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

“So, have you any idea why we’re here and what the big surprise is?” Chris Campbell asked his brother. He looked around the beautiful meditation garden that was tucked so incongruously behind a herbalist shop in Liverpool’s Chinatown. It was very nice, peaceful and somehow exuding a calming, serene feeling. All the more amazing for the fact that it was in the middle of a teeming city in the early twenty-first century. But he didn’t yet GET what it was that his great-grandfather wanted them to find in it.

“He said there was something here in the garden,” Davie said. “But I can’t figure it out.” He looked around and the only thing he could see was his great-grandfather’s three year old daughter wandering perilously close to the lily pond.

“Pret-ti Phish,” she said aloud as he picked her up. In his head he felt a more intelligible comment about the Koi Carp that swam in the pond. Vicki was slow in talking out loud only because, as a telepath, she had long conversations without speaking.

“Yeah, fantastic fish,” Davie agreed, hugging her. “But I don’t think they’re the big secret either.” He walked with her onto the ornamental bridge that crossed the pond and led to a little Buddhist shrine on the other side. “Hey,” he said as he reached it. “I think…WOW.”

He turned around to his brother who was leaning on the parapet of the bridge and daydreaming as usual. Davie half-read his thoughts but they were just Chris’s usual daftness. He wondered if the universe needed a Time Lord whose dreams looked like five dimensional abstract art. Looking at Chris’s mind for too long was a disorientating experience.

He much preferred to be building something. His mind was half on the tractor beam he was developing, hoping that his great-grandfather would test it out in his TARDIS one of these days. He had laughed and said he’d managed 800 years of time and space travel without one, but Davie saw a look in his eye when he said that and knew he was itching to get out in space and find a use for the gadget.

“Chris…” Davie said out loud. His brother’s daydreams blocked out his telepathic communications. “I think…”

Chris looked up at him and grinned. But Davie’s attention had been drawn elsewhere. He turned and looked as well.

“He’s going to kiss her,” he said. “Look at him. He wants to.”

“He wouldn’t. He wouldn’t betray Rose.”

“I know he wouldn’t. But he’s going to kiss that woman. I think she’s an old girlfriend of his, you know. When they looked at each other before – when we came into the shop and she recognised him – there was something more than just old friends there.”

“You think everyone’s in love,” Davie teased his brother. “Just because you’ve got your hair in a pony tail you don’t have to be a total girl.”

He remembered when they were younger and used to look exactly alike. Even their mother got it wrong sometimes. But now Chris looked like a trendy priest in his all black outfit and his black hair grown long and tied back. Davie had his own style too. Short, practical, because he spent so much time around exposed engines and mechanisms. But he had blonde streaks for his own touch of style. He also wore mostly black. But in a different way. And he refused to be teased about his leather jacket. It WASN’T at all like his great-grandfather’s. It was a lot newer and the style was different.

“The greatest poets in the universe are men,” Chris answered. “There’s nothing girly about it. But anyway, I’m not. And I don’t. I told you before. I’m developing a new form of meditation focussed on those abstracts. I think I could teach it to Humans, not like our own meditation that only Time Lords can do.”

“Yeah,” Davie said, still teasing. “The people will flock to learn The Way of The Pony Tail from Lobsang Chris.”

Chris smiled serenely and told his brother he was not going to lose his temper no matter how much he riled him, because his Way, whatever name he called it, would be a Way of Peace.

“Here,” Davie said in response. “Take Vicki for a bit. She’s heavy.”

“Let her run by herself,” Chris said. “She won’t come to any harm.”

“The pond,” Davie protested.

“She’s not an ordinary three year old. She’s nine-tenths Gallifreyan. She knows not to go near water.”

“I think you’re right,” Davie said. “They ARE going to kiss.”

“I never forgot you, Chrístõ,” Hui Ying Bo Juan said. “I have so often hoped you would come back to see me. Or…. Not you but…. You… when you were….”

“When I was the Chrístõ you knew, who taught you to feel your own worth, to trust, to love. And who loved you dearly.”


“I thought you were happy. You and Sammie… You were in love with each other.”

