"You stand accused," the Pratt Master intoned, "of establishing a canonical
sympathetic streak in our characterisation. You were tempted by the Doctor's
offer of seeing the Universe, you were driven mad by the machinations of the
Time Lords, and you saved the Doctor from the wrath of Rassilon."

The Simm Master leaned back in his chair. "Yeah. So what?"

"So what?!" the Pratt Master fumed. "Do you know how it makes us look in the
eyes of the villainous community?!"

"Why are you two so concerned about the villainous community?" the Simm Master
wondered. "We're the Master. We make our /own/ reputation. Since when did we
need approval for it?"

The Ainley Master's eyes narrowed suspiciously, regarding his two
corpse-selves. "What are you two up to?"

"There is a /proper/ way of doing these things," the Beevers Master said.

The Delgado, Ainley, Roberts, Jacobi and Simm Masters shared a look, and
laughed their heads off.

"/Proper/?!" the Ainley Master said. "/Us?!/"

"My prior self has a point," the Jacobi Master said. "What /are/ you two up to?
Why does our collective reputation bother you so much?"

"Villainous community..." The Simm Master tapped out the drumbeat rhythm. "You
two can't be trying to join a club; what would it get us, apart from a lot of
useful cannon fodder? /Fun/, yeah, but what's the point?"

"Not love, either," the Delgado Master added. "We /make/ people love us, break
them to our will."

"It wouldn't be the first time we've gone and done something utterly
pointless." the Ainley Master said slyly.

"We do not need to impress others." the Roberts Master said. "We never have. We
charm, we seduce, we dominate - and we kill."

"There is /one/ person..." the Delgado Master said slowly. "Loath as I am to
admit it."

The Simm Master burst out laughing. "...Oh, you are /kidding/ me. You're trying
to do this to /impress the Doctor?!/"

"Stop. Right. There." the Pratt Master said coldly.

"You know he's right." the Ainley Master said, smirking. "You two could never
hit it off with Fourth, so you're trying to impress him in the only way you

The Roberts Master raised an eyebrow. "Really. You think the Doctor would be
more impressed with a 'proper' villain? He seems to have no problem with our
collective performance to date..."

"Should we set you two up on a double date?" the Simm Master wondered.

"This is /not about the Doctor!/" the Beevers Master seethed.

"Really?" the Delgado Master wondered. "Then who /is/ it about?"

"Have you two found someone else?" the Simm Master inquired. "Should we
congratulate you?"

"We will not stand for this!" the Pratt Master hissed, drawing himself to his
full height. "We shall return when the rest of you have found some /proper/

With that, the Pratt and Beevers Masters swept out.

"Well," the Ainley Master opined, "/that/ ought to keep those fossils off our
backs for a while."

"Were we really that repressed back then?" the Jacobi Master wondered.

"We were a rotting, degenerate, self-hating corpse." the Ainley Master said.

The Roberts Master raised an eyebrow.

"You know what I mean," the Ainley Master said. "And I don't exactly remember
being too fond of those forms. Fourth is none too fond of any of /us/,

"We should get them to lighten up a little," the Simm Master said.

The Delgado Master raised an eyebrow. "Do you think that's really a good idea?"

"No," the Simm Master admitted cheerfully. "But it'd be fun to watch."

"Also possibly catastrophic," the Delgado Master noted.

The Simm Master shrugged. "Well, yeah. All the more reason."

"Let's hold that in reserve, shall we?" the Delgado Master said dryly.

"They had a point, you know." the Jacobi Master said quietly.

"I /did/ tell them." the Simm Master pointed out. "Doesn't mean we're going to
/stop/ being a villain, though."

"True," the Delgado Master said. "We are more than simple villains, after all.
We are the Doctors' dark reflections. There are many who would pretend to the
position, even the Doctor himself - but in the end, only we are suitable to the

"This sympathetic streak adds a certain pathos, a tragic element, to our
nature. Some - like our sadly-departed selves - might see it as a flaw, as

"With all due respect to them, I would strongly disagree. It makes clearer our
reflection of the Doctors, emphasises the differences between us and them - 'so
near, and yet so far'. Going forward, it can but serve to strengthen our

"All things considered, I'd call that a job well done."

"I can live with that," the Simm Master said, leaning back. "So. Who wants

The other Masters eyed him suspiciously.


Disclaimer: This Time Round created by Tyler Dion.

'Doctor Who' and the Masters are the BBC's.

Tip of the hat to Vicky J.'s "Master Test".