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[sticky post] Fic: Who We Are

Title: Who We Are
Author: littlewonder2
Rating: PG
Pairing: Severus Snape/Remus Lupin
Word Count: 1,000
Disclaimer: Characters and places belong to JK Rowling.
Summary: Remus discovers Severus leading Harry to the Sword of Gryffindor using his doe patronus.
Prompts: Sword of Gryffindor/Locket of Slytherin for the Snupin Summer Fest.

A/N: Anyone who wants to make art of the final moment is welcome. Because a picture paints a thousand words, right?


"Hermione, can I talk to you?"

She turned to Lupin. "Of course," she said. "What is it?"

He drew his shoulders back, his eyes heavy. "I know you plan to leave here with Harry and Ron --"

She turned away, gripping her bag tightly. "I don't know what you're talking about --"

"It's okay, Hermione, I don't mind," Lupin quickly reassured her. "It's what he would've wanted, Dumbledore..." She looked at him, turned fully to him now. He continued, "I don't think you should be out there alone. If you ever want to talk to an adult while you're out there, or ask for advice..." He pulled out a mirror. "I don't need it anymore. My work for the Order doesn't require it."

"Lupin, I can't --"

"Call me Remus," he said. "You're old enough now. Leaving Hogwarts…"

"Remus," she said. She took the mirror, and placed it carefully in her purse.

--

"Severus."

The silver doe dissipated to his right, as Severus drew himself up to his full height and faced Remus, almost invisible next to his black tree. But Remus had seen his face by the light of the patronus that he understood now had came from him. "So this is why I never saw your patronus."

"So now you know my dark secret."

"I don't know how dark it is, Severus. I think it's as light as she is. You shouldn't have to pretend around me. We've both spent lifetimes hiding who we are from other people. Isn't it about time we stop running?"

"I can't stop."

"No, of course not," said Remus, looking out at the lake where Harry was preparing to dive in. "You can't stop any more than he can. We're all caught up in this battle… but it's not who we are." He looked back at Severus. "There's more to us than being warriors or spies. I see that now. When you killed Dumbledore, I thought I was seeing what you really were. Forgive me, I never knew."

"It isn't what you think."

"You loved her. Don't bother denying it, Severus. You have a heart."

"I always had a heart, that was always the problem. I was tormented my whole life by people like you. And it hurt. Why should I not protect myself? Why should you think you're so special to me?"

"No, I suppose I never was. Why should I be? She was your best friend. What was I, to you, but just another tormentor?"

He looked away, just in time to see Ron pull Harry from the lake. "That was us, once. Perhaps not as friendly, but I defended you, Severus. And you tolerated me. Protected me. I haven't forgotten."

Severus stood stock-still. Remus cautiously approached, watchful of Severus's reaction. Severus flinched. Remus jumped in surprise.

"Severus… what are you afraid of?"

Away in the clearing, the locket burst open, and cruel voices taunted Ron. What cruel taunts did Severus have saved for him? What lies did he tell himself to keep Remus away?

If he was Ron, Severus was the locket: a container for every bad memory or feeling, sucking the life from Remus's heart. Severus's love was cruel, and he almost wished he loved Tonks instead, a love as bright as she was, and loyal. But she wasn't like him; she shared none of the darkest corners of him, just as the Marauders had never seen the lonely parts that they never could've understood. It was the part of him that always called to Severus, because he recognised that quality of being so isolated, and how it can tear you apart.

But judging from the look on his face now, Severus wasn't holding back any angry taunts, not this time. He really looked broken.

"Severus?" asked Remus, taking a few steps further forward, reaching a hand out to touch his shoulder.

Severus backpedalled. "Don't," he said.

"But why, Severus?"

"Just, don't."

Remus withdrew his arm, bodies parallel as they faced each other. He wanted to inch closer, but he didn't dare. Discomfort and guilt was written on Severus's face.

"What is it, Severus?"

Severus's eyes flicked up into Remus's. "We are on opposite sides of this war. We're enemies, I hate you."

"Severus."

"I love Lily."

"Severus."

"I love you."

Silence fell as quickly as the almost invisible tear down Severus's cheek. Guilty, he turned away to see Ron falter over the vision before him. If he was in Weasley's position, then Remus was the sword. The only man who could breach him, the only one who could penetrate his heart. And perhaps the only one he could fight back the demons of this world with. If he could just find the strength to raise him up.

"Severus."

Air caught in his throat, and his head returned to Remus, another tear chasing the same path after the first. Severus clenched his whole body, sick with rage. "I am so sick of this pain. I'm sick of love."

This time Remus really did reach out and touch him. "So am I."

Severus balked at that. "No big argument? No speeches about having faith in love?"

