Word Count: 2192
Author's Summary: “The Doctor strikes a bargain with the Master to save a companion's life.”
Characters: The Doctor (5th), The Master (Ainley)
Warnings: Explicit Sex, Non-Con - PWP
Ah, bless the mod for telling me different D/M pairings didn’t count as overloading on the same ship—I mean yes, you and I know this is cheating a bit, but really Calufrax is a database for posterity as much as anything, and it’s a shame and something that should be rectified if, somewhere on it, you can’t find someone stanning for the crème de la crème of any given pairing.
Bargain is not my fav Bagheera only because she has, rather unfairly, written a lot of good stuff—but if I were doing something like Sally and Jenny’s classic list of their favourite Blake's 7 [A-B] gen stories for D/M, this would have to be on there, and thus I for sure think it deserves a Calufrax rec.
Bargain is compelling sex-writing, but on top of that, it also says interesting stuff about how Time Lords might think about clothing, identity and vulnerability: “Identity was such a fragile thing for Time Lords, the more so the more regenerations they went through, and all the titles and costumes and idiosyncrasies were necessary to reinforce a sense of control and self.”
This isn’t necessarily a contention that I absolutely agree with, but it’s an interesting thought experiment in the context of this fic. In a way, a lot of the fic’s suppositions are, like its prose, somewhat lyrical. Bargain seems slightly predicated on an emotive fairy-tale logic that marries well with the piece’s sensuality.
Once again, this writer displays a knack for describing embodied experiences:
“his lungs burning and his eyes swimming from the effort of staying silent and impassive.”
The fic gives us solid character moments, and, throughout, there’s a tension and resistance between the characters that refuses to collapse and leave either simply the victor. The ending clinches the fic for me, and I’d quote it but it’s—the ending.