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

Rose thought she knew all of The Doctor's moods and all of his enthusiasms, but this was possibly the first time she had seen him have absolute FUN. They were racing along in what looked like a speed-boat that flew several feet above the ground. The Doctor was, apparently, experienced at driving such a vehicle and they skimmed over the river at the bottom of a deep glacial valley and up and over a high, cascading waterfall then on over the high plateau above the valley. Rose and Wyn both shrieked with terror when the hover-car came close to sheer cliff walls only to glance away at the last possible moment, but The Doctor just laughed with excitement.

Finally, he brought the hired vehicle to a halt at what he said was the perfect picnic spot. And it was. The view was wonderful. Wyn declared it to be like Brecon except…

"Two suns and three moons in the sky at the same time!" Wyn lay on her back on the grass looking up at the blue sky contentedly. "How cool is THAT!"

"Earth is just as beautiful with just one of each," Rose said.

"You feeling homesick for Earth?" The Doctor asked her, sitting up from his own prone, relaxed position. He was surprised by that comment. It was the first time he'd ever heard her compare any exotic planet unfavourably with Earth.

“No,” she assured him. “Not at all. I could never be homesick. The TARDIS is my home and wherever we go to in it together is great for me.” She moved closer to him as she said that, her hand on his shoulder as if to reassure him that she could not be parted from him. “But it’s true. This could as easily be Wales as Rimos III.”

"So you think we should go to Wales."

"NO! Wyn objected. "Wales is boring."

"Wales IS your home, Wyn," The Doctor said to her. "Surely you must feel a BIT homesick."

"Why? I love it here in outer space, on planets with skies like this."

"I used to feel homesick for Earth even before I'd ever seen it," The Doctor told them.

"Why?" Wyn asked. "You come from the other side of the universe."

"Because your mother came from Earth," Rose said, sitting up behind him and folding her arms around his shoulders.

"Yes," he said with a smile as he remembered a long, long time ago. "When I was a baby I had a light up mobile over my crib - two globes, one a red planet, Gallifrey, where I was born, and a beautiful blue planet, Earth, my mother's home. She used to tell me about it, promising me that we would go there one day. And I longed to see it. But my mother died before we could go there as a family. I didn't get to go until I went on my field trip assignments as a student - when I was a hundred and eighty. It wasn't EXACTLY as I expected. Humans can be so cruel and insensitive sometimes. I wasn't always happy. But I loved your planet all the same. I've always loved it - more, sometimes than my own world. And now, well it IS my own world. It's home to me now."

"Your mum died?" Wyn asked him. When?"

"When I was six," he told her.

“Oh, that must have been hard.” Wyn looked at him. She wasn’t sure what to make of it. She knew he was nine hundred and fifty two years old, and when he was six was such a long time ago, but still…

“My gran died when I was ten,” she said. “On my birthday. It was a rotten birthday. And every year since, my brothers all sort of pretend they don’t remember, but me and mum… we remember. We don’t talk about it, but we DO remember. I know when I see the look in her face. And I know…she knows that I cry sometimes on my birthday. It's about the only time we’re ever really close.”

"I didn't even know my dad," Rose said. "He died when I was a baby. But I know what you mean. My mum has the same look when the day comes around every year."

The Doctor said nothing. But he put out his hands in front of him and seemed to concentrate and a figure appeared before him, a small figure, about two feet high, slightly see-through like a hologram - a woman of about forty years or so, dressed in a pretty blue dress and smiling indulgently as a mother might smile at her child.

"She lives within me," he said. "In my memory. She sleeps in my mind. Our loved ones all live in us." And Rose gasped as, in addition to his mother the figure of her father appeared in the air. Then he reached out and took Wyn's hand in his and she gave a soft cry as the third figure appeared, her grandmother, an elderly lady in a plaid skirt and white blouse with a coat and hat and walking stick. Wyn reached out with her other hand as if to touch the figure then suddenly drew back.

"It's all right, The Doctor said. "You can't hurt them." Wyn reached her hand out again and smiled a little sadly.

He gave a sigh after a few minutes as if the effort exhausted him and as the three figures disappeared he seemed to sag a little. Rose clung all the tighter to him as he recovered.

"Thank you," Wyn said in a whisper. "I don't know how you did it. But thank you."

"I don't exactly know how you do that, either," Rose said, kissing him on the cheek.

"The memories are there. Both of you have them. I just had to channel them. It takes a toll on my psychic nerves though. Don't ask me to do it again for another couple of days."

"You're brilliant," Wyn told him.

The Doctor smiled. "People tell me that. I thought I was just an ordinary guy."

"No you're not," Rose laughed. "Prince of the universe."

"Anyway," Wyn said. "We shouldn't be thinking about sad stuff. This is meant to be a holiday."

"It is a holiday," The Doctor said. "Best sort. Nothing has tried to eat us, rob us or take over our minds for days."

"Don't say that," Rose chastised him. "As soon as you say things like that something happens." She lay down in the grass and looked up at the sky. "NOTHING is going to fall out of this sky until after we've finished our holiday and are a hundred light years away from here."

The Doctor looked up as well. Wyn just laughed.

