Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: Lucy [The Master/Lucy]
Challenge/Prompt: doctorwho_100, 065. Passing
Word Count: 2365
Genre: Gen [het]
Summary: “My Master did it better,” she mumbles; a distraction.
Author’s Notes: Spoilers for Journey’s End. Because I might as well get the characters that were unfortunately left out of the finale in there! I have somehow inadvertently managed to include a tiny hint at child molestation too.
They don’t know you’ve already lived
On the other side of the galaxy.
- Tori Amos
When the worst of it comes Lucy smiles. She smiles and smiles so hard that her mouth hurts and her cheeks ache and it seems as though her whole being will crack; but she does not give in and eventually it passes and she can relax enough to drop the grimace.
“I’ve got a place we could take her,” Captain Harkness offered, when it all ended; someone was washing her hands clean of gunshot residue and she couldn’t seem to make herself speak a word.
The Doctor, who she couldn’t hate although she was meant to, stared at Captain Harkness for a long time.
“No,” he said, and it was the first thing he said since Her Master died in his arms. They said it was Lucy’s fault but she can never remember why. “I know what your places are like.”
“She’d be cared for,” Captain Harkness pressed. A handsome man, Lucy remembered (remembers), he was shut up in their sky for months and months and months. He wouldn’t die (Lucy envies him).
“No,” the Doctor insisted. His voice was soft and broken and Lucy could barely remember what had happened and was not sure that she wanted to.
“Take me with you,” she told the Doctor before he left with his Martha Jones and his Captain Harkness.
He looked almost sad as he told her: “I can’t.”
Now, she lives mostly on the fact she doesn’t remember; and Lucy doesn’t like talking to people or looking at things. There is safety in refusing to connect and nobody pushes her to do anything she doesn’t want to, as long as she eats from time to time and occasionally offers a sound. It doesn’t even have to be a word; just a noise, to prove she’s still there.
Lucy does not want to still be there; she would be perfectly happy to just sit and wait for it all to cease. She is a toy or a tool or a puppet or a lover of a being who is dead and she no longer has a purpose. She wants to collect dust on a shelf until she finishes. But she is not allowed to and it all seems a little extreme to knot her sheets together or secrete a knife from dinner or find someone else’s pills and take a bitter white handful to get her end to arrive that bit sooner and prevent her from lingering in pathetic redundancy.
“I used to like red,” she tells no one in particular, crumpling her t-shirt with her palm, and remembers scarlet silk. She was beautiful once, she knows, even if she was powerless and it went away quick.
Lucy does not think that she sold her soul, and anyway she does not remember there ever being a choice. Just a state of events and a beautiful dress.
She doesn’t scream when the sky wears away and the state of the universe seems to change; she saw the stars burn out and planets crumple flat like deflated party balloons and the human race ripping itself to bits just to cling on for a few more minutes. A new sky and a new promise of extinction seem almost tame by comparison, though no one understands when she says this. Maybe she just doesn’t have the words any more.
“My Master did it better,” she mumbles; a distraction. And no one remembers that anyway, because it went away and did not happen. Lucy’s eyes are still blue but the world turned back and she never was queen, not even for a few minutes. She wasn’t a good queen but fuck, she was pretty. Her Master never noticed, but she still knows.
(Lucy was daddy’s little girl once, too, but that is another story and perhaps not one for polite company.)
Perhaps she is meant to be frightened but the darkness licking the windows is pretty, and when she gazes up the sky is full of new planets and beautiful coloured swirls. Her Master would have liked it, she thinks, though perhaps he’d only have smiled for minutes and then devised a way to turn the sight into tiny pieces of ash that cling to eyelashes and are no use to anyone. He called it clearing out some space; a pun of sorts that made him laugh until he looked ugly.
Too many people are screaming and Lucy presses her face to a window pane, fingers sliding against nothing. She counts the shapes in the sky and tries to remember the Toclafane; oh, everyone’s bedtime story. Knives glinting and she has a scar on the inside of her thigh; Her Master called it an experiment and laughed with blood on his lips until she came out of duty.
“The end of the world!” Someone is mumbling behind her, and Lucy sighs. Everyone here is mad; everyone but her. She’s not mad; she just can’t remember. And really, she wants better company if everything’s going to be impractical and stupid. She misses her sky, and her clouds. No one else here understands because no one does, and she always sort of hoped that the Doctor might come back and tell her it had all been a clerical error and she can actually leave. He never did.
Perhaps this is Her Master back again; he has a brighter plan and no need for Lucy. There’s relief in that too, alongside the bile. Her Master may not ever have been hers but he was all she had. She’s been tossed aside now; an empty body, something crumpled up and discarded.
“Harry?” she whispers against the glass. Her breath clouds it up, which at least implies she’s still alive. “Harry, is this you?”
There’s no reply, but someone grabs her, pulling her back. “Lucy, get away from the window! Stay calm!”
“I am calm,” Lucy points out, lashing out with a fist. The someone grabs their face, holding their cheek, and Lucy remembers months of purple eyes and she wonders if maybe some part of Harry is still inside her.
What happened to him in the end, anyway?
There was fog against the windows once, too, and the sky flamed up. Lucy kind of hoped it was time shooting forwards again, so she could cower in her corner and gaze up at Her Master and at least then she knew her place and smiled obediently for photographs. But it wasn’t. It was just a moment of burning and then everyone was throwing away their cars and so Lucy sat in her room and re-read Mansfield Park four times cover to cover. She thinks she liked it a long time ago, but it seems like something got lost in the space of time.
“We’re going to die,” someone squeals, digging their fingers into their face in panic and leaving nail crescents.
