Thanks to Bronze Cortina for pointing out the odd spelling and grammar mistakes!
He leaned closer to him, the Master's head cradled in his hands, his forehead almost touching his. He turned to his digital clone for the last before he began.
"Keep the others safe." He ordered.
The other Doctor just nodded.
The Doctor let his mind collide with that of the Master's.
He had prepared himself to enter a world of chaos, to find the simulation corrupted by the Master's madness.
He had been inside the Master's mind before, back on Earth, back in the wastelands, where the Master had begged him to listen to the drums inside his head. Knowing the very extent of his insanity, he had dreaded to see it, but at that time he had been too weak to pull away. The things he came to know of the Master, they still haunted him to this very day. The Doctor had descended into a perverted cesspit of debauchery, the dwelling of a deranged, sadistic monster that did not care and could not care for anything or anyone. A mad, damaged, soul who would stand at the end of time and watch over the destruction of the universe, laughing while it burnt. In the background of all of that had been the drums. Always the drums. Those four wicked beats had been everywhere inside the Master's mind as his sole remaining purpose of existence.
But that was then.
Now, Everything seemed to have changed.
The Doctor walked alone in an abandoned mental asylum through a long stretch of corridor that had a seasick green vinyl floor and an endless row of doors. He didn't need to open any of them to know that there was nothing on the other side. The digital Doctor had explained to him that he would reverse to the last of the simulations in which the Master was still lucid, but that he had to keep the complexity of this virtual reality to a minimum, otherwise he wouldn't be able to sustain it. He had also emphasized that the Master's troubled mind wouldn't allow it to exist like this for long, and that the Doctor had only a limited amount of time.
When he reached the end of the corridor and faced the last room at the back, he finally sensed him. Behind the closed door, he picked up the Master's presence like the cold vibration of static after a summer storm. He unlocked the door and went inside.
An empty room with whitewashed walls. A lonely figure dressed in a white hospital robe sat huddled in a corner. His face was hidden between his knees. His arms were crossed over his head and clutching his short-cropped hair in despair.
No response, but the hands fluttered nervously, tapping on his head and counting to four.
"Master?" He came over to him.
"Why?" The Master whispered down into the shadows. "Why did you do this?"
"Do what?" The Doctor asked gently, and squatted down in front of him.
"Why did you change it all back?" He glared at him from behind his hands.
"I didn't change it back. The other Doctor did." He wasn't sure that the Master comprehended anything he was telling him, but he was relieved to see that it at least triggered a response. The Master lowered his hands, finally showing his face.
"I'm the Doctor. The real one." He said, almost embarrassedly. "Koshei, it's me, Theta."
The Master's eyes fluttered, exchanging the vacant stare with something that deemed to be a sign of recognition, or so the Doctor hoped.
"You can't be." He stared at him, eyes wide and unblinking. A demented smile slowly crept over his cracked lips. "No, no, no, no, no. You can't."
"It's me." The Doctor replied, softly. "It's really me."
The Master shook his head ferociously. "No, no, no, no! You can't. Don't you even dare to pretend to be him!" He leaned forward till their heads were touching. He breathed in the Doctor's smell and shut his eyes. The aching familiarity of his presence puzzled his damaged mind and stirred up anguish in his hearts. His eyes snapped open and he recoiled from the Doctor's side. "You can't." He whimpered, turning to the white wall and hiding his face again. "Can't be. Can't be you."
"Master. It's me. It's really me. I crossed the universe to find you. I used the white point star that was left behind and it guided me all the way here."
"You're just numbers. Ones and zeros. Zeros and ones. The other Doctor. The other Doctor left. You left lifetimes ago."
"But I came back. I came back for you. Master, you have to snap out of this. Heaven knows how you survived all these years, but you have to come with me. I'll get you out of this tower. I'll set you free."
"Free?" He asked, as if the concept eluded him completely.
"You're a prisoner. Not in here, not just inside this made-up place, this asylum. That's just your own unforgiving imagination dealing with your guilt. You're trapped inside the tower. Remember that dark tower the elders used to send you when we were children, whenever you did something wrong? It looks like that, exactly like that. I just don't know who locked you up in here. I don't know what happened to you. But for what's it worth, I'm sorry. I truly am sorry for not getting here any sooner. At least let me make it up to you. Let me help."
