The Doctor went down to the TARDIS before anyone else was awake. He slipped inside and looked at the quiet console.

“Do this one small thing. For her.”

He stepped through the inner door and along the corridor and opened the double doors. He smiled to see the illusion of his home recreated for a brief moment again. He walked to the river edge where the Memento Mori lilies grew and picked a bunch of them. He carried them carefully back to the ‘real’ part of the TARDIS and told it “thank you” very quietly.

Memento Mori lilies died off quickly once picked unless treated in a certain way. He found the preservative spray in a drawer in the small room where he kept the kind of things anyone accumulated over time – the sort of things ordinary people might keep in a bedroom cupboard.

He sprayed the flowers and though they looked no different he knew they would last for years now. The same drawer yielded a sheet of coloured cellophane and a length of ribbon.

He got back to the flat just as Rose emerged from her bedroom dressed sombrely in a black dress and cardigan. It was the first time he had seen her in black. Usually she liked bright colours. But it was the right thing for this day.

“We never had time to go to a florist yesterday,” he said, giving her the bunch of flowers.

“Oh, thank you.” She looked at the bouquet and recognised them as the flowers of Gallifrey – the remembrances of death. She kissed him on the cheek and said thank you again in a smaller, more choked up voice. It wasn’t until later that she wondered how he had managed to get them. She was just so touched by the gesture. He could be oblivious to the point of insensitivity to her feelings sometimes, but other times he did things like this and seemed embarrassed when she thanked him for it.

Not THAT insensitive, he thought, catching the tail end of her thoughts. Besides… Cuimhne… the name his parents had given him as his own personal suffix on his Gallifreyan patronymic. Remembrance. He had been predestined to understand this kind of thing. Had they known? He often wondered. His father was a powerful psychic. Had he known even when he was born, that his son would be the last Time Lord, destined to remember their whole world, their whole culture and to mourn it alone?

Or was he just being unusually morbid because it was a sad anniversary for those around him. For him, too, for that matter. Thanks to some strange quirks of fate he had known Pete Tyler well enough to want to pay his respects.

Even in the long time he had spent on earth in the 1970s, he had never had to travel by London Transport before. It was never going to rate as one of his most memorable experiences. But it was the way Jackie and Rose had always travelled to the cemetery and though they appreciated his offer to take them by taxi it didn’t feel right. The fact that Jackie accepted his presence at all was something.

They walked from the bus stop to the cemetery, a big corporation one with thousands of memorials in long avenues between the lines of gravestones.

“I never thanked you for coming along,” Jackie said to The Doctor’s surprise. “I’ve never found it easy… this day. It’s nice of you to give us your support.” She paused. “But I suppose you know what it’s like. You lost your wife…. Or… do they do it this way on your planet?”

“Yes,” he said. “Its funny, but the whole universe over, civilised societies seem to need cemeteries – places to remember. I used to…. My wife… she was buried in the family plot on Gallifrey. I used to mark her birthday and the anniversary of her death.”

“Used to?” Jackie queried.

“Mum!” Rose was appalled at her pressing the question.

“What?” Jackie asked. “I only wondered why he didn’t mark his wife’s birthday any more.”

“I do,” he said. “But not by her grave,” The Doctor said.

“MUM!!” Rose almost yelled at her then remembered where she was. “His planet was destroyed. You know that.”

“I know. But he’s a time traveller. I thought….”

“No.” The Doctor told her quietly. “Gallifrey is gone. Forever. I can’t ever go back to it.” He looked around the big cemetery. “As big as this place is… I have more people to mourn than are contained in this ground. But I have nowhere to go. There are no memorials to Gallifrey.”

“Oh.” Jackie looked at him and her natural compassion overrode her usual stroppiness and antipathy towards him. “You know, there’s a memorial garden by the entrance. For people like you… with no grave to go to. If you like.…”

“Yes,” he said. “I’d appreciate that. But let’s do what we came to do first.” He felt suddenly selfish. This day wasn’t about him. It was about Rose’s dad.

They came at last to the grave. The Doctor wasn’t entirely sure what he expected to see, but the simple slab set into the ground didn’t seem adequate somehow. He read the inscription.

Peter Alan TYLER

Born: 15.09.54

Died: 07.11.86

Beloved husband of Jackie, Devoted Father to Rose

The most wonderful man in the world

He wondered if either of them believed that last part. Pete Tyler struck him as a decent, honest, well-meaning man, possibly a bit naïve in his business interests, who did his best, like most Human beings. And that seemed as good an epitaph as any. But Humans tended to remember their dead with a kind of stripped out memory that overlooked the negative and remembered only the good. Ordinary men became beloved, devoted, wonderful.

