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

It only took two hours to reach Tibora. It felt like longer to The Doctor. He was restless and fretful and there was nothing either Ten or Christopher could do to make him feel any better.

He was desperately worried about Rose. He wasn’t the only one. Ten watched his alternative self pacing around the console room and wished he would realise he wasn’t the only one who loved her. He wouldn’t say it to anyone. But he did still love her. Just as he still loved Dominique and Julia, his first wife, all those centuries ago. He never fell out of love. That was his problem. Rose still mattered to him and he was desperately worried, too.

The co-ordinate Susan had sent brought them directly to the hospital, at least. The appearance of the TARDIS in the corridor of the maternity department caused a stir, but not as much as The Doctor caused when he ran out of the door, cannoning into a trolley piled with empty metal trays. He picked himself up from the debris as Susan and Jackie came out of the waiting room to see what the noise was all about.

“Grandfather!” Susan admonished him. “This is a hospital.” Then she wrapped her arms around him. “Thank goodness you’re here. I didn’t know if my message would reach you.”

He heard Jackie give a happy squeal and saw her wrap her arms around Christopher. He had almost forgotten how long it was since they had all been parted from each other. But his world right now contained only himself and Susan and the next immediate seconds.

“How is she?” he asked. “What happened?”

“She started having bad pains. Really bad. I didn’t know what to do. But Tiboran hospitals are better than Earth ones. I thought she’d be better off here. She’s asleep now. But if you make a bit less noise, you can go in. It’s room three, over there.”

“She’s all right? What about…”

“Go in and see her,” Susan told him. “We’ll be waiting.” She looked at Christopher and Jackie. Then her eyes fell on Ten. “Who is…” He was watching her, his eyes fixed on her, his lips moving soundlessly. “Oh! Grandfather. Is he…”

“It’s time you two met,” The Doctor said. “I always hoped you would. Talk to him. While I…”

He turned and went to room three. His hand stopped on the handle. He was afraid to push that door open, afraid of what he would find inside. Nothing that Susan had told him had really prepared him to expect anything except the very worst.

He stepped inside. He saw Rose, lying in the bed, asleep. She looked pale and drained. There was a drip attached to her arm. He looked at it and was relieved to see that it was just saline solution. Replacing fluids. That meant there couldn’t be too much wrong with her. But he could see that she was no longer pregnant. She had obviously been through the very worst trauma, among strangers, on a strange planet. And without him.

“I'm sorry,” he whispered. “Oh, Rose, I’m so sorry.”

She stirred as he reached out to touch her. She looked up at him and gave a soft cry of relief.

“You’re here,” she said. “Oh, Doctor. Nobody even knew if you were alive or dead.”

“I’m alive,” he assured her. “I’m alive. And so are you. So… so… it’s not so bad. We can… We can… I…”

He choked on his words. He hugged her and tried to hold back his tears for her sake.

“Doctor,” she whispered. “It’s ok. Didn’t anyone tell you?”

“Tell me what?” he asked. “Rose…”

The door opened. At first he didn’t pay any attention. Rose did. She pulled herself upright in the bed and smiled. The Doctor turned and gave a cry of astonishment as he saw the nurse pushing a trolley supporting a large portable incubator crib. He breathed in deeply as he watched the nurse put it into position next to the bed and apply the trolley brake.

“Here you are, dear,” the nurse said. “Now that you’ve got a good bit of sleep the doctor says its all right for you to have them with you. But remember to get plenty of rest inbetween feeds and don’t be keeping yourself awake fretting.” She turned and looked at The Doctor. “You’re her husband?” He couldn’t manage more than a nod. “You’ll want to stay while she feeds them, of course?”

“Yes,” he managed. “But…”

The nurse departed. Rose reached into the crib and picked up one of the babies. The Doctor could still do nothing but stare.

“I thought they were dead,” he murmured. “I thought… but how… it’s only been eight months. You’re not even halfway… How…” He looked into the crib at the second of the twins. It was wrapped in soft wool, a little cap on its head to keep it warm. A tiny little face, eyes screwed up, a tiny mouth, hands smaller than the nail on his smallest finger.

“How CAN they live? So small…”

Rose looked at him and wondered at his inability to grasp that their babies were alive. He had more medical knowledge than every doctor in this hospital put together, but faced with his own children he seemed to have forgotten everything.

“They’re four pounds each,” she told him. “That’s not bad for Human twins.”

