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

“Rose,” The Doctor turned to her in his excitement. “I did it. We’re here. The Hall of Lost Souls.”

“Doesn’t look like it.”

“It's the entrance foyer. Where people apply to go in.”


“I’m not going to get caught up in its lies this time. I want to get straight to the point.”

“Doctor,” Rose touched his hand. He turned and looked at her. “We may be wrong. Maybe he ISN’T here.”

“I don’t think we are wrong.”

“But if we are…. I want you to be ok about it.”

“I WILL be. If this isn’t it, we’ll just have to rethink it and carry on looking. But I am SURE this is the answer. This is where he is. My son. Rose, oh Rose, if he is alive. After all these years….”

“Don’t put too much hope into it.” She drew him close. She could feel his hearts beating fast. “Nothing I can do or say can convince you, can it?”

“No. But you needn’t fear. I am not going to be wrong.” He kissed her gently and reassuringly. “Stay here. Keep an eye on things. If I get lost, come and get me.”

“Count on it.”

He stepped out of the TARDIS and looked around at the crowded waiting room. Every seat was taken by somebody waiting to become a lost soul. They were old and young, male and female, mostly Humanoid. And they looked miserable. It was the quietest waiting room he had ever been in. Nobody talked. They just looked blankly and waited until they were called, one at a time, to present themselves at the portal that led to the hall where the souls spent their eternity dreaming pleasant dreams of what cannot be.

He looked at some of the people. He saw a girl of about eighteen with deep brown eyes just like his first wife’s. He probed her thoughts and found that she mourned a man who had died in a traffic accident. She wanted to relive their last holiday together. An older man wanted to be reunited with his wife who died of cancer. The pattern was the same all over. A mother wanted to spend time with a baby who died, a father with his children who had been killed in a house fire.

“GO HOME!” he shouted and his voice seemed to ring around the silent room. The sad faces turned towards him. “I know you’re all grieving. You’ve all suffered loss. But you can’t just stop living. Go home. Grieve. Get over it. Live again. As your loved ones would want you to do.”

“What do you know of it?” Somebody asked bitterly. “You don’t know my pain.”

“Oh, but I do,” he retorted. “Who have you lost? A wife, husband, lover? A parent? A child? I have lost all of those and more. I’ve thought of suicide. I’ve tried it. It's the only thing I’ve ever FAILED at.” Somebody laughed when he said that. “Life is always better than oblivion. REAL life has to be better than a fantasy. Go home. Go home all of you. Before it's too late.”

A few of them stood up and left. Some others looked as if they were thinking about it. Most went back to their blank expressions. He couldn’t help people who didn’t want to be helped. He went past them to the portal.

“You cannot go through.” One of the Caretakers, the grey-skinned, sober-looking Humanoids who ran this strange facility, blocked his path.

“I am here to find my son,” The Doctor said.


“My SON. You will know which he is. He will have been here longer, perhaps, than any other.”

“Do you mean the Silent One?” the Caretaker asked.

“Do I?” The Doctor asked. “Show me.”

The Caretaker sighed and indicated that he should follow. He stepped through the portal and moved through the silent hall that he knew was filled with people, all slightly out of time phase so that they seemed invisible and non-corporeal, all living strange, sad lives lost in their own fantasies of what might have been. At the far end of the huge room the Caretaker opened a door to a smaller room. The Doctor gasped aloud at what he saw when he stepped inside.

This man was not invisible. He was not standing. The Caretakers had clearly had some compassion for him. He lay on a soft bed and his needs were taken care of. He was very old. His hair and beard were so pure white as to be colourless. His skin was almost translucent. He was so thin his bones showed through his flesh. His eyes – The Doctor felt a jolt of recognition – his eyes were the least affected by his great age. They were a deep brown that was nearly black, the same colour as Julia’s eyes, the same colour as Susan’s. They were his son’s eyes.

He took the frail hand and held it tightly. He recognised deep in his soul the DNA that was almost but not quite the same as his. Gallifreyan mixed with Human. He closed his eyes and stepped into his son’s fantasy world.

The last time he did this, he found himself in Brighton eating ice cream.

Brighton would have been something.

There was nothing.

He looked around him at the cool, empty, misty nothingness and then to the man whose hand he held. He looked like Christopher looked a few years before he died, a young man of 300 years, Chrístõ de Lœngbaerrow’s handsome, brilliant son, who was destined to be a great leader in the political hierarchy of Gallifrey. The Doctor’s hearts burned as he looked at him and thought of all that was lost. Such a waste. Then he put his hands on his son’s head, either side of the temples and tried to read his mind. He was shocked by what he found. He literally HAD no mind. There was no brain damage. His mind was simply a void.

“You don’t even know ME!” The Doctor cried as he held him close, kissing his cheek. “Not even me.” No wonder the illusion was empty.

And how could he bring him out of this illusion into reality after so many hundreds of years. The shock would kill him.

