Harriet Jones was standing in the garden of 10 Downing Street, patiently waiting for her most unusual guest. Her SECOND unusual guest, that is. She looked at the blue police box parked neatly in the corner by the chestnut trees as she waited for the sound of another space and time machine arriving. She smiled as a wind blew up from nowhere and a strange, animal/mechanical sound faded in like an old fashioned radio signal. As the second 1950s police telephone box arrived she stepped forward, reminding herself that she WAS Prime Minister of Great Britain and should not have butterflies in her stomach in anticipation of the arrival of one man.

Even so, when The Doctor stepped out of the TARDIS she ran the last few steps and hugged him.

“It’s lovely to see you again,” she said as she stepped back and let him breathe. “And Susan… delighted to meet you again. How are you, my dear?”

Susan had lost her voice in the excitement of actually being in the actual 10 Downing Street. The Doctor glanced around and saw the other TARDIS. His mouth formed the question but Harriet just smiled.

“I thought it would be nice to have BOTH of you to tea,” she said. “Come on in.”

They stepped inside the building and Harriet steered them towards the drawing room. The Doctor was surprised when a little girl with dark hair and eyes ran out into the hallway, laughing at some game. She bumped into him and he reached to steady her.

“Hello,” he said. “Who are you then?” He knelt and looked at her. Her eyes seemed hauntingly familiar. It was like looking at his own past, present and future at the same time. She looked back at him intently and he felt her touch his mind. Now he understood who she was. He reached and touched her cheek, and she, in turn, touched his. It was all he could do not to grab her in his arms and hug her close. “Your name is Vicki?”

“Vicki Katarina de Lœngbærrow,” she said. “My daddy is….”

“Yes,” The Doctor said. “I know your daddy.” He looked up as the doorway was filled by the black-clad shape of the OTHER Doctor, the one he called Nine.

Vicki Katarina’s father.

“Hello,” he said, standing up and reaching out his hand to shake. Nine stepped forward and grasped it firmly, his other hand reaching out to his child. “Good to see you. How is life treating you?”

“Not bad,” The Doctor said. “Not bad at all.”

There were a million burning issues they could talk about, starting with that bright eyed little girl who jolted his very hearts when he looked at her, but for now the best either of them could manage was small talk.

They went through to the drawing room. The two Doctors sat opposite each other on the sofas. Vicki sat close to her father. Susan sat next to her own Doctor and looked at the other one. She had seen pictures of him in a photo album in the TARDIS and she had been told before how it was that there WERE two of them, the same man, with the same memories and experiences up to the point where their lives had diverged.

But it was still rather bewildering.

One of the Prime Minister’s aides, a good looking young man in a neat suit, came into the room and spoke to her. She turned to her guests.

“Would you excuse me,” she said. “My mother has been taking a nap. I must see to her before tea.” She turned and went out of the room. The slightly awkward silence continued until Susan stood up and went to sit by the little girl.

“Hello,” she said. “I’m Susan. I’m pleased to meet you. You’re… The Doctor’s little girl?”

“Yes,” she said. “I like jelly babies, Puccini and Shakespeare.”

“Oh.” Susan was startled. She looked about nine. Susan remembered being nine. She certainly would have liked sweets, but Puccini and Shakespeare weren’t even on her shortlist of interests now, let alone at that age.

“Can’t do much about the other two just now,” The Doctor said with a smile. “But I think we can manage the jelly baby front.” He reached in his pocket and pulled out a packet of sweets. Vicki reached out and took them and said a polite thank you.

Polite. The Doctor’s hearts stung as he watched her sit back next to her father again. The child that could have been his if his life had taken a different direction.

“I have a son,” he said, and told Nine about Dominique’s child that he had fathered. Nine smiled and congratulated him. “She did the hard work,” he admitted. “She brought him up by herself. I never even knew. But he is a wonderful boy.”

“We both have what we want, one way or another. You should bring them to see us one day. A family reunion. I bet Dominic would get on with the twins like a house on fire. You would, too. And I can just see Rose, Susan and Jackie with your Dominique.”

“One big happy family?” The Doctor said with a wry smile.

“Why not?” Nine asked.

“Maybe,” he said. “Some time.” But he had a feeling it would be a very long time. As happy as he was with Dominique, as much as he loved her and their son, he still couldn’t help a twinge of jealousy for the life that could have been his. He looked at the little girl. He knew there was another child, too, a baby boy. Nine had been there since both of them were born. He had known every part of their lives. He had been their father in more than just his DNA. As much as he loved Dominic he had missed so much of his life he felt he hardly had the right to call himself his father.

The could have been… the what if… of his life.

