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

The Doctor strolled out past the formal garden, up to the meadow where the building work on Chris’s Sanctuary was still being done by willing volunteers supervised by a team of qualified builders.

“Hi,” Chris called to him. “Has Rose let you out of her sight at last?”

“Yes,” he said. “Though I’m not supposed to leave the property.”

Of course, neither Rose, nor anyone else knew he had broken his ‘parole’ once. But even he had to admit he was not himself completely yet. The brief scare he had after his fight with the alien Raymond had been reminder enough of that. He knew he had to behave himself now, or risk the unthinkable – permanent ill-health. There were signs enough even when he wasn’t in life and death struggles with malevolent creatures. His partially grown heart did cause him shortness of breath and strange fibrillations and he knew he couldn’t continue to push his luck.

So he was being a good patient again. But it was hard. He couldn’t even lend a hand at the manual labour. He felt quite useless.

“There isn’t a lot for you to do anyway,” Chris assured him. “We’ve got plenty of volunteers and we’re well on schedule.”

“Glad to hear it. What about Davie? Is he on schedule?”

“He thinks he is,” Chris answered. “But I bet you’ll find loads of things he hasn’t thought of before he does a test run.”

“You can be sure of it,” The Doctor said with a smile. He carried on walking to the buildings that used to be stables when Mount Lœng House was built in the eighteenth century. Now they were the workshop where Davie was putting the finishing touches to his prototype time machine.

Davie was always destined to do this work, The Doctor remembered. Years ago, before he and Rose were married, before he had bought Mount Lœng House, when the twins were only children still, he had seen a glimpse of their future. Both boys had worked on the prototype in a lock-up garage, in secret, knowing that he would not approve of it.

What he didn’t approve of generally was changes in the time line. He knew that things had changed. Decisions he had made since then, especially buying the house, had subtly changed the future and now it had caught up with him he could see just how much.

For one thing, Davie was doing most of the work himself. Chris had his own dream. That was a good thing in itself. They each had their separate dreams and pursued them. Before Chris simply followed his brother’s lead.

He was still building his machine out of a 20th century sports car though.

“Where DID you get a DeLorean anyway?” The Doctor asked as he studied the blueprints of the time machine. “I always wondered.”

“What do you mean ALWAYS wondered?” Davie asked. “I only got it a month ago. It was cheap, on account of it didn’t actually work. It was used as a talking point in a hover car showroom. But you have to admit, it's got CLASS.”

“It’s got something. Just don’t use it to go to the 1980s.”

“You reckon it’ll work then?” Davie asked him.

“Don’t you?”

“Well, YES. But, you know, I kind of expected you to…”

“What? You think I don’t believe you can build a time machine? Aren’t you my great-grandson. You’ve got all my talents - and then some. As a matter of fact I’m very impressed with your power source. I never would have thought of using the Metebelis crystal that way. You’ve got something special there. That’s to your credit.”

“If this works I’ll have to go back there and get more crystals.”

“How many of these machines do you intend to build?” The Doctor asked.

“I don’t know. Is there a limit? We’re going to have new Time Lords. They will want their own time machines.”

“We need a new set of Time Laws before we start selling Runabouts to the new generation,” The Doctor said.

“That’s for you to sort out. You’re Lord High President of the Council. I’m just a humble entrepreneur trying to get my first prototype up and running.”

“I notice you’re not using the dimension chip in this one?” The Doctor said as he sat inside the car and examined the time controls fitted into what had once been the dashboard.

“I abandoned that plan,” Davie told him. “I made a couple of experimental chips, but they weren’t strong enough. Earth metals…”

“Dimension chips are made of a specific metal,” The Doctor said. “Virtually indestructible, non-magnetic, non-corrosive. It’s called…”

“Omegallium,” Davie completed his sentence. “Named after Omega, the Great Scientist.”

“You’ve done your homework, haven’t you, son.”

“Yes,” he said. “And I know there are only two known planets in the universe where Omegallium is found. One of them…”

“Was Karn, the sister planet of Gallifrey,” The Doctor nodded sadly.

“And the other is SangC’lune.”

