elisi: (Stepping Sideways)
[personal profile] elisi
Summary: How do you save people that don't want to be saved?

For notes etc, please see The Prologue, or just follow the tags.

Note: Gallifreyan will be indicated by the use of « and » any other language uses "". It seemed the simplest solution.

SherwoodBanner1


Chapter 4

Killed with her own weapon. There was probably something ironic or poetic to be said about that, but for a few seconds the surprise and pain blotted out everything else.
 
She thought she heard a yell (the Seeker?) and as she fell to the floor there suddenly seemed to be far more commotion than seemed justified by a single, final captive against two guards and the Captain. Although it pleased her that he was putting up a fight.
 
Unaccountably, the next moment the Seeker was by her side, unharmed.
 
Although hampered by the handcuffs, he pressed a hand to the stab wound on her chest where blood had already soaked her shirt, but what struck her was the deep concern and alarm on his face:
 
«Roda? Roda! Stay with me. I’m here, it’ll be fine.»
 
She wanted to say something – but the knife had not only caught her left heart, but also her lung, and breathing was difficult. Eyes found it hard to focus, but she saw the golden glow around his hand and resigned herself to the inevitable.
 
She’d had worse.
 
Except… the glow didn’t spread, and after an endless moment – why didn’t he move, he’d get caught by the fire – the pain began ebbing away, instead of becoming all-consuming.
 
Head and vision clearing, her eyes widened as she realised what was happening. The Seeker’s concentration was absolute, the glow intensifying and momentarily playing across his features, before slowly subsiding and fading away.
 
She took a breath, and another one, and he helped her sit up as she began spitting up the blood still logged in her lungs. But she could feel both hearts beating, and looked up to study him, bewildered.
 
They were both still handcuffed, but he reached out with the hand that was not covered in blood and brushed a strand of her hair behind her ear. The action was intimate and instinctive and tender in ways she hadn’t expected him capable of; a world away from the irritable and guarded man she had seen so far.
 
«That was close,» he whispered, smiling, with a look in his eyes that made her falter. Who was he to look at her like this?
 
«Why – why would you do that?» she eventually asked. It was one thing to claim friendship. Quite another to do something so foolhardy… Regeneration energy was- he had to have shaved years off his own life to repair the damage caused by the knife. It was literally a giving of self, of life-force… He might as well have cut off his own arm. And might very well lose one next time he regenerated.

She wasn’t sure how to process it. Who would do such a thing?
 
«You’re my friend and I love you,» he replied simply. «What else could I have done?»
 
All she heard was: ‘and I love you’
 
It didn’t seem possible. Love had died, burned up in the War which had taken everything – her people, her home, her beloved; and love had then been purged from even her hopes and dreams through a year of captivity and torture that still haunted her.
 
But actions didn’t lie. What he had done – no one would do something like that except for love.
 
As she tried to make it all fit, they were interrupted by the Captain’s voice, reluctance and horror evident:
 
“What are you?”
 
Making sure she was OK to sit on her own, the Seeker slowly got to his feet. As Roda looked around she understood what the commotion had been, and faltered yet again. How did any of it make sense? How did he make sense?
 
The Captain was pinned in place – as were the two guards – by Toclafane, knives at their throats.
 
The Seeker was ignoring the Captain, however, instead holding out his cuffs to the fourth Toclafane which swiftly cut through the links. After that he fetched Roda’s bag, found his laser screwdriver and used it to undo the cuffs themselves, then turned to Roda, pausing momentarily to make sure she agreed, before undoing her cuffs too, and then helping her up.
 
«I think you’ll be more comfortable in the chair, don’t you? Obviously you need a zero room as soon as possible, but just for the time being the chair might have to do…»
 
She nodded and accepted his help settling into the Captain’s chair. Physically she felt fine, but she was aware that the effects might be deeper and more far-reaching than the damage the Seeker had undone. Her own knife…
 
She saw him pick it up, carefully clean it on his sleeve, and return it to her bag.
 
Only then did he turn to face the Captain, the concern now overlaid with cold fury.
 
“Oh Captain, my captain… What are we? I don’t know what faith you adhere to, if any, but trust me: The gods are angry today.”