“Please come through to the dining room,” the same Prime Minister’s aide told them, interrupting his sombre train of thought. They followed him through to the elegant private dining room where the Prime Minister entertained selected guests. There was an elderly lady in a wheelchair already sitting at one of the places. Harriet arranged for the two Doctors to sit either side of her, then Susan with Vicki on a chair with a cushion to help her reach the table more easily. Harriet herself sat opposite her mother. A maid in a crisp white apron served the high tea and they all talked cheerfully.

“You see,” Mrs Beatrice Jones said as Nine gallantly passed her the butter for her scone. “I told you. I saw them all before. These two, and the little girl, and the big girl, too.”

“Yes,” Harriet said. “But you told me it was in 1946.” The two Doctors both looked at her curiously. This wasn’t small talk. This was the reason they were invited to tea - an ulterior motive. Harriet looked at them almost apologetically.

“My mother insists that she met you… all four of you… in the winter of 1945/46 when she was a young girl. I know that would sound ridiculous if it was anyone else she was talking about. But since it’s you… the two of you….”

“1946?” the two Doctors looked at each other.

“Both of us?” The Doctor asked looking at Harriet, then at her mother, and then at his other self as he poured milk for Vicki into a large glass.

“And us? Me and Vicki?” Susan added, feeling slightly left out.

“So it seems,” Nine answered. “And I just know what you’re going to say next.”

“I haven’t BEEN to 1946,” Susan said.

“I have,” the two Doctors both said at once.

“But it was a long time ago, and I didn’t look like I do now,” Nine added. “And I’ve never taken Vicki along.”

“Which means….” The Doctor drawled slowly. “We’re going to take a trip together.”

“Oh dear,” Nine responded. The Doctor looked rather affronted by that comment and he hastily amended it. “Not that a joint trip wouldn’t be a nice idea. Vicki won’t mind a little extra educational visit, would you, my little love?” Vicki looked up at him and grinned. “What bothers me is when we find out about these things AFTER they’ve happened and we have to go back and do them just so we don’t cause a paradox.”

“Well, what happened in 1946?” Susan asked and both Doctors smiled warmly at her because she had hit on the pertinent question.

“The Flydale Ghost took twenty souls that winter,” Beatrice Jones said. “It would have taken more but they stopped it.”

“1946?” The two Doctors looked at each other. Nine spoke the thought in both of their minds. “The winter of the Influenza B outbreak. It didn’t need a ghost to take twenty souls that winter.”

“The old people ALL talk about it though,” Harriet said. “I used to volunteer in the cottage hospital before I got into politics. They used to talk about it all the time. The ghost that took the life of all it touched and left them stone dead. They all swore it was true. They all said that two strangers came and fought it and the ghost was never seen again. I never made the connection until yesterday, when mother was looking at my photo album and she saw pictures of you two, and she insisted that she knew you both.”

“Never forget them,” Beatrice said. “They were the nicest pair of gentlemen who ever stayed at the Crown.”

“That was the name of the hotel,” Harriet explained. “My grandparents ran it. It was demolished in the 1970s to make way for the dual carriageway. They moved to a nice little bungalow near the river.”

“Well, at least we know where we’re staying,” The Doctor said with one of his characteristic grins. “Another village inn, Susan!”

“As long as they don’t have a ducking stool and any paranoia about witchcraft,” she retorted good humouredly. Nine raised an eyebrow in surprise and Harriet looked at her curiously before pouring her another cup of tea.

“Slave the TARDISes and travel together?” Nine suggested.

“Sure,” The Doctor agreed.

“Well, do finish tea first,” Harriet said. “And I was hoping for a little time to chat to you all before you have to rush off.”

“Oh, goes without saying,” they both said. “There’s no joy in chasing ghosts without a good tea inside us first.”

The Crown was a very nice inn, with clean beds warmed with hot water bottles that kept the chill of a January night at bay. There was crisp linen on the tables when they came down to breakfast in the morning after a pleasant night. The breakfast was not quite as good as any of them were used to, but it was a good one for the winter of 1946. Susan had noted little details like the ration books the two Doctors had handed in when they signed the register. The war was over but food was still short. In North Yorkshire with a blanket of snow covering the landscape people were grinning and bearing it and doing their best. So far the influenza that was causing problems in the big cities like Leeds hadn’t hit the smaller, isolated places, though there was another problem here in Flydale that accounted for the sad, slightly frightened mood of the community.

“So you two are from the Ministry of Health?” the only other breakfast guest at a nearby table asked as they ate. “Come to see what’s causing the deaths in these parts?”

“That is so,” Nine answered. “News certainly travels fast around here.”

