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

"So where are we going?" Rose asked as The Doctor slid the TARDIS out of temporal orbit and into the time-space vortex.

"Somewhere we can breathe clean air under a big sky," The Doctor said. "And a long way from coal mines and computers."

"Yeah, sounds like a good idea. It was creepy down that mine, wasn't it."

"Very creepy. Didn't enjoy having my brain bored into," The Doctor mused. "Really didn't enjoy that."

"Are you ok?" Rose asked, concerned. "Did it hurt you?"

"Yes, it hurt," he told her. And those three words didn't even begin to describe it. He had felt as if his head was being ripped to pieces. Last night, lying by her side, he had been afraid to sleep for a long time. He had examined his brain closely, inch by inch, for traces of damage that could affect him in the long term. Only when he was sure his regenerative cells had fully repaired the damaged tissue did he let his mind relax, confident that he would wake the next morning knowing who he was and where he was.

"It's over now," he said. He wanted to put the experience out of his mind. The destination he had put into the TARDIS navigation system would be a good place to do that.

"Doctor…" Rose looked at the life support console. "How long has this alert been flashing?"

"What alert?" he asked coming around the console to see what she was looking at.

"It says there's an intruder aboard. Whoever it is, they're in the Wardrobe."

The Doctor looked at Rose. They both had the same thought.


The Doctor uttered a whole string of Low Gallifreyan swear words.

"Stupid, stupid girl!" he said angrily. "I'll put her in the bloody airlock when I get hold of her."

"We don't HAVE an airlock," Rose told him as she followed him down the corridor to the Wardrobe.

"I'll GET one," he answered. "Just for HER."

"Out here, now," he called angrily at the door of the Wardrobe. "Come on, no more games."

Wyn emerged from the Wardrobe looking mutinous. Looking, also, even more tomboyish than she ever did in a pair of black jeans, a plain black t-shirt and a black leather jacket.

The Doctor looked at her and wondered for a moment why the TARDIS had adapted one of HIS jackets down to teenager size. For it WAS, unmistakably one of the duplicates the TARDIS kept for him. But it was also clearly Wyn's size. The Doctor was a little disturbed by the idea that a tomboyish girl might see him as a role model - and at the same time flattered.

"So what the hell did you think you were doing?" he demanded.

"Hitching a ride from Llanboredom, South Wales," she answered. "Didn't think you'd be so nasty about it. I thought you were a nice bloke. You stuck up for me in front of my idiot brothers. You treated me like I was somebody. But you're just like the rest of them. You don't like me either."

"Of course I like you, you silly girl," The Doctor told her as he took her by the shoulder and led her back to the console room "But you had NO RIGHT sneaking on board my TARDIS. You have no idea where we might be going, if we would even be going back to Earth." He sighed and looked at Wyn and at Rose who shrugged as if to say it was up to him whether he put her in the airlock he didn't have or not.

“Rose, give her your mobile,” he said. “I’m not having a repeat of the ‘Where is Rose Tyler’ campaign. And I’m not going to be accused of being a child snatcher again, either. Call your mum. Tell her where you are, and that I’ll get you back home when I’ve got the time. I’ve things I want to do right now, plans I’ve made. Playing truant officer isn’t one of them. So you’re stuck here. But at least make sure Jo knows you’re safe.” Rose gave her the phone. She sat on the White House sofa to make the call. The Doctor smiled ruefully. His brief anger having dissipated, his mood changed again.

"I just get you TARDIS trained," he said with a twinkle in his eye that she knew meant mischief. "And now there's another teenager with a crush on me to deal with."

"News for you," Rose answered. "It's not you she fancies."

"Well, who then?"


"Oh!" The Doctor looked puzzled by that for a moment. "So why the leather?"

"Cos she thinks that what I go for, obviously."

"Ah. And you're ok with that?"

"You know perfectly well I fancy YOU. And not just because you're smouldering in leather." She reached and kissed HER Doctor on the lips for a long, lingering moment. "Grown up love between Time Lord and woman. That's what we have. Wyn's just a kid who needs to grow up a lot. Maybe the TARDIS is the place for it."

"Maybe," The Doctor said. Though he didn't need any of his latent precognitive skills to know there were going to be interesting times ahead. And it didn't take long for them to start. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Wyn drop the mobile phone and run out of the console room.

"I'd better go after her," Rose sighed.

"No, I'll go. You keep an eye on things and bring us into land when we come out of the vortex." The Doctor strode out of the console room after the teen stowaway. He found her fairly easily, sitting in the Wardrobe room again breathing hard like a person who was trying not to cry.

"So.." he said.

"I heard you two laughing about me."

"We weren't laughing about you. Mostly, I was kissing Rose…. The woman I intend to marry when circumstances allow."

"She thinks I'm just a kid. She said so."

"You ARE just a kid. Sixteen…"

"Is old enough to do loads of things as an ADULT."

"Not where I come from," The Doctor told her. "You'd still be a baby there. Two hundred is a young adult."


