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

Chris and Davie knelt in quiet contemplation in the Meditation Room. Though time was impossible to measure in a basement room with no windows and no clocks they were both aware that they had been there for the required thirteen hours. They both had an instinctive awareness of time. They could measure it with the beats of their hearts, with their perfectly tuned minds. They were, after all, NEARLY Time Lords.

The purification ritual before Transcension required that they kneel within the seal of Rassilon for thirteen hours, not sleeping, not in a trance, just kneeling, silently, without moving. And they had done it. At the exact moment they both blinked for the first time in hours, looked at each other and smiled. They reached out and helped each other to stand, legs aching as the feeling came back to them.

But their minds and hearts were purified and they hugged each other as they remembered what was yet to come this day.

This day. Their eighteenth birthday. That in itself was special. Later there was going to be a party for all their normal Earth friends that was the talk of the neighbourhood. Between one ‘uncle’ who was the Foreign Secretary and another who was the richest man in the district, with the biggest house, they had a lot more friends than they used to have. It was going to be a great party.

But something more important to them was happening first. Something they had being yearning for since….

….Since they were eight years old and they first met their great-grandfather, and found out that the reason they always felt they were different from other boys was that they WERE different.

To be Time Lords like The Doctor had been their ambition since then. And now, in a few hours, it would be so. They looked at each other and grinned as the thrill, the excitement, the fear and trepidation overwhelmed their minds.

A door opened. They turned towards the TARDIS, the only incongruous thing in this room of meditation and harmony. It stood against one wall, its resting place when The Doctor was not travelling in it. They smiled as he stood at the door. He reached out his hand to them.

“Time to make yourselves look the part,” he said.

David Campbell looked at his wife, and at the two other women whose exact relationship to him he had given up trying to work out. Susan, Rose and Jackie already looked the part. In long dresses of white satin shot through with shimmering threads of gold, silver and deep red, they all looked stunning. Even the children were in on it. Sukie and Vicki wore pale blue robes with matching hair ribbons, and Peter, the youngest son of the most senior Time Lord among them, was in a little gold robe of his own and seemed aware that something special was happening.

David felt strangely out of it. Rose and Jackie were married to Time Lords. And like a commoner marrying a Duke and automatically becoming a Duchess, they both seem to have taken to being the wives of Time Lords easily. Lady Rose and Lady Jacqueline of Gallifrey.

But in the same way as a man who married a Duchess didn’t get to be called Duke, David had never completely felt that being married to Susan made him a Gallifreyan. He always felt the outsider. A welcome outsider, one who was accepted as a vital part of their exiled society, but still an outsider. He wore the black robe of the Gallifreyan merchant class. It was respectable, but he had the impression that being a merchant was a long way down the social scale from being a Lord, such as The Doctor proclaimed himself to be.

He wasn’t resentful. Not any more. Once, he had been. He had felt as if his children were not his own any more. He had felt that the boys looked on The Doctor as their father. And he knew bitterly that their DNA was at least 90% Gallifreyan and to all intents and purposes The Doctor WAS their biological parent. Nature itself had written him out of the equation. But The Doctor, as much as he loved the boys, had done his best not to usurp his place in their affections, reminding them that they owed him their love first and foremost. And he had slowly come to terms with the fact that his sons WERE going to be Time Lords, and WERE going to be as powerful as their great-grandfather.

But he wasn’t going to attend the ritual that MADE them Time Lords dressed as a Gallifreyan merchant. He slipped out of the room determined to assert himself in one way, at least.

Susan gasped when she saw her two sons. They looked….

“They look fantastic,” Jackie said. She stood beside Susan. She felt as if she ought to kneel. They looked like young princes - Davie with his short hair with blonde streaks in the black, Chris with his shoulder length hair that he usually tied back in a pony tail. This day it was loose, framing his face like something from one of those swashbuckling period dramas Jackie used to watch on Freeview. They both wore long robes, Davie in scarlet and Chris in a deep, rich purple. And over those were – Jackie wasn’t quite sure of the word – gowns, cloaks, stoles or something - that shone as if they were spun gold. Both had gold brooches on their chests with the seal of the House of Lœngbærrow.

