A/N: This fic was written for a Support Stacie Author Auction fic for TardisIsTheOnlyWayToTravel. She got a 1000-word fic. I fail at 1000 words. Her prompt was fantastic - Nine meets the Simm!Master. I could not help it. The fic is, therefore, an AU. Beyond that, I don't want to spoil it for you.

Flirting With Disaster

Chapter 1

The missing TARDIS materialized at last, and the Master grinned with intense satisfaction. Success! Even the end of the Universe, even twenty-five years trapped inside a fob watch, even a human mind and an ancient, feeble body couldn't hold him!

He had his identity back, and a new regeneration, and now his freedom materialized into existence just beyond his reach. Perfect.

His first mission, after turning these infuriating, so-called "future-kind" into hand puppets, would be to get an idea of what happened with the War. Given that the Universe was still here to end, the Master had to assume that the Daleks hadn't won after all. So much for the Doctor's hysterical sermons.

And, speaking of the devil, finding him would definitely be the next priority. A little voice inside the Master's head pointed out that destroying the Doctor would make the rest of eternity a very, very boring place, but it was quickly drowned out by the all encompassing sound of drums.

He patted the dark, sinister, heavily armed console of his old TARDIS and wondered what kinds of advances were available now, given the massive influx of war technology. Last he'd heard, they were threatening to take that old Type-40 to bits to find out how it managed some of the stunts it insisted on pulling.

Of course, anyone who'd ever stolen the thing could've told them: it had an unnatural affection for its neurotic pilot, and a tendency to do absolutely anything to keep him in the minimum number of pieces. The Master really hoped the War was over and the Doctor had won, because if he'd somehow managed to lose his TARDIS without getting killed, there was no telling what kind of crazy the younger Time Lord would be. He was almost certain that a crazy Doctor would be several kinds of very, very bad.

"Oooh, look," the Master exclaimed gleefully, "there's a TARDIS on the scan now. Don't tell me; let me guess! Earth, right?" He found himself applauding like he'd won a game show when the guess turned out correctly. Apparently, this new body of his came with enthusiasm as well as energy. Excellent.

"Early twenty-first century, looks like… 2015. Interesting. Well, not interesting, actually. Nothing interesting in 2015 at all that I can remember! Oh well, maybe he's exploded of boredom."

The Master grinned happily to himself and, since he didn't know for sure what he was about to walk into, armed himself with the closest, most comfortable weapon: his old TCE. Then, he decided the Doctor's favorite game of confuse and conquer would be the word of the day.

The TARDIS materialized right next to that preposterous blue box, and he stepped out. "Hi, honey, I'm home!" the Master announced, grandly.

"Exterminate," came the cold, simplistic, one-word reply.

It was then that the Master discovered that all his years as a human being had also failed to remove even one of his Time War reflexes. He hit the deck as the Dalek laser flashed overhead, rolled with his momentum toward the open door of his TARDIS, and got a shot off somewhere in the middle of all that.

A short vault to the console, and he ran the scan for the nearest fully Gallifreyan lifeform. The coordinates locked in nanoseconds, and the Master's hands flew over the console, setting up the short hop with the ease of familiarity.

"What the fuck was that?" he demanded as he stomped out of the TARDIS this time.

A harsh, angry Northern accent rang out over the end of the Master's shouted question. "Can't anything I kill stay dead?"

The Master found himself face to face with a tall, dark, and slightly more sinister than usual Doctor, blue-eyed and practically made of fury. Something deep inside the sandy-haired Time Lord squeaked and ran off to hide. Something else got massively turned on and clamored for whips and chains as the smell of leather filled his nostrils. Something else, and it was the something that won, admitted that the Doctor was the only one who had any idea what exactly was happening, and therefore, the politic approach was best. "General," he said. OK, so he couldn't resist a little ribbing. But the idea of his supposedly peaceable former friend having the lead the entire Time Lord army… He grinned maliciously.

The Doctor's brows arched a question and his arms folded over his chest. "If tha's how you wanna go with it, we'll do it." He leaned back over his shoulder. "Oi, you lot!"

The Master was on his knees with a face full of sub-machine guns before he could actually comprehend what had happened. "They've got guns!" he exclaimed, almost gleeful. "There are people, with guns! And they work for you! With guns! Oh, how the sanctimonious have fallen!"

"Figured if you were gonna call me General, I'd just as well show you my army. Considerin' you'd be up for a Court Martial if I were still in charge of an army with you in it."

"Now, my dear Doctor, is that any way to treat your oldest friend?" The Master wasn't about to admit that there was a part of him that was completely terrified at this point. This angry, vengeful Doctor wasn't someone he understood, expected, or knew what to do with. Sure, there were the old tricks, but it was entirely possible even those wouldn't work.

"You tried to kill me at least a dozen times," the Doctor said, both his voice and his eyes cold and flat. "You succeeded once, nearly twice. You very obviously got reconstituted with the rest of the rabble an' then ran away. I'm gonna have to go with 'not friends,' here. Count yourself lucky I don't decide you're like the rest of the Time War rubbish an' therefore not real!"

It was a complete shock. The Master astounded himself by laughing, but he was quickly very glad he'd done it. It unnerved the soldiers around him and the Doctor had to bark a sharp command at them. "He's just like that," the Doctor said, dryly. "Ever wonder why all evil blokes tend to laugh in your stories? They got the idea from this one." The Doctor nudged the Master with the toe of one very large black leather boot.

The whining little masochist in the Master's head started to dance. "Oh, I missed you, too," he said gleefully. "Can I stand up, then?"

"No," the Doctor replied blandly. "Hypnotist of your caliber? I'd have to go with 'not stupid' here, too."

"Oh, honestly," the Master said. "Let's assume you've finally gone 'round the twist like you've been threatening since you were seventeen. Then, let's assume you've decided to take over the Earth, like you were told to do when you were seven hundred or so. That is what the army's about, isn't it? You did what they told you and decided to look after the Earth on a permanent basis?"

The Doctor said absolutely nothing and the Master tried to look up to read the man's expression. The bloke with the gun to the back of his head wouldn't let him move more than about waist level. He started to laugh again, anyway, as he realized. "That's what it is, isn't it?" the Master demanded. "You won their gods-forsaken war for them and they exiled you here to say thank you. When will you ever believe me that they're just a blight on eternity that needs to be wiped out?"

The Doctor's fist was in the front of the Master's shirt and he was dangling in the air from that rather shockingly powerful grip. Apparently the Doctor hadn't just stepped out a little – he'd come completely unglued. "Just answer me this," the Master said, looking with great condescension into those raging blue eyes. "What's the distress call about then? What do you need me for? Something to do with that Dalek?"

"I didn't need you. I wasn't trying to reach you. I was trying to reach a Time Lord. Since I was the only one last I looked, I was expectin' a lecture. Just my luck even genocide can't get rid of you."

The Master felt both his hearts stuttering to a breath-snatching stop. "What?" he choked.

"Open your mind, you idiot," the Doctor suggested, giving the Master a good shake before dropping him.

"Doctor?" came a strong, curious, female voice from somewhere off to the side. "Diana said you were down here. Did it work?"

The Master looked up to see a small blonde human girl of perhaps twenty years, twenty-five at the most. She was pretty enough, the Master supposed, with a wide mouth, strong features, and dark, dark eyes. Her aura was wreathed with temporal banding, indicating not merely an experienced time traveler, but something that belonged to time itself. She was also…

He rounded on the Doctor. "Didn't you even pay attention in biology class?"

The Doctor shocked the hell out of the Master by laughing at him.