Title: Memory & Dream
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/The Master
Fandom: Doctor Who
Table: 1, 50ficlets
Prompt: 19, Memory
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the Tenth Doctor or the Master. Please do not sue.
***There were so many memories that seemed to crowd into his brain lately. Some that were welcome, some that he'd prefer not to remember. But all of them were part of what made up the man he was -- even if he couldn't call all of them his own memories.
Of course, they were his own -- technically. But it was hard to connect himself as he was now with the incarnations he'd been through in the past. Was his second regeneration anything at all like the person he'd become in his tenth?
The Doctor sat back in his chair, leaning back and lifting his feet to rest them on the console of the Tardis. That was an interesting question, he told himself, musing as he leaned back and closed his eyes. An interesting question indeed.
Most of the time, he didn't really feel a connection to his past regenerations. They were there in the back of his mind, but they somehow didn't really seem like him.
And really, they weren't. They were all there in his memory; he could easily bring to mind things they'd done and said, situations they'd been in, places they'd been, people they'd met. But it didn't seem as though he himself had done all of those things.
If he was truthful with himself, all of his past incarnations felt strangely disconnected from the man he was. True, it had taken bits and pieces of all of them for him to reach this stage of his life, but they didn't seem quite .... real.
Looking back on the experiences of his past regenerations, it almost seemed as though he was watching a movie, as though he hadn't lived through those situations. He could remember them with perfect clarity -- they just didn't feel like they'd happened to him.
Did other Time Lords have this feeling? the Doctor asked himself, opening his eyes and frowning up at the ceiling of his ship. He'd never thought to ask any of them when he still could.
And now, of course, it was far too late for that. He'd never be able to ask any other Time Lord how they'd felt about a particular occurrence, or if their experiences had been anything like his own. He was on his own -- the last of them, for now and all time.
Well .... there was one other Time Lord, but that was something he didn't want to think about at the moment. He hadn't tangled with the Master in a while, and he wanted to keep it that way. Though he supposed that they would inevitably meet again.
Ah, now there were some memories -- many of them recent. So much had happened in his life that involved the Master -- how could he ever have thought that the other man was dead? He'd seemed to be at the time -- but appearances could be deceiving.
He'd been shocked when he'd discovered that the Master hadn't died in his arms, as he'd thought. It had taken him a while to accept the fact that his greatest enemy was still alive.
Jack had assured him that his perception of the Master's death had been a natural mistake. It had seemed so real, to all of them -- and he'd been overwrought. He'd tried to prevent that death, and it was expected that he'd be upset when he hadn't been able to do so.
That night came back to him in so many of his dreams -- dreams that were formed out of memory, dreams that seemed so real and vivid that it felt as though he'd been living through that experience again when he awoke, bathed in a cold sweat, choking back tears.
Why should he be so upset at the idea of losing the Master? They'd been friends, yes, but that had been long ago, in childhood. That friendship hadn't been there for a long time -- only a bitter rivalry that had been destined to end badly.
He had thought it was ended -- and he wasn't sure if he was dismayed to find that it hadn't, or glad that there was still someone in the world who could understand what he was.
There were times, he mused, when memory and dream seemed to become so intertwined that he was hard pressed to tell one from the other. Espeically when he was alone in the dark and there was no one else to turn to, nothing to anchor him to reality.
Reality had been when the Master was lying in his arms, seemingly dead -- and he could almost feel his hearts rupturing in his chest. Not because he loved the Master -- but because he was losing the last person who truly knew what it was like to be who he was.
But that was something he'd had to learn to live with -- until he'd found out that the Master hadn't died, that he was still somewhere out there in the galaxy, just waiting until he had another chance to clash with the man who'd spent several lifetimes crossing him.
The Doctor smiled wryly, sure that there would be many more memories made between them with the passing of time -- as well as dreams that wouldn't let those memories fade.