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

They took the long route home from the opera. Even Jackie couldn't think of a compelling reason not to. And it did seem as if Rose enjoyed having her around for a bit. The TARDIS was HER home, after all, and having her mum stay was what young people in their own homes did. It was a strange home, but Jackie had to concede that for her daughter it WAS home.

She slept in Rose's pink bedroom and didn't think to ask where Rose was sleeping. By the time she woke in the morning she and The Doctor were already busy in the dojo. Jackie still couldn't watch them there without worrying so she went to the kitchen and made breakfast. When Rose and The Doctor came through, both looking freshly showered after their 'training' she made them sit and eat.

"Good grief, Jackie," The Doctor said as she put a plate full of food in front of him. "Do you expect me to eat all that?"

"You should have a good breakfast after all that exercise. Anyway, you're thin for your height. You should eat more."

"Mum," Rose protested. "Time Lords don't need feeding up."

The Doctor laughed. "I'm only thin because this time around this is what I got for a body. Three incarnations back you'd have put me on a diet instead."

"Don't," Jackie said, sitting down with her own food. "Don't remind me. I manage to forget most of the time that I'm floating around in a 'time vortex' in a wooden box that's bigger on the inside than the out and that you're an alien and all the rest of it. I begin to think of you as normal, and then you talk about that sort of thing and remind me again."


"I don't mean that you're not normal," Jackie hastily added, looking at The Doctor and realising that her words might have come across as rather insensitive. "I mean… Well yes, that's what I mean. I mean I don't mind that you're not. But it's easier if I don't think about it."

"Jackie," The Doctor smiled wryly at her "Did you ever hear the expression 'when you're in a hole, stop digging?'"

"Sorry." Damn it, she thought. I didn't MEAN to insult him. I just wanted to feel comfortable and not think about all the stuff that's too big to take in.

"We're in outer space, incidentally. So we're ALL aliens. We're explorers in space and time. All of us."

"I know," Jackie said, unable to stop digging. "But you're different."

"We should take her to meet the Face of Boe," Rose said with a wink at The Doctor. "Then she'd know what different really is."

"I should tell you I'm not keen on meeting anything with more arms and legs than me," she said. For some reason this made Rose and The Doctor laugh.

"Arms and legs are not the problem with old Boe," Rose giggled.

"Anyway," The Doctor continued. "Where we're going today everyone has the acceptable number of everything. So you don't need to worry."

"Where ARE we going?" Jackie asked, glad that he seemed to have let her off the hook for her insensitive comments.

"SangC'lune," he said. "For no other reason than it's been a while and I want to make sure everything is peaceful there."

"The place where they think you're a God?"


"I love SangC'lune," Rose said happily. "I wish we could visit more often. But he says it's not a good idea."

"Why not?"

"The people have to learn to be themselves and not rely on a 'God' to look after them," The Doctor said. "I love them. They're wonderful people. But their outlook on life is so simplistic it's childlike. And children are vulnerable."

"Wear your walking shoes. They haven't invented the wheel," Rose told her mum.

"They HAVE invented the wheel," The Doctor corrected her. "But they use it on farm wagons. People can walk."

Jackie's first impression of SangC'lune was that it was beautiful. As they walked along a low, grassy hill she gazed up at blue sky with a yellow sun like that of earth still low in it. Two moons, one white, the other blood red, hung in the sky like Christmas baubles even though it WAS daytime. They were both twice as big as the earth moon. For her first alien planet, Jackie thought, this wasn't bad at all.

"But seriously," she insisted. "The people here think YOU are a god?"


"Dressed like that?"

"What's wrong with how I dress?"

"Nothing for down the pub playing pool, though it's high time you got those buttons mended. But really! You can't even organise your wardrobe. How are you supposed to be a GOD to a whole planet."

"I often wonder that myself," he answered. "Jackie, you are my greatest nemesis. I have debated for hours in the great chamber of the Capitol City. But only you can ever leave me without an answer. Time Lord 0 - Jackie Tyler 1. Enjoy your victory."

They were not walking long when they were met by what Rose had told her were the elders of the community. Rose reached out her hand and held her back as The Doctor went forward to meet them with what she had been told was a traditional greeting in ancient Gallifreyan.

