A/N: I honestly started out with the purest of intentions when this little plot bunny came hopping along. But the story got away from me somehow. Not sure how much I love my ending, but I'll let the reader decide. Anyway...
Disclaimer: The BBC owns Doctor Who, not me. (In case you didn't realize...)
Colony in Time-Locked Space
Every inch of the Master's body hurt. He winced at the pain as he slowly rose to his feet. Suddenly, he realized that the entire room was silent, and so he gazed at the multitude of Time Lords that were watching him from their positions in the depths of the great Panopticon. He turned around to look into the eyes of Rassilon, the greatest and most feared Time Lord in the history of the race.
"I could kill you right now," said the founder of the Time Lords.
"Then do it," the Master growled.
"But what punishment could be worse for 'the Master' then to be forced to serve for the rest of eternity?" he said, the faintest smirk appearing at the corners of his lips.
The Master only responded with a slight bow of the head.
"Why did you do it?" asked Rassilon. "Why would you risk everything to save the Doctor?"
"The Doctor and I have a long history," the Master said. "We have a very... complicated relationship."
Rassilon stared down at the Master in anger. "You're a disappointment to your people," he said. He then pointed his rod at a nearby Time Lady. "Go help the Master find a suitable robe," he instructed her.
The woman nodded and started off with the Master following close behind. When they reached the ante-chamber, where spare robes were kept, she turned to the Master with a scowl. "You idiot!" she said in a loud whisper.
"Good to see you too, Rani," he said calmly.
"You've screwed us all," she said, grabbing a robe and throwing it at him.
"No wonder I'm tired," he said.
"Oh great..." she groaned. "I almost forgot how annoying you were."
The Master pulled the robe over his head, and grabbed a headdress. "Come now," he said. "We've been stuck together in close quarters before."
"Yes," she said. "And that was also due to your bungling everything up as well."
"Oh, and you're so perfect? You don't need me to ruin things for you; you do a fine enough job of that on your own."
In response, the Rani kneed him in the gut, causing the Master to double over in pain. "Come on," she said as she turned to walk back to the main room of the Panopticon. The Master followed once he regained his composure, silently grinding his teeth in anger.
They returned to stand before Rassilon. "The Rani may return to her previous position," he said, and she did so. "And the Master may stand with his clan."
"Oh god!" the Master muttered under his breath.
"What was that?" asked Rassilon.
"I said thank you, Lord President," he answered.
"Smug bastard," the Master grumbled as he turned to find his family.
Luckily, they weren't too far away to climb up to. The overall respectability of his house was enough to have them acquire a better position in the room.
"Hello, mum, father," said the Master as he took his place next to his parents.
"Oh," said his father, staring straight ahead. "It's you."
"Yes, it's me," said the Master. "Not that you'd ever care."
"And why would I ever care about an inconsiderate scoundrel, a black spot who stained the purity of his lineage?" said his father.
"Where do you think I learned it all from?"
"Don't talk back to your father," said his mother.
"He started it!" said the Master.
"Just... come and stand next to me," she said, sighing deeply.
The Master moved away from his father to stand next to his mother. He could barely remember the last time he spoke to either of his parents, but it felt like they were all picking up right where they left off.
"I'm proud of what you did for the Doctor just now," his mother said to him. "You two used to be such good friends when you were little. You used to go everywhere together, could hardly tear you apart from each other. When you were tots, I would put the two of you in the bathtub together, and you would-"
"Mum!" interrupted the Master, whose cheeks were quickly turning to a bright crimson color.
But then he suddenly realized something else that she had said. "Wait," he said. "All of you saw what happened just now?"
"Yes," said his mother. "Of course we did."
"But I only saw Rassilon and the others on the platform?"
"Well, I don't know about that," she said. "But we all saw what you and the Doctor did, and heard what was said. You stopped the Doctor from making the wrong decision."
"It wasn't me, though," said the Master, shaking his head. "It was her." He indicated to the woman forced to stand behind Rassilon. "Who is she?"
"I thought she was long dead?" said the Master.
"I think most of us did," his mother conceded. "Apparently she was living on Earth or some place... In any case, even if that bit wasn't you, it was still you who saved his life."
"I won't ever be able to live that down, will I?" he said, mostly to himself. And anyway, it had been more the fact that he wanted to get back at Rassilon than to help the Doctor. After all those years of torment, and pain, and misery. All the drumming and drumming and drumming that would never ever stop...
The Master winced at the phantom of the drums, the last remnants that were still clinging to him, deep inside his head.
"Excuse me," came a female voice from behind him, the surprise of it causing the Master to jump. He turned around and took in the slim figure of a woman with a concerned expression on her face.
"What do you want?" he sneered.
"I wanted to know how the Doctor was?" she said.
"Same as ever," said the Master.
"That's what worries me," she said, a slight smile on her lips.
"You don't have to worry about the Doctor," the Master said. "He can take care of himself."
"But he can be very emotional sometimes," she said.
"Is that why you never told him that I had been resurrected, Romana?" he asked. "Under your approval no less?"
"I knew he never would have understood," Romana said. "But as President of Gallifrey, I had to make many difficult decisions."
"And I thank you," the Master said, nodding slightly in her direction. "But I suppose it's just as well that your burden has been lifted."
Romana frowned, turning to glance at the central platform of the Panopticon. "Who am I when compared to some? As power hungry as you are known to be, it's easier to gain more when you already have the monopoly."
"Truer words were never spoken," the Master said.
"I must return to my position," Romana said. She turned to leave, but paused for a moment to face him again. "Is he very lonely?"
"Yes," the Master told her.
Romana nodded, a forlorn look in her eye, and swiftly turned to walk away, losing herself in the large assembly of Time Lords.
The Master looked back toward the center of the Panopticon. His eyes focused on Rassilon. As though feeling the Master's presence upon him, Rassilon looked up to lock eyes with the Master. Rassilon smiled superciliously at him before turning away. But the Master kept his gaze. And any who happened to catch a glimpse of him just then knew exactly what the Master was thinking...