? Not entirely." He hops down from the balustrade, and walks out into the center of the terrace, running both hands through his hair so that they come to rest on the back of his neck. When he reaches the center of the terrace, the center of the snake with two heads, he looks up at the false sky, the light coming from nowhere and everywhere, his hands still on the back of his neck, elbows akimbo.

"Your husband took an interest in me—a particular interest, I should say—because I hear something only he hears." He drops his eyes, looks back at her again, dropping his hands to clap the rhythm he inherited from the Master—1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4. "I thought it was mine. It is. But it's mine because part of me is him. Was him. It was the Master's, not the Doctor's, and now it's mine, because I'm them."

Right, that was hopeless. "Right. Begin at the beginning. Your husband survived the Time War. Your husband's Doctor survived the Time War. In my universe, neither of them did. Two casualties, one survivor."

He starts walking the outline of the snake, beginning at one head. "The Doctor ended the War. He was the only one who could, there were...reasons. Artron, right place at the right time, connections, the vagaries of flux...willingness. He was Time's Champion, and sacrifice was what he did. Himself, his people... Nothing and everything. Tokens to give away and feel the better man for the giving." As he talks, he slows, staring at the line of the snake beneath his feet, giving it his full attention as he takes one step and than the next.

"He believed he would die. He wanted to. They were all going to die, and...he wanted to go with them, when they did that last great good thing. He was proud of them."

"But," he swallows and it takes him a moment to go on, "he was the only one who stood any chance of surviving. The Master learned that. He had fought for Gallifrey, because they needed him, they needed what he could do, and that was...oh, that was sweet." He grins, shark-like, there and gone. "And now they expected him to die. Of course, they never told him about the plan. They told the Doctor. The man in love with death. But the Master learned, and he chose to survive. By becoming the only man who might live."

He's come to the second head now, and he follows the curve of its jaw around and down. "He came to the Doctor, touched his mind, and forced his way in. Hid himself under the Doctor's personality, the Doctor's memories, so that everyone believed the Doctor was still alive, still able to do what he had to do. Including the Doctor himself." The man's throat works, because he remembers that, and there's the nausea of invasion and the unbalance of knowing he was already divided when he believed he was whole.

"The Doctor lived. He always did. The Boy Who Lived, the Doctor. The Master meant to let him have his time. Three regenerations, and the memories would trigger. The Master would have a body and a life, the last Time Lord in the universe."

"But the drums stayed. They pushed through, and...they threw everything off. It went wrong. It always goes wrong, with the Doctor. Always." And he's almost back where he started. "The physical reaction went chemical. They've been dying, both of them, since the War ended, and than your husband chose to lock me up on his TARDIS and go prying about in my subconscious and, presto, ding dong, the Doctor's dead, and so is the Master. And what's left. Is me." He's back where he began, the center of the terrace, standing where he remembers standing when he looked up at a real sky and laughed because an entire people had died gladly at his hands. "End of the yellow brick road. Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"
Edited Date: 2009-01-19 07:35 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-01-19 09:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sky-w-diamonds.livejournal.com
It's not just an explanation, it's a story, and Lucy finds herself listening with all the raptness such stories deserve. It's brilliant, what he describes, brilliant and insane, as Harry himself is, something that should be impossible, but he makes it otherwise merely by laying his hand to it. It isn't only his words, though, that she takes in, it's all of him. His body language, the look on his face, the cadence of his voice, all of it swinging back and forth from Doctor to Master to something in between. And though she can hear his words and understand them, it's still desperately confusing to watch.

That grin, right there, that's Harry. The twisted bitterness, the wicked relish, the cruelty- all of it there in a face that belongs to the Doctor- but only for a moment.

And then he's back to being the Doctor.

It's strange, hearing him talk about both men as though they're other people entirely, even though they are himself. And bloody hell, the pronouns here do have the potential to get strange, don't they? Not just the pronouns either; how is Lucy supposed to feel about this man, this strange combination of the man she loves and a man she helped torture for a year. She... well, she has no idea, frankly, and probably won't manage to cultivate one until she actually talks to him more, figures out who he is, the end result of this chemical reaction.