The language was not what surprised her so much as the way the elders fell to their knees, heads bowed, in front of The Doctor. And the way he gently touched them all on their heads as if blessing them.

"They REALLY do worship him," Jackie whispered.


"Well… Why?"

"Because the people of SangC'lune have always worshipped the Time Lords as their living gods."

"But surely they know he isn't… you know…" Jackie was not a theologist and had never given much thought to what God in person would be like, but she would not in a million years have thought of a lanky 45 year old with a Manchester accent who dressed like one of her husband's pub mates. And yet these people bowed down to him as if he had appeared in a blinding flash with white robes and beard and all that she thought Gods WERE supposed to be.

"I'm not sure what they believe," Rose admitted. "But they ARE dead serious about it. And he tries not to disappoint them." The formal greeting was over and The Doctor turned and held out his hands with a warm smile. They came to his side.

"You know my Lady Rose already," he said, and the elders bowed graciously to her. "May I present to you the Lady Jacqueline, who is also of my Earth-family and dear to me."

Jackie was stunned not only by the way The Doctor described her but the way the elders bowed to her as well.

"The blessed kin of our gracious Lord are welcome always," the senior elder said before turning to The Doctor again. "You will wish to visit the pyramids, sire?"

He told them he did and the elders bowed again and formed a kind of honour guard as they walked down the grassy hill to 'the pyramids' they spoke of. For Jackie, seeing them for the first time, the sight of the thousands upon thousands of black pyramids was awesome. She stared in wonder as they came down onto the plain and walked along the marble pavement between the structures.

"But what ARE they?" Jackie asked. "Graves?"

"Not exactly." Rose explained what she understood about the repositories of the 'essences' of the Time Lord lives in the pyramids. And about how, when the Time Lord comes at last to the end of his lives, the pyramid turns black and seals itself.

"They're all black," Jackie said.

"Not all of them," Rose answered. "The Last Time Lord's pyramid is white."

"The last…. Oh!"

It wasn't until she saw the white pyramid of Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow among all the black ones that she realised the enormity of that fact she had known about The Doctor for so long. He WAS the last of his kind. Jackie turned around and looked at the long, long line of pyramids they had passed. It made her eyes hurt straining to see how far along the valley the 'streets' of black pyramids went. And here was the white one, shining in the sun. It looked breathtakingly beautiful.

The Doctor did not go immediately to his 'own' pyramid, but stopped at the one before it. He put his hand on the symbol on the sealed door for a long, quiet moment. Then he walked to the other side of the white pyramid and did the same. Jackie was about to ask why when the reason came to her mind.

"They're ordered by family?" Rose nodded. "So the ones nearest to his are… his father… and his son who was murdered?" Rose nodded again.

"Terrible shame," Jackie said. "Poor man." He looked very sad as he stood there. Then he walked a little further. They followed. The elders followed behind them.

"They're bigger than they were," Rose said looking at the two small pyramids at the end of the line of pyramids of the House of Lœngbærrow..

"Yes, slightly," The Doctor said. "But they won't be complete until the boys transcend. That may not be long in coming though. They've learnt so fast."

"You're talking about Susan's boys?" Jackie asked. "Chris and Davie?" It seemed strange to her. She knew what The Doctor had been doing with educating the twins, but it felt strange to see that they were a part of this surreal landscape in this way.

"Yes," The Doctor said to her. "I know what you're thinking, Jackie. They're just children. Yes, I know. And they love to play just like other children, and I love to see them being 'ordinary' like that. But they're also amazingly advanced in all the things it took me two hundred years to learn. And in a few years they WILL be Time Lords like me. They will be the future of my dead race. They… When my life is over… will carry on here, looking after the people of SangC'lune as they, in turn, look after the pyramids of our ancestors."

That's a lot of responsibility to put on them," Jackie said.

"But we all have our duties and our responsibilities," The Doctor answered her. He looked back down the line. "Chris and Davie will be the tenth generation of Time Lords in this strand of the Lœngbærrow family. Each of us in turn accepted the duty and responsibility of what we ARE. It's only natural that they will one day take on the same responsibility."

