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

Lady de Lœngbærrow lay in the shade of an oak tree on the lawn by the ornamental fountain. The sound of the trickling water was sweet and relaxing and she was happy lying there with her head in her husband’s lap as he gently caressed her heavily pregnant body. Their daughter was sitting nearby playing happily with her dolls. The fact that she was acting out A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream with the dolls all in costume and word perfect in their lines set her apart from the average four year old but it didn’t surprise either of her parents.

“Oooh, here’s trouble,” The Doctor said with a grin. Rose opened her eyes and looked up.


“My son just arrived. With your mum.”

“How do you know?” she asked.

“Felt his telepathic signal as the TARDIS materialised. “It's like an old fashioned radio tuning in. I can feel him in my head. And when Jackie is with him he has a sort of buzz about him, as if he’s REALLY happy.”

“It’s still weird. Your son dating MY mum.”

“He’s nuts about her. But I know the feeling. There’s something about you Tyler women.”

The French doors from the drawing room opened and Christopher walked out, holding hands with Jackie.

“Good afternoon love birds,” The Doctor said as they approached. Rose struggled to sit up with The Doctor’s help.

“Never mind us,” Jackie said. “Rose, are you all right? You look terrible. This baby is too much for you.” She held her arms out to Vicki who ran to her. “You should be ashamed of yourself, Doctor. You’re putting too much strain on her. She’s been pregnant almost as long as the two of you have been married.”

“Mum, don’t nag,” Rose told her. “I’m fine.”

“You’re not fine. You’re exhausted.” She railed at The Doctor again. “You brought her back from the honeymoon three months pregnant. And you’d only been gone four weeks, I wouldn’t mind!”

Rose laughed. That had been their solution to having a sixteen month Gallifreyan pregnancy in a house full of Human servants who didn’t know their master was an extra-terrestrial. Every few weeks they would have a long weekend away, which was actually three or four weeks in some pleasant spot like SangC’lune or Galway or the south of France or the holiday planet of Lyria or back in London in the 21st century with her mum. By the time Vicki had been born sixteen months had passed for her and only nine for everyone else. They’d done the same two years later when they decided it was time to add to their Time Lord family. And now it was only a matter of a week or two before their son would be born.

Jackie still looked mutinous. The Doctor smiled and kissed her on the cheek.

“Nice to know the old Jackie is still in there. I thought Christopher had completely tamed you.”

“You leave him alone. He’s a gentleman.” But she smiled despite herself and she returned the kiss. “You know I love him because he’s so much like the best of you.” Then the old style Jackie came back again. “But if you don’t look after my daughter you’ll be sorry.”

“Mum, stop hogging my bloke. You’ve got one of your own. And Vicki wants to know did you bring jelly babies.”

“Don’t know why they don’t still make them, anyway,” Jackie said as she went in her handbag and found a large bag of sweets to give to her granddaughter. “It’s weird having to stock up on sweets from the 21st century to bring to the 23rd.”

“The Daleks destroyed the factory fifty years ago,” The Doctor said in answer to her question. Everyone looked at him, wondering if he was joking. But they all knew that Daleks were one thing he NEVER joked about.

Vicki held out her hand for the sweets, oblivious of the strangely tense moment.

“There you are, my pet. Don’t eat them all at once or you’ll be sick.”

“I wish you wouldn’t say things like that,” Jackie said as Vicki took her sweets to share with her dolls and the adults all relaxed on the grass again. “On a beautiful day like today, monsters from the other side of the universe can stay there.”

“I’m not arguing,” The Doctor said. “I never want to see a Dalek again as long as I live. And all I care about right now is Rose, and my new son.”

“He’s active today,” Rose told him. “Bouncing around like mad. Definitely takes after you. Can’t keep still for a moment.”

“Should think so,” He put his hand over where the baby was kicking strongly and closed his eyes. “Quiet, my little boy. Don’t give your poor mother so much hard work.” At once, the child quietened.

“Oh don’t,” she complained. “It scares me when I can’t feel him moving.”

“He’s fine. He’s just having a little afternoon nap. You should, too.”

“Might just do that,” she said and closed her eyes. The Doctor kissed her gently then looked up and smiled at his eldest son, sitting there with his arms around Jackie.

“So, when do you intend to make an honest woman of my mother in law?” he teased him.

“Haven’t made a dishonest woman of her,” he said. “I’m a loyal Gallifreyan. I believe in the sanctity of the Alliance.”

“Glad to hear it,” The Doctor said. “It’s worth waiting for. For the woman of your hearts.”

“Susan is here,” Jackie said and for one second The Doctor thought she had used telepathy the way he had when his son arrived, but she was looking towards the house where Michael was showing his granddaughter through to the garden. Then he and Christopher both sat up straight as they felt her thoughts. She was upset. Very upset. Rose, too, opened her eyes and looked around. The mild telepathic senses she had through her pregnancy alerted her.

“Susan…” Christopher reached her first in a few quick strides, enfolding her in his arms. The Doctor stopped in his tracks and watched them. He had never quite got used to not being the only man in her life. Even David’s attentions made him feel like he was being usurped. But Christopher WAS her father after all. It was right that she should be comforted by him when she was in distress.

But though Christopher offered her comfort it was to him that she had come for help.