"You can't help me." He said softly.
"Why can't I help?"
"No one can. Not even the real Doctor."
The Master gazed back in the Doctor's eyes. The way he looked at him. It struck the Doctor how different he was from the last time he had seen him. Gone was the hatred, the rage, and the vengeful insanity. And yes, he was still mad, and he was still afraid and too stubborn to admit it, but there was also a sort of clarity of mind, a sadness in his calm, as if he was facing a condemned man who had resigned to his fate. And then he noticed. The drumming inside his friend's head. It was gone.
"Master, where are the drums?" He asked, alarmed.
The Master raised his brows and looked up at the ceiling. "Yes, it's very quiet in here, isn't it? It always is."
"This makes no sense. They should be here. I've heard them. Those four taps, they were burnt inside your brain. It can't be just wiped from your mind by your illness, however serious it is. It cannot be forgotten. Rassilon made sure of that. Why aren't they here?"
The Master clutched his head in distress, pressing his hands flat on his ears.
"What is it?" The Doctor looked at him worriedly. "Can't you tell me? Master, please."
"They cut it. They sliced and chopped and tore it away from me." The Master mumbled as he began to rock his body back and forth. "I can't hear it anymore. I can't." Sadness strained his voice. "Why would they do this? I don't understand."
"Who did?!" The Doctor asked. "Master who did this to you? Who took the drums from you?"
"It was supposed to be a gift." The Master continued, unaware of the Doctor's rising anxiety. "I was worthy of it. The drums told me so. Why would they take it back?"
The Doctor's hearts turned to stone when he realized what the Master was trying to tell him. "The Timelord elders. Did they do this you?" He pressed on. "Master, you have to tell me. Otherwise I can't help you. Tell me what happened."
The Master kept staring back at him with sad and frightened eyes, unable to speak.
"Or if you can't, show me. Show me then what happened. Please."
The Master didn't respond, but after a long silence, the wall behind them crumbled, as the matrix of the simulation broke open. Bricks tumbled down, creating a large opening that let a blinding light flood into the room.
The Doctor stood up and peered into the light through the hole to the other side, but he could see nothing but vast empty fields of white. He glanced down at the Master.
"Don't go in there." The Master pleaded in a frail voice, caught in a rare moment of lucidity. He remembered what had happened the last time he showed anyone he cared for his true self. The thought of letting the Doctor inside filled him with dread.
"I'll come back for you."
Wretchedly, the Master shook his head. "No…you won't."
"I promise." The Doctor crossed his hearts, then stepped through the opening and into the Master's memories.
He saw the world through the Master's eyes.
Never had the Doctor experienced such rage.
He found the drums. They swelled on to a thunderous noise, pounding inside his head like a sickening migraine, a throbbing swollen cancer that ordered him to kill. Kill that man who had destroyed his life. Murder that pompous, magniloquent, vainglorious horseshit bastard of a Lord president. The vile hypocrite who deemed him diseased and unworthy of existence, but who was responsible, and who had created him, made him into the monster that he was.
One, and the blast sent Rassilon reeling back into the portal. The threatening glow of his gauntlet dimmed as his life's energy was sucked back into his injured body.
Two, and the Lord president was on the floor, kneeling in front of him, gasping in wonderful agony.
Three. The portal closed behind them, the Doctor, the Naismith mansion, Earth, all disappearing, fading into white. The horrified look on Rassilion's face, as he realized that his only hope for survival had vanished with them.
He had so little strength left. His body was exhausted, barely able to sustain his solid form. He became aware of his trembling hands, the skin flashing to bone and back again. Then the pain cut through him like a knife. Just one more. Let him hold on for just a little longer.
Even if it would kill him.
He fired, all his anger and hurt focussed into one shot, the last of his life's energy. Please, he begged, let me at least have my revenge.
Then all of this could end.
The bolt of raw energy hit Rassilon in his hearts, and with the little power that was left the Master forced them to stop beating. The Lord president face paled. His eyes rolled back.
Almost, oh so very achingly close to resolution.