“At least let me give you one illusion worth having,” he said. And he reached into the empty mind and planted there a seed of a memory. Around them a warm Gallifreyan night solidified. The two of them were camping by Mount Loeng, lounging by the camp fire and talking happily together. It was a few weeks before Christopher was due to make his Alliance of Unity to Ámándáliá and they had much to talk about. They were both happy. Chrístõ de Lœngbaerrow’s hearts had been light as he enjoyed the time with his son who he loved so deeply and was so proud of. Christopher was on top of the world, talking about his wife-to-be and their plans. They talked long into the night as the campfire burnt low.

“A good dream,” The Doctor said. “But now let us return to reality. As cold and hard and painful as it is, that’s where we both belong.” He took hold of his son and held him tightly. He pressed his hand on his forehead and focussed his own mind on his son’s body, telling his organs to slow down and enter into slow meditation. Then holding him tightly he shouted imperiously, “END THIS.” And the illusion dissolved. He was standing in the ante-room holding his son’s frail, elderly body in his arms.

He turned to leave.

“Get out of my way,” he snapped at the Caretaker who tried to protest. It seemed a long walk across the hall. When he walked into the foyer there was uproar. He had already caused enough upset to begin with, but when he came through the portal, carrying an emaciated and shrivelled body that looked dead to all appearances, those who were considering signing their lives away had visions of their own futures that repelled them. A side effect he was not displeased with, but he just wanted to get through the crowds and reach the TARDIS.

The door swung open as he reached it. Rose stood aside as he stumbled in and closed it again. As he knelt on the floor with his son’s body cradled in his arms she went to the console and set them into temporal orbit. The Doctor looked up at the viewscreen and smiled brightly at her. “Thank you,” he said.

“Is he…” Rose began, but The Doctor was not listening just now. His eyes were unfocussed as he put himself into the empty mind of his son. Even that illusion he had created was not there. It was HIS memory, not Christopher’s. He lifted him up again and brought him to the cabin bed that Rose still occasionally used as a day-bed when she was tired on long journeys. He laid him there gently and put a blanket around his frail body. Rose came and looked.

“He’s your son?” she said, staring at the ancient face. “He looks so old…”

“He is 208 years younger than me,” The Doctor said. “That’s how old I was when he was born. But I have regenerated eight times. HE has not done it once yet. But I think he may, soon. His body is so frail. It's been artificially held back from its natural course. The trouble is, even if he DOES regenerate, his mind is still blank. He would be younger, healthier, but still EMPTY. He wouldn’t BE Christopher.”

“Can you help him?”

“Yes. But not here. There’s only once place we can go.” He looked up at Rose. “Come and take care of him. I need to pilot the TARDIS.”

Rose did as he asked her. She sat on the edge of the bed and took the frail hand in hers. She pressed her hand against his forehead and it felt cold. There was no perspiration. He was not breathing. But she wasn’t worried. She had sat with The Doctor while he was in a slow meditation many times. It was unnerving but there was nothing to fear. She glanced at The Doctor as he raced around the console setting co-ordinates and tripping switches. He looked grimly worried. And no wonder. But his son was alive – in a way. That was something. It was a miracle, though it seemed as if they still needed a second miracle.

“Where ARE we going?” she asked.

“SangC’lune,” he said shortly. But she needed no other explanation.

“To the pyramids?”


Rose didn’t ask anything more. She didn’t entirely understand what his plan was, but she KNEW somehow that if there WAS an answer it was AT SangC’lune, that blessed planet. If there wasn’t, at the very least, those kind, gentle people might take pity on this poor man and make his empty days comfortable.

They landed as they always did on the grassy upland between the village and the pyramid plain. The Doctor told Rose to wait with Christopher while he met with the elders and told them what he needed from them. It seemed an age, and she almost became anxious, but when he did return the SangC’lune’s had risen to the occasion. Two of them took over the care of Christopher, clothing him in a long white Gallifreyan robe and placing him on a specially prepared bier that six of them carried shoulder high.

“They do know he’s alive, don’t they?” Rose asked as they walked along with them. “This looks like a funeral party.”

“They know. Apparently there IS a ritual which can be performed that restores a Time Lord’s essence to his body. The very oldest here recall it being performed just once a very long time ago.”

“And you’re going to do that?”

“No,” he said with a sigh. “I’m winging it here. I have no idea what the ritual is.”

“Oh. So…”

“I’ll know when we get to the pyramids.” He assured her. But she heard his sigh and “I hope” under his breath. She squeezed his hand reassuringly.

By the time they reached the pyramids he STILL didn’t have a plan. He had the bearers lay his son’s bier on the ground and he knelt beside him. He was unchanged. The slow meditation could keep him stable for many days if necessary, though there WOULD come a point when he would have to let him rise from it. He rose and looked around and told everyone to stay where they were, and he walked to his son’s pyramid.

It was black still. He HAD hoped. After all, Christopher’s body was living and breathing. But the pyramid was black. It recognised his mind, his soul, not the shell it inhabited. And that was lost still. No. Not lost. Just inaccessible. Trapped inside the sealed tomb was his son’s essence, the spirit of his first and only life.