“Grandfather,” she sobbed, leaving her father’s arms and running to be held by him. “The boys are gone.”

“Gone?” Everyone was alert and listening. “What do you mean gone?”

“To Ireland,” she said.

“How?” he asked. “Their TARDIS isn’t operational.”

“By plane, silly. Like normal people.” Susan stifled a sob. “They went in the middle of the night. I know…I should have realised sooner. They’re always up before me, down at the bottom of the garden doing something or other in their TARDIS. Their breakfast things were in the sink as usual. I didn’t even think of it. I took Sukie to school and went off to town to pick up a few things. It took me longer than I thought. And I was worried they’d be hungry. You know what they’re like for forgetting meals unless I prise them out of there…. But it was all locked up and there was a note….” She pressed a piece of paper into his hand. He looked at it. It was written in Gallifreyan! He half-smiled at that before he realised what it said. Then his blood ran cold.

“They’ve gone looking for an Eye of Harmony!” Susan stepped back from him. He suddenly looked so angry. “At TARA! The stupid bloody….”

“What’s at Tara?” Christopher asked. “Where is Tara?”

“It’s in county Meath, and there IS a fragment of the Eye there. They asked me about it a couple of weeks ago. They said they’d found out about it in THEIR TARDIS’s databanks. But I said no. I told them the Hill of Tara wasn’t to be disturbed.”

“That’s the place where we fought the Vampyres years ago,” Rose said. “Just before my 21st birthday. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have made 21.”

“What?” Jackie looked alarmed at that. So did Susan. The Doctor shushed them both.

“The Vampyres are gone. We dealt with them. That’s not the reason why they shouldn’t go there. That is an ancient holy place and it should not be disturbed.”

“Grandfather.” Susan gripped him tightly by the shoulders. “I don’t care about ancient holy places. I WANT MY CHILDREN BACK.”

“You promised Rose you wouldn’t go anywhere with her this close to the birth,” Jackie told him. “You can’t…”

“Of course he can,” Rose interrupted her. “You must. They could get hurt.”

“I don’t want to leave you,” he told her. “I DID promise. Damn them! They are going to be GROUNDED for this. I’ll…”

“I think I’d better come with you,” Christopher said. “Looks like you’re going to need a referee once you do catch up with them.” He was surprised just how angry his father was. Much more angry than he even sounded. He could feel him suppressing the rage inside of him. He couldn’t remember him ever being THAT angry at him when he was a boy.

“You know, two hundred years ago there was a big row about building a motorway through here,” Davie said as they hiked across country, towards the rounded hill that was their destination. “Granddad was dead set against it. He said this place wasn’t to be disturbed.”

“No motorway now,” Chris noted.

“Motor traffic is banned for a fifty mile radius of the hill. It’s properly preserved now.”

“So granddad got his way.”

“He usually does,” Davie observed.

“You make that sound like he’s a bully,” Chris admonished his brother. “He’s not. He just knows what’s for the best.”

“Maybe he’s wrong sometimes though,” Davie said. “Like when he told us we couldn’t come here.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” Chris said with a shiver. He looked at the Hill of Tara. He didn’t know why, but there was something about it that bothered him. “He wouldn’t say it for no good reason.”

“I don’t think he really wants us to get our TARDIS operational.”

“Davie,” Chris looked at his brother. He was disturbed by some of the thoughts he was picking up. “Davie that’s not true about granddad. He wouldn’t… He’s not… The only reason he hasn’t taken us looking in more places for an Eye of Harmony is that he’s worried about Rose. He wants to be with her.”

“You would stick up for him,” Davie retorted. “You’re his favourite.”

“That’s definitely not true,” Chris said. “He loves us both equally. It's just… because I’ve always been able to reach his mind easier than you… I’ve always FELT close to him. But he loves you just as much.” Chris sighed. “He’s going to go ballistic at us both equally when he finds out.”

“We’re seventeen. We don’t have to take orders from him or anyone.”

“Davie….” Chris stopped and looked at his brother. He had gone along with the idea of coming here and finding their own Eye because he was just as enthusiastic to be able to travel in time and space on their own as Davie was. But he had felt more and more uneasy about it as he went along.

“What?” Davie looked at him. “Come on, we still have miles to walk.”

“Davie, if you won’t listen to anyone else, will you listen to me?” Chris touched his brother on the shoulder. “I have a bad feeling, and it has nothing to do with what Granddad will say when he finds out. It's… something else. Something feels wrong. Feels dangerous.”

Davie looked at his brother. What he had said about The Doctor and how much he loved them both was true. He had always treated them equally, as had everyone who had ever known them. But that didn’t mean they WERE alike. For him, temporal physics and quantum engineering were his poetry. Chris helped him of course. He had worked with him on their TARDIS. He had worked on the portable containment generator he had devised to store the Eye. But it was just science to him. Chris didn’t LOVE it like he did. It wasn’t in his bones, in his hearts, in his soul.

Some people might have said that Chris was a dreamer. Davie would be the first. When he looked into his brother’s head he saw a lot he didn’t understand. Deep, strange thoughts. If he was Human he would probably by a poet or a painter or something that allowed those kind of thoughts expression. But he was a Time Lord - or very nearly one anyway - and instead, it made him very sensitive to anything psychic. He was like a walking barometer, picking up even the slightest hint of anything out of the ordinary. And if he felt there was something, Davie didn’t even bother to ask what sort of something. He accepted that his brother was right.