"It wouldn't make a difference even if I wanted to. But I don't have much faith left. I've been tired for so long. I gave up on love and married the first person who would have me, all because I thought I'd lost the one I really loved forever. And now he's standing before me, saved." He brought his hand up and cupped Severus's cheek. For a moment, the tension was shocked out of Severus's body, but he quickly tensed up his arm again and squeezed his fist, fighting for control. But when Remus brushed his hand up Severus's arm, the hairs lit up and there was no holding back. Wrapping fists up in his hair, Severus kissed Remus hard on the mouth, the culmination of decades of desire.

Somewhere in the clearing, the Sword of Gryffindor pierced the heart of Slytherin's Locket.

Daggy Tags:

Memorable Things

I'll add more to the list. Watch this space.

A Bet A Day Keeps Morgana Away
Before and After
La Vie Boheme
Global Domination
Utopia
Autophobia
What If He Had?
Tough To Be Tender

The Affect Effect
The Thing About Chocolate
The Difference Between Content And Happy
Like The Periodic Table
And Your Ego, That's The Best Part
The Superior Colliculus Engagement
The Failure of Einstein's Universe
Okay Is Wonderful
Insomnia (wonderful fic/one-shot series)
He Thought Wrong
Hard Work to Have Fun
Strange Quarks
Peel a Page Like Fruit
Old Habits
Dial it Up!
They Cried
I Should Tell You
Requiem For A Dream
Maybe It Was The Alcohol, Maybe It Wasn't...
Lost, then maybe found, in translation
Less Than Real
Not a Girl Who Likes to be Teased
Criminal Indifference
When Did I Become A Parent?
Paragon
In Stark Contrast
Day Out with Benedict Cumberbatch

Becoming Neville
Wishbone
Engorgio
Learn to Wear Each Other Well

Sherlock: This is War
A Mutually Beneficial Arrangement (In Which Greg Lestrade is a horny bastard and Mycroft Holmes knows it)
Mycroft Chronicles
A Study in Grey
Five Times 'Yes' Wasn't Enough, and One Time It Was
Devil in Devon (Book 2 of an excellent Johncroft. Also read 1 & 3)
Mutually Assured Seduction

I Secretly Love You
Short Skirts and Car Rides

The Paradigm Shift Observations
The Conduction Seduction
Five Times Shamy Almost Met, and One Time They Did
Snipe
Performance in a Leading Role
Virginity For Sale
Janto has a thing for every letter in the (human) alphabet
Just One More Thing To Hide
Prove It
Shoot Like Captain Jack
Sartorial Differences (The Passion in Your Fashion remix)
Redirection
Rules of Transaction
Neither of Them Could Resist
Dreaming of England
We Can Ride Until We Reach The Kingdom
The Kilt and Recorder
It's not love, but it 's still a feeling
Development of a Genius
A Resolution
A^2 plus B^2 equals Cockblocked
so give me hope in the darkness (that i'll see the light)
An extended ending for Twist and Shout
Flying
Another, and another, and another
That Forgotten Wednesday 
tête-à-tête
Dragonfire: Ace and Mel, A One-Shot
My Country is the Whole World
Cherry
Devil Beside Me
Guns in the Summertime
Not All the Way Through
Inhuman
Square End

Ships:

Lily/Robin
Ted/Barney
Anthea/Irene

Two/Jamie
Five/Turlough
Jason/Pythagoras

And a bonus: this


==

Songs:

Judy Blume

Forget My Scars
Scars

Challenge accepted: 494 - Bleak Midwinter

Title: Grey Soul
Rating: PG
Word Count: 100
Challenge: 494 - Bleak Midwinter
Characters: Severus, Remus

The wind blew through his hair, ice crystals like sand numbing his face. The sky was grey as his soul, just the kind of weather Severus was made for.

As he entered the trees, the wind blew slightly softer. Soft as Remus's eyes when they stared into his by the fire. Remus wasn't built for bleak winters like Severus was, craved the warmth provided by the fire, or the enveloping touch of Severus's hand.

The wolf was different. His blood ran hot. Severus wasn't afraid anymore, walking slowly into the Forbidden Forest after him.

Remus stopped before him.

Daggy Tags:

Fic: Base Desires

A gutteral scream ripped from Will as he woke up in time, and warm, strong arms embraced him, rocking him from side to side.

"Shh, shh," soothed Hannibal. "Will, do you know where you are, do you know what just happened?"

"What just happened?" asked Will instinctively, before swivelling his head around. They were in bed together, and Hannibal was wearing silk pyjamas.

"We slept together," Hannibal answered.

"Like, literally?"

"No, Will. I mean we were intimate."

"Well, why didn't you stop me?" Will cried.