"Never mind. There have been sixteen year olds in the TARDIS before. My own Susan, Vickie, Ace, my favourite juvenile delinquent…. All of them more adult than you are. They didn't just strop out when they didn't like what they saw or heard. If you want to stay with us, then start acting more maturely. Otherwise you're out of here. And if you don't quit the sulking I might not even make sure you're on Earth first."

"You can't tell me what to do, you're not my dad."

"Is there some kind of prepared script of teenage sulks?" The Doctor asked. "I knew that one was coming a mile off."

"Well, you're not."

"I know. MY son would never have spoken to me like that. Nor would my granddaughter. Where WE come from children respect their parents. And by the way, you might want to reflect that you wouldn't HAVE a dad if Rose and I hadn't saved his life last summer."

"He never said."

"Would you be there to listen to him? Or is everything about you, Blodwyn?"

"Wyn, not Blodwyn. Stupid name."

"Do you know why your mum called you that?"

"Dunno." Teenage shrug. The Doctor sighed. He wondered if Rose was like that at sixteen. He was glad he'd met her a bit later when the hormones were settling down a bit.

"Your mum's life was once saved by a Welsh coalminer called Bert, who for reasons of his own called her Blodwyn. I expect it was the first time she ever heard that name. Bert died shortly after and she was very upset. A sweet, sensitive woman, your mum. Bert stuck in her mind ever after. And when you were born it was the first and only name she could think of. It's not a stupid name. It's one that means a lot to her."

"I hate being a girl."

"Well, that I can't help you with. But it isn't my fault, and it isn't Rose's and it certainly isn't your mum's fault, is it?"

Another teen shrug.

"Jo is such a sweet soul, it beats me what she did to deserve a daughter like you, Blodwyn." He knew that was nasty, below the belt. But it was time for shock tactics. While Wyn was taking in his words and searching for a response he heard the TARDIS engines change. He felt the vibrations like a race driver can feel the car he is driving, like a sailor feels the ship he is sailing. He knew Rose was landing the TARDIS perfectly.

"Rose and I are visiting a fantastic planet. You can sit here and sulk or you can come with us. But if you stay here now, be warned. I'm locking the TARDIS. You'll be stuck in here. I'm not going to search the planet for you when you wander off on your own. It's entirely up to you."

Another shrug, but she got up and walked past him back to the console room. He followed.

"We're here," Rose said. "Wherever here is."

"Malvoria," The Doctor said.

"Where the martial arts come from? Malvorian Sun Ko Du?"

"Yes. Just the place for a brisk stroll in the mountains. You two go get into walking boots and coats. We're going hiking."

When they returned, wearing strong boots that felt heavy on their feet, The Doctor was waiting with three backpacks.

“Doing it the proper way,” he said. “With all the essentials on our backs.” Rose and Wyn both put their packs on without needing his assistance. Both were too much the feminist to ask. The Doctor put his own pack on and they set out.


The afternoon sun warmed the deep mountain valley. Rose looked down at the river that snaked through the gorge at the bottom. It was so far away it looked like a thin thread.

She looked up at mountains with snow on their peaks even though this was summer and the bushes and wild, wind-swept trees near their path were in full leaf.

"We're not going to the top of one of those are we?" Rose asked.

"No," The Doctor told her. He pointed to a building that looked pretty far away even so, about halfway up the nearest peak. "That's the monastery where I spent some time learning the disciplines of Sun Ko Du. We're going there."

"It's miles away," Wyn said.

"About five miles. A nice afternoon walk."

"Why don't we take the TARDIS to the door?" Wyn asked as they set off walking.

"Because a five mile walk in the mountains is what I want," The Doctor answered. "Any more complaints? Because there are lots of deep ravines I can drop you down and make it look like an accident."

There were none.

Rose had spent most of her life in the smog of London and hardly walking anywhere. Five miles of mostly uphill walking would have done her in once. But life with The Doctor had toughened her up. Their daily practice in the dojo had strengthened and tested muscles she didn't even know she had. She enjoyed the trek along the paths that ran up the side of the mountain with breathtakingly precipitous drops on one side and sheer cliffs the other. Wyn, who had spent her whole life in a Welsh valley was better adapted to the exercise than she realised. She might not have learnt to use her muscles as effectively as Rose had, but she was ready to have a go. And she actually DID start to enjoy herself.

"We're on another planet," she said after about half an hour.

"You just noticed that?"

"We are actually ON another planet." She looked up at the sky, at the sun that warmed them. "That's a different sun, a different sky. How far are we away from Earth?"

"About 16 million light years," The Doctor said. "Not that far really. Just around the corner." He didn't exactly have a set test for Human companions to pass, but Wyn's awed and excited reaction was far preferable to - for example - Adam, who had fainted.

"You don't think it's amazing?" Wyn asked him.

"I was born on another planet," he said. "My father was a roving diplomat. I made my first hyperspace jump at six weeks old. I guess I'm spoiled. I should try to remember how wonderful it is to feel the warmth of different suns." And he looked at Wyn and smiled. He actually smiled. After the roasting he'd given her before that was almost as much of a shock as the realisation that she was, indeed, on another planet. She looked again at that alien sun. It didn't look much different from the Earth one. Was it a BIT bigger? A slightly different shade of yellow. As for the planet…

"Its kind of…." She was lost for words.

