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Back in Time for Tea

Chapter Text

1

 

There’s a small tea shop on the sandwiched between a boutique and a grocery store. It’s brick red with a bluebird roosting in the first ‘A’ of their sign which read ‘ Per Aspera Ad Astra’, The inside is painted a soft, warm red and is decorating toe to tip with fairy lights that twinkle like the stars.

“Oh, this’ll do fantastic! ” she announced, stumbling over herself slightly, “Early days…” she mumbled.

“Ma’am?” said a barista holding a box of lavender, regarding her with a friendly eye, “What can I get you?”

“Ooo!” she scanned the menu, completely forgetting her reason for being there, “Could I get a…they put that into tea? Ain’t that weird, aye?”

The barista laughed awkwardly, antsy to return to what she had been doing. The blonde stared at the menu for another minute before her mind reminded her what her purpose for being in the shop was, she gasped sharply, startling the barista who spilled a bit of the lavender.

 “Booking!” she remembered, she composed herself, “Do you offer booking for a party? Well not really a party, really it could be called an intervention. With party hats. No, no, no party hats that’s silly…he would enjoy it, though. Okay, we’ll put a pin in the party hats.”

The barista looked at her with a face that was half-exasperated, half-intrigued―a face the blonde was awfully used to. “Uh,” the barista began, “yes we do…how many?”

“Well,” the blonde laughed, “there’s an awful lot of things I still have to get in order. I have to pop a bubble universe, mess with four time machines, talk to a fish about a paradox, topple ten…wait, no…fifty governments, and send my wife a lovely reality pistol that technically could get me in trouble with the Shadow Proclamation. Fatal trouble. To be completely honest.” the blonde ran a hand through her dyed locks as she quickly listed her chores to the increasingly confused barista, “But, if everything goes to plan, about fifteen people.”

“...Okay. When?”

“One week.”

The barista’s eyes widened, “You’re gonna get all that done in one week?”  

“You’re right, losing my edge in my old age.”

The barista rolled her eyes subtly but she continued to schedule the party. “Is that all, ma’am?”

“One last thing.” she drummed her fingers on the table, “You and your barista friends need to be far, far away from here on that day. Paradox, not pretty when they go wrong. Not saying it will but rather safe than dead.”

The barista, whose expression had been one of interest turned to concern, “Well, I-I’m sorry, ma’am but the staff…needs to be here.”

The blonde smirked, “Let’s make a deal.”

20,000 euros and three secrets of the universe later, she had gotten the entire staff to agree to not show up a week from now. The blonde happily headed towards the door waving goodbye to the group of people before the same barista, who was now wearing a necklace from a galaxy made completely from diamonds, stopped her,

“Wait, ma’am, we need a name for the party.”

The blonde smiled, “Put down: The Doctor, thirteenth.”

“The Doctor?”

“Yup!” she set one foot out the door, “One week!”

The blonde disappeared and the tea shop tried to return to usual business only for the blonde, the Doctor, to reappear in the shop behind them seemingly coming from the kitchen accompanied by an odd grating sound. The group jumped as she suddenly spoke,

“Nope, nope, changed my mind; a definite yes on the party hats.”

 

Chapter Text

2

 

“Doctor, there’s nobody here.” Rose said finally from her seat after a few minutes of watching her friend, the Doctor, search the small tea shop. She glanced over to the Doctor who was standing on the other side of the shop and hadn’t seemed to hear her, the nineteen year old’s expression turned concerned at his obliviousness. Although, she had gotten kind of used to the Doctor rambling on or going completely silent for seemingly no reason, this was different. Ever since that Dalek fiasco in Utah, he had seemed either on edge to a point where Rose dropping a pen made him jump or so lost in thought that Rose could’ve sworn he had leaned against the TARDIS console for days without a second glance at her. “Doctor,” she said again, he finally looked at her, “there’s…there’s nobody here.”

“Right, right.” the Doctor replied, “That’s odd, innit?”

“This is probably the least odd thing I’ve seen this week.” Rose admitted, the Doctor chuckled.

“Fair point.” He slipped his sonic screwdriver out from his coat and began sonicking the entire shop top to bottom, “There’s no teleportation energy residue, nothing alien. Just…nothing.” He returned the sonic to his coat and joined Rose at the table. “But the message―” he reopened the message he had gotten on his psychic paper,  “―told us to go here. Monday, in June, in 2008.”

Rose raised an eyebrow, “Right day?”

“Yes”

“Right month?”

“Mmm…yes.”

“...Right century?”

“Rose.” he scoffed, a smile growing on his face.

She smiled as well, “What?”  

“I’ve been travelling since your ancestors were in diapers.”

“Alright…” she faked coughed, “Cardiff, 1869.”

He laughed, “Aw, shut it.”

Rose flashed her smile, a bit of tension lessening from seeing him laugh, “So, what’s the plan?”

He leaned back, “Wait until whoever sent this message gets here.”

“Do ya know who sent it?”

“Not a clue, it’s a friend though.”

“How do you know?”

He presented the message to Rose again, it read:

Hullo Doctor, Please meet here on Monday, June 9 th ,  2008.

x

He drew her attention to the ‘x’ signing off the letter, “Only friends end messages to me like that.”

“With a kiss?”

“Or a hug,” he took the message back, “depends on who.”

“Wonder why they sent us to this tea shop.” Rose pondered, she looked around, “It is rather pretty, very kitch.”

“Yeah.” the Doctor agreed, “It is. Wonder who wants us here.”

“I’ve been to this place before!” Bill noted as she approached the shop, “I used to go here on break.” she walked backwards to face her tutor-slash-friend-slash-space dad-slash-time and space guide who had brought both herself and Nardole to some random tea shop in 2008.

“Me too, only once though,” Nardole said, “the stuff they put in teas, I tell ya.”

“I think they’re rather good. Also, there’s this lady who works there called Laura; she’s got a nose ring and freckles. She gives me extra foam.”

“Awesome.” the Doctor replied.

“That wasn’t an innuendo.”

He raised his brows that peeked over his sunglasses, “Oh, good, I didn’t get it.”

The trio reached the doors and Bill noticed the duo who sat at one of the tables in the seemingly empty shop. One was a blonde woman with big brown eyes in an outfit that obviously wasn’t recent, old things were in fashion, she supposed. The other was a man with close cropped hair wearing a leather jacket who was facing away from Bill. They didn’t seem to be dating but merely waiting. All together―not threatening in the slightest, but why did Nardole stiffen at the sight of them.

“Oh, Doctor, Bill!” he announced loudly, he grabbed the Doctor’s arm, “How bouts we go to a Starbucks? They’re just about everywhere this year, right? Right.”

The Doctor slipped his arm out of Nardole’s weak grip and pushed into the tea shop followed by Bill; Nardole frowned and crossed his arms but walked into it too.

“Oi, you lot.” called the woman at the other table, “Nobody’s in, we’re just waiting for a friend.” she had a South London accent,

“So are we!” Bill said, looking to the Doctor. Her smile fell when she noticed the stoic, tense face he was pulling. He kept the face as he went to a chair, he adjusted his glasses before sitting without saying a word. The duo exchanged confused looks had what looked to be a quick, silent conversation before the man in the leather jacket turned to face them with a seemingly friendly look on his face,

“You three sure you’ve got the right place?”

“Not anymore.” the Doctor replied with a confused edge to his voice, something Bill rarely heard. Nardole pulled a not-so-subtle anxious face while he joined the Doctor at his table. Bill felt a bit weird still standing in the middle of the shop with the eyes of both groups on her,

Say anything! she thought, Anything!

“Bill!” she announced then immediately regretted, she could basically feel the Doctor scoff at her weak attempt to break the awkwardness, “I’m…my name’s Bill.”

The blonde girl laughed, “Rose.”  

I’m so gay , Bill thought for the tenth time that day. She sat next to the Doctor with a blush on her cheeks. She was so caught up in her own feelings that she failed to notice the Doctor and Nardole whispering furiously above her head.

“Am I at the other table?” the Doctor asked with both eyebrows at full attack mode. “And Rose Tyler?”

Nardole nodded, “Yes.” He looked to the other table where the past Doctor and Rose Tyler had carried on with their own conversation.

“How is this possible?”

“This has happened before, yes? Meeting yourself?”

The Doctor sighed, “Yes, it has, but these timelines don’t make sense. Nothing in any timeline has me meeting him.”

“None?”

“None.”

“Well,” Nardole shrugged, “I suppose we go now.”

He stood only to be immediately brought back down by the Doctor which garnered a strange look from Bill.

I feel like this is important., ” the Doctor spoke in a language only he; Nardole;  his wife, River; and seven colonists knew.

He was using his ‘Serious Time Lord’ voice, Nardole noted as he sat with his arms crossed. Bill looked between the both of them,

“Anything I should know?”

“No.” both the Doctor and Nardole said.

The Time Lord adjusted his blackout sunglasses as he looked at his past self and his past companion, the computer within his glasses confirmed what he couldn’t, it was definitely his ninth regeneration and Rose Marion Tyler. A slight nostalgic smile graced his face at the sound of Rose excitedly talking about outer space; she was always so bright.

“Whatcha lookin’ at?” Bill asked quietly.

“Nothing.”

“You’re being weird.”

“I’m always weird.”

She laughed, “Yeah, but weirder than usual.” she looked over to the couple, “Is it them?”

“What?”

“You heard me.”

“Oh! Them?” Bill nodded, the Doctor continued, “It’s nothing. The man looks like a U-Boat captain, that’s all.”

“So everything’s normal?”

“Everything’s normal.”

Bill believed him for just a moment, it’s not always hostile aliens or killer robots or really pretty water girls, sometimes it’s just something weird, nothing special, just weird. But then, in truly not-normal ( totally the Doctor) fashion, Bill was suddenly blinded by a bright light that exploded in the center of the shop. Next thing she knew everybody was yelling, the Doctor was standing, and Bill was surrounded with some of the prettiest girls she’s ever seen.

“Where are we!?” asked a redhead, her Scottish vibrato ringing. “Where’s the Doctor?”

“Right here.” said both the Doctor and the man the Doctor had described as a ‘U-boat captain’. They both looked at each other, the Doctor shrugging and the other man sighing,

“No.”

“Yeah.” the Doctor returned. “Long time, no see.” he smiled, “Rose Tyler! How are you?”

The blonde girl with the big eyes replied, “I’m…fine…” she raised an eyebrow, “Why did both of you say you’re the Doctor?”

“They aren’t the Doctor!” retorted an older redhead, “The Doctor’s this daft pipe-cleaner with ey―wait, did you say ‘Rose Tyler’?” she and a black woman in a uniform whipped their head around to face Rose, “Are you Rose Tyler?!”

“Yeah…” Rose’s face was red from the sudden attention of the room, “why?”

The two women who had questioned her exclaimed, “He’s been looking for you, the Doctor!”

Rose’s brow furrowed, she looked to the man besides her who was still staring down the Doctor, “But he’s right―”

“I thought you were dead!” exclaimed the woman in uniform.

The redhead interjected, “He’s always talking about you!”

“He said he lost you!”

“Oh, this is brilliant!”

“STOP!” Rose shouted, “ Why is the Doctor looking for me, what happened to me?!”

“Rose.” the Doctor said, the room’s attention turned to him, all confused on what exactly was happening. “Martha, Donna.”

“Why do you know our names?” the three women asked.

“I’m the Doctor.”

“No, you aren’t! ” the Scottish redhead said, she grabbed the hand of the gangly man besides her, “We travel with the Doctor, so if you two” she glared at both the Doctor and the U-Boat captain. Bill noticed a sly smile on the woman with hair larger than the sun behind her, “are tryin’ to pull somethin’, it won’t work. I know what the Doctor looked like.”

“But this is the Doctor!” Bill assured. “Doctor, what’s going on?”

“Yeah!” came a voice in the kitchen, a man emerged, wearing a dark purple overcoat and a dark purple bowtie, “I would much like to know myself.”

“Doctor!” exclaimed the redhead and the man.

“Amelia!? Rory!?” the man dressed in purple returned, his eyes wide, pushing through the crowd to embrace the two. They pulled apart, “How are you back!?”

“There was this teleport thing!” the man, Rory, explained, “We were home and we thought it was you but it just brought us here and―”

“Got you out of the ‘30s!”

Both Amelia’s and Rory’s expression turned into confusion rather than happiness, “No? 2012. Why would we be in the ‘30s?”

“The Angels in Manhattan, and the zappy, and Rory was…you don’t know what I’m talking about, do you?”

The duo shook their heads, the man coughed, wiping his eyes. “Don’t worry about it, I’m happy to see you two.”

“We’re happy to see you too, Doctor…” Amelia trailed off. She turned, her hostile expression returning, “These guys were pretending to be you, they teleported us here.”

“No, we didn’t.” the U-Boat captain said.

“You!” Bowtie exclaimed, his emotions changing in a split second, “Thought I’d never see you again and Rose Tyler! How are you!”

“Confused.”

“Same here.” said Amelia

“Me too.” added the older redhead.

“Yeah.” Bill confirmed.

“Oh, it’s like a birthday party, y’know if I ever remember when my birthday is I’d want it to be exactly like this well with the exception of you, sorry Leather but timelines and all that.” Bowtie rambled, throwing his hands around like a kid, “Oh, it’s like ‘This Is Your Life’. What are you lot doing here?”

“Who are you!?” snapped the woman in the uniform.

“The Doctor.” Bowtie replied. Most in the room groaned, including ‘Leather’ as the supposed Doctor put it. “Second in the room, I suppose.”

“Third.” Bill’s Doctor corrected, watching the room with the same amusement as the yet-to-be-introduced woman with the curls.

“Oh, hell. Are you next?” Bowtie asked, the Doctor nodded. “I didn’t want to be old!”

“Tough.”

“Sunglasses inside what are yo―Wait, no. How are you even here?”

“Spacey-wacey things.”

“Oh, please say we aren’t doing the fake words again.”

“When did we start?” Leather asked, leaning against the wall.

Bowtie snapped his fingers, “After you, Nine.”

“You’re not after me? Which are you two?”

“Eleventh.” Bowtie said.

“Twelfth or Fourteenth, depends.”

“But that’s impossible!” both Leather and Bowtie gasped, the Doctor shrugged.

“The question is,” the Doctor began, “where’s the Tenth?”

The bell above the door rang, everybody in the room turned to see a man with snow on his shoulders, wearing a long brown coat walk in. His face was red, as if he’d been crying, and his hair in disrepair.

“Doctor?” the older redhead and the woman in uniform asked, concern laced in their voice.

“Martha?” he gasped, his eyes softened“...Donna?”

“What’s wrong?” Martha asked, the same tone of voice as a mother consoling her child.

He sniffed and wiped his eyes, replacing his distraught look with a fake smile, “Nothing! Nothing’s wrong, but, uh, what are you two doing he―Rose.”

Again the attention went to Rose who shifted, “Yeah?”

“I thought you were with the metacrisis.”

“The meta-what-now?”

The man’s brows furrowed, “Bad Wolf Bay.”

“What’s that?”

His face fell, “Do you know who I am?”

“No…? Am I supposed to?”

“Not yet, I suppose.”

The silence in the room was deafening, Bowtie coughed to break it. “Ten.”

“What?” Coat lifted his head, his eyes widened as he finally looked around, “No.”

“Yeah.”

“Yup.”

“Yes.” came the voices of the three supposed Doctors.

“This shouldn’t be possible.”

Bill’s Doctor scoffed, “Yeah, we’ve already come to this conclusion, you’re a bit late to the party.”

“Which are you, now?”

“Twelfth, or Fourteenth, and yeah, yeah, that’s not possible.”

“And you, River Song.” Coat pointed at the curly haired woman, “You’re not supposed to be here.”

“Neither are you.” she retorted, “You sure were a pretty boy, wasn’t he dear?” she said, looking to Bowtie, ignoring the sudden joy on Bill’s Doctor’s face.

“Eh,” Bowtie replied, “I don’t know.”

“Don’t you think you’ve let everyone be confused for long enough?” she asked.

Bowtie shrugged, sharing her same wicked smile, “Probably, but these are always so fun.”

“Do you know what’s going on?”

“Not a clue.”

Bill shouted, “Yeah! Same!”