The laser once more in his hand, he carefully aimed it at the Captain’s chest.

“Now, give me one good reason not to kill you.”

Momentary conflict clouded Roda’s mind – the latent anger and shock very much wanted the Seeker to use the weapon…

But the Captain lifted his chin, defiant.

“You think I fear death? I fear for my people. For what would become of them without a strong leader, for what creatures like you might do to a people that has already suffered more than you can comprehend or know-”

“How dare you?”

Where the Seeker was quiet, deadly cold, Roda felt like she was on fire. The pain had given her strength to say what she'd bottled up for weeks. It took all of her strength to stay where she was, conserving her energy. They made an odd parallel; the Seeker calm and standing, in the Captain's face, and Roda sat in his chair, her knuckles white as she clasped the arms to stop from screaming. Rassilon, nothing made sense any more.

"I was there, holding back the Daleks so you could make your escape, and build a new life. A life without the Time War in it. And what do I find when I come to look for you?"

She shook her head, teeth momentarily bared:

“Slavery!”

If the Captain had been expecting anything, from the way he flinched it hadn't been that.

“You escaped the Daleks. You could have started a new life. And you built it on cruelty.”

She made eye contact with the Captain as he looked at her in horror, caught somewhere between awe and fear - and revulsion? Not that she cared.

“You're just as bad as them.”

He shook his head, seemingly forgetting the Toclafane blade against his neck, and flinching as it pressed against his throat, even as he looked from Roda to the Seeker:

“You- you’re-”

“Time Lords, yes,” the Seeker finished. “Bet you are wishing for The Shadow Proclamation now, am I right?”

The Captain had gone very pale, as the Seeker smiled a smile fit for the Master. If he was who he said he was, the family likeness was more than skin deep.
 
But he had saved her…

Even so she became suddenly vigilant. Whatever he did now would be a good indication of what kind of man he was. The god complex was certainly worrying – she could think of a hundred unhappy outcomes, and readied herself for stopping him if necessary.

(The Master had an unhealthy attachment to the Doctor. Maybe the Seeker – in his world – had a similar attachment to her? It was a possibility, and she couldn’t let her guard down.)

But then the Seeker took a step back, leisurely twirling the laser between his fingers even as he was studying the Captain with eyes that gave nothing away.

“You know, that is not a bad idea. Our involvement here can only ever be temporary… So The Shadow Proclamation might be just what’s needed. You’ve been too insulated here – time you faced some more universal justice.”

Tapping the Captain’s chest lightly with the tip of the laser, he slowly smiled.

“Yes, by far the best solution will be to put you on trial for your crimes. The Shadow Proclamation is more than Judoon, as you will find out.”

Abruptly turning to the guards, he motioned for the Toclafane to let them go.

“You – guards, come here.”

They were still clutching their weapons, and seemed disoriented at suddenly being given freedom.

“Now I presume you are smart enough not to start shooting myself or the Redjay here. The question is – whose side are you on? Your world has changed, and I realise that can be confusing and scary – but trust me, your future is now infinitely brighter than it was yesterday. So where does your loyalty lie? With this man – or with your people, and your planet, and your future?”

A beat, then he added.

“If it is the latter – take the Captain and lock him up. He will have to face the crimes he committed and pay the price…”

“You wouldn’t-” the Captain spluttered, staring incredulous as the guards thought it over, then approached him, faces set. “You can’t- I have known you since you were babes-”
 
“Times change,” the Seeker replied, his green eyes as dismissive as the Master’s had ever been as the Captain found cold metal snapping shut around his wrists.

Roda had watched in growing astonishment, curbing her impulse to jump in, confused at the contradictions playing out in front of her eyes. But if he had meant everything he said…. Of all possible outcomes, this one she had not expected.
 
With a nod he motioned the guards to take the Captain away – leaving him alone with Roda.
  
Waiting for the door to close, the Seeker relaxed, resting himself against the edge of the console. It struck her, for a moment, that they were alone together... and she was still weak. He could kill her right now and she wasn't sure that she would be able to stop him.

But he wasn't the Master. Even if he had a Toclafane hovering by his shoulder…




Chapter 5
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