“We learnt to be wary of strangers during the war,” the gentleman answered. “Old habits die hard. Does that mean the two of you had cushy jobs for the duration then? I lost a son and a brother. Caught two bullets myself at Tobruk.”

The two Doctors looked with renewed detail at the man. He was in civilian clothing, but he had a medal pinned to the breast of his suit jacket as if he wanted everyone to be aware that he had been rewarded for his sacrifice. They both focussed on the medal and identified it as the Africa Star given for service in North Africa.

“We were on special service,” Nine answered. From his pocket he pulled a medal that he displayed for the edification of the ex-soldier. The Doctor reached and produced the same medal. The man looked at the two medals and all but saluted them both. There was no more talk of cushy jobs. He finished his breakfast and left the dining room leaving them alone and free to talk among themselves for a while.

“What is that?” Susan asked. The Doctor opened his hand to her and she looked at the elaborate bronze cross-shaped medal with a green and red ribbon. She shook her head as if to indicate she did not recognise it.

“Croix de Guerre,” he told her. “Presented to me by Charles de Gaulle himself.” He turned it around and she saw etched on the back the words “Le Docteur.”

“Yes,” Nine continued. “De Gaulle knew me as Le Docteur. So did Churchill. But that miserable so and so never thought I deserved a medal.”

“Very few people ever did,” The Doctor observed. “All the things we’ve done for this planet.”

“What did you do to deserve that one?” Susan asked.

“Stopped the Nazis from getting some extra terrestrial help that would have enabled them to jump start their rocket powered bomb projects and wipe the Allies off the face of the planet,” he said. “Ordinarily I don’t get involved in the internal political strife of Earth, but sometimes you HAVE to step in.”

“When was that?” Susan asked. “I mean when in your life… or lives…”

“Oh, long time ago.” The Doctor looked at the medal one more time before he put it back in his pocket. He wasn’t sure what impulse had made them both take this memento of the past out of the closed drawer it had lain in all those years. Perhaps visiting this time in Earth’s history brought it all back. “Before Susan was born - my Susan - I spent some time on Earth. I needed a break from Gallifreyan politics. I made some good friends: - Puccini, Sarah Bernhardt, Da Vinci, Amelia Earhart, Eamon De Valera.…”

“Marie Curie, the Romanovs, Mata Hari,” Nine added. “Countess Markievicz, Cleopatra. Got around a bit in those days.”

“You REALLY knew all those people?” Susan laughed. “All those WOMEN.”

“Purely platonic, all of them,” The Doctor assured her. “Well, ok, Amelia, Marie…. Amelia was a bit of a sly fox. And Marie.…”

“Doctor!” Susan protested. “Not in front of Vicki.” They both laughed. Vicki was not taking much notice. She was doing the Times crossword in neat, fine penmanship. She put it away, though, when the door to the dining room opened and the daughter of the landlord and landlady of the house came in. She brought an apple and gave it to Vicki.

“Mum says there’s plenty more in the cellar. She says never mind ration cards. Little ones like that need to have more good food. Coming up all the way from London you’ve probably not seen much in the way of fresh fruit these past years.”

“Much obliged, Beatrice,” Nine said as Vicki ate the apple. “Is there any news overnight? Any more incidents?”

“No sir,” she said. “God willing there won’t be any more. It was horrible what they said happened to old Mr Billings. Just riding along on his bicycle and….”

“Pub talk,” The Doctor assured her. “I heard them last night in the public bar there. Nobody actually SAW what happened to Mr. Billings. They only found the body later.”

“Yes, sir,” Beatrice said. “But they say… that he had… all the life sucked out of him.”

“Yes,” Nine added. “I heard them say that, too. But you mustn’t go frightening yourself listening to that sort of gossip. It’s not a thing for a girl your age to be worrying about.”

“I’m 16, sir,” she replied. “And I saw a dead German airman when I was fourteen. Crashed in the top meadow of Mr Grainger’s farm when I was working there with the Land Girls. He was all burnt up and horrible.”

She looked like she was going to go into more detail then noticed that Vicki was listening intently and changed her mind. “Anyway, sirs….”

Whatever else she was going to say was interrupted by the local police constable who rushed into the dining room. A man in a tweedy suit and overcoat followed.

“Are you the two Ministry of Health men who’ve come up to find out about the mysterious deaths?” the constable asked.

“Yes, we are,” Nine answered. “I’m Mr Bowman and this is Mr Smith. Has there been an incident?”

“This is Mr. Bell, the veterinary. He went up to Fell Farm to examine a sick horse they have up there and he found….”