“C’mon, let’s explain it.” Bill’s Doctor said, he pointed to a corner, “Ten, you start.”

Ten, who was about a foot away from where the Doctor was pointing, groaned, “Why me?”

“You love looking smart. Here’s your chance.”

“Fine, might as well.” he went to the center of the room, hopping up on top of the table. “Well, hello, everyone!”

The few that knew him returned, “Hi.”

“You’re probably confused, I know that because I’m awfully confused right now and I’m 31% of the people in here.”

“What do you mean?” Martha asked.

Coat, or Ten, as the Doctor called him, clicked his tongue, “Well, oh, uh―”

“We’re all the same person.” Leather, or Nine, interrupted, “You were stalling.”

A chorus of confusion and shouts filled the room.

“Fingers on lips!” Ten shouted, he mimed what he had said and slowly the room followed him, with the exclusion of the supposed Doctors. “Okay. Nine is right, we are all the same person. I’ll explain.” he insisted before the shouts could start again. “There’s this trick Time Lords use―”

“Regeneration.” Bowtie, or Eleven, said.

“Right. Basically, if I’m dying, I can…change. Completely and in totality. New everything, new new Doctor.”

“So,” Bill turned to her Doctor, or Twelve, “you die but don’t?”

Ten confirmed, “Correctamundo!”

Both Twelve and Eleven groaned, “We said we’d never use that word again.”

“We also said we wouldn’t wear bowties again.” he said, pointed to Eleven who retorted,

“They’re cool.”

“No, they are not.” the other Doctor’s objected.

Amelia butted in, “Wait, wait, no, stop. You were calling each other numbers, why were you doing that?”

“Observant, Amelia.” Eleven beamed.

“Amy.” she corrected.

“Well,” Eleven continued, “the numbers are our place in the line.”

“Of what line?” Donna quired, crossing her arms.

“Of Doctors.” Ten answered, he hopped down from the table. “I’m the Tenth Doctor.”

“Ninth Doctor.”

“Eleventh!”

“Twelfth.”

Rory stared incredulously, “There’s been twelve of you?” the Doctors nodded, “How many times can you do the Regeneration thing?”

Nine spoke, “Thirteen times, after that…”

“You’re dead.” Bill finished, “Forever.”

“Correct.”

She turned to her Doctor, “And you’re the Twelfth? You’ve only got one more go?”

“I’m the Fourteenth, Bill, technically.”

Bill marveled, “So, you’re supposed to be dead.” she lightly punched his arm, “Don’t die again!”

“I’ll try.”

“Do all these people know you?” she said, quietly while the other Doctor’s continued to talk.

“We used to travel.”

“What? All of them?”

“Mmhm…what?”

Bill whistled jokingly, “And I thought I liked girls.” Nardole who had previously been silence with his arm crossed, watching the situation unfold snickered.

“Shut up, both of you.”

Bill mimed zipping her lips and Nardole held up his hand in a ‘Scout’s Honor’.

“Introductions!” Eleven shouted, jumping. “We haven’t done introductions! Uh…Amelia, you start!”

“Okay, uh, I’m Amy Pond. Nobody really calls me Amelia except the Doctor…the Eleventh Doctor.” she specified. “This is my husband.”

“Rory Williams.”

“Pond.” both Amy and Eleven corrected.

He sighed, exasperated, “That isn’t how it―I’m Rory Pond.”  

“Name’s Donna. Noble.” she waved, missing the pained look that passed over Ten’s face.

Martha smiled, Bill thought she looked rather nice, “Martha Jones.”

“Rose Tyler.”

“Bill Potts.”

A minute of silence passed until Bill finally nudged Nardole,

“Ow!” he whined, rubbing his shoulder.

“He’s Nardole.” Twelve said.

“River Song.” River purred, smiling wickedly. Again, a smile crossed Twelve’s face, which didn’t go unnoticed this time, she strolled over, her heels clicking, “What? Happy to see me?”

Twelve bent over and kissed River’s hand, “You have no idea.”

River was caught slightly off-guard as was the rest of the room, who was suddenly very interested in River. Bill gasped, finally realizing why she was so familiar,

“You’re the woman in the picture, oh!”

“What picture?”

Bill pointed to Twelve, “In his office, he’s got this picture of you on his desk.”

“A picture…of me? Why?”

Twelve smirked, “Spoilers.”

A small cough interrupted the duo, all attention was brought to a small girl who had gone completely unnoticed. She was dressed in a blue waitress uniform and had what Bill could only describe as an oxymoron of happiness on her face, “Clara Oswald.” she introduced, quietly. “I’m Clara Oswald.”

“Do we know you?” Twelve asked, an eyebrow lifted.

Clara looked like she wanted to say something but instead said, “No. I work here. I didn’t know we were supposed to be out today.”

Eleven said, “This must be rather weird for you, huh?”

She shook her head, “I’ve had weirder.”

“You can go, if you want.”

“No!” she exclaimed, “I mean, no, I don’t really have anything else to do today. I’ll hang out with you guys.”

“Cool!” Eleven beamed.

Ten challenged, “Are you sure?”

“Absolutely.”

Nine shrugged, “Welcome to the team, then.”

“Glad to be here.” she breathed, a weak smile on her face.

“So am I!” a new voice exclaimed, bursting into the room with a woman dressed in Victorian garb and two men in tow.

“Jack!” exclaimed Ten.

“Mickey!” groaned Nine.

“Missy!” shouted Nardole with urgency.

The woman grinned, “Oh, so you’ve gotten all acquainted, then? Fantastic! I thought I’d take so long!

“You do seem to drag on when you’re talking to yourself.” the Victorian woman, Missy, said.

“Who are you?”

“The Doctor!” the woman exclaimed.

You could hear a pin drop, all of the companions turned to look at their respective Doctor who was frozen in shock. Suddenly, Twelve shouted, “Finally!”

“Right!?” The newest Doctor exclaimed, “Thirteen, or fifteen if you count some things, bodies and just now I’m a woman. Well, was I ever a man, that’s a good question.” she smiled, “Hullo, everybody! I’m Thirteen. This is Captain Jack Harkness, Mickey Smith, and Missy! Say Hi,”

“Hi…” Mickey said.

“Howdy.” the Captain smirked, winking at Bill who shook her head.

“Greetings.” Missy nodded, her eyes fixed on Ten.

“We’re friends!” Thirteen continued, “Well, you’re my friends as well but they’re closest to me. Oh, this is absolutely fantastic, I hope you all know how hard it was to get all of you here.”

“It was you .” Martha accused.

“Mmhm!”

“Why?” the whole room asked.

Thirteen twirled about the room, “I’ve been awful lonely for the past few decades. Travelling alone, not good for me! You’d know about that, right Ten?”

Ten paled, “N-No.”

“Yes, you do! C’mon Pretty Boy, Water on Mars! Adelaide Brooke!” she puffed her chest out, “‘The laws of time are mine and they will obey me!’” she said, imitating Ten with a scary look on her face. Ten looked down, his eyebrows knitted together. “I remember that, Ten. That’s why you’re here.”

“You didn’t have to say that.” Ten said, his voice low.

“Oh, yes I did. Cards all out on the table. That’s why you’re all here. You!” she pointed to Nine, “You just saw the first Dalek since the Time War, I’m sorry but it’s not the last.”

Nine’s face fell, “B-But―”

“Bowtie!”

“Thirteen, please…”

“Amy and Rory are dead.” she said, Amy and Rory gaped, “You aren’t saving people anymore. How long have you been alone?”

“I’m not…”

“How long?”

“45 years.”

“How long has it been since you went around, saving people, seeing the stars.”

“45 years.” Eleven said, ice in his stare..

“And you, Twelve, you’ve been blind for two weeks.”

“What!?” Bill shouted. “You’re still blind, I-I thought―”

Twelve shook his head, taking off his sunglasses, he stared blankly at Bill, “It didn’t work.” tears brimmed in Bill’s eyes, she grabbed Twelve and held him close.

“Why are you doing this!?” Ten barked.

Thirteen smiled without any happiness on her face, “I am nearly three thousand years old and I’m not sure how long I can hold on anymore. I just…” she pulled her hands down her face, “...I can’t keep pretending to be fine, and neither can you.”

The room was quiet yet again, Thirteen sighed, “Okay, now that that’s done, we can start having fun. Welcome back to team TARDIS everyone,” she beamed, “I’m so happy to see you again. Oh, by the way,” she pulled a TARDIS blue party hat out of her pocket, strapping it on, “I found some!” 

 

Chapter Text

3

 

Amy had quite a few words to say to the Doctor (the blonde one, Thirteen, the one Amy did not like), none of them particularly nice or ladylike. Those words were halfway out of her mouth, blazing with Scottish fury, before her daughter led her behind the counter along with the other companions and that Clara girl. She glanced back to the Doctors who were all silent, in a complete stalemate but looking ready to pounce at any moment, she offered one last smile to her Doctor who smiled back in return.

His smile was different, Amy noted.

“Okay,” River began, closing the door behind herself. She had taken them into a kitchen that smelled strongly of mint and chocolate. The others all stood in a circle, wearing a party hat, “this is quite the surprise.”

The room hummed in agreement.

“I just can’t get my head around this.” Rose said, taking off her pink and yellow hat to anxiously mess with her hair. “They’re all the Doctor, all my, er, our Doctor?”

Amy heard that waitress woman mumble under her breath, “Same software, different case.”

“I’ve heard about regeneration at work but it’s just weird to see how different they all are.” Martha said taking off her own ruddy red one, she seemed to be talking more to herself than to anybody else, “I would’ve never guessed that those other ones were the Doctor if I passed them on the street, especially the bowtie one, Eleven.”

Amy and Rory snorted, thinking of their Raggedy Doctor. “Really? I would have never guessed that Nine was the Doctor. Too punk rock.”

Rose cracked a smile, “C’mon! You can’t say mine is too punk rock when Twelve is there! The sunglasses, the coat, the hair!

“Oh, just you wait!” Bill added with a toothy grin, “He’ll be playing his electric soon so he doesn’t have to listen to any of us!” Nardole chuckled,

“‘Specially me.”

The room paused, “No…” Donna drawled, “Spaceman does not play guitar.”

“I have proof!” Bill hopped down from her seat on the counter, the companions gathered around Bill as she took out her phone. Rose’s eyes widened at the sight of it,

“What’s that?!”

Bill raised an eyebrow, “...A phone?”

“That’s your phone?” Donna, Martha, and Rose chorused.

“Blimey, it’s big!” Donna exclaimed.

“Yeah,” Bill laughed, then paused, “sorry, this may be a weird question but, what year is it for you lot back home?”

“2005?” Rose said.

“2006.” Mickey added.

“2008.” Martha, Jack, and Donna said.  

“2012.” Amy said, pointing to herself, River, and Rory. “You?”

“2017.” Bill finished, all the companions exchanged looks. “You know…it’s weird, for some reason the fact that there’s gaps between all of us kind of makes this less awkward.”

The companions hummed with agreement, “It’s like when somebody breaks up with you,” Rose explained, “it hurts a lot less to see him years later with somebody else than it does when he just moves on in, like, a day.”

The Victorian woman, Missy, snickered, “So you’re all the exes of the Doctor?”

“...I guess we are.”

A slightly awkward lull fell over the room, Bill piped up, “The proof!”

The excitement returned with all of the occupants speaking in mumbled excitement to see Bill’s proof, Bill happily pressed play on the video that showed herself in a big room, a fancy office:

“Hello, mum!” Bill smiled, waving at the camera, “Hope you’re having fun in Berlin! I’m here with” she turned the phone to face Nardole who was sat eating crisps leaned against the TARDIS “Nardole, and I’m about to go finish some tutoring with the Doctor an―”

Interrupting Bill’s message for her mother was a guitar riff shaking the room, an amused grin split Bill’s face as she stood and ran to the source of the sound. She held the phone steady as she pushed open the room and let loose the loud chords that sounded suspiciously like Soft Cell’s ‘ Tainted Love’ . “Hey!” Bill shouted, “Heeeeeeyyyyy!” The Doctor stopped abruptly, turning to the door with his sunglasses hanging on the bridge of his nose and his black-and-white guitar hanging on his shoulders. “I’m tryin’ to send a video to my mum.”

“And?”

“Guitar’s loud.”

“Is it?” he replied, sarcasm dripping.

“Oh, shut up. Aren’t we supposed to be studying?”

“Who asks to study?” he raised his eyebrows, “Amateur.”

“Oh, you piece of sh―”

The video cut off and Bill was applauded by uproarious laughter from the others, even Clara who seemed to be a bit brighter after the video. Jack wiped tears from his eyes,

“Never thought I’d see Doc play the guitar, he always seemed like a more classical type of guy. Like piano and stuff like that.”

“They play.” Missy said, “Played all the time back in one of their curlier-haired bodies.”

Amy noticed River’s eyebrows perk, but nothing came of it

“He seems to have changed a bit, more―”

“Coordinated.” Amy adds, bluntly. “The Doctor, um, Eleven, I mean, could never play guitar.”

“Pretty Boy would break his hand.” Donna said, Martha agreed. They continued to swap stories of their own respective Doctor: Rose about her Doctor trying to get out of paying for chips (“I don’t think I can go to that store again, ever!”); Martha about her Doctor eating a pear for the first time (“First time I’d seen him properly angry.”); Rory happily telling the story of the Doctor crashing his bachelor party (“Made one of my mates give his sweater to this girl”); and Bill and Nardole taking turns talking about the time their Doctor broke into Bill’s foster mum’s house to get her for an adventure while making Nardole distract Bill’s mum (“Like, I have a cell phone and so does he!”).

The uproarious laughter from the group, even from Clara (who Amy had to admit was taking this very weird thing incredibly well), was suddenly interrupted from somebody outside the room shouting something, the laughter went silent.

Bill whispered under her breath, “Yikes…”

“Trouble in paradise.” Captain Jack said, “Five Doctors in the same room,” he clicked his tongue, “sounds like a good time.”

Martha shoved him playfully but keep a concerned look on her face, “They looked like they hated each other.”

“Well,” Rose began, “I wouldn’t be too pleased if I met myself five years ago.”

Others agreed, laughing at themselves. The light, warm feeling of the room was broken as the group listened carefully to the tense conversation happening, only bits and pieces were coherent through the wall.

“You don’t know!? ” Eleven snapped, an edge against his voice that made a chill run down Amy’s spine. More talking, completely too fast for anybody to understand.

“Shut up!” Twelve interrupted.

The Doctors talked over each other, some of them slipping into some musical language―obviously still insulting each other.

“It’s like listening to your parents fight, kinda.” Mickey squirmed, “This is just uncomfortable.”

River sighed, “They’re always like this whenever they meet themselves,” she rolled her eyes, “Had to drag Eleven off their Third self once before they killed each other.”

Missy groaned, “Tell me about it.”

The two women turned to face each other, there was something they understood about each other but Amy didn’t know what. She raised an eyebrow, “River, do you kno―”

“Hush!” Donna said, everybody paused looking to her. “They’ve stopped talking.”

The companions jumped as Thirteen swung the door open, “Are you lot okay?”

Amy noticed the expression change of the some of the other companions, they liked her just as much as Amy did. “We’re fine.” Amy snapped.

Thirteen frowned slightly, “I-I couldn’t hear any of you anymore, thought something may of happened.”

“We’re fine.” Amy repeated.

“Okay…” she shook her head and regained her positive demeanor,”We had a chat and decided we need to get to know each other a bit better.”

“Really? ‘Cos all we heard was a fat lot of shouting.” Donna cocked her head to the side.

A light blush appeared on Thirteen’s cheek, “Sorry.”

Bill, one of the few who seemed indifferent over Thirteen hopped off the counter where she had sat, “No problem, Doctor. Do you want us out there?”

Her smile brightened, “If you would be so kind, Miss Potts.”

Following Thirteen’s orders, they filed out into the dining area. The tension so thick Amy felt as though she had to swim through it. She and Rory sat next to the real Doctor, Eleven,

“You okay?” she asked, he nodded. But his eyes followed River who sat next to Twelve along with Missy, Bill, and Nardole. She whispered something to Twelve who cracked a smile in return.

