A cloister bell seemed to ring around the Doctor's mind. It was the same warning sound that would sound in the Tardis when something was wrong. Impending death and the end of the world was just that.
He couldn't move; his will had been shattered. There was no hope of saving the universe in a dash of brilliance and escaping onto the Tardis for a new adventure. Or a holiday. "Definitely a holiday after this," he dreamed. "With Amy and Rory. And maybe River. If she was lucky."The dream collapsed when his old eyes caught sight of his chains again.
A futile fantasy.
The door creaked open.
"Back again to torment me, are you?" he shouted to the door's direction, his eyes unable to see it. "It'll only end up being worse for you when I get out of this. Mark my words. I'll stop you. Even if it means killing you!" he spat with as much conviction as he could muster. He meant it. He could, if there was no other option, save the universe by killing the Master. But in this case it would probably only further destroy the timeline, creating another paradoxical layer to the mix.
"Touchy," smiled a familiar voice entering the room, applying a blue light to the lock on one of the chains and a small kick for good measure. It had been a stressful day after all for him.
"You're not him," uttered the Doctor, now able to move slightly, slowly turning around to face his…
"You? What the hell are you doing here! Get back to your Tardis this instant!"
His former self, the Tenth incarnation, was now inches away from him, loosening more of his restraints. All he could see was teeth, gleaming.
"How do you know about the Tardis?" questioned Ten, stopping for a moment to look into Eleven's eyes.
"Because I'm you, you idiot!" screamed Eleven. "You're me, I'm you. There. We've done the hello's. Now would you kindly get out of here!"
"But I have to save you first," smiled Ten, returning to the restraints, undoing another one.
"Always with the saving, forgetting the grander scale," Eleven rubbed his, now both free, wrists. "How was I ever so idiotic in my last form," he sighed, looking at the exit in front of him.
"I see the grander scale!" argued Ten, this time continuing with the last of the restraints on the legs. "Of course it's odd that we're both here but it's happened before to us, in the past."
"Not like this."
"Oh really?" Ten stood up, rubbing his knees as he did so, laughing. "Let me guess," he paused for effect before adding "Someone wants to kill us?"
Eleven looked into his former eyes. "We're already dead." There were no smiles on his face, just gloom.
"How did I ever become you?" retorted Ten, starting for the door, motioning for Eleven to follow. "It's not normal. We don't talk this way, we never have." He pointed at Eleven with his screwdriver, wiggling it playfully. "We don't give in."
"I'm not you anymore! Deal with it."
Eleven rushed on ahead, recounting the layout of the place.
"I guess not."
"The point is we can't win!" They passed an empty corridor. "You even coming here to get me just wasted time that could have saved us if you'd simply have stayed put!" He heard a slight noise, and stopped. "You're infuriating!" he whispered back at Ten.
"Why? To the first, not the infuriating part. They say I'm charming," he whispered back with a smile.
Eleven made a face at him of pure unbridled displeasure at his company. He looked around, as silently as possible for the source of the noise but there was nothing, and so continued on. His former self had disregarded it and so he had to do. He was on edge more than usual but a full blown apocalypse was known to do that to one's nerves.
But nerves worked both ways. They created fear but they also opened themselves to new ideas. It stopped him dead in his tracks.
"What is it?" asked Ten. "If you're thinking about the noise it was just a-"
"Did you lock your Tardis?"
Ten was offended. "What, of course I locked it."
"Then we have a chance. A slight, slight, impossibly possible chance of coming out of this all right," he began to run, fast. "Keep up me!" he shouted back at Ten who, returning his speed, was very confused.
"What's going on?" Eleven began to take a deeper breath, a thinking breath, when Ten wryly smiled "The short version."
"Spoilsport," laughed Eleven for the first time in what seemed like ages. There was a chance of saving the world. And it could work. But there would be a consequence, one he was willing to accept. "Short version: The Master's at his favourite hobby. Trying to kill us. Me. He took you from me, set things in motion that brought us to this point. He's using the energy from two Tardis' to collapse time in order to destroy us and everything that exists, while he survives. He has a Shinigami helping him. A nasty one."
Ten only had one thought jumpt to the forefront of his mind. "Saxon Master?"
"No, it's before he went crazy," he paused, looking sheepish as if he made a mistake infront of a loved one. "Crazier."
"How do we stop him."
"We need to get to his Tardis and disarm the explosives, it has to be close to yours. Did you see anything unusual. Remember he has a-"
"Cloaking device. I know. I remember back then" they turned a corner. They weren't far from his own Tardis now. "But you know too that it wouldn't look unusual if he has that. But that's why - "
"Right. That's why we need to get into your Tardis and scan for it," he stopped for a moment, giving a big grin. "It's so good having an intelligent conversation with yourself! Ooh!"
"Why did you stop?"
"I'm old," he started again, walking down a flight of stairs at half-pace before taking another breather. "Is there anyone in your Tardis?"
"Who? I don't know a… Never mind. Can I use your screwdriver?"
Ten tosses him the screwdriver to which Eleven promptly uses on the communicator in his pocket.
"I don't know if this will work but it's still the Tardis, just differently placed. It should. I hope." He held it to his ear. "Hello. Quil-eh," he holds his palm over the mic part. "What's his – "
Eleven mouths a thanks. " Quillish Wammy, this is the Doctor. I know I sound different, just go with it. I need you to press a few controls to initiate a scan. I'll pass you over to the Doctor," he, carefully passes it to Ten.
"Other Doctor. There's two now. Don't worry about it. I'm the one you know. Quil, I'm going to need you to-"
As Ten explained the plain to Quillish, Eleven broke off to a nearby window. He surveyed the outside with a glum look crossing his face. Doubt was settling in to his mind. "There's too many variables, he thought. "It could never be a sure thing. Even if it works the consequence is high." He looked back to Ten, feeling his own hearts beat faster. "One of us would have to die."