“Every single member of the family dead,” Mr. Bell cut in. “Looked like the life was sucked out of them.”

Both Doctors stood up at once. Susan stood, too. So did Vicki who left her apple core on a plate on the table. Mr. Bell looked at them.

“It’s no place for children or young women,” he said.

“Susan is my assistant,” The Doctor said. “But….” He glanced at Vicki and then at her father. Seriously, they didn’t want to expose her to the sight of people with the life sucked out of them.

“I’ll look after her,” Beatrice volunteered. “I’ve got to go and run some messages for mother. I expect Mrs Nelson at the grocers will have some sweets off the ration.”

Nine looked reluctant at first to part with the child, but this was, after all, Harriet’s future mother. She could surely be trusted. He bent and kissed Vicki on the cheek and let her go with Beatrice.

“You’ll have fun,” he told her telepathically. “Remember I taught you about old English money. Now you have a chance to try it out. And you can watch how the ration books work and everything.”

“I like Earth history,” she said. “But I would rather be with you, daddy.”

“Not this time, my love,” he answered. “I have to do grown up things. So no listening in.”

The Doctor listened in on the telepathic conversation. He didn’t mean to, but his wavelengths were close enough to Nine’s. It was as if he was part of the same link. And he, too, felt the silence when she cut the link.

“I’d rather be listening to her talk than going to look at dead people,” Nine told him. “But this is important.”

“I know.”

“What do you think we’re going to see,” The Doctor asked telepathically as they sat either side of Susan in the back of Mr Bell’s Ford Anglia, the constable in the passenger seat.

“Could be anything,” Nine answered. Visions of any number of alien entities that drained the life from people ran through their minds.

“Stop,” Susan whispered.

“What?” Nine looked at her. “You can hear what we were thinking?” he asked her in a low voice that wouldn’t carry to the front of the car.

“Not exactly. But I could FEEL how horrible your thoughts were. How many awful things have you seen?”

“Too many,” Nine admitted. “She’s telepathic?” he asked The Doctor.

“Not that I know,” he answered. “But the TARDIS responded to her the first time she was in it. I think she is just very receptive. With us sitting this close she’s picking up the emotional overtones.”

“It’s ok,” The Doctor said, taking Susan’s hand in his. Susan was a little surprised when Nine did the same the other side of her. They were two sides of the same man who she had trusted with her life. Whatever about those cold, horrible feelings, the dreadful visions that flashed through her head, she knew one thing.

She was safe with them.

“Course you are,” Nine told her.

“You’re so different,” she said. “You look different. You sound different. But you’re the same, too.”

“Yep, sums us up,” The Doctor answered with a grin.

That grin was the last anyone had for a while. As they approached Fell Farm they were aware of the stillness of everything. It was January, of course. The snow-covered landscape was quiet. Cattle and sheep were in winter pens instead of out in the rolling fields, But at Fell Farm there was a different reason for the quiet.

Everything was dead.

All the animals were dead. In the milking parlour there were dead cows. Dead sheep, and the sad body of a dead sheepdog that looked as if it had tried to defend the flock, were in the meadow beside the house. A dead horse, the one the vet had been called to, was in its stable.

The first Human body they found was the farmer himself. Mr Dunne, identified by the constable, was in the milking parlour with the cows. He was clutching a blackthorn stick.

His body, like the bodies of the livestock, was completely drained of all bodily fluids. Drained of life.

The Doctors both tried to shield Susan from the sight, but she saw it anyway.

“What did that?” she asked. “What could do that?”

The Doctors looked at each other and nodded. They both knew what could do that.

“The rest of the family?” Nine asked turning to Mr Bell.

“In the kitchen,” he said. “Mrs Dunne and both her sons. The two of them came back from the war only a few months back. The youngest was a POW in the Far East. And now….”

“The same?” The Doctor asked.

“The same.”

“We’d best take a look anyway,” Nine decided and he took the lead as they headed towards the farm kitchen.

There were signs of a struggle there. Somebody had thrown a kettle of boiling water across the room. Nine bent and examined a strange powdery residue on the floor. He picked something out of it. It was a bullet, misshapen from having hit a solid object. He glanced around at the body of one of those two sons who had survived the horrors of war only to meet their death here in their own kitchen. He gently took the service revolver from the dead hand and examined it. Three of the six chambers were empty. He scattered the debris with his foot and found two more spent bullets.

“He got off three rounds. Took out one of the fiends at least.”

“One down,” The Doctor murmured. “How many more to go?”

“Sir,” The constable interrupted their musings. “Sir, there’s somebody missing.” He turned to the veterinary. “Did you check the whole house?”