Thirteen sat alone at the front of the room, standing on a chair next to a flower vase Amy could’ve sworn wasn’t broken when she left, “So, um, hello again.” she looked nervous, the confidence she had when she called out the other Doctors gone, “You know when you’re a kid and the teacher has you all stand in a circle and introduce yourself to the class and it’s very awkward because you absolutely know those other people do not like you in the slightest?” She spoke fast in a Yorkshire accent, but nonetheless; mumbled yeses affirmed her statement, “Alrigh’, brill. We are trying very, awfully hard to avoid that so, any ideas?”

It was silent, a moment passed and Rose quietly lifted her hand in the air, Thirteen nodded in her direction. “Well, just an idea but, my friends and I used to play this game where you asked a person a question and they had to answer it truthfully or they took a shot. Like Truth or Dare, almost. It was daft and all but it was fun, so…”

“I like it!” Martha smiled, Rose reciprocated it, “I like that!”

Rose looked around, “Wouldn’t peg this place to sell alcohol, though.”

“There’s tea.” Clara said, speaking for the first time in a while, which drew eyes to her “Loads of it.”

Thirteen shot up, “That’ll work! Give me a mo’.” she dove into the kitchen. A minute later (surprising given the absolute ridiculous amount of tea in her hands) Thirteen returned carrying tea in one hand and cups in another. “Alright, let’s get started.” she said distributing tea to everyone.

“Shots with tea.” Clara chuckled, taking a sip, “Proper British.”

“Now, we just need someone to start!” Thirteen twirled around, reminding Amy of her Doctor. “How about…!” she stopped, a bright grin on her face, “Okay, you lot, any of you got a question for Ten?”  

Chapter Text

4

 

Ten paled, caught off guard  “Wh-Why me?”

Thirteen shrugged, “Because you were the person I chose, Drama Queen.”

“‘ Drama Queen’ ?” he repeated incredulously, sneering slightly.

She smiled, “C’mon, you gotta admit, accurate nickname.”

Ten looked around, pouting when he saw Eleven and Twelve’s looks of agreement, “Really? Drama Queen?”

Donna snickered, “Got him figured out, yeah.”

“Why am I Drama Queen?” he persisted. Twelve leaned over to pat Ten on his head, nearly knocking over a photo of the shop’s staff in the process,

“Because you’re the only one who’d react like this to being called Drama Queen.”  he explained, smirking.

“Oi!”

“Just let someone ask a question, Spaceman!” Donna ordered, crossing her arms. Martha noted a fleeting smile pass Ten’s face.

“Alright, alright.” Ten leaned back, “Shoot.”

Rose’s hand shot up, Ten flinched and his two successors inhaled sharply through their teeth, “Where am I?”

“Oi!” Thirteen interrupted as Ten took a huge gulp of tea, “Spoilers, Tyler.”

Rose’s eyebrows furrowed, “What does the universe implode if he tells me?”

“No, but knowing your own future is never a good idea―can’t have you off trying to prevent it.”

“Wait,” Amy said, nudging Eleven, “isn’t this just a big seeing-your-future-thing for you, Doctor? Shouldn’t this be a paradox or something?”

Eleven shrugged, “Probably.”

“This happens a lot really.” Twelve offered, “I run into myself all the time. Actually saw my fourth self at Tescos a week ago.”

Bill straightened up, eyes shining, “You mean―oh my god, that man with that insane scarf? And all the curly hair?”  

“Teeth and curls, yeah.” Nine nodded.

Bill fell out, laughing and draping herself on Twelve’s side.

Thirteen, cracking a smile, waved her off, “Alrigh’, Potts, shut it.” she joked, “Let Rose ask another question.”

“Oh, um, okay, well…were you jokin’ when you said you’ve never been slapped?”

“No!” Ten and Nine exclaimed, “I’m 909 years old and Jackie Tyler was the first to ever slap me! Well, then came Donna.”

“Sometimes you just have to.” Donna defended.  

Amy snorted, “You got slapped by her mother?”

Eleven threw his hands about, “To be fair, I did technically “kidnap” her for a year.”

You WHAT?! ” shouted every companion other than Rose and Mickey.

“And got me put on the murder suspect list!” Mickey added, pointing an accusatory finger. Another shout of disbelief followed directed towards Nine.

River turned to Rose, “Rose, darling, what’s your mother’s name again?”

“Jackie.”

“Good on Jackie, I’ll need her number, we’ll have tea.”

Amy nodded, “Ooh, River, I’ll join too.”

Martha continued, “And me.”

“‘Jackie Tyler,” Jack clicked his tongue, “never got to meet her, sure we’d have fun. Count me in.”

This continued until everyone with the exception of the Doctors had signed up for River’s little field trip to congratulate Jackie Tyler on slapping them.

“I apologized! ” Nine defended, “And I meant to get her back in twelve hours, it was a mistake! I don’t kidnap people.”

Twelve raised his eyebrows, “Barbara and Ian.”

The other four Doctors inhaled sharply through their teeth, “Okay,” Ten said, “Can’t defend that one.”

“Do we even want to know?” Bill asked. Twelve shook his head.

“Wait,” Clara sat up in her chair, “Barbara and Ian Chesterton? That Barbara and Ian?”

Eleven smiled, “Yup! How’d you know?”

“I used to work at Coal Hill, they’re like the stuff of conspiracy theories for the kids. Apparently, they just disappeared some day with this one student and when they came back they were dating and different. ” she scoffed, “That was you ?”

“Hmhm.” Twelve nodded, “First people on my TARDIS: Barbara Wright, Ian Chesterton, and my granddaughter, Susan.”

Rose choked on her tea, “Granddaughter?!”

“Alrigh’, alrigh’, next question.” Thirteen instructed, “Ten, choose somebody.”

“River.” he said immediately. All eyes turned to her, River just smirked and crossed her legs.

“Yes, Pretty Boy?”

Ten and Donna tensed, sharing looks.

“Who are you?” Ten blurted out.

“You know who I am, darling.”

More eyebrows raised, Missy popped her head out from the other side of Twelve.

“Darling?” Donna repeated, she clicked her tongue, “Are you two…?”

River sat back, “For him, no. For us, very much so.” she grabbed Twelve’s hand, lacing her fingers in his. She paused when Twelve squeezed her hand, an indescribable emotion passing her face.

“What?” Rose’s head whipped around to stare at Nine, “You two are, what, dating?”

“Married actually.” River corrected. The shocked silence made Twelve crack a smile, Thirteen beamed at her wife.

Married!?”  Martha offered a shocked grin, “You two are married? Oh, my God, River Song, you are a legend .”

Jack snapped his fingers, “You got to him before me, damn!”

Mickey chuckled, “How was the wedding?”

“Oh!” River waved him off, “As traditional as it could be.”

“The universe was falling apart.” Twelve interjected.

“My mum and dad were there.” River quickly looked to Amy and Rory,

“Hello!” Rory said, putting his hand up, “W-We’re the parents.”

“Huh!?” Ten exclaimed, “What?!”

“Then, after the wedding I shot him to death.” River finished with a smile.

Eleven sighed with a fake dreamy expression, “Remember it like it was yesterday.”

“You looked lovely, dear.” Thirteen smiled, River placed a melodramatic hand over her heart.

“I have three questions.” Nine said, “One: Universe Ending? Two: How in the hell are Amy and Rory your parents? And three, and a very big three: Shot to death??”

Eleven raised one finger, “One: A big thing involving my death and 5:02pm.”

Twelve raised two fingers, “Two: A very convoluted timeline I don’t really understand myself; River and I meet in the wrong order, but, in a nutshell, time-travel, the Silence, and Demon’s Run.”

Thirteen raised three, “And three: You’ll find out yourself.”

“You know…” Ten began, “sometimes I think I’ve seen the weirdest thing, the most nonsensical, impossible thing…but then this happens.”

“Ooh, Doctor,” Bill smiled, “just you wait! Living floorboards.”

Twelve nodded, “And Bill’s favorite group―Little Mix.”

“Doctor!” she shoved him, “They’re not my fav―”

“Whole playlist.”

“Shut up!”

“She’s sings them all the time.” Nardole butt in.

“Stop!”

“I can hear it in my sleep.” Missy added.

“This is bullying!” Bill shouted, trying to keep a stern face but breaking into a grin.

Nardole crossed his arms, “You can’t say I’m bullying you―you and the Doctor harass me. And Missy, too.”

“Shut up, Nardole.” Bill, Missy, and Twelve chorused.

“I like the other yous.” Nardole huffed.

“Oh, shut up, Nardole.” Thirteen said.

Nardole made a half-choking noise in response, looking around at the other companions and Doctors. Mickey chuckled,

“Been there, mate.”

“The Doctor’s your son-in-law…” Rose whispered, slowly catching up. “ The Doctor is your son-in-law!”

“I know.” Amy said, “I had a lot of wine then I was fine with it, honestly.”

“Can we…get to another question,” Rose asked, massaging her temples, “this is too much.”

“I actually have one.” River implored, legs crossed and hands still intertwined with Twelve’s.

Thirteen smiled, “Go ahead, sweetie.”

“Missy.” River craned her head to look at her, “I have a hunch on who you are; however, it’s very impossible seeing as you are incredibly dead.”

Everyone snapped to attention, curiosity peaked.

“Am I?” Missy questioned, “Somebody should’ve told me, tell me, River, who am I then?”

“The Doctor’s friend―his oldest friend.”

“And enemy, don’t forget that.”

“But it’s truly impossible for you to be here.” River raised an eyebrow, “Naismith mansion, 2009.”

Eleven sucked in a sharp breath, nearly choking. His eyes were suddenly both sharp and incredibly soft. “No…”

“Oof,” Missy smiled devilishly, “ The Nutty Professor caught on, let’s see how long it takes for the rest of ‘em, hey dear?” she nudged Twelve who’d began to fidget with his velvet coat. “Say my name, River, it’ll make this much faster.”

“No, no, no.” Nine put his hand up, “I really don’t understand, that’s new for me.”

“Oh, my God! You’ve gotten too easy with age, y’know! Back in the 70s you’d find me out in a second, no matter what…actually, wait, was it the 80s?” Nine and Ten stiffened, realization dawning. “Now, I’ve got to spell it out before it gets boring! Rassilon, fine, I’ll say it slow: I…am…the…Master…!”

A cup shattered, Twelve tentatively looked towards Martha who’s happy, peaceful expression had been replaced with tense horror mixed with anger. “Get out.” she demanded.

“Martha Jones! How’s the family?”

“Get out of here!” she repeated tersely.     

“We burned your body.” Ten said, sitting frozen. “ I burned your body.”

The Master, Missy, rolled her eyes, “C’mon, do I look like somebody who dies?”

“How’d you survive the War?” Nine queried, his mind visibly racing.

“How did you?”

“No, wait, sorry.” Donna interrupted, “Who exactly are you?

“A Time Lady, sweetheart! Straight from good ol’ Gallifrey, pride of the Prydon chapter.”

Twelve scoffed, Missy looked scandalized, “What!?”

“‘Pride of the Prydon chapter’ since when.”

She playfully swatted at him, “Since you ran away, stupid.”

“Okay, sure, but like I’m still number one.”

“We both know that’s the Rani.”

“Damn.” Twelve clicked his tongue, “Right.”

Martha suddenly stood and left the room followed by Jack, both spared one last spiteful look before shutting the door to the kitchen behind them. Amy’s eyebrows perked up, “What’s that about.”

“Oh, that,” Missy waved dismissively, “they’re just upset about what happened a few years ago.”

“And what was that?”

Ten finally snapped out of his trance, “She, er, he became Prime Minister kidnapped me and tortured Martha’s family and Jack for a year.”

“Prime Minister…?” Bill squeaked out.  

“Which one?” Amy asked, “‘Cause if you’re like the Doctor you can do that face thingy.” Her eyes widened, “Oh, my god, were you Cameron?”

“No, Saxon. Harold Saxon, landslide election. Not too shabby.”

Saxon!?” the companions (and the ever so quiet Clara Oswald) chroused, accompanied with scattered shouts of “I voted for you!”

“Like I said―not too shabby.”

“You would be his friend, eh?” Donna commented. “Now, it’s soundin’ like you hurt Martha and Jack so why are you so chummy with the Doctor still? He damn near burned a place down when I stubbed a toe on a desk so why do you get a pass?”

Because! He cares about me and I care about him―ever since Prydon, ever since he stole the Moon and the President’s wife, ever since he was a little girl!” she sat back smugly, “One of those was a lie, any guesses on which one?”

“It was his daughter, not his wife.” Clara said suddenly followed by a quick, muffled gasp.

“How’d you…know that?” Eleven asked, turning to her. Clara’s face was getting a bit pink and her eyes huge. “It’s Clara, right? Clara…why’s your voice familiar?”

“I just got one of those voices!” she explained quickly, her voice an octave higher, “You know, I’m always getting confused for somebody else!”

“You said you worked here, right?” Nine interrogated.

“Mmhm!”

“You’re wearing your uniform?” he gestured to Clara’s sky blue dress with her apron.

“...Yes…?”

Nine looked to Ten, “You, Drama Queen, hand me that picture.”

“I’m not―”

“Oi! Just do it.”

“I was pushy!” Ten commented, handing the picture besides him to Nine. He examined it then looked back to Clara, it was like watching a Tennis match―the onlookers’ eyes going back and forth, back and forth.

“Clara, this is a picture of the staff,” he flipped the photo around, showing the happy photo of the tea shops staff posing ridiculously, “you’re not in it―and their uniforms are green.” The silence seemed to disregard all that had been said before this revelation.

“You’ve been taking this a bit too well, Clara.” Ten added, “You’re in a room with six aliens―five of whom are the same person. People who’ve time travelled. A woman who’s older than her parents. And you have barely batted an eye. So, tell me, who are you?”

Clara sighed, “You wouldn’t believe me, Doctor―trust me.”

“Try me.” Eleven said.

“No, Doctor, really you wouldn’t―”

“Oswin.” Thirteen whispered under her breath, Clara froze like a deer in headlights. “Clara…Oswin...Oswald.”

Tears began in Clara’s huge eyes, “Doctor…?”

“Wait. Oswin?” Eleven said.

“Clara Oswin Oswald,” Thirteen slowly got off of the table she’d sat on, “you were a nanny for Angie and Artie then you taught at Coal Hill, I used to pick you up every Wednesday after school.” she walked towards Clara, “We saw a mummy on the Orient Express and went to the end of the universe together; you dated a P.E.―”

“Maths.”

“Maths teacher who was a soldier and we did not get along…blimey. We went to meet Jane Austen and you two…got along really well. You’ve got 101 places to see. Your favorite color is blue and you had a crush on Belle from Beauty and the Beast when you were seven.” she finally stopped, barely an inch away from Clara, “Sorry, Clara, head’s a bit weird with regeneration and all, you know how it is.”

“Oh, you know I do.”

“Give the girl a medal, no dinosaur this time!”

“Oh, Doctor!”

Clara happily embraced Thirteen, burying her head into her shoulder. The two of them stood hugging and laughing, leaving the rest in the dark.

“Um, ‘cuse me,” Rory began, “but what’s going on?”

“Very, very long story, Roranicus Pondicus. I did something very stupid―”

Amy snickered, “Not unusual.”  

“and it was a ton of confession dial, time travel, Gallifrey, Time Lords, end of the universe, an immortal named Me related things afterwards, complicated. Boring.” Thirteen said, still hugging Clara. “Oh! Clara, I’m a hugger now!”

“No, wait, sorry but” Ten raised a finger, sharing the same confused expression as Nine and Eleven. “did you say ‘Gallifrey’?”

Nine joined, “Followed by ‘Time Lords’?”

Eleven waved his hands about, “‘Confession dial’!?”

“Oh, yeah, I was stuck on Gallifrey for a bit―nothing important.” Thirteen explained dismissively.

“YOU WERE ON GALLIFREY!?” Nine, Ten, and Eleven as well as the other companions before Twelve shouted.

Thirteen looked confused, looking to Twelve as if the others had gone insane. She gasped softly, “Oh…we never said…” she playfully smacked herself on the forehead, “Gallifrey’s fine.”

“HUH!?????” Nine, Ten, and Eleven exclaimed, all making a series of noises that were probably meant to be words but didn’t quite make it.

“Meant to say earlier, sorry.”