He walked back to the big white pyramid, his own one. He took Rose's hand and kissed her. "I know you worry about me in there. But it's really ok. I'm in friendly company, after all." He told them to sit, as it might take some time, and the Elders laid their cloaks down for them. They watched him approach the door to the pyramid. He touched it and it opened. He stepped inside and it slid shut again. Jackie saw Rose visibly shudder.

"He's ok isn't he?" She asked.

"He says so. But… it still makes me feel…." Rose seemed unable to express what she felt. But Jackie had the feeling she was disturbed. The idea of what the pyramid represented disturbed her a little, too.

"Inside there…" She looked at the pyramid. "All his past lives? And he can go talk to them, get their advice about stuff…"

"Yeah," Rose answered. "That's about it."

"What does he need advice about?"

"The twins mostly, I think. About what he needs to teach them so they can be Time Lords."

Jackie thought of the two small pyramids and thought of Susan's twins. They were a lovely pair of kids. Full of life and fun like any kids, and yet serious and quiet as well at times. Funny to think they would one day be like him - like The Doctor. A Time Lord - one of the most powerful beings in the universe. But then, The Doctor must have been a child once. A long time ago. So long ago it made her shiver as she thought about it. But he must have been a little boy once. What was he like then? She knew what he was like as a teenager. Drop Dead Gorgeous, Rose called him. Chrístõ, she knew him as. A very nice boy. Jackie had always thought of him as that. But she had a hard time imagining him as a child. But he must have been. Even if they lived 3,000 years, they all began as babies just like Humans.

"How many of them are there in there?" Jackie asked, her thoughts passing back to that strange pyramid and the secret it held. "His lives, I mean."

"Eight," Rose told her. "You can count the obelisks around the outside."

"And that means that he has died eight times already?" Jackie thought about it for a moment. She looked at the pyramid, at the eight black obelisks and she shivered. "Does he remember? Did it hurt?"

"I think so. He doesn't like to talk about it."

"I can't imagine. Must be terrible. No wonder he's a bit…. Well…odd."

"He's not ODD. He's Fantastic."

Jackie smiled. She knew that look. The same one she used to have for Pete. Nobody could say a word against him to her, either. Well, until she married him, and she realised his shortcomings. But he was still her bloke. And she loved him. And she'd never have a word said against him. And Rose was the same about The Doctor.

Daft, she thought. All of us women. Putting our happiness in the hands of men.

It was a long while before The Doctor emerged from the pyramid. He seemed no worse for the experience and smiled as he came to them again.

"It's a lovely day," he said. "I think we'll take a ramble around. See a bit of SangC'lune life." He told the elders to return to the village and promised his attendance there later. Then he reached out and took Rose and Jackie by the hand.

"This is very pretty," Jackie said as they walked along a path cut by farm carts between fields. Jackie looked at them and found herself remembering her school history about the feudal system of medieval England. Crop rotation. She had a memory of colouring in a map of the different fields in coloured felt tip pens. And as she looked at these fields she felt as if she was IN that map. She questioned The Doctor about the SangC'lune society.

"Well, I don't know if they do crop rotation," he admitted. "But yes, the social structure DOES resemble 14th century England, except without any nasties like The Sheriff of Nottingham."

Rose laughed at that, but Jackie actually felt irritated by that remark.

"You don't have to patronise me," she said. "I may not be able to work the timer on the VCR, but I'm not totally thick. Do you treat the people here that way, too? Is that why they've never advanced beyond the medieval?"

"They live a life that works for them," The Doctor said. "What you would call advancement isn't necessarily what they need. They grow enough food for their needs. They are not burdened with taxes. They don't spend long hours down mines or in factories devoid of sunlight to produce mass-produced goods just to sell to people richer than they are. They don't NEED the trappings of 'modern' society as you think of it. They are happy as they are."

"Ok," Jackie conceded. "But the god thing… don't you think you ought to tell them the truth?"

"But it IS the truth," The Doctor insisted. "I AM their God. I don't like it. I DO think it is a dreadful idea that so many centuries ago my people led the SangC'lune people into believing in us as deities. But I can't take their religion away from them. Besides, I can be a force for good in their lives."

"How?" Jackie asked. And again he had no clear answer.

But a little further on she had a practical demonstration.

