"So our mysterious visitors have left, sir?"

"Yes, Alfred, and they managed to incapacitate the Joker for the time being. He's in a psychically-induced coma he will only wake from if someone whispers the words 'Bruce Wayne forgives you, Joker,' into his ear."

"Ah. If you don't mind my asking, Master Bruce, do you think such a thing is likely ever to occur?"

"It's not likely, but after what we've seen in the past two weeks I'm reluctant to call anything impossible."

"Speaking of which, sir, have you seen today's paper? There is a headline I thought would interest you."

It read: Terrorist Calling Himself "The Master" Implicated in Gotham Police Slayings. The subtitle was: Re-examined evidence clears the Batman of murder charges.

"They're even rebuilding the Bat Signal, sir."

A slow smile spread across Bruce Wayne's face. "I must say, for all the trouble he brought, it can be lucky to have a friend who both has a time machine and owes you a favor."

……………………………………………………………………………..

The Doctor turned off the TARDIS monitors, satisfied. "Thank you for playing the bad guy, though I don't think it was a tremendous stretch."

The Master lounged on the one chair in the control room, slowly taking off his tie. "You feel Batman's been repaid adequately?"

"Yes. I'm setting us off for our universe…" the Doctor pressed some buttons and pulled the lever, "and I'll be able to close the breach you made before the wake cycle is out."

"Now you owe me something."

The Doctor turned around, eyebrows raised and the beginnings of a grin. "Do I now?"

The Master rose, wound his hand around the Doctor's tie, and dragged in the direction of any empty bedroom they were likely to come upon first. "Yes."

The only surprising thing, really, was that the Doctor was by far the hungrier of the two.

Shortly thereafter…

"Are you going to ever let me go outside without this cuff on?"

"If you don't attempt escape, murder, or conquest in the next hundred years, I will consider it. But I don't think either of us is going to want to leave the TARDIS for at least five years, not with so much to do in here…"

"You have a very unusually large number of helpful gadgets and toys for someone who claims not to have been shagging his humans, Doctor."

"Romana traveled with me for ages, and you need to learn not to look a gift horse in the mouth, Master – oooh!"

"Ohhhhh…"

"Mmm…."

"Yes, that's…good, good yes…Doctor, Doctor…you know, this would be better if the Freak wasn't on board, I keep thinking he's listening in…"

"He wanted to say goodbye to Jonathan before we dropped them off their separate ways, and in any case why do you think he would want to listen in on you? Your sickened feeling at him is mutual. And that's not paying your undivided attention to me, is it? You're going to have to make up for that, Master."

"Ahh…Let me…Theta…"

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

"Aren't you worried the Master is onto you?" Jonathan asked nervously, though no matter the contingency it was difficult to be nervous in Jack Harkness' arms, one of the most reassuring places in the solar system if he was kindly disposed at the moment.

Jack switched the speaker off. "I just wanted to make sure the Doctor will be happy. Now that I know I can leave them alone."

"Okay."

"You interested in another round, Blue Eyes?"

"Not really, if it's okay. I'm a bit tired."

"That's perfectly fine. I just wanted to make up for wiping your memory that first time."

"You've made it up, don't worry."

They lay curled together in silence for a while. "I'm sorry for killing you."

"You apologized before you knew it was me."

"Does that make a difference?"

"It's why the Doctor agreed you deserved to be marooned somewhere pleasant where they could treat your schizophrenia way better than anyone in your time. That's what he does when he considers you redeemable."

"What if I wasn't considered redeemable?"

"He left the Joker's fate up to Batman. Let him take the call."

Jonathan squirmed a little and shifted position. "Could I…" he swallowed.

"Yes? Don't worry; I'm not here to judge you."

"Could I maybe go with you? Instead of that planet?"

"No, cutie. No. But I can promise you that everything will be better for you than it would have been back there."

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

There had been a breach in the fabric of reality, and in its closing many things were made whole.

The madman slept, freeing the city of his shadow and himself from himself, his hospital room paid anonymously by the richest man in the city.

The penitent found a new home in the stars and left behind the sackcloth of his past, his need to hurt and terrify.

The reluctant immortal savored the sweetness of promised, if far-off death.

The love-turned-hate of two ancient foes warped back in on itself into companionship against overpowering loss. The Master, for once, submitted. The Doctor, for once, was healed.

The dark knight was reminded of day. The hunter ceased to be hunted.

Not bad at all for just a deck of cards.

---Finis----