Chapter Three


It was all too easy.

Xelok had assisted him in capturing the guards. He simply pretended to be a lost and hungry child looking for assistance. The guard and his associate were lured away from the front entrance of the Citadel by the child who pretended to go off in search of his parents. He led them far enough away that when the Master ambushed them, no one could hear their terrified cries as he shocked them into unconciousness. Then he waited until they were awake and hypnotized them both, putting them under his thrall.

Now he was pretending to be their prisoner while he and Xelok walked between the hypnotized guards while they escorted them to the War Room. He was hoping that was where the crack was since he was sure the military was guarding it. He also needed to find a way to travel once he got to the other side but he would worry about that later.

One of the guards told them to wait when they reached the door to the War Room. The Master waited calmly as the guard went inside to announce their presence. While he did that, he looked at his associate. The man was young looking with a youthful baby face and blue eyes. He was wearing a red helmet so he didn't know what color hair he had but all the same, a nice choice for a body if he wanted to switch out. And given the fact that his body was breaking down, it seemed like a very good idea until he found the Doctor.

The door opened again and the Master was eyes front as the other guard told his associate to bring them inside. He smirked when he saw the General standing there with his council around the large granite table inside the darkened room. But what was even more exciting was right at the back of the room was the crack, gaping and glowing and utterly tempting. He looked at the General with disdain. He had no love for these bureaucrats, especially since they were the ones who tried to make him fight the Time War. Disposing of them all would be a pleasure.

The General walked up to the guards and glanced at the Master and Xelok.

"Why are they not in restraints?" he said to the guard the Master had designs on. "Do you know how dangerous this man is?"

"I have no restraints on me, Sir," the man said in a slightly dull voice. "I was guarding the door."

"As was I," the other guard said in an equally dull voice.

"You have restraints," the General said to them while the Master smirked. "You have the authority to restrain anyone who tries to enter the Citadel without permission."

"Oh yes," the Master said airily. "Because we don't want all your secrets getting out to the general populace, eh?"

He sneered at the General when the General glared at him. Then the General looked at Xelok.

"And who is this boy?" he said, pointing to Xelok.

"Ah, this lad is a lost soul that I adopted," the Master said, patting Xelok on the head.

The General snorted.

"Abducted, more like," he said.

"Anyway, down to business," the Master said, slapping his hands together. "Guards, seize the General."

The General gasped when both guards grabbed hold of him, put his arms behind his back and locked it with handcuffs.

"See, they did have restraints after all," the Master said.

He noticed the council members running to stop him but they stopped the moment he shot a bolt of electricity at the ceiling. He chuckled when they froze and stared at him fearfully.

"Right," the Master said to the struggling General. "Now, let's talk about my leaving Gallifrey, hm?"


The Doctor was struck dumb by the appearance of Rose in front of him. No matter how many times he said goodbye to her, she always managed to find her way back to him. Was it a sign from the universe? He suspected someone was trying to keep him and Clara together at all costs but what about him and Rose.

Clara was looking at him for an answer and he knew he had to stop standing there slack jawed and do something. He composed himself while Rose waited for someone to give her an answer.

"Rose, I am the Doctor," he said, walking up to her.

Rose was momentarily stunned by the use of her name but the Doctor knew that was confirmation of who he was because Rose came to him and put her hand on his chest while she studied his face.

"You got old," she finally said.

"I'm not that old," the Doctor said defensively while Clara chuckled behind him. "Bloody hell, everything thinks I'm an old geezer with a cane now."

"No, I didn't mean you look old as in ugly. You just look…more distinguished," Rose said.

"You're not upset. I mean, I'm not a pretty boy anymore."

"I've grown out of that phase," Rose said.

"Good. Because I'm not changing for you," the Doctor said.

Rose went to hug him but the Doctor backed up and put his hands out.

"I'm not a hugger anymore, Rose. Sorry," he said to her.

Clara finally came up to Rose when she noticed how hurt she looked. She could relate. Her other Doctor hugged her all the time and it was a big shock to her when the Doctor was suddenly hands out. But to her surprise, the Doctor had a second thought and he came forward and put his arms around her. Rose tentatively put her arms around him and leaned into him. Clara noticed the Doctor was a bit uncomfortable with the hug, the way he'd been when she did it but he didn't say anything and let Rose hug him tightly.

When she let go, the Doctor stepped back.

"So now that that's sorted, why are you here?" he said.

Again, Clara noticed Rose's shock at how terse and businesslike he was. She wondered if she had known her Doctor and was used to his warmth and smiles.

"I came here to find you," Rose said, just as businesslike.

The Doctor sighed and threw up his hands, walking away while he muttered to himself about pudding brain apes who never listened to him. Rose stood there and stared at him with wide mouth shock so Clara decided to say something.

"I've been with him awhile," she said to her. "His last life was more warm and open and he's done this to me as well. It's hard to accept at first but I learned to live with it."

"I didn't think he'd be overjoyed that I came back but I thought he'd at least be happy to see me," Rose said. "He never shied away from a hug before."

"Did you travel with him then?" Clara said.

Rose nodded while she watched the Doctor stand by himself and try to calm himself down.

"His last life then?" Clara said.

"Dunno, what did he look like then?" Rose said.

Clara described her Doctor and Rose slowly shook her head.

"No, he didn't have floppy hair. His hair was short on top and stuck straight up."

"Oh! Yes, I've seen that Doctor before. He and my Doctor, they worked together for a bit," Clara said. "He was friendly as well."

"Yeah," Rose said, nodding. "My Doctor left me in a parallel universe with a clone of himself. He wanted me to stay with him and make it work but I couldn't," Rose said loudly so the Doctor could hear him. "I tried to make it work, Doctor, but I couldn't love him completely. He wasn't you, not really."

"So you left him alone then, on his own?" the Doctor said, turning back to her. "After I told you not to?"

"He wasn't that dangerous, Doctor," Rose said angrily as he Doctor walked back to her. "In fact, he was a bit insulted that you thought he wouldn't make it on his own…"

"I don't give a damn what he thought," the Doctor yelled at her. "I can't be your boyfriend, Rose. I can't be Clara's boyfriend and I can't be yours, alright? I'm not that sort of man anymore."

Rose was stunned by that but Clara could also tell she was stunned at the implication that Clara had been his girlfriend.

"I'm sorry, Rose," the Doctor said with a sigh. "This is why I sent you away. Because I was afraid this would happen eventually. I'm not as…affectionate as I used to be. Ask Clara."

"Alright, I understand that," Rose said with a nod. "And I accept it because even if you don't love me, I still love you and I accept you for who you are. I got used to you after you changed the first time, I can get used to this version as well."

"Rose, I can't…"

"You can't be my boyfriend, I understand that. But can we at least be friends?" Rose said.

The Doctor considered that for a moment and then nodded.

"Yes, we can do that."

"Okay, I can also live with that. I just want to be with you as a friend, lover, whatever I am to you, as long as I'm with you I don't care. So will you let me come with you?"

"Well, I suppose I'll have to since I can't let you endanger the universe again. So yes, you can come with us."

Rose smiled at that. She started to hug him then caught herself and stood there awkwardly. The Doctor shook his head with a bemused smile and gave Rose another hug while Clara watched with a smile on her face.

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