"Fantastic," Rose supplied the word she sought. "You're lucky. You got to go to a planet. First place he took me was five billion years into the future to watch the Earth explode."


"Yep, that's The Doctor. He sure knows how to show a girl a good time."

"Never heard you complain,"

"Did I say I was complaining?" Rose answered him back. "I LOVE going places with you. Wouldn't have missed a moment. Well… except for the WEB maybe, and a couple of other creepy moments. And that time in Milan and..."

"You'll be scaring Wyn," The Doctor laughed. "It's not ALL bad. We've had lots of fun."


By the time they reached the monastery gate they were starting to feel a little footsore, though exhilarated by the experience of walking in clean mountain air. Wyn asked if there was any chance of being FED there.

"Yes," The Doctor said as they approached the big wooden door in the old stone wall. "But you won't get any bacon butties. People here eat healthy."

"I don't REALLY eat bacon butties," Wyn admitted. "I just say that sort of stuff to annoy everyone."

The Doctor pulled a thick cord by the door and a bell boomed somewhere within. Presently the postern was opened and a monk in a deep red robe stepped out. The Doctor put his hands together, finger tips pressed to his lips and bowed his head. The monk did likewise.

"I am Do-rje Gyel-tsen," he said. "Former student of this monastery and Master of the discipline. These two are disciples of mine who I have brought to see how the initiates are trained."

"Do-rje Gyel-tsen!" The monk bowed even lower as he repeated the name. "One of the Lords of Time who came to learn our ways. Master, you are welcome!" At that, the big door was fully opened. The Doctor didn't LOOK like somebody who would command so much homage as was paid to him by all who learnt his name, but Rose knew not to set any store by appearance. His reputation had preceded him, and it was a reputation that he had earned, apparently.

"Do-rje….." Rose began.

"Gyel-tsen," The Doctor finished. "Diamond Prince of Courage," he translated. "I didn't choose it. It was the name I was given here when I became a Master of the discipline."

They were brought to a big hall where the monks were about to eat a meal together. Several hundred of them, all in the same red robes, sat cross-legged on cushions before long, low tables. The Doctor and his 'disciples' as he called them were shown where they could sit. There was no 'hierarchy', no 'high table' where the elite sat. All were equal at the meal table.

The food was a stew of sorts in which rice and nuts featured but nothing in the way of meat. Wyn laughed and suggested they have some of her dad's recipes for the Amazon fungus, but she ate hungrily as anyone does after healthy exercise. They all ate. After the stew there was fruit to eat at leisure from large bowls set in the middle of the table and glasses of a rice wine. Wyn looked warily at it and The Doctor told her she could have one glass of it but to drink it slowly since her only other experience of alcohol was her dad's organic Chardonnay. He showed her how to peel and eat the fruit, which was not any kind she had seen before. As cross as he had been to have her sneaking on board, Rose thought he rather enjoyed her being there. Somebody for him to teach. SHE was getting to the point where there was little he could teach her. So were the twins. He enjoyed having a pupil.

After the meal, and a rest period, they went to a large room that Rose recognised as a communal Dojo for the practice of Malvorian Sun Ko Du. Although she had become proficient in the other four forms of martial arts The Doctor knew, Judo, Tai Chi, Karate and Shaolin Gung Fu, she was still no more than a beginner at Sun Ko Du. When they changed into loose fitting gi to join in with the practice, she and Wyn both wore the cream colour of the beginners. The Doctor wore deep red that was close to black and a belt of a colour that had no name in the Human spectrum. He did not take part in the activity here, though, but sat with a number of other 'masters' and watched the disciples at work.

The prime difference between Sun Ko Du and any of the other disciplines she had learnt, of course, was that this one was practiced not on the floor, but on narrow spars of wood that were fixed at different heights. Rose began by facing an opponent on a spar about a metre and a half from the ground - roughly the height of a balance beam in Earth gymnastics. Wyn began just a foot from the ground and made very little progress in the course of the session while Rose graduated to fifteen feet above ground.

"Very nicely done, both of you," The Doctor said when they were done.

"I fell off dozens of times," Wyn said. She was feeling pretty well exhausted. A five mile walk and then martial arts was one active day. If she'd been home she'd be on her bed listening to her stereo by now. But the merest possibility of admitting that she was having a less than fantastic time here on another planet with The Doctor and Rose was not allowed to cross her mind.

"It was your first time," The Doctor assured her. "If you had more practice you'd do fine."

"I'm short and fat and clumsy," she said.

"Doesn't matter," The Doctor insisted. "These disciplines make everyone equal regardless of body shape or size." They were walking with a group of the Sun Ko Du masters, and both Wyn and Rose gasped when they came out onto a wide ledge before a great chasm between two cliffs. Across the chasm four more spars were fixed. Rose looked down once and wished she hadn't.

The sun was going down, and part of the chasm was in shadow. When four masters walked forward from the shadows it looked as if they were walking on air. They stood midway between the two clifftops and waited for challengers to come forward. The Doctor winked at Rose and Wyn and stepped onto the nearest spar.

