The Sound of Drums pt 1
“Oh my head,” Martha complained as Rose cracked her neck, her eyes still fixated on that stupid “Vote Saxon” poster.
“Time travel without a capsule, that’s a killer.” The Doctor groaned, shaking it off before he took Rose’s hand. She quickly raised her own mental shields, not wanting him to pick up on the anxiety that poster was giving her for what ever reason. It seemed to work because as he checked to make sure Jack and Martha were following along he gave no sign of concern for Rose.
“Still,” Jack said as they turned out on to the street. “At least we made it. Earth, 21st century by the looks of it. Talk about lucky.” Jack said.
“That wasn’t luck,” The Doctor said evenly. “That was me.” He said as he turned again, heading to a pedestrian road away from traffic. Rose wasn’t even sure exactly where they were, her eyes too drawn to the simple black and white posters all around them, the t-shirts people were wearing. Her ears, while picking up the traffic on the road, and the clamour of conversation around her, also heard an odd, four beat rhythm. One that was familiar in a weird way that she couldn’t quite pin point.
She was led to a seating area, and she sat down by the Doctor.
“How do you mean that was you?” Jack asked.
“I programed the vortex manipulator to take us here, the same date and location I locked the TARDIS to before the Master took off with it.” The Doctor explained, his voice distant and his eyes dark. Rose, she realized, wasn’t the only one who seemed to notice the obnoxious amount of paper with Saxon’s name everywhere.
“We don’t know what he looks like, though.” Martha pointed out. “And if he’s, what do you call it, regenerated, how will we know him?”
“I just will.” The Doctor said absently, his eyes homed in one someone. “The moment I see him, Time Lords always do.”
Rose followed his gaze to a homeless man sitting against a wall, tapping his tin mug in a four beat pattern that she couldn’t quite here.
“Hold on,” Martha said cautiously. “His voice, I knew that voice in the end when he spoke. If he could be anyone,” She stood up, looking around. “We missed the election.” She said, looking to Rose and then to Jack.
Jack looked around, and realization came to him as he slowly stood up as well.
“Doc,” He said, and Rose turned to see where Jack was looking. Up on a giant screen in the middle of the square was a news broadcast covering the landslide win of Harold Saxon as prime minister of Britain. They moved as a group slowly toward it, but stopped far from where the crowd was forming.
“That’s him.” The Doctor said. “He’s Prime Minister.”
“Knew I didn’t like his face,” Rose said, watching as The Master stopped and obliged the media by kissing the doe-eyed blonde woman at his side. Rose snorted. “He found someone to marry him?”
“She another Time Lord?” Jack asked.
“No, she’s human.” The Doctor replied, gripping Rose’s hand tightly in his as The Master prepared to speak to the cameras, his big brown eyes seeming to fall right on them as he spoke.
“This country has been sick. This country needs healing. This country needs medicine. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that what this country really needs … is a Doctor.” The Master grinned wickedly, and Rose fought the impulse to charge after the giant image and growl at it.
“Come on,” Martha said. “My flat’s not far from here.” She gestured behind her, and she started leading the others down the road.
“Rose, you’re closed off. What’s wrong?”The Doctor asked her mentally, punctuating his sentence with concern.
She dropped her walls, and the Doctor startled at the flood she sent him containing all the worry, fear, apprehension, concern, and determination that coursed through her. He didn’t release his hold on her, but it loosened a bit.
Martha wasn’t wrong when she said her flat wasn’t far, and as she lead them up to the second floor of the townhouse building Rose and the Doctor dropped each other’s hands. There hadn’t been much to say, and both were feeling too much of the same unpleasant emotions for the contact to be of any benefit.
As Martha unlocked her door, she gave a sigh of relief. “Home,” She said as they all stepped inside.
“Do you have a laptop? Computer?” The Doctor asked her, and she gestured to the desk where her laptop was closed.
“I can show you the Saxon websites, he’s been around for ages.” Jack said as he looked down at his cell phone, concern in his voice.
“Who are you calling?” Rose asked, studying the way Jack’s brows were knit together, and his finger tapped nervously on the edge of the device.
“Some friends of mine, but there’s no reply.” He said, and Rose could see his eyes were clouded with worry.
“Any one special?” She asked with a half smile.