"Why assume that the trouble is going to come from the sky? The thing that tried to turn my mum and dad into zombies didn't."

"She's right," The Doctor said. "I've lost count how much trouble home grown loonies have given me on Earth. Remember the seagull man in Washington."

"Ok, but this planet hasn't got any of those loonies." Rose said. "It's a nice, peaceful place with waterfalls."

"Too right. And it's going to STAY that way." The Doctor insisted before turning over and pressing Rose down on the grass and kissing her passionately, partly because he wanted to, and partly because he knew it really annoyed Wyn to see him do that, and the faces she pulled when she thought he wasn't looking amused him.

The sunsets on Rimos were beautiful. On the balcony outside the dining room of the hotel The Doctor and Rose watched together. Rose sighed contentedly. Watching a beautiful sunset over a glacial lake in a high mountain valley with a handsome man's arms around her shoulders would have rated highly in her list of romantic things to do when she was 13 or 14 and just beginning to have romantic notions. Now that she was living it as a reality it was everything she could have hoped for and more.

"What do you think?" The Doctor whispered to her. "Would this make a good honeymoon resort?"

"A lot of people think so," Rose said. "About half the couples in the hotel are just married. But… I don't know. I've not thought that far ahead. But I think I'd like to go to SangC'lune. It's my favourite planet. And… well the people there will fall over themselves in excitement to find out their GOD got married."

"Yeah," The Doctor smiled and squeezed her hand lovingly. "They'll be thrilled."

"Every time I turn my back you two are snogging," Wyn complained as she came onto the balcony.

"I should have built that airlock," The Doctor muttered. Rose giggled.

"We're miles away from the TARDIS even if you DID have one," Wyn answered back.

"I'm standing on a balcony above a deep, cold, glacial lake," The Doctor said. "Don't push your luck."

"Besides, I know you want me really. Otherwise you'd have sent me back home by now."

"What did you want, anyway, apart from spoiling my peace and quiet."

"Just wanted to tell you this 'peaceful planet' HAS got something scary on it. "It's got Succubi… whatever they are."

"It…. what….." The Doctor stared around at her, the gentle, teasing expression he usually reserved for her replaced by a steely, stony look.

"What is…." Rose began.

"It's a female demon that preys upon unwary men…"

"What, like my mate Shireen?"

"Shireen is a bit free with her hands under the table," The Doctor said with the voice of experience. "But I don't think she's ever seduced a man to his death."


"Things can really do that?" Wyn asked.


"They're not just mythological?" Rose added.

"Mythological things usually have a grounding in reality somewhere."

"So there ARE such things?"

"Yes, but I'm not too worried. I've got the best defence possible against them."

"Your Time Lord blood?" Wyn asked.

"No, that's a defence against space vampyres," he said with a smile. "No, the one thing that keeps a succubus at bay is to be utterly, completely in love with somebody and to have no doubt about that love in the slightest." He laughed. "Yes, I know that's embarrassing for a teenager, Wyn. But it's true. Love is my shield from such things."

"I can protect you this time?" Rose said. "Instead of you being my protector?"

"My protector, and much, much more." The Doctor smiled and squeezed her hand and in the deepest recess of his mind found a few words of poetry that seemed to sum up all that she was to him.

"My Haven in my distress.
My Shield and my Shelter in my woes.
My Asylum and Refuge in time of need
And in my loneliness my Companion!
In my anguish my Solace,
And in my solitude a loving Friend!
The Remover of the pangs of my sorrows
And the Pardoner of my sins!"

"Wyn, stop making sick noises behind my back."

"I thought it was beautiful." Rose told him. "Where is it from?"

"Part of the Alliance of Unity," he told her. "It's the section where the man tells his bride all that he expects her to be for him."

"Oooh!" Wyn said. "Does that mean she's married to you now?"

"No. There's another 12 hours of stuff like that first."

"What happen if somebody needs the loo?" Wyn asked, a question Rose had often thought of asking but didn't because she knew the traditions of his dead home-world were so important to him and he might be offended by such a prosaic question.

"Time Lords have self-control," The Doctor told her dryly. "Anyone who isn't a Time Lord just has to grin and bear it."

"Are we really worried about this Succubi thing, by the way?" Rose asked, getting back to the point. "Where DID you hear about them, Wyn?"

"One of the maids was talking about it. She said that there were two men dead in their village and that was the rumour about them."

"Ok," The Doctor said. "Well, I'm putting that down to village superstition. And two deaths unless there is anything more to go on, are nothing to do with us. Let's carry on enjoying our holiday for now."

"You know the last time you said that all hell broke loose."

"Yes," he said. "I do know. But you don't really want me to go wandering off into the village to check to see if two local men died of natural or supernatural causes."

"You would have once," Rose said. "Slightest sign of a mystery to unravel and you'd be in it."

"Now you're blaming yourself for 'changing' me again. You're not. I will look into it tomorrow if there is the slightest sign of something more than two people dead of natural causes. But right now, I want to enjoy a quiet hour under the stars. I spend my whole life among the stars, and I never get a chance to stand in one place and look at them."