The two men known to their friends as their uncles, but in reality their grandfather and great-grandfather, stood beside them. In the pure gold of the High Council of Gallifrey and the elaborate headpieces that went with them, they, too, looked stunning. The Doctor wore the Sash of Rassilon, as his right as the senior Time Lord. For once the reason why he was senior did not trouble him. He was proud to be the patriarch of this family, to be the one about to create two new Time Lords at long last.

“Ready?” he asked the boys. But a voice called them to a halt. They turned to see David Campbell coming down the stairs and everyone was surprised. He was dressed in the full traditional plaid of his Scots clan, the blue, black and green of Campbell. The boys had occasionally seen him wear it for special occasions. The costume consisted of an undershirt of white cotton over which a full fifteen metres of the plaid had to be gathered into pleats and wound and pinned into place with the clan brooch. His heritage, represented by that brooch, meant as much to him as a son of a proud Scots family as the House of Lœngbærrow did to its patriarch.

“These are my sons,” David said to The Doctor and to Christopher. “They were Campbells before they were anything else. You two go on ahead. I’ll bring them to you, when we’re ready. When I’m ready to give them up to you.”

They said nothing. David was right. By tradition it was a father who mentored his son through Transcension. But because David was Human the honour fell elsewhere. The Doctor touched his son on the shoulder and they turned and went with the women and children of the family out to the marquee that was set up for the party later, but first served a much more important purpose.

“This is a big day for you,” David said to his sons. “I just want to say… I’m proud. If I didn’t always seem that way, I am sorry. But I am SO proud of you both. And I’m excited for you. I want this for you. My two boys – Time Lords. It's… I’m pleased for you. It’s wonderful.”

“Dad…” Chris said, reaching to grasp his father’s hand. “I…”

“I’m scared,” Davie admitted, saying it for both of them.

“You’ve a right to be,” David told them. “This isn’t just like getting married. God knows that’s scary enough. This is... your whole DNA being rewritten. The Doctor explained it to me as best he could. He says you’ll be all right. He says it's a natural process, just a part of growing up for his kind… for your kind. He says nobody ever died during it.”

“You ASKED?” Davie queried.

“Yes, I did. I WAS scared for you.” He reached and pulled his sons close to him. They would still BE his sons when this was over. He knew that. But they would be something else, too. “If you want to change your mind, nobody will be angry. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.”

“We want to,” Chris said for them both.

“Well, come on then.” David took them both by the hand.

Everyone was there already. Their mother, Jackie, Rose and the children. And Davie gave a sigh of pleasure as he saw Brenda and her parents there, too, sitting beside Jack Harkness. The Doctor had asked him to fetch them, to be there for the birthday party later, but he had been unsure if they would make it in time for the ceremony. He smiled widely at Brenda. That she would be there as a witness to his Transcension made the day that much more special for him.

Their grandfathers both held out their hands to them in greeting and invitation. Their father let go of their hands and hugged them one more time and then they walked towards The Doctor and Christopher as they stood on the raised area that, later, would be the bandstand.

“Don’t be afraid, either of you,” The Doctor told them telepathically. “This is the most beautiful thing that can happen to you. And the reward for going through it is the universe itself.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” Davie told him.

“It’s our destiny,” Chris said. “Fulfilled at last.”

“Your destiny is to come yet,” Christopher assured them. “This is only the beginning of your new life.”

They were only dimly aware now of their parents and family and friends watching. Their focus was the two low palettes covered in satin. Above each one the symbol of Rassilon in silver and gold was suspended from the ceiling, revolving slowly in the faint breeze that came into the tent. The shadow of the symbol was cast onto the palettes.

Chris laid himself down on the left, Davie on the right. They looked at each other and reached out their hands to touch each other reassuringly. Then, when all was silent, The Doctor knelt between the two palettes. Christopher stood above him, overseeing the ritual. It was unusual for one mentor to guide two candidates through the Transcension. But Chris and Davie were so closely connected mentally that The Doctor knew he could look after them both together.

He took their outstretched hands in his, forming an unbroken physical link between the three of them, one experienced Time Lord and two candidates to be mentored in the final stage of their Transcension.

“Are you ready, my boys,” he asked them telepathically.