"Oh my…." Wyn breathed. "Is he nuts?"

"No. He's good."

"THAT good?"

"Yes," Rose said, because she'd seen him practice on the line drawn across their dojo to represent the plank across the chasm.

But this was not a line. This was the real thing.

She knelt in the manner he had taught her long back when she had her first lesson. She steadied her breathing and concentrated on watching his lithe figure as he walked confidently to the centre of the chasm. He bowed to his opponent and then they began to fight. Rose kept herself calm and steady. Wyn was hopping up and down in agitation.

"What if he falls?" she whispered loudly.

"Masters rarely fall," one of the monks said. "But if they do, then their souls become one with the mountains."

"Er…." Wyn looked at Rose. She didn't seem to be worried. She looked perfectly calm about it.

She may look it, Rose thought, but inside she was a nervous wreck. She couldn't even look at how deep the chasm was. If he fell, it was instant death, and she didn't reckon the chances of a regenerated body walking out of there. He looked fantastic out there. He was beating his opponent hands down with moves that thrilled her to watch. But she longed for him to be finished and come back onto solid ground.

This was not a fight to the death or anything so dramatic, merely a demonstration that his claim to be a master was justified. And it WAS. When he finished, bowing to his opponent and turning to walk lightly back across the spar to the cliffside, masters and disciples all bowed respectfully to him. Rose stood and bowed too, but he stopped by her and raised her head up to meet his gaze.

"Disciple or not, you're also my fiancée, and you don't defer to me," he whispered. He held her by the hand as they went back into the monastery. Wyn came the other side of him. Nobody told her she couldn't, although she was so much in awe of what she had just seen him do that she almost wondered if anyone as ordinary and useless as she was SHOULD be walking beside him.

"You're not ordinary and you're not useless," The Doctor told her and she was startled. Could he read her mind?

"Yes," he said. She gasped.

"Nobody is useless," he added. "A pain in the neck, maybe, but never useless."

"I'm no good at Sun Ko Du! Even Rose is great at that. And you…."

"I've had hundreds of years of practice," The Doctor said. "But what do you mean EVEN Rose?"

"Well… I mean…" Wyn blushed as she tried to explain what was, she realised, rather a mean and petty thought. "I mean anyone looks at her… they'd think 'dumb blonde' - all eyelashes and lipstick and fashion clothes. And they wouldn't expect her to be any good at anything. She's…. she's a Daphne. I'm not even Velma. I'm Velma's fat, dumb cousin."

The Doctor looked puzzled for a moment. He understood most Earth popular culture but he tended to have other things to do on a Saturday morning than watch cartoons. Rose laughed and explained.

"Rose isn't a Daphne," The Doctor said, remembering who exactly HAD saved London from the ravages of the Nestene consciousness. The first day he met her she had risked her life in a dangerous spur of the moment action to save HIS life and her world into the bargain. Definitely not a Daphne, if that epithet meant an old fashioned melodrama heroine who screams and swoons while the hero runs to her rescue.

As for Velma? He looked at Wyn. She WAS a hell of a problem to him. He had NOT planned to have her around in the TARDIS. What he really wanted was to spend some quality time with Rose, enjoying being engaged to her, taking her to some of the more romantic corners of the universe. He was trying not to resent the intrusion of a teenage tomboy with some serious chips on her shoulders into their lives. Wyn was a likeable kid when she wasn't sulking. He DID like her. She'd been pretty heroic herself down in the mines at Llanfairfach. She'd done her bit without complaint. And even though he WAS angry about her stowing away, he had to admit that took not only initiative but courage, considering the uncertain future she was signing up for in coming on board the TARDIS. But what to do with her?

"You're not a Velma," he said. "You're Blodwyn Grant Jones. A unique individual with lots of great qualities."

"If you say next that she has a great personality we'll both hit you," Rose told him. "That's what people always tell the fat kids and the plain kids and the ones with glasses and the kids who the bullies pick on. To make them feel better. But the universe doesn't take any notice of personality."

"I wasn't…." The Doctor looked at them both and thought for a moment that living more than 900 years didn't help when it came to understanding the females of the universe.

"Doctor!" Rose looked straight at him and hoped he was picking up on her thoughts. "All she needs to know is that YOU like her and think she's an ok kid." He blinked and looked puzzled for a moment. But he got her message.

"Wyn," he said, putting his arm around her shoulder. "I LIKE you. You're fantastic!"

Wyn looked at him a little suspiciously at first. Was he just saying that? Then she smiled.

The Doctor thought it was like seeing the sun come out after a cloudy day. If she smiled a bit more and did less sulking, he might be able to like her without making an effort to do so.

The monks and their guests retreated as the sun went down on their world into the hall where they ate. There was rice wine to drink and fruit to eat, while the monks provided entertainment in the form of stories told with music from strange stringed instruments and chanted songs that went on for quite a long time. The central story surrounded a hero who came from the stars and fought a tyrant who sought to oppress the people of Malvoria. The people called him Do-rje Thup - Diamond Heart.

