Story: Placebo Effect
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 2411
Author’s Summary: The Master falls into his own trap.
Characters/Pairings: Third Doctor/Delgado!Master, the old-school UNIT crew
Recced because: Lighthearted without being frivolous, humorous without being cracky, and introspective without being melancholy, this lovely little fic has such perfect balance that everything seems effortless. There’s a real skill in taking one of the oldest, most overwrought clichés in the book – in this case, the mythical soul-bonding stone – and turning it into something that’s not only plausible, but has the reader cheering along. (How does she do this? The title provides a clue.)
Optimism and cheer are the tone of the fic, but there are currents hiding underneath that make me keep coming back to reread it. Insecurity is a powerful demon and one that never seems to quite stay dead. I’ve struggled with it, and I know many other fans do too. Beneath the good humor and banter, the deeper themes of self-esteem and security are deftly handled here, and the whole poses questions each reader will answer differently.