"You seemed quite lucid. Besides, I didn't want to stop you. But that isn't important right now. Why did you scream?"

Will turned fully to gape at Hannibal. "Not important? You rape me, and it's not important?"

"It wasn't rape, you wanted it, Will."

"It is if I can't think clearly. That isn't informed--"

"Why did you scream, Will?"

"You aren't my psychiatrist."

"Oh, but I am, but we can figure out the conflict of interest later. Right now, I think we need to find out what's going on with you. What did you see?"

The hair below his shorts stood on end, prickling like popcorn. He shivered.

"I saw Alana. And then I saw myself kill her. I saw you go to prison for something I did."

"And yet all this is eliciting some sort of physical reaction from you. It is possible that killing Alana was when you climaxed with me, and my imprisonment was the source of your scream."

"No. No," said Will. "I got no source of... sexual pleasure, killing Alana."

"Did you do anything with Alana, prior to killing her?"

"We kissed," Will admitted.

"Ah, and here we have the approach. Is it possible you were using Alana as an excuse to become intimate with me --?"

"No," said Will without missing a beat. "It's about..."

"See, you don't know, do you?"

"I know you're not impartial anymore," said Will.

"In your mind, Alana and I are quite similar. It's no surprise you got us confused, no matter your intentions. Or perhaps it was just your subconscious mind fulfilling your basest desires... and your fears."

Daggy Tags:

Fic: Mutually Lovesick

They were on the floor of the apartment together, struggling for dominance. She kissed him, and Pythagoras pushed her off. She looked back at him in shock, still admiring his body. "I want you," she said. "You're so... skinny, and sexy. And you're so smart."

"I have to confess..." said Pythagoras, "my heart belongs to another. Jason."

She sat back from him, leaning against the wall in defeat, shouldering off her jacket, which was suddenly too hot.

"What are you doing?" said Pythagoras.

But instead of answering, she sighed. "It must be hard, being in love with a man like that," she empathised.

"What do you mean by that?" asked Pythagoras.

She looked back at him, sitting up a little. "Well, you know..." she began. "Because he's in love with someone else."

Pythagoras looked sadly back at her, saying nothing.

She leaned forward, away from him now, glancing blankly over her knees. "The first time I was in love with someone... someone else, not you," she hastened to add, looked briefly back at him, "though I still find you wonderfully attractive..." she leaned back over her knees, "but I was in love with someone once. And the feeling I got... from them... I never wanted to let it go, and I hated that fact. I was in love with my feelings as well as him, but I hated that they existed at all, that I had to feel like that, a feeling I'd always rejected before. I found it was only too easy to break down my walls, that I was weaker than I ever knew I was..."

She turned back to Pythagoras. "And I knew I had to leave him someday, and I did. As it turned out, he never could've loved me either, so I'm glad I never said anything to him about it. But on the other hand, I regret that we could've never been friends. I wanted to be friends, least of all things, but I never had the courage to even talk to him. And no matter how long I clung to our lasting moments, it never meant anything in the end, when I was finally away from him. I mourned for two years, my body black and cold inside... I could smile in public, but left alone, I was almost paralysed."

She turned finally back to Pythagoras, leaning back a little again. "I'm in love with Jason," Pythagoras repeated, looking at her.

"I'm sorry," she said.

"Don't be," said Pythagoras. "Love isn't something to be ashamed of. And I'm sorry you felt it was, but that isn't how I feel. I actually am friends with my love, and I'll admit it still doesn't fix things, but at least I can live without regret."

"It never really goes away, though," she said. "Five years after I knew him, I... found him again. And I found myself just as addicted to him as I was before. And it was almost worth it, I found all about him since we knew each other, and we even talked… but I knew I had to walk away or deal with it all again, so I did. Even now, I have to keep in control of myself.

"I don't want anything like that again. All I want is to fool around with men… and women. Anything, just… I found you attractive, that's all. I can barely watch you with drifting into fantasies that you probably wouldn't approve of. And the worst of it is that you're in the exact same position I was in five years ago."

"I see," said Pythagoras. "So I suppose you know how this goes, then?"

"He'll break your heart," she said. "But worse still, you'll be worse off for it than I was. I'm so lonely, Pythagoras," she admitted, eyes crowned with tears. "Please, I need…"

He leaned forward and hugged her. She hugged him tightly back, squeezing his shoulders, crying into his neck. She slid a hand through his hair. "I like your hair," she muttered. "It's so… blonde, and curly… and pretty…" She kissed his neck. "Oh, sorry, sorry, I know you don't want that…" she hastened. "But I can't seem to help myself…"

"It's alright," Pythagoras gently hushed her. "Forget about it."