They came to what passed for a traffic jam on SangC'lune. A cart pulled by an animal that looked like a cross between a cart horse and a zebra had turned over and the crop of some kind of reddish-yellow vegetable had spilled all over. A young lad who had been driving the cart was trying to set it upright again, but it was too heavy for him. The Doctor immediately bounded over and helped. The lad seemed not to have realised who he was as he paid attention only to feverishly recovering the load of vegetables, and those watching realised the reason for his anxiety when a second cart arrived, similarly loaded up. The man driving that cart jumped down and grabbed the lad and started cursing him for a lazy good-for-nothing. He raised his hand to strike but found himself restrained.

"Pick on somebody your own size," The Doctor said fiercely. The man swore at him and swung his free arm around to connect with The Doctor's jaw in what looked like it might have been a powerful punch if it hadn't been blocked.

Jackie expected him to respond by flattening the man. She knew he could. He was stronger than the lanky nothing he looked. And the man was a bully after all. He deserved a taste of his own medicine.

But The Doctor didn't fight him. He pushed him away forcefully and stepped back. Even when the man ran at him again he did no more than block his punch.

But the one-sided fight had attracted attention. People ran from the fields to see what was happening. And some of THEM were a bit quicker on the uptake. Murmurs rippled through the crowd and they all began to kneel in supplication to their god. One came forward and told the angry man who it was he was trying to take a swing at. The man's face turned through several interesting shades before settling on a horrified grey and he prostrated himself before The Doctor, begging forgiveness.

The Doctor sighed.

"All of you, please, stand up," he said gently. Then to the man a little more forcefully. "Get up. Now." The man rose. So did the rest of the people, slowly. All but the lad who was still picking up fruits behind him. He had been too busy at his task to take any of it in.

"My Lord, forgive me," the man begged in a voice just a notch above a whimper. "Please don't curse me!"

"You were cursing that young lad who had done no wrong to you," The Doctor said in a cold voice. "And in my name, too."

"I was wrong," he said. "Forgive my blasphemy. Forgive me."

"I forgive you," The Doctor told him. "But what of the lad? Does he forgive you?" He turned and looked at the boy, who suddenly seemed to remember what he was supposed to do and he began to kneel. The Doctor reached out his hand and held him by the shoulder. "If I decreed that there should be no more kneeling, would I be obeyed?" he asked. But nobody seemed to think themselves qualified to answer. "Never mind," he went on. "The kneeling is embarrassing, but I suppose it serves its purpose in its way. But I will make one decree here. There will be no bullying on this planet. The strong will not lay a hand on the weak. I prefer to be a god of love any day. You don't want to see my wrath. You, help the boy recover his load and be on your way. And make sure my word is passed on. Bullies are not to be tolerated here."

"Very well handled," Rose told him when he returned to them.

"See, Jackie," he said to her. "I CAN be a force for good in their lives."

"Yes," she conceded. "But… will they obey? I think it would have been more effective if you'd battered him into next week."

"But that would just make me a bully myself who ruled by fear," he said. "I didn't ask to be a god. It's the last thing I wanted. Look at me! Is there anyone less godlike than me. A lanky streak in a battered coat with the buttons hanging off. But I AM their god. And at least I can choose what sort of god I am. And I choose to be a loving one. Will they obey? I think the likes of him might give it a moment's thought before striking out in anger. And sometimes a moment is all it takes to diffuse that sort of anger. They're less aggressive than Earth people anyway. They have far less petty ambitions than MY people. I think they'll be ok."

"I think you're a terrific god," Rose told him. "And I'm glad you didn't hit him, even though he DID deserve it.

"Well, it's one way of doing it," Jackie said. And the more she thought about it, the more she realised he was right. She would not admit it to him. But she realised her vision of him beating the man to a pulp was wrong. The Doctor wouldn't do that. The god of SangC'lune wouldn't do that, especially not with so many of his people watching. Instead he gave them an example of his mercy and a warning not to push that mercy.

That was POWER, she thought and caught her breath as she saw him turn his eyes on her. He gave a sort of half smile and she remembered he could read her mind.

"Come on, Jackie," he said to her. "Let's get on to the village. They FEED their god and his friends there. Call that one of the perks of the job."

They walked quietly to the village now. And Jackie was again surprised by the devotion the people had for him. As their party passed by people stopped in their work and knelt, heads bowed. People ran ahead and crowds gathered as they were brought to the largest building in the village square, the 'Great Hall' she heard it called.