Ten sighed, running his hands through his hair. He stopped and sat back, suddenly recovered from the bombshell. He smiled, “Hey, Thirteen?”

She brightened, finally letting go of Clara, “What?”

“Fuck off.”

Chapter Text

5

 

Thirteen gasped dramatically, placing an affected hand over her left heart―she wasn’t sure if she was more shocked that he’d said that or that he’d said it in Gallifreyan. The other Gallifreyans in the room snickered,

“You’re the rude one, Pretty Boy.” she replied in Gallifreyan, “There’s children in the room!”

“They can’t even understand us.” Ten defended

Thirteen rolled her eyes, blowing a raspberry.

“How old are you―five?” Twelve interjected.

“2, 153, thank you very much.”

Nine raised an eyebrow, “What, really?”   his successor nodded, “I’m 903, how the hell are you 2,153?”

“Timey-Wimey.” Thirteen explained.

Timey…what?”

Ten leaned over, “No idea where she gets that stuff.”

“Pardon me.” coughed Clara, “Something you’d like to share with the class?”

“No, ma’am.” Thirteen smiled, she abruptly frowned, “Oh, no…”

“What?”

“Oh, no…!”

“Doctor, what!?”

“Clara…I’m not that much taller than you now.” she frowned, “I used to be like…” she turned around,

“Twelve, stand up!”

Begrudgingly, he obliged. Thirteen stood next to him, “I use to be like this ” she gestured to Twelve’s height. “to you.”

“Thirteen, you’re still taller than her.” Rory implored.

“Haven’t been this short since my seventh body! I thought I was done with that.” she huffed, heading back to her seat. As she hopped up on the table she patted the seat besides her,

“You can sit here with me, Souffle Girl.”

Clara smiled without noticing the confused look on Eleven’s face deepen.

“Can we play something different?” Rose asked, rubbing her temples. “Like Truth or Dare or Never Have I Ever? This is givin’ me a headache.”

Mickey raised his hand, “I vote for Truth or Dare!”        

Amy joined him, “Me too. I need to get dirt on Rory, it’s the foundation of our marriage.”

“Damn, well,” Rory raised his hand as well, “‘til death do we part.”

Eleven flinched slightly.

Soon, everybody voted except the Doctors and Missy had voted.

“Wait,” Ten raised his hand, “what’s this…game, is it a game?”

“You don’t know what Truth or Dare is?” Donna asked incredulously.

Ten pointed at himself, “Timelord. Gallifreyan. Alien. Barely know what a ‘Terminator’ is. I’m just kinda touch and go.”

“Oh!” Bill smiled, happily slapping Twelve’s shoulder, “We just watched that movie. I love it.”

“It’s a cool film.” Twelve agreed.

“That still doesn’t tell me what a Truth or Dare is.” Ten said, after a brief explanation he seemed somewhere between intrigued and horrified. The other aliens looked the same, Ten smiled, “So are we playing, or what?”

Bill raised her hand, “Shouldn’t we get Martha and Jack before we play?”

The Doctors exchanged looks, all visibly unwilling to go talk to them. Finally, Twelve exhaled, “I’ll do it.”

Amy raised an eyebrow, “Do what, exactly?”

“Apologize.” Twelve got up carefully, holding onto the temple of his glasses. “Never really did.”

Missy stood besides him, looping her arm in his. Twelve turned to her giving her a confused expression, “You want me to be turn good. So, I’m coming with you.”

“Are you sure?”

“Oh, not at all, but let’s go before I change my mind, grandad. Also, I don’t want you walking into the wall―even though it’d be hilarious.”

Twelve smiled and the two Gallifreyans walked arm-in-arm, hand-in-handinto the kitchen.

Rose coughed, she tucked a lock of hair behind her ear, “Were you two like…a thing?” She asked sheepishly.

The Doctors sputtered, “What!? ‘Course not! We were never a…a—“

“I mean back in school―.” Thirteen paused, all the Doctors went red.

Amy snickered at their faces while River just shook her head, “Daft.” She whispered.

“Alright!” Eleven clapped loudly, an awkward smile on his face, “Truth or Dare!”



The anger in the room almost had a taste Twelve found. He wasn’t the best at recognizing emotions and all in this regeneration but he’d have to be even more blind to not realize that his two past companions were quite upset at the moment.

“Pinstripes didn’t want to talk to us himself, huh?” Jack huffed.

“I am him, just older.” Twelve said, leaning against what he assumed was a counter.

“Why’s she here?” Martha hissed, Missy sighed. He could hear her icy blue eyes roll,

“To apologize , silly!” She defended. Martha laughed any twinge of humor,

“You think a little ‘I’m sorry’ will make up for the fact that you tortured my family?”

Jack added, “And killed me, like, three hundred times!”

Missy faux-gasped, “Two hundred eighty-nine times, actually, you think too little of me, Harkness.”

“Missy…” Twelve warned, he gently squeezed her hand. She squeezed back, her finger tracing something on his skin. Slowly, he realized what she wrote: ‘Help’.

“She’s trying to apologize, Martha, Jack.”

“Well, she should try again. And why are you two holding hands? How long did it take you to forgive her, how long did it take until our friendship took a backseat, Twelve?” Martha spat.

“Martha, it hasn’t been the same time for me as it has for you.”

“Doesn’t matter, Twelve.”

“Martha, it’s been nearly five billion years.”

Both of them froze, Missy turned towards him,

“What do you mean?” She whispered.

Jack came closer, “He, our Doctor, Ten, he’s only 906…how has it been…”

“You lot weren’t in there,” Twelve pointed to the main room where he could hear them all laughing, “I found Gallifrey.”

“Whoa, really!?” Martha exclaimed, “W-Well, that’s great, right? You’ve got your people back, your friends, your...” Her smile faded as she studied his face, “what happened?”

“I was trapped in this…Time-Lord version of a will.” He began to explain, “I teleported there for answers, my friend…well, Clara, I guess…she was killed. On my watch, under my protection, she died right in front of me.” Nobody could see his eyes behind his glasses but they knew they were trained on the ground, “I blamed this woman, the Mayor—shouldn’t have, she didn’t intend on anybody to die. She just…was told to get me there; she took my TARDIS, gave me co-ordinates and a teleporter. So I went.” There was a pause, Missy was glued to him, she muttered something under her breath. “In this place, like a castle, there was this thing chasing me. It never stopped, I could just slow it down and try to figure out why I was there. The only way I could stop it was to confess something, anything. But the thing just kept coming; no matter what.” He spoke quickly, the words seeming to pour from him rather than be said, “I found my way out, eventually. I was back on Gallifrey, like nothing happened, just...just back. It was the Timelords, after all, they put me in that place.”

Jack pushed his hair back, “That couldn’t have been billions of years, Doctor. It—“

“I started to remember the whole thing once I was out. There were too many clues in there—just things written on the wall, my coat hanging on a chair, a…a portrait of Clara.” He said Clara like it was fire, something painful to his tongue. “I felt like somebody else was there, helping me. And none of the stars were right, they were shifted, about 4.7 billion years.” Jack blanched, working out what Twelve was getting at, “See, there was this wall of diamond over the gateway to Gallifrey; should’ve taken millenia to break it but by the time I got there it only took one good whack to shatter it. Somebody else had done all of the work for me. Soon, it made more sense, there was never anybody else—just me. The teleport was a time loop, bringing me in over and over then killing me over and over then bringing in another me. Five billion years of dying. That’s how long it’s been for me.”

There was silence, both companions’ vision were blurred by tears while Missy began to feel a fury in her chest directed at any and every Time-Lord who did that to her best friend.

“Doctor…” Martha began, she rushed forwards enveloping the Time-Lord in a tight hug, “I’m so sorry.” Jack followed suit, pulling Twelve in tightly.

“Don’t be, Martha Jones. Five billion years gives you a lot of time to think.” He chuckled, “In this regeneration, I’ve been wondering if I’m a good person or not,”

“Shut up, Doctor, of course you are.”

“No, I’m not—I’ve done so much that you lot don’t even know about; Ten just became something that every regeneration of mine has feared, just for a moment, but he nearly burned a hole in reality, I wasn’t good enough for River as Eleven, and, of course, I never truly appreciated you two.” He pulled back, staring at both Martha and Jack, “Too blinded” he laughed at the accidental joke, “from losing Rose to realize that you two were the best people I could’ve had in my TARDIS.” He sighed, “So I’m making up for it in this regeneration. I’m to right as many wrongs as I can, Bill’s fantastic and so’s Nardole—never ever told him I said that—I’m trying to help Missy. I’m doing all of this to try and make up for all the lives I’ve ruined. So, I’m sorry, Martha Jones and Captain Jack Harkness.”

“I’m sorry, too.” Missy added. “Really.”

Martha and Jack shared a look, tears in both of their eyes. They slowly wrapped their arms around Twelve, Martha extended her arm out to Missy. The four of them stood in a group hug, silently.

“You two are complete rubbish at hugging.” Martha commented. They all laughed softly.

After awhile they all separated, “Are they playing Truth or Dare out there?” Jack asked, Twelve nodded causing Jack’s face to brighten, “Window of opportunity, Doctor! I’m about to kiss one of your former selves!” He bolted towards the door, “Any recommendations?”

“Eleventh.” Missy advised.

Jack saluted her, walking away.

“He never changes does he?” Martha chuckled.

“51st century guy.” Twelve shrugged, “C’mon, you two, I need to get some type of dirt on Bill other than Little Mix.”

 

Ten stiffened when everybody returned. Nobody looked upset but he noticed streaks in Martha’s makeup and Jack’s red face—had they been crying? The room seemed to pause as both Martha and Jack walked towards him, he stood, steeling himself for the argument of a lifetime. Instead, to his surprise, they both just hugged him.

“You’re a good person, Doctor.” Martha said softly before they both broke apart and returned to their seats. Confusion rattled around in his head.

“You two look like you’re taking prom pictures!” Rory laughed, Ten turned to see Twelve and Missy holding hands inside the doorway.

“What would the theme be?” Amy began, “Magician and Mary Poppins?”

“Oi!” Both Missy and Twelve snickered.

“I knew I wasn’t the only person thinking he looked like a magician!” Donna exclaimed, “It’s the coat!”

“Nah,” Martha joined, “It’s the hair. All punk rock.”

“Punk rock magician space grandad.” Bill concluded, causing the room to explode with laughter.

“Are you lot gonna keep making fun of my outfit or are we gonna keep playing?” Twelve asked, sitting back besides Bill.

“Yeah, yeah.” Mickey said, “Umm…Missy!”

“Oh, joy.” She said with a flat expression.

“Truth or Dare?”

“Let’s go with Truth for now.”

“Tell us…a story when you and the Doctor were kids.”

“Ooooh….” the room whispered, Missy thought for a moment.

“Okay, so…how about the time we burned down Rani’s lab?”

Nine interjected, “Accidentally!”

Eleven added, “Mostly accidentally.”

Twelve joined, “Drax dropped the molotov. So, yeah, technically…accidentally.”

“I’ve never been more excited to hear a story.” River smiled, leaning forwards. “I’ve heard great things about the Deca, if one of you aren’t in jail by the end of the story then it’s too tame.”

Missy grinned devilishly, “Try all ten.”

“Wait, what’s the Deca?” Rose asked.

“Friends I had when I was a kid, bunch of punks.” Nine explained quickly.

“Okay, cool, something mild for once.” Rose sighed, “Well, get on with the story, Missy!”

“So, it started when the Doctor and I missed class…”

As Missy continued with the story, Thirteen found herself without the deep gaping hole in her chest that had plagued her for all day. She laughed, gasped, interjected her own remembrance of the story; she was really, properly happy. A smile graced her face, she could surely get used to this.

Chapter Text

6

 

The game had somewhat deteriorated as the afternoon slowly turned to night, no longer a game of ‘Truth or Dare’ but just a group of friends swapping stories. The tense atmosphere (and the party hats) nearly forgotten. Rory had learned that Rose had a bronze in gymnastics, Bill was in love with a puddle, and the Doctor was barred from three or seven planets because of some antics their eighth regeneration had gotten up to. The whole experience had taken him back to when he was a kid, sharing what he’d done over the weekend with Amy and Mels (aka his daughter, weird, right?).

Speaking of his daughter, she was finally at the end of the retelling of some escapade she’d embarked on, “...and eventually I put the gun down, of course, Cleo’s charm, pretty face. Kept the handcuffs, though...those we used later.” inside Rory cringed, he knew that his daughter was 200 or so years old but he’d frankly rather die (again) than hear about her intimate life. Amy looked the same, pulling a face,

“Melody.” she grumbled.

The others looked shell-shocked, “So, let me get this straight,” Donna began, rubbing her temples, “you broke into Cleopatra’s palace…held her at gunpoint…and then you shagged?”   

“Missing a few key points but yes.”

“You would be his…her…their wife.”

The Doctors mumbled in response, all finding their own way of avoiding eye contact.

“Do you have any normal parts of your life, Doctor?” Martha joked, “Like anything?  

“Yeah,” Nine sipped his tea, “‘course.”

“No way,” Mickey insisted, “your entire family are probably space heroes.” Almost like a reflex the Doctors and Missy snorted, “What?”

“My family was…” Ten began, wide-eyed with a slightly annoyed look, “well, they weren’t—“

“They wouldn’t like me now.” Eleven finished.

Twelve scoffed, “They didn’t like us then.”

Donna furrowed her brows, she knew all too well about family hating you. The Doctor had always been so supportive of her against her mother and she’d never really questioned it; guess he’d been there too.

“Do you think…” Nine whispered, “since Gallifrey apparently is fine then…

“Then maybe they’re still out there?” Twelve guessed. “Yes, I’d suppose so.”

Eleven crossed his arms, “You didn’t check?!”  

“Busy.” Thirteen excused.

“Besides, did you really think they’d want to see us?”

Ten lifted an eyebrow, “Us or Missy?”

“And.” Missy corrected.

“Okay…” Mickey drawled, clearly surprised with what he’d gotten “More The Real World than The Avengers .”

“My mum just thinks I’m straight.” Bill said. “Yours is worse, I’ll give you that.”

“My mum was fantastic!” Each Doctor gasped.

The quiet curiosity in the room elevated, the companions were happy enough to get vague, sort of info about the Doctor’s family but to actually hear about their mum was a whole other story. Even if their family apparently wasn’t, their mother had to have been the most badass Time-Lady in the galaxy.

“She was the best, my mum, Pen―”

An alarm interrupted Eleven, he fished around in his pocket and pulled out his wallet of psychic paper. His expression changed slightly, something akin to concern and confusion, he looked up sharing a look with the others Doctors who all shared the same expression.

“Are you okay?” Amy asked, “Doctor…?”

“I’m fine!” he shut the wallet, he stood, “I parked my TARDIS in the alley, I’m just gonna…” he inched towards the exit, “move it…be back before you can say ‘where’s he gone to now?’.” he slipped out, his coat billowing in the last night breeze.

“That was strange.” Rose commented.

Martha nudged Ten, “Do you know what that was?”

“Uh…nope.”

“Doctor…”

“Martha…” he mimicked.

Amy, Rory, and River stood, Amy stretched, “I don’t know what he got but I do know he’s about to leave while our backs are turned.”

Clara groaned, “He does that to you too?”

“All the time. Well, you lot, get up! We’ve got maybe two minutes to catch him.”

The companions stood, reluctantly joined by the Doctors, the entire group chased after Eleven (looking too much like the Scooby-Doo gang) until they reached the wonderful, bluest blue, ‘borrowed’, astonishingly old and brand new, space-time machine―the TARDIS.

“The blue’s different.” Jack commented.

“We don’t have time!” River said, snapping her fingers causing the doors to swing open.

“Whoa!” Nine marveled, “Since when did she do that?!”

River rolled her eyes, “You really are oblivious.”

The gang rushed into the TARDIS, taking a second to take in the new desktop.

“He really is a five-year-old.” Ten whispered, flicking something that stuck out of the console, “How can he focus in here?”

Thirteen shrugged, “Clara says I have Attention...uh…”

“Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” Clara finished, “I used to work with high schoolers, I’m used to it.”

Donna leaned against the railing, pulling a tweed coat off the hook, “Where’s Eleven?”

“They’re probably avoiding us.” River said as Amy asked Donna if she could take the coat off her hands. “They’re quite good at that.”