But how to open the pyramid? He looked at the sealed door. His own pyramid opened by pressing the TARDIS key against the symbol of Kasterborus. But Christopher never owned a TARDIS. By his time the practice of allowing the top students to go out on their own on field trips had been deemed too dangerous to historical causality. The only journeys Christopher had taken offworld were with him, in the TARDIS he had kept since HIS student days. The one he STILL had. Anyway, he had been much more interested in Gallifreyan politics. He had been destined for the top of the ladder – Lord High President before he was 400, they all said.

He shook his head free of the memories that came unbidden and clouded his immediate thoughts. How else could a pyramid be opened? He didn’t know. He tried pressing all of the symbols with his hand. Nothing. He tried the sonic screwdriver. It gave back strange readings, but it could not open the pyramid. He tried pushing. He tried to reach out mentally and touch the soul within the pyramid. He even kicked the door in growing frustration. That earned him no more than a broken toe that took several painful minutes before it mended and did nothing for his feeling of hopelessness.

He walked back to his own pyramid and looked at it for a long moment. He didn’t want to go in. His other selves irritated him. They all seemed so sanctimonious. Even the most recent one, and he thought he’d been a pretty cool sort of guy apart from his occasional bouts of depression and his still shadowy role in the last battle of the Time War. He HATED the bad-tempered git who was his FIRST incarnation. Even with the troubles he had suffered in his first life, one personal tragedy compounding the next, his disillusionment with his life, his exile from his home, he never quite worked it out. How or when the nice kid he had been when he was Chrístõ, the life-loving teenager who had worn the same leather jacket as he wore now, but with maybe a bit more panache, had turned into that crabby old man. The years before his first regeneration changed him into something he didn’t think he ever really was.

He was going to have to do it. He sighed and took the key from his pocket. He gave one backward glance at Rose as she sat on the ground with her hand in his son’s hand and he opened the door and went inside.

As ever, there was nothing inside but mirrors and shadows. He could see movements in both that were not his own doing. They were THERE. He knew it.

There was always a ritual involved before they would step out.

He wasn’t in the mood. His foot still ached from kicking the pyramid. And he felt like kicking something else.

“Come out,” he yelled. “One of you, or all of you. But come out. Don’t play games with me.” He shouted. “I need help. NOW!”

His first self, white haired, old and sour-looking stepped from the shadows. The Doctor felt a jolt of shock as he realised how much his son, as an old man, looked like his first self. He had forgotten.

“Patience was never your virtue, Chrístõ,” his first self said.

“You should talk!” he retorted, feeling like he did when he was arguing with his father – who he could ALSO see in that older version of himself. “But I haven’t time to mess about. My son is dying. Tell me how to save him.”

“YOUR son?” the first Doctor queried. He held out his arms. “Julia and I gave him life. These arms held him as a baby. Picked him up when he fell. Comforted him, loved him. I grieved at his death. He is much more mine than yours.”

“I AM you,” he screamed.

“How long as it taken you to realise that?”

The Doctor looked at the old man, the one he had said he hated. And he realised it was true. The teenage Chrístõ who shared his taste in clothes and music, and the bad tempered old man who pushed away every hand of friendship and every possibility of affection, were both part of him. So was the clown who pretended to be stupid while he outwitted his foes, so was the one who had come through the last devastating act of the Time War to become HIM. They were ALL him. With all their faults and foibles. And he HAD all their faults. Everything he detested in them was in him. And yet, he LIKED himself. He thought he was an ok guy. So was he wrong about himself or about them?

It didn’t matter. He had other things to think of right now. “Just tell me how to save HIM.”

“You can’t. His pyramid can.”

“I can’t open it.”

“Of course not. But HE can.”

“Oh!” The solution dawned on him at last. It was obvious really. He turned and ran. He turned back and returned quickly to his older self. “I mean to save him for us all,” he promised. “OUR son… the cause of grief in all our hearts.” And the old man smiled at him and nodded. Then he turned again and exited the pyramid of Chrístõ de Lœngbaerrow at great speed.

He went to his son, lying still on the bier. He had to release him from the slow meditation now. He did it gently, so as not to shock him. “Come on, Christopher, my son,” he said and gently raised him up on his feet. The shell of the man seemed to know where to put his feet if guided, but he leaned heavily on The Doctor. Slowly he brought him to the door of his own black pyramid. The Doctor looked at the Lœngbaerrow seal in the centre of the door and he lifted his son’s hand and placed it over the seal. Against all hope, there was a grinding as of stone on stone and the door slowly slid open. The Doctor guided Christopher over the threshold. Inside, he laid him on the floor of the empty pyramid and held his hand for a long moment. Then he leaned over and kissed his forehead and left the pyramid. The door closed the moment he stepped out and he turned and saw that it had sealed again. “Have I done right?” he asked himself. “Or have I simply put him into his grave?”