Inside, they were seated on luxurious couches covered in silken cloth and food and wine brought. They relaxed, eating and drinking for a while. And then The Doctor stood.

"There's a crowd gathered," he said. "They want to see their god." He stepped outside and sat on the wooden veranda of the building. Rose and Jackie followed him. Rose automatically sat by his side and he smiled at her warmly. Jackie found a comfortable position opposite them. She watched as the people of SangC'lune came up to him, a few at a time, looking for his blessing upon their lives. Mothers brought babies and he held them briefly. Small children came filled with awe and fear and were disarmed when he reached and hugged them. Young couples came and asked his blessing on their forthcoming marriages.

Jackie watched with interest. She had to admit that he did a very good job of it. He was kind and patient with them. He didn't perform any miracles. They didn't ask for any. He simply gave them his love, which seemed utterly limitless. The nearest thing she could think of was a pop star signing autographs. But there was far less of a frenzy about this. They came up to him calmly, orderly and came away happy for having a minute or two of his attention. It was rather sweet in a way. It just seemed odd that HE should be the object of their devotion.

The worship of the living god, Lord of SangC'lune, reached its peak, of course, as the day came to a close. Jackie and Rose were both taken by handmaidens to one of the ante-rooms while The Doctor was taken by male attendants. It was better than an afternoon in the beauty salon, Jackie thought as the girls attended to them. And she wondered what the secret was, because when they had finished cleansing her face with a pleasant smelling astringent she really did feel fresher and younger than she had ever achieved with anything bought at Boots.

Being dressed by attendants was something Jackie had NEVER experienced. She noticed that Rose seemed much more used to it. They really WERE a long way from Powell Street flats.

"Wow!" Jackie said as she looked at herself and Rose in the big mirror the attendants held up at last. The twenty years between their ages seemed to melt away as they stood there in the gowns of rich fabric, pure white shot through with gold and silver, hair fastened up in a way that would make her usual hairdresser weep for joy. She thought the big elaborate collar was a little over the top, to say nothing of the silver circlets that were placed on their heads like crowns. But the overall effect was stunning.

"Wait till you see HIM," Rose said with a smile. And, indeed, when Jackie saw The Doctor she was stunned. Apart from the Armani suit he wore at Christmas and the Chinese shirt at the opera, she had never seen him in anything but that nondescript jumper and jeans and that leather jacket.

But NOW he REALLY looked like a God or a King or something utterly above and beyond the common man. His robes looked as if they were MADE of spun and woven gold and the even more elaborate collar was topped by a headdress that caught the light as only precious metals do. Even Rose seemed hesitant to touch him for a moment before she stood on tip-toes and kissed him briefly on the lips. Even that much intimacy seemed strange when he was dressed like that. He seemed distant, untouchable - DIVINE.

Until he turned and smiled the same disarming smile that told her that it was only elaborate clothes, and that, beneath the glamour he was still the same man.

Or was it that, beneath the battered leather and old jumpers he really WAS this lordly figure who truly did look like he ruled the universe? WHICH was the real him?

"So…" Jackie asked tentatively. "If Rose is your queen consort…. What am I?" She looked at Rose and at The Doctor. "I REFUSE to be the Queen Mother!"

"I don't think that's what they think you are," The Doctor said with another flashing smile. "I appear to have two queen consorts."

"What?" Jackie felt herself blushing. She couldn't help it. For some reason her thoughts went back to the first day she saw The Doctor. When she tried rather clumsily to 'pull' him. She remembered the next time they met, a year later, when she had socked him in the jaw for taking her daughter away from her.

They hadn't exactly got off to a good start. And yet, when the SangC'lune people thought she was his consort he didn't make any jokes. He didn't embarrass her. He didn't object to the idea. He simply reached and took both their hands in his and led them outside to where the people of SangC'lune were gathering for their Daygone Ceremony, a ritual they gathered for every evening as the sun went down, but which had an added excitement when their God was there to witness it.

And Jackie DID know what a consort was.

"Two wives?" She looked at him. "Do people do that where you come from?"

"No," he assured her. "But seeing as I don't even have ONE wife yet, I'm not too worried. You BOTH look fantastic. Don't be nervous. This is a nice little ceremony. All you have to do is look beautiful and be admired."