There was no harm in that unless they hung around with Time Lords who could take them back and show them the Human, flawed men their loved ones really were. He knew Rose had been rather disappointed at first when she met her dad after growing up hearing from Jackie what a great man he was. But she had realised before it was too late that she loved the flawed man all the same, and mourned him as deeply.

He looked at Jackie and Rose as they knelt and left their flowers by the gravestone. He did something he knew he shouldn’t. He listened to their thoughts.

“You should have had a better gravestone than this,” Jackie was thinking. “But you silly effort, in all your plans you NEVER thought about life insurance or any kind of provision for THIS. You left me and Rose penniless and this was the best I could do. Pete, I did my best. I always did. I know I might have looked like a silly tart sometimes, picking up men who weren’t a patch on you, just because I was so lonely. I made a lot of mistakes. But I tried my best. I brought up our daughter the best I could. She’s beautiful. And… and now she’s got a good man to look after her. You… you know him. You like him. I like him, too. He’s the best thing in our lives since… since you.”

He was surprised by that. Jackie actually DID like him? So much that she was thinking of him by her husband’s grave? He knew he was the most important thing in Rose’s life. It floored him to think Jackie thought so, too. Was her usual coldness towards him just a front? Humans had more of a tendency to mask their feelings than the most uptight and emotionally stagnant Gallifreyans he had ever known.

He turned to Rose and looked at HER thoughts.

“Daddy,” she was thinking. “Do you remember that wonderful day we had in Brighton. I hope you do. I know it was only an illusion, but it felt so real. I hope you can remember it, too. And… and can you remember being at my wedding. All of us happy together… You and mum… me and My Doctor. He’s the reason I’ve had a chance to hug you three different times in the past few years. He’s the most wonderful man in my life apart from you, Daddy. We’re going to be together forever. And I know he’ll never let me down. I want you to know that, and be happy for me.”

Together forever. He hoped so. If they weren’t he’d have let her down so badly. Let them both down. This was a reminder of just how much he had impacted on both their lives. He was responsible for the Tyler women, both of them.

Domestic ties. He wasn’t supposed to have any. He was meant to be a free spirit, a wanderer with all of time and space at his fingertips. Responsibility should be something he resented, ran from. But he didn’t. It felt like a hole in his life was being filled. He felt more complete for having this little anchor in his life.

For the moment as they laid their flowers and tidied the little grave plot they didn’t really need him. But being here had reminded him of his own needs. He saw the way to the memorial garden Jackie spoke of and walked towards it.

It was a nice place with flower beds surrounding a fountain, and around it in a circle, wooden benches, all with small brass plaques dedicated to some soul who, for whatever reason had no grave. He looked at some of them. There were a lot of people lost at sea, soldiers whose bodies had never been found in the chaos of war, a British victim of that terrible day in New York that even he, an alien to this planet, considered to be one of his most painful memories. He sat on a bench that had been dedicated to a young man who had been aboard a ship called the Sheffield, sunk in the South Atlantic in 1982.

Memento Mori. WHY was the floral symbol of his planet a flower that represented death? He never knew. The reasons went back longer than he could remember and by Human standards at least, that was a long time, although nine hundred and fifty was still young by Gallifreyan measurements.

He FELT old. And the reason he did was the far too many people he had outlived. His mother…his memories of her death were vague. He was six years old. He remembered being brought to her bedside and allowed to kiss her goodnight – as he did every night. But this was not night. It was mid-morning and he had not been taken to school that day. The house had felt strange. The servants had all been upset. He remembered none of them seemed able to look at him. He didn’t know what was happening at first. He didn’t understand. He was playing in the garden when she died. And then when he knew his father had held him while he cried with those Human eyes he got from his mother who would never be there again in his life.

His wife’s death had been the next time he had felt such grief, and again his father had been the one who comforted him. Again he cried those Human tears that set him apart among his own race.

His father was there, too, when Christopher was killed. But his father couldn’t help him through the greatest grief of his life, because he WAS one of the victims of the firestorm that engulfed Gallifrey. So were so many other people he knew. Friends, family… Uncles, aunts, cousins…. And…..

“Hey.” Rose sat beside him and put her hand in his. He turned to her and saw her own tear-streaked face.

“Never gets any easier, does it.”

“Been coming here every year as long as I remember,” Rose said. “Mum used to keep me off school this day. She always cries. I didn’t used to… because I didn’t even KNOW dad. But now….”