His question was answered a moment later. A shrill shrieking noise filled the air and when he looked up it seemed as if the very sky was being pulled into the shimmering pyramid. He stepped back quickly from it. He felt Rose’s hand slip into his as he did so and it was her presence that kept him on his weary and shaking feet as he watched a miracle happen before his eyes. Slowly, the black pyramid of Christopher de Lœngbaerrow turned brilliant white, reflecting the sunlight. The obelisks turned white as well, all but one which stayed black as jet, absorbing the light that bounded off the other twelve.

Rose felt the pressure on her hand increase as The Doctor allowed himself to hope. Then the pyramid opened and a figure came out. He was still dressed in the white robe the SangC’lune’s had put him in, but it fell less loosely on the young man with healthy flesh on his bones. He looked maybe thirty-five at the oldest and he had soft, blonde-brown hair and slate-grey eyes like… like his father, Rose thought. He looked disorientated and puzzled, even a little scared, but he looked ALIVE. She felt The Doctor’s hand leave hers and he stepped forward and embraced his son.

“My Christopher,” he sobbed for joy. “My own son.” He could feel him now, mentally. He could feel he WAS Christopher de Lœngbaerrow, his son. And he knew that he knew him.

“Father,” he said, embracing him in return. “Why… where are we? I remember…” His voice cracked in grief. “Ámándáliá…. She’s dead….”

“I know, son,” he said. “I’m sorry for that. I’m just glad YOU are alive. There’s a lot we have to talk about. Some of it is going to hurt just as bad. But not here.” And they turned from the pyramids and walked with the SangC’lune acolytes to the village and the Great Hall. There they could sit comfortably.

The Doctor had so much to explain to him. First and foremost that many years had passed since his wife had been killed in front of his eyes and his soul torn from his body, and both thrown across time and space. He had to tell him that their home on Gallifrey was gone, and that hit Christopher even harder.

“What about Susan?” he cried. “My baby girl… Susan…”

“Susan is fine,” The Doctor told him. “But she’s not a baby any more. She is a beautiful mature woman with her own children. She lives on Earth.”

“Earth?” Christopher looked confused.

“The planet your mother came from. It's a fine place. They are safe there.”

“Susan is grown up?” The concept was even harder to grasp than the loss of their world. “I only held her yesterday… she was a baby.”

“She was that when you were taken from us. She was given to me to care for. She was a beautiful baby and I loved her for you. She grew into a wonderful child, and an even more wonderful adult. And now you can love her again. I’ll take you to her tomorrow. But we all need to rest tonight. And this is a fine, beautiful place to do it.”

“Where is here?” Christopher asked, looking around.

“This is SangC’lune.” Rose said to him and he seemed aware of her for the first time.

He looked at her questioningly. “And who are you?” he asked.

“I’m Rose,” she said. “I’m…” But Christopher took her hand and she felt a gentle touch upon her mind as he looked into it. He smiled.

“Ah,” he said. “I know who you are. You’re… the woman my father loves. His promised one.” And he kissed her gently on the cheek. “And you love him. Bless you for that. But why….” He looked at his father. “Why have you not…”

“Susan bosses me about enough, thank you,” The Doctor said. “Don’t you start, too.” And he laughed and embraced his son again, just because he could. For 500 years he had been DEAD to him. Now he had a new chance.

Christopher was experiencing heaven and hell at the same time. He was grieving the death of his wife which was real and immediate to him even if to nobody else. He was grieving the death of his world that made everything he had ever worked for in his life redundant. He was a government minister without a government. He didn’t even recognise his own face.

What he did have was a father who had gone to the far corners of the universe to find him, to give him back his life, and give him a reason TO live. Could it be true? Yesterday… or what felt like yesterday – he was father to a baby girl. Now that girl was a mother herself. HE was a GRANDFATHER.

That was a reason to be happy if the other terrible truths would allow him to be.

His father’s love for him was the only thing keeping him from despair. He let himself be held by him. He felt his warmth and remembered the many times his father had been there for him in his life. They had been so close, the more so after his mother died, when, even then, when his father smiled so much less and seemed often in sad reflection on the past, he came back to the present in order to share with him his triumphs and disasters. Christopher had always known his father’s love, and it was that which got him through the first night of his new life.

With his encouragement he ate the good food brought to them by the gentle people of this planet – SangC’lune. He found it as incredible to be HERE as it was just to be alive. He let himself be guided by his father as they were both of them prepared by their courtiers for the evening ritual they called Daygone.

Christopher actually felt quite moved to be dressed in the robes and regalia of their high Gallifreyan rites. He smiled as he and his father stood side by side, dressed in the gold robes of the highest ranks of the hierarchy, joined presently by the woman his father loved, dressed in the silver of an honoured consort. He enjoyed the simple ritual, in which the SangC’lune’s blessed the passing of another peaceful day on their planet and welcomed the cool night. Like his father, he knew he was not a God. But he would not have shaken the simple faith of these gentle people for anything.