“But they’re not Human. They’re MY babies.” He put his hand next to the baby in the crib. His hand was bigger. He looked at the child in Rose’s arms as she fed it from her breast. It looked like a rag doll, a toy. Even her small hands looked so big. He felt like a clumsy giant.

“They are? Aren’t they?” He looked at her. He didn’t question that he was the father, of course. The question he was asking was whether they WERE Gallifreyan. Did they have two functioning hearts? Was their blood the same as his? Or were they hybrids with Human biology?

“They’re your children,” she assured him. “Doctor, don’t…. please don’t reject them because they’re not as perfect as Vicki and Peter…”

“Reject… Oh Rose, you misunderstand me totally. I wouldn’t reject…. They are beautiful. But… I’m afraid for them.”

“They’ll be all right when they’ve grown a bit,” she assured him.

He sat on the edge of the bed next to her and watched her face as she herself looked down at the baby suckling from her. “Oh, my Rose… what you’ve been through… And I wasn’t there. AGAIN. I almost missed Peter’s birth. And now…”

“The birth wasn’t so bad… because they’re so small, and it was very quick. But it was scary. I thought… I was sure they’d be dead. And all I could think of was how I was going to tell you… how you were ever going to forgive me. But Doctor…. Our babies are alive. And you’re here now. So everything is all right.”

“Yes, it is. Which is which?”

“That’s our little boy, in the crib,” she told him. “And this is our little girl. She was born first. I held her in my arms while her brother was being born. Here… hold her while I feed him. They both need to be fed every few hours for the next few days. It’s going to be hard work.”

The Doctor took the tiny child in his hands. He felt afraid of dropping her. She was no weight at all, and so little he could cradle her in his two palms if he was reckless enough. Instead he pressed her close to his chest as he watched Rose pick up the little boy and feed him. They both looked like dolls, still. But he could feel his little daughter’s warm flesh beneath his fingers. She was real, she was alive. He was holding her.

“Have you named them yet?”

“We’re not going with Boris and Titania, then?” Rose laughed and The Doctor’s hearts leapt to hear her do so. He held his daughter and reached out to touch his son as he was feeding. He caught a glimpse of dark eyes, open now and gazing at his mother.

“Jack,” he said without hesitation. “He’s called Jack. After… without him I wouldn’t be here. Neither would so many people. Jack de Lœngbærrow.”

Rose smiled her approval of that idea.

“What about our little girl?”

“Two names for her,” he answered. “Julia Hellina… after the two bravest women I know other than you.”

“Yes,” Rose agreed. “Good names.” Jack had finished feeding. She gently held him in her arms. The Doctor gave her the baby girl to hold, too, and watched her with them. Tears of joy pricked his eyes. His hearts pounded with happiness as he looked at his wife and babies and loved them all so very deeply.

“I’m glad you do,” she told him. “I was worried that you wouldn’t. I know they don’t look as perfect as Vicki and Peter did…”

“Of course I love them,” he assured her. “Let me hold them again. One at a time…” He reached out his hands, again astonished at how big they were compared to the child he took hold of. He hugged Julia Hellina close and then gently and carefully examined her, his finger softly touching her tiny body as he checked her barely formed organs.

“She IS perfect,” he announced. “Tiny, oh so very tiny, but perfectly formed. And she IS Gallifreyan. Two strong hearts in her chest. She’s wonderful.” He was clearly relieved. He had been ready to accept that she was a hybrid, or had some defect from being born too soon. And he would have loved her just the same. But she wasn’t. She was a perfectly formed baby, and he counted himself lucky.

“Let me see our little boy,” he said as he laid his baby daughter in the crib. He took baby Jack and hugged him and then examined him carefully. The baby was wide awake and looked up at him. At least he seemed to be. Of course, he had no real focus yet. But The Doctor felt as if he was making eye contact, as if he knew he was his father, and not just a terrifying giant shape looming over him.

“Oh!” he exclaimed. “My Jack. Your namesake will be thrilled. He’ll love you as much as I do.” Then his smile faded as he felt the tiny body carefully. “Rose… Jack only has one heart.”

“Oh,” she said. It clearly didn’t worry her as much as it did him.

“He’s not Human, either.” He examined the child carefully, not as a father, but as a doctor who knew about the particular physiology of his species. “Oh my!”