There's so much in his face that she can't begin to comprehend, but she's always been good with a snappy comeback, and so when he finishes, looking out over the forest (and in this moment, he looks far more the Master than anything else), she crosses her legs, her expression mild. 'Well, I've always looked better in black than in pink.'

This man, both Harry and the Doctor, should certainly know all about using flippancy to disguise real thoughtfulness.

Date: 2009-01-19 04:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] watch-is-me.livejournal.com
"I'm seeing you in red. I reckon you look wicked in red." He holds out a hand to her, with the certainty of a man who knows she will cross the distance between them to take it. The burden of the Doctor has been banished to the back of his eyes; he holds himself at his full height, spine straight and shoulders square, the quirk of an appreciative smirk on his lips. Though his body doesn't lend itself easily to fluid, formal grace, he finds it, in the curl of the fingers he extends to her; in the poise of the arm, not reaching, but summoning; in his awareness of himself, of how to best use and enjoy the physical form.

Date: 2009-01-20 02:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sky-w-diamonds.livejournal.com
And now he's back to something that's much more Harry, and Lucy's own lips quiver with the hint of a smile, one eyebrow arching. She lifts one hand to wiggle her fingers, the light from the sun that doesn't exist reflecting off crimson-painted nails.

'Yes, that's what Harry's always said.' Her tone is bland, but her eyes sparkle with wickedness. Of course, the red Harry most likes her in is her own blood. Or his. Either way. But still.

The intent behind his gesture is clear, the easy beckoning, confident that she'll follow. It's the same way Harry looks at her before he draws her into a dance, and her smile twitches further. Still, this man is not Harry, and she watches him for a few moments, faint, polite incredulity on her face, as though asking why she should follow when he crooks his fingers to her like that.

When she does move, pushing herself off the balustrade in a graceful movement that originates in her hips, arcing up her spine, it's with a deliberateness that acknowledges that there's a game being played. Lucy, after all, knows very well how to play games.

Date: 2009-01-20 03:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] watch-is-me.livejournal.com
The smirk broadens into a smile as she moves towards him, pleased with her for making the right choice, even more pleased by what she makes the choice, by what she tells him, with her expression and the smooth deliberate grace of her approach, she has held back from it.

She comes to him because she wants to, not because she has been compelled. And not because she does not know what he could do to her, if she chose not to obey. Even with the unknown quantity that he represents, she is not afraid.

When her hand lights on his, thin pale fingers placed with the precision of years of practice in formal gesture, the smile warms further, approving and conspiratorial. It is a game, the smile says, and he likes the way she plays it.

"Very good."

Date: 2009-01-20 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sky-w-diamonds.livejournal.com
Something small and hidden in her glows at the smile he turns on her. Though it looks out of place on this different face, it is Harry's smile, the one she loves best. Not the wide, toothy politician's grin, nor the shark's smile, but something genuine, quiet and approving, liking what he sees. It occurs to her that if she enjoys seeing it that much from this other man, it must be longer than she'd realised since she'd last seen her husband.

She doesn't show him any of this, of course, merely gives him an arch little look, the very tips of her fingernails resting against his palm. 'Is it? Well, I am glad I meet with your approval.'

She has to look up at him in a way she doesn't with Harry, but the tone is the same as something she'd use on him. Faintly teasing, mocking, one move more in the game as always, but still, in its own way, an assertion that she isn't merely a doll to be played with. Harry, bless him, occasionally makes that mistake. Not so much anymore, of course, but there were days, and she doesn't doubt there will be days in future. But if there are, Lucy is quite prepared to set him straight.

Date: 2009-01-20 05:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] watch-is-me.livejournal.com
"You do. I hope that you continue to meet with his." His hand tightens around hers, changing the formal rest of her fingers on his into an actual clasp—protective and possessive, both at once, as though someone might sweep her away at any moment. His expression shifts, too, darkens with the concern and vulnerable, total sincerity that's entirely the Doctor's—and there are words he wants to say, words he's said so many times. Come with me. I can help. Listen.

