Hold Up a Light

The Doctor staggered sideways, his brain slowly processing the loud bang and the sharp pains in his chest. He could hear the Master calling his name distantly but he couldn't gain enough focus to hear exactly what he was saying. The Doctor began to concentrate, trying to take in his surroundings. He knew he had return to Gallifrey; he had recognised the ceremonial cloaks of the Time Lord council but had taken in little else. A pain shot through him again as he tried to steady his breathing. A smile had crossed the Lord President's face as he lowered his gun.

"Look who has returned to Gallifrey," the Lord President spoke so that everyone was able to hear clearly.

The Doctor ignored him, trying to find the Master's deep brown eyes. He found them easily as the Master was only a few steps away. "Master," the Doctor said in barely more than a whisper. The Master hurried forward and knelt down by the Doctor's side. His face was lined with worry.

"Doctor, what is it?" the Master spoke quickly, like time was running out.

"Put your hands on my face," the Doctor said. This request clearly puzzled the Master, although he followed the instruction. A blast of thoughts entered into the Master's head, overriding the drums easily. It was certain thoughts that the Doctor focused on which the Master heard clearly. No matter what happens, I need you to let me go. The Doctor's thoughts were urgent.

"No," the Master yelled before lowering his voice to nothing more than a whisper. "You are not going to leave me here, Doctor." For once the Master sound scared, sounded like he was clinging on to the Doctor for his very existence. "You're not going anywhere."

Master, your stronger than you think, the Doctor allowed his thoughts to flow quickly and freely now. Hoping the Master wouldn't disrupt him again. When we were young, we always were close enough to hold hands. Since then you've become cold and hard, I can't change your heart like I use too. That's why I need you to let me go. I will always be in your hearts, no matter what.

The Doctor reached up, causing more pain, and took the Master's hands. Trying to convey what he couldn't say in words, that it would be to dangerous to fight for him. "I never was worth fighting for, not after my past or their future."

The Doctor said this for everyone's benefit, though many of the Time Lords were now confused at the Doctor's crypticness. Awareness crossed the Master's face. "Promise me?" the Doctor asked the question, uncertain whether the Master understood its meaning. The Master nodded, though the Doctor couldn't tell whether he understood what was happening or what was going to happen. It didn't matter, the Doctor allowed himself to collapse against the floor, allowed the pain to take over, and allowed his hearts to finally stop beating.

-x-

The Doctor could feel the cool air of death around him, he opened his eyes. He felt his whole body shaking as the cold chill worked its way through him. The Doctor turned round, looking back onto Earth where he could see the Master over his lifeless body, the other Time Lords grabbing the Master by the arms and pulling him away. The Doctor sighed and turned back into death, wading through the high water until he found the rusty irons gates he was looking for.

"I'm here to speak with death," the Doctor said clearly.

"And why would you want to talk with me?" a voice drooled. It spoke from somewhere nearby, cold and calm. "Not many enter Death so easily; give up on life before they're time is up."

"It is important that I did die," the Doctor said, uncertain which way to speak. "I can't help the Master while alive or even if I regenerate. I also cannot help him if you keep me here."

"If you have stopped in front of my gates to try and negotiate with me," Death spoke, materialising from black smoke in front of the gates. "You'd better speak quickly Time Lord before you find that you have run out of what you seek."

The Doctor nodded, showing that he understood. "I know the price to be paid. The Time War rages, it's continued on for too long and I do not have the strength to put it back into the Time Lock which I managed to do so long ago."

The Doctor paused, although Death had not interrupted him. He was uncertain how to negotiate the deal without causing too much loss for himself. "I wish to be able to return to life, in this current form to help the Master. To finally finish the Time Lord race and be able to continue on myself without fear of dying also. To protect the human race, with the Master. I want both of us to be safe, and be able to return to my full form once the Time Lords have been defeated."

"And you really want this for your race, Time Lord?" Death asked. "Do you realise what your asking for?"

The Doctor thought, pain clearly crossing his face. "The Time Lords have strayed far off the right path for too long, I think its time for them to move on."

Death thought for a moment. "I remember when the Time Lords were a peaceful race. I will not destroy them completely, I will of course do as you request and erase those who are current there, except for you and the Master which you speak of. I will then give you a gift of my own. Is this a deal with which you are willing to accept?"

Death held out its hand. The Doctor paused for a moment before taking the hand firmly in his hand. The Doctor felt his feet leave the ground, felt Death leave his grasp, finally landing in the bright hall which he had left only seconds before. He could see the Master, only a few steps away from where his own body lay, being dragged away. The Doctor rushed forward, somehow knowing that those around him couldn't see him. He stopped in front of the Master, leaning forward ever so lightly so that his mouth was next to the Master's ear….

-x-

"Don't give up," the Doctor whispered clearly, knowing that only the Master could hear him. The Doctor watched as the Master's face became confused. The Doctor blew gently against the Master's neck before again whispering. "Don't give up. I never was worth fighting for, but you are" The Doctor repeated the words that he had used before, hoping the Master would finally understand. The Master forcefully pushed the two Time Lords holding him away and ran to the other side of the hall, towards the set of large oak doors. They slammed shut. The Master turned around, smiling towards the Time Lords.