“He IS Gallifreyan in his physiology. He has my blood, the brain patterns of one who will be a telepath when he is older. He has the gap in his chest where the second heart should be, but he only has one.”

“But that’s ok?” Rose asked. “People… most everyone else in the universe…. have only one heart.”

“Yes, it's ok,” The Doctor said. “I had an uncle who was born that way. It happens sometimes. Just a fluke of nature. When he regenerates, he may well get the second heart anyway.”

“When he regenerates… THAT won’t happen for at least 500 years,” Rose said. “The fact is, right now he is alive, he is fine. And he’s our baby.”

“Yes.” The Doctor smiled as he hugged his son close. “Five children.” He laughed gently. “And a few years ago I didn’t even know where my first son was. I am… I am a very lucky man. And I owe it to you, Rose.”

“You’re a soppy article. If you’re going to get all emotional and daft, put Jack back in his cot with his sister and come and give me a cuddle.”

He did as she said. He gently laid both babies down and caressed their cheeks with one finger as they fell into a gentle sleep full of warm, baby dreams. Then he turned to his wife. She still looked tired but so very beautiful. He reached out to hold her. He had hardly dared to think of her in the long, terrible weeks of the war. He had kept going because of her. She was his reason for living. But he had hardly dared hope to see her again. Now she was in his arms and his babies slept by her side.

The door opened as they held each other. Susan came in, followed by Ten. Both of them were smiling, though they had wet eyes and obviously some tears had been shed. Rose looked at them both and smiled.

“I’m so glad you came,” she said to Ten. “Come here… you deserve a hug, too.”

“Not as much as you do,” he told her as he enfolded her in his arms and kissed her cheek. “Well done, sweetheart. You’re wonderful.” He looked at the crib. “May I...”

“Of course you can,” she told him. “You’re sort of their uncle, really, aren’t you…”

That was a tough one, actually. If anyone conducted a paternity test, she supposed that he would prove to be their father, biologically. He and her Doctor were the same person in two different aspects. But he had a different life. He had been a parent himself, although she had never had the opportunity to meet his family. Uncle was a good word. She wondered if he would be that to her twins. Would he visit and see them? She thought she would like him to. And by the expression on Susan’s face, she would definitely like that to happen.

“On Gallifrey,” The Doctor said quietly. “We didn’t do Godparents. We didn’t have any gods. Our equivalent was ‘guardians’. Would you…”

Susan’s face lit with joy at the idea. Ten’s would have split open if his grin got any wider.

“I would be honoured. When they’re able… their namesakes should also…”

“Quite right,” The Doctor agreed. He watched as Ten gently stroked the babies with his own slender hands that didn’t seem quite as huge as his own next to them. Different hands, the same DNA. An incredible twist of fate that brought him there.

“Susan wants to get all soppy about the babies,” The Doctor said. “And I KNOW Jackie is just outside the door hopping up and down on one leg in excitement. I think we men should get out of here for a bit.”

“Come back later,” Rose said. “Both of you.”

They promised. The Doctor was right about Jackie. She slipped inside as they went out of the room. Christopher was waiting, so was David, equally anxious to know everything.

“You have the most adorable new brother and sister,” The Doctor said, hugging his son. “But you can wait to see them. Come on, I need some fresh air. I think we all do.”

He hadn’t even looked what time it was when they arrived. He was surprised to find as he stepped out of the hospital that it was nearly dawn. The four men found a small ornamental garden outside and sat there in the cool morning air. They looked up at the gradually lightening sky.

“The children are all right?” The Doctor asked, and felt a bit selfish for not having asked before.

“They’re with Brenda, at her parent’s home,” David told him. “We’re all staying there at the moment. It’s a bit of a madhouse, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. They’re proud to accommodate us all. Brenda has been a bit fretful about Davie, but he called her on the videophone last night. He said he’d come and join her today. He wanted to see his brother first. But he did tell us that the war is over.”

“That it is,” The Doctor said. “Though there’s a huge job to be done, rebuilding. Rebuilding lives, rebuilding homes and hospitals, schools, destroyed by the Dominators and their cyborgs. There are a lot of dead to be mourned. We’re probably one of the few families to come out of this unscathed. We were forewarned… we were able to get our loved ones away. Others haven’t be so lucky.”

He recounted the horrors of the seven week Dominator invasion. Ten added some statistics his TARDIS had intercepted - nearly half a million civilian deaths worldwide.