Except he hasn't said those words even a fraction of the times he remembers saying them. He's spoken them himself only in imitation of that other man, the man whose body he wears now, unaware that he was someone different.

He raises his other hand to her, as though to brush her hair, but stops himself before he touches her, suddenly unsure.

He shouldn't think. The moment he stops to think, he loses track of who he is, in the crush of shifting through the different memories, the conflicting impulses.

Date: 2009-01-20 05:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sky-w-diamonds.livejournal.com
That is much more the Doctor, and Lucy blinks, thrown off-guard. After a moment to adjust to the strangely abrupt change, though, her expression sours slightly with faint distaste, edged with amused exasperation. This is a conversation she's had with every Doctor she's ever met, the one from her own past and those from other universes entirely. The constant compulsion to help is bad enough, but that he insists on attempting to understand her relationship with Harry. And this one particularly, seeing as he is Harry. In a way, anyway.

But there, even now, the lift of his hand to touch is something that would seem quite instinctively to belong to the Master. To touch her hair, the side of her neck, what he had before appreciated with his eyes. Lucy almost finds it in herself to feel sorry for him.

All she does, though, is give him an unimpressed little look. 'Not entirely a new chemical, then,' she says wryly, and extricates her hand from in between his, giving the back of his hand a little pat, faintly condescending.

'You needn't hope, I promise. I'm sure we'll manage.' Lucy tips her chin up, the slightest of lines appearing in between her brows as she meets his eyes. 'As you should know, I think. Or a part of you, at least.'

Date: 2009-01-20 06:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] watch-is-me.livejournal.com
The condescension in her tone and the withdrawal of her hand from his, the pat, hit hard—he already feels the actor, an understudy called in to play both leads at once, and to have her confirm that this, indeed, is how he comes across, grates. Pique and hurt both fly across his face, and cancel each other out, leaving only frustration—the understudy realizing he's made a stupid mistake, speaking the words of one lead in the role of the other. But which one was he playing, and what were the proper words?

He takes his hand back, when she abandons it, fastidiously, as though he'd wanted to end the contact all along. When she meets his eyes, he looks back with an aloofness that speaks of offended dignity and slight disapproval—but when she speaks to the part of him that is the Master, that distance fades.

"I should. You're right. Of course you're right. But I'm afraid," he hesitates again, but this time he completes the gesture, raising a hand to her face, "those memories don't extend so far. He never had anyone quite so...extraordinary as you." His fingers cup her chin and curl to stroke down the line of her jaw. The Master that is part of him destroyed the two people he loved most in the universe. Unintentional, of course, but that doesn't make them any the less dead. He trusts this new Master with Lucy further than the Doctor would but not so far as he might. He knows what the Master is capable of.
Edited Date: 2009-01-20 06:38 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-01-20 09:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sky-w-diamonds.livejournal.com
It's true, what she says, all sarcasm aside. Lucy is perfectly well aware that Harry is a dangerous man to love; he leads a dangerous life, one she's a part of, and she doesn't have a convenient, Time Lord trick to escape death at the end of it should one of them take a wrong turning. But what she knows that this man- the Doctor or whoever he is- doesn't, is that she doesn't care. Lucy Saxon has seen the end of the universe; she knows better than anyone that all things die, herself included. And if that death happens to come about because of Harry, or at his hands? Well, she's hardly going to be leaping at the chance to off herself for his sake, but she understands.

She's hardly surprised when the forced distance melts away from his face; she'd chosen her words for effect, after all, but it's still somehow intriguing. It's like he doesn't know who he wants to be, of the two men who make him up; as if he ought to be one or the other, but can't decide, and keeps wavering between the two of them.

Her eyes widen ever so slightly, just for a moment, when he lifts his hand to touch. His fingers are deft against her jaw, the tip of the little finger dragging ever so slightly against her neck, and once again, looking at him, he is somehow, illogically, Harry. Not wavering now. It almost makes her shiver, and even though she doesn't, she can feel the little prickle of hairs on the back of her neck.

'You're as dreadful a flatterer as Harry, at any rate,' she says with a smirk, to stave off her confusion. 'Whoever you are.'