“Yeah,” Jack said evenly. “He is.” He sighed, then swiftly moved to stand behind the Doctor as the Time Lord sat at Martha’s desk with the laptop open in front of him.
“It’s so weird,” Martha said to her as they watched the two men score the websites. “The day after the election Four days since I met you both.”
“And there we went, flying around the universe while he was here the whole time.” The Doctor grumbled, running a hand over his face.
“You couldn’t have known.” Rose tried to reassure.
“Oh, but I should’ve.” The Doctor countered. “So why didn’t I sense him? Why couldn’t I detect the presence of another Time Lord?” He got up from the chair in a quick, fluid motion and crossed the room to stand before her. He put his hands on her waist. “Dozens of time lines splintering, pulling us apart, all except one. He’s a Time Lord, he could have been messing with them.”
“But that was ages ago.” Rose shook her head once and stopped. “But then again to be voted prime minister he would have had to have been here when the candidates were selected.”
“He does have the TARDIS,” Jack pointed out. “He could have been here for decades. It would explain his back story.”
“Back story?” The Doctor asked, looking at Jack and then Martha.
“He goes back years,” Martha said as she moved into her small kitchen, filling a kettle and putting it on the stove. “Everyone knows his story: Cambridge University, Rugby blue, won the Athletics thing, wrote a novel, went into business, marriage, everything. He’s got a whole life.”
“And yet nothing specific.” Rose pointed out, stepping away from the Doctor as Martha and Jack both looked at her with confusion. “Okay, won the athletics thing. What thing? What award? Wrote a novel? What’s it called? Went into business? What was it? It’s like when John would try to tell me about his life, they were more facts than story. Nothing to back it up because it wasn’t real.” Rose explained as the Doctor moved to the sofa and sat on the arm of it.
“TARDIS,” Jack reminded them.
“No,” The Doctor shook his head. “When he was stealing th TARDIS the only thing I could do was fuse the coordinates. I locked them permanently. The only places he could travel was the year 100 trillion on that dying planet, or Cardiff 2007.”
“But to be on the voting docket he would have needed to be here a little longer than five months. What about leeway?” Jack asked as he sat in the chair at the desk, the kettle whistling in the background.
“Well, eighteen months, tops. The most he could have been here is eighteen months.”
“Long enough to get into politics and make a name for himself,” Jack thought out loud. “But Rose does bring up a good point: how did he get everyone to believe a back story that she’s managed to pull apart in two minutes?”
“The Master’s always been sorta … hypnotic. But never on a scale this massive.” The Doctor considered.
“I was gonna vote for him,” Martha said as she handed Rose a cup of tea and then handed the other one to Jack.
“Really?” The Doctor asked, following Martha’s movements as she went back into the kitchen to retrieve the other two cups from the counter. Rose sat on the middle cushion of the sofa, watching Martha as she handed the cup to the Doctor before sitting on other sofa arm.
“Well, that was before I even met you. And I liked him.” Martha shrugged, sipping her tea.
“Me too,” Jack admitted.
“Why do you say that? What was his policy, what did he stand for?” The Doctor asked.
“I dunno, he always sounded good.” Martha replied with a dreamy tone, tapping her fingers against her mug in a four beat pattern. “Like you could trust him. He spoke about … I can’t really remember, but it was good.”
“I know that rhythm,” Rose said, trying to place where she’d heard that before.
“What’s with the tapping?” The Doctor asked, pointing to the way Martha’s fingers moved.
“I dunno,” She said, looking at her fingers like they weren’t hers. “I, it’s just, I dunno.” She stuttered.
As the Doctor got to his feet, a tune came from the laptop behind Jack. On the screen, a notification that there would be a Saxon broadcast on all channels popped up, and the Doctor lunged for the television. He flicked it on than sat on the coffee table, right on the very edge, watching intently.
“Britain, Britain, Britain,” The Master said with that psychotic grin of his. “What extraordinary times we’ve had. Just a few years ago, this world was so small. And then they came out of the unknown….”