“We are,” she said. “I love Sammie. I love our children. But… But there hasn’t been a day that I haven’t thought of…. Of Chrístõ.” She looked at the middle-aged man before her and remembered the young man she had once been in love with. It was fifteen years since she last saw that young man, but he had not merely aged. It was more complicated than that. “Is he… My Chrístõ…. Is he dead?”

“It's not as simple as that,” The Doctor told her gently. “That body…. Chrístõ’s body… got old and died. Yes.”

“Then he is gone?”

“No, he regenerated, became a new man. Became me. I have lived nearly 800 years since you were a part of my life. I’ve done so much. I’ve been so very many places. I’ve lost so much. I’ve gained a lot, too. I’ve had sadness, happiness. I’ve touched every star in the universe. I’ve been hurt too many times. This… this face, this body, is the eighth one I’ve had since I was the man you loved. I am ashamed to say, I did forget you. I forgot the friends I knew in my youth. I forgot that I was Chrístõ de Lœngbærrow before I was The Doctor. But Bo, my precious Bo….”

He reached out and took her in his arms. He tipped her beautiful face up and bent to meet her with a kiss. She reached her arms up and wrapped them around his neck as the kiss drew out long and lingering, full of the love and passion the two of them once shared, eight lifetimes ago for him, fifteen years ago for her. For a long, long moment those eight lifetimes hadn’t happened and he WAS still the young Time Lord who loved her.

A splash and a shriek and shouts of horror from his great-grandsons broke into the dream. The Doctor looked around and then ran across the grass so fast his feet barely touched the ground. By the time he got there, Vicki was standing on the grassy bank, dripping water and pond weed and, to his surprise, shock and amusement, spitting a live fish out of her mouth.

“Pret-ti phish,” she said as Davie pulled his jumper off and tried to dry her with it and Chris rescued the fish and returned it to the pond. The Doctor lifted his daughter in his arms, wet clothes and all and hugged her. He was on the point of telling the twins off for not keeping an eye on her, but he knew he was far more guilty on THAT score.

“So you decided you had to get closer to them?” He laughed. “I think Vicki is going to be a scuba diver when she grows up,” he added.

Bo came to him with a towel and a child-sized t-shirt with the words ‘I love Chinese New Year’ printed in bright colours. It was too big for Vicki but they made a belt out of a silk scarf and it made a passable dress.


“Granddad,” Davie said. “I found what you wanted us to see. That….” He pointed to the Buddhist shrine. “It's a TARDIS.”

“What?” Chris looked to his brother, then to his great-grandfather, and to the shrine. “It can’t be. TARDISes are…” He realised he was about to say that TARDISes were BLUE. But only his great-grandfather’s one was shaped like a 1950s police telephone box. They could, of course, be anything at all.

“Who’s is it?” he asked.

“Well, if Bo Juan doesn’t mind, and if you can get it to work, I thought it might be YOURS,” The Doctor said with a smile. “It’s about time the two of you had your own TARDIS. It’ll need some work. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper and it hasn’t got a power source at the moment, but…” He grinned widely as the boys ran across the bridge and began touching and pressing all over the shrine, trying to find out where it opened. He winked at Bo Juan who followed him. It had been a long time since she’d seen that TARDIS opened, too. She had almost forgotten that it WAS one. It had become just a part of the garden. Her thirteen year old son had decorated it with lanterns last Chinese New Year and it never even occurred to her that it was more than it seemed.

“Key,” The Doctor said, holding out a chain on which a key dangled. The boys both reached for it together and then stopped. They caught their breaths and looked at each other. Almost without thinking, they clutched their other hands tightly in a brotherly bond and they reached to take the key together. It was offered to them both. The prize they both dearly wanted and never hoped to have. “The keyhole is in the wall just behind Buddha’s head,” The Doctor told them.

Chris let go of the key and nodded to his brother. He nodded in return and stepped forward. He inserted the key into the hidden keyhole and turned it. A door resolved itself where there wasn’t even a crack before and opened up. The two boys clasped hands again as they stepped over the threshold into THEIR TARDIS.


