Word Count: 4156
Author's summary: Depressed by his exile, the Doctor spends a few hours with the Master.
Characters/Pairings: Third Doctor/Delgado!Master
Recced because: The slashy possibilities of Three/Master practically leap off the screen in their serials. Here, that dynamic is captured in a well paced fic. The Doctor, angsting about his exile on Earth, encounters the Master. He stops to have a talk, which turns into more. Why would the Doctor tolerate the Master's presence? Well, his reasoning is plausibly explained and so are the Master's motives. The dialogue is excellent and the ending is just about perfect.
His coffee is brought and the Doctor manages a distracted smile at the waitress. He stirs in milk and sugar. The Master watches. Their minds are both present, solid, palpable in the cool air, unlike the broken link with the TARDIS. He feels alive and like himself.
Suddenly, the Master says, "You'd have left me to die with that machine."
The Doctor's lips twitch. This man has promised to kill him countless times, and yet he still has the audacity to sound almost hurt. "You have a way of escaping certain death," he says gruffly. "And besides, it was your mess. You built that machine, and you stole the missile. I felt it was only fair to have you feel the consequences of your actions for once."
"And there I was thinking human sensibilities were rubbing off on you. They can be terribly barbaric at times, can't they? A little eye for an eye..."
"I can't believe you're just here for a friendly chat."
"You hurt me, Doctor!" Nothing of the sort: the Master is deeply amused and enjoying himself. "Conversation with you is always a treat. Yes, I am quite indebted to the Time Lords for exiling you to Earth — it makes it so much easier to find you."