A/N: I'm sorry! I'm sorry! *cowers in a corner* I'm a terrible person. ;D I got distracted by my shiny new Doctor Who DVDs and spent the last few days falling in love with Three ... Sorry! And then a rabid plotbunny bit me, and I ended up writing Out of the Dust (which is also Master/Doctor ... do I get some brownie points there at least? ;D) first, instead ... Sorry!
Tak Membrane: Thanks! ;D Yes - probably one or two more chapters, or so? Though this chapter really didn't go where I was expecting it to go, so ... ;D
Vic Taylor: Thanks! I lurk on best_enemies, because all the best fanfics seem to come from over there. ;D I'm a bit shy, though, and lj tends not to load right at home, so I've never actually posted. ;D And thanks for the compliment on the fact/falsehood construction - I was worried it was getting gimmick-y. ;D
spam.: Ten is adorable, isn't he? ;D I figure they're sort of like yin and yang: they balance each other. If the Doctor went evil, the Master wouldn't know what to do. ;D
Kate Swynford: Thanks! ;D I'm terrible to the two of them. They deserve all the fluff they can get! ;D
thecurlyone: Thank you very much! That's very kind of you to say. ;D
Pliva: Thanks! (And I'm watching/waiting for more of your sequel to TDiC with bated breath ... ;D)
Chapter Three: Demonstrable Realities
Fact: the Doctor dreamed about the Master.
Fact: they did not land on any planets after their eventful lunch; instead, they spent the next few weeks alone on the TARDIS.
Fact: the Master dreamed about the Doctor.
It was painful for both of them, being on the TARDIS with nowhere to go, nothing to see, nothing to do – except for running into the man who shared the TARDIS with them every day, walking stiffly in the corridors as they passed each other, carefully, tactfully ignoring each others' presences.
The Doctor overhauled the TARDIS control room. By the time he was done with it, everything was clean and new and shiny and decidedly not much like his TARDIS had been during the war anymore. He had, of course, changed everything obvious immediately after – new layout, new color scheme, even a new bedroom. But he'd never actually gotten around to changing all the fiddly bits – the temporal-gravitational sector divisors, for instance. Everything felt new and clean and almost foreign to him when he finished.
The Master reorganized the library several times. First, he organized it by medium. Let the Doctor try to figure out why he'd placed 4-D holograms in the west side of the room and cassette tapes in the southern corner! Then, he organized it by how much he liked the various works the TARDIS library contained (unsurprisingly, the Doctor's rather (embarrassingly) large collection of Jane Austen novels did not make it to the front of the shelves – though the Master was tempted, for a few moments, to put Jane Eyre near the front, partially because he knew (from the Doctor's monologues on the subject) that he was an Austen fan and not a Brontë fan, and partially because he did consider Rochester's ability to hoodwink Jane into marrying him quite remarkable). Finally, he threw books about randomly for a few hours, creating a state of chaos in the library, and left things at that.
Falsehood: either of them actually cared about the state of the TARDIS's rooms.
Fact: the Master was much more proud than the Doctor was.
Fact: the Doctor was much more stubborn than the Master was.
Fact: it was the Doctor who broke first and went to talk to the Master.
They walked into each other in the hallway one day – quite literally, actually. It was a sharp corner, and both were hurrying around it: the Master at a swift walk, the Doctor at an all-out run. They both went crashing to the floor when they collided.
The Master got up first, and started to walk away, completely ignoring the Doctor, as if he hadn't just walked into the other Time Lord. The Doctor lay sprawled on the ground for another few minutes before something shattered in his expression and he called out, "Wait!"
The Master turned to look at the Doctor, and a smirk slid across his face. "Yes, Doctor?"
"You can't – I need to – we need to talk," the Doctor said, slowly standing up, bracing himself against one of the hallway's walls.
"Yeah?" The Master rocked back on his feet, leaning away from the Doctor. He folded his arms. "Go on."
"We can't – we can't. Go on like this, I mean. We can't continue like this." He took a deep, shuddering breath. "You kissed me."
"Never denied it," the Master said lightly.
"Why?" the Doctor asked.
"No reason," the Master replied. "I wanted to, so I did."
"Then I suppose –" The Doctor took a few tentative steps forward, stopped in front of the Master, and stared at him for a moment. Then he leaned forward and brushed his lips against the Master's, almost curiously, as if he wondered what it would be like.
The Master pulled back, startled, and pushed the Doctor away. "What are you – why did you –"
"I wanted to," the Doctor said, with a quick smile, almost as bright as some of his smiles of old, "so I did." He turned and walked away, leaving the Master staring into midair, completely bemused.
Fact: the Doctor's brief smile was the happiest the Master remembered ever seeing him.
Fact: the Master decided, after a short period of consideration, that he actually rather did like how the Doctor looked when he was beaming.
Fact: something intangible had changed aboard the TARDIS.
Falsehood: either the Master or the Doctor intended to do anything about it.