Rose watched the broadcast with disconnected interest. Watching events from her past from an outsider’s perspective felt odd. Knowing she had a hand in stopping every event that popped up, remembering her mother’s fearful responses to all but the ghosts (at first at least). She calculated how long the Master could have been here for it, how long he roamed the same Earth she did. Eighteen months. If he’d been around that long, he would have popped up while she was considered a missing person. A cold chill went through, remembering how Mickey had been listening for the sounds of the TARDIS. That could have been bad if he had stumbled on the Master instead of her and the Doctor.
“What?” The Doctor said, and Rose snapped out of her thoughts and looked on the screen to see these little metal sphere’s in the corner of the screen, the Master yammering on about how there would be diplomatic relations with the sphere’s beginning tomorrow. Barely wondering what she missed, she realized she’d heard everything. Higher functioning brain meant listening without listening, and while she was in a daze her mine cataloged everything the Master spoke about.
“Every teacher,” The Master said, “and chemist and lorry driver and farmer. And every, oh, I don’t know, medical student?”
Rose bolted up as the Doctor whipped his head around to look at Martha. He then turned the TV around, and the sticks of what reminded Rose of dynamite wrapped and secured to the TV made her drop her mug. The Doctor grabbed the laptop while Rose grabbed his jacket. Jack was opening the door and Martha ran through it and down the stairs with the rest of them not far behind.
Barely out of the building and into the streets, the explosion broke out the windows in the upper story, causing the alarms on a few cars to go off as they stumbled and got their barrings.
“Rose?” The Doctor said, coming toward her.
“’M fine,” She said despite the ringing in her ears.
“Jack, Martha?” He asked, looking at them. “Martha, what are you doing?” He asked sharply.
“He knows about me, what about my family?” She demanded, and Rose noted the cell phone in her hand.
“Don’t tell them anything,” The Doctor growled.
“I’ll do what I like!” Martha yelled back, and Rose shifted to stand between her and the Time Lord. As Martha spoke to her mother, relief filled her voice for a moment before the panic took over.
“If he knows about Martha, what about me?” Rose asked quietly, watching Martha intently as she paced around on the sidewalk.
“I don’t know,” The Doctor said honestly. “I don’t know anything.” Rose looked up, seeing the darkness in his eyes, the concern that marred his face, the posture she knew he carried when he was trying to be strong and brave but felt helpless. She gripped his hand, but she felt nothing. Closed off, not surprising.
“Dad! What’s going on? Dad?” Martha started screaming, looking to the others with wide eyed fear. “I gotta help them.” She said before bolting toward a car a few spots down from her destroyed flat.
“That’s exactly what they want,” The Doctor warned, letting go of Rose’s hand and running after Martha.
“This is getting out of control fast,” Jack said as he took Rose’s hand and ran with her to the car.
She nodded, though she didn’t know if Jack had noticed. He opened the back door of the car and gave Rose a gentle push inside. She was barely over the middle cushion before Jack was scooting inside, shutting the door. Martha took off, and Rose tumbled about a bit before settling in the seat behind Martha.
She drove recklessly down the roads, taking corner’s too sharply and running stop signs to the protest of other drivers. It occurred to Rose as she clung to the car door and Jack that there wasn’t any sirens. Hadn’t been any at all while the stood outside the destroyed flat, and now as they headed toward Martha’s mother’s home. So where was the law enforcement if not stopping a maniac driver who has likely had her plates phoned in, and who’s flat in a posh neighborhood had exploded not fifteen minutes ago? She looked to Jack, and while she didn’t have the connection with him she had with the Doctor, Rose knew without a doubt that the Captain was starting to wonder the exact same thing.
The car came to a sudden stop, Rose needing to brace herself with her hand against the driver’s seat. Shaking the hair from her face, she noted the van with Martha’s mother being loaded into the back. Around it were dozens of police officers with guns of various sizes all pointed toward them.
“Martha, reverse,” The Doctor cried out in panic.
Their driver didn’t need to be told twice, though with how recklessly she drove before Rose couldn’t believe that this was the time she would choose to drive properly as she executed a three point turn. Half way through the turn, shots were fired.
“Move it!” Jack yelled, and no sooner had Martha finished the turn did a bullet fly through the back window, grazing Rose’s shoulder.
“Bloody fucking hell!” She cried out, gripping the bloody, burning wound on her shoulder. The pain made her feel sick, and she swallowed back bile as it rose in her throat.