“On no account,” The Doctor said. “Will anyone be allowed to MINE on that planet. But you and Chris can spend a couple of weekends there panning for it in the river. Particles of the ore are carried down from the hills. If you know where to look you can collect enough to make at least two dimension chips in a few weekends of work.”

“I could take some of Chris’s volunteers. Do it faster,” he responded.

“I’d rather you didn’t,” The Doctor said. “I don’t want too many people visiting SangC’lune. It’s not a holiday resort.”

“They’re young Gallifreyans. SangC’lune is part of their heritage.”

“In the old days only the most senior Time Lords ever set foot there.”

“But those were the OLD days, Granddad, and I thought you wanted us to look to the future.”

Davie was right. The Doctor sighed and conceded the point.

He looked at his great-grandson. He was so much him in his youth. The eyes, the hair – apart from the blonde streaks – the set of his jaw as he emphasised his own belief in himself, right down to the leather jacket. Davie knew as much at the age of 19 as he did at 190. He was READY for the universe.

He felt pride. He felt envy. He felt old.

“So when will it be ready for a test drive?” The Doctor asked.

“After lunch,” Davie replied. “It’s ready. Unless there’s anything you think….”

But The Doctor couldn’t find anything wrong. As far as he could see this was a perfectly good time travel capsule. It didn’t do space. And it was far from being the complete ‘home’ that a TARDIS was. But it would travel in time as Time Lords were meant to do.

After lunch.

Susan and David had both looked at Davie apprehensively as he outlined his plans for the afternoon. Rose had looked apprehensively at The Doctor. He knew what she was thinking without any telepathy needed. She was thinking that he wanted to be the one to take the first test drive.


But he couldn’t. It was Davie’s machine. He was the one who had put in the hours of work. It was his right to take it out for the first time.

There was a sense of family occasion to it as Davie steered the car out of the stable and onto the pathway outside. His parents were there, his grandfather and Jackie, The Doctor and Rose, and all the children. Even the dwarf bears were there, riding piggy back on Sukie and Vicki’s shoulders. Davie grinned as he saw everyone.

His mum wasn’t grinning. She looked fretful. She came to him as he stood by the car.

“I wish you wouldn’t,” she said. “It’s just… not… It’s not even a proper TARDIS.”

“We can’t make proper TARDISes any more,” he said. “We don’t have the right facilities to grow the energy crystals. This is the new way of doing it.”

“If we lose you….”

“You won’t lose me, mum,” he answered. He looked down at her. From his six foot height she was smaller than him. She looked up at him with big eyes full of tears. He kissed her cheek. “I’ll be back by teatime. Don’t worry.”

“You’d better be,” she said.

Chris hugged his brother. He was less apprehensive but he knew what a big thing it was for Davie that this should be a success.

“My Sanctuary, your time machines. We’re both living our dream,” he told him. “Go on, Davie.”

Davie smiled nervously and got into the car. Before he closed the wing door down he turned one of the least dangerous switches. Loud rock music poured from the speakers inside the car. Susan stood back hurriedly. Christopher looked puzzled by a musical genre he was yet to grasp fully. Everyone else saw the appropriateness of the lyrics of the 20th century song.

“Here we are, born to be kings,
We're the princes of the universe.
Here we belong, fighting to survive
In a war with the darkest powers...”

He closed the door and the sound was cut off, to be replaced by another sound when he initialised the more important temporal drive. It sounded a little bit like a TARDIS dematerialising, though slightly higher pitched.

The car de-materialised. The sound cut off abruptly as it vanished. Susan gasped loudly as she realised that her son had actually done it. He had actually dematerialised his own time machine. He had GONE.

“Mum, he said he’d be back by teatime,” Chris reminded her.

“HE told me he would be back once,” Susan said, turning to The Doctor. “And it took him over forty years.”

“He’s not me, Susan,” The Doctor told her. “He’s smarter than I ever was. He’s going to be a greater Time Lord than I ever hoped to be.”

“I still won’t be happy until he’s back.”

Jackie stood with Susan. She knew just how she was feeling. How many times had she watched the TARDIS disappear from the yard of the Powell Estate flats never knowing whether Rose and The Doctor would be back. It was all right for the rest of them. But she and Susan were the mothers of time travellers. They saw it all very differently.