“I love the décor. Will that stay, granddad? Or will it change like yours did to something that’s like us?” Chris looked around appreciatively at the red and black lacquer effect walls and floor, and the Chinese blessings and charms written on floor, walls and ceiling to ward off evil.

Davie was more interested in the console. That, The Doctor thought, was the fundamental difference between the two boys. Chris looked at aesthetics, Davie at engineering.

“It’s even older than yours, granddad,” he said. “Antique.”

“It’s a Type 30,” The Doctor told him. “Pretty good model, though. And when you add your force field and tractor beam and transmat and whatever else it is you have cooked up it’ll be the custom model to end them all.”

“It’s fantastic.” On that, the boys were both agreed. Their minds were filled with plans to get it up and running, the freedom of the universe they would have once it WAS working. Their eyes shone with joy.

“It has no Eye of Harmony,” Bo said. “You released it. Sent it back to the stars. How will you power it to take it to your home?”

“I was just thinking about that.” Davie looked at The Doctor. “How can we….”

“I can slave this TARDIS to mine, give it a ‘tow’. That’s pretty easy, really. The only thing is, with it not having its own power source it’ll slow us down a bit and we’ll have to watch out for any anomalies in the vortex. I don’t want us knocked off course.”

“Stay for tea, first,” Bo said to them. “Please don’t go away so soon.” Chris and Davie exchanged telepathic thoughts about the way she looked at their great-grandfather when she said that. He gave them a sharp look. But he told Bo that they could stay.

“What are you going to tell Rose when you get home?” Chris asked him telepathically as they left the Chinese TARDIS – Davie most reluctantly, his head buzzing with technological specifications and ideas – and followed Bo to her home above the herbalist shop.

“I’ll tell her I went to see an old friend. What else?”

“And what about the kiss?”

“Never you mind about that,” he said.

“Rose will mind.”

“Should one of us be in the other TARDIS, to steer?” Chris asked later as they got ready to leave.

“No life support, no air,” The Doctor answered as he sat Vicki in her travel seat. Of all the personal adaptations ever made to a TARDIS console, this was almost certainly the first that had a child seat built into it. The Doctor had moved the environmental controls to share the same section of the console with navigation in order to make the space. She sat there happily, where she could see him as he piloted the TARDIS, and more importantly, he could see her. Once they were on their way he’d have to see what the wardrobe had in the way of spare clothes for her. They might just get away with Rose not finding out about the ‘pret-ti phish’ incident.

Davie looked disappointed. He clearly would have loved to travel back in his OWN TARDIS.

“Plenty of time for that,” The Doctor said. “All the time in the universe.” He turned to Bo, who waited by the door. “Goodbye, precious Bo,” he said to her, putting his arms around her shoulders and kissing her one more time, this time less lingeringly, but with deep affection. “I’ll try to visit again. Perhaps I’ll bring Rose and the new baby when it’s born.”

“That would be nice. I should like to know the woman who has made you so happy,” Bo said. “For you ARE happy, I know. I can feel it.”

“Yes,” he said. “I am. VERY happy.”

Bo stepped out of the TARDIS and stood back from it. The air displacement of TWO TARDISes dematerialising blew her long dark hair awry but she stood her ground, watching until they were completely gone. She looked at the empty spot across the other side of the lily pond. The shrine had been there as long as she remembered. Ever since Chrístõ brought her to see his old friend, Mai Li Tuo. She remembered that they had placed the casket of Li Tuo’s ashes within the Chinese TARDIS after the funeral. He journeyed with them now.

“Who WAS Mai Li Tuo then?” Chris asked as The Doctor programmed their home co-ordinate, taking into account the flight path of the two TARDISes together.

“The Time Lord who owned the Type 30.”

“He was a Renegade, wasn’t he,” Davie said. And even as he said it, he knew he shouldn’t. The Doctor’s face seemed to darken.

“Li Tuo was an exile from our planet. Renegade! They used that term too easily for anyone who didn’t play strictly by the rule book.”

“They called you a Renegade, Granddad.”