“Do you see what your carelessness has done?” The Doctor screamed.
“Oh, right, my carelessness!” Martha yelled back. “Picked a swell time and place to have him come back to.”
“I couldn’t let him go just anywhere. He needs to be stopped.” The Doctor yelled back.
“He took my family at gun point and shot your girlfriend! Tell me how brilliant your plan was now.”
“Would you two shut the hell up!” Rose yelled over both of them, silencing everyone in the car. “The only person whose bloody fault this is is the alien psychopath. Should the Doctor have known about him sooner? Maybe. Or maybe someone should have kept her bloody mouth shut when she saw the fob watch in the first place!” Rose growled, and the two parties in the front both looked perfectly chastised.
“Let me have a look at your shoulder, Rosie.” Jack said, gently prying Rose’s fingers away from the wound. He examined it gently. “Already showing signs of healing.” He said, a little taken aback.
“Not all that surprised.” Rose huffed, her nerves starting to make her body shake as shock set in now that the anger was out of her system. “So what do we do now?”
“We’ve gotta ditch the car.” Jack said, authority in his voice. “Martha, we have to pull over now.”
Martha nodded, glancing in the rear view mirror before pulling over to the side of the road. Jack got out first, holding the door open for Rose so she could get out on the shoulder of the road. The Doctor handed Jack the laptop before reaching for Rose. He took her hand and gently guided her out, holding her still as he looked at her shoulder himself, sending apologies to her through the gentle touch he laid on the skin around her wound. She nodded, not feeling strong enough to send it back mentally.
“Leo!” Martha exclaimed, and it was everything Rose could do not to charge over and rip the mobile out of Martha’s hand. “Oh thank God! Leo, you gotta listen to me. Where are you?”
“Not very good at laying low, is she?” Rose noted bitterly as the Doctor took her hand firmly in his and started to walk away from the car.
“No,” He bit out.
“Leo, just listen to me. Don’t go home, I’m telling you. Don’t phone Mum or Dad or Tish. You’ve gotta hide.”
“Which is what we should be doing.” Jack mumbled.
“Says the man who tried to call some friends himself,” The Doctor noted, looking over his shoulder.
“Yes, but the friends I called could actually help.” Jack replied.
“On my life,” Martha begged her brother over the phone. “You’ve gotta trust me. Go to Boxer’s, stay with him. Don’t tell anyone just hide.” She continued, and when her footsteps stopped, Rose, The Doctor, and Jack did too.
Martha looked terrified, frozen, like she couldn’t move if she tried. “Let them go, Saxon.” She said with fearful conviction. “Do you hear me?” She screamed as the Doctor moved toward her, taking Rose with him. “Let them go!” Martha screamed on last time before the Doctor yanked the phone from her shaky hand and put it to his ear.
“I’m here,” He said, calm and evenly, holding tight to Rose’s hand as he swiftly put distance between Martha and Jack.
With no traffic on the road, and Martha’s shaky sobs a ways away, Rose could hear the Master on the other end of the line as he said, “Doctor,” with a strange sense of love and admiration.
“Master,” The Doctor replied, leading Rose to a bench and sitting down, shifting the phone so it was closer to her, a slight bit away from his ear.
“I like it when you use my name,” The Master said, and his tone sent a shiver down Rose’s spin hard enough that she convulsed a little.
“You chose it. Psychiatrist’s field day.” The Doctor replied, eyes shifting around him.
“As you chose yours,” The Master replied. “The man who makes people better. How sanctimonious is that.”
“So, Prime Minister.” The Doctor changed the subject quickly.
“I know.” The Master replied a little gleefully. “It’s good, isn’t it?”
“Who are those creatures?” The Doctor asked, looking at Rose, holding her eye. “’Cause there’s no such thing as the Toclafane. It’s just a made-up name like the Bogeyman.”
“Do you remember all those fairy tales about the Toclafane when we were kids? Back home.” The Master asked, and the Doctor’s other hand fell on Rose’s. He showed her a quick image of two young boys listening to tales told by an older man, the wonder in their eyes as they listened intently around a campfire that made the red grass beneath them look like flames as well. “Where is it, Doctor?” The Master asked, ending the image.
“Gone.” The Doctor said, his walls firmly back up while his grip tightened on Rose’s hand.
