The Obligatory Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I don't own Doctor Who or any associated characters, creatures, features, gadgets, gizmos or TARDISes.

Summary: O.K., well it's a bit difficult to give a summary of this without giving too much away. Suffice to say, it involves the 10th Doctor, the Master, Wilfred Mott, an OC and occasionally Jack Harkness. And you should probably have seen "The End of Time" for it to make proper sense. No open pairings, just good old epic sci-fi. And angst - much angst.

Warnings: Not really anything to speak of, unless maybe you have a thing about bugs. ;) As with all my longer fanfics, though, the theme of insanity is explored in depth - depending on how you read it and how you think of it, this may "unsettle" some people.

This is my first Doctor Who fanfic, and my first time trying to write any of these characters, so I'm hoping it's turned out all right. A note before you read on: almost everything in this fanfic is open to your own individual interpretation. I imply many things, some more strongly than others, and explicitly state very little. Make of it what you will - read it how you like, imagine allusions to your favourite characters, even look for pairing subtext if you want. But most of all, enjoy it! :)

Grab hold of your vortex manipulators, goes!

"Get out of the way."

The Master's eyes flickered sideways, and his razor-sharp mind quickly calculated - there was an option C after all. The corner of his mouth twitched slightly, as he flung himself to one side and the pistol's shot sounded. The transmitter focusing the signal through the White Point Star exploded in a flash of blinding light and scorching fire - behind it, Wilfred Mott, unnoticed in the nuclear containment booth, shielded his eyes as he heard the Doctor declare,

"The link is broken! Back into the Time War, Rassilon! Back into Hell!"

As Rassilon glared in fury at the Doctor, a distant voice echoed through the tear in the Time Lock, and the white light grew brighter around the Time Lord figures silhouetted before the Immortality Gate.

"Gallifrey falling..."

"You die with me, Doctor," Rassilon spat, raising his gauntlet towards the unflinching Doctor.

"I know," he said. Behind him, the Master struggled to his feet, wringing his hands.

"Get out of the way," came a hoarse voice, and the Doctor turned in surprise to see the Master draw his hand back and hurl a bolt of pure energy past the Doctor and straight into Rassilon's hearts.

"You did this to me!" he snarled, rage twisting his features. "All of my life!" He drew back his other hand and flung another bolt. "You made me!" Now he flung bolts in quick succession, counting out the beat that had resounded in his head for countless years. The unstable life energy inside him threatened to burn him up at any minute, flashing out from his core as he counted, making his failing body almost translucent.


The blinding white glow now almost enveloped him, and as Rassilon and the Time Lords were sucked back into the Time Lock, the Doctor, squinting in the light, thought he felt something prick the back of his neck. A burst of adrenaline coursed through his body, and with his last reserves of strength, he lunged forwards and threw his arms around the Master's shoulders, fighting the pull of the Time Lock to drag him back. The Master flung out his hands as they both fell, and the bolt of energy that was still streaming from one hand coursed across the hall, shattering the glass of the nuclear containment booth. Inside, Wilf threw himself to the ground, covering his head as the shards of Vinvocci glass rained around him. Abruptly, the flow of energy ceased, and the final link was broken. The white light faded - Rassilon had vanished, leaving only the ruined Immortality Gate and a cold, empty silence.

I'm alive... Struggling for breath, the Doctor lifted his head, slivers of broken glass falling from his hair. Wilf did the same, and their eyes met across the tiled floor.

"You all right there, Doctor?" The Doctor nodded, almost unable to believe it himself.

I'm alive...

He turned his head. A few feet away, the Master lay, silent and unmoving, his face turned away. Slowly, painfully, the Doctor pulled himself up on his elbows, and then to his knees, and crawled over to his old childhood schoolmate. He gently and hesitantly put one hand on the Master's shoulder and turned him over. A clinking sound broke the silence - Wilf had pushed himself free of the ruins of the nuclear containment booth and was creeping over to the two Time Lords. He stared from one to another, lost for words.

Suddenly, the Master's pale and apparently lifeless face flickered translucent blue - only for a fraction of a second, but they both saw it. The Doctor tensed, put his ear to the Master's chest. A beat, faint, irregular, only one, but there nonetheless.

"D-doctor..." said Wilf cautiously. "Doctor, I don't know if this is a good time, but..." The Doctor looked up, as if becoming aware of Wilf for the first time.

"That nuclear...thing... It's making a rather funny sort of buzzing noise."

In an instant, the Doctor became alert and sat up straight.

"It's going into overload," he said numbly. "Any minute now, it's going to go critical. 500,000 rads...should've been contained by the Vinvocci glass. We have to get out of here."

"What, like a nuclear meltdown?" The Doctor gave no answer, and Wilf made a movement towards the door. He looked back over his shoulder to see the Doctor, still crouched on the floor, struggling to put the Master's arm over his shoulder. But he was still weak, probably injured, from his fall, breathing heavily and gritting his teeth with the effort.

"Doctor, you've got to leave him," Wilf urged frantically. "He's going to die."

"I was going to die!" the Doctor gasped. "I can't leave him."

"Well I'm not letting you die with him." Wilf hurried over, a determined resolve hardening him. It was up to him now - the Doctor would not die here, even if it meant... He slung the Master's other arm over his shoulder, almost shuddering at the proximity to this monster, and the three of them, Wilf bearing most of the weight with a strength that defied his age, hurried down the corridor of the Naismith mansion and out into the dazzling sunlight. Behind them, the Doctor's acute senses could make out the buzzing of the Geiger counter on the control panel increasing in frequency until it became a high-pitched whine. He scrambled in his pocket with his free hand for the sonic screwdriver, which he pointed across the courtyard. The TARDIS faded into sight, and Wilf thought he had never in his life been so glad to see that blue box.

"It's starting to leak," the Doctor muttered between ragged breaths. "I can smell it..." They increased the pace...the courtyard seemed to grow in length with every step they took...the TARDIS seemed a mile they were almost running, and Wilf felt as though he could barely keep himself up, let alone the deadweight they carried between them. Finally, it was in arm's reach; the Doctor clicked his fingers, and to Wilf's amazement, the door swung open. No time to question, though - the three of them collapsed onto the blissfully cool metal floor. There was a rushing sound outside, and the TARDIS door slammed. Moments later, the rushing grew to a roar, which surrounded the TARDIS. There was a juddering, and then it was gone.