Jackie felt him squeeze her hand. He KNEW, she thought. He knew from reading her mind, or maybe just from being the most understanding man in the universe, that most days of her life she didn't feel beautiful or admired. He knew she usually felt old and washed up and past it. And she knew he wanted her to enjoy every moment of being the beautiful and admired queen consort of a living god, even if it was just a mistake.

It was a beautiful ceremony. The people gathered in the square before the Great Hall. Their God and his consorts sat upon a raised dais on high backed chairs like thrones as they chanted their simple but haunting prayers to the setting sun and the coming night. Jackie DID enjoy it. She glanced at Rose and knew she, too, loved it. The Doctor looked very dignified and very serious, but his eyes shone.

What did he say earlier - "I love them. They're wonderful people." He DID love them. She understood that being their god was not something he would have chosen to be. But having the role pressed upon him he seemed to have made his mind up to care for them as well as he could.

When the formal ceremony was over and they again came in small groups to receive his special blessing he was again gentle and patient. Jackie was surprised when she herself was approached by a young mother with a baby. She pressed her to hold the child. She hugged it closely for a moment and gave it back to the mother with a smile. She caught a glance from The Doctor. He nodded slightly to indicate she had done it right.

Afterwards he changed from his robes back into his ordinary clothes very quickly. Jackie and Rose were attended by their handmaids who put them into long loose gowns of silk that passed for nightwear. Jackie watched with amusement as The Doctor gently fended off the handmaiden who wanted to fasten his bootlaces for him. He sat on a chair and tied them tightly for himself.

"They don't even HAVE shoelaces here," he said, shaking his head. "Besides, there are SOME things even a God has to do for himself."

"I was wondering where we sleep," Jackie said. His smile widened and she felt herself blushing. She looked around at the big satin covered bed. Big enough for three people to sleep in. "NO WAY!" She cried. "ABSOLUTELY NOT!"

"Of course not," he said calmly. "What do you think I am?" And he picked up a pair of silk pillows from the sofa and walked out of the hall.

"He NEVER sleeps in here," Rose told her mum. "He always spends the night out on the veranda watching the stars, watching over the town - watching over his people."

"HIS people," Jackie smiled as she pulled back the sheets and lay down in the bed.

"Well, they ARE." Rose finished combing her hair and snuggled into the bed as well.

"Doesn't it feel odd to be…. Well practically engaged to A GOD."

"No. Because he's still HIM. Still The Doctor."

"Doesn't it feel odd to be practically engaged to The Doctor?" Jackie asked.

"No. Used to that now," Rose said.

Jackie slept soundly for a few hours in that wonderfully luxurious bed and didn't feel too guilty about The Doctor sleeping - or whatever he did - on the wooden veranda outside. When she woke, sensing it was still the middle of the night, she noticed she was alone in the bed. She got up and wandered out onto the veranda. It still felt nicely warm even though it WAS night-time. The two moons shone brightly in the sky giving a pink glow to the darkness.

"Beautiful," she whispered.

"Yes, it is." The Doctor spoke quietly and she looked around at him. He was sitting upright with the two pillows between his back and the wall of the building. One of his long legs stretched out and the other bent at the knee as he held Rose in his arms. She was sleeping with her head against his chest, her blonde hair falling loose across his dark coloured jumper.

Jackie sat next to them and for a little while just looked at the moons and the starlit sky - different constellations than she had ever known. Different planet. Sometimes during the day she had almost forgotten that, but looking up into the night sky there was no denying how far from home she was.

The village was silent and dark but for a few lanterns lit around the square. Jackie, born and raised in a city where the night was never silent, and never dark either, with street lamps and traffic lights and security lighting in shops and offices, just sat there for a long time appreciating it for all it was worth.

She looked at the Lord of SangC'lune, and at her daughter sleeping in his arms.

"She really belongs to you more than me, now." Jackie said. "You're all she lives for."

"Isn't that natural?" he said. "Our children… never really belong to us forever. They grow up, grow away from us."

"I keep forgetting you've been a parent."

“I forgot myself for a long time. It was the easiest way to cope with the loss.”

“You miss your son?”