Afterwards, his father and Rose left him on the bed in the great hall of the SangC’lune gods, meaning for him to sleep or meditate, whichever would bring him the most peace. But he did neither. Instead he sought them both out. They were sitting outside on the wooden veranda of the hall, his father sitting with his back against the doorframe with Rose, slender creature that she was, embraced in his arms as they both looked up at the stars and the double moons of the planet and talked quietly.

Christopher sat beside them, and his father’s hand reached for his. They talked together quietly, the three of them at first, then Rose, a Human woman who needed sleep, drifted in his father’s arms. It was just the two of them, talking through the cool night about the past, the remarkable present, the future.

He learned the painful truth behind the double murder of himself and his wife and the hunting down and execution of their killer. He learned of the years that followed, how his father had cared for Susan, but had come to hate almost everyone else on Gallifrey and had taken her away with him, travelling the universe at first, before settling on that strange little planet on the other side of the galaxy that his family had blood ties with nonetheless. He learnt how they had resumed their wandering life together for a while before Susan chose the love of a Human man instead.

“At seventeen?” Christopher was shocked by that.

“Seventeen is a young woman by Earth standards and she chose to be an Earth woman.” The Doctor said. “If you… had been there… if we had not left Gallifrey, of course her life would have been different. But believe me, that Earth life was the best thing for her. She is happy. The only regret I have is that I did not see her often enough. I left her to make her own life. But she did it well. She is a credit to us both.”

“She won’t know me, will she?” Christopher said. “She was too young to have any memory of me.”

“She will know you. And she will love you,” his father promised. “Have no fear of that. And you will love the children. Chris and Davie are wonderful boys. And Sukie… she is remarkable.”

“She named her son for me?” Christopher asked and his father said yes, though it was a small white lie. Susan had told him long ago that Chris was named for him, Chrístõ, the boy’s GREAT grandfather. But Christopher was so taken by the thought that he could not disabuse him. “What’s he like?”

“They’re both of them fantastic,” The Doctor said with a smile. “They’re… they’re like us. Chris is a gentle, sensitive soul, full of compassion for every living thing. Davie has such an inquiring mind, a love for learning. I have been training them in our disciplines. They’re going to be Time Lords like us. We won’t be the last.”

He told his son how the work had progressed, teaching the two boys all the wisdom of their race. Christopher’s face became animated as he questioned him about it.

“At least I could be useful,” Christopher said. “I can take over that work from you.”

“You can SHARE the work,” his father said. “I won’t have anyone take me away from my boys now. They are a part of me.”

“My boys, too,” Christopher said. “I can’t wait to meet them. I hope they will like me.”

“You’re their granddad,” his father told him. “Of course they will.” Rose stirred in her sleep and turned and he wrapped his arms more firmly around her, kissing her cheek.

“She is beautiful,” Christopher said. “She’s Human? Like my mother?”


“That’s why you haven’t taken her as your wife?”

“You’re too clever, Christopher. You always were.”

“But she stays with you? Even though you can’t… even though the future may…”

“We don’t think about the future. We just bless every day we have,” The Doctor said, kissing her again. “You know how much I loved your mother. How much I missed her. I never meant to give my hearts to anyone, let alone another Human who would leave me grieving again. But even our hearts overrule our superior brains sometimes.”

“I understand,” Christopher said. His father slipped one arm around his waist and pulled him nearer. He kissed him on the cheek and felt his tears. “Father?”

“I’m crying for joy,” he said, “Because I can hold the two most precious people in my life right now in my arms.” And he turned and kissed his son back. “I love you, Christopher,” he said. “I always have. This is a miracle for me. I grieved over you for centuries. And now you’re here, alive. I… hope you don’t regret that. I am sorry I can’t bring your wife back. I know that must hurt so deep. But I hope you ARE glad to be alive.”

Talk of his wife had brought tears to Christopher’s eyes, too. They both cried softly and the breezes of a SangC’lune night cooled their faces. In their tears they found a catharsis for the things that still grieved them both.


As the sun came up on another lovely morning on Rassilon’s perfect planet, they said a fond farewell to the gentle people of SangC’lune and The Doctor programmed the TARDIS for Susan’s house in the twenty-third century. Christopher still seemed like a man whose world would not stop spinning. His world didn’t exist, Rose thought, looking at him.

But at least they were taking him to a happy reunion with his daughter.

The Doctor hoped it would be happy. He thought of the things Susan had said not so long ago, about never knowing her father, about how HE had been the only parent she knew and loved. It wasn’t going to be easy for either them. He just hoped that Susan’s naturally compassionate nature would be enough to see them through the first few days.

Susan hugged her grandfather lovingly as ever as they came into her house. Then she looked at the stranger he had brought with him and her Gallifreyan telepathic circuits rebelled against what they were telling her. She turned back to her grandfather with an almost scared look.

“Is he…. Grandfather… did you…”

“Susan,” The Doctor said, taking her hands and putting them in Christopher’s. “Susan, this is your father. My son. He is alive. I found him. This is our miracle.”

