The Doctor held the gun in his hand, confusion and frustration filling his head. His attention focused on the Lord President. His thoughts were scattered, adrenaline causing him to freeze. One thing was clear though. One thought. One memory. I can't do this again. This one thought was more dominant than any other in his head. He turned and pointed the gun at the Master. Either way, Gallifrey and the Time Lords would return to the time lock. It wasn't just his thoughts which guided him this time. He could feel his emotions taking control. Not him, anyone but him. The Doctor's attention turned back towards the Time Lords. The mysterious woman he hadn't be paying attention too before suddenly lowered her hands. The Doctor finally understood. Killing wouldn't solve anything, just make matters worse. He took his shot blindly, shattering the Whitepoint Star Diamond.
The Doctor looked into the eyes of the Lord President as the Lord President aimed to kill him. Time seemed to slow as the Doctor noticed the Master push himself in front of him, protecting him from the Lord President's fatal shot. The Doctor tried to shout out, telling the Master to stop, but the words stuck in his throat as he watched the Master fall, disappearing in front of him. The Doctor fell to his knees, not forcing back the tears which he had been containing since the reappearance of the Time Lords from the Time War. His long thin hands covered his eyes as he looked away from the Immortal Gate.
He was uncertain of how long he sat there, He heard a noise to his right but he didn't bother to look round. Nothing mattered now. The Master was dead and the Doctor was alone once more. It wasn't until he felt a warm, strong hand on his shoulder that he looked around, realising someone was still here with him. His eyes slowly looked up into a familiar face. The Doctor gasped, allowing the tears to roll down his cheeks again.
"But you died," the Doctor spoke, trying to take control of his emotions. "You died to save me."
"I'm not ready to say goodbye just yet," the Master smiled. "Plus you would have done exactly the same for me, there's no other plausible explanation for you to not kill me when you had the chance."
"But, how did you do it?" The Doctor's faced creased into a frown. He hadn't realised he was still sitting on the floor as the Master's hands had reached out, offering to help the Doctor up. The Doctor allowed himself to reach out and take the Master's hands. The Master pulled the Doctor up, making sure that the Doctor was going to fall back down before stepping away.
"Let's just say that the Time Lords aren't the only ones who are able to manipulate the drums in my head," the Master's answer was cryptic. The Doctor didn't care; he was relieved that the Master was still here, still alive.
"Doctor?" The Master spoke again after a few moments pause. The Doctor's attention refocused, looking straight at the Master, who had now opened his arms wide. The Doctor smiled as he realised exactly what the Master was allowing him to do. The Doctor stepped forward, wrapping his arms around the Master's waist. Feeling the hug being returned, the Doctor sighed.
"I love you," The Doctor was speaking in a whisper. "More than you'll ever know."
"There's nobody else in this world that can love you anymore than I already do," the Master spoke, admitting for the first time since his return to full flesh. "And I will always be here for you."
The Doctor allowed himself to smile. He felt the Master's arms unwrap themselves from the Doctor's waist, his warm hands taking the Doctor's face and looking into his deep brown eyes. The Master leaned forward slightly but the Doctor pulled back without breaking his hold of the Master. The Master's face was confused.
"No more drums?" The Doctor asked. The Master laughed, the confusion disappearing from his face.
"No more drums," The Master confirmed. "No more pain, for either of us."
The Doctor nodded and allowed himself to be pulled back into the Master's firm grip. The Master's lips gently pressed against the Doctor's. The Master was uncertain as to whether this was what the Doctor still wanted this after all that he had put him through. The Doctor returned the kiss, breaking all the boundaries which had been so clear before now.
"What about the TARDIS?" the Doctor asked.
The Master raised an eyebrow, the smile returning to his face. "Are you trying to ask me something Doctor or are you actually worried about the TARDIS?"
The Doctor laughed realising he hadn't quite said what he had meant to say. "Master, would you like to travel with me? Now and forever more?"
"And why would you want me to do that?" The Master asked, still smiling. "After all I've put you through, you want to time-travel with me?"
"Because you have nowhere else to go," the Doctor said, returning a smile. "And, you will always be in my hearts." The Doctor placed extra emphasis on the word hearts. "From this day on, now and forever more."
The Master didn't speak for a moment or two, he was still thinking about what exactly the Doctor was telling him. "So you want me to come with you?" The Doctor nodded in reply. "As equals?" The Doctor nodded again, he was still smiling despite the Master's doubts. It was a minute or two more before the Master had finally made up his mind.
"I will come with you," the Master said, the Doctor knew he had picked his words carefully. "Because there's no one else who I would rather be with than you. And I can't stay here the rest of my life."
The Master stopped there. He couldn't admit again how much he loved the Doctor. It was easy for the Doctor to understand. "Three words, eight letters, one meaning."
The Master smiled. He leaned in, kissing the Doctor on the lips again. This time they didn't break apart, knowing that everything was certain. That no matter what, they would always be together. They both stopped at the same time, looking at each other for a few minutes.
"Shall we?" The Doctor asked, looking towards the door and then back at the Master.
"Yes, we shall," The Master turned towards the Immortal Gate with the Doctor mirroring his every move. The Master smiled, raising his laser screwdriver at the same time the Doctor raised the sonic screwdriver. "Now," the Doctor said, and as the screwdrivers lit up a loud bang could heard, and the room filled with smoke. The Doctor and the Master took each others hand and quickly walked away from the room. Away to the TARDIS. Away to adventure, mystery and finally, eternity.
An Epilogue/Author's Note
I began to write this as an alternative ending to that which occurs at the end of the "End of Time" episode. The Master is able to return, setting free Wilf while the Doctor is still to upset to care about his surroundings. By the time the Master touches the Doctor's shoulder, Wilf has left. The first thing which the Doctor and the Master do is visit all the Doctor's companions from the 9th Doctor onwards. They visit Rose before she met the Doctor and in the parallel universe. Martha and Mickey are still in a relationship and help out the Doctor and the Master whenever possible. Donna still goes on to get married, with the Doctor and the Master delivering the lottery card and the Doctor being able to thank Wilf properly. They go on to visit Sarah-Jane and Luke, helping them out with some of the monsters that they face, before continuing on to fight monsters and travel through time by themselves, occasionally accepting a companion or two on board. The Doctor remained, for the most part, in his 10th incarnation. With the Master still in his John Simm form. Therefore disproving the Ood's prophecy.