“Are you scared of it?” he asked him.

“No,” he said. “But I think we should be careful.”

“We will be.” Davie looked at his brother again. It was funny. Their faces were exactly alike. There wasn’t a freckle that set them apart. But when he looked at Chris he didn’t see a duplicate of himself. He saw the difference between them that was becoming more obvious now they were older. “Maybe we have bitten off more than we can chew, but we’re together. Like we’ve always been. We can handle it.”

“Yeah,” Chris said with a smile. “Come on, we’ve got some hill-walking to do.”

“Why are you so angry at them?” Christopher asked as he watched his father operating the TARDIS skilfully. “I know they shouldn’t have gone off like that and scared Susan. But it's something else, isn’t it.”

“I told them that Tara was out of the question,” he said. “I can’t believe they would betray me that way.”

“Betray? That’s a hard word. They’ve disobeyed you. But betrayal….”

“I have trusted them to do the right thing. And they…”

“They’re teenagers. They think they know everything.”

“When I was a teenager I DID know everything,” The Doctor said. And he remembered some bitter arguments with his father about just that.

Of course when he talked of being a teenager he meant about 180 or so.

“They’re just babies by our measure,” he said. “I let them grow up too fast.”

“We live by Earth measurements now. They’re young men already. Perhaps it's time to stop telling them what to do and let them make their own mistakes.”

“Maybe,” he conceded. “But I’m still going to give them hell when I catch up with them.”

But he said it quieter and the rage seemed to have died down in his head, too.

Rose tried to sleep again in the sunshine while Susan and Jackie talked between them about how it was ALL The Doctor’s fault. It was their favourite theme of conversation anyway, but today Susan had something to be really worried about.

“David will go nuts when he finds out,” she said. “If they don’t get back before he gets home from work…”

“He’s gone for them in the TARDIS,” Rose reminded them. “He can get back easily.”

“I could tell you some stories about that TARDIS and not being able to get ANYWHERE we wanted to go,” Susan replied with a wry smile. “Although I was never sure if it was the TARDIS that didn’t work properly or grandfather. He was so out of touch then. He forgot things.”

“You mean when he looked like the old man in those photos?” Jackie asked. “That is so weird. To think that old, old man is the same person as…” She looked at Rose. “Funny to think of it that way. People are only supposed to get old once.”

“But he’s not an old man now,” Rose said. “He’s fine. He remembers everything. And the TARDIS works perfectly.”

“Then why isn’t he home yet?” Susan asked.

“The Doctor will sort it out,” Rose told her. “You’ll see. But…” She stopped talking and groaned aloud. “Oh… hell…”

“That was a contraction,” Susan said. “I felt it, telepathically. Rose… oh no! You’re not…”

“I am,” she groaned. “Oh….”

“Call him back,” Jackie exclaimed. “She needs him. The boys will have to find their own way home. Get him…”

“No,” Rose insisted. “He’ll be here in time. He won’t let me down. But the boys need him first. We can manage. Mum… Help me up.”

Jackie helped her to stand. Susan picked up Vicki, sweets and dolls and all and brought her into the house, calling for one of the maids to take care of the little girl while they got Rose upstairs.

“He’ll be here before I REALLY need him,” Rose insisted as she gripped the banister rail. “He wouldn’t let me down.”

Jackie and Susan both looked at each other and wondered if either of them had as much faith in The Doctor as Rose did.

“We can’t land on or near the hill,” The Doctor said as he initiated the landing. “We’ve got some walking to do.”

“There really IS an Eye of Harmony fragment under that hill?” Christopher asked.

“Oh yes. A big one. Could power a fleet of TARDISes with it. Or even set up a matrix like on Gallifrey with it at the heart of everything.”

“That would be something,” Christopher said. “The matrix restored.”

“Yes.” As they set off walking across country towards the hill The Doctor allowed himself to wonder if that could be possible. A real power base for their new Time Lord society. He had to admit he had not thought that far ahead.

“Maybe it's time you did,” Christopher told him. “There are four of us now. Or there will be when the boys transcend. But if we continue the accelerated learning they managed so well, then Vicki and the new baby will be ready in twenty years time. And if Jackie and I are able to have a child between us…. And if they all bear children, the twins, your children, mine… and if you insist on them transcending before they’re even in their twenties, within a century we’re going to have three or four generations of very young Time Lords. They’ll need a focus. They’ll need a history, a LAW, a way of living.”

“Rassilon’s Hand!” The Doctor cried and stopped for a moment and looked again at the Hill. Since he had left the protection of the TARDIS he had felt something. Buried beneath it WAS a huge source of Artron energy. And not only did his TARDIS run on that energy, but his own body was a conduit for it. Artron energy was what held his very molecules together when he regenerated. It was what made him what he was. And he could feel its presence. He felt it last time he was here, but he was more worried about the vampyres then. Now, his mind was focussed on it and he felt it deeply.

“I’ve never heard you use that expletive before,” Christopher said.

“You mentioned a LAW,” he said absently. “A LAW for future Time Lords to live by. Our COMMANDMENTS.”

“Yes, if you like.”

“I wonder, is it coincidence, or fate of some kind. Or WAS this planned by Rassilon centuries ago?”