“It doesn’t sound so bad as a number,” David said. “When you think about the total population of the world, it could have been higher. But it’s the personal cost,to everyone who had a loved one brutally murdered…” He sighed. The Doctor – both of them – knew why. He had been through this once already. The aftermath of war. He had helped pick up the pieces of Human civilisation after the Dalek invasion.

“I feel as if I’m too old to start all over again,” he said. “Not again…”

“But you will, David,” The Doctor told him. “That’s what humans do best. You’ll start over, rebuild.”

“Not alone this time,” Ten promised him. “The others who came to Earth’s aid… they’re ready to offer assistance in the aftermath of the battle, too. Adano-Ambrado is promising building materials and labour to repair the damage to the infrastructure, rebuild homes. The Hospital Ship Marie Curie is in orbit now to give medical assistance. The Matrix of Ay'Ydiwo has offered help in restoring the automated defences – in fact they’re suggesting to the Earth governments a better defence system so they’re not caught on the hop next time.”

“I don’t even know where those planets are,” David said.

“I do,” The Doctor answered him. Adano-Ambrado is a fine place. I was nearly their king once.”

David smiled. He wasn’t sure what to make of that remark, but it was the first thing he’d had to smile about for a long time and it felt good to do so.

“So they’re really doing it for you, not for Earth?” he asked. “They’re all… all the ships that came to Earth’s aid… came because of you, Doctor?”

“It seems I have some powerful friends. So does Earth.”

“Only because you live there.”

Well, that’s as good a reason as any.”

“It IS going to take a long time,” Christopher pointed out. “There will be a lot of work for everyone. The Cabinet will have to do as much as anyone else. We’ve got to show that Britain still has a government. We have to co-ordinate the military, get a police force back in working order and prevent civil unrest, looting…”

“Is that your way of saying you’ve got to go?” The Doctor asked him. “I’ve just got you back and you want to leave.”

“Later today, I must. Father, your responsibility is to your family, to Rose and the babies. Mine - as a Minister in the British parliament, as Chancellor of the Government of Gallifrey – is to the people. I’ll do my duty, father.”

“I’ll get you back to Earth,” Ten offered. “Your dad needs to stay here.”

“I hardly even know you,” Christopher said, looking at Ten. “We all owe you a great deal, too… And I… I don’t even know WHAT to call you.”

“I’m…” Ten put his hand out to him. He was glad when Christopher grasped it. “You look older than me. That’s one of the peculiarities of our race. But you’re my son, Christopher. I remember your birth. I was the first to hold you when you were seconds old, before your mother even set eyes on you properly. I loved you. I dried your tears… I watched you grow. I saw you go to school and fight your way through the same prejudices I fought. I saw you become a Time Lord.... a credit to our family. I saw you marry a good woman and make me a grandfather. I mourned your loss… and now…” He choked back a sob. “I’m sorry I didn’t see you before now. I knew about you. He told me… and I ached to see you again. But something held me back until now… Something stopped me from reaching out to you… and I only found it in me to come when you and your world were threatened… But Christopher… I do wish you could call me…”

“Father…” Christopher said in a choked voice.

“I don’t deserve it, but I wish you would. I want to hear you say it.”

“Father…” Christopher repeated and reached to hug him. The Doctor watched them and nodded, satisfied. It was appropriate. It was as it should be. He had no reason to be jealous. Christopher was still his son. Susan was his granddaughter. Nobody wanted to take either away from him. But it was time Ten shared those bonds of family with him. That it took a devastating war to bring them all together was one of the cruellest twists that fate had.

“There’s so much I’d like to talk to you about,” Ten said. “And Susan, too. I need to find time to talk to you both. And the boys. Davie… he’s incredible. He’s the one who actually rallied the forces, you know. It was his idea to use the vortex to get everyone there in time. He lived up to his ancestors – both sides. He did the likes of Dracœ Fire and Diam?nd H?rt proud. And the fighting Campbells, too.”

“He’s my son,” David said proudly. “And Chris… with his way of peace that he might get a chance to follow now.”

“I want to know them both,” Ten said.

“There’s plenty of time for you to do that,” The Doctor promised him. “You don’t need to be a stranger to any of us. You know that.”

“I do now.” Ten smiled as he looked at the rapidly lightening sky. Dawn on a new day on Tibora.

“Rose is going to have to stay here for a while,” he said. “The babies can’t go travelling by TARDIS yet. You’ll have to stay with her, of course.”