"Rose is right. You ARE a soppy article," Wyn told him. "Anyway, I'm going to bed. Night, both of you."

"I LIKE you as a soppy article," Rose said when they were alone again. "I like being able to do this - to hold you. My fiancé, the greatest man in the universe. I'm a lucky girl."

"I'm a lucky man," he told her. "And in my loneliness my Companion." He smiled. "I was lonely for so long I'd forgotten there was any other way to be."

If he was any other man he might have thought the stars were singing as he kissed her. But he had been up close to most of those stars often enough to know they didn't do that sort of thing. They were a romantic backdrop and that was all. But they had been officially engaged for several months now, and moments like this were still too rare. He had never resented the helpless and oppressed of the universe calling on him to help. He didn't still. But he wanted more quiet moments than the universe had let him have so far.

He didn't sleep. Rose did, soundly and sweetly, curled up beside him, taking up only the smallest space in a king size bed intended for honeymooners. Usually he slept at least an hour, maybe two, enough for his needs. But this night he couldn't sleep and he felt too restless for even the lightest meditation. His mind was on the possibility that there was something happening in the village that DID need his special skills. Yes, rumour and superstition could account for much talk of the likes of succubi - and their male equivalent, incubi. In primitive places, such things were even spoken of to hide acts of murder or molestation that were simply the work of mortal men. But he knew they DID exist. Most things that were put down to superstition DID. Though there were often simpler explanations than the myths woven around them. The whole vampire mythology that fascinated Humans for centuries, came down simply to a race of alien creatures that found the teeming life of Earth irresistible. And succubi didn't seduce men in order to have half-human babies. They simply fed on them like any animal did - for food, survival.

But like lions that strayed into villages and became maneaters, they had to be stopped - if that was what they WERE doing.

He heard a scream. It was on the edge of his superior hearing. It was several floors down in the big hotel but it was a scream. Somebody needed help. He didn't hesitate. He climbed from the bed and grabbed his jacket from the chair beside it. He threw it on over his black satin pyjamas and ran out of the room and down the stairs.

"Somebody get a doctor…" He heard the cry as he reached the second landing and turned into the corridor. A woman was standing there in her nightdress looking terrified. "My husband… I think… oh my God…. He's dead."

"I'm a doctor," he said as he ran to her. "Show me."

He WAS a doctor. It was mere semantics that argued he was not a MEDICAL doctor. Anyway, it would take more than a prescription for antibiotics to help this man. The Doctor examined the body thoroughly. If he was required to sign a death certificate he would put down heart failure. That was the mere mechanical reason for death. But the reason why the heart had given up was fright. The man had been scared to death.

There were people gathering about the open door, alerted by the woman's screams; other hotel guests, busboys, and the manager of the hotel pushing his way through. The Doctor reached in his pocket and produced his psychic paper to identify himself and with a hard stare made it quite clear that he was in charge. He turned to the woman - the widow. He led her towards the window, away from the sight of the dead man.

"What happened?" he asked, simply.

"I woke up and looked around at….at Michael. And… and there was somebody on top of him and he sounded as if he was choking. I put the light on and….." Her eyes widened as remembering proved as horrifying as the actual event. "Oh my…. Oh my…."

"Take your time," The Doctor said kindly. "Did you see who did it? What did they look like?"

"It looked like…" The woman paused and again her eyes told the horror that mere words could not express. "It looked like ME. It was ME…. Lying on top of Michael, kissing him…. but…. He couldn't breath and it was as if his life was being drained from him."

The woman looked close to fainting. The Doctor reached to open the window and get her some fresh air. As he did he glanced through the window. The night was bright with the three moons all full. The lake reflected the light of them coldly. And as he looked his hearts shuddered. By all that was sane the creatures he saw just beyond the window should not have been able to fly. They were solid things. They had no wings, no aerodynamic form. But they rose up on the air. His telescopic eyesight focussed on them. They were humanoid in shape, but their hands and feet were not fully formed. Fingers and toes were fused like an early stage foetus and the faces were as blank as mannequins. One had the softer curves of a female, and long hair that reached to the feet. The other was a male figure, completely hairless.

The woman followed his gaze, and she DID faint. He caught her before she hit the ground and carried her out of the room. He gave her to the manager to take care of and then he began to run. The creatures had been moving towards the upper floors. Rose and Wyn needed his protection.

Rose woke to the feel of The Doctor covering her body with his own. His mouth was kissing hers passionately. She smiled and slipped her arms around his neck. It was odd for him to feel the urge to kiss her in the night. He had slept beside her for months now and although he hugged and kissed her before she slept he had kept his hands frustratingly to himself the rest of the night. Maybe it was being in a hotel full of honeymooning couples that had made him interested in a little night time hanky panky.

"Hey, not so rough," she said, pushing him off her. "You don't have to breathe, but I do." She was shocked to the core when he forced her back down. He pressed himself down on her so hard it hurt and his kiss was suffocating. She tried to slide out from beneath him but he was too heavy for her. "Doctor… what… what are doing?"

She had never been afraid of him. Even when she first met him and he had puzzled and bewildered her, when Clive the conspiracy theorist had told her he was dangerous, she had not believed it. She had felt instinctively that he could be trusted, that he would not hurt her.