The agony that suddenly sliced through his body was excruciating. Ripping him wide open from the top of his head to the tips of his toes, it drained him from all his strength. He dropped on his knees, bending double, gasping for air. His anger was blocked by the violent pain that coursed through his veins like a flood of tiny needles. The Master fell down on the floor, and watched how Timelord soldiers appeared out of the dark void and rushed over to their wounded Lord president.
He shut his eyes.
Please. Please let him die.
He heard a gasp and a wheezing sound as Rassilon filled his lungs with air, followed by the cries of relief coming from his followers.
The Master sucked in a harsh breath into his ruined body, and forced back his unwanted tears.
His body was broken, damaged beyond healing.
Rassilon's face loomed over him. How unfair! How quickly it seemed that that serpent-headed bastard was restored! All of his rage and sacrifice to achieve some kind of justice had not left that monstrous man with a single scar. And yet, the Master himself was dying. The flesh on his fingers disappeared, leaving the whitewashed bones underneath, it felt like a million shards were cutting away the muscles and severing the tendons. Rassilon looked down at him coldly. He raised his staff and wrenched it down on the Master's dying hand. He let out a whimper. His limbs trembled in agony.
"You vile, disgusting beast." Rassilon hissed with his fury no longer concealed behind his thin patrician mask. He spat on the Master's face. "You - You and the Doctor. You have DESTROYED US!"
They dragged his dying body outside onto a balcony facing the courtyard. Lost in pain, dazed by the harsh light and surrounded by a blizzard of voices, he was only half aware that Rassilon was addressing the huge crowd that waited anxiously beneath the tower.
The Lord president raised his staff towards the orange burnt sky. "The link with Earth is broken!"
Desperate cries erupted from the crowd below. Rassilon continued in a steady voice, forcing himself to stay in control till the very end.
"We can no longer escape our fate. Today is a black day. Today, all of Galifrey will perish. None of us will survive."
Chaos broke out. People were running away from the Citadel's tower, desperate to return home. Others stayed and clung onto strangers, tearful and paralyzed with fear. Families hugged their loved ones, whispering their farewell to each other. And then there were those who were angry, and would not leave this world without appeasing that burning sense of wrong of being dealt such a violent and short life without murdering a scapegoat.
"Lord president." Someone yelled up to the elder. "Who is that man that your guards have seized?"
Rassilon turned to the Master, whose face began to drain of colour. "That." He said in a voice so full of anger that it remained hardly under his control. "Is the infamous beast who has condemned Gallifrey. The Master is responsible for breaking the link. He is the one who has sent us all to our deaths."
Cries of outrage came from the crowd.
"Is that true?!"
"Is that the Master? That wicked child who became insane and murdered his own father?"
"Kill him! Kill that monster!"
"No! Make him suffer!"
"Make him burn!"
Rassilon studied the enraged mob, screaming up to the sky for the Master's blood. There was no integrity, no mercy, and no pride in their actions. In the final days of the Timewar in which the Timelords had finally lost their struggle to survive, it seemed that all of them had gone mad.
"It seems that the crowd wants you to stay." He stated coldly. "At least long enough to make you pay."
He gripped the Master's chin with his one hand that was sheathed in the gauntlet. The blue metal slowly started to glow. "I can understand their mindless bloodlust. For why should you, YOU, of all of us, be allowed a peaceful death, while far better men than you have to burn?"
The Lord president placed his sheathed hand flat on his captive's chest. The Master's eyes snapped open as Rassilon's life energy rushed into his dying body.
"Stay lord Master." The elder said, his voice malicious and vengeful. "Stay and BURN with us!"
He restored him.
The evil bastard restored him. Right before the Doctor was going to pull the plug on everything and send every living, stinking Timelord and Dalek to meet their maker by killing them all in a blazing sea of fire.
But that was not enough. That would mean a normal death, considering the crazy circumstances. No, he was meant to suffer, because he really did piss off Rassilon. It didn't matter that it was actually the Doctor who had severed the link. He wasn't here for the Lord president's convenience, to be tortured or maimed to satisfy his perverted, sadistic nature. So it had to be him. It had to be the Master, and Rassilon, the almighty Lord president, the first of his race, could do oh so much, to make him wish that he had died a little faster back in the black void chamber.