When they finally pulled apart, there were still tears in her eyes, but they had left down her cheeks, and she was gaining control of herself. She easily wiped them away. "I'm sorry," she apologised.

"Don't be," said Pythagoras.

"Pythagoras," cried a voice from the door as Jason walked in, bustling through the main room, "I'm home."

Pythagoras and the woman looked at each other, and she looked frightened. "Don't let him see me," she begged, afraid he would see her tears.

"Don't worry," said Pythagoras, "just go behind the curtain."

She just disappeared behind the curtain as Jason walked in. "Who was that?" Jason asked Pythagoras.

"No one. Just a friend," said Pythagoras. "I'm afraid she's a little shy. Let me talk to her first, please?"

"Sure thing," said Jason, moving from the room.

Pythagoras went behind the curtain to meet her. "I'm going to tell him," Pythagoras confessed.

"And I'm thinking of throwing myself from the balcony, so he doesn't see the tears and get suspicious."

"Please don't do that," said Pythagoras. "You can leave out through the door, just… give it a little time. You'll calm down, and you can leave through the door."

"You're going to tell him?" she repeated back his words. "You know how stupid that is of you?"

"It doesn't matter," said Pythagoras. "I need to tell him. If you're right, I need to know that and make my own decision."

"But it is no decision," she said. "When it comes to love, you'll always choose to stay with him, if you can."

"You didn't."

"I couldn't," she said.

"I won't ask," he said. "But I am going to tell him. I've kept this as a secret far too long. You've given me the strength to tell him."

"The strength," she said. "But I'm not strong. Didn't you see me crying?"

"Crying isn't weakness," said Pythagoras, "but your strength isn't the point. It's having someone else to talk to about these things. Somehow, talking to one person about it gives me the confidence to talk to more. And he's the one I want most to tell. If you don't think you're strong now, maybe we can be strong together."

"I don't know," she said, but there was already a strength and assurance in her eyes. "I'm sorry, I just need to… compose myself," she said, and headed out for the balcony. There were no tables or chairs, so she just leaned against the wall, looking out over Atlantis and repeating the name of it to herself in wonder. When she was sure the tears were gone for good, she leaned over the barrister, looking at the world below.

She heard sounds from the next room. Peering through the door, she saw the curtain was gone. Peeling her eyes away from the doorframe, she stood to the side of it and pressed her ear to the edge. Perhaps they could've seen her eyes, but she grew confident they wouldn't noticed her ear spying on them.

She heard their conversation, she heard Pythagoras confess his feelings. "Pythagoras…" she heard Jason say. "I just… I can't…"

"I understand," sighed Pythagoras.

"No, no you don't… I mean," said Jason, "I can't… want that… You're my friend, Pythagoras, I can't love you too, no matter how much I want to be with you…"

"Do you mean it, Jason? You can. Please…"

The woman had tears in her eyes. They were coming up fresh, and it was because she was happy for Pythagoras; it was because he had what she could never have, through all of time and space. He had someone who loved him back, and all she had was a loneliness she couldn't even admit to herself. She wanted to think she had her pride, but she knew that it was a lie.

And now, she didn't even have anyone to talk to. Pythagoras didn't need her anymore.

Daggy Tags:

Fic: The Secret of the Shalka

"Goodbye, my dear Doctor…"

As the Doctor vanished into the white light, the Master stood alone on that desolate cheetah planet as it was devoured by molten rock. He was not usually one for self-sacrifice, let alone for protecting the Doctor, but something inside was controlling him. And not, he thought, the cheetah virus. No, this was something new…

No sooner had the thought crossed his mind that large, snake-like creatures emerged from the eruption. They were here to devour, the Master instinctively knew. These were not Mara, he knew that well enough from their appearance. Not even the Mara were as ugly as this.

"Who are you?" he demanded.

"We are the Shalka," one of them hissed. "And we are here to take you…"

It was one thing that the cheetah had taken over his body, had taken over his mind. It was quite another to be taken over here by both cheetah and shalka. At least the cheetah had given the Master some semblance of power, but the shalka did just the opposite, freezing his body, controlling it, making him the Master no more…

"No," said the Master, "you will not take me. I am the Master, I control my own destiny!"

"Scream all you want, Master, your words cannot save you."

The Master tried to move his body, to attack, to run, anything -- but it was no use. "What have you done to me!" he cried.

"When you first arrived on this planet, you were but a stranded Time Lord. We had to be careful to invade you without your noticing. One of our worms buried itself inside you while you slept, and it has laid dormant ever since. But now the time has come to finish off this civilisation that has been tearing itself to shreds. And when we are done here, you will take us to Earth."

"And why would I do that?" said the Master.

"Because you have no choice."