"That wasn't YOU was it?" Rose asked The Doctor, remembering that Diamond-heart was part of his full Gallifreyan name.

"No," he said. "It was one of my forebears. My Great, great, great grandfather. Our names are in some way prophetic. His suffix marked him out to be a fearless hero. Mine… to be the keeper of the memory of Gallifrey."

"So you have a lot to live up to in your family," Wyn said. "Like me. Daughter of a twice Nobel Prize winner. Do you know how much pressure I get from my science teachers? And I don't even LIKE science."

"THAT I understand," The Doctor said. "Not the bit about not liking science," he added. "Science is what makes the universe happen. But having to live up to the reputation set by your parents. Eight Lord High Presidents in the family…."

Wyn wasn't sure what a Lord High President was, but it sounded as impressive as being twice winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry. She looked at The Doctor and he looked at her. And they both saw a little of themselves in the other.

"Doctor," Wyn said after they had listened for a little while longer to the heroic deeds of Do-rje Thup. "Can you teach me the martial arts stuff, like you taught Rose?"

The Doctor paused, unsure how to answer that question. It wasn't that he didn't want to or that he couldn't. Of course he could. But he had not intended for Wyn to stay with them THAT long. He had thought to show her a few interesting places, give her some experiences to remember, but then get her back to her mum where she belonged.

He couldn't tell her that. But he couldn't lie either. And he had to say something quickly.

"We get up at a quarter to six in the morning for practice," he said. "Be there with the sleep out of your eyes and I'll start you on the same programme Rose followed." What else could he say. He promised her a start. He couldn't promise where or when it would end.

When the entertainment was over, the monks formally bowed to each other and retreated to their dormitories to sleep the night. Rose was on the point of asking where THEY were going to sleep when The Doctor brought them out to the cliffside again, lit at night by great lanterns that cast a glow across the chasm, illuminating the thin spars where the masters practiced their skills. He pressed his key and summoned the TARDIS.

"Where do I sleep?" Wyn asked as they stepped into the console room.

"You'd better ask the TARDIS," The Doctor said. "It tends to allocate rooms to those it decides belong on board." He and Rose both went with her to the corridor where the bedrooms were. One of them was still officially Jack's room. The TARDIS seemed adamant he was still an official part of the crew. Then there was the room with bunk beds for the twins. The other room was Rose's pink bedroom.

Or it was. She opened the door absently and stared. Wyn stared, too.

"That's MY room," she said as she looked at the unmade bed and the posters and piles of comics and discarded clothes all over the floor and spilling out of the overstuffed cupboards and wardrobe.

"Can you put the dirty plates in the kitchen and the mouldy food in the bin, please," The Doctor said to her. "Otherwise, if this is how you like to live, that's your business." Unlike Rose, who found the duplicate of her room at home in London disturbing, Wyn seemed delighted at the idea of having a piece of home here in the TARDIS. Perhaps she didn't hate Llanfairfach as much as she let on, The Doctor reflected.

"Where did my room go?" Rose asked. It was no more than a storage place for clothes and make up, but it WAS hers. Why had the TARDIS displaced her? To make room for Wyn? Surely it didn't think she had no place here any more. The Doctor certainly had no intention of replacing her in his affections.

"Come here," The Doctor said, leaving Wyn to tidy her room. He took her hand and opened a door that Rose had never seen unlocked before.

"What is this?" she asked as she looked around what an advert in the property sections would call a 'master bedroom'. She tried not to look at the king sized bed with silk sheets and pillows. She looked up and saw a huge viewscreen on the ceiling and one behind the bed like two huge windows onto the universe, currently showing the dark mountains of Malvoria and the starry sky above them.

"How long has this room been here?" she asked.

"Since about a week after you first stepped on board," The Doctor told her. "The TARDIS created it for us. But it's not until now that we've NEEDED it." He opened the big wardrobe and she saw all her clothes there, next to HIS spare leather jackets and t.shirts. "I've NEVER had a bedroom in the TARDIS. I never needed one. And you had your cabin bed in the console room. But… the TARDIS thinks we should have a room to ourselves. It thinks you should be beside me in the night. If you wake and wonder if it's a dream - you only have to look up and see where in time and space we are. And if I think it's a dream… I only have to turn and see you beside me."

Rose looked around again, noting the door to an en-suite bathroom and the dressing table with her own hairbrush and make up on it. Then she looked at the bed at last. On the pillows, side by side, were her red silk nightdress and his satin pyjamas. "What about not doing anything that is against your honour as a Gallifreyan?"

"Holding you in my arms through the night isn't against that honour," he said. "This is not… I'm not asking… not expecting… anything but to be by your side. But the TARDIS thinks…. that it's time we both decided we belong here."

"The TARDIS thinks…" Rose smiled. "I once wrote to the problem pages of 'Seventeen' about my love life. They never told me I should ask a bunch of metal and circuits what it thinks I should do." Was it her imagination or did the lights flicker when she said that.