Rassilon had sealed his soul into his flesh and bones, inscribed his essence into his hated body. The Master could regenerate no more. Still he could heal. He could heal almost as quickly as the soldiers could inflict the wounds. The bruises faded from red to black to purple within an hour. The broken bones mended almost visibly under his skin. The hideous slashes of the whip closed themselves while they released him from his chains and dragged him back to Rassilon who was waiting for him in the top of the tower.
They tossed him down in front of his feet. With hooded eyes, he saw the Lord president approach.
"Still with us, lord Master?"
The Master coughed and spat out a lump of coagulated blood that had dripped from his broken nose into his mouth.
"I could imagine that under these painful circumstances, a body that has accelerated healing capacities like yours, would rather be a curse than a blessing."
He stared at the Master and was content to recognize the fear that flashed in the younger Timelord's eyes.
Rassilon leaned towards him, his mouth drawn in disgust. "I am immortal. What else would happen when I restore a Timelord? Even if it's a diseased little worm like you."
The Master gasped weakly, barely able to speak.
"Can you imagine what would happen now when the Doctor uses the Moment? What, do you think, would happen to Gallifrey's most infamous child?" A cruel, icy smile played on his lips.
"Contemplate this while your mind is still capable. Would he burn for eternity, or would he be reduced to ash with his consciousness trapped in the ruined matter to be scattered over the universe? Would that thin cloud of dust still be able to hold a single thought? Would it know what it has become? What do you think, lord Master?"
For the first time since they had passed through the portal, the Master saw the fear that burnt behind the Lord president's restrained composure.
Rassilon, who was the only Timelord in existence who was truly immortal, was afraid of dying, because for him, death wouldn't be the end. If the Timelords had ever developed a religion, and they had created things like God, and angels and demons, and a heaven and hell, the type of existence that Rassilon feared to be reduced to once Gallifrey was destroyed, was nothing less horrific than one of eternal suffering in hell itself.
And Rassilon had chosen to pass this most gruesome fate on to the Master.
"I've expected you to understand." Rassilon said as he watched how the Master struggled to get up, his fists clenched in anger, but his battered body was still failing him.
"Someone had to pay for Gallifrey's destruction, and for mine."
A cruel smile appeared on the Lord president's face.
"Consider it as a parting gift. In exchange for the one that I'm going to take back from you."
"My lord Master. Even if after all that I have done to you, your final suffering wouldn't be much of a punishment. To be condemned to share the fate of the most noble Timelord in existence, the greatest warlord of Time, the founding father of Gallifrey? How could you consider that as a punishment? How could it appease me to know that a mindless, insane creature like you, unworthy of even being a Timelord, is after his death no better no off than ME? How is that JUSTICE?"
The Master coiled back when the Rassilon reached out and seized his head, pressing his fingers into the sides of his skull.
"There is none. Unless I balance it out. Unless, I create it myself. You, lord Master, who thinks in his insanity that he has become the drums, and the drums has become all that he is. You will have to learn to live on after death without it."
"No! No! Don't!" The Master crawled back, struggling to pull himself out of Rassilon's grip. It was too late. Rassilon entered his mind, pushing into him like a charging bull, and destroying everything to get near the link that he had implanted into the Master's mind. He found it, and as if he was a vulture with knifelike claws, he cut it out of him.
"The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away." The Lord president whispered. He threw the tiny tumour-like nodule that had absorbed the drumbeat signals and had been growing inside the insane Timelord's brain before his feet, squashing it under his boot. He left the chamber, leaving the Master rolling over the floor, screaming and sobbing like a mad animal.
It shouldn't be long now.
Oh please, don't let it take any longer.
They had put him in a cage in the top of the tower. They had lit a great fire underneath, heating it up till the iron grid at the bottom was scorching hot. He couldn't get away from the heat. They had chained him down like a dog, and where ever he came in contact with the hellish metal, blisters the size of oranges ballooned up, and his skin melted away. Horrific burns covered every bare spot on his knees, his feet, his legs, his arms and hands. Writhing and twitching in pain, he kept rolling his body from one side of the cage to the other like a demented lab rat to keep from setting himself ablaze. Pieces of burned skin that tore off from the flesh became stuck on the grid and quickly turned to black soot.
