(A/N: This story is set during The End of Time Part 2, and therefore contains major spoilers for the whole finale. Don't read on if you don't want to be spoiled. Right. So, remember all those goodbye scenes? There was one person the Doctor didn't say goodbye to, and this story is my take on that. Bit of a stretch calling it a story, really. It's more of a missing scene. Imagine, if you will, that the Master didn't get sucked into the time-lock. We didn't really see what happened, after all. But the Doctor knows that he's still on Earth...)
Until We Meet Again
In the stable of the Naismith mansion, a man with bleached white hair and dirty black clothes gnawed at a bone, his eyes darting from side to side.
"Hungry," the Master muttered. "White light, bright white, got to get away from the light, got to eat, got to run, got to got to got to got to–"
He looked up and fell silent. There, outlined in the light of the stable entrance, stood the Doctor. For a moment, they simply stared at each other. The Master knew instantly why he had come.
"Well, Doctor. Can't get away, can I?"
The Doctor walked over slowly – painfully. He hid it well, but the Master could tell. He flopped down beside the Master, leaning his head back against the wooden stall.
"What's that? Horse?"
"Yeah," the Master muttered, dropping the bone almost guiltily.
The Doctor stared at him. "It won't last. You burnt yourself out."
The Master met his gaze evenly. "So did you. Well. That went well, didn't it? Time Lords and Gallifrey and the whole of the Time War and still in the end–"
"There's just us," the Doctor finished.
"Yeah." The Master laughed. "It's stopped, you know. The drums. They've stopped."
The Doctor's eyes widened, something of a smile stretching across his face for the first time. "Really? So maybe now... You can be at peace?"
"No. No, no, no. Without it – my head. It's so empty. Just silence." The Master licked his lips, staring off into the distance as though he was searching for something. "How can you bear such silence? They're all gone, it's silent, all silent, and I need–"
"I know." They were leaning against each other now, two dying Time Lords, together. "I know. Me too."
The silence stretched out, long moments of silence. The hay behind them was stained with blood. The stable smelt of death – the Master had fed, oh, he'd fed voraciously, but it wasn't enough. The silence was in the Master's head too; he could feel the absence of their people like a great dark void in his mind, and it hurt. There was only the Doctor left now.
Presently, the Doctor spoke. "I can't stay."
"What? What, no, you're staying, I say you stay–"
The Doctor was shaking his head. "No, I can't–"
The Master found enough energy to seize the Doctor by the shoulders, staring at him fiercely. "What's wrong, Doctor, eh? Can't go together? Too poetic? Oh, I know... You want to go back to the TARDIS. Then take me with you!"
His face flashed back into the skeleton, and the Doctor pulled away, alarmed. "No. I've got people to see, I've got to... But I'll come back for you, I promise, when – if – when it's over, I'll come back."
"I won't be here."
"No. But I'll find you. I will."
The Doctor's face was so sincere that the Master laughed. He brought his hand up to that face, cupping it, staring into eyes that the Doctor would not use for much longer. The Doctor stared back, eyes bright with tears.
"You know, I always did like this particular body of yours," the Master breathed.
"So did I."
"Vain of you, Doctor, clinging on... And so emotional, this one. We had quite the lament, didn't we? Well, then."
The Master sighed and leaned back again, breaking the intimacy between them. He flicked his hand towards the exit, almost wearily. "I thought you had to go."
"Yes, but... You won't follow?"
"Only if you don't follow me."
The Doctor frowned, immediately suspicious, and the Master grinned at him. He knew that the Doctor didn't have time to linger. The Doctor stood up, brushing hay off his long coat.
"I'll come back," the Doctor repeated.
"Looking forward to it."
The Doctor didn't smile. He left the way he came, a brown-coated figure disappearing into the sun. When he had gone, the smell of blood immediately became stronger, no longer tempered by the Doctor's presence. The Master took in a deep breath.
He already had a plan.