Unfinished Business, Doctor Who, Dr. Who, Chris Eccleston, Christopher Eccleston, Doctor who Fiction

Chris sat up in his bunk bed. He could feel his great-grandfather's thoughts. He was asleep and dreaming. He'd been told often enough he SHOULDN'T probe his thoughts. But curiosity made him look closely.

He saw a different man, about the same age as his great grandfather looked now, but different looking. Different hair, different eyes - brown like his own eyes - different features. But he knew it WAS his great-grandfather when he was younger. Before he had regenerated many times.

He was driving a sort of car - not a hover car like his father drove, but one that really flew, high in the sky, above the houses.

It was dark. Below were the lights of a town. In the car music was playing. Chris recognised it as Puccini's Madame Butterfly. His great grandfather was humming along to it, but he seemed tired all the same, as if this was the end of a long day at work and he was glad to be going home.

That seemed odd to him. He knew his great-grandfather as a man whose life was so very different from anyone else's. It hardly seemed possible he once had a job just like his father did, where he came home at night tired from the day and wanted to sit down and rest.

But he must have once, Chris thought. His mother had told him enough of the place they came from, before they became wanderers in space and time. The life they had there WAS quite ordinary in all the ways Chris Campbell understood 'ordinary'. Which was increasingly what other people were and he wasn't.

This must be Gallifrey, he thought excitedly. It was a glimpse of that mysterious planet his mother and his great grandfather both spoke of in sad whispers - the place where they all CAME FROM.

He landed the car at his home, the house Chris recognised from when they visited the illusion of it in the TARDIS. He took a briefcase from the back of the car and got out of it. He was partway up the steps when the door opened, light pooling out onto the dark driveway……

"Father?" Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow looked startled to see his father standing at his door. Of course, it had been his father's house once. When he came home from school as a boy his father would always be there, waiting for him. Quite often to dry his tears and comfort him when the other boys had hurt him because he was the half-blood they despised. But the old man had moved out into another property of the family estate not long after Chrístõ had married. The family house was given over to him, the first born son who inherited absolutely. To see his father back there was strange, though in a good, comforting way.

That had been his first, immediate thought, before he felt the unmistakeable foreboding as he took the last steps to his own front door. He knew something was wrong, but he knew also that his father was deliberately closing his telepathic thoughts from him, so as not to accidentally pass on what he had to tell him until he was ready.

The servants all looked upset. If they were not Gallifreyan he thought they might have been in tears. None of them could look him in the eye as they scurried away doing their work.

"Son!" His father put a hand on his shoulder. He, too, looked as if he would cry if he could. But his father was a pureblood with no tear ducts in his eyes, only a membrane in his eyelids that washed the eyes when he blinked. "I'm sorry, son. I wanted to be the one to tell you. Not the Chancellery Guard."

"What's happened?"

"Christopher and his wife - they're dead."

"No!" He turned pale. His hearts froze. His voice seemed to crack and it was painful to speak. "No. It can't be. I talked to him on the videophone this lunchtime. They were going on a trip. He asked me if I'd like to have Susan with me while they were away." He looked at his father. "Susan… Is she…."

"Susan's here," his father said. "Her nurse brought her round this afternoon as you arranged. She's safe."

"Oh!" That was a small comfort at least. "But what happened? How…"

"Their car…. There was some kind of sub-atomic explosion. They were both killed instantly."

"No!" He had tried to hold it together but now his part-Human DNA betrayed him. His EYES were the part of him inherited from his Human mother and tears leaked from them as he tried to hold them back. "No. Not my son, not my boy." He seemed to collapse in on himself. His legs gave way and his arms reached out to stop himself hitting the cold marble floor of the hallway. Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow senior ordered one of the servants to stop standing around staring and to close the front door, then he lifted his son up onto his shaking feet.

He brought him to the drawing room, a beautifully laid out room with fine furniture and rich curtains, a crystal chandelier above and gilded mirrors and family portraits on the walls. His son hardly seemed aware of these mere possessions as he sank down onto the sofa and buried his face in his hands. "Sub-atomic." He repeated. "There's no body then?"

"They found some…" his father swallowed hard as he repeated the details he had been given. "Some remains - female, at least as far as they can tell. Christopher must have taken the full force of the blast. There was nothing they could identify."

"I'll never see him again. Not even as… as a corpse."

"I'm sorry, son." His father held him by the shoulders and tried to comfort him. "I am sorry."

"How could a sub-atomic… in the car… How?"

"It was a bomb."


"They were murdered. That's what the Chancellery Guard have said. It was a bomb in the car."


"That's what they said."