The agony he was going through was unbearable, maddening.
The sickening smell of his own burning flesh filled his nostrils.
He caught Rassilon in his peripheral vision, overseeing his sadistic punishment through the iron bars that scalded black. His expression remained cold and merciless. Lips unmoving, he could still hear Rassilon's thoughts loud and clear.
Juctice, Lord Master.
His grey, unblinking eyes burned in the shadows. It was that last image of the Rassilon, his brutal creator, which would remain locked inside the Master's mind forever.
His vision compromised by the intense heat, the hated Timelord drifted out of focus, as if he was swallowed by the dark.
Left alone, the torment continued.
He screamed till his vocal-cords were ripped to shreds. He should have died from his horrific injuries, but his flesh kept healing itself. It was Rassilon's immortality turned into a curse, the most vicious, beastly kind of torture. He wished that the Doctor would just do what he was supposed to do and end it. Blast Gallifrey from the sky, and turn his tormented body into atoms to be dispatched over the cold void of space. He didn't care what he would become, as long as that awful burning, that searing, scalding heat would cease.
He was unsure how long he had suffered, but at the end there was a voice, a woman's voice, wise and kind, that called to him.
Vision blurred and with his senses dazed by the pain, he could see no more than a figure dressed in red. Five other figures were standing at the back. Then the cage moved.
He was removed from the fire.
Someone cut lose his chains, then opened the door and dragged him out. He collapsed on the floor, the touch of the damp stones was like merciful rain on his scorched and blistered skin, and calmed down the agony of his horrific wounds.
The voice struck him with familiarity. Drifting back into consciousness, his fluttering eyes revealed the blurry vision of an elderly Lady. To the Master, who had suffered so much, she had the face of the most gracious of angels.
He opened and closed his mouth in an effort to speak, but his cracked lips split painfully, and his voice was hoarse, inaudible.
The woman kneeled by his side. Her face was old and wise. Her grey-green eyes looked down at him, kind and compassionate. He moaned softly when she touched his forehead, comforting him. "It's all right." She whispered, and listened to his mind.
He had only one thought. One hateful, crimson-red name that flashed through his mind.
She gazed at him. "The Lord president has sealed himself inside his mausoleum, awaiting his doom. The rest of the Lord counsels are no more. Frightened of what is to come, most of them have taken their own lives. The citadel is abandoned, except for a few of us. "
He blinked his eyes. The surroundings were slowly falling back into focus, and he noticed the small group of Timelords standing in the back. Their faces hidden in the shadow, the adorned bright crimson robes they wore identified them as high counsel members. He gazed back at her. There was something about his gracious angel. He thought he knew her. He knew her from long ago.
"I'm sorry we've let this happen to you, but we were powerless, until now. "
Although overcome by the pain, he forced himself to concentrate to communicate with her.
He said that I was to share his fate. That I will burn for eternity, and that my mind will be trapped in ashes. The Master gazed at her with large, frightened eyes.
"Gallifrey has a cruel master. Rassilon has locked you away in this tower, because he wants you to burn and suffer. His last vindictive act of revenge towards the man who he believed had robbed him of everything."
The woman gently stroked the Master's hair, comforting him as she sensed the dread and despair in his hearts.
"I know what you think. I know how frightened you are. But you must not despair. This shall be our ending, but not yours. Rassilon was wrong about you. You're not just his victim, nor his pawn in his perverted game of trying to regain control over his doomed fate. My lord Master, your destiny does not lie in the four beats of maddening drums, nor in the glowing heart of a shattered white point star."
Gently, she took his burnt hand and held it. Images flashed through the Master's mind, fragile but strong like the flapping wings of a butterfly caught in a storm. He saw a lonely prisoner, locked away in a dark Tower that was buried in a sea of diamonds, followed by a black planet with a crimson sky, disappearing into a black hole. He saw the old man who was with the Doctor in Naismith mansion, and a woman with flaming red hair and attitude to match, an army of Judoon soldiers, a man dressed in a grey suit with cobalt eyes that looked right into your soul, A Roman feast with three sisters, bickering with each other as they stirred in a huge cauldron filled with human bones, a woman with bright green eyes, handing him a scythe, its curved blade so thin that it was almost translucent. And through all of this, he was running.