"Ah, but I think you'll find that it is quite different," said the Master. "I cannot take you to Earth; it is not my home."

"Then where did you send the Doctor? Home to Gallifrey? I think he'll find it difficult to hitch a ride back to Earth from there."

"On the contrary, all he has to do is steal another TARDIS," said the Master, "activate the recall once he gets there… and he can return to his own TARDIS in time for tea."

"Oh, I don't think so," said the Shalka. "Gallifrey doesn't make them anymore. He'll be stranded there."

"They may be outdated, but we are Lords of Time, and I am the Master of all!" cried the Master. "If you really intend to use me, then I would suggest sending me to Gallifrey to find the Doctor! If you're so desperate for his attention, then you will lend me all the power I could ask for to really lend an impression."

"Very well," said the Shalka. "We will lend you favour with the Time Lords, and they will recall the Doctor in the TARDIS for you to collect."

"And how exactly do you plan to grant me that?"

"We have access to a friend of the Doctor's from the future. We will make him believe you are his reincarnated form, and you will break into the heart of Arcadia to recall the Doctor there. You will tell this companion that the Doctor is you, whatever it takes to get him on your side. When the Doctor arrives, do whatever it takes to bring the Doctor to us in the TARDIS."

The Shalka retreated to the underground, and the Master stood in the circle alone where he fought the Doctor. Then, within a flash of light, he thought for a moment that the Doctor had returned. Instead, there stood a handsome young man, dressed all in blue, with suspenders and what appeared to be a naval jacket. His hand remained for a moment over a black device on his wrist, before he raised both his arms in an excited greeting.

"Doctor!" he cried, hugging the Master in a vice. "So good to see you again! I see you've regenerated!" He pulled away, a huge grin on his face. The Master returned his grin with as jovial a smile as he could muster. "The same goes here. How long has it been?"

"Oh, a few hundred years…" said the man. "Getting into plenty of adventures, I see. I managed to lock onto you with the vortex manipulator. What are you doing here on this planet? Where's your TARDIS? And who are you carrying around this time?"

"I'm afraid I lost them both," said the Master. "I crash-landed here, and the Master left me stranded here. He took her and the TARDIS both."

The man landed a hand on his shoulder, standing as close to the Master as the Doctor ever had. "I'm sorry to hear that. It sounds like I got here just in time! Do you have any idea where he went?"

"Gallifrey. I must get to Gallifrey."

"Gallifrey? But wasn't it destroyed?"

The Master stared at him in horror. "What did you say?"

"Doctor, are you quite alright? You destroyed Gallifrey years ago, you told me that."

"So…" said the Master, "I'm the last of the Time Lords, am I?" He looked up sharply at the young man who stood before him. "All the Time Lords are dead, and here I am… the Time Lord victorious."

Something shifted in the man's eyes as they looked at the Master, as suspicion turned to doubt. "You're not the Doctor," he said, stepping back and pulling out a gun, pointing it at him with his guard raised. "Just who are you?"

The Master stared mildly at this stranger, having blown his cover already. Perhaps he could still salvage this. "But I am the Doctor," he said.

"The Doctor would never have said that."

"Would the Doctor, then, go travelling around with a man who uses guns on a regular basis? The Doctor has always detested guns and violence."

"And so he does. But he's not the one who uses them; I am," said the man.

"Oh, I see," said the Master. "First the Doctor goes around with a girl with a proclivity for explosives, then he picks up a man who uses guns. I am the Doctor, just not a version of him that you've ever yet met."

The man lowered his gun. "Captain Jack Harkness," he said, still guarded.

"The Doctor," said the Master.

"And who is this girl with the explosives?" asked Jack.

"Ace," said the Master, "my latest companion."

Jack relaxed, and put away his gun. "You really must introduce me to her."

"In good time," said the Master. "First we must track down the Master. He has Ace kidnapped on the TARDIS."

"What do you want me to do?" said Jack.

---

"Where would you like to go off to this time?" the Doctor asked Ace, when they were safe in the TARDIS.

"Oh, I don't know," said Ace. "Somewhere fun. Someplace away from Perivale."

"I think I know just the place!" said the Doctor, stumbling around to his control panel. Ace followed him, leaning on the edge and closing the doors. "Where's that, Professor?"

"Well, how about a nice round trip to --"

The TARDIS lurched, and the machine was drawn away from Perivale, dematerialising and causing lights to flash.

"Careful there, Doctor!" cried Ace.

"It wasn't me! The TARDIS seems to moving on its own!"

"But how is that possible?" cried Ace.

"I don't know -- there's only one possible explanation!" cried the Doctor.

"What's that?"

"Well, the Time Lords must be calling me back to Gallifrey!" cried the Doctor.

