Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who. This story is set somewhere between the end of Spyfall Pt 2 and Fugitive of the Judoon.
What Did You Do?
She watched the flames as they seemed to burn on into the eternal night. Gallifrey was gone, its people slaughtered by a madman. And despite knowing that the Master was to blame, she could only ask one question: What did you do?
For the Doctor had known the Master since childhood. She had known him when they were best of friends and the greatest of foes. She had seen him at his most noble, which admittedly set the bar quite low, and at his most cruel and depraved. She had seen him scared, driven, murderous, greedy and even on a few occassions… genuine. She had seen the hate that he held for her and she knew the lengths he would go to to get his way.
But the anger he had shown her, directed not at the Doctor, but at the Time Lords… that was a level of anger and fury she had never seen before. There had been no spark of happiness in his eyes when he had told her what he had done, but she had seen the conviction. In his own way he was absolutely certain that they deserved their fate. And while he was known to do many things, the Master had never really bothere with trying to rationalise his actions.
So what had happened that had caused the Master to destroy the whole planet? And she didn’t think for a moment that actually killing the population of his home world and burning it to the ground was outside of his character. There had been times before when his actions had brought Gallifrey to ts knees and almost destroyed the planet.
This was different because this time the Master had not been acting out of greed or some new scheme to grab power. He had not been selfishly seeking a way to cure himself after being found near death. And it was not some petit act of vengeance against a race he had turned on time and time again.
This had been done out of anger. He had discovered something on Gallifrey that had caused him to turn on his own people in a brutal fashion. Some secret he had exposed had driven him to kill and burn those around him. And although she did not believe for a moment that he had returned home just for a visit given that he had been brutally kicked off the planet as soon as they returned to the universe, she believed him that he had not gone there with genocide on his mind.
So what had they done that was so bad? What had they done that was worse than the things she knew they had done?
The Time Lords were by no means innocent. Their crimes during the Time War should have seen them executed yet there was nobody to stand and judge them. Almost every escalation in the war, every new weapon that the Daleks had turned back against them, had been a Time Lord development. They had developed plan after hideous plan to one up the Daleks and if those plans never cost the lives of innocents it was only because the Daleks had found a way to overcome them.
The Time Lords had burned galaxies and entire centuries to try and win a war they should have known they would lose. Had engaged in acts of sabotage against other races that had led to extinctions of entire cultures. They had infected a child’s mind with a drumbeat that had driven him insane and then allowed him to run free. And they had been the ones to rationalise their actions as being necessary.
So what could they have done that was worse than that? What could they have done to the Master that was worse than driving him beyond the point of insanity? And why when the Master told her about it did he tell her that whatever they had done involved not only himself, but also the Doctor?
He had wanted it to hurt. There was no doubt that he considered the truth to be something that would destroy her. And he had drawn her in just to set her on the path to uncover the truth knowing that she would not stop until she found out… no matter how painful that truth could be.
But where would she even start to look for answers when all those that could tell her had been consumed by flames?
Well, all but one. The Master was still alive as far as she knew. He was trapped in another dimension, imprisoned by those he had been planning to betray at his earliest convenience. But he was alive and the Doctor had no doubt whatsoever that he would escape sooner rather than later. It was just one of those things about the Master. He would seem to die or be trapped on board a ship falling into a black hole, or find himself imprisoned in an alien dimension and somehow you could guarantee he would return. It was not a matter of if, but when.
And so she would have to wait and keep watch. She would search for signs that he had returned just so that when he did she would be able to seek him out and get her answers. Until then she would keep returning to the flames hoping that she would find the answers she needed.
“What did you do to make him do this?” she asked yet again. “And why do I feel like you deserved it?”
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