He was running with the Doctor.
Her hand pulled away, and the glimpses into his future stopped. He gazed back at her, bewildered by the revelation.
She smiled at him. "You see lord Master. There is good reason to keep faith. Your story does not end here. The good Doctor, he won't allow it."
She glanced back at the others. "It is foretold that we will die today, but we will not die as cowards, and perish in vain like our Lord president or the high Lords of the counsel. Enough suffering had been caused by Rassilon's arrogance and selfishness."
She rose up slowly. "We cannot set you free." She said ruefully. "Nor can we stop the Doctor from ending the Timewar with our annihilation. But we can still save you, lord Master. We can transform Rassilon's prison into an a sanctuary that would protect you from the destruction of our world."
Standing tall and dignified, she turned to the other remaining high counsel members. "The crystals are placed, and the Ark is singing its final song." She raised her staff in the air, and the others followed swiftly.
"On this last day of the Timewar, this relentless war that had been filled with madness and greed, in which we have done so much wrong to so many, let our final act be one of redemption. Let our deaths be a sacrifice that saves rather than destroys."
She looked down at the Master with a resolved look in her eyes. The white point star at the tip of her staff started to glow in a golden light.
"We will give our life force to raise the Ark and seal you within, so that you might live."
A bright white light erupted, bathing her and her companions in swirling clouds of golden stardust. Six lonely figures, standing tall with their crimson robes flapping in the air, proud and dignified, like the Timelords of old. Faint streams of plasma blue beams poured from their chests, and joined the unnatural golden cloud, which grew bigger and stronger till it swept up into a vortex of pure and furious light. She glanced down at him one last time, eyes shining with sorrow, but still so very determined.
"Farewell my lord Master, remember us few. Don't let our existence and that of the Timelord race been but a futile dream."
Wait… He raised himself up to catch a glimpse of her. Beneath him, the ground began to shake violently.
Who are you?
"I was the Doctor's guarding angel." A sad smile curled the corners of her lips. "And now I shall be yours." A single tear glided down her cheek. "One day, when he finally comes, please tell him…tell him that" She paused for a moment. The others had disappeared, and only her face, beautiful and serene, was still visible against the sea of white.
Tell him what? He asked, devoted to do something back for her.
She shook head. There were no words that needed to be spoken.
"He will see. He knows."
And then the light swallowed her whole.
Slowly, the Doctor retreated out of the Master's mind.
"She saved you!" He muttered, his hearts aching. "She! She and the others, they gave their lives so you could live."
He was back in the whitewashed cell inside the asylum simulation. The Master sat apposite of him. Huddled with his back against the wall, he stared at him with large, remorseful eyes.
"I didn't ask her to… I didn't understand why she did it. I still don't."
The Doctor turned his eyes on the walls. The memory of her before the light washed her noble features away still burned in his mind.
"She shouldn't have saved me." The Master breathed, his guilt shining through his insanity. "She could have picked any other man, or sealed herself inside the Ark. There was no reason to save me. No reason."
"She knew." The Doctor whispered as his mourning spirit returned to full awareness. "She knew I was going to look for you." He gazed at his anxious friend. "Master." He said gently. "You don't need to feel guilty. Not for this. She would have been lost, even if she had not used her life-force to protect you." His voice broke. He reached out to the Master who shamefully recoiled back from his touch. "Koshei. It's all right. I understand now. I know what happened to you. This tower isn't a prison. It's a safe heaven, built by the last of the Timelord counsel to preserve you. They had used their life force to activate the diamonds in the lake. The vibrations of the white point stars amplified by the Ark created a distortion in the fabric of reality that sealed you inside this tiny bubble, protecting you while outside the blazing fires raged and Gallifrey was turned to ash."
The Master shook his head, and pressed his hands on his ears to shut out the Doctor. "No reason. No reason." He rambled. "No reason and no use!"
"But why is there no use? Didn't you see it? Master, don't you remember what she showed you? You were meant to survive the destruction of the Timewar. You were meant to be here, with me."