“Under the console.” Thirteen informed, she was proven right by a loud groan emitting from below them.

“This is why I hate having myself on board!” Eleven shouted, stomping upstairs with cords in his hands, he leaned in towards Thirteen, “I never know when to shut up .”

Thirteen, unbothered, pointed at the cords, “Are you about to do something stupid?”

“When isn’t he?” Ten sighed.

Eleven tried to hide the cords behind his back, “No!”

“If I’m right,” Nine said, “and I often am, I’d say you’re trying to break down a wall in the universe.”

“Well you’re wrong…I’m trying to shatter a wall in the universe.”

“Mind telling us why?” Ten asked.

Eleven dropped the cords, picked up a singular deep blue wire and inserted in into the console, the action was accompanied by a shower of sparks. “You two,” he said, pointing at Nine and Ten, “you remember saving Gallifrey. It’s almost completely faded but it’s there, in the back of your mind. We just thought it was something we made up but it’s true so tell me, what did we do to freeze it?”

“I don’t remember anything.” Nine admitted, obviously uncomfortable with the constant mention of Gallifrey.

Ten walked closer to Eleven, “Why can’t we just ask Grumpy?”

“Oi!” Twelve snapped.

Eleven threw his hands about, “Because, this would be a lot easier if we all remember.”

“What will?” Nine questioned, “What did that message on the psychic paper say?”

“C’mon, Sandshoes!” Eleven pleaded, “Oh! I called you that, when we did it, I called you Sandshoes.”

“They’re not Sandshoes!”

“And you said that! C’mon, what happened next?”

“Well, how should I know!” Ten exclaimed, “I’d just snogged a clone of Queen Elizabeth and Clara was pretending to be a witch, a lot of stuff was going on…” his eyebrows shot up, “Oh…!”

“Remember now?”

“Oh, yes!” he grinned, “Whatta bout you, Leather?”

“Not a thing.” Nine rolled his eyes.

Twelve coughed, “...Calculation…” he coughed again.

“Oh, oh!” Eleven jumped up and down, “Check your screwdriver! There should be a calculation, it’s been running since we left home and you have no idea why we started it.”

Nine checked his screwdriver and by his expression change, Eleven was right. “And?”

“Why did we start it?”

“We have to escape the London Tower.” Nine replied immediately.

“Gotcha!” Eleven twirled around.

Thirteen beamed, “All on the same page then?”

“It’s absolutely fantastic watching them all together,” Martha whispered, catching the companions interest.

“Like a box of puppies.” Bill added.

“A box of genius puppies.” Rory said.

“Amy!” Eleven shouted, “Hold the button that does that thing down!”

“Spectral stabilizer.” River clarified, “Purple, has a light on it.”

Amy followed the instructions, “Why am I holding it?”

“Because we’re cross out own timeline.” Eleven happily threw a lever down, “Five times over!”

Nardole furrowed his brow, “That’s insane.”

“Says you.” Ten said with a manic grin.

“Well can we at least know why?” he asked, “I’d prefer to know why I’m dying if I have to.”

Twelve slipped past him, carrying a box of gold cables, “Just a tick.”

The Doctors zipped around the console; throwing levers, pressing buttons, and talking faster than the speed of light. The companions had been roped in, ordered by their respective Doctor to hold something, press something, jump up and down. For the first time in a while, the type-40 TARDIS belonging to a certain renegade Time-Lord had a proper crew.

“Alright!” Eleven shouted suddenly, stepping back. Everybody stopped, “Give her a couple hours, she’s gonna need time to sort out all the paradoxes. So, everybody get to bed, I think I saved everybody’s bedrooms and she probably added the others so...goodnight.”

“Eleven, where are we going?” Donna questioned. He tossed her his psychic paper, she opened this, “I don’t understand this.”

“That’s right!” he grabbed the wallet back, “‘Cause that’s Old High Gallifreyan, a language completely lost in time. Well, ‘cept me. Old High Gallifreyan and co-ordinates.”

“So, a Time-Lord sent this?” Rose asked, tying her hair back. Eleven nodded. “Do you know which one?”

“Of course I do.” he fidgeted, “Family.”

“Family!?” echoed the group.

“Yep.”

Nine stiffened, “Bowtie. What does it say?”

Eleven took a deep breath and pushed back his hair, for a moment he looked his age. He looked down at the wallet, “‘Please help.’” he read, “‘Penelope Gate’s youngest son is missing.”

Chapter Text

7

 

Who’s Penelope Gate?

The question was right on the tip of Martha tongue but was cut off by Ten suddenly shoving her and the others out the console room.

“Goodnight! See you lot in the morning.” he said with a fake, plastered on smile. Before anybody could get a word in the copper doors slid close leaving Missy and the Doctors in the console room and the companions kicked out into the halls.

“Alright, River,” Donna said immediately, “Who’s Penelope Gate?”

River began walking down the hall, “How should I know?”

Mickey lifted an eyebrow, “You’re their wife.”

River paused, she turned around, subtle pain in her expression, “Yes, I’m their wife.” she looked down, “That doesn’t mean they trust me.”

An awkward pause hovered over their heads, something in Martha’s stomach twisted. She could relate; the Doctor was something complex, something wonderful, something awful. Of course, she was over her more-than-small crush on her Doctor but she’d never forget how it felt to think he loved her.

“I know where to look.” Clara said, “If we want answers.”

“Where?” asked the group.

Clara motioned for them to walk deeper into the hall, they walked in silence until they reached a door with ‘Clara Oswin Oswald’ written on it in neat lettering. She opened it and invited them to join her inside.

Clara’s room was cozy, with burgundy walls and hardwood floors. A bookcase filled with Jane Austen and Emily Dickinson; a comfy looking bed made neatly and piled high with fuzzy pillows; behind it, a pink-purple-blue flag tacked up with pushpins. Martha’s eyes surveyed the room landing on the dresser covered in sticky notes with three framed photos on top. One was of Clara and Eleven, both dressed quite nicely, smiling and holding cocktails on what looked like the Moon. Another was Clara and Twelve; neither had taken the picture, obvious from the candid nature, but they seemed locked in conversation, eyes sharp and dangerous. The last again featured Clara but, instead of one of the Doctors, she was with a young, handsome black man who was planting a loving kiss on her cheek― a small ring, a flower, and a note reading ‘I ’m sorry’ was sat beneath it.

“His name was Danny.” Clara whispered, appearing behind Martha. “Danny Pink.”

Martha jumped slightly, “Boyfriend?”

“Yeah.”

“What happened?”

“Missy killed him.”

Martha whipped around, “What!?”

“Mhm,” Clara’s eyes were misty, “ran him over. I was on the phone, couldn’t even do anything about it but that’s how it is sometimes. All you can do is watch.”

“That’s not how the Doctor works, though. Did the Doctor―”

“Did he do anything about it? Oh, yeah, he did everything he could do all it took was me betraying him. I’ve only met your Doctor once but the difference between him and my Doctor would make your head spin.” Clara sighed, “I’m too much like him, even in death.”

“Even in…?”

Clara offered Martha her wrist, “You’re a doctor, right? A real, proper one?”

Martha took her wrist, “Yes, I am. Are you sick, are you…” she froze, her fingers pressed against Clara’s skin―no pulse.

“A little pass sick.” Clara joked, taking her wrist back.

“But…how…?”

Clara turned her back, “Told you, I’m too much like him.”

Martha, reeling, seemed fixed to the spot. She really had to know―what the hell had the Doctor been up to. Twelve had mentioned Ten, her Doctor, becoming something terrible; what if that was the starting point? What if she could fix whatever is going on with her Doctor and stop him from becoming like Eleven and Twelve. Her gaze fell on Mickey, Jack, and Donna―they knew him, they had to do something.

“Okay! You lot!” Clara clapped her hands, leaping onto the bed. “We have to be quiet, they could hear us.”

“You said you know where to find out who Penelope Gate is.” Rory recalled, “Is it here?”

“No, it’s down the hall, two lefts, and a right.”

“So, why are we here?”

Clara folded her fingers together, “Because, the TARDIS would let them know we were there before we could do anything.”

Rose sat in a chair nestled in the corner, “How d’ya know that?”

“Well, back when I travelled with Eleven I sort of stumbled upon a book recapping the entirety of the Time War.” the entire room sucked in a breath, “Yeah, and said book happened to have the Doctor’s name.”

“His name?” echoed Bill, eyes shining. She really is a delightful person , Martha thought. “What is it?”

“No idea. He wiped my memory the moment he could, well, he had to because of this thing happening on the TARDIS.”

A groan followed, “God,” Jack mumbled, “you’d think his name would split the universe.”

A slight sad smile crossed Clara’s face, she quickly regained composure, “I only remember the book because I wrote it down, but the Doctor’s clever, he knows that I’d try to go back to read it again and so,” she threw her hands up, “alarm.”

“What can we do then?” Amy asked.

Clara held up a finger, then knelt down to slip a notebook from under her pillows. She flipped open the last few pages, “The alarm shuts off around four a.m., since he doesn’t really sleep he used to go out for extra adventures while I slept. He doesn’t leave it on because he doesn’t think there’s a reason to. Found this out by accident, trial and error type of work. We only have fifteen minutes but I think it’s enough time to at least get some clue on this Penelope Gate.” She closed the book, throwing it to the side, “So, get to sleep, meet back here at four. Good?”

“Wow…” River whistled, “I can see why he liked you.”

Clara blushed slightly, with a light pink on her cheeks she concluded with, “Alright, team, see you in the morning!”

 

It didn’t take long for Martha to find her room but she was still waiting to fall asleep. All of the sudden she was just drowning in worry; Twelve had said that he was making up for thing he’d done but he never said what he’d done. Sure, her Doctor was harsh sometimes but what if the other Doctors were 10x worse. It really hurt her to say but she just doesn’t know what the Doctor was capable of. She’d always seen him as some friendly space kid helping people and saving planets but there were moments when she travelled with him, moments when the gleam in his eyes was just too manic and she was the only thing that seemed to be able to stop him. Thirteen had said that Eleven had been without a companion for forty-something years. He had nobody there to stop him for forty year―what the hell did he get up to?

The Master, Missy, was (is, she corrected, still with an edge of anger) their best friend so they had to have had something in common. In the story Missy had told them the Doctor as a kid was far too compliant to set a building ablaze, he had insisted. What if that was what he was like alone, just some kid who wants to set everything on fire?

Gallifrey , she whispered. But no, they had saved it. She clenched her hand, Thirteen said that they’d done something stupid on Gallifrey, what if they had become that arsonist kid again? The effects of being back home.

Martha let out a long sigh. She needed to help the Doctor. Save them from becoming the thing Twelve was making up for. Someway or another.

She wasn’t sure when she’d fallen asleep but she was suddenly awoken by the alarm besides her. Groggily, she tilted the clock to face her―3:45, it read. Martha sat up and slipped her feet into her slippers she’d gotten from some alien planet (they were fuzzy, blue, and unusually cozy), it was very nice to be back on the TARDIS, she’d forgotten how fantastic her bed was.

Gingerly, she cracked open her door and slipped out. Donna, doing the same, smiled with such excitement that Martha couldn’t help but return it.

“Are you ready?” Donna whispered as she tied her hair up.

“Always.” Martha replied.

The duo crept down the hall, soon joined by Rose, Amy, and Rory. The latter pair looked like they hadn’t slept at all, red rimming their eyes and their hair disheveled. Their hands, however, were intertwined.

“Clara’s room’s down there, yeah?” Rose asked, Martha nodded. Rose glanced at her, something obviously on her mind but nothing coming out of her mouth. “Okay.” she replied, it wasn’t what she was thinking about.

When the reached Clara’s room the door was cracked open; soft, orange tinted light flooded out from the crack and bathed the whole hallway once Donna pushed it all the way open.

Clara was lying on her side, head resting on the keyboard of what looked like a laptop.

“Wow…” Rose marvelled, “that’s really how laptops look in ten years? That’s amazing!”

“Everythin’ gettin’ bigger” Donna commented, “Did you see Bill’s phone?”

Rose smiled, “I hope I have one…” her face fell, “wherever I am in ten years…”  

Martha inched closer to Clara, catching a glimpse of what she was doing. The desktop was a picture of herself and Danny, snuggled up on the couch with their fingers locked together and a video was in a window was paused on what looked like Eleven’s face covered in glitter.  

Reliving old memories, Martha guessed.

“Oh, we’re late.” Martha heard Bill whisper from behind her.

“Don’t worry,” Donna assured, “Clara’s asleep.”

Mickey stumbled in shortly afterwards, “I had to sleep in the cupboard.” he hissed, straightening his back out, “I never travelled with him…well, other than the one time but―nevermind, anyway, cupboard. Why’s he got so many cricket bats?”

“They never fully clean up after a regeneration,” River said, appearing behind Mickey and closing the door, “I bet you can still find a recorder or a pocket watch in his bedroom.”

“Where is his room?” Rose asked.

“Where I just came from.” River smirked.

Rory and Amy grimaced.

“It’s almost four,” Martha noted, checking her watch, “shouldn’t we wake Clara?”

Amy raised her hand, “On it.”

“Wait, Amy,” Rory grabbed her hand back down, “not how you wake me up.”

Amy blew a raspberry, “C’mon, Williams, I don’t even have a glass of water. I’m just gonna…” she gently patted Clara on her head,

“Hey, Oswald, wakey-wakey.” she didn’t say it in a mothering way but more of how Martha’s old uni flatmate would’ve said it.

Clara stirred, her eyes slowly opening, “...Ashildr?”

“It’s Amy.”

She shot up, “Oh! Damn! What time is it?!”

“We have time! We have time! Don’t worry!”

Clara flung herself out of bed, pushing down her wild, shoulder length hair, “It’s four, c’mon!”

The team raced out of Clara’s room, they paused―the walls weren’t smooth metal with deep green lights like they had been just a moment ago but textured and drowned in light blue  

“Whoa!” Bill exclaimed, “It’s like our TARDIS, Nardole!”

“She’s trying to compensate for all the Doctors.” Clara explained, “Happened last time a bunch of them were together, usually she picks to newest one.”

Bill nodded, understanding.

The group moved together, following Clara,

“Clara, do you know where we’ll find something on Penelope Gate?” Jack asked, his good looks replaced by grogginess for once. “That library is enormous.”

“He has this” Clara yawned, “this, uh, little room filled with stuff he doesn’t like to think about. I call it his ‘Don’t Talk About It Room’ because when I brought it up once I regretted it immediately.”

“Why?”

“He shut down on me then took me on this incredibly dangerous trip, like even more than usual. It’s how they deal with any type of human emotion, I think―trying to suffocate it as quickly as possible.” A cold silence lulled over the team, they knew Clara was right but it still wasn’t right. “But yeah, if this Penelope is family like they said, it’s in that room.”

“How do you know all this stuff?” Rory questioned, bewildered by all the information he hadn’t known during his time on the TARDIS.

She shrugged, “I was wondering around during this adventure and all, just stumbled upon it.” she laughed, “There’s this little thing, it’s the cutest, it’s this milk carton painted to look like the TARDIS. It’s surrounded with a bunch of these kids toys, too.”

Amy froze, she buried her head“Oh, my god.”

“Amy?”

“I made those.”

“Really!?” Clara’s eyes widened.

“I was seven, give me a break.”

“You’ve travelled with him since you were seven!?”  Donna exclaimed, “How can you stand it?”

“Well, it’s complicated but, I met him when I was seven. He crashed the TARDIS on my shed, I went to go check then I made him food because he looked sick. He…he told me that he’d take me with him and that he only needed five minutes, then he disappeared for twelve years.”

“Twelve!?” the group sans River and Rory echoed.

“Actually, fourteen. He popped in at some point to save the world, typical Doctor stuff.”

“He left you for fourteen years?” Donna recited, slack-jawed, “I’m gonna kill Chin Boy.”

Amy shook her head, “He made up for it, don’t worry.”

“Be careful with excusing him.” Clara warned, “You’ll get used to it.”

The bitter edge in Clara’s voice surprised Martha; she seemed to get along so well with Thirteen and she’d been watching a happy video of Eleven― What about Twelve?   Martha couldn’t help but wonder.