“You’ve never heard the story of Tara, have you?”

“That’s the way in?” Chris looked at the cave entrance and his hearts sank. It looked as if it had been blocked off for centuries.

“No problem,” Davie said and pulled out his sonic screwdriver. Chris did the same. “Wide blasting pattern.”

“Granddad was not happy about us making these with a blast gun mode built in,” Chris mentioned as they aimed their tools and the rocks that had blocked the way into the heart of Tara Hill crumbled to dust.

“He was just put out because ours are better than his,” Davie insisted. “I think… You know I think sometimes he’s a little bit jealous of us. Because we’re just starting out on doing the things he used to do. That’s why he wants to hold us back.”

“He’s not jealous,” Chris replied. “Don’t start that again. He wants us to be safe, that’s all.”

“Only because he needs us as the first generation of the new race of Time Lords. You know, mum was only a year older than us when she got married to dad. I think he expects us to have wives and kids in a few years.”

“You maybe,” Chris said with a smile. “You’ve got loads of girls after you. But I don’t think I will. I don’t really… I’m not really interested in girls.”

“Yeah, I noticed that,” Davie grinned. “Wonder what granddad will say when you tell him you’re the first gay Time Lord ever.”

“Don’t suppose he’d say anything much,” Chris replied. “He’s best friends with Jack, after all. He understands that sort of thing. But that wasn’t what I meant. I’m not interested in men either. Not that way. I think I’m not meant to have ordinary relationships. I think I was meant to walk a higher path.”

“Chris,” Davie told him. “You’re a little bit nuts, you know.”

“Yeah,” he said with a laugh. “And you’re a little bit sane. As long as we stick together, we’ll be ok. Two halves of the same soul.”

“Yeah, if you like,” Davie said. “So, which way?”

“Down,” Chris said. “That way.” And Davie didn’t question him. Chris’s half of that shared soul knew these things.

“It’s ALL HIS fault,” Jackie said as she held Rose’s hand and eased her through a painful contraction.

“How is it his fault?” Rose asked.

“Well it's HIS fault you’re in this state, for one thing. Nobody else to blame for that. And it’s his fault those two kids are as mad as they are. His mad genes. And all the mad stuff he’s taught them all these years.”

“I like having his babies,” Rose said. “I don’t care if I spend the next hundred years doing that. As for the boys… They’re just…”

“They’re just like him,” Susan admitted. “That’s true enough. They get it all from him. My father isn’t like that at all. He’s quiet and clever just in his own head. He likes to read and think. I’m like my father. But my sons are like HIM. Infuriating, MAD, heartbreakers.”

“But you have to love them,” Rose smiled. “I love him. I don’t care what he gets up to. I’ll always love him.”

“He should be here,” Jackie said. “You NEED him. There’s no-one else. We can’t call an ordinary doctor or go to a hospital. HE needs to be here.”

“He SHOULD be here,” Susan said. “It’s important. A boy child…. The father is MEANT to be there. There are things we’re supposed to do. Time Lord things. If he isn’t here…”

“He’ll be here,” Rose insisted. “He won’t let me down. He never has.”

“In what Earth historians call the 6th century BC, a ship foundered off the Irish coast. Among the passengers who made it safely to shore were three strangers from the Far East, a sage, named Ollamh Fodhla, his secretary, Simon Bruach, and a Babylonian Princess, Tamar Tephi, who was a descendent of King David of Israel. They brought with them three treasures. The first was King David's harp. The second was a large rough stone that came to be known as the Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny. But to those who believe the biblical stories it was the stone that Jacob laid his head upon - Jacob's pillow or pillar. And the last was a chest whose contents nobody was allowed to see, but which was believed to be the remains of the Ark of the Covenant. All these treasures were brought to the Hall of Tara when Tamar Tephi was married to the High King of Ireland, Eochaidh. When they were married, it is said that the harp played itself and the stone spoke, declaring the High King and his new queen to be of true royal blood.”

The Doctor took a deep breath after reciting the tale from memory. “There are all sorts of legends about where all these treasures went afterwards. And I’m not sure which of them is true. But the Ark, for certain, is buried under the Hill in the tomb of Princess Tamar Tephi. Only it doesn’t contain the remnants of the Ten Commandments of Moses as Humans believe. It contains a very large fragment of the Eye of Harmony. A source of power Humans could not begin to imagine.”

“Yes,” Christopher said. “I can feel it. Stronger the closer we get. But…” Christopher looked at his father. “Jacob…. Father of the Israeli people…the Hebrews…” He was stretching his knowledge of ancient Earth history to the limit. “As promised by God.” He breathed in deeply. “As YOU were promised by Rassilon that you would be the father of the new race of Time Lords.”


“#@$%^£,” Christopher swore. “That’s a coincidence. Surely.”

“I think is has to be. But a powerful one. And so is this… You spoke of us needing a Law for our future people. The Ark of the Covenant… The Covenant was the Law the people of Israel lived by.”

“History repeats itself.”

“Too bloody often for my liking. You know, we’re direct descendants of Rassilon the Creator. Our House was sired by him.”

“I was told that once, when I was at school,” Christopher said. “But they also said that I was the son of an aberration and an abomination in the sight of the Creator.”

“HE doesn’t think so. He says I take after him.”