But he was hurting her now. He was killing her. As she struggled to breathe that was the worst of it. Knowing that the man she loved more than anyone in the universe was killing her.

The light snapped on and she could breathe again as he was suddenly pulled off her. She struggled up into a sitting position as she filled her lungs with air and stared as The Doctor fought with….

With The Doctor!

They were identical - identically dressed in pyjamas with the leather jacket on top. The only difference was that one had glowing red eyes and an expression on its face that was animal-like in its hatred. The mouth opened and it gave a snarling cry as The Doctor - the REAL Doctor - aimed a Shaolin power punch to the creature's chest. It staggered back, hissing menacingly. Rose was startled that it was still on its feet. A blow like that could kill - or at least render the recipient unconscious. These things were superhumanly strong.

But so was The Doctor, and he kept coming at it, punching and kicking, driving it backwards. The creature wavered momentarily between The Doctor's form and its 'default' before turning and throwing itself at the window. Rose ran to HER Doctor as they both saw the thing slip through the glass as if it was a soap bubble.

"What…." She managed to say.

"An incubi. The male version of the ones we were talking about earlier. They're a couple! The female just killed a man down on the third floor."

"Well, they're obviously into partner-swapping." Rose said as she clung to her man. It WAS him. She knew that. The instinct that had made her trust him when she had no reason to trust him, when he was a stranger to her, was still there. She knew it was really him. "I thought it was you. But you would never…. You wouldn't…." She cried in horror as she remembered. He held her tightly. "Has it gone?"

"I hope so…" he began. Then they both heard Wyn shout from the room next door. The Doctor groaned. Why didn't he think of her, too? He tried the dividing door. It was locked. He had given Wyn the key to the outer door and they had no reason to use the connecting door between the two rooms. They had no interest in invading her privacy. She had always made it quite clear that their bedroom activities were the last thing she wanted to see. So it had stayed locked. But it was only an ordinary internal door. He kicked it open in one move and rushed through.

Wyn's screams were almost as piercing as her mum's, The Doctor noted in one corner of his mind. But his main attention was on the incubi as he pulled it off her and put himself between her and it. This time it looked like Cliff, Wyn's father. But that did not stop him rushing at it with intent to squeeze the supernatural life out of it. He missed by millimetres getting his hands around its neck as it morphed back to its blank form and retreated through the window. The Doctor fell forward with the momentum of his dive towards the creature and landed painfully against the end of the bed.

"Doctor," Wyn said shakily as she ran to help him up, nothing damaged but his pride. "You were wrong. Love isn't a defence. It… it's a weakness. It's what lets them in. They USE love." The Doctor looked at her and wondered why a sixteen year old girl saw so clearly what he, with nearly a thousand years experience and learning, had missed. Maybe he wasn't as clever as he thought he was.

He hugged her as she told him in shaky words how she had woken up and seen HIM - The Doctor - standing over her bed. She had spoken to him, wondering why he was there, and then he had put his hand over her mouth and started suffocating her. And as she fought against him, against The Doctor, wondering WHY he would do such a thing to her, the creature had turned into her father. And strangely, it had only been THEN that she had screamed. Somehow when it had seemed to be The Doctor hurting her it had not frightened her quite so much as her own father trying to kill her.

Rose came through the splintered door and he reached and held her, too.

“I want you both to know... What happened here… I would never in a million years… but… but I still want to tell you I am sorry… and… for even the brief moment that you might have thought I could…. I hope you can trust me again.”

"Oh my Doctor," Rose told him. "I NEVER doubted you. NEVER."

"Me neither," Wyn said. She looked around the room. "Have they gone?"

“No,” The Doctor said becoming suddenly practical. “Why would they? This hotel is full of prey. Get dressed. Grab some blankets and get down to the dining room.” He ran into the corridor and smashed the panel that gave him access to the fire alarm. As people came pouring out of the rooms he shouted at them to go down to the dining room. He looked to see that Rose and Wyn were with the crowd and then he ran to the next floor and shouted the same instruction. He carried on down to the next floor and did the same. He was scaring people. He was panicking them, but they were obeying him because he was the only person giving them ANY instructions at all.

"I brought your clothes," Rose said when he finally reached the dining room himself after clearing every floor. He thanked her and slipped into the empty kitchen to change. When he returned, feeling rather better for being fully clothed he stood on one of the tables and called for silence. He got it. Everyone, guests and hotel staff, turned and looked at him.

"There have been three attacks on guests, one fatal." He glanced at the widow of the dead man. She was standing next to the hotel manager who seemed to have taken responsibility for her. "The attackers were creatures called succubi and incubi. They have the ability to take on the form of anybody you are close to, anyone you trust. But they rely on people being alone and vulnerable. And they only feed at night. So we're all going to stay right here, together, for the rest of the night. I want some volunteers to take it in turns to watch the windows and doors just in case. But everyone else try to sleep."

Nobody thought to question him. Nobody challenged him when he talked about succubi and incubi - things that seemed incredible. And nobody asked why he thought he had the authority to herd them into this room. They did as he said, and they did it relatively quickly. The hotel staff opened the kitchen and provided hot soup for all and after a surprisingly little time people began to settle down in makeshift beds of blankets on the floor.

