The Master had imagined that MI6 would be an entertaining organization to sink his hands into, but he was incredibly disappointed to realize how utterly boring it was. It was constant paperwork, analyzing easy puzzles that had simple answers, and following the orders of stupid humans who had no idea who he truly was.
He had forgotten how tedious it could be to maintain a disguise and Agent O was meant to be a perfect disguise, which made the work into maintaining the man's human identity all the more tedious.
The Master very nearly started another World War out of boredom. It would be so easy to feed the wrong information to these fools and organize the beginnings of a brutal war that would rip this stupid boring world apart. But that would reveal his hand far too soon and he was waiting.
It wasn't time yet, but it wouldn't be much longer. He could feel it in the air. The Doctor was coming and when he did, the Master would finally be able to play.
He hadn't seen this face yet—it must've been relatively new—but the Master recognized his best enemy the instant he saw the man. His attire was atrocious, as it always was; the Master could never understand the Doctor's woeful fashion sense. He wore a brown tweed jacket with ghastly elbow patches. The Master did quite like his bow tie, though, so it wasn't as if the man's attire was entirely atrocious.
No, that criticism had to be reserved for his face. The Master had never seen the Doctor so young and so simultaneously old. His face was babyish with a glaring chin and floppy hair that seemed to be falling into the Doctor's eyes. The Master felt a sudden urge to run his fingers through the Doctor's hair and brush it away from his ageing eyes.
The man may have taken on a jarring new appearance, but he was still the Doctor. And the Master's feelings towards the Doctor always remained the same: hatred and affectionate animosity. The Master's hearts were racing in his chest—like a drumbeat—as he stared at the Doctor, who had yet to even look in his direction.
The Doctor was here—finally! After all this time, the Master had grown bored of his charade and he was ready to move his chess pieces and take the king. He could hardly wait a second more. But he swallowed his malice and forced his heartbeats to slow into a single monotonous rhythm. It wasn't yet time ….
It was hard to keep that thought in his head, however, when the Doctor began to walk over to his desk. Agent O's boss trailing behind him.
"This is Agent O, our foremost expert on 'alien phenomenon' here at MI6." The man spoke the words with such revulsion and the Master felt a rush of spite and glee rush through him. This human had no idea—thought the idea of aliens was ludicrous—but he was in the presence of the two most clever and deadly aliens in the whole of creation. The Master had no true equal, but the Doctor came close.
"A pleasure to meet you, Agent O—what a great name! Very Bond-like. You can call me the Doctor—or Agent Doctor! Yes, I think I like that, Agent Doctor or Agent D for short."
The Master began to push down his true personality in order to become Agent O, if anyone would find out his true identity it would be the Doctor. And the Master found it easier than he would have liked to admit to swallow the animosity towards the renegade Time Lord before him. His childlike personality and familiar quips send a wave of glee through the Master that manifested into a genuine smile on Agent O's face.
It was all an act, the Master reminded himself.
"A pleasure to meet you, Doctor—Agent Doctor." The title was ludicrous, but Agent O would play along and the Master found the Doctor's beaming smile to be worth the words coming from Agent O's lips.
"Agent O, if you could assist the Doctor that would be tremendously helpful." The man again said the words with a hint of venom and then walked away, not even waiting for a response. Agent O had established himself as a man of a particular niche, one that wasn't appreciated at all in this organization. The Master was looking forward to killing that man and everyone else who mocked Agent O—he might even dismantle the entire organization while he was at it too.
The Master pushed a charming and apologetic smile onto Agent O's face as he looked to the Doctor. "The others don't really respect my line of work. They think it strange and believe that aliens are the responsibility of UNIT or Torchwood. I don't even think they really believe in them."
The Doctor nodded in understanding. "Humans can be quite ignorant about what's right in front of them."
The Master grinned like a cheshire cat at that statement. Humans could be quite ignorant and the Doctor who spent so much time in humans' vicinity could be quite oblivious as well. The Master calmed Agent O's features as he spoke in the voice of a subservient and weakly human, "Yes, they can be. Sometimes I wonder what's even the point of my work since they never listen to me."