“No,” he answered. “I tried the telephone. The lines are down - probably the overnight snow - and then I drove straight to town.”

“There’s a daughter, Theresa. She’s only home a week. She came into the station to register her ration books. She was living over in Liverpool with a sailor she took up with. But it seems like the romance was over. She came back… her and her baby.”

“There’s a baby in the house?” Susan exclaimed. “They killed a little baby?”

“These things would kill anything,” Nine said. “They care about nothing except feeding. But.…” He raised his hand as if he was concentrating. So did The Doctor. “There’s life in this place somewhere. I can feel it. Search the house.”

They searched. It was Susan who, a few minutes later, gave a shout that brought everyone else running. She was standing by the open door of a built in cupboard in the master bedroom. Hidden within, a young woman not much older than she was cowered from them and clung to a one year old baby.

“It’s all right,” Susan told her as she tried to coax her out. “You’re safe now. The Doctor is here. Both of them. He won’t let anything hurt you.”

“That we won’t,” The Doctor assured her as the girl slowly uncurled herself and allowed Susan to help her to her feet. “Theresa isn’t it? You’re safe now. Mr Bell, your work is done here. I want you to take Theresa and her little one back to the town. Go to the Crown. Call a doctor from there to give her a once over, but I think there’s nothing worse than shock to deal with.” He turned. “Susan, you go with her and look after her.” Susan looked about to protest about that. “No, it's not because you’d be scared of what we’re dealing with. It’s because Theresa needs a hand to hold. And that’s your job right now. Holding her hand.”

“One moment,” Nine said as he looked at the service pistol he still had in his hand. “Theresa, your father would have shotguns in the house, for dealing with foxes, that kind of thing?”

“Locked cupboard under the stairs,” she managed to say. “Keys… in the kitchen.”

“All right,” Nine continued. “Mr Bell, take her out by the front door, not through the kitchen. When you get back to your office, make arrangements to have the bodies of the livestock burned as you would for a Foot and Mouth outbreak.”

Mr. Bell looked at Nine and seemed about to say something then he nodded and turned, his arms protectively encompassing the two young women.

“Sir,” the constable said as they heard Mr. Bell’s car drive away and Nine opened up the gun cupboard with the late Farmer Dunne’s keys. “What is it that did all of this? You seem to know.”

“Vampyres,” The Doctor said as he took a double-barrelled shotgun from Nine and began to load it with cartridges as expertly as his counterpart.

“Vampires?” The constable looked at them both incredulously. “Like Dracula? I saw a film… back before the war. I took the missus… She was so scared she wanted the bedroom light left on. But surely…..”

“Everyone in the village is saying it's a ghost,” Nine said. “What is more unlikely? A ghost or a vampyre?”

“If I hadn’t seen the evidence I wouldn’t believe in either,” the constable answered. “Something evil happened here. I don’t know what it was but….” The constable reached out his hand and Nine passed him the dead soldier’s Webley and a box of .455 rounds. He, too, loaded as if he knew how.

“I was too old this time around,” the constable said. “That’s why I was in the police force. Home defence. But I was twenty-five years old the day the first war began. Killed my first Hun a month later. It’s been a few years since I fired on a Human being but I think I still can.”

“What we’re up against isn’t Human,” The Doctor told him. “So none of us need have any qualms about shooting first, shooting straight and shooting fast.” He weighed the shotgun in his own hands. He knew how to use weapons. He had chosen most of his life not to use them. He didn’t like using them.

But this was Vampyres. His pacifist principles went out of the window when he was up against THOSE.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Nine asked the constable. “Nobody would blame you….”

“I’m with you,” he answered. “Twenty people in all. Twenty of my neighbours. Men and women I have known all my life. Whatever did that to them… I’ll see it in hell. But where is it we’re going to find… the… vampyres?”

“Vampyres hole up in caves after they’ve fed,” Nine answered.

“Flydale Cavern,” The Doctor said. “There’s a feature about them on Harriet’s constituency website. I looked it up. I like to keep tabs on our old girl.”

“The cavern?” The Constable turned and reached into the gun cupboard. On a separate shelf was an Ordnance Survey map of the area. “The entrance is about three miles from here. Beyond the rise of the hill to the north. There’s a good road for most of the way. Mr Dunne had a car.”

The car was a 1934 Morris Eight parked up beside the dairy. It had half a tank of petrol and it started after the fourth try. Nine drove. He had committed the map to memory. He kept his shotgun on his lap. So did The Doctor beside him. They were both wary.

“Remember the first time we fought them,” Nine said telepathically.

“First time?” The Doctor queried. “You’ve encountered them since?”