“My fault,” he said. “I’m the reason why you know him now.”

“Fault? Never. I’m grateful. For all those times. So is mum. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to cry. Gets it all out.”

“Gallifreyans don’t cry,” he said “They don’t have tear ducts.”

“You do.” Rose put her hand up and brushed his cheek where a tear had fallen unbidden.

“My eyes are Human,” he said and pressed his lips together in a grim, tight smile. “I’m the only Time Lord who knows how to cry.”

Rose brushed his cheek again and held her hand there this time. He turned his head and kissed it. “I thought I’d be the sad one coming here today. It brings it all out though. Are you thinking of Julia?”

“No. I’ve come to terms with Julia’s death. She died of old age at the end of a good life. A long life for a Human. I miss her, but there is nothing to regret.” He paused and looked at her and decided that honesty was the best thing. “I was thinking of my brother… wishing I’d been kinder to him.”

“I didn’t know you had a brother.”

“I know.” There was a ghost of a smile on his lips as he squeezed her hand and held it in his lap. “And do you know, that was the first time I EVER called him that. And it's too late. Strictly he was my half-brother. When I was out there on my student field trips as ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous….” Rose smiled, as he knew she would, at the epithet they had long adopted to describe his younger self. “…My father remarried and his new wife had a baby - a son. Garrick, his name was. Short for something twenty syllables long, of course. His mother was a member of a high caste house. Garrick was a full blood…. Unlike me. There were those who thought he ought to be made primogeniture.” He paused. “Stupid question, maybe, but do you understand what that means?”

“Primogeniture? Something about first born.”

“Yes. On Gallifrey, the first born son of a House inherits absolutely, and has the moral responsibility, but no legal obligation, to provide for any sisters and younger brothers. In other words, they are dependent on how nice a guy the first born is. He CAN turn them all out penniless and our daft laws are on his side. If I had been passed over in favour of the full blood I’d have been homeless and penniless, and I’d have had no way of marrying Julia, because our marriage contract includes a financial settlement to the parents of the bride. Bloody mercenary lot, aren’t we.”

“It all sounds kind of old fashioned. Merchant of Venice stuff.”

“Yeah, something like that. Anyway, my father stood by me. He refused to disinherit me. I knew he would. But it didn’t make me feel much better about Garrick. It wasn’t his fault. He was a nice kid. He worshipped me – his big brother – and when he was a little boy I was fond of him. But there was always a wedge between us and later, it resurfaced again.”

“You and your brother fell out?”

“This is not a side of me I am proud of, you understand. I was a total git to him. But anyway, when I married Julia, my father settled the family estate on me - he took a comfortable income for himself and one of our small country houses, but the business and property came to me. Garrick was still a kid, so it didn’t matter. But by the time he came of age… things were different. Too much had happened to sour our relationship.”

“You cut him off without a penny?”

“No. I did the decent thing. I made a fair provision for him, although I did stick in a couple of codicils that let him know he was only provided for out of MY generosity. I think I actually put in that he couldn’t marry without me approving his bride. That really WAS mean, because I really couldn’t have cared LESS who he married. I had already lost Julia and I didn’t care about anyone else’s feelings.”

“Yep, sounds like you were a total ratbag to him.”

“I was. And yet he still did his best to please me, to be acknowledged by me in some affectionate way. I knocked him back every time. Ratbag about sums it up. But then… I became a Renegade. In my absence I was tried by the High Council and convicted of a couple of hundred different offences. I was disinherited. I’m sure a lot of people were pleased about that. My father WASN’T one of them. He argued in my defence. But he was forced to renounce me and give what WAS mine to Garrick.”

“Oh, dear.”

“Well, seeing as I wasn’t even there, I didn’t care much. As I told you before… eventually they caught up with me and served the rest of their sentence on me – my current life was forfeit. The malicious sods made me go through an actual execution before they let me regenerate.”

Rose knew already how horribly painful that had been, but he wasn’t going to dwell on such a memory. “And they made me an exile on Earth. Well, that REALLY wasn’t bad. I made a lot of special friends – like Jo and Sarah Jane. Then, there were some power changes back home. They decided they needed me after all. They used me as an agent to settle some matters even THEY couldn’t avoid interfering in. That was when they ordered me to get rid of the Daleks. I messed that up, but I did a few other missions for them. And in return for services rendered I was reinstated. By that time Garrick, who was a WAY better businessman than I ever would be, had about tripled what our family estate was worth when I owned everything. And I let him split the estate fifty-fifty between us. I still wasn’t interested in being his ‘brother’ but he had a wife and kids then and I wasn’t THAT much of a git as to take it all away from him. But I liquidised most of my assets. I put my money in investments outside of Gallifrey where they couldn’t touch it if they tried to disinherit me again - the next time the Lord High President was anti-half-bloods. I kept one of the gold mines and the mountain out of sentimentality.”

