Disclaimer : Nope, not mine.

A/N : A small insight into the Master's mind.

The Sound Of Drums

Dah dah dah dum.

It was a familiar beat. One that echoed through numerous generations, resounded throughout the galaxies, danced between universes. The ceaseless pounding, planting itself deeply into the soul, burrowing below the subconscious, becoming a thrumming thread, entwined within his existence.

Playing endlessly, on and on, in a persistant sequence, cementing his being into its repetitious pattern, building upon itself, surrounding, moulding to, and imprisoning one's mind.

Never changing, over and over, until one believes; insanity appears as a welcome release from the booming onslaught tormenting him.

Unaffected by the constant, time. Imitating a clock's second hand, tick, tick, tick, ticking monotonously, and relentlessly moving forward, never ending, refusing in its consistent droning to be swayed off course.

Now, the thundering barrage is eternally prominent in his thoughts. What once began as a hushed murmur, a subtle hint of the madness that now plagues him, has developed into a cacaphony of perpetual explosions, driving him to the brink of dementia. No longer content to remain buried amongst the nightmares, the sound permeates into his conscious, invading his waking moments, stealing into his daydreams, replicating the incessant drumming, his immortal tormentor.

Dah dah dah dum.

As a child, in the beginning, one could ignore the imperceptible babbling meter that fused into his lifeblood, hidden imperceptibly behind innocent eyes, while youthful fantasies roamed freely, blanketing the unfamiliar resonance, and the continual motion, allowed one no time to consider the unknown.

Dah dah dah dum.

A furtive, stolen glance, a few scattered moments of quiet contemplation, a faint tickle lingering at the edge of reason, a mere warning of a meager pulse, embedded in the psyche, encompassed by the young man's eager imagination, yet still, permitting fleeting glimpses of the singular drumbeat underlying the surface.

Dah dah dah dum.

Decades later, it has become a familiar companion, somewhat unwelcome although inseperable, an uneasy acceptance of the now intimate cadence. The tempo, residing in the shadows, echoes exuberantly in his mind, another piece worked into the orchestra performed by the interaction of his species, a blending of intellects, and companionship shared collectively.

Dah dah dah dum.

Having shed the cloak of humanity, pandemonium ensues within his frail frame. No longer masked, the crashing rhythm assualts his senses mercilessly, assuaged only by the presence of his nemesis. His soul seeking respite, the temptation of a peaceful reprieve within reach.

"Let me help you."

An entreating stare: sincerity, hopefulness, a fervent plea. Yet his stubborn pride, and a hint of selfishness prevent him from accepting. This unending affliction is his burden to endure, alone. An oppressive emptiness envelops him upon hearing the other's confession, and the beat plays on, reverberating relentlessly, increasing in volume, gradually consuming him.

(Dah) Home.

(Dah) Gone.

(Dah) Burnt.

(Dum) Dead.

"Regenerate."

"I refuse."

Will the drumming cease? I long for peace, quiet, and rest. Is that too much to ask, Doctor?

Watching the Master's eyes close, for one final time, the Doctor believes he can hear, the sound of the drums; a steady tempo, reminiscent of, the heartbeat of a Time Lord.

fin