There wasn't time

There wasn't time.

Time enough to say goodbye, there'd hardly been time to say hello.

It was what he knew, time. How he lived. How he died, or rather how he changed. And how many of those changes would a final death have been preferred?

But then again, was death the ultimate answer? Or was it a different reality, outside of the constraints of time?

He'd known nothing after his last death.

Twelve regenerations before that, and not one of them planned, although he wouldn't complain. The frailty of old age frightened him, and he was content to live life recklessly, to ensure he'd never experience infirmity or the feeble-mindedness that time stole from ones youth.

They'd resurrected him.

He hadn't asked for their interference. He hadn't asked to be set on a pedestal, in charge of the Chancellory Guard, the Castellan under his command, the Lord President seeking his council. Oh but this, this was real power. His eyes blazed with fervent madness, his instructions cold and calculating, a warrior, leader, commander. He could almost imagine his name murmured reverently, slipping respectfully from the lips of future generations. He stood beside the gods, an equal to Rassilon himself.

It was wrong. He was wrong. Looking into the heart of the schism had never prepared him for the horror that descended upon the once peaceful world he called home. The preparations proved to be too little, too late, a supernova explosion that carried death and destruction in wave upon wave of radiating devastation.

He panicked as he watched the world around him begin to crumble and did the only thing he knew how to do. He ran. He ran from his enemies. He ran from his people. He ran knowing he couldn't outrun the fear and that made him run even further. Unable to run from his thoughts, from his memories, the screams of the dying chased him urging him onward, always following.

He chose to hide. He chose to be human. He chose to live a life that was a lie, a lie that offered safety and anonymity.

And he waited.

The subtle whispers of his mind let him dare to dream, dream there was more to his existence than what he was living. But he was content.

Now he was running out of time, searching for an elusive vision, searching for hope for mankind. There was still hope, a thread of possibility weaving through his tired and weary bones. If only he could remember.

Glorious, wonderful, he embraced this new chance at life with ardent jealousy. He had survived again. Nothing to stand in his way, no one to stop him, time was his for the taking.

He'd build it new. Build it from the foundation of another species, nothing else mattered. His plan was foolproof. He'd planned contingencies, emergency back-up, and was confident he couldn't fail.

He hadn't planned on his past catching up to him once again.

He'd experienced worse. He knew what to expect, and was ready to accept the final consequences for his actions. He couldn't admit defeat, refused to bend to another's will, and wouldn't relinquish his freedom of choice.

He'd finally won. He witnessed grief in the other's eyes, listened to desperate pleas falling from the other's lips, and only then did the Master smile as he closed his own eyes knowing—

There wasn't time.