Davie’s hearts beat to the sound of the rock music and he sang along.

“I am immortal
I have inside me blood of kings….
I have no rival
No man can be my equal
Take me to the future of you all.”

The future. That was where he was going now. There was something he needed to find out about in the future. He didn’t mean anything that would alter causality in the way The Doctor had been talking about when he said they needed a new set of Laws. But there were some things he had to know.

“No man could understand
My power is in my own hands”

He looked out through the exo-glass windscreen with automatic light filter to prevent any dangerous rays affecting him. He was used to seeing the time vortex on the viewscreen of the TARDIS but he knew that wasn’t a ‘true’ picture of it, rather a colour overlaid representation like the computer enhanced pictures of distant planets and solar systems they used to create in the science club at school.

But THIS was the vortex itself. It really WAS a sort of tunnel. The sides of it were cloud like, swirling red-white as he pushed forward in time, his eye on the clock that was reading his progress in the fourth dimension. He had the impression that the tunnel was created by his Prototype’s energy field, holding back the cloud and creating a path for him. That was a different perception to the one he always had of the vortex tunnel existing all the time and the TARDIS going in and out of it like a car going on and off a motorway system.

He was going to have to write something down about this, he told himself. He didn’t think even The Doctor really knew how the vortex worked. He just accepted what it could do for him. But Davie’s mind wanted to know HOW things worked.

“Climb the moon and reach for the stars
With my sword and head held high
Gotta pass the test, first time.”

He was nearing his chosen destination. His foot reached for the temporal brake, which he had made as a foot pedal just like a brake in a real car. He saw the tunnel walls slow and begin to thin out. He was aware of landscape around him. Familiar landscape, more or less. The trees were a bit different, some taller, some cut down. And the old stables had been replaced by something that looked ‘space age’ even for a man born in the 23rd century: a dome-shaped building, built of some kind of white, seamless material. Etched into the dome in silver was a piece of text in High Gallifreyan swirls.

“Take me to the future of you all.”

He had a feeling THAT was HIS future - his time travelling vehicle factory.

“Come on,” a voice said as he opened the wing door and climbed out. “You’re needed.”

“What?” he looked around and saw a man who looked in his mid-40s by Earth standards. He was dressed in a black outfit not unlike the one he was wearing. He reminded him of The Doctor, but not quite. His hair was longer, with blonde streaks and his face looked a lot less careworn and used.

“That’s an illusion,” the man answered. “This is my second incarnation. I got this body when I was 624, after nearly burning to death in a run-in with the Coilex. This face doesn’t tell the half of it.”

“Who are…” Davie began. But he knew. “Of course, you’ve regenerated, so the Blinovitch Limitation Effect doesn’t come into it. Our DNA is sufficiently different to allow us to be in the same place. You probably shouldn’t have told me about the Coilex – whoever they are – and nearly burning to death. That’s foreknowledge I could use to change my own future.”

“Perfectly true,” Davie de Lœngbærrow-Campbell told his younger self. “I was testing you. The Coilex are a cute species of rabbit-like creatures from the Peladonian Empire. Sukie and Vicki got some as pets and grass almost became an endangered plant in south London. This is my second body. But you’ll have to work out how and when for yourself. Meanwhile, come on. He wants to see you.”

“Who does?” Davie asked. “How come you were expecting…” He stopped. His older self grinned at him. “Right, you’re me. You remember this the first time around, from where I’m standing.”

“Clever. By the way, the reason you’re here is purely accidental. You need to recalibrate the clock on the Prototype. It’s slow. You’re nearly three hundred years further on than you planned.”

“Oh,” he said. He did the maths. He had wanted to visit this location a few years after they last visited the future, somewhere around 3050. He wanted to spend a couple of hours with his great-grandfather and talk about some things he wasn’t likely to talk to him about in his own time.

Nearly 300 years further on….

“3343,” his older self told him as they stepped into the formal garden.

Davie didn’t say anything in reply. His attention was drawn to the two people sitting by the fountain. He left his older self behind as he ran to them.

