After The Storm
Chapter 7

Okay, drama time! Hope you like it;)

Sorry if the Doc sounds more like his 10th regeneration rather than his 11th in this. But you know, eh.


And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.

And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.

Get over your hill and see what you find there,

With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

The Doctor watched the Master closely as he sat beside Amy around the small circular local café table. It was a nice Cardiff day and the Doctor had insisted they sit outside, the nice autumn breeze billowing around the small group, tossing their hair about. He liked the atmosphere of the Welsh city, all the busy people going about their lives.

The Master, too, couldn't deny that it felt nice and a tad bit refreshing, it'd been awhile since he'd been outdoors. He'd been locked up in the dark for so long in the Time Lock on Gallifrey, the last time he'd done something like this was before his resurrection. Hell, before he was Prime Minister even. He remembered taking Lucy out a few times, but that was the closest to anything like this he ever got.

"Doctor, is your yogurt banana flavoured?" Amy wouldn't be surprised, she was well aware of the Doctor's little banana fetish. And she found it rather amusing.

"Maybe," he looked startled, his mouth still full of yogurt. Looking a lot like a kid caught doing something he really knew he shouldn't. Amy just giggled and went back to her classic strawberry yogurt. Which the Doctor scolded and claimed was unoriginal and boring.

The Master simply ignored the two, peacefully nursing a cup of coffee and just enjoying the fresh air. If he was smart, he'd take this chance to run. Get as far away as possible and find someway to get his TARDIS back from the end of the universe. But he didn't feel like being smart, didn't even want to think for once. It was tiring and consumed to much energy, something he was running low on these days.

So he just sat back in his chair and did his best to try and relax. Which he found was surprisingly easy. "So remind me why we came here again?"

The Doctor smiled, "to talk. To ask the hard questions that you'll -hopefully- answer honestly."

He truly didn't like the sound of that. Knowing the Doctor he'd want to pry and dig into his mind. Pull open doors he'd kept dead bolted and boarded up for the best of reasons. He'd slowly tear down the walls he'd worked too hard to build up, something he was unsurprisingly well at. Always was better at the mind games then his fellow Time Lord. "Well then talk already," he urged, scowling at the Doctor from across the table. No sense in putting it off any longer, he never did see a reason in prolonging the inevitable.

Amy bit her lip and slunk back in her seat as if attempting to disappear, a little uncomfortable with being between the two Time Lords as they had their little face off with one another. Who knew what would happen? They were the last of a spectacular ancient race that had the magnificent ability to keep on surprising her, which she'd found was becoming harder and harder to do these days.

She really wished Rory was there, he'd make it all a little less awkward for her. His goofy grin and cheesy jokes were exactly what she needed. Not to mention he was an excellent hugger. She didn't know who exactly this 'Master' was, but from what she'd gathered -mostly from Jack and the other two Torchwood employees- he wasn't the good guy. But the Doctor had faith in him and that was enough really for Amy. But she still didn't want to stick around for much longer.

The Doctor was the first to rip through the sheet of only slightly awkward silence that had fallen over their table. "Why should I let you leave?"

The Master blinked. What?

"Why should I believe that things could ever be different?" He continued, having heard the Master through the telepathic field they shared. "Why should I believe that you'll ever be different?" The Doctor's face was full of sorrow and hope. Sorrow towards the Master's past, but hope for a better future. This Doctor was slightly less easy to read, but the Master could still do so like a book. "You're brilliant, you know, always were smarter than me. You could be so much more yet... how can I trust you?"

The Master sighed and rubbed his temples. The drums making their presence known, they'd been quiet, but he found stressful situations tended to cause them to act up. What was he supposed to say? That he'd changed? He sure felt like he had -hell he regenerated wasn't that enough- but there was no guarantee. In truth he was scared. Scared he'd slip up. He was trying, he really was. And that's all he could do, try. "Doctor I-"

"Come with me."

The Master was shocked. "What?!"

"Come with me, I can help. You said the drums were manageable, what if I could make them vanish completely?" The Doctor was leaning over the table practically pleading with his old friend. He just wanted to help him but he truly didn't know how. He just wanted them to go back to how they used to be, before 'the Doctor' and 'the Master.' He missed Theta Sigma and Koschei. They were the last of the Time Lords, surly they had to stick together. They were all each other had.

The Master copied the Doctor, leaning forward as well. Only a bit more intimidating. "I already told you, I DON'T NEED YOUR HELP."

Amy sunk deeper in her chair. You could quite literally cut the tension with a knife. Wow, the atmosphere changed really fast!

"I can't loose the drums, Doctor, they're all I have." The Master said a bit more gently. Loosing his threatening edge.

The Doctor looked hurt. You have me. "I understand Master, I do. You can't loose them, yet you constantly wonder what you'd be without them."

The Master scowled down at the Doctor, locking his bright blues with his hazel. "How could you possibly understand?" He asked in a low, bitter voice.

The Doctor lowered his eyes and his voice. "Because I still wonder what I'd be without you."

The Master wished be had the energy to get upset. To just let loose on the Doctor and give him a piece of his mind damn it! But he didn't. And he soon found himself sitting back in his seat, exhausted, and crossed his arms over his chest lazily.

"So what then, you'll just let me leave? After everything I've done?"