Susan closed her hands around the stranger’s and their telepathy connected. She felt his confusion even more deeply than her own. The Susan he loved was a baby. She was a grown woman who didn’t even remember him. But DNA all by itself sent out strong signals and in a few minutes of wordless probing of each other’s thoughts they both found the love that ought to have been there for all her life. A moment later they embraced each other with tears of joy.

“Children…” she said, reaching out for Sukie’s little hand and beckoning to the boys to come to her side. “Children… this is my father. Your grandfather. Come… come and say hello to him.”

Sukie looked up at him with big brown eyes like her mother’s. She reached up her toddler arms to him and he gave a soft cry of emotion before lifting her up. Sukie put her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek. He looked at the boys. They came closer to him, prompted by their mother and by The Doctor.

“Chris… Davie…” He said to them. “I’ve heard so much about you both. I am glad to meet you. I hope…” He reached out his spare hand to them as he hugged Sukie still. They shook hands politely with him.

It was a start, at least.

The Doctor smiled and stepped back from them. Rose took his hand and squeezed it. They neither of them were needed just now.


They went out into the garden and walked by David’s roses. The Doctor thought about how, a long time in the past, he had courted Julia in such a garden with the scent of roses in the air. He looked at his Rose – the most beautiful flower in the garden. It was a corny line, but he meant it. She was so special, so precious. She had stuck with him through so many difficulties, so many dangers. He mentally kicked himself for almost ruining that a little while ago, and thanked his lucky stars he had been given the chance to make amends.

He had restored Susan’s father to her, but he couldn’t do that for Rose. He wasn’t sure if she realised yet how unfair that was. As he put his family back together, she was still the one who was left out in the cold. She WAS the only one he hadn’t done right by yet.

“Rose,” he said and he reached out to hold her in his arms. She moved close to him, willingly letting him enfold her. And he kissed her fully on the lips and kept on kissing her, holding her ever more tighter. She closed her eyes momentarily and then opened them again and looked at his soft slate-grey eyes.

“I love your eyes,” she said, caressing his cheek with her hand. “Beautiful eyes.”

“Just my eyes?” he asked with a smile. “Or does the rest of me measure up, too?”

“Oh, completely,” she answered. But I just love to look at your eyes.”

“I have to find a way to marry you,” he said. “It's the only thing left undone.”

“I don’t mind, as long as I can be with you,” she told him. “I just want to be with you forever.

“I know. But it's not good enough. I have got to try harder.”

He was about to go on speaking when he became aware of a change in the atmosphere. The birds stopped singing and the light suddenly became brighter than it should be. They both turned and The Doctor stared as Rassilon, the Creator of Time Lord society stood before them. Not an illusion this time, but the man himself. He knew it was. He felt it deep in his soul. His Creator, the nearest thing his people had to a God, was before him. At once he knelt and bowed his head. He was awestruck, but also afraid. Had he done wrong by bringing his son back for himself and for Susan? Would he be punished? If so, he would take the punishment. It was worth it.

“No, Son of Lœngbaerrow, do not fear. You have done well,” Rassilon said. “You have ensured the future of our race. The final piece of the puzzle was set in place when you brought your son from the wilderness.”

“Sire…” The Doctor dared to look up. He began to speak but Rassilon waved him to silence. Then he reached out his hand to him.

“Come,” he said. “I want to show you what your future is.”

The Doctor reached out his hand to Rassilon. He turned to take Rose’s hand but she was not there. HE was not there. He stood with Rassilon in SPACE. They were standing on nothing, in the vacuum of space and looking down at Earth.

“Except that now, 10,000 years later, it has two names. To some it is Earth still. To others, it is New Gallifrey. There are two races living in peace and harmony with each other, Human and Time Lord. The Time Lords rule both races wisely and evenly and fairly. Their universities are open to the best and brightest of both races. Their military corps protects this galaxy from those who would seek to harm it. Their scientists strive to improve life for all.”

“That’s…. fantastic,” he said. “But….”

“It all began with you, Chrístõ de Lœngbaerrow. You, the patriarch of the first Time Lord dynasty to make Earth their home, sowed the seeds of this great and bountiful empire that has brought peace and liberty and wisdom and learning to this sector of the universe. The Lœngbaerrow family were the architects of this golden age. Your son, Christopher, drew up the treaties that united all the nations and became the first president of the planetary parliament sitting in London, the capital of Earth-New Gallifrey. Your great-grandsons – Davie retro-engineered the science of time travel from the TARDIS blueprints YOU gave them. Chris’s contribution was even greater still. Their sister founded the New Prydonian University - the first university to train the best and brightest of both Human and Gallifreyan to be Time Lords. Science and medicine were pioneered by other offspring of your blood. ALL your children contributed to the greatness of this new world. It all began with you and your children. Your name is taught to the generations now as the founder of the new race, the new Time Lords, whose DNA is both Gallifreyan and Human. There are stories and songs about your courage as a leader, a peacemaker and as a bringer of justice to the universe before you became that founding father. Your deeds are known and honoured. You are revered. Never worshipped, mark you, for among the many of your words that are remembered, the fact that you abhor false gods is best known.”