“At first… I wondered how I could ever live without him. It hurt so much. Later… I lived for Susan. She needed me to be a parent to her. After she parted from me…. Don’t think badly of me. But after I had regenerated for the first time. When I was a different man essentially, I almost forgot about my family. They were there… in my memory. Like a closed drawer that I could open if I chose. But I hardly ever did because it was painful. Most of the people I have known in maybe four or five hundred years never even knew I was once a married man, a parent, a grandparent. I think a lot of them thought I wasn’t from a family at all, that I was some kind of cloned being that never knew about that kind of thing at all.”

“So why now?” Jackie asked. “What opened the drawer for you?” It seemed such a familiar description to her. She literally put her memories of Pete in a drawer. She usually only opened it when she’d had a drink or two and was in that self-pitying drunk mode where she wondered why the best thing in her life was taken away from her so soon.

“Rose,” he said, holding her ever closer and kissing her as she slept. “She did it to me. She… woke those feelings in me as if I had been sleeping for all those years. I fell in love with her. And the one kind of love woke the rest. That’s why I finally went back to find Susan and her children. She asks me often why I never went back before. If I told her I’d spent five hundred years pretending to be a single man, deliberately forgetting she existed, she would be so hurt. But the truth is that’s what I did. And… and it took your daughter to wake me up to my own self-delusion.” He sighed and then smiled gently. “There’s a lot of pain involved. Remembering the loss. A lot of regrets. But I’m a better man for it. I’m more complete now than I ever was. With Rose… with Susan, her children…. They all make up for the pain.”

“I understand,” Jackie said. And she did. But there was one thing. One thing that in making his life complete took something from hers.

"Will… I ever have grandchildren?" She never meant the question to sound so abrupt. But it WAS a question that had to be asked of him.

He looked at her and his eyes seemed to betray a deep hurt. "That's a hard one, Jackie." he said eventually after seeming to consider many other answers.

"You DO love Rose," she said. "I know that. And she told me you think you will get married one day. She said something about a dress with diamonds on."

"Yes. Tradition of my world."

"I have sometimes wondered if you were serious… if you weren't the sort who wouldn't commit. I mean… wandering around in the TARDIS, never being in the same place… you'd be the type."

"No, I'm serious. I'm committed. I want to marry Rose. I just want to marry her the right way. The way that FEELS right for me. Not…."

"Not the way me and Pete married…" She knew that's what he was trying to say without sounding insulting. "I know. That was a pretty rubbish wedding."

"It had its moments," The Doctor said with a smile.

"I forgot. You were there! Rose told me. The bit where Pete forgot my name!"

"If it's any consolation, that happens a LOT where I come from."

Jackie thought of HIS long, complicated name and laughed out loud.

"It wasn't the fairy tale white wedding I dreamt of as a girl. Best we could do. In the circumstances." She looked at The Doctor. "Well, I am sure you've done the maths. You know when Rose's birthday is."

"Not for me to judge, Jackie," he said diplomatically. "For the record, that also happens where I come from now and again. Despite our straight-laced attitude to such things."

"You never did answer my question… about grandchildren."

"It's complicated," he told her with a sigh. "But if it could be made possible… Nothing would make me happier."

"She'd be mother to a… a Time Lord. Like you."

"Yeah." He smiled. "You'd be a Time Lord's grandmother."

"I think I could live with that."

"So could I." Then he looked up and seemed distracted.

"What's up?"

"That house over there," he said, looking across the square. "I think there's something wrong."

Jackie looked. Most of the town was quiet. It seemed as if SangC'lune people were the sort who worked the daylight hours and slept at night without any trouble. But in that one house lights were blazing and people were moving about. It looked odd to her, too. The Doctor gently moved Rose's head from where she lay upon him and made her comfortable on the wooden floor with the blanket around her before he strode away towards the trouble. Jackie watched for a moment and then decided to follow him.

"Blessings on this house," he said as he entered through the open door. Jackie, close behind, saw the people turn and look at him and go down on their knees before him. "Please don't. I just came to see if I can help. I can see there is some trouble." He gently moved people aside until he found the trouble. A woman lay upon a bed in the main room of the simple house, clearly in childbirth and clearly in difficulty.

"Ok. This I CAN handle. Let's clear the room of people. Where is the father of the child?"