“Yes, they DID. But when they needed me, they came crawling.” He looked angry as he remembered old hurts that had never quite gone away. Then his eye fell on his little girl, her deep brown eyes looking back at him and a contented half smile on her face. He moved closer to her and she reached out her hand. She touched his face as he bent to kiss her cheek. “It’s all in the past. They’re all dead. We’re the future now. We ARE the Time Lord race. Me, Christopher, your mother, you boys, Sukie, Vicki…. She’ll be a Time Lord one day, too, and the mother of Time Lords.”

“Still….” Davie began, but a sudden, violent sideways lurch sent him crashing into the navigation console. Chris fell the other way, colliding with one of the coral-like roof supports. The Doctor shielded Vicki with his arm as he held onto the console.

“Is everyone all right?” he asked when they were steady again. “Vicki, love. It’s all right.” He soothed her gently and she stopped crying after a while. Chris had a badly grazed head and Davie had twisted his wrist as he put his hand out to stop himself from coming down hard on the console. Their regenerative capabilities were fully developed and their minor injuries quickly repaired, but they were shaken.

“We must have hit a temporal anomaly,” The Doctor continued as he ran a diagnostic check on his TARDIS. “They’re like potholes in the vortex. It knocked us off our temporal course. He stepped around to the navigation console and saw that the spatial co-ordinate was out of synch, too.

“We’re going to have to make a landing and re-adjust our course,” The Doctor said. “Can’t promise it will be smooth, boys. Hold on.”

“Do we still have our TARDIS in tow?” Davie asked anxiously.

“Yes. That’s what’s causing the problem. We’re the temporal equivalent of a wide load.”

He initiated a landing. It was smoother than he actually expected, but he wasn’t sure where they were going to land. He HOPED it was Earth. If they were simply in the wrong timezone of the RIGHT planet it would be easier to get back on course than from some far corner of the galaxy.

It WAS Earth. The Doctor checked the date and gave a sudden laugh that surprised the two boys. He patted the console.

“Were you feeling homesick old girl? Or was it just a coincidence? Still, there’s some events going on we don’t want to get involved in just now.” He turned on the viewscreen. At first it looked as if it was faulty. The boys looked at the swirling darkness and realised it was fog.

“London fog from before people realised they only had one ozone layer so they’d better look after it,” The Doctor said. “Used to play havoc with my chest. But Susan loved it.”

The longer they looked, the more they did begin to make out shapes in the darkness. There was movement. They watched as a policeman in an old fashioned helmet of the 1960s came out of a gate and closed it behind him before walking away, his torch barely penetrating the gloom.

“That bobby used to come by every night at the same time,” The Doctor said. “Very conscientious chap.”

“You know this place?” Chris asked. But another movement drew his attention. A young girl, about his age, maybe younger, looked around surreptitiously before slipping inside the gate. A few minutes later two people, a man and a woman, got out of a car that was parked nearby and followed her.

“Granddad!” Davie and Chris both called in alarm. “Those people, they’re stalking that girl. She could be in trouble.”

“She’s not,” he said calmly. “In fact, everything is just as it should be. Events are being set in motion. Stay where you are, Davie.” The boy was heading for the door, but came back to the console. “What’s going on out there is nothing to do with us, and at the same time EVERYTHING to do with us. Did your mother never tell you about when she and I lived in London in the 1960s?”

“Yes,” Davie said. “You lived in the TARDIS in an old junkyard and she went to school and pretended to be an ordinary Earth girl. Oh….”

“Thought you’d have caught on faster than that,” The Doctor laughed. “You just saw a bit of your own personal history.”

“That was MUM!” Chris spoke excitedly. It had all just slotted into place. “So the people following her…”

“Her teachers, Miss Wright and Mr Chesterton – Barbara and Ian as I came to know them. Wonderful people. Though right at this moment in there I’m being pretty obnoxious to them.” He looked at his watch. It had taken not much more than ten minutes or so for his and Susan’s life to take a sudden twist that threw them back out into time and space again. And it was as a direct result of that, when they arrived back on Earth two years later in their personal time, and two hundred years later in linear time, that Susan had met a clever and courageous young Scotsman who had won her heart.

It was absolutely vital that the events of the next ten minutes went on as they should. If he interfered, if anything interfered, then the boys might never be born. Many things might never happen. His whole life might go a different direction.