Soon enough they reached a door that Martha would’ve easily confused as a wall; Clara hooked her finger into the small divot and carefully pulled the door open, ushering the others inside. The room was cluttered yet cozy, two red couches with a mountain of things on top of them; a bookshelf with hundreds of folders and books stuffed in; and two baskets with knick-knacks, loose papers and Amy’s paper mâche TARDIS inside.

“Twelve minutes.” she informed, they all nodded then set to work.

Martha joined Donna in searching the bookcase,

“They’re all hoarders, tell you that.” Donna said, pulling out a armful of books. “Can’t even understand it, it’s all his language.”

“He’s 906, er, well our Doctor is 906. Can’t be that old and still be neat.” Martha suggested, Donna looked over her shoulder as to make sure nobody was listening,

“Is it just me or do the other Doctors give you the creeps?”

Martha blew a raspberry, “I don’t know. They’re just so different and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing…” she took a break from leafing through a leather bound book, “Donna, I had an idea.”

“About?”

“Well, look, Twelve told me he’s making up for mistakes but he mentioned that our Doctor just did something that changed him.”

“What?”

“I don’t know. He did say it almost burned a hole in reality, so I’m guessing it was nothing good.”

“No, no, wait, he couldn’t have. I was there. I’m not gonna let that streak of nothing do something stupid.”

Martha thought for a moment, a heavy thought slipping out, “Are you sure you were there?

“Yeah! ‘Course!” Donna opened another book, forgetting about the previous one, “I’m gonna travel with that dumbo forever.”

Amy and Rory didn’t know you, Martha wanted to say but instead she got back to her plan, “All I’m saying is you, me, Mickey, and Jack should talk to him. Maybe we can…I don’t know, maybe we can change who he becomes.”

“What about Rose?”

“She doesn’t know him yet, seems like.”

“Hm, well, I’m all for it.” Donna said, “Kindergarten Cop and Gramps look at me like I’m in my knickers and whatever I can do for that to stop, I’ll do.”

They continued to search through all the files, searching for anything about Penelope Gate.

“Y’know,” Donna began, loud enough for the room to hear this time, “Penelope Gate doesn’t sound like a Gallifreyan name to me.”

“She has to be.” Nardole stated, lazily reading a report, “The Doctor said she’s family.”

“Yeah but is all your family English?”

“I’m a cyborg, I don’t really have family.”

“Really?” River queried, “Where’d he find you?”

“You were there.”

She held a finger to her lips, “Spoilers.”

“Wait, back to the point, not everybody’s family is from the same place so maybe…” Donna turned, searching the bookcase.

“Maybe she wasn’t Gallifreyan?” Amy finished, throwing aside a photobook.

The older ginger scooped a few books off the shelf, “Tell me, if you heard the name Penelope Gate from anybody other than the Doctor―Where would you assume she’s from?”

“Earth.” everybody assumed. Looks of understanding appeared on their faces.

“The Doctor’s got family on Earth?” Jack laughed, “Oh, he probably hates it. A little human cousin! Hilarious!”

“Good thinking, Donna.” Clara acknowledged, “We’ve got nine minutes, everybody look for anything written in English. If this woman is on Earth then her records are in an Earth language.”

The hunt began, Martha frantically grabbed files and threw them against the floor. Groaning when she discovered them to be in Gallifreyan. Jack overturned a couch, looking for any hidden records. Bill dug in the cushions of the other couch.

Suddenly, Mickey gasped, “I found it!”

Everybody left their own area and crowded around Mickey who held a small red notebook, Mickey cracked it open to show something written inside the cover, it read: This book is property to P. Gate. Yorkshire, 1854.

“Victorian.” Rose noted.

The notes were scribbled in black ink, mostly lists and small reminders (some crossed out, some left untouched). There was an abrupt change in the middle of the book―Pages and pages filled, a diary.

Amy pointed, “Read that one.”

“Okay, erm,” Mickey cleared his throat, “ ‘23 rd November 1861: I’ve fallen in love. In complete and total love. This man is everything I ever want. He says he’s from a different planet, one that I can only dream about. I dream of his home almost as often as I dream of him―Whenever he visits he tells me more about it. Oh, I strive to be there, not only to see the sloping hills and twin suns he speaks of but so I no longer have to share his time with that world and mine. He tells me this is impossible, but I’m not a woman content for just possibilities. Tomorrow, he’ll come in his wonderful machine and I’ll be damned if I do not join him in his return. ’”

“She fell in love with a Timelord.” Bill summarized breathlessly.

“Know how it feels.” Rose grumbled under her breath.

Mickey flipped ahead, “There’s more. Um, ‘8 th May 1862: Been quite a while since I’ve written in this daft thing. So, I believe an update is in order: I convince Ulysses to take me to his home planet, Gallifrey. I was just as beautiful as I could of ever imagined, it’s strange to me how these people share such a striking resemblance to my own species. ‘Humans look Timelord’ he explained’

Jack chuckled, “Doc says that.”

‘I met Ulysses’s child, he is called Braxiatel. Quite the clever young man he is, he is not that fond of me but I must assume it’s because of my relationship with his father as well as my home. I hope that I can be a good mother to him despite it. I adore being with the both of them, it’s so much better than my life back on Earth. On Earth, my interest in the sciences are taken for nothing but a joke but here I join other women in experimentation, it’s quite wonderful. Oh, and on last thing, I’m pregnant!’

“Whoa!” Amy exclaimed, eyes shining, “Really?”

“There’s just a bit left, ‘This will be the first natural birth in Gallifreyan history, Ulysses said. We are not sure on how this will turn out but nonetheless, I have nothing but joy in my heart at the thought of our first child.’

“Her youngest son!” Martha explained, “Her ‘youngest son’ is missing!”

Clara glanced at her watch, “Five minutes.”

“Hold on, there’s a picture.” Mickey carefully removed a photo from the binding of the book―it was of Penelope herself, with dark red hair in a long ponytail and warm brown eyes dressed in a white cloth dress; a man, Ulysses, with salt-and-pepper hair and deep blue eyes, his rugged hands clasped tightly in Penelope’s; an older boy, Braxiatel, tall and thin with neat, formal black hair and apathetic green eyes that were out of place in the happy family photo; then, finally, a young boy who had to be Penelope and Ulysses’ child―His hair was cornsilk blond and sticking up every which way, his face was covered in freckles and adorned with a manic grin, his eyes matched his father’s but somehow Martha knew he got the smile from his mother. “They look happy.”

“That’s the missing kid, right?” Donna poked the photo.

“I guess so.”

“So, Doc just has some family member who’s human? That’s the whole secret?” Jack asked, underwhelmed. “Well, okay, let’s just plug into the TARDIS and find the kid.”

“Yeah,” Mickey stood, “Where do I do that?”

“Oh, give it here,” Clara took the photo and placed in against the wall, suddenly a whole holographic display came to life, “did this one time when we went to meet Jane Austen.” she faced the wall, “Okay, TARDIS, where is that boy right now?” she asked, circling the blond boy’s face. She stood back, “Give it a moment.”

“So, what do we do after this?” Bill asked, “Just tell the Doctor?”

“Uh, I guess! The message told them to find him and we did, so.” Clara played with her hair, yawning, “We’ll just give ‘em the news in the morning.”

The display beeped, the group hushed, “Subject located…” it spoke, “Seven feet away.”

“What?” Clara groaned, “C’mon,” she circled the face, “this kid. Penelope Gate’s son.”

“Confirmed. Penelope Gate of Yorkshire’s child, seven feet away.”

“But that doesn’t make sense.”

“I think you’ll find it makes quite a bit of sense.” came Thirteen’s voice from behind. They all whipped around, startled.

“D-Doctor!” Clara stammered.

“Your watch is off, Clara.”

“How long have you been there?”

“Long enough.” she waltzed in, still dressed in the dark hoodie despite the time, “Never trust humans to stay out of locked doors.”

“But this doesn’t make sense!” Martha shouted, “This thing said that Penelope Gate’s son is seven feet away…”

“I was more eight feet but…” she shrugged, “let’s not get caught up in the technicalities.”

“Oh, my god.” River gasped softly. “It’s you.”

“It’s me.” Thirteen confirmed, she sighed, “Hello, I’m the Doctor―the first half-human hybrid in Gallifreyan history.”

Chapter Text

8

 

Donna didn’t even have time to be shocked as Thirteen sharply hunched over, coughs racking her frame. By instinct, Donna found herself at her side. Her Doctor was always sick it seemed like, sometimes not physically, and she’d grown accustomed to being there for him at the slightest sign of a shutdown. Thirteen sighed and as she did a wisp of shimmering golden light escaped her lips; Donna stepped back, that was new.

River joined her at Thirteen’s side, “Oh, sweetie, how long has it been?”

“Uh, ten, twelve hours?” she coughed.

Her expression turned somber, “Then something’s wrong.”

“I know, I know.”

Donna placed a hand on Thirteen’s back, going through the list of comfort techniques she used with Ten, “Wait, why is she…what’s wrong?”

“Typically,” River began to explain, “they’re regeneration sickness wears off after a few hours, isn’t that right mother dearest?” she turned to Amy who shared the same worried expression as her daughter.

“What?” Amy asked, “What do you mean?”

“You met your Doctor twenty minutes after he’d regenerated from Pretty Boy, how long was it until he was stable and normal…well, normal for his standards.”

Amy sighed heavily, “I-I don’t know he left me, he said it was just five minutes, though, so, twenty-five minutes, I’d guess.”

River nodded, she turned, “And you―Mickey, is it?”

Mickey, spooked by the sudden attention, stammered, “Uh, yeah, definitely. I mean, yeah, I am.”

“You were there when Ears regenerated, yeah?”

“Well, Ten passed out on me.” he explained, “After crashing into Jackie’s flat..”

“He did what? ” Rose crossed her arms.

River stood, taking Thirteen’s hands, “How long was he out?”

Mickey furrowed his brow, “Five hours, give or take.”

“You said twelve hours?” Martha recalled. “What does it mean if it’s taking too long, Thirteen?” Thirteen blew a raspberry,

“Hell if I know.”

“What?” Martha questioned.

“Look, Martha, Martha, Martha. I’m not supposed to exist. Bowtie was supposed to be it, I should be—“ she mimed a line across her neck with an accompanying ‘ksh’ “—dead. Twelve was pushing it, but me? I’m burning the rule book.”

Bill’s eyebrows knitted together, “Are you gonna be okay?” She whispered.

“Yeah! ‘Course! You all know me, I’m always okay.” She didn’t look like she believed it. Rory huffed, moving to stand besides Thirteen.

“Doctor, give me your wrist.”

Thirteen blanched, “Why?”

“I’m checking your heart rate, we’ve been with you for nearly a decade—I know when you’re hurt.”

“Roranicus Pond…!” she grumbled, “Let’s not kill the mood with medical talk.”

“I just found out my wife and I are gonna die quite soon and that you, my best friend,   are gonna spend 40-odd years alone then die…twice.” he let the statement hang in the air for the moment, “I think that finding out whether or not the thirteenth version of my friend is or is not sick would be the highlight of my day.”

Thirteen was silent. She willingly gave Rory her wrist without saying a word, she waited for Rory to finish his examination. The room’s atmosphere was terse, everybody had learned something they’d rather have not known throughout the day but the whirlwind of the Doctor had swallowed any of their time to process it.

“It’s fast.” he frowned, “Doctor, how did you…”

“Die?” Thirteen finished, “Spoilers, Pond.”

“Then give me the least spoiler-filled version.”

She clicked her tongue, “So...there were quite a bit of…aliens…and then” she mimed an explosion, “and then…then I woke up.” her voice sombered, “In the TARDIS but it was too late, I was regenerating, again.” her eyes weren’t focused on anything, she was just talking now, “It didn’t feel right, though. I finally felt like the Doctor again just for me to die. And now I have to start over. I just wished that I would finally just stop.” the fog that had slowly been gathering over her eyes cleared. She stood up abruptly and bolted out of the room.

“Doctor!” the companions yelled.

“Thirteen!” Amy yelped.

The group stepped out of the room in hopes to catch Thirteen before she disappeared into the veins of the TARDIS but was only greeted with dark, empty hallways.

River swore, “Goddamnit!”

“How’d she disappear like that?” Nardole groaned.

“When the Doctor doesn’t want to be found, they aren’t going to be found.” Clara explained, pinching the skin between her eyebrows.

“She’s getting bad again…” Donna whispered, flashbacks of many tearful, dark nights played in her head. She whipped her head around to face the two who’d travelled with Twelve, “Bill, Clara―what’d she mean by saying that she ‘felt like the Doctor again’.”

“I don’t know…” Bill’s never-enigmatic face was in disarray.

Clara pushed her hair back, “He didn’t think he was ‘the Doctor’ when he regenerated from Eleven. Thought he was just some pale comparison.” she sighed, “I sure didn’t help that.” she said under her breath.

“But they got better then died.” River concluded, filling in the blanks. She shook her head, “Okay, everybody go back to bed. We’ll talk to her in the morning.”

“At least we know who Penelope Gate is.” Rose rationalized.

Jack laughed hollowly, “Funny. We haven’t even reacted to the fact that Doc’s half-human yet.”

“No, my mind’s still imploding about that.” Martha joked, “We’ve got a lot to talk about, seems like everytime we learn something new they add another wall.”

Donna released a low breath, “That’s human.”



Artificial sunlight filled Donna’s room, turning the quite lavish bedroom that she’d received from the TARDIS gold. She spread out onto the bed, stretching her body until the grogginess of sleep had gone away. The TARDIS wasn’t moving, she noted, tying her silk robe around her, they must’ve landed while she was asleep. Sluggishly, she exited into the hallway, thinking heavily about what awaited her in the kitchen,

She began to rehearse what she planned to say to the Doctors once she saw them:

Hi!

No, too cheery. Not right to start out a conversation about her best friend’s painful past and deep-set identity issues with a ‘hi’.

Hey, Doctor.

Better.

Oi, dumbo

Best.

I know that your mum was a human named Penelope Gate from London in 1854 and that she fell in love with your dad and that you were her youngest son.

Ugh. Too much.

I know that Penelope Gate was your mum and we don’t think of you differently because of that but I just want to know if you’re okay.

Nice. Bit preachy, but nice.

She reached the kitchen with that sentence replaying over and over in her head but forgot it the moment she stepped inside.

Instead of the bleak, tense, quiet atmosphere she’d expected regarding last night she found the literal opposite: Music was playing; Eleven and Nine were making breakfast; Ten was playing a loud game of checkers with Mickey; Twelve, Missy, River, and Jack were conversing politely over coffee while Twelve quietly added too much sugar to his cup; Amy and Rory were setting the table while Bill filled cups of orange juice and Nardole ate crisps; and Martha, Rose, and Clara were happily dancing along to the music.

It was as if the night before had been a dream.

“Donna!” Ten greeted, putting his trademark style on her name. “How’d ya sleep?”

“Fine…?”

Eleven furrowed his brows, “Are you okay?”  

“Yeah, yeah, I’m stellar. But…” she momentarily locked eyes with River who shook her head slightly, “It’s nothing,” she grabbed a glass of orange juice and pulled a smile, “where are we?”  

“Berkeley, California!” Eleven smiled, “The United States!” he added with a frankly terrible accent.

“About 4:19pm.” Nine said.

“And we’re having breakfast?” Donna lifted an eyebrow.

“Time machine, Donna Noble.”

Clara stopped dancing for a moment, “So when are we heading out?”

Twelve shrugged, “Whenever.”

“Is Penelope Gate’s son in California?”

“Maybe.” Ten said, “This is where we’ve landed.”

“Do you…” Rory set down a fork, “know who this kid is?” Amy slapped his side while the Doctors all shook their heads.

“Nah.” Ten denied, moving his checker piece.

Donna looked around in confusion, so nobody was going to acknowledge what happened last night? She thought about tearing her prepared statement to shreds.

“Donna,” Eleven clicked off the stove, “have you seen Thirteen?”

She tensed slightly, “Uh…no, why?”

“Just asking.”

Something terrible filled her chest, Thirteen had accidentally let other people in to how she was really feeling and had bolted because of it. Even with the obvious changes in looks and personality, Thirteen was still her Doctor. And she had to do her role as the Doctor’s Donna.

