The Master was feeling old.
It was his birthday today, not that anyone knew. He hadn't told his aides or Lucy, and anyone who wouldn't need to be told was long gone. Or was stranded at the end of the universe. Even the calendar that would have marked this day as somehow special no longer existed.
Which also made him feel old. Triumphant, but old.
He had a fast car and a young wife and his plans were ticking along nicely. He liked to listen to loud music. These were not the behaviors of an elderly man, surely. The Master sucked meditatively on a jelly baby, but that only made him feel childish and a little sticky. Not quite what he had been aiming for.
The Doctor detector went off, a light on the Master's desk flashing. It was far too early, and he wasn't ready, but the grin stretching his face didn't seem to care. The Master grabbed his jacket and dashed out, waving at his secretary as she called after him.
"Doctor, where are we?" asked Ian. "This looks like London, but it's, well, wrong."
"I think we're in our future," said Barbara, thoughtfully. "Not a very distant future, at that."
"Yes, yes," said the the Doctor. "Quite right, now stop chattering and let me think."
"There are a lot of people," said Vicki. "Won't they notice the TARDIS?"
"London is the police box's native habitat," snorted the Doctor. "No one could possibly object to it, ah, standing around on a street corner, as it were."
"Not when it's just landed on top of a parking meter." A young man in a sharp suit walked up. "Not to mention that police boxes are hardly common in the twenty-first century."
"We are in the future," muttered Ian. Then louder, to the man, "sorry, I don't think this is any of your concern-"
"Oh, I couldn't care less about you," said the young man. His eyes flicked over Barbara, Ian, and Vicki dismissively, before settling on the Doctor. "Now, the Doctor is another story."
"Doctor?" Barbara frowned. "Do you two know each other?"
The Doctor said nothing, just looked at the young man with narrowed eyes.
"Don't tell me he's never talked about me." The young man displayed a manic grin. "We're old friends, isn't that right?"
"You could say that," allowed the Doctor. "And whatever are you doing here, Koschei?"
The man stiffened a little at the name, but his grin never faltered.
"Just good timing. I'd actually like to ask you out to lunch, if I can pry you away from your companions here."
"Doctor, I'm not sure," began Vicki, but the Doctor waved her away with an impatient gesture.
"Surely you can do without me for a little while," he said. "This is Barbara and Chatterton's home, get them to show you around."
"Not quite our home," said Barbara, but the Doctor was already walking away with Koschei, the young man providing an arm for the Doctor to lean on. The three humans watched in bemusement as Koschei said something that made the Doctor laugh in a slightly malevolent way.
"That's the last we've seen of him for the rest of the day," said Ian, philosophically. "Tell you what, Barbara, let's go get some proper fish and chips. I'm sure they still have those in the future."
"Fish and chips?" Vicki raised her eyebrows.
"Yes," said Barbara, distractedly watching the Doctor and Koschei walk out of sight.
As it turned out, they didn't see the Doctor for the better part of a week. When he finally turned up again, he was rather rumpled and much less irascible than usual. He took them out of London with a minimum of fuss, and promptly landed them in the midst of a war. Barbara completely forgot her questions about Koschei while trying to broker peace between the fifteen factions on S'rilia.
The Master, meanwhile, felt altogether better. It wasn't so bad, being old. Not if it meant you got to seduce a Time Lord many centuries younger than yourself, and who was completely unaware of why he shouldn't be giving you the time of day.
And he'd never managed to get the Doctor to put out in his first body, either. He could cross that off the bucket list at last.