“Hello, Davie,” Rose said as she looked up at him. He knew it was her. She was very old now. Her face was lined and aged and her hair was completely white. But he thought she was still a very beautiful woman. She reached out her hand to him and he took it in both hands as he leaned forward and kissed her cheek.

Then he turned to The Doctor. He looked VERY much older now. He looked frail and sick. His hover chair disturbed the gravel as it moved forward. The Doctor steadied his hands as they passed over a keyboard on a swinging arm attachment. It looked like it was administering painkillers through a thin intravenous tube attached to his neck.

“Hello, young man,” he said. His voice was only a little changed and his eyes were as bright as ever. “Still breaking the rules.”

“You rewrote the rules so that this sort of thing WASN’T a transgression,” he answered. “Besides, you were obviously expecting me.”

“You’re invited to dinner,” The Doctor told him. “We’ve got a bit of a family reunion going on. All the most senior Time Lords are gathering.”

“How many Time Lords ARE there now?” Davie asked.

“One less very soon,” The Doctor answered meaningfully. “VERY soon.”

“Don’t say that,” Rose told him, her eyes dimming with sadness.

“No, my love,” he answered gently. “Everything has its time. Everything dies. I’m no exception. I don’t WANT to be the exception.”

“He’s been grumpy that way ever since his last stroke,” Rose said. “I thought we were going to lose him then, but he fought back. Got his speech, the use of his hands. But his legs were paralysed. He was downright NASTY to the doctors when they suggested prosthetic replacements. Told them he wasn’t going to end his days as a cyberman.”

“He wasn’t much nicer to the rep from the hoverchair company,” the older Davie commented. “Kept going on about Davros.”

“I’m not deaf,” The Doctor grumbled. “Stop talking about me as if I’m not here.”

Davie wasn’t sure what to say to him. It was disturbing to see him like this. The hover chair was clearly more than just a means of getting about. It was a mobile life support system performing all the bodily functions he was no longer in control of.

His eyes were the most alive part of him. They were alive and alert, showing that his brain was one organ of his body still functioning properly.

“Damn right it is.” Davie felt him reach into his mind. “I’m all here, lad. Everything I ever was. I remember everything. Your first trip in the Prototype. I remember…even the song playing on your stereo as you set off. “Princes of the universe… Climb the moon and reach for the stars. You’ll do all of that, my boy. Oh, yes, you will.”

“It’s nearly time for dinner,” Rose said. “Come on, let’s get you inside.”

“She thinks I’m one of her babies to mollycoddle,” The Doctor told Davie telepathically. “She had twenty-five children for me. And now I’m number twenty-six.”

“She loves you,” Davie told him. “She’s never stopped loving you.”

“I never stopped loving her. She’s still as beautiful as the day I met her.”

“That she is,” Davie agreed. He looked at his older self. He smiled faintly. He had obviously been listening to the conversation.

“You need to brace yourself,” he said to him. “There’s a few shocks in store. We’re 1100 years into your future. You should know… for one thing… mum and dad are both dead now. They died of old age a few years back. Dad first, then mum. She never transcended. She chose one good life instead of many.”

Davie nodded. He understood that. He wasn’t sure he was ready to see his parents as elderly people anyway.

He was even less ready to see his little sister as an old woman. Sukie, the hybrid, had never had the ability to regenerate. She looked like an eighty year old Earth woman. But when she saw him, though, her eyes lit up and she hugged him with all the enthusiasm of his nine year old little sister.

“Davie, you’ve met my eldest grandson, haven’t you?” She held out her hand to the young man who smiled as he came forward. “My Tristie.”

“I know him very well,” Davie said as he shook hands with him. “Where is your mother? How is she?”

“She’s coming down now,” Tristie told him. “There…”

Davie turned. His older self put a hand on his shoulder as he looked at the two people who came in then. One was a beautiful woman who he knew at once as Vicki, his great aunt. She was dressed in a simple cream robe with the symbol of Chris’s Higher Way Sanctuary on it. He remembered being told the last time he visited that she had spent some time as a Follower of the Way.

But Vicki wasn’t the one who commanded his attention and made his hearts skip a beat. He looked at the man beside her, in a pure white robe of the same style with the symbol embroidered in gold thread across his chest. He looked at his pale features, his long dark hair in a pony tail.

