“Are you asking me out on a date?”
“Well, that depends on your answer,” the Doctor muttered.
“I SAID I HOPE YOU GET CANCER.”
“No. No that’s not it,” the Master said.
He paused for a moment, stretching out the awkward silence until the Doctor wanted to throw the phone on the ground, ask for Jack’s gun (he probably had one tucked away...somewhere) and just put himself out of his misery.
The Master drew in a long breath. “Yes.”
The Doctor gawked at the phone and then hurriedly put it back to his ear. “You mean it?”
“Sure. For old time’s sake. Adorable face you’re making, by the way.”
The Doctor looked around and found the camera in the ceiling, waving at it. “Hi.”
“Hello. Now, there are two conditions. First of all-”
“-The restaurant on Maiden Lane. I remember,” the Doctor said. He had by now given up on hiding his smirk, and both Martha and Jack were looking at him oddly. He gave them reassuring thumbs-up.
“Of course. And second, lose the vermin. If you bring them, I’ll bring the toclafane.”
“Speaking of the toclafane, I presume you’ll give up on this invasion, right?”
“Depends entirely on how well you’ll... persuade me.” The Master’s voice turned into that soft purr that gave the Doctor goosebumps.
“Blimey,” he whispered.
“Be there by five,” the Master said and hung up.
The Doctor again looked to his companions who looked equally hopeful and confused.
“What did he say?” Martha asked.
How could he best break it to them? Maybe if he actually explained it, properly, from the beginning, with the story of how they met, how they fell apart, and how they clashed many times throughout the years, usually without hurting the other too much. Instead of simply dismissing his companions, perhaps he should give them the chance to understand. They could even maybe shed some light on it and help him make the best decisions in what was honestly a quite dysfunctional relationship.
“Martha, your family’s on Alcatraz.”
“Alcatraz. San Francisco, the United States of America. Better get going. Jack, your team’s there, too. If you use your vortex manipulator, you’ll maybe be there in time to-”
“Okay, Doc,” Jack said. “Slow down. Just explain what’s going on.”
“What’s going on is that everyone you love are thousands of miles away and there’s a, um, there’s a bomb, and it’s on a timer, and if you don’t hurry, it’ll be too late, so you two just take care of that and I’ll, um, persuade the Master to stop, alright, ALLONS-Y !”
Before they had a chance to respond, he sprinted away, his only thoughts now on finding a place to freshen up before his date.
A few hours later, two Time Lords sat at the restaurant, enjoying what had so far been a five seconds long silence.
“Okay, so then Rose and I ran into Sarah, remember Sarah? From that one time where four versions of myself banded together and we found Rassilon’s tomb and Borusa was kind of a dick and, anyway, so there were these Krillitanes-”
“Nope, can’t take this anymore,” the Master said as he stood up and brushed imaginary dust off his shoulder.
“But Master, I haven’t even told you about the Cybermen! And when the Cybermen came back! And when the Daleks-”
“No, look, you just go fetch your pets, you’ll try to stop me, I’ll turn you into Gandalf-”
“-And I’ll enjoy myself immensely more than I am now. Goodbye, Doctor.”
The Doctor sat there as he watched the Master leave, wondering what he did wrong this time. Had he been too light on the Daleks? Daleks were always a brilliant conversational topic. Next time he would tell him about how the Daleks had come back and Rose had been lost and told him she loved him, the Master would simply love that.
The waitress came by and left him the bill and, oh Rassilon, he did not have that much money on him.
He gave her a smile, watched her walk a few tables away, and then bolted for the exit.