The dust stirs, and then the dust is moving. It shivers into an old shape, transmutes and transforms. It remembers being like this and not like that, it builds itself up from specks and grains and creates itself anew. And then it screams.

--

Nature abhors a vaccuum. Now she loathes imbalances as well, and her (re)creation rages at the indignity of existing as mere polar opposite of an elemental force. Perhaps he should ge flattered to be so needed, but he has spent too long in competition not to see it as a defeat.

--

He grows a ship of the kind they made in childhood, a toy for people who measure maturity in centuries. It is fashioned from blood-red coral and ocean-green glass, and sails past the burnt-out relics of the Eternals and the Culture. A thoughtless machine fit only for children, but it'll do.

--

Reality adjusts and temples are put up in his name. Dark places, cold stone and carved bone. Killer pray to him and empires adopt him as patron deity.

Everywhere he turns is stalked by the tale of the Oncoming Storm. Nemesis, victim, lover, brother, over and over and they are merged together in other people's stories.

--

In the ancient myths of Gallifrey the oldest god is Death, She who made infinity collapse, allowing change and chance to bring life to mere dust.

The Master has always admired Her aspect as destroyer of existence, been inspired and aroused by Her arts. Perhaps he meets Her when She resurrects him, or perhaps that was the final beat of madness. In any case, he believes every word She gifts to him.

--

He goes to Earth and tries to destroy it. The effort is half-hearted, but failure is what he wants this time. The drums are silent, replaced by a solitary call that draws nearer from across the seas of stars. The Master indulges in unsatisfying destruction and summons the storm.

--

"You're not dead then."

"Not any more. I bet you cried like a little girl when I was, though."

--

Across the galaxies they fight, never-ending. The Master builds empires for fun and rejoices when the Doctor topples them. The Doctor, for his part, becomes known for being too enthused when he stumbles on an evil scheme, and barely notices when eventually his last companion leaves and is not replaced. Once the Master kills the Doctor and panics for a while that this is one death too many. It isn't, of course. They go on, and on.

--

Once upon a time, Gallifrey had two sons. They lived when their people died, and came to care about nothing but each other.

--

Pilgrims flock to Remembrance and stand in the last garden of Gallifrey, worshipping abandoned gods and asking that they kill these new claimants. Balance is a thing to be avoided, stability is rejected as a disproved dogma.

--

The myth of the Lonely God dies out, forgotten. Who would cling to fairy tales in a universe like this? An apple a day keeps the Doctor away. Go to bed early or the Time Lords will come and take you away. They can't get you if you can't see them. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

--

But they loved each other, and that's all that matters in the end.

Isn't it?