“Yes… I suppose I will.”

“How about I see everyone else safely home, and get things organised there? I’ll make sure some of that Adano-Ambradon labour goes into rebuilding your house. Rose and the little ones need a home to come back to.”

He expected The Doctor to refuse his offer. Ten knew how proud and stubborn he was. He had the same pride and stubbornness. They were two of a kind, after all. To his surprise, he agreed.

“Chris’s lot practically built the Sanctuary brick by brick. They can help,” The Doctor said. “See if you can get Jack in on it, too. I know he wants to be with Hellina, but mostly its just a waiting game now. It would be better if he had something else to think about.”

“Everyone will help each other,” David assured The Doctor. “Just like we did last time. Yes, I know I was a bit downhearted before. But then the sun came up… It was like… do you remember, Doctor… when Big Ben sounded for the first time after the Daleks had been destroyed….” Both Doctors nodded. They remembered well enough. “It gave me the heart I think I lost for a while. Yes, I think we can make a beginning, a new beginning, once again.”

A new beginning! The Doctor thought about his babies. They were being born at nearly the same time that the Dominators were surrendering. They were part of that new beginning, the most important part, perhaps.

It was a month before baby Jack and Julia were strong enough to travel home to Earth. For The Doctor, a joyful month. When he wasn’t with his wife and newborn children, he was with Vicki and Peter. He had missed them all in the weeks he had been fighting the Dominators. He was ready to make up for it now. Sukie was there, too. So was Jackie with Garrick. Susan and David went to Earth to help in the long work to restore homes, counsel the bereaved, restore their world to what it was before the Dominstors tried to destroy it.

At last, they all went home. The TARDIS landed in the meadow again, between the formal garden and the Sanctuary. Vicki and Sukie, with their pet bears on their shoulders and Peter toddling between them, held tight in their hands, came out first and Susan and David hugged them all. Then Jackie, with Garrick, to be embraced by Christopher. Then The Doctor stepped out carrying a wicker basket where his babies were sleeping, not even realising that a different sun shone from a different sky onto their baby faces. Rose was beside him. They looked around at the home they hardly dared hope to see again. The smell of roses and new mown grass was in the air. They turned and saw Chris and his acolytes by the Sanctuary. They waved fondly. Davie, with Brenda and Spenser, were there. He saw Ten by Susan’s side, looking proud of himself, as he should. Later they would have a long chat, he thought. Before Ten went on his way again, he wanted to make sure he DID keep his promise not to be a stranger to them.

The Doctor looked up and saw the repaired roof and wall. He could see the unweathered tiles and the new brickwork. So much damage, but mended now.

“Let’s put the babies to bed in the nursery,” he said. “Then we’ll really feel we’re home.” They stepped into the house and went upstairs. Vicki and Sukie were delighted with their restored bedroom and the new toys that filled it. Rose and Jackie blinked back tears as they stepped into the restored nursery with four cots in it now. A big, strong wooden one for Peter, a smaller one for Garrick, and two newborn cribs covered in white satin and lace for the new babies.

“They’ve never been apart,” Rose said as she laid them together in one crib for now. The Doctor kissed them both and then stepped quietly out of the room as Brenda and Susan found they couldn’t contain themselves any longer. He walked along the landing to another room that had been remodelled in the past weeks. He entered quietly and watched from the door for a few minutes.

Hellina was still in need of intensive care. Her bed was under a special all encompassing hood with sterilised air inside. There was a life support monitor and respirator in case she needed it, and a cabinet full of necessary drugs. But she was on the way to recovery. It was a long journey, and it would be a difficult one, but she was going to get there in the end.

Jack stood up from the armchair by the side of the bed. The Doctor stepped closer and they embraced.

“Thank you,” he whispered and The Doctor felt his kiss on his cheek.

“I wanted all my family together,” he answered. “That includes the two of you. Did Ten tell you? The babies…”

“The little girl – Julia Hellina. And you named the boy after me?” Jack smiled. “You’re sure the kid deserves that?”

“He couldn’t have a better role model,” The Doctor told him. He closed his eyes and sighed softly as he held Jack tightly. He had meant what he said about family. Jack and Hellina were as much a part of that family as those tied to him by blood. Again it was a cruel fate that brought Jack to take a leave of absence from that military life that he loved. But the blessing was that he was here, now, facing that new beginning with them all.