“How can Gallifrey be gone?” The Master asked
There was a pause. “And the Time Lords?”
“Dead.” The Doctor said, the pain in his hearts seeping through the walls he tried to hold up, making Rose clutch his hand tighter. “And the Daleks, more or less.” The Doctor added with a tilt of the head. “What happened to you?” He asked the Master.
“The Time Lords only resurrected me because they knew I’d be the perfect warrior for a Time War.” The Master said, and when Rose narrowed her gaze in thought, the Doctor showed her what happened the last time he had seen the master. How the man was in a human’s body, trying to take the Doctor’s while he was in his eighth form. He had fallen into some sort of pit thing before it closed. “I was there,” The Master continued, “when the Dalek Emperor took control of the Cruciform. I saw it. I ran. I ran so far. Made myself human so they would never find me because I was so scared.”
“I know,” The Doctor said with complete understanding.
“All of them?” The Master said thoughtfully. “But now you … which must mean?”
“I was the only one who could end it.” The Doctor admitted, the pain in his eyes so strong that Rose was glad this conversation was happening over a phone. She noted Martha and Jack coming closer, and she gave a slight shake of the head to tell them to stay back. “And I tried,” The Doctor added. “I did I tried everything.”
“What did it feel like, though?” The Master asked with wonder. “Two almighty civilizations burning. Oh, tell me, how did it feel?” He asked with a blood lust in his voice that made Rose’s lip curl.
“Stop it,” The Doctor warned.
“You must have been like God.” The Master said with a jealous undertone.
“And I’ve been alone ever since!” The Doctor bit out.
“No, no you haven’t actually.” The Master said, amused. “Because I’ve been here for a while, Doctor. You figured that out already, though, haven’t you? But I have to admit that I couldn’t get my hands on anything about you until that pitiful excuse of an organization, Torchwood, fell. It was so … amusing, watching the Daleks and the Cybermen battle over the Earth. Stayed hidden, of course. Let you clean up that mess. But there is one thing I noticed about you, and that’s your little blonde companion at your side the whole time. Haven’t come back to Earth much since that day though, have you? And it makes me wonder why, because while it took next to no time to find everything I could on Martha Jones, your little companion, your Rose Smith is no where to be found.” He said, and the Doctor looked to Rose with wonder and confusion, his eyes wide before his brow furrowed. “No family or friends I can attempt to corrupt or coerce, yet I know she’s from this city, this era, because your TARDIS has been landing her quite often since 2005. Who is she, Doctor? This girl who has apparently taken in the Time Vortex and lived, who is as fake and yet as real as I am?”
“Leave her out of this!” The Doctor snapped, on his feet and glaring at the ground as if it were the Master. The Storm raged in his eyes, his stance, the way his jaw was set.
The Master’s laugh echoed through the speaker, but that was all Rose could hear as the Doctor put distance between them.
“What’s going on?” Jack asked as he came up to her, and he and Martha joined Rose in following the Doctor as he continued his phone conversation as he headed down the road.
“The Master is goading him,” Rose said. “First with the Time War, now with me.”
“With you?” Jack asked.
“He doesn’t know who I am.” Rose said, looking up at Jack. “He thinks my name is Rose Smith, though I don’t know how. He knows I’ve been with the Doctor for a while, and knows about the vortex thing I did somehow, but he can’t find a way to get to me like he got to Martha,” She said, looking at her apologetically.
Martha shrugged a shoulder, looking to the ground. “He probably remembers. Overheard you three talking while Jack fixed the couplings. The Doctor remembers things he heard as John, not surprising that the Master remembers things he heard as Yana.”
Rose nodded, noting that the Doctor had stopped in front of a shop window. He then whirled around, looking up.
“He can see us,” The Doctor growled, whipping out his sonic and pointing it upward. Rose didn’t dare look where the others did, and she heard something crackle and pop behind her. A camera, she guessed. “He’s got control of everything.” He said as he closed Martha’s cell phone.
“What do we do?” Martha asked.
“We run,” Rose said firmly, looking to the Doctor who nodded once.
“We’ve got nowhere to go.” Jack pointed out.
“We run anyway,” The Doctor replied, leading the charge and taking off through a shopping arcade, ignoring the looks of people they ran past.