Wyn went to sleep. The Doctor was glad of that. She had been through a traumatic experience and he was glad she felt safe enough to sleep now.

"So… is she right about these things taking the form of people we love?" Rose asked The Doctor as he sat next to them, alert to anything unusual happening.

"You should sleep," he told her.

"I will, soon. But… tell me…is it true."

"Yes," he said. "It seems so. The man was killed by the female in the guise of his wife. The incubi came to you as me… then to Wyn."

"That I don't get. Why did it appear to her looking like you? SHE isn't in love with you?"

"They don't just hone in on romantic love. That's the mythological part of it. They are attracted by any emotional attachment. It first appeared as me because it had already worked out my pattern. And because of Wyn's emotional attachment to me. It was confused. It thought I was her father at first. But then it picked up Cliff's pattern in her mind and changed into him."

"Wyn thinks of you like you're her father?"

"Yes. Obvious, I suppose. Every girl needs a daddy."

"But she HAS a father."

"But he's a long way off and she's spent a lot of time with me. Besides, Jo and Cliff are great people. But I'm not sure as far as Wyn is concerned they were great parents. Not their fault. But they do seem to be too busy for their youngest child. They're often away on business trips and lecture tours. And girls do need a different way of looking after than boys."

"How so?" Rose asked, intrigued, despite all the things they had to worry about, by The Doctor's views on fatherhood.

"Boys… well, you love them of course. But mostly what they want is to be like you. So you just reassure them that they're on the right track to do that. Show them the way."

"And girls?"

"Girls… you have to strike a balance between letting them know you love them and you're always there for them no matter what, and letting them do what they want to do without feeling that you're interfering. And of course with girls, you have to spoil them rotten in every way you can." He smiled distantly as he remembered his two goes at parenthood, his son, who had grown up to be a lot like him in so many ways, and Susan, who he looked after from her babyhood.

"And you think Wyn hasn't been spoiled enough?"

"No, I don't think she has."

"I never even knew my dad at all. You never said that about me."

“Yeah, that’s where my theory falls apart,” he told her. "But your mum gives you twice the love to make up for your dad not being around. You’re just fine.”

“So it's not that every girl needs her daddy so much as every girl needs somebody to love her.”

“Yeah, maybe.” He smiled. “Or maybe I’m just talking nonsense.”

“No, I think you’re on the right track,” she assured him. And he was. Until he had said it, she had never realised it, but Rose knew he was right. Her life, growing up in that council flat, where money was always short, where even food had been short sometimes, but where, if she felt sad or unwell her mother’s love had been a hug away, was not so bad really. Better in some ways than Wyn’s life with two parents and more than enough money, but the love distant and unattainable.

“That’s why you put up with her being around us even though it means we have so little time alone together.”

Yes,” he said. “Jo…. She was… she was your age when I met her. Trained as a spy, yes, but still a lot of little girl in her. She also thought of me as a father figure. And I cared for her like a daughter. So when I look at Wyn… Jo’s daughter….”

"She feels like she's your granddaughter."


"How come…" Rose looked at the engagement ring on her finger and at The Doctor, her fiancée, the man she loved above all others. "Seems like you've spent most of the past couple of hundred years with a teenage girl in tow, but always in a father-daughter way. How come… this time… it was different. Why are we…."

"I don't know," he said. "I don't dare analyse that one. I'm just very, very glad it is that way. Because Susan, Vicki, Jo, Sarah, Ace…. All my girls… my surrogate daughters…. Sooner or later they moved on… they left me. But you…"

"Can't get rid of me," she said with a smile.“Don’t want to.” He looked at her and sighed. “I came so close to losing you tonight. Love IS a weakness. But it's a weakness I accept as a part of me. Otherwise I might as well be a cyberman with no feelings.” He kissed her and told her to sleep now. She lay down next to Wyn and he tucked the blanket around them both. She looked so young and vulnerable as she closed her eyes and drifted to sleep that he couldn’t help wondering if his relationship with her was wrong. She was only a little older than some of the girls who had filled that space in his hearts that Susan left. No, he didn’t know why it was that this time different instincts had been roused in him when she came into his life. Maybe it was just time for him to remember that, as well as being a Time Lord he was also a MAN.

He stayed beside her until she was asleep and then went to make sure everyone else was safe. Rose and Wyn were his special responsibility, but he wanted to be sure that no one else died.

“Doctor?” The hotel manager approached him as he stood by the plate glass window of the hotel dining room looking out over the silent, moonlit scene and wondering how long it was until dawn. “Mrs Delane has taken the sedative you suggested. She’s asleep now. In the morning we can arrange for her husband’s body to be moved.”

"Yes," he said. "But these things will be back. You should think about closing the hotel."

"That would ruin us…" the manager began but The Doctor's hard stare silenced him. "Yes, you're right. I'll make arrangements to refund everyone. But… you must understand… this place depends on tourism. I don't mean the hotel, but the whole planet. It will be destroyed."

The Doctor shook his head and said something that sounded to the manager like "Amity." He didn't understand the reference.