“Excuse me for a moment,” she set the orange juice down, “I’m just gonna—“ She stepped out of the room, sighing heavily as she traversed the TARDIS halls.

“Hey, girl.” She said to the TARDIS, “I don’t know how long it’s been for you but I’ve missed you, love. I think that daft alien is in trouble and, trust me, I know that she’s already told you to keep us away but, please.” She wrung her hands together, “ Please just let me talk to her.”

And like magic she turned the corner to find a single door with a line of circular symbols carved into the wood.

“Thank you.”

Donna pushed the door open to the surprise of Thirteen who sat half-buried in a mountain of clothes.

“Donna!” Thirteen gasped, her voice was hoarse. “How did you find me?”

“TARDIS.”

“Of course.”

Donna closed the door behind her, sitting quietly on Thirteen’s bed. “Are you okay?”

“‘Course, yeah.” She threw a suit jacket to the side.

“No, you aren’t. You brought us here to get some things off your chest, so don’t pretend to be fine.” Donna reprimanded, “Can you at least tell me what you’re doing?”

“Clothes.”

“I can see that, dumbo.”

Thirteen cracked a small smile, “Oh, Donna…”

Donna smiled along with her, she knelt down besides her in the clothes, “Whatcha doin with the clothes, spacema-er—is spaceman still okay with you?”

“Fine.” Thirteen nodded, she held up a shirt against her chest, “I’m looking for an outfit, I haven’t had a chance to change out of this —“ she gestured to the tattered sweatshirt, “and I feel like changing out of this will make me feel better? I think?”

“That makes sense.” Donna scanned the pile and pulled out a blue blouse, “How ‘bout this?”

Thirteen shook her head, Donna tossed it aside.

Okay, she thought, think ‘the Doctor’. Think absolutely bonkers.

Her hands found something that no normal person would ever think to wear: loose petrol blue pants and sunshine yellow braces.

Perfect .

“Thirteen, how about this?”

The alien’s eyes lit up, the stars in her eyes nearly blinding.

“Donna Noble, you are a star!” She happily seized the clothing from her hands, pressing them to her chest.

“Okay! We’re getting there!” Donna couldn’t stop herself from beaming, “So, we need a shirt.”

“And a coat!” She exclaimed.

“And a coat.”

“And shoes and oh! Oh! Socks, those fuzzy ones that feel like blankets.”

“Okay…a shirt, coat, shoes, and fuzzy socks that feel like blankets.” Donna tied her hair back, “Let’s get to work.”

It didn’t take long to find the shirt (navy blue with rainbow stripes), the socks were buried under a stack of bowties, Donna had the unfortunate pleasure of pleading with Thirteen to wear a sports bra, the boots were found underneath the bed, but the coat was yet to be found.

“Try all that on, Thirteen. We’ll find a coat later.” Donna assured, abandoning another failed option.

Thirteen stood, pulling off her sweatshirt and to Donna’s surprise, she was not wearing a shirt beneath it.

“Whoa! Whoa!” Donna shielded her eyes.

“Turn around if it embarrasses you.”

She turned herself around, busying herself with looking at the wall while Thirteen tried on the entire garish ensemble they’d put together.

“I’m done!” she announced cluing Donna in to turn back around. Donna did, and immediately beamed. The outfit, however tacky it was (and it was), looked right at home on Thirteen. She opened her mouth to give praise but her eyes landed on something peeking out from the pile―a powder blue trench coat. Triumphantly, she grabbed the coat and tossed it onto Thirteen’s hands.

“Try it.”

Gingerly, Thirteen slipped the coat on, pausing once it finally hung from her frame. “Donna…”

“Looking good, Doctor, perfectly you.”

Another blinding smile lit up Thirteen’s face as she spun around, fully flaunting the strip of rainbow lining in the coat. “C’mon, Donna, let’s show everyone!”

She offered Donna her hand and suddenly Donna was back at Adipose Industry, ready to take on the trip of a lifetime.

“Allons-y!” Donna exclaimed.

The kitchen was about thirty seconds closer than before―even the TARDIS was excited to show everybody. Thirteen and Donna slid into the kitchen, Thirteen making a big show of swishing her coat,

“Hello!” Thirteen greeted, snapping her braces.

“Hey!” Amy happily rushed forwards, examining every little thing, “You have no idea how to dress yourself still!!”

“Oi!” Eleven shouted, he clicked his fingers, “Nice braces, though.”

“Nice coat!” Ten smiled.

Rose, with pink cheeks, smiled, “It looks amazing!”

Nardole nodded in approval, “Typically garrish.”

“I love it!” Bill exclaimed, she tilted her head, “Is that my shirt?”

“Yeah…” Thirteen rubbed her neck sheepishly, “Rainbows gave it away?”

“Definitely.” Bill gave Thirteen a hug.

Clara chuckled, “Bit different. Very Doctor-y.”

“What qualifies as ‘Doctor-y’, Miss Oswald?” Nine asked, Clara shrugged,

“Anything a color-blind clown would wear.”

“Oh, thank God,” Martha breathed a breath of relief, “she’s wearing a sports bra.”

The wave of compliments kept coming, Donna could feel Thirteen’s whole demeanor change. That sunshine-puppy feel she’d given off the entire time had felt forced, just some mask to help her face everybody, but this time this was her―the Doctor. She’s the Doctor, and Donna thought that for once, Thirteen thought so too.

Chapter Text

9

 

“I have a question.”

Bill had to force the sentence out of her mouth, it just felt wrong . Her having a question wasn’t wrong, she had about a million per day and the Doctor was well aware, it was the question itself. Twelve looked up from fiddling with his sonic glasses,

“Shocker.” he carefully placed them back on, “What is it?”

“Why didn’t you tell me you were still blind?”

The question hovered between them both and Bill cursed herself for ruining the good mood breakfast had caused. They’d all been laughing and eating and gawking at Thirteen’s outfit (Missy had explained it to Twelve in great detail; far too great detail―Bill shook the thought of Missy delightfully commenting on Thirteen’s rear) but everything about last night was weighing too heavy for Bill to bear.

“We won. We escaped with our lives, you escaped with your life.”

“You lost your sight because of me.”

“No.” he stood, assuming the position of Space Dad for Bill Potts yet again, “I lost my sight because of me; nobody makes me do anything, Miss Potts, I lost my sight on my terms―with the extra bonus of saving your life.” Bill sniffed, wiping the gathering tears away, “Hey, dry eyes Potts. I’ve got a wager against those idiots out there that you’re the best one, and I think we can rob ‘em blind.”

Bill snorted at his joke, “Stop calling yourself an idiot, you’re amazing, Doctor.” Bill held out her arms, “This is a hug.” He awkwardly hugged her back, easing up slowly but surely, “Can I ask another question?” he hummed in affirmation, “Is it weird seeing yourself as a woman?”

“I haven’t really seen her.”

“Shut up!” Bill swatted her, “You know what I mean, going from white-haired Scotsman to blonde Northerner, gotta be weird.”

“Eh, not really, I’ve got an arms-length relationship with human gender at best.” he pulled back from the hug, “She’s just me, but blonde. Haven’t been blonde in quite a while, actually.”

“Are your faces random? Or do you get to choose?”

“Random, more or less, sometimes it’s a familiar face―” he pointed at his own, “got this one off a Roman senator Pretty Boy and Donna met once. A friend of mine once stole her next face from a Princess Astra, just to mess with me.”

Bill smiled, “Can I meet her once this is all done?”

Twelve chuckled, “Bill Potts and Romanadvoratrelundar? Think of the scandal.”

“Romanadvor― what?” Bill nearly choked getting the name out, “Are all Time-Lord names that long? Is your name, like your real one, is your name that long?”

“Who knows.” Twelve replied, tapping the side of his nose. “Back to the task, why did Chinny send us back here?”

“You weren’t listening?”

“Of course, I just didn’t care to retain it.”

Tsk.

“He wanted us to get these communicators.” she scooped a handful of silver hearing aid shape devices from a bin, “So we can talk to each other while we’re looking for the kid.” She offered one to Twelve who placed in into his ear.

“Oh!” he repositioned it, “These ones…”

“What’s wrong with them?” she asked, worried, “He said specifically these.”

“They’re Emotional Response Communicators, they respond to any strong emotion by turning on and leading anybody else with it on straight to your location.”

“That seems a bit thick, what if we’re just really happy? Or tired?”

Twelve raised his eyebrows, “Then just say you’re really happy or tired into the comm.”

“Why does he want these in particular, though?”

“Five of us, in one location, bound to be some trouble.” He took another communicator, “C’mere,” he inserted it into Bill’s ear, Bill flinched at the cold metal, “now, think something really happy.”

“Okay…something happy…”

Friends.

Dogs.

Heather.

Doctor.

Nardole.

Nardole? Really?

Mum.

Something crackled in her ear, she reared back in surprise.

“Bill! Can you hear me?” Twelve’s voice came, from inside her ear.

“Whoa!” she marveled, “This is wicked! How do I use it without emotion?”

“Button on the top.”

Bill clicked the button causing the communication to stop, “Y’know, you have a lot more alien stuff than you let on, Doctor. This is total Star Trek .”

Total Star Trek.” Twelve agreed.



The console room was lively and teeming with excitement, everyone had washed up from breakfast and now early waited until the Doctors officially started the adventure.

“Are those the comms?” Eleven asked, whizzing past. “Brilliant!” he bopped Bill playfully on her head, he collected enough for everybody bar Bill and Twelve, “Everybody, take one of these!” he tossed the comms over to the companions and the Doctors. He slipped the comm into his ear, “Haven’t used these in years.”

The comm-line opened suddenly, Bill flinched.

“Oh, sorry!” Eleven’s voice came, the line went dead. “Got excited.”

“Oh, my god, take his away.” Nine pleaded, breaking away from a conversation with Rose, “His line will be opened the entire time.”

“It will not!” Eleven objected in a way that told Bill that it totally would. He huffed, leaning towards Bill,

“He’s rude, isn’t he?”

Bill shrugged, she didn’t find Nine all that abrasive. Just a more Northern version of Twelve. “I like him, at least.”

-“That makes one of us.”

“I like you, too!” Bill beamed. Eleven stalled for a moment then pointed to Twelve,

“Good one.” He smirked, he whipped around, “Amy! With all due respect, you’re fired!”

“Huh?!” Amy shouted back.

“Nothing!” Eleven slipped away, grabbing the box of comms from Bill’s hands.

Soon enough, every companion and Doctor had a comm placed in their ear, after an explanation on how they functioned everybody had begun to get the last things they needed before they headed out.

“How long d’ya think we’ll be out there?” Donna asked, tying her hair up.

Ten shrugged on his coat, despite the temperature that was sure to be quite hot outside of the TARDIS, “Rendre-vous in four hours.” He said, there was something unsteady about his movement. Maybe he was nervous about really seeing himself out there, or, at least, seeing his mother. “Stick together.”

“What if we don’t find him?”

“Then we didn’t find him.” Twelve replied coldly.

Martha’s eyebrows drew together, she pressed her lips into a straight line.

“Isn’t he your family, though?” Rose questioned, “You wouldn’t leave your family in danger, would you?”

“Of course I wouldn’t.” Ten assured, “But, trust me, Rose. The kid will be okay, if we find him or not.”

Thirteen rolled her eyes in a way that just read ‘Yikes’.

“What about Penelope Gate?” Donna challenged.

“She doesn’t know I’m alive, the message just was intercepted by me.” Eleven explained, “She’s not expecting me, promise.”

Thirteen clicked her tongue.

Bill couldn’t help but wonder when the other Doctors would (intentionally) let them in on the fact that they were Penelope Gate’s youngest son. River had insisted on not letting them now that they’d found out, reasoning that the other Doctor’s would hightail it out of the galaxy rather than confront a personal problem if they, the companions, knew that it was a personal problem.

“Are we gonna head out or just stay here prattling?” Nine asked, leaning against the doors.

“Right!” Ten sped over to the door, whipping his coat behind him and joining his predecessor, “Comms on?” Everyone nodded. “Alright!” Ten pushed back on the door, a flood of hot air hit Bill’s face, “Allons-y!”

They began filing out of the console room, flinching at the bright sun and frankly unnecessary heat.

“Wait, Doctor.” Amy said, suddenly, grabbing Eleven’s shoulders.

“Hm?”

She pointed to his purple coat, “Take that off.”

Eleven rolled his eyes, “C’mon, Pond, I can handle a bit of heat.” Amy glared at him, he slipped off the coat leaving him in a powder blue button-up and dark purple suspenders.

Amy nodded, “Good.” She pulled something out of her backpack—a beige tweed jacket with elbow patches. “Put this on.”

Eleven looked like a deer in headlights, looking at the jacket as if it was made of barbed wire. “Amy, I…”

“Raggedy Man.” The color left Eleven’s face, “Put this on.” He gingerly took the jacket, putting it on as slowly as possible. Amy tilted her head, “Looks different with the purple bowtie, but definitely better. What do you think, Rory?”

“Yeah, definitely better.” Rory agreed.

Eleven looked away tearfully, as did Bill—hoping not to be caught intruding on their conversation.

“Well, c’mon!” Amy exclaimed, “Me and my boys in California. That’s trouble.”

“Married!” Rory reminded.

“I know!”

The three of them left the console room with Bill following behind.

California was hot, far too hot. Far, far too hot to be sandwiched between all the people running, jumping, and sightseeing around the beach they had parked on. A group of people clapped once Bill escaped, the Doctor’s bowed. Thirteen brought out a fez she’d somehow produced from her pocket and collecting money from the onlookers.

“Oh, yes!” Ten grinned, “Amazing Blue Box!” He winked at one of them.

“We’ll be here all day!” Eleven twirled.

Thirteen brushed hair away from her face, looping her arm with Missy’s, “Money here, friends!”

Nine and Twelve scoffed, almost in sync, “Theatrics.” Twelve murmured.

“Sorry for them, folks!” Nine shouted.

River smiled softly, “Daft.”

Martha gently tapped Bill’s shoulders, gesturing to the side. “They’ll be at this all day, let’s go.”

Bill joined the rest of the companions on the sidewalk, Clara handed her a picture of Penelope Gate, the same picture that had been tucked inside her diary, “This is who we’re looking for, and that—” she turned the picture over, a phone number was neatly written on the corner, “—is my phone number. Call me if you see her, try not to get so excited ‘cause it’ll let them know where we are. River’s gonna keep them busy if it happens but she won’t be able to do it for long. Understood?” Bill nodded, “Great! Okay, everybody, split up!”

“Wait!” Jack shouted, “Where’s that egg-man? Nicole or whatever.”

“Nardole.” Bill corrected, “He’s not really an ‘in the field’ type of person. He’s staying behind.”

“Hm,” Martha cocked an eyebrow, “Where did Twelve pick him up?”

“I dunno. He’s been with the Doctor since I’ve known him.”

“Losing daylight, people!” Clara reminded, a few feet up the street.

“Right!” Martha tightened her backpack strap, “Let’s go, Donna.”

The two split away, disappearing into the crowd.

“See you guys!” Rory waved bye as he and Amy went the opposite direction.

Jack set his arm on Clara’s shoulder, “C’mon, Oswald.”

“Alright, Harkness.” They began to walk away before paused once Mickey shouted,

“Hold on!”

“Mickey, Mickey!” Jack beamed, removing his arm from Clara’s shoulder and placing it on Mickey’s. The trio left, leaving Rose and Bill.

“Guess it’s you and me!” Bill smiled, hoping to relieve the tension.

“Yeah!” Rose returned the smile.

The awkward silence that Bill had expected only grew while they searched Berkeley. Bill wanted to start a conversation, but Rose just seemed stiff and not in the mood for a chat. She had come up with two reasons as to why: 1) Rose was still processing the situation she’d found herself in with the multiple Doctors and such or 2) She was with Bill. Bill, the massive lesbian.

Rose had said she was from 2005, Bill had grown up in 2005 and she knew better than anyone that 2005 wasn’t the…best for gays. An uncomfortable feeling wrapped around her chest at the thought of experiencing that again—sure, people were still homophobic in 2017 but not as often as her primary school days and she’d gotten used to the tight-knit group of gays she’d created back home.

They turned to corner onto a way less full street, Rose sighed heavily, “Hey, Bill?”