“We are,” they replied to him. “We’re ready.”

“My Lord Rassilon,” Christopher said aloud. “These two, Christopher Campbell also known by his Gallifreyan name of Chrístõdavõreen-diamondheartmallõupdracœfiredelunmiancuimhnemilágrolúzio de Lœngbærrow-Campbell, and David Campbell, whose Gallifreyan name is Davõreenchrístõ-diamondheartmallõupdracœfiredelunmiancuimhnemilágrodánte de Lœngbærrow-Campbell, have attained the highest academic level. Their psychic powers are primed, their self-discipline strongest. I implore you take them now, and give them the gift they richly deserve. Let them transcend to the rank of Time Lord and take their place among the greatest of our ancient society.”

Then he reverted to ancient Gallifreyan as he recited the rite that initialised the Transcension. The Doctor felt Chris’s hand slacken his hold as the two boys began to drop down into the first stage of meditative trance as he had taught them. He tightened his hold again and followed them as far as the fourth level. After that they were on their own.

Their hands became icy cold as they finally reached the level where the Transcension could begin. Separated by three full levels of meditation The Doctor could only be partially aware of their thoughts, emotions and physical sensations at that point, but that was enough to monitor their progress.

It was traumatic. Their entire DNA was being rewritten and genetic markers inserted into them that would allow them, in time, to regenerate their bodies as he had done eight times already. That was the fundamental difference that marked a Time Lord from a Gallifreyan, along with their vast knowledge and their telepathic and telekinetic abilities.

Davie seemed to take what was happening to him easily enough. All The Doctor felt from him was a soft sigh as the manipulation of his DNA began. Chris, though, always the more sensitive of the two, was having a harder time of it. The Doctor felt his own body tremble with sympathy as he screamed subconsciously.

“Chris, my boy,” he said to him telepathically. “I know it hurts, but embrace the pain. It is what is making you what you have longed to be for so long.”

“Oh, granddad,” Chris sobbed inside his own head. “I don’t think I can do it.”

“Yes, you can, Chris,” he answered. “I know you can. I did it. And you are so like me.”

“Did you feel the pain? Like this?”

“Yes, I did. Very much,” he said.

“Is it because we are half-bloods?”

“No. it's not,” he assured him. “Davie has the same blood, and he is not hurting. It's because… Because your mind is so receptive. You feel it more because you feel everything so much more than anyone else does. I was like you when I was younger. I felt everything. Time has hardened me. I put up so many emotional walls in my own head. But I was just like you when I transcended. And I felt it like you’re feeling it now. But don’t be afraid. In a while it will be over. You and your brother will be the first new Time Lords for a generation. And I shall be so proud of you.”

While he was speaking, Chris had been calm, but when he ran out of words to say, the boy groaned again in agony and cried out from deep within himself. He was not being cowardly about it. The Doctor knew that his courage was as strong as Davie’s. But he was experiencing very intense pain, more intense than he remembered experiencing himself. Chris was really going through it and there was nothing he could do about it.

“Chris, don’t be afraid…” The Doctor felt Davie’s mind reach out to his twin. “I’m here for you. I’ve always been here for you. I’d never let you down.”

Images filled all their minds, projected by Davie. The Doctor was stunned at what he saw. He was amazed that the boy had such memories in him, for he had projected their moment of conception. He and Chris both watched the miracle of life begin as a single embryo that then divided and became two separate souls, though coming from that one fertilised egg. Then began their long growth within their mother’s womb, two beings, but inseparable, sharing the nutrition their mother’s body gave them, growing stronger together, four hearts beating in unison, two bodies growing by day, two growing minds, aware of each other in a vague, unformed way, their love for each other forming even as their bodies formed.

Then their birth. Then, as now, he saw that Chris had been the one who had found it hardest. The Doctor felt the anguish of the little soul suddenly separated from his soul mate as Davie was born first by a few minutes. He felt his loneliness. He felt Chris’s own birth as a sharp, hard agony, then the bliss they both shared, held in their mother’s arms. They were together again as they fed from her breast before being laid in a cradle side by side and dreaming their first dreams together, baby hands clutching each other.