The Doctor DID understand. He looked out at the beautiful lake, the unspoilt scene. The people of this planet could have dug into the mountains for their minerals and polluted the skies and lakes with belching foundries. Instead, they kept its beauty and fed and sheltered tourists that came to admire it. And they had done it admirably. The place still felt beautiful and unspoilt despite thousands of visitors. But this WOULD ruin them. And it was a pity. But it could not be helped.

"Hey!" A man wearing a silk bathrobe over monogrammed pyjamas came up to the manager. "I've been talking to some of your staff. And apparently it's common knowledge in the area that there are a couple of weird things that kill people."

"The locals say that about any unexplained death," the manager said. "But really…"

"You're not local?" The Doctor asked him.

"No. I'm Denebian. I came here because there was a business opportunity. I took over the hotel six months ago. The start of the summer season. We're near the end now, of course. The last couple of weeks of good weather."

"Yeah, apparently the previous manager DIED," the bathrobed man said.

"Natural causes, I was told."

"Around here, being eaten alive by creatures IS natural," the man went on. "There was nothing in the brochure. I want more than my money back. You'll be hearing from my lawyer."

"I'm going to talk to some of your staff," The Doctor told the manager. "The local ones."

He did so, and he discovered that 'nothing in the brochure' was a valid complaint. The succubi and her 'husband' the incubi were known to all those who were born and raised on the planet. The thought he had earlier about the man eating lions was not inaccurate. They killed a few people, maybe once every two years or so. That seemed to be enough for them, and usually it was a remote farm they attacked. People accepted a certain risk, and took what precautions they could. But less people were living remotely now and this time they had come into the village and killed.

And The Doctor guessed the rest. They had seen the hotel, sensed the teeming life there, sensed honeymoon couples with their strong emotional attachments. It had been like the proverbial blood in the water attracting sharks. Even though they had slaked their hunger in the village they came to feast.

"Where do they nest?" he asked. The obvious question.

"In the mountains," he was told. "Somewhere." Nobody knew exactly. Nobody had ever tried looking.

"You intend to go looking, Doctor?" somebody asked. It was the man with the monogrammed pyjamas.

"It wasn't my plan." He replied. "For preference I'd evacuate the planet, tourists and residents and let the damn things starve. But even if we stick up beacons screaming danger, beware, stay away, some idiot will turn up eventually to see what the fuss is about and it will be feeding time again. I want to make sure nobody EVER gets hurt by these things again." He looked around to where Rose and Wyn were asleep. "And whatever the rest of you do, I'm not leaving until I've made sure of that."

Evacuating the hotel was not as easy as it sounded. Those who came by private craft left as soon as they could, but there were plenty of people who came by scheduled shuttle flights and they were met by less than sympathetic responses from their tour operators who claimed there was nothing they could do until the day after tomorrow. The Doctor used his persuasive powers to get Mrs Delane and her husband's body on their way. But with sunset of that fraught day approaching there were still at least fifty guests and almost as many staff left in the hotel. All resigned themselves to another night sleeping en masse in the dining room. The only defence, The Doctor assured them, was to stick together.

"You really think they're going to come back?" Rose asked. "To the hotel, not to the village or anywhere else?"

"I think they will," he said. "I think now they know it's here they'll never leave it alone."

"So what are you going to do?" Rose asked him.

"I'm going to get a couple of big knives from the kitchen, then I'm going to wait for them, and kill them," he said.

"Thought you might."

"Can they be killed?" Wyn asked. "Are they flesh and blood?"

"Yes," The Doctor said. "They are that. But they are…" He searched his vocabulary for a word that fitted. The best he could come up with was, "Unholy." Rose and Wyn both looked at him. They knew he didn't believe in religion in the way they understood it. It was a strange word for him to use. But it had put something else in his mind.

"You wouldn't know, I suppose, the Earth mythology about the origin of such things?" They both shook their heads. He sat beside them on the dining room floor and took a deep breath.

"The legend comes from Jewish mythology," he said. "It goes back to the Creation story itself, when God created Adam and then gave him a mate, Lillith, who He created as He had created Adam, of the dust of the Earth."

"Huh?" Wyn said. "But… what about Eve and…"

"That's the Christian version. In the Jewish Talmud, which is many thousands of years older than the Bible, Lillith came first. But she demanded to be equal with Adam, not subordinate to him." He half smiled as he saw Rose and Wyn exchange meaningful glances. "Yes, Women's Lib is as old as time itself! But Adam refused to countenance it. Eventually she got into a rage and fled from Adam and teamed up with the fallen angels and became a source of evil on Earth. Meanwhile God took a rib of Adam and formed Eve - his mate born of his own flesh, not from the dust. And all humankind, all humanoid species, mine too, are born of the flesh. And since most of us come from flesh that is loved and cared for, we're on the side of the good angels. If you believe such things, anyway. But Lillith's offspring, the succubi and incubi, they belong to the dark side, and while having the appearance of flesh, they are still made of dust. They can be killed like any flesh and blood creature, by knives or swords or bullets, but when they are, their bodies become dust."