Still, he knew he was going to take a look in that old junkyard in a few minutes, when he judged it to be safe. He unbuckled Vicki from her seat and held her tight as he headed for the door. The boys followed him.

He hadn’t quite timed it right. As he stood by the gate with the words “I M Foreman - Scrap Merchants, 76, Totters Lane,” painted upon it in white, he heard the last scraps of conversation in the yard beyond.

“What are you doing out there, grandfather?”

“Go back and shut that door.”


“What are you doing? Young man, come back.”


There was a sound of a scuffle and then a door closed and there was silence. Then a sound they all recognised. The Doctor pushed open the gate just in time to see the blue police public call box dematerialise. His journey among the stars with his granddaughter and her two teachers who had come looking for her home on a dark, foggy night, had begun. He looked up instinctively, though there was nothing to see even if the night had been clear. He raised his hand and waved.

“Good journey,” he whispered.

“Granddad!” Chris put his hand on his arm. “It’s kind of cold out here for Vicki.”

“Yes, it is,” he agreed. “Just had to see it, just once.”

He turned to leave. Suddenly a bright light shone in his eyes. The same policeman stood by the half open gate looking at them suspiciously.

“It’s quite all right, officer,” The Doctor said, stepping right up to the man. “We have a perfectly good reason to be here, but you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Hypnotic suggestion wasn’t easy in the dark. Hard to get the eye contact. He allowed himself a moment of smugness when the policeman replied.

“That’s quite all right, sir. You should be getting on in where it’s warm though. The little girl looks a bit cold.”

“Yes, quite right. Come along boys.” He looked around the empty yard one more time and stepped out into the street. The blue police public call box looked perfectly congruous standing in the street. More so than in the junkyard. Ian and Barbara had walked past it without comment, while the one inside there had excited their curiosity.

The Chinese laundry van that stood next to it was of no interest to anyone, either. Mai Li Tuo would have laughed to discover he was now the proprietor of such an establishment according to the logo on the side. The chameleon circuit on the Type 30 seemed to have a wry sense of humour.

He glanced at the one other vehicle on the street and turned to the policeman.

“You might want to have that car towed away later. The owner won’t be back for some time and it's going to cause an obstruction in the morning.”

“Right you are, sir,” the policeman said. “Good night to you, sir.” And he pulled his notebook out and went to take down Ian’s car registration. The Doctor meanwhile opened the TARDIS door and they slipped quietly inside. By the time Vicki was safely fastened up again, the policeman had moved on and they were safe to leave.

“Why did the TARDIS choose to land there?” Chris asked.

“Choose?” Davie queried. “Chris, it's a machine. It doesn’t CHOOSE anything.”

“Want to bet?” The Doctor challenged him. “You think too literally, Davie. Yes, the TARDIS is a machine. She's made of metal and glass, plastic and wires and circuits. But you’ve travelled in her long enough by now. You KNOW she's alive in her own way. Aren’t you, my old girl!” He patted the console and the time rotor glowed a brighter green momentarily in reply. Chris grinned. Davie was less easy to convince. He used to believe the TARDIS was alive once. When he was eight. When it had all seemed like magic. But at seventeen he knew it was not magic but temporal engineering. He had a blueprint of the console in his head and could fix its circuits better than The Doctor himself. He had forgotten the truth he had once had no trouble believing in.

The TARDIS WAS alive.

“So why did we come here?” Chris said again.

“I don’t know,” The Doctor admitted. “Maybe she felt a bit sentimental. Or maybe she grabbed a co-ordinate she knew in an emergency. Anyway, let’s see if we can get home now.”

The TARDIS must have been feeling VERY sentimental,” he thought when it materialised again half an hour later. He stared at the sign posted under the remains of the bridge.

“It is forbidden to dump bodies into the river.” Davie and Chris looked at each other. “Well, kind of obvious isn’t it? It's forbidden to dump bodies anywhere. They should go to a hospital or a mortuary.”

“London, 2164,” The Doctor said and smiled at the TARDIS console. “What are you doing, old girl? That’s the second paradox we’ve narrowly avoided.”