A man identified himself haltingly. He looked wrecked with worry. He turned to another man and told him to take the father out of there. When something like order was restored he pulled off his jacket and rolled his sleeves. He looked around at Jackie. "You can help."

"Yes," she said. "No problem. Just tell me what to do."

Nobody asked the woman whose labour was going so badly wrong how she felt about her 'god' coming to her aid. Jackie watched as he laid his hand gently on her forehead. She wasn't sure what he did but she became calmer immediately and seemed in far less pain. He then examined her quickly and efficiently. Jackie wondered when he had ever learnt to do that. She didn't know exactly why he was called "Doctor" but she knew it WASN'T because he was a medical practitioner. Yet he DID seem to know.

"It's a breech, and it's already too far along to do anything about that," he said calmly.

"Ok, I know about that. Been there. Done it." He looked at her for a moment then told her what he needed of her and she did it quickly. There was little time to think of anything for a while. Looking after his patient - one of his people whom he cared deeply about - was paramount.

When the child was safely delivered, the father reunited with mother and baby and a calm quiet over the house, they left without any fuss and walked back across the dark village square.

Jackie stopped halfway across. She put her hand on his arm. He turned and looked at her. In the moonlight she could just see his eyes. They were shining brightly.

“New life is always beautiful,” he said. “No matter where or when it happens.”

“Yes,” she replied. “You… were fantastic the way you helped that woman.”

“So were you,” he told her. “Absolutely fantastic, Jackie.”

She had the feeling that, if they were any two other people in the entire universe, they might have kissed each other. The rarefied moment, under two alien moons, seemed to suggest they should. But they didn't.

"This god thing…" She began. "Do you really…"

"If they started building temples and altars, and saying prayers to me, making sacrifices in my name - then I'd put a stop to it right away. As it is, their rituals are concerned only with night following day, the sun shining, the rain raining and making their crops grow. They don't really worry about having a god on a daily basis. They work the fields, they shear a strange woolly creature that looks like a cross between a sheep and a large rabbit. They make cloth, sew their clothes, take clay and make pots, dig enough ore out of the ground to make tools and shoes for those rather delightful creatures that pass for horses here. They have as much of an education system as they need to teach their young to shoe horses or weave cloth or make pots. They have songs and stories around their fires at night and that's their culture and history. They have herbs and natural remedies for the few ailments they have. Tonight was one of the rare occasions when they might have needed a little more advanced medical knowledge. But usually the village midwife would do the business. The most unusual thing they do is keep the weeds from growing around those old pyramids of ours. They have a good life. One I find myself envying sometimes - for its lack of complications. And… and though I DIDN'T ask for the job, I AM proud to be their god and to serve them in that capacity.

"Serve THEM?" Jackie looked at him. She had thought in terms of THEM serving him. That had been the thing that troubled her. But HE thought he was serving them.

"That's the difference, isn't it," she said. She didn't need to explain. She knew he had read her thought processes.

“Yes,” he said. He smiled at her again and then carried on walking back to the Great Hall. On the veranda he lifted Rose into his arms. She didn’t stir in her sleep as he carried her inside. He put her into the bed. He turned to Jackie as she watched him. “You should sleep too,” he told her. And she suddenly felt as if he was right.

She slid into the big bed beside her daughter. In the moonlight that streamed in from outside, before she slept, she saw him spread a sheet on the floor and pull a pillow from the sofa, and lay down upon it.

When Jackie awoke the next morning she again found herself alone in the big bed. She got up and went to the door. The Doctor and Rose were sitting there and, again, there were people petitioning him for his blessing. Word seemed to have got about of the 'miracle' he had performed in the night. Nothing he said would persuade them that it was anything else.

"Hi," he said as he saw her. "They'll bring us breakfast soon."

How easy it would be to stay here, Jackie thought as they DID bring them breakfast. HE could stay here, be the Lord of SangC'lune, waited on hand and foot - except for tying his shoelaces and maybe a few other things he might prefer to do for himself - being worshipped. Nothing asked of him in return except his love for them all. It told her a lot about him - to his credit - that he didn't do that. That he preferred the risks and hardships the rest of the universe offered than this easy life. He wasn't, she thought, such a bad bloke. And as gods went, he was ok.