“Chris!” Davie ran and hugged him lovingly.

“Hi, Davie,” Chris said with a smile. “I’m glad you could make it.”

“Why is everyone EXPECTING me?” he asked. “I mean, obviously you all KNOW because I must have told you. But is there some special reason for me being here?”

“Yes,” he told him. “But all in good time. Right now, it’s dinner.”

On cue a neatly dressed waiter announced to the assembled family that dinner was served. Davie was surprised to find that he was asked to sit on The Doctor’s right hand side. Rose was to his left, and the older version of himself and his brother next to her. Beside him, was Christopher, his grandfather, now in his third incarnation. Beside him a young woman who sported an engagement ring. Christopher explained that Jackie was also dead now. She had lived a long, good life with him, but the inevitable happened in the fullness of time. He introduced Davie to Sheila MacDonald, an Earth born great-granddaughter of one of the Gallifreyan refugees The Doctor brought to Earth so long ago.

“Sheila was my pupil,” Christopher said. “I was training her for Transcension. But even though I’m in my thousands and she’s only twenty-five, something clicked between us.”

“Nothing wrong with an age gap like that,” The Doctor said. “I was nearly a thousand years old when a teenage shop girl stole my hearts.” He looked at Rose and she blushed sweetly.

Nobody talked about anything important during the dinner. But Davie was introduced to several other members of his now thoroughly extended family, including two of his own children.

It was when the meal was over, as they drank coffee, that a quiet came over them and all eyes turned on The Doctor. He looked at his eldest son and at his second son, Peter, a dignified, middle aged man – now an ambassador for peace in the universe.

“Help me to stand,” The Doctor said to the two of them as they came to his side. “I want to address them all.”

They did so. Supporting him by the shoulders either side, they lifted him from the wheelchair. He couldn’t actually feel his feet touching the floor. But he felt different. Tall, as he used to be.

“My children,” he said. “I thank you for answering the call to be here. I am so grateful. I just want to say – one last time – how much I love you all. My children, my race. The future of us all. And I ask you to do just one thing… Remember me. Remember that I dedicated my life to the forces of good, and all of you, always walk in the light. We are all of us so powerful. Just one who turned to the dark would be a blight on the universe. Don’t let that happen.” He paused. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean this to be a lecture. I just want… I want to say I love you all and…. Goodbye.”

The goodbye had a profound effect on them all. There were gasps. There were tears. As he sank back into his chair Rose reached and held his hand. The effort HAD hurt him, but he needed to do it.

“Now,” he said quietly, and they all understood what he was saying. They all looked with sad eyes as his sons and his wife walked with him out of the dining room. Chris and Davie stood, too. They touched the younger Davie on the shoulder and told him he had to come, as well.

“Why me?” Davie asked. “What do I….” He had guessed what was going on and he wasn’t sure he WANTED to be there.

“You have your role to play,” The Doctor said turning to him. “Come on, lad.”

Davie came with them. Chris and his older self flanked him. He was glad of their presence as they went up the stairs. Outside the master bedroom the three of them waited while Christopher and Peter went inside with Rose and The Doctor.

“What’s happening?” Davie asked.

“They’re making him ready,” Chris answered him.

“Ready for…” Davie thought he knew, but he needed it said.

“He will die tonight,” the older Davie said. “He’s prepared himself. Prepared us. We know what to do.”

“I don’t,” Davie told them. “And I’m not sure… Where I come from he’s still young – youngish anyway. I don’t want to watch him die as an old man.”

“Davie,” Chris told him. “We don’t either. When I think back…I remember when we were kids, and he was like a god to us. We thought he could do anything.”

“Never found anything he COULDN’T do,” the older Davie added. “But now he’s ready for his last great adventure. That’s what he says.”

The door opened and Peter told them to come in. They stepped forward together. The Doctor was in bed now. He was dressed simply in a black robe with the Seal of Rassilon in gold around the shoulders. His chosen death shroud.

“Rose, you should rest yourself,” Chris told her as he saw her straightening the sheets around her husband. “We can watch him.”

“Do you think I could sleep now?” she asked. “And miss one precious moment of his life.” She reached to take his hand.