“I find it very disturbing knowing that MY own father is on speaking terms with our Creator. The nearest thing WE have to a God.”

“YOU find it disturbing!” The Doctor laughed. “He scares the bloody life out of me.”

“Father…” Christopher began to say something else. Then he looked up at the rocky outcrop just ahead of them, part way up the great hill from which he was picking up so many strange resonances. “Father… look….”

“They’ve opened the passageway…” The Doctor uttered a whole string of Low Gallifreyan curses and ran to the cave entrance. “They used their sonic blasters on it!” He touched the seared rocks and angry as he was he couldn’t help a surge of pride. “It works damn well though. This would stand for a thousand years without another rockfall.”

“Would?” Christopher queried.

“When we’re done here MY sonic screwdriver has a couple of settings that can seal it off again. Can’t have people wandering around here.”

They were deep down inside the hill. Davie could feel it nearly as strongly as Chris now. He was acutely aware, in the very molecules of his body, of the weight of the hill over him. He could feel the rocks and the soil pressing down.

At the same time he was aware with every step they took, that they were approaching something that was BIGGER than the hill itself. Something at the same time exciting and frightening. He was reminded of the time when he was rerouting the power in his great-grandfather’s TARDIS and he had touched two live wires. For a fraction of a second he had been the conduit between the console and the TARDIS’s power source.

He felt like he was that conduit now.

And if he was, then Chris was like a great big rechargeable battery, storing it inside himself. He could plug him in and power their TARDIS from him. The thought made him laugh.

“That’s maybe not such a bad idea.” Chris laughed, too. “I feel so ALIVE! It’s incredible. I feel like… like being drunk.”

“You’ve never been drunk. We’re Gallifreyan. Alcohol doesn’t affect us. And besides, we DON’T drink.”

“Feels like being drunk should feel like. Or… or being stoned.”

“You’ve never been that, either,” Davie reminded him. “DAD would hang us out to dry if we did things like that. Let alone what granddad would do.” He took hold of his brother’s hand and clutched tightly. At seventeen years old, holding hands was not something even twins could do without causing a stir, but right now he wasn’t going to let him go. Chris was right. It was a bit like being under the influence of drink or drugs. Which probably meant they WERE under the influence of something. So they had to be careful.

He was worried that Chris was enjoying it TOO much to be aware of the danger.

“You’ve been down here before?” Christopher asked as they moved quickly but cautiously along a tunnel that was descending ever more steeply. His own sense of where he was in space and time told him they were now deep below ground level, under the hill.

“Not this far,” The Doctor said. “Fought vampyres in the tunnels above. They’re long gone. Never been down here. This isn’t something I would mess with.”

“You’ve been in the matrix haven’t you? On Gallifrey? When…”

“Yes. It’s an overrated experience. The wisdom of the ancients. The combined knowledge of a hundred thousand generations of Time Lords. And most of them thought and did the exact same things in the most predictable way. We stagnated. We never evolved. We never moved on. Sometimes I think we deserved to be wiped out.”

“You don’t really think that. There were people we loved…”

“Not the people. Not the individuals.” He saw his son’s face in the darkness and knew he had picked up the image of his brother, Garrick, and his family that flashed into his mind just then. “But our society, the structure of it. That deserved to be turned to ashes. If I really am meant to be the patriarch of a new race… I hope we can make a better job of it this time.”

“The boys are ahead,” Christopher said, distracted from those philosophical musings by the psychic resonances of two other telepaths in this place.

“Yes, they are,” The Doctor said. He touched his son’s arm and tried to enter a time fold in order to catch up with them. But he couldn’t. The background psychic power within this place now was interfering. He broke into a run. Even without Time Lord tricks he still covered the ground fast. Christopher had lost sight of him in the dark before he himself started to run.

There was a knock at the door. Susan left the bedside and went to open it. She wasn’t sure whether she was relieved or not to see David there.

“I got your message. I picked Sukie up from school. She’s having tea with Vicki downstairs. The boys… they’re with The Doctor?”

“Yes,” Susan lied. “They went off on one of their trips. My father went too.”

“Does he know?”

“Rose said we weren’t to call him. She said not to worry him. But…” She turned as she heard Rose cry out in pain. “He NEEDS to be here. We have to…”

“I’ll call him,” David said. “I suppose there’s nothing I can do here…”

“David… you nearly fainted when the twins were born,” Susan teased him. “And you a farm boy, too.”

“I didn’t faint. I was delirious with joy. But point taken. I’ll go look after the little ones, and listen out for the TARDIS.”

“He’ll land in the basement,” Susan said. “So as not to scare the maids.” She kissed her husband on the cheek and closed the door again. She’d bought her grandfather a few more hours to get the boys back home without their father knowing what they had done. But time was running short here. They needed HIM.

“Granddad!” Chris turned as he reached them. His first instinct was to run to his arms as he always did. But one look at his face told him that was not appropriate this time. He was angry. He felt it deep within him. A searing anger and a deep disappointment. They had let him down by disobeying a direct order not to come here. And it was knowing he had disappointed him that cut deeper into his soul than the anger. “Granddad…. I’m sorry…” he began.