The Doctor starred at him intently, looking for that little sparkle in his eyes that used to shine so bright. "Do I really have a choice? I'm more of the maintenance man of the universe than a cop. I can't just lock you up, what good would that do?"

"You can't just let me walk damn it!" The Master was furious. He didn't deserve to be let free to roam the universe all willy nilly. He was a murderer! He'd killed people, he deserved punishment.

Amy jumped at the sudden outburst, punctuated by the Master slamming his hands palm down on the table top. A small surprised yelp slipping past her lips.

"Amy, why don't you head back to the Hub," it wasn't so much of a suggestion as much as a plea. She was a strong woman, but the Doctor really didn't want her here for this. It could get out of hand real quick and he'd rather her not see.

Amy pushed her chair out and nodded. "Sounds good." She didn't want to abandon an emotional Doctor, but she knew she was of no use by hanging around either. The Doctor was one story, but the Master was another. One Time Lord she could handle, two was just way too much for one day.

The Doctor protectively watched her cross the street to the phoney tourist centre. Wishing he'd remembered Rory when the left Leadworth in such a flurry. He would've kept her company. Rory would've loved that their little trip was to somewhere relatively normal for once, he'd take Amy all over Cardiff with ridiculous enthusiasm, window shopping for hours. He knew he'd have to make it up to him somehow, maybe take them to that romantic honeymoon planet.

The Master rolled his eyes watching the Doctor watch the pretty one leave, "where'd you pick that one up?"

The Doctor looked over at the Master who sat slouched in the chair, his arms crossed. "Actually, she picked me up."

The Master looked interested by the cryptic reply, but the Doctor wasn't in the mood nor did he have the time. "You sound like a man who doesn't think he's worth it."

He scoffed, "what? And you think that I am?"

The Doctor shook his head. "Everyone deserves a second chance, no matter what they've done. I have no right to decide your fate, that's all up to you and the decisions you choose to make on your own free will."

"You sound like a fortune cookie."

"Well," the Doctor pulled a suggestive face and straightened his bow the. "A very well dressed cookie in my case I must say."

"You're wearing a bow tie."

"Oi, bow ties are cool."

"In what decade? Better yet, what bloody planet?!"

"Why don't you tell me why you'd have me lock you up rather than give you a chance?" The Doctor shot back.

"Because."

"Because why?"

"Because," he ground out between clenched teeth.

"Because why?!"

The two were leaning across the table, face to face.

"Because I'm a murderer damn it!" The Master hissed, thankful that there was no one within earshot of their table. Most people were either inside the café or had left not all too long ago. "I've killed more people than I can count! I was a coward and ran off to hide when the war started! Because I've done nothing but destroy and deceive since the day I left Gallifrey all those years ago!" The Master closed his eyes, blinking back unwanted tears that threatened to spill over.

I'm a monster.

The Doctor sat back, right leg crossed over the other and hands in his lap. The outburst was far from what he'd been expecting out of his usually stoic rival. The Master slouched in his seat, his head in his hands and refusing to make eye contact. "I've killed so many people," it was barely a whisper yet packed so full of suppressed emotion it was startling.

The Doctor was torn, he wanted to comfort him but hadn't the slightest idea where to start. "Master..."

"I didn't even know most of my victims," he declared looking the Doctor in the face. His baby blues shimmering with sorrow and self loathing. "I do remember a few though, Tremas for starters..." He couldn't finish his sentence, that day brought so much pain and death on innocent people all because of his selfish actions.

The Doctor froze, glaring intently at his oldest -for lack of a better word- friend.

"And his wife, what was her name? Kassey?"

"Kassia."

"Ah, yes, I remember now. The Trakenite people." The Master took a deep breath. "I committed genocide." His voice broke with shame.

The Doctor felt like he'd just taken a punch to the gut. He'd never forgotten what the Master had done, but he tried to keep his past just as hidden as the Master did. And that particular chapter was behind several dead bolts.

"What was the girls name- ?"

"Nyssa," the Doctor's voice was quiet and low yet laden with suppressed emotion. He never did take the space orphan's departure well. It was so sudden and unexpected, he never did learn what became of her. The poor young girl who'd lost everything thanks to the Master, her planet destroyed in the blink of an eye. The girl who left the TARDIS at the first chance to help a ship of ill and dieing people that would benefit from her knowledge and brilliance.

It was all because of the Master.

"It doesn't matter anymore Master. You're a different person than you were back then, you've changed." The Doctor felt more like he was trying to convince himself rather than the Master at this point.

"I sure hope so," the Master said solemnly, staring down at his hands clasped before him on the table top. "I really do, but hope isn't going to make the slightest difference Doctor. What if I haven't changed? What if the drums are just waiting? What if the Time Lords still have a plan for me?"

"No," the Doctor had mustered up all the confidence he had into that single two letter word. "I have faith in you. Besides, there's no way they could change the purpose of the drums. They placed them there so you'd kill me that day and for no other reason. They couldn't just change that."

The Doctor sighed and dragged a hand down his tired face, smiling slightly at the Master. Just a few days he thought the very man before him was long dead. Yet here he sat, looking a bit bruised, but above all -and most importantly, alive.

The most surprising thing of all was that Master truly did seem to have changed. And, surprisingly, for the better. The universe truly was a magnificent place. And this right here was a primary example of a little thing he liked to call a miracle.