“Yes,” Nine told him. “In Ireland, day before Rose’s 21st birthday. Not a day she likes to remember. Don’t fancy walking into another nest of them.”

“Neither do I. But if we don’t, then they’ll carry on feasting on the people and livestock of North Yorkshire.” The Doctor glanced towards the distant hills across a snow-white landscape. Somewhere beyond those hills was the city of Leeds. He tried not to imagine what would happen if the Vampyres were able to carry on spreading across the country.

He gripped the shotgun all the harder and for once in his pacifist life he felt comforted by the presence of a weapon.

He just wondered if they had enough. Two shotguns and one revolver. He wasn’t altogether happy about the odds if there were more than three of them in the nest.

“This is as far as we go by car,” Nine said as he stopped the vehicle and applied the handbrake. They all got out and buttoned up their coats as they looked at the rough sheep path up the side of a rocky hill. They could just about make out the entrance to the cavern near the top.

“Don’t Vampyres only come out at night?” the Constable asked as they started to walk. “Are we safe now?”

“No,” The Doctor said. “The night thing is a myth. Purely fictional. These vampyres hunt when they’re hungry. They’re very hungry, too. All that livestock in addition to the Humans….”

“They’re upping the stakes. Sixteen people up until last night, all taken alone. And then this massive attack.” Nine looked up at the entrance nervously and closed the breached shotgun. He knew it was dangerous to carry a shotgun that way, but it was even more dangerous not to have a weapon ready when there were Vampyres about.

“Something’s moving up there,” The Doctor shouted as he did the same and made ready to shoot as soon as he had a target he could recognise.

“Oh my GOD!” the constable cried as the vampyres poured out of the cave entrance. He was not questioning what they were now. Five of them rose up into the air with an audible flap of their great wings. Not men in opera cloaks as the film industry portrayed but creatures that looked like taloned and fanged hell hounds with a scaly exo-skin.

“Aim for the head or neck,” Nine ordered. “The skin is thinner around the neck or if you can get them through the eye it goes direct to the brain.” As he spoke he aimed his shotgun at the first target. He forced his hands to steady themselves and squeezed the trigger. A cartridge of buckshot exploded in the face of the vampyre. He didn’t wait to see it explode into a mess of innards and blood that turned to dust as it hit the ground. He was already aiming at a second target. He got that one in the neck. Beside him, Ten took out both his targets and the Constable poured all six of his bullets into the fifth.

But they were just the advanced guard. Another group of the creatures was pouring out of the cave entrance even as they fought and none of the weapons they had were easy or quick to reload. Ten was first and he launched himself forward and rolled onto his back, making himself a more difficult target to pluck up in the vicious talons. He took out two. Nine got one more and so did the constable but Nine’s second shot was off target. The shot peppered the tough skin of the creature that hovered over him. He turned the gun and used the stock to hit out. The Doctor and the constable reloaded feverishly but it was too late to stop Nine being plucked up high into the sky. As they finished off two more vampyres they saw the other one escaping into the cavern with its prey.

“Are you alive?” The Doctor asked telepathically.

“Course I am,” Nine answered. “But I’m in big trouble. Oh #£$%&. VERY big trouble.”

“What?” The Doctor scrambled to his feet and he and the Constable ran towards the cavern entrance, reloading as they moved.

“There are another fifteen of them here.” Then The Doctor felt him scream loudly and the telepathic connection wavered.

“Where are you?” The Doctor shouted in his head as he stepped into the dark, dank cavern. He could smell blood and decay. Human blood and animal, mixed together. “Where are you? Are you all right? Are you ALIVE?”

Nine couldn’t regenerate, The Doctor recalled. He had sacrificed his remaining lives in order to live one good life with the woman he loved at his side. If he died now, that was it. HE would have to explain it to Vicki, and to Rose and everyone else who loved him in that life he had made for himself. He could see their shocked faces. He could see them looking at him and blaming him for living while THEIR Doctor died a painful, horrible death. And nothing he could say would ease that grief. He might have the same DNA, but he wasn’t the man they loved. He could never take his place.

“I’m not dead yet.” Nine’s voice was weak in his head, but it was there. “Where are you?”

“Top of the cavern,” he said as he looked down from a rough ledge and felt his stomach churn as he saw how deep it was. “Where are you?”

“Bottom of the cavern,” Nine replied. "Two of them tried to feed on me in mid-air and you know what happens when they do that.”

“Our blood kills them. So… bloody hell. They exploded and you fell.…” In his mind’s eye he saw the scene replayed in Nine’s head. He saw the two vampyres holding him like the wishbone from a Christmas turkey. They could have ripped him in half like a piece of paper and taken a share. Lucky for him they decided to sink their teeth in.

