Fandom: Doctor Who
Pairing: Ten/Simm!Master, sort of.
Rating: PG/PG-13 for implied (but historic!) violence
Word Count: 700
Summary: Right century, wrong city.
Notes: One of those “LotTL ends differently and the Doctor gets his unhappily ever after, after all” AUs. Warnings for random classicism. Because I simply couldn’t resist.
“Oh, no. No, no, no…”
The Doctor steps out of the TARDIS, glances around warily, and tries very hard not to scream. “This is… this is all wrong.” It’s very nearly right, truth be told – they’re parked in the shadow of a temple whose architecture is almost as it should be, it certainly feels like the right century, even the young men wandering around with garlands in their hair, but something…
“Oh, I don’t know,” the Master replies breezily. The Doctor turns around to find him leaning lazily against the side of the TARDIS, perfectly at ease and grinning widely. As much as the Doctor appreciates for once seeing him neither resentful nor visibly miserable, it’s still a rather disturbing image. “It looks an awful lot like ancient Greece to me.”
“Yeah…” he absently draws out the word, trying to decide what the Master might find so pleasing about ancient Greece. There are certainly more than enough possibilities, but he can think of none that might pose a serious threat. An instant later he realises that he's staring, and forces himself to glance aside before the Master notices. “Yes, it is, but this… is not Olympia. I wanted to go to Olympia.” And indeed, this is very much not Olympia. It’s far too homogenous, and he hardly needs telepathy to sense the rigid and suppressive legalism of the city-state. Really, as much as he likes humanity, this isn’t his type of place at all.
“Lovely place, Olympia. All those city-states contributing, competing... And the temples there... exquisite. Especially some of those Athenian ones. Well... maybe not quite up to Philon’s work, but definitely, definitely worth a visit. You’d like it. Well… no, probably not, but… it’s still incredible what some good old-fashioned competition can lead to." He falls silent, realising that the Master isn’t even listening. "Well, not always, obviously," he adds lightly.
The Master shifts against the TARDIS. "I don’t see why it matters, Doctor," he finally says. "It’s not as if one human city isn’t very much like any other. Especially when they’re still this primitive."
“Oh, but Olympia. Birthplace of the Olympic Games!” the Doctor grins. “Have you ever seen the Olympics? They’re absolutely brilliant. The entire world united in celebration, and you know what humans can be like.” He pauses for breath and then rushes on, “Definitely a must-see event. And this… is where it all begins. Well, not here, obviously, since this isn’t Olympia, but you know what I mean.”
The Master looks visibly ill.
The Doctor sharply points a finger at him. “This is your fault,” he insists. “I’m sure of it. I don’t know how you got around the isomorphic controls, but you’ve obviously managed it.”
“Or perhaps you’ve failed yet again to successfully pilot your TARDIS.” The Master rolls his eyes. “How petty do you think I am?”
The Doctor considers that for about a tenth of a second. “Very,” he replies soberly, and then winces as a sudden shriek splits the air.
The Master winces as well, but then brightens. “Oh, look,” he says, smiling obscenely. “It’s festival day.” He pauses as several more screams follow the first. One of the garlanded young men comes rushing towards them, trailing a path of blood in his wake, and the Doctor can’t force himself to move. This, he can already tell, is a fixed point in time.
“Reminds you of good old England, doesn’t it?” The Master quickly steps out of the way of the dying man, careful not to any blood on himself. “Well, when I was in charge, at least. And slave population control is such a good sport, isn’t it? So much more fun than watching naked men wrestle. Do just stand there and keep on looking thick if you agree – that’s perfect.
“You do remember your history, don’t you, Doctor? This is, after all, your favourite planet. Sparta, around 425 B.C, I believe. Fascinating for a human city. Built entirely on slave labour, isn’t that charming? And I’ve always wanted to know…”
“You’re disgusting,” the Doctor manages weakly, because he does recognise the year. The slaughter of about 2000 helots is one of the human events he would least have liked to witness. “You… that’s it, we’re leaving. Now.”
“But you promised me a holiday,” the Master protests as the Doctor drags him back to the TARDIS.
The Doctor doesn’t say that he hadn’t expected to have every kind gesture thrown back in his face. He’s always known exactly what he was signing up for when he chose to try to rehabilitate the Master. He’s always known that he never really had a chance, but to give up now would be to accept defeat, and the Master is worth more to him than that.
“Right,” he says slowly. The Master probably wouldn’t have liked Olympia anyway. “How about the Leisure Palace Company? Apparently they’ve got a resort on an interesting planet named Midnight.” He very carefully sets the coordinates. “That should be quiet enough.”