“I’m not,” Davie said. And Chris recoiled mentally from the flash of anger that rose in his brother and met his great grandfather’s fury head on. “Yes, I disobeyed you. Chris came along because we’re a package, the two of us. He didn’t betray you. I did. So if you want to blame anyone, blame me. But I’m not sorry. I’m old enough to do what I want. You CAN’T order me to do anything.”

The Doctor stared at him. Davie’s mental force then was powerful enough to stop him in his tracks. The boy WAS rebelling against him with every fibre in his body. And the residual energy that was in this place enhanced it. He looked at Chris. He was the same. He was full of the energy that the Eye was giving out. Energy that their bodies were sponges for. It was affecting him and Christopher less. They were adults. They had both regenerated, using up that kind of energy. The boys were still months away from Transcension, and they were saturated with it.

But they seemed to be using it differently. When he felt Chris’s thoughts he was like somebody tripping on LSD while being perfectly lucid and aware of himself and his surroundings.

But Davie seemed to be channelling it all into what started as a small core of resentment. The Doctor knew he was disappointed it had taken so long to get their TARDIS operational. But he thought the boys both understood his reasons for the delay. He had not realised that Davie had taken it so personally. Had not seen that the boy was as impatient as he was in his youth and had been determined to prove he was clever enough to do it by himself.

And now the resentment was hardened into something frightening. Something destructive. And it was turned on him. The Doctor shivered physically. He had fought demons and monsters of all kinds, but now he knew he was going to have to fight his own blood.

“Davie, please,” he said out loud. “Don’t do this.”

“Chris was always your favourite,” the boy said. “You loved him more than me. I tried… every way I could… to be like you. To be liked by you. But you never saw it. You never saw yourself in me. Chris is your soul reincarnated. I’m… I’m…”

“What on Earth…” He was stunned. Where could thoughts like that have come from. “Oh Davie, no, no, no. It’s not like that.”

“It is,” he said and he flung himself at him. His first punch connected with The Doctor’s face painfully. He had not even tried to defend himself. He was still too stunned to find himself being attacked by his own great grandson. And while he was still taking it in he hit him again, and a third time. The Doctor felt his cheek bone crack and his nose bleed freely as Davie hit him hard and fast with a Gung Fu punch he had taught him years ago. He raised his hands instinctively and attacked back with a move that should have floored the boy. His hearts ached at the necessity of having to fight him. Of having to hurt him.

Except he didn’t. He was stunned to find his own attacking move blocked and held. Davie gripped his arms like a vice and pushed him back. Pushed him down. He felt himself forced onto his knees by the physical and the mental power combined.

“You can’t order me, you can’t beat me,” Davie said. “I’m more powerful than you are. I could kill you.”

And he could. The Doctor felt it. The ability at least. He could kill him just with the power of his mind.

But the will to do it wasn’t there. Beneath those burning searing hot resentments he WAS still his great grandson who he loved and who loved him. The seed of that love was the only thing holding him back. Otherwise, The Doctor knew, he WOULD be dead.

He had feared this since the boys were about eleven years old. When he had first seen how much more powerful their mental capabilities were to his own. He had feared the day when he would be forced to admit that he had no power over them. He had thought it would be later, when he was older, weaker in mind and body, near the end of his life when he would be ready to concede the power to his rightful heirs and die peacefully knowing his work was done.

He hadn’t expected it now, when he still had so much to do and to teach them.

“Davie, NO!” He felt Chris’s will then, pouring into both their minds. “Davie, you don’t want to do this. Stop. Please stop.”

“Do I have to fight you, too?” Davie responded.

“I’m not fighting you,” they both heard the boy reply. “I love you. We’re two halves of the same soul. You and I. But we’re not black and white. I’m not the good and you the bad. That’s not how it works. You walk in the light, too, Davie. The energy… the Eye… It’s playing on us that way. It’s reacting to your negative feelings, your anger, making you think you hate granddad. But it’s not true. You DO love him as much as I do.”

“Of course you do,” The Doctor told him gently as he felt Davie’s iron will slacken and release its hold on him. He reached out to the boy and he knelt too, reaching out to hold him. “Davie, he whispered in words. “I never loved either of you more than the other. And you ARE as much like me as Chris is, but in a different way. It’s you I expect to pilot your own TARDIS. You’ll design the new prototype TARDISes too. It’ll be your ideas. Chris will help you with them, but he’s destined for another path. You’re going to be the explorer and inventor and the righter of wrongs. You’re the one who will walk in my footsteps, Davie. And don’t ever think for a moment that my love for you is any less than it is for any of my children.”

“I’m sorry, granddad,” Davie said quietly. “I’m sorry I hurt you. I don’t know what it was…” He touched his cheek where the bruising was starting to fade. “I am so sorry,” he said again and then fainted in his arms. The Doctor stood, carrying him. And it was only then that he realised they were alone. Chris and Christopher were both gone. Chris had been gone for a long time, he realised. When he had forced Davie to back down he had done it remotely. He hadn’t even realised it. Christopher must have gone after him.

“Come on, son,” he whispered to the unconscious boy. “Let’s find your brother.” And he adjusted his hold on him so that his head rested on his shoulder and carried on down the corridor.

He wasn’t walking very long when he started to realise there was a light ahead. They had been in darkness all along, using their Time Lord eyesight to make out as best as they could. But now there was a glow that grew brighter with each step until his eyes had to shade themselves against its brightness, and he saw the source of it as he stepped through the door ahead and into the underground chamber.