“But…Why are you telling me this?” The Doctor asked. The idea of him as a patriarch startled him. He had spent most of his life alone in the universe. Family had been a word that meant nothing to him, that had belonged to other men. It was a miracle in itself that he even thought in such terms.

“Because your work is done now,” Rassilon told him in answer to his question. “All this will happen. You have no need to strive further. The wheels you have set in motion cannot be stopped.”

“You want me to retire from saving the universe?” The Doctor laughed. “Have you SEEN the universe, Sire? It needs me.”

“No, it needs Chris and Davie Campbell, the first of the new Time Lords to travel the universe setting right what was wrong. You may rest assured that the universe is safe in their hands.”

“But they are only children,” he protested. Then he saw it clear. “They will be Time Lords. When they ARE old enough…. They can save the universe in the past, present or future.”

“Inspired by you, and the knowledge you gave them of the universe, and your efforts to bring justice to it.”

“I’m NOT needed anymore.”

“You’re needed by your family,” Rassilon said. “History records that you gave up your wandering life and stayed by them, caring for your dynasty, teaching the children your wisdom, your love and respect for all sentient life. You…”

“No,” The Doctor interrupted . “My Lord, if I speak out of turn, I humbly apologise, but I must speak. I have NEVER let my life be dictated by others. I have never had my destiny set out immutable. Not even by you. I was told it is not my destiny to be married again and have more children. But… but I reject that DESTINY. I wish it to be changed. I demand of you, that it be changed.”


“Request…” he said, remembering who he was speaking to. But then… “No. Sire, I DO DEMAND it. If I am such a hero to all times and all people, surely I am due a reward. I… have never asked for one, never even sought thanks for anything I have done for the good of others. I DEMAND now… that Rose, who I love dearly, may be given the genetic marker that would allow her to bear my children without harm or hurt coming to her.”

“The marker is easy,” Rassilon said. “Done just like that…” And he snapped his fingers. “But you’ve been through this before… Do you REALLY want to see her die of old age as you did your Julia?”

The Doctor never questioned how Rassilon knew. HE knew.

“I will take the chance.”

“It is no chance. It is an inevitability. But…” Rassilon took him by the shoulders. “Chrístõ de Lœngbaerrow, do you think I don’t know how tired you are of the lonely life you lead. You long to give it ALL up. You’ve considered suicide more than once.”

“To my shame,” he said, head bowed.

“Your lifespan sits heavily on you. You are yet 1,000 years old and already feel you’ve seen too much of the universe and too often.”

“Sire…” he said. “What are you asking of me?”

“A bargain. One of your lives in exchange for making hers a long and fruitful one.”

“I…. Sire….” He looked at his Creator in astonishment. “Can it be done?”

“It can. If your love is strong enough, and you genuinely want it.”

“How?” he asked. But then he remembered he was addressing Rassilon. He could do anything. “She’ll have a life span to match mine?

“One lifetime. She would live as long as a Gallifreyan. You WOULD grow old together. YOU would have lives to spare. You could regenerate. Or…”

“Or I could decide my work is done, my life is fulfilled, and choose to die naturally along with her.”


“I… get to keep THIS life… this body? This is the man she loves, and who loves her. Not any other…. If I have to regenerate into a stranger it is for nothing.”

“Yes. You keep that body. That life. You make of it what you will.”

“Sire…” he said, deciding at once, “Take ALL my remaining lives. Give me the chance to love her, to be with her as an equal. When the time comes… we will both take the quiet of the grave for the rest of eternity. But first, I want the chance to LIVE with her.”

“It is done,” Rassilon said. “The lifeforce of your four remaining incarnations is shared between the two of you. A long life even for our kind is given to you.” The Doctor looked surprised. He didn’t FEEL any different. “Is there anything more I can do for you, Chrístõ?”

“Sire, there is nothing more I need or want. You have enabled me to have my heart’s desire.”

“You are content?”

“I am. Utterly content. And I thank you for that contentment. I only wish….”

“You are content, yet there are wishes?”

“I wish you hadn’t made me fight so hard to get to this contentment.”

“If you hadn’t fought for it you would not have deserved it.”

“That is such a typical answer from you,” The Doctor said. “Was my whole life some kind of test to prove my worthiness? Because parts of it were downright cruel. My first love… Julia… I had to watch her fade away and die of age… this gift was not offered to her. My son was taken from me. My life was turned upside down. I have fought dreadful forces all over the universe, time and time again. I have seen my deadliest enemy destroy my world…. I have been so alone. But for Rose… but for her unconditional love I would have given up in despair many times…”

“Your whole life was a preparation for this destiny I have shown you. And though you were the most troublesome of all my children, I have been proud of your achievements.”

“YOUR children?”

“You are a descendent of my line,” Rassilon said. “The Lœngbaerrow House IS one of those I myself sired.”

