Author: professor pangaea
Rating: All Ages
Word count: 1,709
Author's summary: "Our most glorious experiences are a kind of regret. Our regret is so sublime that we may mistake it for triumph. It is the painful, plaintively sad surprise of our Genius remembering our past lives and contemplating what is possible." -- Henry David Thoreau
Characters/pairings: The Doctor (First), the Master, Susan
Recced because: The characters and situation may be fantastic, but this captures all the grim mechanics and conflicting emotions of one of the most awful facts of life we ever face: Friendships can decay. Painful to read and worth it.
"Your friend showed up at just the right time; you're heavier than you look, you know. He's helped me since you've been ill." [Susan] hesitated slightly, seeming to notice the stiffness of his manner. "Would you like a glass of water? I could get you some from the dining area."
Always such a clever girl. "Yes, thank you, Susan," the Doctor replied, trying to mask his relief with appreciation. She smiled again, but the Doctor caught the slight glance she gave their visitor on her way out. The man walked slowly to the bed next to the Doctor's and sat down, regarding the Doctor with unfamiliar dark eyes.
"Don't hurt her." The words slipped unbidden from the Doctor's mouth. The other man's eyes narrowed and his lip curled slightly in contempt; the Doctor realised with an unpleasant start that he had hurt his old friend.
"Koschei --" he began, but the other cut him off sharply.
"Koschei is dead." His voice was flat, the same voice that had chuckled with Susan mere minutes before. "He was executed, or don't you remember?"