"Politics be damned," Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow cribed. "My son… my boy. He was so brilliant. So clever. So… so beautiful. My beautiful, handsome son who was going to be the youngest ever Lord High President!" For a while he could say no more. His grief overwhelmed him. Then he stood and went to the fireplace. In the centre of the mantelpiece was an ornamental dagger, made of gold, the hilt decorated with gemstones. He picked it up and pointed it at his left heart. His father ran to take the weapon from him.

"I don't want to live," he screamed. "First my wife, now my child."

"You MUST live, Chrístõ." His father told him. "I don't want to lose my son as well as my grandson. I grieve too. I grieve deeply for the loss we both share. I… I envy you those tears that you are able to cry. Besides, there is a good reason for you to live." He nodded towards the doorway and a young woman in a nanny's uniform came forward carrying a baby in her arms. She gave the child to Chrístõ senior and he in turn gave it to his son. "Your granddaughter, Susan. She needs you now."

"Susan." He held the baby close to his chest. She was a little less than a year old and could just about call him 'granda'. But right now she was half asleep and unaware that there was a terrible thing happening in her life. He looked into her eyes. They were deep brown like his wife's. As disappointed as they were that the first child was not a boy to continue the Lœngbærrow line, they had ALL loved this beautiful little girl from the moment she was born.


Chris sobbed as he felt his great-grandfather's sorrow, and half-smiled as he saw the baby's eyes. He knew them well enough. His mother's eyes.

At least she was too young then to know the horrible thing that happened. Just a little baby when her mum and dad were killed. Chris wondered how he would feel if it happened to his parents.

At least he would have his granddad, he thought. Just as his mother had him to care for her. He knew his granddad would be there for him and Davie and Sukie if they were left alone as his mother had been. Chris knew he loved them as much as he had loved their mother.

And yet, it had not always been that way. It felt as if they had always known him, as if he had always been there. But actually it was really only about two years since he first came to see them. The day he had taught him and Davie to do penalty kicks in the garden. Before then they had known nothing about their mother's family. They vaguely knew that pictures on the drawing room walls, the pictures in the big family album, were of a relative who was no longer around. But they had never known why. Then again very few of their school friends had grandparents alive either. They knew there had been a big disaster when their parents were young. A lot of people had died. Families had been scattered and lost. So they weren't unusual, and they had not asked why they had no other relatives. Their parents had both loved them enough that they never felt a gap in their lives.

And then he had turned up, and though he only stayed a little while that first day, leaving again before they went to bed in the evening, they had known him at last. And their mother had patiently answered the millions of questions he and his brother had asked, sometimes tearfully, sometimes with a smile. They had come to know her story, THEIR story, their family history.

But he had never FELT it this way before. And he had never seen it from the other point of view - of their great-grandfather who had been left so sorrowful and alone, with the baby who would one day be their mother to look after.

Chris wondered how anyone could have borne so much unhappiness as his great-grandfather had felt that horrible day so long ago.

Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow looked into the eyes of his granddaughter as he held her on his knee. It was easier than looking at the two coffins set by the dais. Listening to her innocent baby chatter was easier than listening to the words of the funeral rite. The coffins were mostly for the show of it. Only one of them even had any remains in it. A hand and a foot. That was all they found of the beautiful Ámándáliá Mírraflaex de Lœngbærrow. Nothing could be found of the body of Christopher de Lœngbærrow. They said he had been vaporised by the force of the blast. Chrístõ would have been glad even to have known as much as a hand remained of his son. Something he could have touched even for a moment. He seemed doubly dead. Worse than that, even.

There were only a few ways a Time Lord could be killed outright. A sub-atomic explosion was one of them. But Christopher never even reached the age when he could regenerate anyway. He wasn't even 300 yet, young, full of promise, full of love for his family, for his wife and daughter, for his father.

Chrístõ regretted the years he had been off-world and hadn't been near to him. When his son married and began a life of his own in his own home, he had felt as if there was a hole in his life. Christopher had needed him less and they had drifted apart. He had filled the gap with travel - with adventures in time and space just as he had done in his youth. But it had not been as wholly satisfactory this time. He returned home to Gallifrey after only five of the ten years leave of absence and resumed his work with the external ministry.

And he had been glad he came back. It meant he had been there to share his son's joy at Susan's birth, a healthy, beautiful girl whose blood, if not quite 100% pure, was Gallifreyan enough for all but the most extreme pureblood fanatics. Even before her naming ceremony there were those who wanted to make arrangements for her future marriage into the most politically expedient families. Christopher had been adamant that his daughter would not be given to any man who thought of her as political expedience. That was one reason why he gave her an Earth name; Susan Julia Amanda de Lœngbærrow. He set her apart from the petty hierarchy of their world and gave her a connection with that other planet that was always in their blood whatever DNA might say about it.