“Lucky?” He heard Nine’s ironic laugh. “One took a lump out of my neck, the other bit into my side. It hurts like hell and I’m still losing blood. I had a soft landing. Theres a….” The Doctor shuddered as he felt his counterpart’s horror. “The floor of the cavern isn’t a floor. It’s a pool – of blood. They’ve been taking blood from the victims and stockpiling it.”

“Why?” The Doctor asked. But he didn’t have time to wait for the answer. There was a roar and a flap of leathery wings and he was looking at two of the vampyres as they rose out of the cavern. Beside him the constable gave a worried cry.

“Don’t shoot,” The Doctor whispered. “I don’t want to bring them all up here at once.” Then to the constable’s astonishment he rolled over and covered him with his own body. “Come on, you blood-suckers,” he whispered. “Have a piece of me!”

They did. He felt fangs dig into both of his shoulders as he spread his arms wide to cover the man underneath him. His blood flowed and the Vampyres lapped it up. He could feel them sucking at the wounds. The sensation of his blood being drawn was horrible and the pain in both shoulders was excruciating. There must be something in their saliva, he thought, that made it even more agonising.

Then he felt the explosion. He felt vampyre innards hit him and then turn to dust that he wanted to shake out of his hair but his neck hurt too much to turn yet.

“Thirteen to go,” Nine said. “We could take it in turns offering ourselves as snacks. But I’m not sure even we could take that much punishment. Besides, they might figure it out and just rip us apart without feeding.”

The Doctor’s wounds were slowly mending. He rolled off the constable.

“Sorry about that,” he said. “But your blood is too precious to spill.”

“That’s all right, sir,” the constable answered. “But I thought they got you.”

“Alive and kicking. They bit off a bit more than they can chew.”

“Something’s happening with them,” Nine warned. The Doctor peered over the side of the deep cavern again. The vampyres were moving out from their roost part way down the cavern. Twelve of them were the regular, bog standard space vampyre.

But in the middle of them was one that was different. It had a large, extended abdomen and it was being supported by four of the others as it descended towards the gory pool at the bottom.

“Sweet mother of chaos,” The Doctor whispered. “The big one… it’s some kind of ‘queen’. It’s pregnant. And I’ll just bet they don’t give birth to one baby at a time.”

“That’s what the pool of blood is for,” Nine said, understanding the scene now. “It’s a birthing pool. And she’s ready.”

The Doctor saw the scene from two angles - from above as he peered over and through Nine’s eyes as he hid in the man-sized crack in the wall a few inches above the foul smelling and gruesome pool. He saw through his eyes the vampyres gently let the queen down into the bath of blood. Together they watched her extended stomach bulging as if the young were anxious to get out.

“It's happening,” Nine announced. “The young are coming…” The bloody pool roiled as beneath its surface the vampyre queen began to give birth. The Doctor felt Nine swallow bile and fight against the nausea as he watched the first infant rise to the surface lapping up the blood in its fanged mouth.

“Poison the well,” The Doctor told him. He felt his counterpart’s puzzled response and then a flash of understanding. Then he felt his pain as he drew his wrist over a sharp edge of the rock, cutting into the veins. He held his hand out over the pool and let his Gallifreyan blood drop into the pool. The lighter colour was distinct against the red-brown gore and it fizzed slightly. Its chemical compounds were different to that of Human or animal blood. They were stronger. They watched as the splash of orange-red began to spread as if it was counteracting the red blood. They watched as the infant vampyres emerged into the slick of Gallifreyan blood that covered the surface of the pool and imploded. They heard the queen screaming in agony as it burned her flesh.

The constable counted the last of the bullets for his revolver while The Doctor lined up the remaining cartridges for the shotgun. As the queen threshed about in her death throes they aimed at the other vampyres. In quick succession The Doctor fired then broke the shotgun and slid in two more cartridges, wishing pump action shotguns had been invented in 1946. He took aim and took out two Vampyres. He reloaded. He saw more of them looking towards him, saw them trying to fly up to him. But they were having trouble. The pool was being churned up by the explosions as the infant vampyres were destroyed. Contaminated blood flew through the air, hitting the faces, bodies, wings of the remaining creatures, burning them. The Doctor laughed as the tables were turned and the creatures of death became the helpless prey. He knew he shouldn’t feel satisfaction at killing, but he couldn’t help it. He had seen what these things were capable of so often. They weren’t life. They were destroyers of life and he was destroying them.

“You did it.” He heard Nine’s voice in his head as the echoes of the last bullets died away. “Do you think you could throw me a rope now?”