“You are gorgeous,” he told her as he reached his arm around her and pulled her into a kiss. “You still get me going, you know.”

“It has been years since either of us was capable of that,” she laughed, despite herself. “Oh, my love, I AM going to miss you.”

“Come with me,” he said. “Let us be together for eternity.”

“I can’t,” she told him. “Somebody has to look after that lot.”

“Ok, fair enough,” he said and smiled. And then he closed his eyes and sighed. “Did we ever…” His words came slowly now. “Did we ever waste a single day? Was there ever a day we didn’t live to the full?”

“No,” she told him. “Every one of them was wonderful.”

“Then it has been worth it,” he said.

“Yes,” she agreed.

He was quiet for a little while. Then he looked up and whispered her name. He sounded weaker now. He had told them not to connect up any of the machines that were by the bed. He wanted to die naturally. And he was. Without mechanical help, his organs were slowly failing. His skin looked increasingly yellow as his liver gave up, and his breathing was laboured. He accepted the painkillers at least and took a breath through the oxygen mask that was there. But he would not let them do anything more to prolong his life. This was the end. He knew it and he was not bitter. He would not claim a moment more of life than was due to him.

“Did any two people love each other more than you and him?” Christopher asked as Peter made Rose drink a glass of milk to strengthen her. “I don’t think even my mother meant as much to him.”

“He never stopped loving her,” Rose told him. “He mentioned her only the other day. He told me about one of the adventures they shared before they were married. Long before you were born.”

“Yes. But you and him have been so much more. So devoted. I remember your Alliance of Unity. He was so happy. And the day Vicki was born. And all of your children.”

“I remember how he nearly broke himself searching for you, Christopher. When he found out that you could be alive, he nearly turned the universe inside out looking.”

“He was an incredible man. There will never be another. Nobody will ever have his courage, his love for all life everywhere and his determination to care for all of it.” Christopher touched his forehead, and bent to kiss him. “My father, the greatest of our Race. The greatest Time Lord.”

“All I ever wanted was a quiet life,” The Doctor murmured as he woke once again.

“Liar,” Rose told him. “You wouldn’t know what to do with a quiet life.”

“You’re the oldest Time Lord now,” The Doctor told his son. “The burden is yours. As well as the honour.”

“I can never stand in your shoes.”

“Don’t try. Walk in your own, Christopher. I never asked you to do more than that. And you, Peter, I’m so proud of you.” His eyes strained in the half dark room to focus on his great-grandsons. “Chris, my boy,” he said. “You and I were always so close. You knew my thoughts as well as I did.”

“I love you, granddad,” he told him. He, too, bent to kiss him. “For all that you taught me. I could never thank you half enough.”

“Davie…” he added. The two versions of the same man looked at each other. The older man stepped forward first, then the younger. Davie didn’t know what to say. But he didn’t have to. His great-grandfather reached out and touched him over his left heart.

“My heart, in your breast,” he said. “I WILL live on, through you. But there is more than just my heart I can give you. That’s why I’m glad you’re here. You stay by my side now. Until the end.”

“Granddad…” Davie began. “I don’t think I can…”

“Yes you can,” he told him. “Don’t grieve. I’ve had a good life. And you’re here to carry on in my name. Remember what I told you before? You, Davie de Lœngbærrow-Campbell, you are The Doctor now.”

“I don’t want you to die.”

“I don’t want to live any longer,” he told him. “This IS my time. I have no right to ask for more.”

Davie nodded through the tears that pricked his eyes. He could feel everything in his great-grandfather’s head. There was pain there, and grief. But a kind of contentment. He was dying as he had chosen to die. Peacefully in his own bed, with his wife and his children by his side.

“Rose,” he whispered. “Hold me one last time.” He reached his arms to her. But it was an effort. She reached to him and held him close. She kissed him lovingly for another long, long time.

“I love you, my Rose,” he told her. “I will still love you for eternity even after this. But I may not be able to tell you again.”

“Oh, Chrístõ,” she sobbed, using his real name in the last. “I love you.”

“Rose,” he murmured. “Before I go….”

“Oh….” She sobbed again.