“I know. But… I have never thought of myself as… Even though I had the Mark from birth, and people told me I had a great destiny to fulfil. I would never be so arrogant as to call myself…. I’ve tried to be true to myself first and foremost.”

“You have been true to me,” Rassilon said. “A thousand generations and still something of me is to be found in you. That is why you have had my favour even when you were most reckless and wayward and deserving of punishment and why you have my blessing on your endeavours. You ARE deserving of a reward. I am proud to bless your union with the woman you love. Come, let us return.”

He reached out his hand to The Doctor and moments later they were back in the garden by the Thames in the 23rd century. Rassilon put his hand on his shoulder once, as if in reminder that he WAS, indeed, one of Rassilon’s sons, or at least a descendent of one of them, and disappeared.

“Rose!” As Rassilon vanished he saw her lying on the grass where she seemed to have collapsed in a faint. He knelt by her side and felt her vital signs telepathically. They were confusing but he realised what he was seeing. His request was being fulfilled. Her DNA was being re-written. When it was over she would not be a fragile and short-lived Human but a non-regenerative Gallifreyan with a span of life at least equal to the life he could aspire to.

He knelt and lifted her head and caressed it tenderly. She was in no pain, despite what was being done to her body. He was glad of that. He didn’t want her to suffer to have his desires fulfilled. She was blissfully unconscious and unaware of what was happening to her. He was aware of it though. And he felt excited and joyful. When she woke, she would be his. Forever. Or as near to forever as mattered. It would not be a few precious short years of happiness this time, then long cold centuries of mourning and loss and loneliness.

Slowly she began to come around, still unaware of what was happening to her.

“What happened?” she asked as she sat up, aided by his arm against her shoulder. “I saw Rassilon, then you went with him and I was left here. And I think I must have fainted. Why did I do that? I don’t usually…”

“I’ll explain that later,” The Doctor said as he lifted her to her feet. “Now, I want to continue where we left off.” And he gathered her into his arms again, kissing her with deeper and deeper passion.

“Oh, my Doctor,” she breathed when he stopped at last.

“That has to change for a start,” he said. “Rose, I want you to know first. I am retiring from being The Doctor and saving the universe. My children will follow in my footsteps soon enough. I can let it go. And with it, the name that isn’t a name that I have used for so many centuries. “From here on, call me Chrístõ.”

“I’ll never get used to calling you Chrístõ. I’ve been trying to get used to it for years. You’ll have to put up with being called The Doctor.”

“Well, ok,” he said. “But seeing as we’re going to be married soon, I thought you might try it out. Otherwise our neighbours will think it an odd thing for you to call your husband.”

“Stuff the neighbours,” she said. Then she paused and looked at him. “What do you mean ‘soon’?”

“Well, it’ll take a bit of organising. A Gallifreyan Alliance of Unity. Your mum has to sew all those diamonds onto the dress, and we need a hall where the ceremony can take place, and we need to find all our friends, scattered through space and time and… do you want to live in the 23rd century near Susan and the kids or in the 21st near your mum?”“How can we be married?” she asked. “I thought….”

“I ought to…. I already gave you an engagement ring.” He slipped the diamond encrusted Ring of Eternity from his finger and put it on her middle finger next to the diamond solitaire. “There… now… will you marry me as soon as we can arrange it?”

“Why now?” she asked. “How?”

“I told you, I’m retired now. I can give my life wholeheartedly to you.”


“Just say yes,” he said. “That’s all you have to do. The rest is just details.”

“Oh, YES, yes, yes,” she said. “Oh, yes. Nothing could make me happier.”

“Yes, it will,” he promised her. “When we have a baby of our own.”

“Oh… but… I thought you said… We CAN’T.”

“Now we can,” he said, and he knew he owed her an explanation.

He told her.

She looked at him with wide eyes as the implications of all he said sunk in.

“You… gave up your lives? You’re mortal?”

“I always WAS mortal,” he said. “Just serially mortal. Now… this is it. This is me.”

“And you did it so that I…”

“So that you could have the same mortality I have… so that we could truly be together in the way we both want.”

“But I’m not Human any more?” she asked, looking worried by the idea.

“Yes, yes, you are,” he assured her. “But you’re also part Gallifreyan. And our children will be Time Lords. I know it was abrupt. I asked Rassilon to make it possible for us. I didn’t expect him to be so direct about it. I suppose I should have asked you.”

“Why? Do you think I would have said no? It's… it’s a wonderful gift. I can be a REAL wife to you. I couldn’t ask for anything better. To be with you, to grow old with you.” And she started the kiss this time. As he responded he held her hand tightly, and he felt her timeline. It surprised him. He had never been able to do it before. The TARDIS confused it. Now he saw it clearly. Her life – and HIS – together. Their wedding in the tradition of his world, a new home, near Susan and the children. And several times… he didn’t count them… he saw himself smiling as he held a newborn child in his arms while Rose looked on exhausted but delirious with joy. It was a future worth looking forward to. It was a future worth giving up all he HAD given up for it. He had made that decision in a heartsbeat. But he knew he would not regret it.