"So this is all Adam's fault for not doing his share of the housework," Rose said.

"Well, I'm not sure we should be quite that flippant about something that is key to the religious beliefs of a whole race of people," The Doctor told her. "But… in a nutshell, yes. It's a myth. It's an allegory that explains the origin of the Human race as well as humanity's fear of the unknown. And yes, it gives justification to the idea of women as subordinate to men. And it took a long time for humanity to set it aside. Succubi obviously know the story too. THEY are the dominant ones. You notice that the first victims were all male. Two in the village, Mr Delane… before the incubi went after you two."

"Apart from the killing people bit, I can't help feeling a bit on her side," Rose said.

"No," Wyn insisted. "You have to kill them."

"Oh, I agree," Rose added. "You DO have to kill them. You have to. Whatever the reason for it, those things are pure evil. You weren't close up to one of them like we were. You didn't feel it…. the way it turned all the good, all the joy of life, all the sweetness of love, into something horrible, something deadly. You didn't feel… the one you love trying to suck the life from you."

"I could take that memory away," he said, putting his arm around her shoulders and pulling her to him. "I could reach in with my mind and take it out like a bad tooth. You'd know there is a gap there. But you wouldn't feel the pain."

"You can do that?" she asked.


"Have you…." She looked at his face and something told her it was a question he didn't want her to ask. "No, I won't ask. If you ever have, then you must have thought it was something too terrible for me to remember. Because I remember plenty of horrible things - hanging on the web, having a vampyre take a lump out of my neck - so if there ever was anything more horrible than that, then I don't want to know. But… seeing as you asked this time.... No. I can deal with it. As long as I have you… the real you… nothing can be THAT terrible."

"That's my girl," he said and held her tightly. As he did so, the last rays of the sun slid behind the mountains. The valley became much darker very quickly. The Doctor went to the kitchen and returned with a long, lethal knife and an even more lethal looking meat cleaver that glinted menacingly. He stood for a moment and looked at Rose, and at Wyn, who came and stood beside her. Neither said anything silly like 'good luck'. They knew luck had nothing to do with it. He began to try to say something but stopped. He turned towards the stairwell.

"Doctor," Rose called to him. He turned back to her. "Doctor… I just want to tell you… maybe you already thought of it. But... no matter what these things turn into… no matter what they look like… don't hesitate. Kill them. You…. you can't hurt me, or Wyn, or anyone you've ever loved. But if you let them get you… then we're dead too. So… so don't let them get to you that way."

He hadn't thought of it. Now that he did, he felt a little sick. But he still had to do it. He stepped back towards her, sheathing the weapons in the back of his belt while he reached out to hug her one more time. Wyn, too, put her arms about him. Then he turned and hurried away.

"He's a brave man." Rose looked around to see who had said that. It was the hotel manager, sitting with the guests and staff looking worried.

"Yes, he is," Rose said proudly. "Very brave."

"First time I ever heard that story," somebody else said. "The one about Adam and his first wife."

"Yeah, me too," Rose said again. "But that's him, too. Knows everything about everything. He keeps the whole universe in his head."

"Typical man though," Wyn said. "Leaves us behind while he goes off to be the hero."

"Yeah," Rose sighed. "First Man or Last Man, seems there's not a lot of difference. They still want us obedient."

"Last man?" Rose looked around as somebody else joined in the discussion. "Funny you should say that. When he was talking there about those old Earth legends, I was put in mind of a legend from where I come from. About a man - the LAST man who survived the death of his home planet and became a wanderer in the universe, righting wrongs, defending the innocent."

"That would be Superman," Wyn said. "The only survivor of Krypton."

"Maybe," Rose smiled. "Or it could be MY Doctor. The last Time Lord."

"Same difference," Wyn laughed.

"The Doctor wears cooler clothes and he doesn't fly." Rose sat down and tried not to worry. But it was impossible. She knew he was good. But was he good enough?

He had to be.

The Doctor came out onto the flat roof of the hotel. The coolness of the night didn't bother him. It had to be VERY cold to affect him. This could almost be called balmy. It was the sort of night he would have liked to have been walking by that lake with Rose, holding her hand, stopping for no reason and kissing her. Not standing up here on the roof with two knives in his hands, waiting to kill a demon that was very likely going to look just like her. He hadn't even thought of that until she said it. He was glad she did, because he thought he MIGHT just hesitate if he hadn't been forewarned.

He leaned against the sloping tiled roof that covered the winching gears of the lift and looked out over the lake in the moonlight. He let his mind drift as he so often did up on the roof of the flats in London. There, he picked up the thoughts and emotions of millions. They were a great, loud discord which he probed and sifted until he could focus on one or two minds and read their emotions. He found the mental exercise cathartic and his contact with the emotional problems of humanity educational.

Here there were no teeming millions. There were no more than two hundred people in this valley, some in the hotel below, the rest in the village. They, too, hunkered together in the community hall for safety. And unlike the many different concerns people in London had to worry about, these had just one thing on their mind - getting through this night. Somebody from the hotel must have phoned a friend in the village, because the people there knew that a hero was, even now, trying to rid their world of the scourge that had killed so many. He felt their kind thoughts and hopes for his success and it heartened him. The same feelings were coming from below in the hotel. And something more.