Date: 2009-01-20 06:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] watch-is-me.livejournal.com
"Flattery is the sincerest form of imitation." His hand travels down her throat, palm out, his knuckles drawing lightly across her skin, an assessing touch, not sexual but sensual, formal in its appreciation, a lover of fine art following the curves of a statue. Beautiful, unique, the centerpiece of a private collection. Unfortunately, another man's collection, but pieces do change hands...

One part of him balks at this way of thinking about her. Her name is Lucy, it protests. She's a person, not an object.

And he can't admire a person with an aesthetic eye? It can hardly hurt her.

"Well," his eyes flick back up to hers. "That's the question of the day, isn't it? Knock, knock, who's there? I'm open to suggestions." He smiles on the last, very slightly, understated playfulness in his eyes.
Edited Date: 2009-01-20 06:20 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-01-20 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sky-w-diamonds.livejournal.com
The intent behind the touch may not be sexual, but it is unmistakably intimate, and when she draws a breath, Lucy is very much aware of the swell of air just below his fingers, the beat of her pulse. It's somewhere between uncomfortable and enticing. This Harry-but-not-Harry, and her own husband somewhere else in the vastness of his ship, preoccupied with his obsessions and experiments.

Though of course, whoever the man, Lucy has always enjoyed being looked at, and whatever else, she refuses to feel guilty about that. She smirks, lifting a hand to rest fingertips against the man's wrist just for the barest moment, before plucking his hand away from her throat, returning it to him. Her look is faintly, playfully chastising. Careful now; I am a married woman, after all. Though the slight smirk that lingers around the corners of her lips may belie that somewhat.

'Suggestions?' She repeats, as though she's going to bear that in mind, of course. 'Well, I hardly think I'm entirely qualified, though I shouldn't think it's any mystery which of the... original ingredients, so to speak, I prefer.'

Though that might only make it stranger still, if he swung back towards the Masterful side of his shifting persona and stayed there. Lucy can't really say; she hasn't precisely a great deal of experience with this sort of thing.

Date: 2009-01-21 01:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] watch-is-me.livejournal.com
He grins, this time, when she puts his hand from her, the Doctor's grin, spontaneous and bright, enjoying the continuation of the game. Much better. It's been far too long since he's played with anyone like this, the exchange of words and signals that contradict and confirm, banter and tension and two parties both aware of the rules, as though they had been worked out long ago.

His most satisfying partners are dead now, and he can't examine that thought any further, the memories twisting too tightly around one another, an ache that isn't emptiness but the opposite, a super-dense point at his core, like a black hole, invisible but inescapable.

"Oh, I take your bias into account."

He swings around the uncomfortable fullness in his head, the pain like eyes full of tears, by tipping Lucy a courtly bow, overdone ever so slightly. "Dance with me, Lucy Saxon. Dance with me, and we can talk about names."

When he extends a hand to her this time, there's open invitation and good humor in his eyes, without the assumed command of earlier.

Date: 2009-01-21 04:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sky-w-diamonds.livejournal.com
Lucy laughs when he drops her a sweeping bow, a genuinely amused sound, almost girlish for a moment. He can't know it, of course- he doesn't have her Harry's memories- but there's very little Lucy loves more than a dance. And this, this is so Harry, despite the grin on the man's face. How many times he would pull Lucy into a dance without any music, only that familiar quadruple beat to guide their footsteps. Oh yes, Lucy loves to dance- and she's good at it, too; a dance can mean anything, and she knows how to use that.

Of course, it can also merely be enjoyable.

This, she rather suspects, falls into both categories. Not that she minds. Makes things much more interesting. And so when he holds out his hand, his face and posture all invitation, Lucy slides forward on silent feet to take it.

Fingertips touch on his palm first, and her hand curls to the side, ready to clasp if the dance calls for it. The motion, as she steps into his space, centres itself around her hips, and she looks up at him, the little pocket of a smirk finding itself on one side of her mouth.

'And how shall we dance?' She asks, a mirror to his tone, polite and public, intrigue spoken of behind hands.

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