"The TARDIS is more than metal and circuits. As you know well. It's a friend. And a wise friend at that. It takes no notice of our stubborn minds and our neuroses and our refusal to accept the inevitable. This is OUR bedroom, Rose."

"Black silk sheets?"

"Well, as long as it's any colour but pink you can change those," he said. "But just don't go back to the bunny pyjamas. They don't belong in here. They don't belong in our lives any more." He picked up his pyjamas from the pillow and went into the bathroom. He showered and shaved himself, brushed his teeth, put on the black satin and stepped back into the bedroom.

Rose was wearing her nightdress and she had taken off her make up and brushed out her hair. She stood in the middle of the room playing a game that reminded him forcefully that the TARDIS was female and that it was almost as much in tune with her as it was with him.

She was trying out bedroom décor schemes. He watched in amusement as she snapped her fingers and the bed, the carpet, the furniture changed in style, shape and colour. He was very glad that she dismissed the bright red heart shaped bed in a room that was otherwise all black. The 'uggh' she uttered summed up his own thoughts about that one. And he agreed with her sentiment when she looked for a long time at a beautiful silver and white scheme, with the king sized bed turned into a four poster with silk and lace hangings to match the bedding.

"No, we'll keep that one for the honeymoon night," she whispered. Then she snapped her fingers again and it returned to the original look. "Reminds me of him," she said, touching the black silk pillows lovingly. Then she looked up and blushed as she saw him. He pretended he hadn't seen or heard any of it as he crossed the floor and pulled back the covers and climbed into the bed. She snuggled beside him and he thought about that white and silver honeymoon bedroom as he slipped into a comfortable and dreamless sleep.

But he didn't sleep in the ordinary way all night. He had rarely needed more than two hours sleep since he was a child. He woke and looked up at the sky over Malvoria. It was beautiful. Three moons orbited it and this was one of those rare nights - once every four years - when all three were full at the same time. They had risen almost to their zenith, directly above the valley. He got up and put his jacket on over his pyjamas and wandered out onto the cliff side where he could see them for real, not just in the viewscreen. He had lived 952 years. He had seen EVERYTHING, but he still appreciated moments like this.

"Hey." He turned as he heard Wyn's voice and she was there at the TARDIS door dressed in a faded T. shirt and jogging pants she obviously wore for bed. He beckoned to her and she stepped out onto the cliff ledge. He touched her shoulder and wordlessly pointed to the moons. Her mouth dropped open in wonder. If she had been in awe before of the fact that she was on an alien planet, she was even more so now.

"Wow. That is something."

"Why are you out here with another woman when I'm asleep in bed," Rose demanded, stepping out of the TARDIS. She was wearing her long red nightdress and a silk wrap gown over it. The Doctor smiled and reached out his hand to her. She came and stood by him and looked up at the three beautiful moons and was as entranced by them as he was. He put his arms around her shoulders and held her close as they enjoyed a beautiful moment together, not in any way spoiled by the presence of young Wyn, who was oblivious to them as she looked up at the bright alien sky. He did momentarily wonder what either of their mothers might say about them standing around in their nightclothes with him on the edge of a cliff.

"Not asleep, Do-rje Gyel-tsen?" A voice spoke in the shadows by the door that led back into the monastery. A voice that strangely chilled The Doctor. From the darkness a shadow resolved into the tall figure of one of the masters who had performed out on the spars over the chasm. He was dressed to fight with his gi tied by the belt of the highest level.

"You have me at a disadvantage," The Doctor said. "I do not know your name, but you clearly know mine."

"I am Wang-chu Ming-mar, the man said. "And I am the highest master of the discipline here." As he spoke he lunged forward and before The Doctor could react to protect them he had knocked both Rose and Wyn unconscious. At the same moment The Doctor found himself held from behind by two more people dressed in the robes of masters. He struggled, but his assertion that the arts levelled the playing field was all too correct. Even his superior Gallifreyan strength was subdued by TWO masters of Sun Ko Du.

"What do you want?" The Doctor demanded. "What is so important to you that you would strike a disciple who has not yet achieved equal status with you and earned the right to fight you on terms? To say nothing of a mere child who has not yet begun the discipline." Both were outrageous violations of the code of Malvorian Sun Ko Du.

"I want Do-rje Gyel-tsen, descendent of Do-rje Thup to renounce all claim to the title of High Master of Malvoria."

"No problem," he said. "I renounce it. Don't want it. Have it, it's yours. Along with the five pounds of fresh bris fruits a year and the right to keep my own yak in the dairy." He knew he was being flippant about a tradition the monks of Malvoria took very seriously. The High Master WAS an honoured place, given to the best of the best. And he had noted as they sat to eat that the present High Master was an elderly man who would surely pass on the title very soon. But he didn't want it. He liked Malvoria, he had worked hard to achieve the rank of Master. He knew if he WAS of this planet, was a fully initiated member of the fraternity here, he would probably have outshone most of the others and risen to the position of High Master. But he didn't want it. He might have been celibate for more than 700 years, but he was no monk. He was too impatient for a contemplative life.

"Ah, but it is not as easy as that," Wang-chu said. "You are the challenger who by your very presence here usurped my automatic right. We must fight. To the DEATH."