And ever since, they had been together. They had slept in the same cot all through their infancy, shared the same toys, the same comforts, dreamed the same dreams.

The Doctor had not shared these times with them, because when they were babies he didn’t even know of their existence. He felt glad to be sharing these intimate memories with them now. It somehow made up for not being there. He smiled as he saw from Davie’s own eyes his first steps – he had been the first to walk, Chris joining him a few days later. But it had been Chris who had learnt to talk first, and his first word had been DAVIE.

Through it all, their one constant was love. The two of them had loved each other equally and unconditionally. Davie didn’t remember which of them learnt to talk to the other without words, but he knew they were about three when it began. The age that psychic abilities normally began to develop in Gallifreyan children.

From that moment on, they had lived two lives – one to the rest of the world, and one private life that they alone shared until they began to share it with their great grandfather. They had looked after each other through good and bad, through childhood illnesses, through school bullies, through all the pains and joys of growing up. Never would one have cause to cry without the other being there to comfort him, and no pleasure went unshared. And now as the two of them faced their hardest trial yet, Davie reached out to his brother and eased his pain with his own soothing thoughts.

The Doctor held back tears of joy as he felt himself swamped by the love radiated from both boys, for each other, and for him. He felt they had given him as great a gift as they were receiving as they transcended.

It took a full hour. A long, painful hour for them all. Davie and The Doctor both took Chris’s pain into themselves. They could not make it hurt less for him, but they could share the pain, and the sharing made it easier to bear.

But at last it WAS over. Their DNA was rewritten. They were Time Lords.

Slowly, they rose from the deep trance, rising up through the levels like divers coming back from the deep ocean through decompression stops. The Doctor rose to his feet, his hands holding the boys, still. They sat up and then stood with him. He embraced them both, remembering when his own father had embraced him when he transcended, remembering his pride when he held his own first born son in these first moments of his new life as a Time Lord. The look in their eyes told a story only the three of them knew and would share with nobody of what they had been through together. Not even Christopher, who embraced them all as he came forward to congratulate his grandsons and thank his father for doing this great thing for them.

For a long, sweet minute, it was just the four of them, but it was too much for Susan and David to bear much longer. They came to the boys and hugged them. Both of them were tearful. David told his sons over and over how proud he was of them, how much he loved them. Susan just cried and hugged them. As young Brenda ran to join them, with a hug and kiss especially for Davie, The Doctor stepped back. He found his hand taken by his wife as she came to his side.

“That looked very stressful,” she said.

“It was,” he admitted. But he was smiling, too. “It was fantastic. I feel absolutely fantastic. Rose, I WAS the LAST of my race. Now there are four of us. It's incredible. It's a miracle.” He actually lifted her up from the floor in his joy and excitement. “Oh, Rose, you don’t know how much this means.”

“I think I do,” she laughed and hugged him back. “And I am so glad for you. For all of you. The Time Lord race. All four of you.” She looked around and saw Christopher go back to sit with her mother. She was looking a little weary. She was pregnant with the very youngest new member of that race, of their family. And even at the early stages it was tiring.

“I remember my time,” Christopher was saying when they went to sit with them. “Father, I would never have gotten through it without you. And now… my own grandchildren are Time Lords in their own right, thanks to you.”

“Will our son go through that, too?” Jackie asked.

“Yes,” Christopher told her. “He’ll be a Time Lord, too. I’ll be there for him, to take him through the process.”

“Scary thought. But…” She looked at the twins. “But I think… I think I would be proud to be where Susan and David are right now.” She reached out her hand to her husband and he smiled at her. “I think I finally realise what it’s all about.”

“You always get there in the end, Jackie,” The Doctor told her with a warm smile.

There was just time to change from those fantastic Gallifreyan robes and be ordinary Humans to all appearances before the party got under way. The Campbell twins had spent a lot of their childhood as the odd children with very few friends, but in their teenage years they had budded into self-assured, popular boys. Yes, they knew it had a lot to do with their being related to the owner of the biggest house in the neighbourhood who threw them an eighteenth birthday party that was the social event of the summer. But they didn’t let the fact that SOME of their friends might not have the most honest of motives for friendship spoil their birthday.