“Before I go… I just want to tell you…. You were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic.” He opened his eyes and looked at her. He was smiling broadly, despite being in so much pain. “And do you know what….”

“What?” she said through her tears.

“So was I!” His smiled broadened still further and his hand tightened on hers. She leaned forward again and kissed his mouth. Then she drew back.

“Davie,” she said in a trembling voice. “It’s you he needs now.”

Davie moved forward and The Doctor reached out and took both his hands. He held them tightly and his eyes, still bright, burned into him. He was too weak to speak, even telepathically. But Davie felt the touch of that great mind on his. Around him he was aware of something happening. He and Rose sat by The Doctor side, but Peter and Christopher, Chris and the older Davie, stood in a semi circle around the bed and chanted something in High Gallifreyan. Davie vaguely heard the words, but he didn’t quite understand what they meant at first.

“Rite of Mori?” The words seemed to slide into his mind and he DID understand. He understood what The Doctor had said earlier, too.

“My heart, in your breast. I WILL live on, through you. But there is more than just my heart I can give you.”

“Open yourself to me,” his great grandfather whispered to him in words. And then Rose gave a soft cry. She had felt it first. Felt the last of his life ebb away. Davie felt something else. He felt electrified. He felt The Doctor’s whole being, his mind, his soul, enter him. He felt he could remember all of The Doctor’s memories, he knew everything he had ever known. He felt his mind, his personality, nearly overwhelming his own. It wasn’t painful, but it was terrifying. Davie tried to hold onto himself. He felt as if there wasn’t room for both of them in his body and he was afraid he would be the one who would lose.

He was aware of somebody reaching for him, holding him before he fainted.

He wasn’t sure how long he was out of it. He woke and looked up at the older version of himself putting a damp cloth on his forehead.

“Strange doing this,” he said. “And remembering being there, where you are. Trying to remember what I said. How are you?”

“I’m…” Davie’s eyes opened wide. “The Rite of Mori… He put his soul into mine. I can feel him. I can remember everything he ever did. I KNOW everything he knows.”

“Yes, I remember that. The memories will fade. There’s a lot of stuff there you’re not supposed to know. His secrets. The KNOWLEDGE will remain. The skills. And something of his personality. But the memories DO fade.”

“Pity. He has some beautiful memories.”

“And some terrible ones, too.”

“Yes,” Davie said and one of the most terrible surfaced. “The… the Time War… Chris and me… Gallifrey.”

“When you get back, you and Chris talk about that. And when you’re cool about it, talk to him. It’ll be all right.”

“But we…”

“Not now,” his older, and far more experienced self told him. “There are other things to think about.”

The door of the darkened room opened. Chris stood there.

“Come on, both of you. Before we let the rest of the family in.”

Davie stood a little shakily, again flanked by what he had to think of as his older brothers. He came back into the master bedroom where The Doctor’s body had been made ready to be seen. His eyes were closed and his hands crossed over his hearts. They had beaten for more than 2,000 years, but now they were stilled.

Rose sat at his side. Her son and stepson beside her. They all waited quietly as the three stepped forward. Chris, first, leaned over and kissed The Doctor’s cheek and stepped back. Then his brother. Then Davie, barely holding back his feelings.

“Thank you, granddad,” he said as he leaned and kissed him. He was surprised how cold his body was already.

“Come on now,” Chris said to him. “You can stay the night with us.” Again they flanked him as they walked down the stairs. The sounds of grief filled the house as all of The Doctor’s extended family who were gathered came to terms with the news in their own way.

“Not just them,” Chris said as they walked to the back entrance to the Sanctuary by the river and slipped quietly in. “Can’t you feel it? The news is going around telepathically. They ALL know.”

Yes, Davie thought. He could feel it. A shared grief was spreading from the house to the Sanctuary where The Doctor’s reputation was legendary among the students and out across the country, around the world.

It felt as if the world was grinding to a stop as everyone who had even the smallest connection to The Doctor paused in what they were doing. A collective pause in honour of the life that had just ended.

They paused, too. They looked up at the starlit sky.

“He must have visited all of those stars in his lifetime.” Chris said. Then they walked on in to the Sanctuary. It was always a quiet place, but tonight the quiet was a different sort of quiet. A sad quiet.