"No!" Rose started to come around. The Doctor tried to reach her, but was held back. Rose was dragged upright by a third of Wang-chu's followers and Wyn, also starting to come around, was also made to stand. "Doctor!" Rose half turned and in the moonlight she saw his eyes filled with anger that, yet again, his love for her was being used as a weapon against him.

"Take them to the other side," Wang-chu ordered. And Rose and Wyn were both taken to the edge of the chasm. They both thought they were to be thrown over and when they were forced to step onto one of the narrow spars across the dark gulf Rose almost wished they had. Every slow step to the other side, held by a master who seemed sure-footed enough, was terrifying. Wyn slipped once, and but that her captor held her up she WOULD have fallen. They wanted them alive, of course, as leverage.

On the other side was nothing but a small cave in the mountain. They were made to kneel down and bound with ropes and then their captors ran back over the narrow spars to their leader.

Wang-chu ordered that all but one of the spars be cut down. Then he himself walked to the centre of the remaining spar and stood facing The Doctor as he was brought to the edge.

"A fight to the death, Do-rje Gyel-tsen," Wang-chu called. "If you do not fight, they will be dropped into the chasm. If you fight and die, they may live, they may die. It will depend on my whim as High Master. If you win…. Well…. I don't actually think that's likely. You're good…. But you've been away from here for a long time. I've studied the discipline daily, practiced hour after hour. I am High Master by right."

"I told you, I'm not disputing that," The Doctor said. He gave his captors a glare that made them back off, then he took off his jacket and threw it towards the TARDIS's still open door. It landed neatly on the handrail inside. Dressed now in only his pyjamas he was nearly as unencumbered by clothes as he was in the proper gi. He placed his bare feet on the spar. He looked ahead. In the moonlight from above and the lantern light from behind him it was not completely dark, but the spar WAS hard to see even so. An additional difficulty to overcome.

In fact, The Doctor thought as he moved towards Wang-chu, he WAS disputing his right to be High Master. The Malvorian monks were not hierarchical in their social structure. They were in terms of their training in the discipline, but when they sat to eat, when they meditated together, when they slept in large dormitories of simple sleep mats on the floor, when they gathered to entertain each other and any guests in the evening, they were equals. They respected each other. They looked up only to one man, the High Master. And while he WAS, indeed, the best at the Sun Ko Du discipline, he was also expected to be one who had the humility and gentleness and empathy with his fellows that exemplified the other side of their life - the contemplative monastic life. Wang-chu was seriously lacking in those qualities. Ambition for power had no part in either the physical or the mental discipline. And the jealousy that had precipitated his actions tonight were anathema to these good people. Quite apart from staying alive and rescuing Rose and Wyn, The Doctor knew he had another motive to fight Wang-chu - preserving the way of life of this place.

Staying alive was first priority. He couldn't do anything about either of the other issues if his body was ripped to shreds on the rocks far below. He was not sure if he COULD regenerate if he fell. His fourth incarnation was killed in a fall, but from nowhere near such a height as this. He had to go on the assumption that he would die if he lost his concentration even for a second.

He reached the centre of the spar. He looked at Wang-chu and wondered if he still had honour enough to remember that even a fight to the death began with a respectful bow.

Wang-chu bowed. The Doctor did the same. They both straightened up at the same time. Wang-chu made the opening move just a fraction sooner than The Doctor who quickly responded to block the attack and press his own advance.

Wang-chu was good. As good as the master he had fought on less desperate terms the previous evening. He couldn't give not even for a moment's distraction. He was aware that on the far side of the chasm Rose had used a couple of tricks he had taught her about getting out of ropes and was now untying Wyn. But there was nothing else either could do. They were trapped on that side of the chasm until he could get to them. He dismissed them from his mind and gave his thoughts only to his death match against Wang-chu.

He was good, but he was not better. Wang-chu's dismissal of him for having been away from the monastery while he stayed and practiced was wrong. The Doctor was just as good as he was. Not better. Perhaps he would have been if he HAD maintained the discipline, but he had only taken it up again in very recent years. For a couple of centuries, of course, he didn't have the sort of body that was capable of such activity. Some of his incarnations would already be dead by now. Number six would never have had it in him. Seven, was more cut out for a good book by the fire. His FIRST incarnation had been the one who first came here and learned these skills, when still a student, but by the time he travelled the universe with Susan at his side he was far too old and frail for this sort of activity. Two, three and four were fairly fast on their feet even if they were hardly in the prime of their youth, but he wouldn't have wanted to trust his life to any one of them. On the whole, this body was the one best fitted to this fight.

Because they were evenly matched it was stalemate for much of the time. The Doctor blocked Wang-chu's attacks, his own offences were parried. Both kept their balance. Both showed no sign of weakening as an hour went by and the rising sun sent pink rays of light through the valley, banishing the darkness and slowly illuminating the scene. With the dawn the monks of Malvoria rose from their sleep and prepared to begin a new day. They were surprised and alarmed to discover the death match going on and to find themselves barred from interfering by Wang-chu's followers. Even the High Master could do nothing but watch helplessly.