“Hey, big man,” The Doctor, watching the youngsters dancing, looked around to see his old friend Jack Harkness looking devastatingly handsome in the dress uniform of the 22nd space corps. Military style always DID suit him, The Doctor thought, recalling the World War Two RAF uniform he had been wearing when they first met him.

That seemed like a long time ago now.

“Did we invite you to this party?” he asked teasingly. “It’s a very exclusive do, you know.”

“I gatecrashed,” he replied in the same spirit, knowing there was no party The Doctor threw that he wasn’t automatically invited to. He had been there for the naming ceremonies of Vicki and Peter. He was the Gallifreyan equivalent of godfather to both of them. And he had known the twins long enough, been involved in enough of their growing up towards this day to be fully entitled to be there.

“Hellina’s not with you?” The Doctor added.

“She’s at a peace conference. I’m here all by my lonesome.” He glanced to where Rose was sitting with her mum, Peter asleep on her lap. “Hey, want to dance with me, for old time sake?”

“On the dance floor?” The Doctor asked, warily, knowing full well what a metaphor was.

“Yes,” Jack said and took his hand. He glanced at Rose who just smiled at him and waved. Then he felt Jack’s right hand on his shoulder, the left reaching to hold him by the waist. He worked out an arrangement for his own hands and they danced together to a slow song he had often danced with Rose.

He was aware of some puzzled glances, but Jack had been his friend for a long time now, and he found himself not caring how strange it looked.

“You don’t know how long I’ve waited to do this,” Jack told him.

“Was it worth the wait?” The Doctor asked.

“Yes,” he said. “You’re a great dancer. I guess you and Rose have practiced a fair bit.”

“That we have.”

“If I’d asked you first, do you think things would have been different?”

“Probably not,” he said. “Despite what a lot of people are wondering right now, I DO come from the planet that defined the word ‘straight’. And besides, I was already head over heels in love with Rose long before you came into our lives.”

“Yeah, I guess I always knew that. Still, wish I HAD asked you long ago.”

The Doctor smiled enigmatically and was glad they WERE still talking about dancing.

“You have a beautiful family,” Jack said, recognising that they had pushed that metaphor as far as it was going and retreating back from the danger zone. “I envy you. I’m not sure what I’d do with a family if I had one, but I envy you.”

“I thought my chance was long gone,” The Doctor told him. “It feels good. If you ever do try it, I think you’d be surprised.”

“Maybe,” Jack said. “Can’t quite imagine it. I’m really not the domestic sort. Neither is Hellina.”

“Maybe she’d be surprised, too,” The Doctor answered. He couldn’t QUITE get an image in his mind of Hellina in maternity wear. He couldn’t remember her ever wearing anything other than military uniform. But it WAS just possible.

As the music came to a finish they stopped dancing. Jack released his hold, but The Doctor reached and pulled him close before kissing him on the cheek. That made four occasions when they had shared such an intimacy. He valued each time as part of their deep and unique friendship. He knew Jack valued them as something more. But that was ok. Jack knew where the line was drawn.

“You’d better dance with your wife now,” Jack whispered in proof of that. “Then people will know we were just kidding about.”

“Yeah,” The Doctor answered. “Except we both know we weren’t.”

“Go on, or I’ll French kiss you in front of the bandstand where EVERYONE will see,” Jack laughed.

He danced with Rose. She teased him about his intimacy with Jack, but only gently. She knew where his hearts really lay.

“What’s up with Chris?” she asked as they stopped dancing at last and sat down again.

“Good question.” The Doctor hadn’t realised anything was up with him, but now he turned his attention to him. He watched his great-grandson standing on the edge of the dance floor, watching his brother dancing with Brenda, who had become his official fiancée before the party began. He was watching everyone else having fun. But not, apparently, having fun himself. After a while, he turned away and slipped out of the marquee. The Doctor waited a few minutes then followed him.

He found him in the formal garden, sitting on the low wall of the ornamental fountain. The spray dampened his hair and clothes but he didn’t seem to care. He was so lost in his own thoughts.

The Doctor approached quietly and touched him gently on the arm. He stirred slowly as if coming back from a trance.

“Hi,” The Doctor said, sitting beside him. “You’re missing out on the party. And what with your brother stuck to Brenda like glue there’s a lot of disappointed girls in there.”