“OUR mountain?” she asked.

“Yes.” He smiled. “OUR beautiful mountain. I wish I could have taken you there for real, not just an illusion.” He sighed deeply. “Anyway, that’s about it. The last time I saw Garrick was a few days before the end. That made it so much worse. He had a wife and children of his own. He was a senior member of the High Council. Everything I was meant to be. We had lunch. We were CIVIL to each other. He was worried about the war. He was talking about getting his family away from Gallifrey. I thought he was being paranoid. I thought even if the universe imploded Gallifrey would still be there. Oh, I was so wrong. They ALL died. Nobody had a CHANCE to get off the planet. They all died. I saw it. I felt my people cry out in agony deep in my soul. All of them at once. And all I could think of was that in all these years I never once told him that I loved him. That he WAS a fantastic brother.”

“Oh, you soppy article,” Rose said, hugging him as his tears fell unchecked. “It wasn’t your fault.”

“That they died…. I don’t know if it was or not. I don’t remember exactly what happened. I was hurt, too. That’s when I had to regenerate. There are a lot of missing pieces in my head about what happened. I think… I have very strong feelings that I made a mistake that MIGHT have caused it. I’ve been told it wasn’t – but sometimes I wonder. And… that’s a lot to have to live with.”

“Oh, crikey.” Rose hugged him even tighter. “Oh, my Doctor.” She had never seen him cry quite so much as this before. There was so much grief in his hearts that it hardly seemed possible even TWO could contain it all. She held onto him and just let him cry. She felt almost as if she was the one with nearly a thousand years of experience. She felt like she was comforting a child. He really felt that vulnerable for the long, long time that he took to finally bring his emotions into check.

“Rose….” He whispered hoarsely when he sat up straight and looked at her through eyes that were still beautiful despite the reddened rims and glassiness of the last tears that still trickled down his swollen cheeks. “My Rose… can you still feel the same for me knowing I could be a mass murderer?”

“You’re not,” she said with absolute certainty. “At worst, you made a mistake. You didn’t do anything deliberately. I would never believe that of you. And yes, I love you, still. I always will. Nothing you could do… nothing in your past or your future will make me love you less.”

“Rose.” His voice was cracked and disjointed. “My reason for living… the one who keeps me sane… What would I do without you?”

“You need never know,” she promised him and kissed his cheek. He moved his head around and returned the kiss on her lips, very briefly, as always. He never lingered in his kisses, but the few times he had kissed her like that she treasured.

Jackie saw them as she came into the memorial garden. She saw her kiss him on the cheek and The Doctor turn and kiss her on the lips. Her feelings were mixed about it. She still had doubts about him because he WAS an alien and did such dangerous things. But she didn’t doubt that he was a good man, and that he loved Rose - or that she loved him. Right now, after more than twenty years of being unloved, of too many men who wanted her for the wrong reasons, including some who just used her as a way to try it on with her young, pretty daughter – she knew bitterly how many had been like that – she could only envy them both.

There were things about The Doctor’s life she certainly didn’t envy, mind. What MUST it feel like to know your planet is dead, and everyone on it? She remembered the empty, gut-wrenching feeling she had when Pete died. For him it must have been a hundred times worse. How could he live with it? No wonder he was a little strange.

A little strange didn’t even begin to describe how he looked when she got close up. The kind of men she knew didn’t cry. But he obviously had. The signs were obvious.

But if he didn’t want her to know, then she wouldn’t know, she decided.

“I feel bloody worn out now,” she said to them. “Doctor, if it’s no trouble, I think your offer to call a taxi might be a good idea after all.” Better, she thought, than taking him back on the bus looking as rough as that.

“No problem.” He reached for his mobile phone. It was only when he looked straight at her and mouthed ‘thanks’ silently that she remembered he was telepathic. She smiled a thin smile in return.

“Will you two stick around for a while?” she asked while they were waiting for the taxi to arrive. “You don’t have anywhere to rush off to, do you?”

“We can stay a few days,” The Doctor said. “But… then I really want to go see Susan and the boys.”

“That’s a good idea,” Jackie said with another meaningful glance she knew he had understood. “Family is so important.”