Lucy wants to say something like only the deserving will die, but she knows that became a lie a while ago. Or perhaps even now; she can’t remember when Her Master’s regime crumbled in relation to time as it has become. Still, she thinks it might be safe to say now that this isn’t Harry; Harry was swifter when he took the world into his palms. He didn’t leave anyone to linger and the protestations were smashed flat soon too.
In a corridor with no one in it, Lucy tries dancing, just to see if it still feels good. It doesn’t (perhaps it’s only fun when you’re partially responsible for the flames beneath your feet, though Lucy swears she didn’t know what she was doing).
A window smashes upstairs, and the sounds of robotic voices drill through the building. Lucy refuses to be afraid. Lucy has been afraid of far worse; of the colour of Her Master’s eyes, and she refuses to bow to anything less. Instead, she runs down the stairs to the floor below, finds a window and watches between the blinds as someone in the street below is killed.
The someone’s bones flare green and it’s ugly; Lucy’s lips curl back in disgust.
Somewhere inside her head, Harry’s voice sneers: no style at all.
The body falls to the ground, heavy and empty and dark.
“Fuck this,” Lucy mutters.
Screams and artificial voices curl through the air; Lucy stares at her reflection in the glass and runs her fingers through her hair. Still long, and so very blonde; it’s her best feature, the only one she has left.
“Don’t,” people call, catching at her arms, but she wafts down the next two floors and out of the doors. She doesn’t look back.
The streets are empty, the pavements wet, and there’s a strange humming in the air. When she looks up, she sees spaceships and fresh planets coiling up into the sky. But no Toclafane; and as far as she’s concerned that means Harry won. Or perhaps the human race did, when they made themselves into mythology (Her Master never did say why; just that it was necessary).
Last time things got bad… Lucy doesn’t remember the last time things got bad, it’s all washed out of her mind, but she does… she does recall one thing. She shuts her eyes, tips her head back. Doctor. The word articulates easily, pushing past her lips. Doctor. Doctor. DoctorDoctorDoctor.
She’s answered by flashing lights and a metal voice demanding that she go back inside. Or perhaps she’s meant to surrender. Lucy’s not listening, twisting the hem of her t-shirt with her left hand. Her Master told her about them; Daleks, all butchered like the Toclafane but not nearly as much fun. No personality, and they never throw parties (Harry liked parties; his Toclafane liked them more). The Daleks are cowards, but they’re bad at dying. Her Master did say that.
The Dalek is flashing more vehemently; Lucy pictures her skeleton flashing acid green but red was always more her colour. It’s demanding answers or perhaps she’s meant to fall to her knees and run her tongue over its armour. Her Master liked that; digging his shoes against her teeth.
“Don’t you know who I am?” Lucy demands, disdain in her tone. She was a good queen; ever so good at lording over people. At least until she slipped.
The Dalek replies in the negative; it’s going to kill her in a moment. Lucy can see. For a moment, she’s tempted to let it. Still, Harry reminds her with his manic smile, give these things a moment of power and you’ll let them think they actually matter. And Daleks are petty little pepper pots and the sooner they know this the better.
She’s not sure how she knows what to do, but with a slow smile that doesn’t feel entirely like it belongs to her, Lucy brings her hands in front of her, and claps out her mind. The four beats that still sing, the beats that tormented Her Master for ever. The sound of the universe.
“Perhaps you remember My Master,” Lucy adds, hands echoing off the buildings. Da da da da. Their song. They waltzed to it at their wedding; Lucy’s roses wilted in her hair but she danced on anyhow.
…She isn’t sure what happens to the Dalek, but there’s an unpleasant sound like when you’ve left something in the microwave for too long (not that Lucy has had to use a microwave in a long time; queens don’t cook for themselves), and the lights die on the armour. It stops moving.
Lucy smirks, and carries on walking. She doesn’t stop clapping, spooling out her safety net in sound, and she wishes she knew where she was walking. It’s more freedom than she’s had in a long time and she’s not even afraid; she’s used to the fear and anyway, at least out here it’s quiet. The Daleks trundle softly through the streets, but they avoid her the moment they hear the thrum of the universe echoing from her hands.
“Oh Harry,” she murmurs, and tries to remember if she still loves him or if he just damaged her that little bit too much.
She finds a park, all greenery, and it’s nice because Her Master made all the green go away and her childhood mostly took place behind closed doors. The Daleks are in the sky and on the ground and yet they don’t dare come near her. Lucy’s palms are sore and her throat is stinging and she’s still alive; the Daleks really don’t know anything about ruling a world.
Lucy glances up at the sky; it remains dark because the sun isn’t here any more, and the other planets look cool and lonely up there. She wonders if there’s someone else on one of those planets, staring downwards and imagining life.
“Doctor,” she murmurs again, and her index fingers twitch. She hears a bang and turns around but there isn’t anything. And she doesn’t remember.
When the world lurches Lucy falls to the ground, into the mud. She grins, dirt and grass on her teeth, and smiles until her body pulls itself back together again. Until she is calm, and she tries to ignore Harry sniggering weakness in the back of her head because she refuses to let him be there. She tries to pull herself to her feet, but her hand clenches on her hair and a handful of dirt and she falls again, and instead she lies still and looks up at the sky, which is moving.
“Time, again?” she asks, curious. If the Doctor only has one trick then it’s a wonder he’s got as far as he has. But the rushing in her head is absent and she realises that it’s not time, just the planet. They’re going home; whatever that’s meant to mean.
Things are slipping back into place, and Lucy imagines someone finding her sleeping on the damp grass and carrying her back to spend her days in quiet rooms with Jane Austen and no red any more. The Doctor won’t take her this time either; he won’t understand.
“My Master wouldn’t have let this happen,” she sighs, tasting the lie against her tongue.
Lucy closes her eyes against the motion, and waits.