“I don’t really feel like dancing. It’s nicer out here, where it’s quiet. Where I can think.”

“Do you want me to leave you alone then?”

“No, stay. Talk to me. There are things I need to…”

“You had a rough time with your transcension. But it’s over now. You’ll never have to go through anything like that again. There are few agonies, few tortures anyone can devise that measure up to what we do to ourselves in that ritual. And don’t let Rose or Jackie or your mum try to tell you childbirth is worse. You and I know better.”

“I know. It’s not that. I feel ok now. I feel… more than OK. I’m… I’m a Time Lord now. It’s what we’ve both wanted, Davie and me, since we first knew that it was possible, when we learnt WHY we were different from everyone we knew. And it feels… The universe in my head. It’s…”

“It’s fantastic,” The Doctor said with a smile. “I know. It’s one thing we can NEVER describe to anyone else, any Human. It sets us apart so completely from all of Creation.”

“Yes,” Chris said. “Yes, that’s it entirely. I feel as if I’m burning inside, but the fire isn’t consuming me, it’s doing the opposite. I feel like I’m growing. My mind, my soul expanding beyond my own physical body.”

“Ok, maybe it IS possible to describe it. That’s pretty close, anyway. “

“Does it stop? Because it is kind of distracting.”

“You get used to it. You learn to let it happen in the background of your mind while the ordinary things happen in the front. We CAN go on living an ordinary life as well as being lords of the universe. We CAN dance with girls. We can enjoy ordinary things.”

“Granddad,” Chris said to him. “Would it make you angry if I told you I don’t WANT to dance with girls?”

“You prefer boys?” The Doctor asked, wondering why he had never thought of that before. Chris’s sensitivity HAD always given him something of a feminine frame of mind. It would make sense. “Well, after Jack trying to ‘out’ me in front of most of our neighbours I think we could probably handle that.”

“No,” he answered with a momentary blush to his face. “You and him looked good together, by the way.” They laughed together before Chris looked serious again. “Granddad, I don’t mean that. I mean I want to dedicate my life to something higher than just… ordinary relationships.”

“There are few things more wonderful than parenthood, you know,” The Doctor told him. “Take it from me. I spent centuries looking for something that completed my life and I came right back around to ‘domestic’ again in the end.”

“I know,” he said. “But… I don’t feel it’s for me. I…” Chris fingered the silver crucifix he always wore. The Doctor noticed the gesture and began to realise what it was that the lad was saying. His mind went back to the day he was given that crucifix by a 16th century seminarian who was running for his life from his enemies.

“It seemed a simple gesture at the time, a way of thanking you for a kindness to him.” The Doctor said.

“And that’s what it was in the most basic terms. But… I touched him. I touched his mind. I felt his goodness, his faith in himself and in what he believed in. I felt that he put his God and spreading the word of that God higher than his own life. And I think I have known ever since then that there was another way of life than the one expected of me.”

“So… You want to be a priest?”

“Yes,” Chris said. “Well, not exactly. Not…” He clutched the crucifix tighter. “Not THIS sort of priest. Not the Earth religion. It has never been a part of our life. It’s not part of our culture. We come from a world where we ARE the Gods.”

“Yes,” The Doctor nodded. “We have never had a religion the way Earth people understand it. No mysterious Deity requiring faith. And yet, we had our sects. I had an aunt – my father’s sister - whose face I never even saw because on the few occasions she came out of her closed sisterhood for family events she wore a veil over her whole head. And then there were the monks on Mount Loeng, with their meditation and their life of contemplation, free of the complications of ordinary life. Is that the sort of thing you have in mind?”

“Yes,” he said. “Something like that. But…”

“But the monks of Mount Lœng are gone.”


“I understand, Chris. Really I do. There were times when I was young, and later after your grandmother was gone, that I thought of that kind of life. But I’m too impatient and restless. My mind isn’t right for it. Yours…”

He reached out and touched his great-grandson on the side of his head. He sighed as he felt his consciousness. Yes, the transcension had filled him with new things to think about. But there was already a lot there to begin with.