Within the chamber the light seemed less bright somehow than when it had to fight the darkness of the passageway. That didn’t make sense. Light didn’t do that. But it seemed to be doing it here. He stared for a moment at the chamber. He took in the celtic symbols carved into the stone walls, the statues and the ornaments of the same ethnicity. He noted the carved wooden palette on a raised dais, where the occupant of this death chamber was supposed to lie for eternity.

Except she was standing there, in front of the dais, a woman of maybe forty-five or so, still quite beautiful, but not so much as she might have been in her youth. She was dressed in elaborately embroidered royal robes and wore a golden crown that contrasted with her dark hair. Chris stood beside her and her hand was on his shoulder. Christopher stood a little to the side of the door, watching the scene quietly.

“Put him on the ground,” Chris said and he stepped forward as The Doctor laid his brother down gently. He knelt and put his hands on his brother’s face and he opened his eyes at once. He sat up and hugged him tightly.

“Healing hands,” the princess said quietly, though her voice was heard easily.

“Yes,” The Doctor said. “He gets that from me,” he added proudly.

“One soul in two bodies. The Light was confused. It thought they were two opposites. That is why the other boy was so troubled. All the negative emotions were touched in him while this one glowed with love and joy and peace.”

“It’s true about the one soul,” The Doctor said. “But they’re not opposites. They’re both chips off the same block.” He looked at the source of the light - a chest whose carvings were not Celtic. They came from a culture even older than that ancient culture. Even older than the Babylonian princess who had brought it to Ireland. It was solid wood, but it glowed as if the light inside could permeate any substance.

“The Ark of the Covenant,” The Doctor said. “And you, I presume, are the princess, Tamar Tephi?”

“I am,” she said.

“You were buried alive?” Christopher asked, puzzled.

“I was buried when I was as near death as to be neither alive nor dead. But the Light… kept me alive. Because it had a purpose. It kept me as its protector. Until the time was right. When the ones would come who would know its true nature. It has been a long wait. But you have come.”

“That we have,” The Doctor said. “But does that mean that the true origin of what is in there was known all along?”

“No,” she said. “Those who buried the treasure with me believed it WAS the Ark of the Covenant. As did I until I came to learn its true nature in the slow, long millennia.”

“But we only came to get a piece of it to fly our TARDIS with,” Davie said as he looked up from where he and Chris still knelt.

“How did you imagine you could take a piece of something like that?” The Doctor asked him. “Yes, I know you have your gadget in your rucksack. But how did you expect to take the piece? This is a fragment of the Eye of Harmony. The Celtic legend was that anyone who touched it would live or die according to if they were good or evil. Do you want to put yourself to the test?”

“You know that isn’t true,” Tamar Tephi said. The Doctor looked at her. “I have lived in its light for millennia. I was a mortal but now I am much more. And yes, I see your thoughts. You are a god from the stars. You all are. A people unknown to this world. And you have spoken of this before.”

“Humans are not wholly good or wholly bad. Most of them are a mixture of both,” he said, repeating what he had said about that legend before. “And I am heartily glad they are.”

“So are your people, my Lord,” Tamar Tephi said. “You have a darkness within you. So does your son. So do these children who are yearning to be men. But all of you walk in the light and hold back the darkness. That is why the Light did not destroy you.”

“The Light did not destroy us because we’re not so very different from it,” The Doctor said. “Though perhaps there is something in what you say. Even so, what did the Light mean for you to do when we came?”

“When you come at the proper time, the Light will be yours to use as you know how it should be used,” Tamar Tephi said. “This is not the time. It is still in the future. You are here too soon.”

The Doctor remembered what he and Christopher had said about restoring the matrix here on Earth. He wondered how it could be that more than two thousand years ago that eventuality had been prepared for. He looked at Tamar Tephi and was on the point of asking her, but then he felt in his soul he wasn’t meant to know. Some things WERE meant to be mysteries. This was one of them.

“I know,” he said. “This intrusion upon your long vigil was not my doing. We will be leaving now. ALL of us.” Davie looked at him and seemed for a moment mutinous. Then he sighed and stood. He and Chris both came to his side. Christopher began to move towards them, too. But something made him stop in his tracks. They all turned and stared. Even Tamar Tephi looked as the great, ancient chest shuddered. Then there was a flash that hurt even Gallifreyan eyes and left its after image. When they could see again they saw what looked like the brightest diamond in the universe revolving slowly in the air above the chest. Then it began to spin ever faster and its brightness increased.

“It’s a fragment of the Eye. A tiny piece,” Christopher said. “But…”

“Wait,” The Doctor told them all. “Stand away from the door.” They all did so and the spinning light suddenly zoomed through the air, through the door. “Come on,” he said. “Davie, if I’m right, I think it wasn’t a wasted journey after all.” The boys ran for it. Christopher followed them. The Doctor turned and looked at Tamar Tephi. She was lying back down on her deathbed. He went to her. He put his hand on her forehead. She felt like somebody who was close to death. And yet, she had been in that state for more than two millennia. Close to death, but not dying. He wasn’t sure he could bear such a thing. “Are you in pain?” he asked.

“No,” she said. “I have felt no pain since I was placed in here. I am in no distress. I am not lonely or afraid. You need not worry about leaving me here. I cannot exist anywhere else in any case. But… thank you for your compassion.”