He opened the doors and let the boys go out to check that Li Tuo’s TARDIS was safely parked alongside them. He felt very strongly he didn’t want to go out there this time. Ten minutes before he had left that place in the TARDIS and Susan had walked away, shoeless, he remembered, because she had lost one of them at some point in the adventure. Crying, possibly, but with David taking care of her as he had done ever since.

“The TARDIS is ok,” Davie said as they returned. “It disguised itself as an old, abandoned fridge-freezer. But I found this on the floor.” He held up a chain with a strangely shaped key on the end. A key with a representation of the constellation of Kasterborus on it. Susan’s key to the TARDIS that she knew she would not need any more. The Doctor stepped towards Davie and took the chain and hung it about his neck. Chris still wore the crucifix he had been given on an adventure in time seven years ago. For The Doctor, the double arrow-head formation of stars on that key held almost as much significance as the figure on that cross did for Humans.

“Don’t lose that,” The Doctor told Davie. “Your mother did. I wonder if she’ll know it when she sees it.” He closed the door and set their co-ordinate again for February, 2216.

Five or six unscheduled stops later he was starting to worry a bit.

“There’s a sort of logic to it all,” Davie observed. “We’re always in London. But different times. Back and forward in time.”

“Always later in my personal timeline though,” The Doctor said “That last time – I’d just set off to Wales to meet Jo and the Brigadier at Llanfairfach.”

“We’re arriving each time just after you have left a location in the TARDIS,” Chris noted.

“Which means we avoid a paradox. Glad it's sticking to London locations, though. Some of the places I’ve left in the TARDIS – ten minutes later the ocean would be flooding the place, or a volcano erupting, or angry natives with spears…”

“Never a dull moment,” Davie grinned.

“Count on it.” The Doctor turned to the console. “I’m not sure why this is happening. The TARDIS seems to be fixing on old co-ordinates. But why?”

“The wide load…” Chris said. “The other TARDIS holding it back. Do you think maybe we ought to abandon it. I mean… If we leave it somewhere in London, we can come get it, can’t we?

“No!” Davie insisted. “No, we can’t give it up. We have to get it home.”

“I agree,” The Doctor said. “I don’t want to abandon the plan. But…” Vicki had fallen asleep in her seat. He looked at her and sighed. “I need to get you two home before your mum does her nut, and I want to get back to Rose.”

He did. He desperately wanted to get back home. It was probably the first time he had really felt it since he became ‘domestic’ in Mount Lœng House. He’d taken the boys out in the TARDIS plenty of times, teaching them to operate it, showing them interesting places, and home in time for tea. Sometimes Rose hadn’t even realised that they had been away. She thought he was just down at Susan’s with the boys.

But this time he really felt a deep, deep longing to be home. He had once travelled for years without caring if he returned to the same place twice, but now he wanted to be with his wife, in his own home. And he felt so frustrated not to be able to get there.

“Oh, sod that,” he said as he looked at the embankment at night, and the Millennium Wheel lit up with blue lights. This was the day he and Rose fought the Nestene. He just caught a glimpse of the TARDIS being pulled down into the Nestene lair. “I’m not going out there. Rose can handle it. At least we’re getting closer. This is MY lifetime at least.”

“Fifteenth time lucky,” Davie said. “That was a neat phone box that time.”

“Yes, its learning! It's having fun. Amazed it works, though. It must be drawing energy from my TARDIS.”

“What if it drains ALL the TARDIS’s energy?” Chris asked.

“You don’t know ANYTHING about the TARDIS, do you,” Davie said scornfully. “The Eye of Harmony lasts forever.”

“Used to,” The Doctor said. “All TARDISes used to be connected centrally to the Matrix on Gallifrey. But now we need to recharge every 500 years or so. We did that in 2006, so we’re ok for a bit even powering two TARDISes at once.”

“For about 250 years!” Davie grinned.

“I want to get home to Rose before then!” The Doctor actually looked upset at the possibility of not being able to get home. 250 years! If he had to take another hour of the uncertainty he wasn’t sure what he would do.

You’re a soppy article, he told himself. What happened to the great adventurer?