Rose had only one heart, but the love in it for him was like a beacon. He could pick her out from all the others, and feel her love for him.

"My Haven in my distress…. My Shield and my Shelter in my woes…" He remembered the words again and felt their meaning as he had never felt them before. Knowing she was there was enough.

Look…..” Somebody shouted. They all looked. Rose reached the window first, though she was the other side of the room. It was THEM, the two demons, in their default shape, flying towards the hotel. When they reached the lake shore they began to rise up. They were taking the bait. HE was the bait, standing up there, the only person in this whole valley who was alone right now, thinking loving thoughts about her, to attract demons who fed on love.

"Lillith may have chosen the dark side, but she was right about one thing. Men and women should be equal - and they should be together." She turned and sprinted to the kitchen where she chose two of the sharpest knives and then to the stairwell. Several people stood in her way and begged her not to go but she was a woman with sharp knives in her hands and a determined look on her face. They let her pass. A few moments later, Wyn followed. She didn't have knives, but she had the same look. Nobody got in her way, either.

The Doctor tensed himself and stood ready as mentally and audibly he heard the scream of the creatures coming towards him. He held the knives out. And he held onto the thought that, whether he believed in religion or not, he had always walked in the light. He was a force AGAINST this sort of darkness.

He was ready for just about anything. EXCEPT THAT. As they came towards him he almost hesitated. Then he remembered what Rose had told him.

Rose ran up the stairs as fast as she could. Her heart was pounding and her lungs bursting as she reached the top of the last flight and came out onto the roof, but she didn't let her own physical discomfort stop her reaching the man she loved and help him fight these demons that had hurt so many people already.

But he didn't need any help. She watched in fascinated horror as The Doctor plunged the knife right into the female creature's heart. Pressurised blood spurted from the wound as he held it there and in the same moment brought the cleaver around in a sweeping arc and took the succubus's head clean off. The mouth opened in a silent scream as it flew through the air. Rose saw it turn to dust as he had said it would. But while he was concentrating on her, her mate had moved around and was now behind him. Changing his grip on the knife from the underhand that had given his thrust so much force to an overhand one, he pulled it out of the disintegrating body and swept it backwards behind him. The creature's hand was on his shoulder as he pushed the knife into its stomach and pulled his hand swiftly upwards, gutting the incubi like a fish. The creature arched itself in a scream of agony as The Doctor released the knife and span on his toes bringing the cleaver around. To Rose it felt like slow motion but it was only seconds before she saw the male creature’s head fly off. The body fell, disintegrating into dust even before it hit the ground. The long knife that was still in its chest caught the moonlight as it fell through empty air.

It was a foul smelling dust as if from contaminated earth. It made Rose want to retch as she ran towards The Doctor. He fell to his hands and knees, the bloody cleaver clattering to the ground as he thrust it from him. He was breathing heavily and crying. As she drew closer she heard him cough and throw up. That really startled her. She had never seen him being sick before.

"Doctor…" She wrapped her arms around him, ignoring the foul-smelling blood that covered his face and his clothes and matted his hair. "Doctor! It's all right. It's over. You did it."

She helped him stand and he turned and held her. She was surprised at how much he was trembling. She knew he hated to kill. She knew it went against all he believed in, and whenever he had to kill it hurt him deeply. But surely he knew that these creatures had to die.

"It's over," she said again. "You did it." She heard Wyn's footsteps behind her and moments later she, too, was hugging him. But neither seemed able to comfort him, to stop him trembling and crying.

"What… what did they look like to you?" he asked.

"Sort of faceless things - just body shapes without any features. Why? What did they look like to you?"

"My…." He gulped for air as he remembered. "My wife and son."

"Oh, Doctor…." Rose hugged him close. "Oh, my love." She understood now why he was hurting so deeply. She hadn't quite expected that. She thought the thing would look like her and that was bad enough. But they must have drawn on deeper emotions, deeper memories than his love for her, and chosen forms that cut to the very core of him. She couldn't think of anything crueller.

"I knew it couldn't have been them. They're both long dead. But… but it felt like I was stabbing my own hearts. They pleaded with me, begged for their lives - with THEIR voices. They looked so hurt. Their eyes… I never want to go through that again. I never…. Oh my Julia… my Christopher…I never… I loved them both all their lives. I would never hurt…."

"They know that," Rose told him. "Wherever they are…whatever is beyond life… they know that. Come on. Let's go downstairs."

"Not yet," he said. "Those people…. Down there. They expect a conquering hero. Not… not a quivering wreck. I need a moment."

They went as far as their hotel room first. He showered and Rose cleaned his jacket of the creature's blood. By the time he was dressed again he looked a lot better, though his eyes still betrayed the trauma he had suffered. But by the time they continued down to the hotel dining room he had composed himself enough to look the part expected of him - the conquering hero. He took Rose and Wyn by the hand and stepped into the room. There was a moment before people turned and saw him, and then there was uproar. Everyone wanted to shake his hand. Everyone wanted to know how he did it. He didn't tell them. He just assured them the nightmare was over.