“Fate seems to think we shall meet again,” he said. “Though perhaps not for a long time yet.”

“I can wait,” she said. “But you… Oh!” She looked up at him. “You must go now. You are needed elsewhere. Go quickly. With my blessing.”

The Doctor’s hearts lurched. There was only one place he could be needed. HOME. He turned and ran. He found Christopher and the boys at the place where they had confronted each other. Davie was holding his rucksack in which he had carried the portable containment generator. There was a glow shining through the fabric.

“I thought it might,” he said. “But come on. I need to get home. I think….” He didn’t say anything else. He ran again. He knew it was several miles to the cave entrance, and all uphill. But he kept running. It was another two miles of cross-country when he reached the open. That was how far away he’d had to leave the TARDIS because of the interference the Eye deep under the hill created.

His mobile phone began to work as he reached the bottom of the hill, closely followed by the boys and Christopher. There were at least a dozen missed calls and a text message from David. He knew even before he read it what it would tell him.

“Rose needs me,” he said. “Come on…” He kept running and didn’t stop until he reached the TARDIS. He had set the co-ordinates even before Davie, last in, closed the door.

“The baby?” Christopher asked, though the question was needless. He saw his father’s hands shake as he operated the drive controls. “Here, let me. You’re too wound up.” Christopher took over from him. Davie took the navigation console without a word. Chris reached out to hold his great grandfather’s trembling hands and calm him.

“They’ll be all right,” he whispered.

“Granddad,” Davie said. “It's my fault you’re not there with her. I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right,” he said. “You’re forgiven. For everything.”

“I’m sorry about that, too.”

“I know you are,” The Doctor told him.

“We’re there,” Christopher said. “But… Father… I’m sorry I’ve not really got the hang of timing the materialisation yet. It’s nearly midnight. We might be…” But The Doctor had pulled the door open and he was already running up the dark steps to the hall. He took the stairs to the upper floor three at a time. On the landing he found David. Sukie and Vicki were both with him. They were in nightclothes but they were not asleep.

“They’re upset,” David told him. “They say they can feel the baby crying out to them. They say it’s hurting.”

“All right, my loves,” he told them, bending and hugging his great-granddaughter and his own daughter. “Don’t you worry. I’m going to look after the baby now. You two go on to bed. Don’t fret.” He looked back as Christopher and the boys thundered up the stairs and then he ran to his bedroom. He reached for the handle of the door and his hearts burned. He was almost afraid of what he might find inside.

What he found was his child being born. He saw Jackie holding onto Rose’s hand as she screamed with the effort and he saw Susan straighten up, holding the baby in her arms. But there was a look of shock on all their faces and he realised why.

“He’s not breathing,” Susan said as he reached her side. “I’m sorry grandfather, I think…”

“No,” he said and he took the baby from her arms. He cleared the airways carefully with his finger and then he blew gently into his mouth and nose. He almost cried himself when he felt the smallest of movements and then his newborn son opened his eyes and gave his first sound. He heard Rose gasp with joy and he quickly cut and clamped the umbilical cord and gave the baby into her arms.

“What are we going to call this one?” Jackie asked. Rose looked at her husband. This was a male child, and there were all kinds of customs about male children in his culture. In particular, the father got to choose the names.

“Peter,” he said. And Jackie burst into tears. Christopher came to her and enveloped her in his arms. She looked at him and smiled through her tears.

“You’ve got a baby brother,” she told him.

“You’ve got a grandson,” Christopher told her, and that made her cry and laugh at the same time.

The door opened again and David came in with the two little girls and the twins. None of them had been able to bear the wait any longer. Susan took command like a head nurse. She allowed them a few minutes to look at the new baby and then she pushed everyone out of the room.

“I told them you’d be here for me,” Rose said when they were alone at last.

“I’m sorry I cut it so close. Another minute…”

“Don’t think about it. Look at our baby. Our son. He’s beautiful. He’s perfect.”

“I think he is,” The Doctor said. He waited until she had given him his first feed, then took the child from her and carefully examined him. He saw his two little hearts beating strongly, his Gallifreyan DNA. He gasped in surprise as he saw something he hadn’t seen before.

“He’s got Gallifreyan eyes,” The Doctor said. “Vestigial tear ducts and a nictating membrane to protect his eyes. He’s…. He’s a pureblood Gallifreyan. My DNA has completely overwritten the Human DNA.”

“He’s not my baby at all?” Rose asked. “There’s nothing of me in him?”

“There’s your love,” The Doctor told her. “You’ve loved him all along as he grew within you and you’ll love him all the more now. We both will. And he…” He took hold of the tiny hand of his newborn son and did what he had not dared to do when Christopher was born. He had let his father do it, and made him promise not to tell him anything he saw. This time he had the courage to do it. He looked into his child’s timeline and read his future. “Oh Rose, it’s going to be all right,” he told her. “Peter will live a long, long life. And he will do great things. He will change this world… for the better.”

“I don’t care what his future is,” Rose told him. “All I care about is that he’s alive, and he’s ours.” She reached out her hands. The Doctor wrapped his son in a blanket and gave him back to his wife. And he just sat beside them and watched them, and treasured the happiest feeling he had known in a long time.