I got domestic, he replied to himself. And I don’t care. I wanted it. I love my family. I love my wife and my little girl and our unborn child. And PLEASE, please. He put his hand on the console and seemed to be willing it to be right this time.

“I think we’ve done it,” Davie said as they came out of the vortex. The orbit was right and the date and time were right.

But their re-materialisation was wrong. They didn’t land by the car port at Susan’s house, they materialised in the air high above the house and started to descend, fast. TOO fast. They were in freefall.

“We’re going to crash!” Davie screamed.

“No we’re not,” The Doctor told him. “Grab that lever. Chris, the other one, Pull them in different directions at once. “We’re levelling off. It’s going to be fast though.”

“We’re going to hit the house!” Chris yelled.

“We’re going to hit dad’s roses!”

“No we’re not,” The Doctor said.

He was right. They missed the house. They missed David’s rose beds. They missed the cúl nut tree and the flowering cherry. They missed the conservatory and David’s potting shed.

They hit the car port.

When they stepped out of the TARDIS and looked around there was a police box sized hole in the roof.

“What the hell have you done?” Susan yelled as she rushed out of the house to the wrecked car port.

“Sorry,” The Doctor said. “My fault. Look, I’ll come back and fix it tomorrow. But I REALLY want to get home to Rose right now.” He grabbed his granddaughter in his arms and kissed her. It didn’t completely soothe her anger but it distracted her from the sudden addition to the garden of a tree house in the Cúl nut tree, complete with dangling rope ladder. She shrugged him off and stormed back into the house telling the boys that their tea was on the table.

“Wow, that was clever,” Davie said looking at HIS new TARDIS in its camouflage.

“Fantastic!” The Doctor laughed. “You’d better wait a few hours before you explain about it to your mum.” He hugged them both and then he left them. He felt a little guilty, but he didn’t want to waste another minute. He wanted to go home.

The TARDIS materialised smoothly in the basement meditation room, a private place where only he and Christopher regularly went. He carried Vicki up the stairs to the hall.

“Good afternoon, sir,” Michael Grahams, the butler greeted him. “I didn’t hear you come in.”

“Good afternoon, Michael,” The Doctor replied. “Is her ladyship all right?”

“She’s been trying to do housework again,” Michael said with a wry smile. “But I persuaded her to take a quiet nap in the drawing room.”

“Good,” The Doctor nodded. “Thanks for that.” He stepped into the drawing room and watched Rose sleeping for a while. It was what it was all about. Why he had given up so much. To gain so much. A wife, a beautiful little girl, and in a few months time, a son. It was worth giving up the freedom to roam the universe for that.

Was that what the TARDIS was trying to tell him? Was it reminding him of what his life had been leading up to? To this goal.

Or was it just all a strange coincidence?”

“Hi!” Rose smiled at him as she opened her eyes. She sat up on the sofa slowly and he kissed her lovingly. Vicki climbed beside her and demanded, and got, a cuddle from her. “I seem to sleep such a lot. This afternoon was gone just like that.”

“Well, all your energy is going into the baby’s growth,” he said as he rang for the maid to bring them tea.

“I’m missing out on spending time with Vicki. But you make up for that. You’re a great dad. Where did you go with her?”

“Liverpool in the twenty-third century,” he said, and he explained their mission.

“So the boys have a TARDIS of their own now.”


“What did Susan say about that?”

“I didn’t stick around to find out.”

“Coward.” She laughed, and then groaned as her back twinged. The Doctor reached into his pocket.

“I almost forgot. This is for you, from my friend, Bo Juan. It's a Chinese aromatherapy ointment for when your back aches.”

“That was nice of her.” Rose took the jar of ointment and opened it and smelled the contents. “Mmm. You can rub some of that in for me later. Have I met her?”

“She was at our wedding.”

“So were a lot of people. Mostly people you knew long before me. The whole thing was a blur to me.” She looked at her husband. There was an odd look in his eye. She concentrated her mind on his. In her later months of pregnancy she had discovered she was able to read his mind as easily as he read hers. The fact that her baby had so much of his DNA in it gave her a connection to him. She was puzzled by his thoughts tonight. He felt guilty? She probed a little deeper. He had done something he shouldn’t and was trying to find a way of telling her.