Nobody was offering to marry her now. But the elders of the House of Mírraflaex had tried to argue that she should be brought up by them. They pointed out that both he and his father were widowers and neither of them able to care for a baby. But Christopher had been an even smarter lawyer than his father, and had made it clear in his will that Susan should be raised as a Lœngbærrow, and should know her half Human ancestry. He knew the pureblood Mírraflaexes would try to make her forget. But they could not argue against a will. The one thing all the Lœngbærrow's could do well was make words dance to their tune. They could write cast iron contracts and indisputable wills. The Mírraflaexes had backed off, accepting defeat. Susan was his by every right and law of their society. He was her undisputed legal guardian. He had a second chance at being a parent. A small crumb of comfort as the rest of his world crashed and burned.

He sobbed openly as the two coffins were placed upon the funeral pyre. Other mourners looked at him in embarrassment. 'Flaunting his mixed blood' they murmured. 'Shameless lack of self control,' they said. 'Half blood, always over-emotional.'

He didn't care. It was his grief. Nobody else's. It was HIS son he was mourning with that empty coffin and empty, comfortless ritual.

When the funeral was over he had turned and walked away, the child in his arms. He had gone home, put her to bed with a kiss, and then he had sat in the drawing room and swallowed several glasses of malt whiskey, imported from Earth. Time Lords don't feel the effects of alcohol - unless they want to. For once in his whole life, he wanted to. He let himself feel the effects of nearly a full bottle. A drink induced oblivion was the respite he thought he wanted.

And that might have been his undoing if his father had not found him, slumped in that oblivion, forced him to wake up, to expel the alcoholic poisons from his body, and to take in one more horrific fact.

The murderer had been arrested.

The trial had been swift. The man admitted everything. It was personal jealousy first and foremost. He loved Ámándáliá and resented Christopher de Lœngbærrow - the halfblood - marrying her. But political rivalry compounded his frustration. The joining of Mírraflaex and Lœngbærrow Houses made them a powerful political block. He had wanted to undo that union.

A public execution brought out the strangest mix of people. Those who wanted spectacle were easiest to understand. You got them anywhere. Those who wanted to support the condemned man - who thought Gallifrey was a better place without 'half-blood usurpers' - made another significant block of spectators.

Those who supported the killer's victims didn't seem to outnumber them by very many, but they did outnumber them. And at least the law was on his side. Justice was being done according to the prescribed statutes. Though that gave him little cause for satisfaction.

The condemned man was brought from the detention centre. His face was hooded, his hands bound. Chrístõ wondered if he had wanted to see his face right now. He thought, actually, he would. He wanted to see if there was any remorse for what he had done. But the law said that the condemned man had the right to hide his emotions in the last minutes.

He was placed into the atomising chamber. It was all the more appropriate as he had taken the lives of his victims with a bomb that created the same effect, vaporising the body.

As the one most directly hurt by the murder Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow had the right to pull the switch that initiated the execution. He refused, though it was necessary for him to be there as an observer. He watched as one of the elders of the Council performed that horrible duty instead. There was a low hum that increased in frequency and intensity. There was a scream from within the chamber. It sent a ripple of fascinated horror through the crowd. And then there was an abrupt silence. It was over.

Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow was the first to walk away from the scene. He did not like the death penalty. He didn't like their method of execution. He took no satisfaction from this death. It only seemed to compound his own grief. Another family now had a death to mourn as well as the shame of having an executed murderer in their lineage. All because of their petty political system that made one man envy another's position until he would kill for it.

Chris looked up. He saw his great grandfather standing in the bedroom doorway. He stepped into the room and sat on the bunk beside him. He said nothing, but he put his arms around him and held him. He WAS crying. Chris cried too. They comforted each other for a long, long time.

"I have told you before not to look into my memories," The Doctor said at last. "This is why. I never meant you to hear this story until you were old enough to understand."

"I do understand," Chris said. "He was my grandfather. Your son… "

"Yes. But that's not what I mean. Our family tree is easy to sort out. But the grief, the bitterness. They weren't for your eyes, son."

They were both aware of the significance of that last word of the sentence. 'Son!' Chris put his hand over his great-grandfather's. They had similar hands. Slightly too big for their proportions, long fingered and agile. Chris's was still many sizes smaller, but it was a proof of their blood connection over the generations.

"You tried to kill yourself," Chris said.

"That was a moment of madness. And you really should NOT have seen it. You're too young for such things."

"I'm older than I look," Chris replied. "Davie and I both are. You've made us older by teaching us so many things. But it's all right. Please, granddad. Now I know… tell me the rest. The man who killed my grandmother - if he loved her - why did he kill her?"