"The Time Lords? That's your --"

"--my race of people, yes," said the Doctor.

"Well, that could be interesting. What are they like, your people, Doctor?"

"Well, let me put it this way," said the Doctor. "I stole this TARDIS hundreds of years ago, and have been running from them ever since."

"Oh," said Ace, let down. "It's like that, is it? So you're just like me, then?"

"In a way, I suppose I am."

The TARDIS landed. "Well, there's nothing for it, I suppose," sighed the Doctor. "We're here now, may as well see what they want."

"Are you sure that's wise, professor?"

"Oh, perfectly wise. As wise as can be. This isn't the first time I've run into them again. It's like in that haunted house in Perivale; we just have to face our fears."

"I've got you, professor," said Ace.

The Doctor opened the screen. "It's the Master," said the Doctor. "And he's got an armed accomplice."

"The Master? Again? I thought we just fought that guy?"

"I guess he felt cheated of our showdown. He must want me badly to go to these lengths."

"Why, is he on the run, too?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact he is. And getting into the city is a lot easier than getting out."

"Well, are you going to face him already?" said Ace.

"Yes, I suppose I'll have to."

"Well, come on, then!" she cried, careful to keep clear of the doors as she opened them. Almost as soon as she did, the Master and his accomplice rushed in, and the Master closed the doors behind him.

Jack held his gun against the Doctor. "Hand her over, Master!"

"Hand her over -- what?" sputtered the Doctor.

"You heard me."

"Now look here, I'm nobody's property! Who exactly do you think you are?" Ace retorted.

Jack looked at her, slightly confused. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean --"

"He's an awfully polite accomplice, at any rate," said the Doctor, "even if he does have a gun pointed at my head." He turned to Jack. "Now listen, you don't have to do this," he pleaded with Jack, "you can always choose the good side --"

"You're one to talk, aren't you, Master?" said Jack. "Stealing this TARDIS, stealing the Doctor's companion --"

"Now will you listen, I am the Doctor!" cried the Doctor.

"Why should I believe you?"

"Because," said the Master, switching up the control panel, "he's telling the truth."

Suddenly, Jack was frozen to the spot. "What have you done to me?"

"Nothing," said the Master, "I've only sent a message to my masters that you are to be frozen there while I deliver the Doctor to them. I've just set the co-ordinates."

"Why you --" cried Ace, as she burst forward and tackled the Master to the ground. The Doctor rushed to the control panel, trying to reverse the co-ordinates.

"Too late, Doctor! I've locked the co-ordinates in place! There's no way you can stop us going back to the cheetah planet --"

"But it was burning up! The cheetahs were destroying that place --"

"Wrong again, Doctor!" said the Master. "Something was destroying that planet, but it wasn't anything so simple as the cheetahs! Do you really think animals that are only doing what is in their nature to do could destroy a whole planet that way?"

"Then who?" demanded the Doctor.

"And give away the surprise? Never, Doctor!"

"You tricked me!" cried Jack, still frozen to the spot. "You told me you were the Doctor!"

"Ah, yes," said the Master, standing up and brushing himself off. "Not my plan, you understand. You didn't lock on to me, they just whispered the co-ordinates in your ear. They're inside you at this very moment, just as they are inside me."

"What is inside me?"

"Oh, trust me," chuckled the Master. "You really don't want to know."

The TARDIS landed again, right on the cheetah planet. Ace was standing now, facing the Master. "Yeah, well… you may have taken us here, but that doesn't mean we have to go anywhere."

"There now, dear girl, do you really think you have a choice?" And before she had a chance to stop him, the Master had let open the doors, and the ground rocked beneath their feet. And as it did, it shook the TARDIS like an earthquake, and the Doctor had no choice but to yell, "Quick! Everybody get out of the TARDIS!"

Ace and the Master were the first ones out of the TARDIS, but the Doctor chose to stay behind and drag Jack slowly out, as he still couldn't move. But just at the doors of the TARDIS, the ground shook again, sending Jack out of the doors and the Doctor in, smashing his head against the ground and forcing him to regenerate.

When he emerged from the TARDIS, it was in a new, slender form, with a very bony face, and grey hair pointing out from under his ears.

"I don't much fancy this new form of yours, professor."

For a moment, he fixed Ace with a hard look, before stepping out the doors and toward the Master. "Who are your masters?" he demanded. "Who has mastered the Master?"

"Why should I tell you, Doctor?" retorted the Master.

"Never mind, I didn't expect you would," said the Doctor. "If I were you, I'd take a good look at where you are. You no longer have any allies on your side; it's three of us and only one of you. So how exactly do you expect to deliver me to your masters now?"