The Doctor took the bait easily—insecure human pets have always been the Doctor's weakness. The Master didn't get the appeal. Perhaps the Doctor enjoyed the nurturing and mentoring role that came with it? Did it make him feel better?—The Doctor's kind eyes appraised Agent O as he gently clapped the man's back in what was perhaps a comforting human gesture.
"Don't worry about them, Oh. The people like you and me—the people who pay attention—we serve an important role. Regardless of what others think. You're doing good work. So, show me what you got."
Agent O smiled, "Yes, of course. Thank you, Doctor." The words came out from Agent O's lips sincere and innocent, but they felt like a snarl in the back of the Master's throat. The Doctor was a fool! And the Master couldn't wait to reveal his identity and rip into the man, but he had to be patient. It wasn't time yet.
Agent O and the Doctor spent a better part of an hour compiling data on a possible alien threat and analyzing waves of information. It was agonizing letting the Doctor take the lead—the Master was a genius! But Agent O was a human, weak of body and mind and only capable of so much. The Master had never liked dumbing himself down, but the nature of disguise meant it was a frequent requirement.
"I don't say this often," the Doctor began after a long silence of data analysis, "But you're a genius."
The Master preened at the praise and he let it show on Agent O's face, but he also felt a roar of disgust and rage flowing throughout his body. The Master certainly didn't need the Doctor's approval, especially not when he wasn't himself! How could the Doctor—a Time Lord of Gallifrey—praise a human so generously? The Master had made the human Agent O better, but the man was still a human and not worth the praises or rewards of a Time Lord.
The Master was a genius! Agent O was a fool like the rest of humanity.
But the Master said none of that and instead, he spoke as Agent O would. "Thank you, Doctor. That means a lot coming from you …. You're kind of a legend."
The Doctor laughed uncomfortably. It was a mix of pride and arrogance as well as guilt and trepidation. It was then the Master realized why the Doctor had chosen this face. He had lived all of those lives and the man was running from them—escaping from his age and sins to the facade of youth and childlike innocence. It was a fitting face.
"I meant what I said. You truly are a genius. Very clever and there aren't nearly enough clever people." The Doctor looked around. "Certainly no one else here is as clever as you." The Doctor stepped back and seemed to put on a mask of confidence and bravado—perhaps it would have been unnoticeable to Agent O, but the Master recognized it in an instant. "Come with me."
"Are … do you mean–?"
"The TARDIS. I'm inviting you to join me. This building is dull and boring. I'm sure your dying to leave. I can show you the stars."
The Master wondered what it would be like to be one of the Doctor's human companions—to travel by the Doctor's side as a friend and to see the universe. It was almost tempting, especially when the Master thought of the Doctor's betrayed face when he revealed Agent O to be a facade.
But it wasn't yet time.
"I'm afraid I have to decline." The Doctor's face fell and the Master smiled while Agent O did not. "I'm honored—truly. But I think I'll stay here, for now. Maybe another time."
The Doctor nodded and he looked at a loss for what to say next, but then a grin appeared on his face. "Well, I might need your expertise again. Or you might need mine! So, here—take this number." The Doctor scribbled on a piece of paper on Agent O's desk. "You're one of the only people in the Universe who has it!"
"Do you really like me so much, Doctor?" The Master said, his words leaking through Agent O's.
The Doctor blushed, "Just send me a text! Or a WhatsApp. I'm still figuring it out, but I think I know how it works. Human technology is a bit of a learning curve."
The Master laughed at that and shared a pleasant goodbye with the Doctor—for the first time in a long time. When was the last time they hadn't fought? It seemed ages since there was a moment of peace between them.
The Master opened up his phone and sent a quick text to the Doctor. There wasn't a reply for the next couple of minutes, but that was okay. The Master could be patient and he had to wait.
It wasn't time yet.
It wouldn't be time with this Doctor. The Master was waiting for another face—one which will make the wait worth it all.