"You really think I was going to try to run?" the Master asked. The Lord President had raised his gun. The Master's eyes widened, fear spreading across his face. "You don't understand do you? The Doctor isn't dead, like you think he is. He knows what he's doing."

The Lord President laughed. "You don't understand do you Koschei? The Doctor isn't going to come back. These guns aren't only good for killing others in the Time War; they are also designed to kill Time Lords."

"And you really think that you caught the Doctor unaware?" The Master asked, his eyebrow rose slightly though fear was still clearly written over his face. "That you'd be able to get rid of him so easily and use me as your perfect warrior? I'm telling you that the Doctor knows exactly what he's doing."

The Lord President's face was furious. "Listen to me, the Doctor is dead." The Lord President's finger pulled on the trigger.

"NOOOOO!" The Doctor shouted before throwing himself in front of the Master, creating the perfect shield and allowing himself to be seen his currently form. "You will not harm him, not while I'm here."

"Doctor?" The Lord President choked. "But you're dead, I killed you!"

"No," the Doctor said simply. "Because you don't understand death, and you don't understand how to negotiate with it."

"Then explain it to me Doctor," the Lord President said, a cunning smile spread across his lips. "What don't understand which you seem to understand so easily."

"You can kill anyone," the Doctor continued. "But Time Lords work slightly different to humans, there's one thing that can keep them going. Keep them alive. Keep them human."

"And what is that?" The Lord President asked politely.

"Love," the Doctor said simply. "It didn't matter than you shot me, that it physically killed me. Because inside, I have one thing you don't. And that's love. And that love had a physical connection here on Earth."

"And who is this connection?" The Lord President probed again.

The Doctor smiled, amused at how little the Lord President knew. "The connection doesn't have to be one person. I have travelled through time and space, to alternative universes. And the one thing you didn't count on. Are my companions. And the one other thing you weren't counting on, was the Master. Because I love them all, no matter how much time passes. And the Master allowed me to come back to this point here. And you know what else?"

"What?" The Lord President spat, anger clearly winning over his patience.

"By killing me," the Doctor said his smile widening. "You created the perfect shield. And I will always defend those who I love. And I will never allow you to hurt the Master."

It was at this moment that the Doctor noticed the strong wind travelling around the hall. He looked over at the Master, who had given in to pure fear. The Doctor turned back before muttering. "I'm hoping you can hear me and don't go back on your word." The Doctor took in a deep breath and shouted "NOW!" Before shattering into a thousand crystal fragments. The Master watched in horror as those around him disappeared, the Time Lords collapsing and disappearing in a blink of an eye.

"Doctor!" The Lord President shouted, the gun falling to the floor with a loud thud before the Time Lord burst into flames. The Master was frozen, blinking back the tears. Everything had gone even the Doctor's body. The Doctor had given himself up for the human race. And most importantly, the Doctor had given himself up for everything he had loved the most, those who had always been close to him. The Master tried to breath, but it caught in his throat as tears streamed down his cheek.

"Doctor," the Master whispered into the empty room, allowing himself to curl up into a small ball. "Be with me always, drive me mad but do not leave me in this abyss where I cannot find you. I cannot live without my life, without my soul."

A shadow fell behind the Master. Firm hands gripping his shoulders and pulling him into a strong, tight hug. "I'm not going anywhere, no matter what," the Doctor's familiar whisper came from nothing. The Doctor's long fingers wiped away the stray tears which were still making they're way down the Master's face. "Now come with me."

The Doctor broke the hug gently and took the Master's hand instead, swiftly moving through the building and exiting out into the fresh air. The Master's eyes widened. The Doctor smiled and broke the silence after a few moments. "Welcome to the new Gallifrey."

They both stood outside the newly constructed main hall looking out over Gallifrey. It had returned to how the Master remembered it when he was younger, when he and the Doctor use to play in the large fields filled with wildflowers. On each side, the mountains loomed, making the landscape breath-taking. Just below them, was a marketplace. They both could hear the babble as Time Lords made their way up and down the cobbled streets, passing various stalls.

The Doctor smiled at the Master before lifting his hands to turn the Master's head gently towards his. "Everything's back to how it was. But now you have an option."

"And what options do I have, Doctor?" The Master had finally found his voice.

"You can either stay here and live in peace on Gallifrey," pain flickered across the Doctor's face. "Or you can come with me, travel the universe, through time and space. We always have a home to return too."

The Doctor raised his eyebrow as the Master paused to consider his options. The Master was avoiding looking at him, instead looking out into the horizon.

"I will always stay with you," the Master said slowly. "You know that as well as I do."

The Doctor nodded before leaning forward and allowing himself to kiss the Master on the lips. He could feel the Master pulling away, but the Doctor raised his hands and firmly held the Master's face, allowing the kiss to continue for a few more precious seconds before pulling away.

"Let's go," the Doctor said, taking the Master by the hand and entering into the large blue box. The TARDIS, the most loyal companion of them all.

A/N: I originally got the idea for writing this fanfiction a while back while listening to 1 particularly Take That song, which slowly extended to one other. I hastily scribbled a summary so that I knew exactly what I wanted to write before finally starting on a new fanfiction, which is the one you have just read. Hold up a light is meant, I guess, to signify that there's always hope. That you can find light, even in the darkest of times. I hope you enjoy and please read and review.

~ Tasha (10th Time Lord)