"You really are oblivious, Doctor," said the Master. "I don't suppose you've met my ally. A future companion of yours, in fact. But never mind that he knows who I am now, I can still use him. You forget, he is being controlled on the inside."

"But not by you, though."

"By my masters. It really is one in the same right now, Doctor."

"Until you can manage to turn on them the way you always turn on your allies."

"Is this insecurity, Doctor? You know I've always loved you most of all --"

"Don't. That isn't what this is about."

"Doctor, what's he talking about?" asked Ace.

"Never mind that," snapped the Doctor. "Who is this ally of yours, Master?"

"Captain Jack Harkness," Jack filled in the answer for him.

"Jack," said the Doctor. "Restrain him."

Jack rushed forward and crushed the Master to his chest from behind.

"Come on, Ace, quickly! Into the TARDIS!" cried the Doctor, and Ace ran after him without a second thought.

"What are we doing, Doctor?" she asked as soon as they were inside.

The Doctor closed the doors. "You can't mean we're leaving them behind?" asked Ace.

"No, of course not," said the Doctor, still working at the control panel. "I had to make sure they didn't lose control of their bodies before I do… this!" he said with a final gesture over the panel, and the TARDIS dematerialised. When it gained solid form again, Jack and the Master were inside the TARDIS.

"What did you do, professor!" she cried, but the Doctor was still working the control panel.

"Materialised around them. Now we're taking off again, away from this planet before they lose all control and attack us within the TARDIS."

"Is it really as simple as leaving?"

"I certainly hope so!"

Jack was already losing his grip on the Master, who was already struggling free.

"And what do you plan to do once we're off this forsaken planet, Doctor!" the Master cried.

"Where are we going, professor?" added Ace.

"I don't have time to punch in a specific location, so it's just luck of the draw now, Ace!" The Doctor turned to the Master, having locked it all in. "And as for what I plan to do when we get there, I imagine it will be something to the power of turning you into the Time Lords for all you have done."

"Ha! After all these years, I'd think you would've thought higher of me than that! Do you really think you can succeed with that measure? Trust me, I'm almost-- free!" he cried, as finally Jack was thrown aside, and the Master lunged for the Doctor.

As the TARDIS landed, the Doctor and the Master fell together in a heap. "You won't escape me," said the Doctor, grabbing the Master around the lapels.

Instead the Master tore away, bolting deeper into the TARDIS.

The Doctor stood up. "Aren't you going to go after him?" said Ace.

"No, let him stew in my TARDIS for a while," said the Doctor. "I need time to plan."

The Doctor opened the screen. Outside was not pretty; they had stumble right into the middle of a war between Daleks and Cybermen. "That isn't good," said the Doctor. "We've got to get out of here at once --"

But before the Doctor could so much as touch the control panel, the TARDIS was already obeying his wishes. "Could that be the Time Lords?" he wondered. "After everything that happened on Gallifrey, perhaps they're bringing us back to account."

"I've never met your people, Doctor," said Jack.

"Don't ask," replied Ace.

As soon as the TARDIS landed, the Doctor allowed them in, and the Time Lords stormed the TARDIS, immediately arresting Jack and searching for the Master. "I thought you'd said you never met them," the Doctor told Jack.

"The Master and I broke in," said Jack. "We didn't exactly exchange greetings. I just muscled us in with my gun."

"Tell me you didn't shoot anybody."

"Don't worry, I didn't --"

"But you have much to answer for!" retorted the Time Lord who had him currently restrained.

---

The Doctor could never forgive his people for what they did once they were taken into the city. They claimed that it was war, but there was no excuse for the corrupt behaviour the Doctor was met with inside the city. They kept Ace and Jack captive in their prisons while ordering him around the galaxy in his TARDIS to solve the usual crimes, threatening their lives if he failed to do so. Since he refused to have any part in their war, it was the least they could get out of him.

In the end, even the Master became a hero to him just for resisting the Time Lords. All it got him was death, though. The Doctor mourned for the Master, in a way he had never known he could or would. And when he found, in his TARDIS, that the Master had left behind his own bio-print, the Doctor used it to recreate him as a robot. If he could have no other companions now, he could have the Master, just as he was and just how he always dreamed the man felt for him deep down.

They travelled the universe together, but the Doctor came also to realise that his Master could never leave the TARDIS, that he was essentially trapped. Still, he loved his Master as he always had, feeling that at least that was something he'd gotten right for once.

When he met the Shalka, and when he realised the Master's connection to them, he began to think that maybe this was his way out. But for all his adventure, it didn't turn out that way. He ended up failing even the Master at the end of his life, and he felt that he must have wasted it all in this form.