Then Wang-chu made a move that The Doctor didn't expect for one reason only - that he expected Wang-chu to fight within the rules. The banned move was one that could sever the opponent's leg if it was done with enough force. He felt his tibia crack and the pain shoot through his body. He tried to steady himself with his good leg but he felt himself falling.

He heard the crowd of monks on the one side of the chasm cry out in dismay as one voice. He heard two female screams on the other side. And close by he heard Wang-chu laugh. And for all those reasons; for the monks who needed a better leader than this ambitious and self-serving man, for the woman he loved and the girl he needed to protect, to defeat Wang-chu and out of the not unnatural instinct to preserve his own life, he did the only thing he could do. He reached out and grabbed the spar as he fell. He swung himself around and into a handstand and then flicked his body into the air, turning as he came down, his good leg outstretched to kick Wang-chu clean in the chest, before coming down hard and painfully but standing on both legs. Through a red haze of agony he saw Wang-chu fall. He heard the Doppler sound of his scream as he fell.

As he steadied himself and dared to breathe a sigh of relief that it was over, he heard the sound of Wang-chu's followers struggling. They were being apprehended by their former colleagues. Banishment from the monastery, stripped of the names of honour they once received as masters of the discipline, would be their punishment. He looked around and saw the assembled monks looking at him in silence as the wrongdoers were taken away. Nobody cheered, even if they were, technically, on his side. A victor in a death match did not seek cheers. Forgiveness for the life he had taken was more appropriate. He was not happy that he had done that. But he did not make it a Death Match. Wang-chu did. and he paid the price of his own ambition.

He turned back and saw Rose stand up and step onto the spar. He watched her come towards him. She reached out her arm to him. He took it gratefully as she helped him limp back towards the monastery side of the chasm. As they stepped off they saw startled looks on the faces of the monks and turned. Wyn was coming towards them across the spar at a sprint without even looking where she was putting her feet. She did it by instinct alone.

"Ok," she said as she ran to where The Doctor was sitting, his injured leg outstretched and Rose kneeling by his side. "I guess I AM a bit of a Daphne, after all."

"Me too," Rose said. "Both of us kidnapped by the baddies this time."

"Did that happen to my mum?" Wyn asked.

"More times than she would like to remember," The Doctor said. "But she saved the day plenty of times, too. Next time, maybe you will." He felt his regenerative genes slowly mending the shattered bone. It would have repaired by now, but landing on it after he had dispatched Wang-chu compounded the fracture and strained the cruciate and collateral ligaments into the bargain. He was having a hard time of it.

"Are you all right?" Wyn asked The Doctor. "Your leg… is it broken?"

"Yes," he said. "But it'll be ok in a minute or two."


"He's a Time Lord," Rose said. "They can repair themselves. He'll be fine in a minute. But…" Rose looked at the spar across the chasm. She had gone to The Doctor without even thinking about it, but nothing would induce her to set foot on it again.

Wyn looked at it too and went pale.

"I did it… I went across that." She turned to The Doctor. "Yesterday I couldn't stay on a two foot high one. How did I…."

"Yesterday you were trying too hard. This time you trusted your instincts. You should do that more often and not worry too much."

By the time the sun was fully up over the valley and the day begun The Doctor’s leg was fully repaired. They all had time to get dressed from their nightwear before they went with the monks to the hall for breakfast. There they found a community that was both traumatised by the death of Wang-chu and the discovery of a dishonourable sub-sect among their ranks and elated by the fact that they had a new High Master after all.

"No, I don't think so," The Doctor said when he realised. He stood from his place and went to the old High Master. He spoke with him for a few minutes and then came back to his place between Rose and Wyn to drank his cup of green tea and eat the rice biscuits that served as a breakfast meal. Presently the High Master stood and the hall became quiet.

"Do-rje Gyel-tsen, like his ancestor before him, Do-rje Thup, has declined the title of High Master. And by right and privilege he has nominated his successor. Stand before me, Nam-kha Tse-ten Da-wa." The monks all looked about them as a young man rose from his place at one of the low tables and came to stand before the High Master. "You were the youngest and newest master of the disciplines of Sun Ko Du. Now you are High Master of Malvoria, because you of all of us have the least ambition and cannot be made a slave to it."

Then the old High Master changed places with new one and knelt in reverence to him. The monks around the hall nodded acceptance of their new High Master and went on with their meal.

"It was as easy as that?" Rose looked at the young man who was now in charge of the whole community here. "Will he be a good High Master?"

"I don't know," The Doctor admitted. "I don't do fortune telling. I just knew looking about this room that he was the one least likely to put his own interests first. A community like this doesn't need ambitious leaders, it needs caring leaders."

"Like you," Rose said quietly.

"I'm only not ambitious because there's nothing much left for me to achieve. Been there, done it. I just want a quiet life."

"What would YOU do with a quiet life?" Wyn asked with a smile as some of those stories of her childhood flashed across her memory. Autons, Daleks, Cybermen, Silurians…

"Don't know," The Doctor said. "When I finally get one I'll let you know."