“Hang on in there,” The Doctor answered. “I’m coming down for you.” He uncurled the length of rope and he and the constable firmly fixed it in place. He moved down quickly to where Nine was slowly and stiffly pulling himself up. His wrist was still a mess. He had deliberately prevented the wound from mending until he was sure his spilt blood had done the trick. He looked pale from loss of blood.

“I’ll be ok,” Nine assured him. “I just want to get away from this revolting place. The smell alone….”

“Yeah,” The Doctor reached and gave him a helping hand though and he was with him all the way as they climbed back to the top of the cavern. “We did it,” he said. “We got them all.”

“Yeah,” Nine grinned. “We’re not a bad team, really.”

“Once we get over the old multiple personality disorder.”

“And the fact that one of us shouldn’t even exist according to the laws of physics.”

“Nuts to the laws of physics.”

“That’s what I always say!”

“I wish I’d fixed the remote function on the TARDIS. I need a shower and a change of clothes DESPERATELY.”

“Yeah, I wasn’t going to mention that. But you’d maybe want to keep the window open your side when we drive back to the village.”

“Something’s wrong,” Nine said as he sat in the passenger seat of the Morris while The Doctor drove. He had been quiet since they walked down from the cavern. Time Lord or not, regenerative cells notwithstanding, he had been bitten twice by vampyres and been dropped from a height and then drained half of his blood out again. It had to take its toll.

Even so…

“Something’s wrong where?” The Doctor asked him.

“I can’t make contact with Vicki. I made her close the telepathic connection with me because I didn’t want her to see THAT. But I can’t reach her now.”

“She could be asleep?” The Doctor thought of the simplest, least sinister possibilities. But he knew perfectly well that Vicki and her father had the closest of connections, bound by love. Even asleep he would be able to feel some connection. He joined his mind with him and reached out, too. But the emptiness was worrying.

Dread gripped them both and the journey back to the village seemed endless. When they reached the Crown they were by no means reassured to see a police car outside it. The two Doctors were neck and neck as they ran into the hotel.

In the reception they saw young Beatrice and her mother, and Theresa Dunne from the farm, still clutching her child tightly and looking as if her world was still spinning three times as fast as it was supposed to. The sergeant from the local police station looked up from taking a statement from the women as they entered. His expression when he saw Nine, his clothes, face and hair still covered in dried blood and vampyre dust, was comparable only with that of the landlady herself as she viewed such an apparition in her nice, clean hotel. But Nine wasn’t in a mood to discuss personal hygiene, and what Beatrice had to report to him didn’t make him feel any better.

“We were all here,” she said. “Waiting for the doctor to come and look at Theresa and the baby. There was this noise and… God’s honest truth sir, this MAN appeared out of nowhere. He grabbed your little girl. Miss Susan tried to fight him and then all three vanished, right in front of our eyes. I’m not making it up, honest. That’s what happened.”

Nine looked as if he would fall down any moment as he took in what was being told to him. The Doctor glanced at them all and decided that people who had witnessed a temporal and spatial materialisation could cope with the sight of a technological anachronism. He pulled his mobile phone from his pocket and pressed the preset for Susan’s phone. The relay masts that WOULD be on the nearby hills in another 60 years time sent the signal but the voice that answered the call wasn’t Susan’s.

“Hello, Doctor!” a cold male voice said. “Pretty children you have. And so gifted. The little super-telepath is just what I need to power my neural transducer. And the other one… I am sure I can find a use for her.”

The laugh that followed those last words froze his hearts. The uses The Master could put a girl like Susan to didn’t bear thinking about. Let alone….

“The Master has my child?” Nine’s voice trembled as he spoke aloud. “My baby is in the hands of that fiend.”

“Focus,” The Doctor said. “We have to get back to our TARDISes.” He turned and looked at the assembled group of eye-witnesses. “Listen to me,” he said in a quiet but insistent voice. “Nobody vanished into thin air. We sorted out the “ghost” and now we have to leave in a hurry. That’s all. Get on with your lives. Theresa, put the tragedy at the farm behind you. Look after your baby. Be happy. Beatrice, have a wonderful life and I’ll see you in sixty odd years when your daughter is Prime Minister.”

He probably wouldn’t have managed to influence the thoughts of so many people at once if Nine wasn’t near by to draw some of the mental power from, but he allowed himself a brief flash of pride as he saw how well it worked.

By the time they all blinked and looked around the two men from the Ministry of Health were gone. When the landlady checked her accounts she found their overnight hotel bills were paid in full and there was a forwarding address for any belongings they had left in the room when they were called away suddenly. To her astonishment it was 10 Downing Street, London.