"That I don't know. I spoke to him once while he was being held in prison. I asked him why he did any of it. All I know is that he had a hatred for half-bloods more intense than I have EVER known. It seemed to burn in him. He could hardly look at me - the father of his half-blood victim, another half-blood contaminating his world. I think…. He may have made a mistake. Perhaps he didn't expect Ámándáliá to be travelling with Christopher. Or perhaps his hate had poisoned his hearts and soul so deeply that he would rather see the woman he loved dead than married to what he saw as an abomination. I don't know. I tried not to think about it too much. The end result of his hate was the same whatever way he meant it. Besides, even if he had spared Ámándáliá he still wanted to murder my son. The hurt to me was the same either way."

They sat in silence for a while. Their tears had run out. They both just thought about all that they had experienced together through those memories.

"My full name is Christopher," Chris said after a while. "But mum never calls me that. It's always Chris."

"I never called my Christopher by any other form. Never Chris, and NEVER his Gallifreyan name. He called himself that, and the people he worked with did, of course. Because to acknowledge his Human name was beneath them." He smiled at one pleasant memory that drifted through his mind. "When he was a baby I called him my miracle. "Miraglo". Julia chose the suffix to his name. OUR miracle, because they told us he couldn't be born at all. They said a half-blood mixing with another Human would produce a weak hybrid that would not live. But he was a perfect Gallifreyan child. Only his eyes were Human, like mine."

"And mine," Chris said. "And Davie. We're both half-bloods too."

"No, you're not." The Doctor told him. "That's the old way. We're the only Time Lords left. You and Davie and me. Our blood is THE Time Lord blood. There is no such thing as 'half-blood' now. Time Lords DO have eyes that shed tears. We DO have Human feelings of compassion and understanding as well as cold logic. We ARE the future of our race, Chris, my boy. All the evil that has been done to us, to our people, to our family in particular - all that is over and the future is ours. We ARE the future."

Chris looked at his great-grandfather and though he was ten going on eleven, he understood. He understood far more than anyone realised. He reached out and put his arms around his great-grandfather's neck and hugged him. He felt him cry again as he held him. He felt his great-grandfather's thoughts and knew he was crying because that was exactly how his son had hugged him when he was the same age Chris was now.

And Chris understood something else. He understood what their blood tie really meant. Though he WOULD always be Chris Campbell, son of David Campbell of Earth, at the same time he knew he was also, in spirit at least, through that unique blood that was in his veins, Christopher de Lœngbærrow, son of Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow of Gallifrey. When his great-grandfather held him, as he held him now, that's who he was.

"Yes," The Doctor said smiling tearfully. "Yes, Chris, my boy, you ARE. You're my son reborn in so many ways. In the way you look, in the way you act, in your talents and your strengths and your ambitions. And I love you for all of that. But I don't want you to be that. Really I don't. I don't want you to be a substitute for the child I lost. I want you to be yourself. Chris Campbell of London, England, EARTH. Never forget that. And never let me forget it either."

They held each other in mutual love and comfort for a long time. Then at last The Doctor put his great-grandson to bed again. He tucked him into the bed and kissed him goodnight and walked away back to the console room. He knew the boy was not reading his thoughts now. He had made him promise not to for tonight at least.

At least the nightmare had been cathartic. He had exorcised those ghosts for now. Though he knew the hurt would never go away. He had said it many times. No parent should outlive their own children. It was the most unnatural thing in the universe and the pain NEVER went away. It was a unique pain he recognised too easily. He had seen it in individuals of every species in the universe except those that had artificially interfered with their own biology and removed the concept of family from their society. Daleks, Cybermen, several Humanoid species who had decided cloning was more efficient.

And they were wrong. For all the suffering it had meant for him, for all he had lost, being a son, being a husband, being a father and grandfather in his turn WERE the fundamental reasons for living. He wouldn't swap that for being the soulless product of a cloning machine. His pain, his suffering, all as a consequence of the fragile nature of those emotional ties, were all a part of who he was.

Usually he would meditate now. The deep trance would wash away his cares and renew his body. But he didn't want to. He had drifted to sleep cuddling up to Rose in her bed. He'd meant to wait until she was asleep then get up as he always did when they shared that innocent intimacy. But he had been weary himself after a long day and had fallen asleep. And the dream had come unbidden to him. Dreams such as those were one reason he avoided ordinary sleep usually.

But this once, just this once, he felt the need to be Human. Or at least act like he was. He slipped back into the warm bed and folded himself around the sleeping form of the woman he loved. She was NOT a substitute for Julia, any more than Chris was a substitute for his dead son. But they were both a precious part of the future he knew he was lucky to have. He let himself drift into sleep thinking this time, not of the past, but of that future. And he felt something like contentment.