As one last act of self-sacrifice, he did one thing he would never have dreamed to do before in his life; he took back all those years, went right back to the end of his seventh life, and stopped it all from happening. He let the Master off, he sent Jack off with Ace, and he faced the Shalka on his own as a matter of course.

He defeated them just as he would have on Earth. And even when the Time Lords executed the Master, the Doctor never really forgot what the Master had once been to him, even now in that non-life he had never lived. Because if something can be remembered, it can be brought back. Maybe one day, the Master would be that way to him, would want to see the universe with him.

But in this life, it couldn't be. The Master was dead, yet no more changed for what would have been. But for one thing even the Doctor didn't know… that the thing inside of him left by Shalka was still there when he died. That he retained his life within that snake. That he could slither out and start his life again when the Time Lords made one final request of the Doctor, and that adventure would drive him toward one more companion before his next life was up.

That life of the Eighth Doctor; one completely separate to what he would have been, once upon a time.

Fic: Home

"You have to forgive me."

"Why?" demanded Regina.

"Because," said Emma, "you don't know what it's like to see you like that again. That evil person you were. I just don't want to ever see that ever happen to you again, and you were so mad..."

"I was mad for a reason. Do you really think I would ever go back to that?"

"No, no of course not. It's just, I was scared there, for a minute. I thought you'd never forgive me, I thought..."

"That I'd turn evil again."

"No, that's... I just meant... you shouldn't be so mad. She has a kid, you have a kid too. And as for a partner..."

"You're with Hook now," said Regina. "And being with the woman who drove away my previous partner..."

"Oh, no, no... I didn't mean me..."

"Of course not. Because despite everything, you still don't know where home is, do you?"

"I know exactly where home is! It's right here!"

"Exactly," said Regina. "Here."

Emma stared back in horror. "Regina..."

"That's right," she said.

Daggy Tags:

Fic: More Than Friends

"Jason?"

Pythagoras's chest somehow felt exposed under the grey, shifting fabric. His friend's own clothes were teasing enough, merely with the shape and the colour, already so similar to Jason's skin tone. He tried to get a hold on himself.

"Yes, Pythagoras?" asked Jason.

"Thank you," he said. "What you've done for me on this journey... it's an enormous weight off my heart. You have cared more for me than even Hercules, with the length of time that we've been friends..."

"Any time. You know that," said Jason.

Pythagoras smiled. "Yes. Of course. It's just that... I hope I'm not misinterpreting this, but... the way you've kept me so close, the way you begged my brother for my life, the way you confessed... it seemed like a little bit more. Not just friends, not even best friends. I felt like you... loved me."

"Oh, Pythagoras, I'm sorry, but I --"

"It's just that," Pythagoras interjected, "I know you're in love with Ariadne. And I've tried to come to terms with that. It isn't just my brother, I've been heartbroken for you for weeks. And I know it might be too much to ask for you to love me back, but before all this, I always felt that you were blind to how I felt. This adventure proved me wrong. Not only did you see me for how I was, but you actively tried to help me right from the start. Which makes me wonder..."

"You think I've been ignoring you," said Jason. "You think I don't love you."

Pythagoras looked up at Jason with shock. "Do you love me?"

"I have loved you since the first moment I met you," said Jason, "as you saved my life and I buried my face into your neck."

"And ever since then, you have been chasing Ariadne."

"It's true," Jason admitted, "I have chased her. And I'm truly sorry, Pythagoras, I never meant to hurt you. In truth, I assumed that I must be the only one who felt this way, so I set my sights on someone more natural, someone who already found herself in love with me."

"She is a princess. What's natural about that? Even if she was in love with you, she could never be with you. And I'm right here --"

"You're a man."

"Clearly, you've learned nothing from Hercules."

"Hercules is in love with Medusa. He likes women."

"But he's also quite affectionate with men. He did try to kiss you."

"Oh yeah, that was awful!" said Jason.

"I heard that!" called Hercules from across the room, as Jason had almost shouted the last sentence. The two of them laughed.

"Honestly, Jason. I thought you were just trying to play the hero all this time. For me, for Ariadne. But you really do care, don't you?"

"What can I say?" said Jason. "I'm passionate."

"And what about me?" said Pythagoras. "I love you, and I'm right here. Don't you want that, too? I know you don't want to feel alone anymore."

"It's just that where I came from, it isn't accepted."

"Why not?" asked Pythagoras.

"I don't know," said Jason. "It just isn't."

"And you've never questioned it?"

"Not really," said Jason. "I mean, I learned to accept it. I learned to love women. And I really do love Ariadne, in my own way. But, if you're asking, perhaps there's something else. Perhaps, when I look at you..." he smiled. "We could be more than just friends."

"I'd like that," Pythagoras smiled back.