“She’s not just a friend, she’s an old GIRLFRIEND?” Rose said. “And….”

The Doctor watched her face as she read his memory of sharing an intimate moment with Bo. He didn’t want to hurt her. He didn’t want her angry at him. He had gone through so much just to get home to her and he didn’t want to come home to a row because of something he had done.

“I love you, Rose,” he assured her. “Only you. It was just…just for old times. She was special to me for a while when I was….”

“When you were the drop dead gorgeous one.”

“Long time ago.”

“You’re scared I’m going to be mad at you?”

“You’ve every right to be.”

“You’re a soppy article. After all we’ve been through, do you think I’d be jealous of one fleeting kiss for somebody who was special to you 800 years ago?”

“Yes,” he said. “No. Not jealous. Disappointed, maybe. Here you are, stuck at home, tired and aching, and I’m snogging other women. But Rose, you’re my wife. I love you with both my hearts. Never doubt that. No matter what stupid things I may do.”

“I know you wouldn’t do anything to hurt me,” she said. “You’re forgiven.” His relief was clear on his face. “You really ARE a soppy article. The only thing that I am jealous of is not being with you. I miss being with you in the TARDIS. It gets lonely here when you’re away.”

“The boys aren’t quite ready to go it alone,” he said. “When they are…”

“Oh, you…” She kissed him on the cheek. “You’ll never change. You’ll never stop being the saviour of the universe. All that talk of retiring. You say it's what you want. But it's in your blood, the need for adventure, the need to travel and explore and fight the fight.”

“No,” he said. “I am going to give it up as soon as the boys are ready. I promise you, Rose. I want us to be a family in the same way that Julia and I and Christopher were. I want to be with you, and the children. All of our children.” He touched her stomach. He could feel the strong kicks of his unborn son even without any of his special abilities.

“I think he already knows karate,” Rose told him.

“He knows his mother’s love, that’s enough for now.” The Doctor smiled as he felt the double heartbeat along with her single heart. The sweetest sound. He closed his eyes and let his mind reach out. He touched the mind of his child, a soft, sweet cloud of almost formed ideas. A mind at peace, happy, warm and content. He felt the warmth and peace overcome him. “I love you, my child,” he said. “I’m your father. You are a part of me. I love you so very much. I long to hold you in my arms and see your eyes looking back at me. But stay there for a little longer, safe from harm.”

He sighed happily as he gently withdrew and opened his eyes back in the drawing room.

“I wish I could do that,” she said. “You are so lucky, to be able to touch him even inside of me.”

“Saves us a lot of time hanging around ante-natal clinics,” he grinned.

“As if those would be any use for me. How many women do they get who are into the thirteenth month of their pregnancy?”

“By the time the twins are a little older and think about getting married, somebody will have to start thinking about that. And if Christopher finds a woman to share his life with…”

“He’s found one,” Rose said. “My mum.”

“He really is serious?”

“She’s out with him now. Have you not noticed how quiet it is?”

“Oh, sweet mother of chaos! He IS serious.”

“You realise what it would mean if they…”

“My mother-in-law will become my daughter-in-law.”

“My stepson will be my stepdad.”

“They can’t do that to us,” The Doctor groaned. Rose laughed and hugged him.

“What if they had a child?” Rose thought. “It would be my brother or sister AS WELL as my grandchild.”

“Would Jackie like more kids?”

“I don't know. I don’t think anyone ever asked her. CAN she? She’s well over 40 now. She’s pushing it.”

“Just about,” The Doctor said. “Yes, why not. I think we could handle it. And at least it would mean she’d be here. Near us. You’d like that.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“I’ll get used to it. As well as getting used to being a man with everything he could possibly want.”

“You’re happy?” Rose asked. “Really happy?”

“Yes,” he said. “I’ve never been happier. Never doubt it.”

She didn’t. But she knew his happiness depended not just on his love for her, but on the freedom to be away from her when he needed to be. To be in his TARDIS, somewhere out there, with the boys, or without them, being the man he used to be before he chose to be a husband and father again. It was a compromise she could live with.