Davie stayed until the funeral. He felt he should. He remembered he had promised his mother he would be back by teatime, but after all, he had a time machine. That wasn’t a problem. His older self looked a little worried when he said that, but he wouldn’t explain the reason for it. And there was no clue as he searched The Doctor’s fading memories that lodged in his mind still.

The days up until the funeral were busy ones. Many of those people who had paused in reflection made their way to Mount Lœng House to pay their respects. It was almost a ‘lying in state’ as they came to view The Doctor’s body in his coffin, dressed in the full regalia of his Time Lord status.

It shook Davie to realise that the coffin had been constructed several weeks ago. He HAD known he was ready to die. He had made his plans. He had included Davie, the time traveller who by all rights shouldn’t have been there, in those plans.

The funeral was attended only by family members. But even that was a large crowd gathered in the big field by the river. The last Time Lord had founded a dynasty in his lifetime.

It was a strange funeral by Earth standards. There were no prayers, no hymns. These were people who didn’t have gods to pray to. They shared their memories of the man they all loved. His closest family stood and spoke of their love for him, of the great things they knew he had achieved.

The coffin glinted in the sunshine. It was made of black lacquered wood and silver trim and was more like a sarcophagus than a coffin. The Seal of Rassilon was inlaid on the lid and around the base, in High and Low Gallifreyan, was an inscription.

“Rassilon’s blessing on this, the last resting place of the great Time Lord, Chrístõdavõreendiamandhaertmallõupdracœfiredelunmiancuimhne de Lœngbærrow - I dreamt the impossible dream… I fought the unbeatable foe.”

The lyric of a 20th century Earth song, written in Gallifreyan, on the coffin of a man who died in the 33rd century. There was a joke being played on posterity there. Though Davie wondered who in posterity was ever going to see the inscription. He watched as they put the coffin into the TARDIS.

It was the same TARDIS The Doctor had used all his life. But it no longer looked like a police telephone box from 1950s Earth. Davie had removed the chameleon circuit and it reverted to the default shape of a rectangular box, metallic grey with the Seal of Rassilon embossed on all four sides. He and Chris stepped out of the TARDIS and closed the door. They walked back to where the younger Davie was standing and stood with him as the TARDIS began to dematerialise.

“He wrote the programme years ago,” the older Davie said. “All I had to do was initialise it. The TARDIS is going to a co-ordinate on the edge of the known universe and very nearly the end of time. When it gets there and locks into orbit, the Eye of Harmony will jettison and it will be dead, useless to any enemy who tried to use it. Nobody but another Time Lord could open it. And if they did, they would find the coffin of a great Time Lord.”

“He’s out there still,” Chris said. “Still ready for one last adventure even in death.”

“He’s not really dead, as long as his soul is with me,” his brother said looking at the younger version of himself. “Do you remember when I was a dumb teenager and I actually fought with him because I thought he loved me less. How wrong I was. He loved us all equally. But he knew I was the one. The…”

“The chip off the old block,” the younger Davie laughed. “Yes. Yes, he knew. I think he must have known for a long time.”

“Yeah.” The older one looked at him solemnly. “It’s time you were on your way,” he said. “I wish… Davie, I can’t say too much right now. It would be a serious paradox. Just… when the moment comes, when you have to do something so terrible you cannot believe it’s even happening, don’t hesitate. What you know you have to do IS the right thing.”

Both of the brothers walked with him to where he had left his Prototype. He hugged them both before he sat in the seat. The older Davie reached and slipped a different music chip into the player. They all felt a little choked as they heard the song that played this time.

“To dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe…”

“You’re The Doctor now, Davie. It’s your dream.”

He closed the wing door and looked one more time at the two brothers, then he initialised the drive. The garden of Mount Lœng House in 3343 vanished and he was in the vortex again.

But something was wrong. His instrument panel was giving out insane readings, and the vortex was not the cool blue it should have been. It seemed to be every colour at once. He felt as if the Prototype was being dragged sideways as well as backwards in time.

Then it stopped. He looked around. It was the same garden of Mount Lœng House. But it was different enough for him to realise this wasn’t HIS Mount Lœng House. This wasn’t HIS universe.