“Your mind is different, Chris. It’s different even from your brother. Even though you are alike in a lot of ways. Davie thinks like me, fast, restless. He is fascinated by mechanics and he has my sense of adventure and danger. But you – I know you understand those things. You can programme a computer or build a new component for the TARDIS as easily as he can. You have the same courage in face of danger. But you don’t love it the way we do. Your mind – you think deep, long, quiet thoughts, beautiful thoughts that go beyond…”

The Doctor sighed again, a deep, peaceful sigh. Looking into Chris’s mind was something he felt privileged to experience. It was like stepping into the quiet cloisters of that old monastery on Mount Lœng. He felt his own mind cooled and refreshed and inspired by it.

“Oh, my boy,” he cried and pulled him closer, hugging him tightly. “Oh, my child, if you DID go to the monks, they would kneel before you in reverence after they glimpsed even one moment of what is in your mind.”

“So… you’re not angry with me?”

“Angry? Why should I be angry?”

“Because the Time Lord race depends on us having children and continuing the line. We have to be fruitful….”

“But not at expense of your soul, Chris,” The Doctor told him. “I think your destiny is elsewhere. Davie is the one who will carry that destiny. He and Brenda are a sure thing. When she is ready to be his wife, he’ll be the one… the father of Time Lords. He… He will also be the one who will go out there into the universe and save it from oppression and danger, do my work when I am gone. But you… Chris you will save the universe’s soul. The only problem is HOW? The monks are gone. Where can you find that life of contemplation you desire?”

“Here,” he said. “Granddad, you named this house after that mountain. Mount Lœng house. It’s….” He laughed. “You said you don’t believe in omens. I think I DO. I don’t need a mountain top. I just need… well, for now, I need your mediation room. I need its peace to work it all out in my head. But after that….”

Chris pulled gently from his great-grandfather’s embrace. It was a warm, comforting place he had needed so often as a child. But he was a man now. And it was time.

He walked away from him, across the formal garden. He stood looking at the meadow that was a part of the Mount Lœng demesne. It ran down to a treeline, and beyond that was the River Thames. He stood there for a long time looking at the view. He knew The Doctor had followed him, was standing behind him. He reached his hand out behind him, without even looking, and took his hand. So often his great-grandfather had led him by the hand, literally, or metaphorically. He had learnt so much from him. But now it was time to teach him.

“Can you see it?” he whispered.

“Yes, I can,” he answered in a voice that was hoarse with wonder. Yes, he could see it, as if it was really there already.

“I can pay for it. Christopher… grandfather…” He paused and smiled as he caught The Doctor’s thoughts. “Yes, I have learnt to call him grandfather. And not just because of what he did today for us.” He remembered how, before the party began in earnest his OTHER grandfather had called him and Davie to his side and he had given them his birthday gift. A fourth part of his own personal worth each. He had trusted Gallifreyan banks as little as his father had and his income as a senior civil servant of Gallifrey, and as a member of the High Council went into an offworld bank. And after five hundred years earning interest it was a nest egg for him to share between his own heirs. For Chris and Davie now, and in trust for Sukie and for his own new child yet to be born. Davie had immediately written a tithe of his share out in a cheque that went with the Bond of Betrothal that officially made Brenda his future wife. But Chris had other ideas.

A temple. That was the only word either Earth or Gallifrey could use to describe the building that was going to stand in this meadow one day. It was an inadequate and misleading word, though. Nobody would be worshipped within its shining walls. But those whose minds were like Chris Campbell’s, would come there, to stay in its dormitories, to walk in its quiet cloisters and to sit in its meditation rooms thinking long, pure, clear thoughts for hours on end. They would come to learn the philosophy that was not yet formed, that would take him years yet to fully realise.

“Chris,” The Doctor whispered, blinking back tears that had nothing to do with sorrow. “I think… you just invented a new religion.”


The Doctor returned to the party. Nobody really noticed Chris’s absence. Not even his brother. He was too busy dancing with the woman he loved. As he took Rose out on the dance floor again he felt one telepathic message from his great-grandson as he knelt on the floor of the Meditation Room and began to prepare himself for a purifying ritual, the first step to his own, quiet destiny.

“Rassilon guide you, my boy,” he whispered in reply.