The Master gazed up, their eyes locked.
A sad smile appeared on the Doctor's lips. "Yes, that's right, you and me, the last two Timelords in existence."
"I can't." The Master continued to shake his head. I can't go with you."
"What do you mean?" Suddenly, the Master's mad stubbornness evoked a deed sense of dread in him.
For a long time, the Master remained silent. Then he began to recite the words that were inscribed at the entrance of the tower.
"Inside these labyrinth walls. Here sleeps the nightmare child who lies alone. When the darkness falls, his dreams draw monsters out of these cursed stones. For we have made his prison be, every step away from the."
"-And this child we would destroy, if you tried to set him free." The Doctor finished, as the cold realization cut into him like a blade of steel. "The warnings inscribed on the entrance doors." He whispered, as his mind continued to unravel the disastrous truth. "The Ark has been created around you. So you're the only one who can sustain it. Without you locked away inside, the whole structure would destabilize and the bubble would burst. That would set you free, only the gravity of the tower and the lake are what has kept the remains of Gallifrey from falling into the ravenous heart of the black hole. So if you were ever released from the tower and trigger its destruction –"
"I would die." The Master finished, more lucid than the Doctor had ever seen him since their current encounter. "Taking with me every unfortunate idiot who happened to be here at the time." He shot a meaningful glance at the Doctor.
"You knew this." The Doctor whispered, shocked by the realization. "Those chains I saw around your neck and wrists. You did that to yourself."
"I had to find a way to keep myself inside the tower. My mind was wandering…my head…Doctor my head. You don't know. You weren't there. Without the drums the silence became oh so very unbearable. I could hear everything. I could hear the screams from all the people I've killed. I could hear Redgrave, and Ravenius and all the others. I could hear Chantho, and Lucy. I could hear my father, whispering his dying words to me. I could hear you." He gazed up at him tearfully, shaken to the core. "Every night I heard them scream." The light in his eyes dimmed. The Doctor looked at him, compassion and grief straining his face.
The ground suddenly shook beneath their feet, and a low rumble rose up from the walls. The Doctor swirled around and saw how the white-washed walls of the cell flickered as if caught in the blaze of lightning, and revealed the black void and the cold green lines of the computer matrix that lay at the heart of the simulation. The voice of the other Doctor came through, shrouded by static at first, but gaining in clearance and volume as it pressed on.
"Doctor! We--- There are---I repeat, Doctor! You ne----get out! The others a---great danger! I can't help them! Doctor! Come back!"
"You have to leave." The Master stated, keeping his voice firm.
"I can't." The Doctor replied, anxious. "I can't just leave you here."
The digital Doctor kept calling for the Doctor, pleading for his help.
"It's my mind. It's corrupting the Ark. My Doctor won't be able to keep your precious humans safe. You have to go."
"No." The Doctor shook his head stubbornly. "what ever you might think, you and I are destined to share a common future." His voice softened into a desperate plead. "Master, we're going to run through the universe, side by side. So I'm not leaving without you. Not again. " To the Doctor's relief, his words seemed to have a benevolent effect on the Master's grim state of mind.
"I won't be going anywhere." The Master replied with a small smile. "Not in this state." He turned his head to the door. "You can't just leave them. Get them on the ship and then come back. I'll try to stay lucid."
"But, what if –"
"You're right, there has to be a way." The Master interrupted before the Doctor could protest. "I can see it now." He rocked back and forth with renewed hope. "Oh I can see it now so clearly. Doctor, you are here. You're finally here. You came back just like she had shown me, and with that smart-sharp mind of yours, you'll find a way."
He gazed at him, focussing all of what was left of his reason to appear sane and hopeful. The Doctor, who needed the Master more than anything in the universe, was easily fooled.
"Exactly!" He sighed, reassured and happy. "I'll get you out. We'll get through this, together."
"Doctor! Please! You ne---come back! I can't keep the fearwaves from penetrating their mind---long! You have to get them out of the tower! Doctor!"
"I'll come back." The Doctor said determinedly, and dashed for the door.
One more chapter left to go my friends. Please review and comment if my story pleases you. Or visit to my author's profile for the updated soundtrack for His silent Mind.