Title: Close To the Edge
Pairing: Tenth Doctor/The Master
Fandom: Doctor Who
Table: 1, 50ficlets
Prompt: 5, Abyss
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the Tenth Doctor or the Master. Please do not sue.
***The Doctor paced around the control room of the Tardis, a frown on his face, his hands clasped behind his back to keep them from trembling. The last few days had shaken him, made him realize his vulnerability more than he ever had.
He'd managed to set the world right, turn back time and erase all that the Master had achieved. It had been one of the hardest things he'd ever done, and often during that terrible year he'd doubted that he could succeed.
But he had. It hadn't been easy, and he'd lost his companion at the end of it. Oh, he'd find another one; that was never as hard as it sometimes seemed to be. There were always people who would want to travel with him, to experience adventures amongst the stars.
That didn't take away the loneliness he felt at the moment, though. Maybe it never would.
It wasn't only that his companion had decided to leave. It was much, much more than that. It was the end of an era, a part of his life that he could never go back and revisit.
The Master might have been his greatest enemy, but he'd never wanted the other man to die. It had been something of a comfort to know that he wasn't the only Time Lord, that there was someone else in the world who was like him.
Somehow, knowing that there was another being who remembered Gallifrey, who had lived as he had -- to some extent -- had made him feel .... well, not so alone. He didn't feel quite so alien and rootless when the Master was out there somewhere.
And now .... now he was gone, and the Doctor was the last one left. The last Time Lord. The last Gallifreyan. There was no one to share that part of his life with him.
The rest of his life stretched ahead of him, a yawning chasm that he didn't think he had the energy to cross. If he did, then he would turn his back on so much of his life and accept that it was gone forever -- and that he couldn't keep clinging to it.
He'd wanted the Master to stay with him. Of course, he couldn't let the other man go running amok in the universe -- that had been proved time and time again. But he'd come up with a solution, one which he'd thought would work.
It stood to reason that the Master would turn it down. He hadn't wanted to be what he'd perceived as a captive, and in a way, the Doctor couldn't blame him for that. He wouldn't want to live in that way, either, but it was the only workable solution.
The Master had chosen to give up his life rather than let the Doctor more or less control it. He should have expected that -- but having the other Time Lord die in his arms, feeling the life drain out of him bit by bit, had been something that he wasn't prepared for.
It would have driven him mad if he'd let it. But he'd kept his emotions pent-up, for the most part, and he'd held on to the thread of sanity.
The Master had fallen into the black abyss of madness. Was that blackness waiting to swallow him up as well? Was he dangerously close to the edge?
The Doctor shook his head, continuing to pace back and forth, his frown intensifying. No. He wasn't going to let that happen. Everything that he'd been through had been a shock, and it might take him a while to recover. But he would do it.
After all, what choice did he have? It wasn't as though he could change anything that had taken place. The Master was dead. Gone. His greatest enemy, vanquished. But not in the way that he would have chosen to do it. Not at all.
This wasn't what he'd wanted. He had wanted the Master to be on the Tardis with him. Not gone from his life forever, taking the last vestiges of his home planet with him.
He clenched his fists, fighting back tears. What was the use in crying for something that was gone? He'd done that often enough. No more. He couldn't give in to that sort of weakness. That would be the beginning of the end.
He'd be strong. He had to be. There was no way that he was going to let himself fall into the same abyss that the Master had. That wasn't for him.
He wasn't the Master. He wouldn't give in to whatever was trying to drag him down. He was stronger than that; he always had been. This feeling of melancholy, of hopelessness, wasn't going to beat him. Not now. Not .... yet.
Taking a deep breath, the Doctor looked towards the console of the Tardis. An era of his life had ended. It was time to start a new one -- and there would be no looking back.