“Yeah?” She said, trying to hide her uncomfortable thoughts from her voice.

“You’re…you’re gay, right?”

Yikes!

Abort! Abort!

Death would be nicer than this!

“Yeah…?”

Rose stared straight ahead, “That means you like girls, yeah?”

“Last time I checked.” Bill joked.

“When did you…find…that…out…?”

Bill shrugged, “When I was about nine or ten.”

“How did you know?”

“I, uh, I had a crush on this girl, her name was Asher or something like that.” She smiled at the memory, “She was twice my age but I saw her in a shop and I just fell head over heels, honestly. Used to come back every day just to see her and talk to her. She was nice, she didn’t like me back, of course, but she would always listen and didn’t make me feel bad for liking girls.” She looked off, as if trying to see Asher in the clouds, “Then one day the shop closed and I never saw her again.”

“That’s awful.” Rose frowned.

“Eh, not so bad. She’s probably happy somewhere, probably married her co-worker. They gave me vibes.”

“Good for Asher.”

“Yeah, good for Asher.” Bill looked at Rose, “Rose, can I ask why you just asked me all those questions?”

Rose’s face went red, “Well, I…” She pushed a lock of hair behind her ear, flustered, “See, I, well,” she took a deep breath, “I think the Doctor is great, my Doctor, I like being around him, a lot.” Bill, getting the hint, nodded, “And, well, you know that Thirteen is also the Doctor.” Bill nodded again, not wanted to speak in risk of stalling Rose’s train of thought, “Right, so, I kind of like being around her the same way I like being around him .” Bill’s eyes widened, finally getting what Rose meant.

You like Thirteen. ” She stated, Rose nodded.

“I don’t know what to do about that.”

Bill smiled, “Y’know that Clara’s bi, too, right?”

“Yeah?”

“You saw her flag in her room, she doesn’t hide it.”

“Do you think I should talk to her?”

“Well, she’s more experienced in this particular thing than me.”

Rose shook her head slightly, “I don’t know how to tell everybody, you guys seem pretty nice, absolutely incredible, really. But these things are…touchy.”

“You’ll be fine, Rose.” Bill assured, she gave her a hug with a sunshine-bright grin, “Promise!”

Rose squeezed her back, they seperated with matching smiles. They looked around where they had ended up, a large university with Berkeley proudly written on a plaque. “A campus!” Bill announced, “Looks rather posh, huh?”

“D’ya think kid Doctor is in there?”

“I don’t know…” she walked onto the campus, resting on a bench, she looked up, relishing the shadow from the large tree above them, “we don’t know how old they are right now, besides, I don’t think this place is interesting enough for them.”

Rose gasped softly, “Bill!” She pointed.

Bill’s eyes widened, in the window of the universe stood an average-height woman dressed in a gown with long orange hair. There in the window stood Penelope Gate, “Oh, my god!” Bill shouted. Rose flinched,

“Bill!” She whispered, “The comm!”

“Oh, shit! Oh, shit!”

“Bill!” Came Eleven’s voice, “Are you alright?”

“What’s going on!?” Thirteen joined.

“Uh, just saw a…” she blanched, Penelope had saw them and was now approaching with a inquisitive look in her dark eyes. “Uh!!!” She frantically fished out her phone texting the group-chat that Clara created: ‘mayday!! mayday!! berkeley uni!!! help!! shfjsklgajkdhl’, “I just saw a dog!” She lied, her heart racing.

“Are you sure?” Nine asked, his tone alone let her know that she wasn’t getting away with it.

“Yup!” She quickly searched for the button to switch it off, “Just a dog! Big, orange, fluffy,” Penelope came closer, “angry dog!” Penelope stood in front of them,

“That’s alien tech.” She said simply.

The chattering Doctors on the other end of the comms went silent, just the sound of breathing.

“Bye!” Bill stammered, finally finding the off switch.

Rose buried her face in her hands, “Oh, no.”

“Excuse me.” Penelope commanded attention with her voice, cut-glass and Northern. “Do I have to repeat myself?”

“No!” Bill and Rose exclaimed.

“Then explain yourselves.”

“We’re here about your message.” Rose said, “About your son?”

Penelope straightened, her eyes sharpening, “How did you get it?”

“Well, it’s a funny story.” Rose threw her hands about revealing the picture Clara had given them, Penelope’s expression grew even darker. She snatched it from Rose’s hands,

“Where did you find this!?” She demanded, waving the picture in the air.

“We know your son! We know him!” Bill exclaimed.

Penelope’s features softened, “...What?”

Bill took out her copy of the photo, pointing to the blonde child, “That’s your son, yeah? The Doctor?”

“That’s my son.” she confirmed, “But who’s the Doctor?”

“Oh! You probably call him his actual name, but we don’t know his actual name so,”

“His name is Theta.” Penelope said simply.

Rose and Bill exchanged looks, eyes wide.

“It’s what?” came Donna’s voice.

Bill, Rose, and Penelope turned around; the other companions had arrived on campus.

“Did you say his name is Theta?” Jack gasped, “Like his actual name??”

Penelope stared, “Who are you all?”

Clara cleared her throat, “We’re friends with your son, er, Theta.”

“Did you find him?” she asked, near pleading.

“No, but,” Clara approached, “I have a strong suspicion that they’re on their way.”

Bill blushed, “Sorry!”

Penelope’s expression turned to some indescribable, soft but brittle, “He is?” she whispered, she took a deep breath, “You all know my son, but a future that I do not know. One where he calls himself the Doctor, is this future coming?”

“Yes, ma’am.” Martha confirmed.

Penelope clicked her tongue, “Oh, my stars. Then I must welcome it.”

“Have you ever…seen another version of them before?” Mickey questioned.

Penelope sat on the grass, her gown splayed out around her, “I didn’t even know if he’d be able to regenerate, either way I’d never be able to see him.”

Bill hesitated before asking, “Why?”

Penelope laughed without any hint of happiness, “He’s really told you nothing.” her eyes roamed before stalling, the pale twinkle in her eye dimmed even further, her face blanched.

The companions turned to where Penelope’s gaze had stopped, already knowing what waited. The Doctors, River, and Missy stood, pale-faced. Bill could seeing the Doctor’s hands shaking,

“Mum?”

Chapter Text

10

 

Penelope shakily stood, holding in everything from the look on her face.

“Theta.” she whispered, her lip trembling. She took a step, then another, then another; the Doctors mirrored her. Only a few feet separated them.

Rose didn’t dare breathe, she suddenly felt all too close to Penelope.

“Mum, I…” Ten began, his always-in-charge tone faltering, “I…I’m so…”

Penelope closed the gap, wrapping her arms around Ten tight and trembling. “Don’t…apologize.” she murmured, tears streaming down her face. Ten nodded, holding back any emotion. Penelope looked at the other Doctors, “Come ‘ere, love.” Slowly, they joined the hug, all embracing Penelope as if she was glass that would turn to dust if they squeezed too hard. Missy and River stood off, River looking on quiet happiness while Missy stared like she was seeing a ghost.

Eventually, the hug split. All of them red-faced and silently wiping away tears,

“Hi, mum.” Thirteen smiled, nervously fidgeting with her bright yellow braces.

Penelope tilted her head, sizing Thirteen up, “I like it.” she fixed Thirteen’s hair, placing it behind her ear, “Northern too, good choice.” they laughed. Penelope put a hand against her own forehead, “This is…spectacular, your father and I were never sure if you’d be able to r-regenerate and here you are…here you all are. But, dear, if you’re already on your fifth body that’s being a bit reckless.”

“Ha ha!” Eleven laughed, his eyes avoiding Penelope, “Yeah…five bodies is a bit…much…!”

Penelope crossed her arms, “Do I even want to know?”

“No, probably not.”

She chuckled, “Oh, starlight, what’s kept you alive all these years?”

“I feel like I’ve had a part in that.” Missy remarked, smiling at the doubtful looks she received from the companions and the Doctors. Penelope gasped softly,

“Is that…?” she came face-to-face with Missy, “Oh, my stars , it’s you isn’t it?”

“The one and only.”

Penelope brought her tight into a hug, “Look at you!”

“Hello, Penelope.” Missy returned, she spun around, her Victorian garb flowing, “Do you like the new look?”

“I adore it, darling.” Penelope grinned, she gently fixed a stray hair from Missy’s hair,  “Oh, dear, do you two just go around regenerating?”

“We try not to make a habit of it.”  Missy assured.

Penelope grinned madly, her face red. Rose could suddenly see the resemblance between mother and child―manic grins and stars in their eyes. “This is all so… fantastic!” she clapped her hands together, “I never thought I’d see you two again and here you are! Alive and…oh! With friends!” she took Twelve’s hand, and pulled him so they both were facing the companions, “Theta, starlight, you haven’t introduced me!”

Twelve looks startled to be called Theta but, nonetheless; snarked, “They can introduce themselves.”

“Don’t be rude!”

Eleven swooped in, pointed at the respective person as he spoke, “That’s Rose, Jack, Mickey, Martha, Donna, Amy, Rory, Clara, and Bill.”

“Are they humans? Or…?”

“All human, ma’am.” Rory said, he looked around, “As far as I know.”

Jack made a ‘so-so’ hand gesture.

“They like to pick up strays.” Missy drawled, Penelope scoffed,

“They don't look like strays! They look like friends!” she beamed, “Oh, Rose, Bill―so sorry for scaring you earlier. Theta’s been missing for almost a month now and I’m just so worried.”

“It’s fine.” Rose smiled while Bill nodded.

“About that,” Nine interjected, “I think something may be seriously wrong with The―me being missing.”

Penelope paled, “W-Why?”

“We were talking, yeah?” Thirteen explained, “And none of us… remember running away or being kidnapped or anything. Well, at least this time.”

“And, we never ran away to California.” Eleven finished, “Well, a California on Earth.”

Penelope stood still, joy still on her lips but none on her face. “What does that mean?”

“It means, I, uh,” Ten sighed, “I don’t know. I don’t know what that means. That’s rare, me not knowing.”

“Not as rare as you think, love.” River remarked, Penelope raised an eyebrow.

“Now, who are you?”

“That’s River.” Eleven stated.

“That’s my wife, River.” Twelve smiled.

Penelope’s eyes widened, she sputtered, “O-Okay? Well, oh, um…I think we should go inside, your father must be wondering where I’ve gone to.”

“Dad?” the Doctors chroused.

Eleven straightened his bowtie, “Dad’s in there?” Rose couldn’t read his reaction, something between happiness and horror.

“Yes, dear.” She cupped his face, she softly assured, “It’s okay.” Eleven softly nodded, Penelope gathered the hem of her dress to make it easier to walk, “Well, off we go. Allons-y, loves!”

Ten flinched, Donna and Martha exchanged looks.

The inside of the university was rather beautiful. Old and ornate, with soft light flooding the hallway. Students milled about, some pausing to gaze at the large group traversing the hall. Penelope walked ahead of the group, waving at some of the students that called her name from around the hall. They reached two wide oak doors, Penelope began to push, interrupted by a young woman with multiple piercings and lovely pink hair,

“Oh! Mrs. Joyce!” She called, running over to the group.

Penelope turned on the spot, “Yes, Carmen?”

“I revised my essay and I was wondering if you’d read it over again?”

“Of course, dear. What was it on, again?”

“That thing about spaceflight Mr. Daniel was talking about―trans-dimensional mechanics, or whatever.”

Penelope chuckled, “That’s his favorite.” she turned back to the group, “Excuse me a moment.”

Penelope and the young woman, Carmen, went off to a bench on the other side of the lobby, leaving the rest of them to stand and wait in front of the oak doors.

Carmen is rather pretty, eh? Rose thought to herself, her face went red. Oh, god.

It was stupid, really. How figuring out she fancied one singular woman had caused her to realize that she fancied quite a lot of women but hadn’t pegged it as a crush . She’d only dated boys in her nineteen years of life, currently Mickey (though by the looks of it, not for long), but just looking at Thirteen had set her on fire. She thought that talking to Bill would help but now she was only more confused, she didn’t think she was bisexual, just that she liked Thirteen the same way she liked Nine and that she’d always thought about what it’d be like to date a girl and just last year there was Shireen and―

Oh, damn, she was definitely bi.

“Curious, though.” Nine suddenly said, appearing behind her, “You’re not reacting the way I thought you would.”

“Whaddya mean?” she questioned, trying to hide the blush on her cheeks.

“I mean, that you and all the other kids,” he gestured towards the other companions, “seem a bit too unsurprised that this is happening.”

“...That Penelope is your mum?” Rose guessed, she looked around, hoping to catch eyes with either River or Clara, “Well, I don’t know, weirder things have happened in the past twenty-four hours.”

“Hm.”

“Yeah, but,” she desperately searched for something else to talk about, “why did that student call her Mrs. Joyce when her last name’s Gate?”

“My dad, he goes by the name Joyce on Earth. Daniel Joyce. If she’s been staying with him here then the students have probably come to know her as Mrs. Joyce.”

“Strange, why is your dad on Earth?”

“How did you know what my mother looked like?” he shot back, his voice low.

Rose blanched, “W-What?”

“We never showed you a picture and you and Bill seemed to know who you were looking for also don’t think we didn’t notice how strange you lot were acting at breakfast, so…” he looked at her, anticipating her answer.

“Ain’t that strange.”

“Rose…”

“Okay, fine!” she huffed, “We found out last night.”

“How?” he asked.

Rose explained Clara’s plans and how they had discovered who Penelope Gate was after searching through the library.

“Amazing.” he said afterwards, clicking his tongue.

“What’s amazing?”

“You humans never keep out of anything.”

Rose clicked her tongue, “You can’t make fun of humans anymore, technically you’re one of us.”

“Don’t be daft.”

“Oi!”

Nine snorted, “Suspected so, the fellas and Thirteen were pretty much convinced that you were all up to something once you all went off on your own. Say, did River know?”

“Yeah.”

“Knew it. She was stallin’ us on the way here, wanted to see a whole lot of the city.”

Rose laughed, she nudged him, “Whaddya think of her, River, I mean? Future wife and all.”

“I like her, honestly.” he nodded, Rose smiled despite the pang in her chest, “I can see why I ended up marrying her, still concerned about being shot to death, though.”

“Naturally.”

“Tell you what, I trust her a lot more than those jokers.”    

“The other Doctors?”

“Mmhm, never trust a reflection, Rose Tyler.” Nine and Rose glanced over to the other Doctors who had all gone to talk to their respective companions, Rose caught Ten staring. She waved, he waved back. “What do you think about them?”

“What do you think about them, they’re you, right?”

“Avoiding the question?”

“No! ‘Course not, I just…” she shrugged, “I don’t know what to think, they’re all so different I can’t imagine them being you or vice versa. I think I’ll be with Ten for however long, but I can’t see him measuring up to you.”

“Well, don’t tell me that. Can’t have me having insecurities over a person I’m not yet.” he chuckled, “That’s next level.”

“Oh, shut it. We’ll still be friends.”

“Even with Pretty Boy’s face?”

“Even with Pretty Boy’s face.” Rose confirmed, “Though, you could go a bit easier on the hair product.”

Nine nodded solemnly, “Noted.”

Rose noticed him warming up again, in the short time they’d been travelling she’d noticed that he sometimes gave the cold shoulder to all sorts of situations. At the moment she’d listed three prominent ones:

  1. His past
  2. The Time War
  3. His family

And this situation brought up all three.

Sometimes she wished that he didn’t have so many secrets, something unwanted would stir up whenever Rose realized that no matter how close they got she would never actually know him.

You’re keeping a secret from him, right now. She thought, playing with the strings of her hoodie. Was this something to be embarrassed about? Bill didn’t seem embarrassed at all, neither did Clara. She should just say it! Just say it! Shout it to the group―Hello! I’m Rose Marion Tyler and I’m bisexual!

She turned to Nine, confidence worming its way through her throat, “Doctor, I have something to tell you!”

He looked spooked by the sudden gusto in her tone, “What?”

“I’m―”

“Sorry, everybody, for the interruption.” Penelope apologized, joining the group once again, she fixed Nine’s jacket, “Your father loves making those kids work ‘til death.” She walked towards the front, pressing her back against the wood, “Though I do believe that Carmen is going to do quite well.” She pushed against the door, revealing another hallway.

“What were you going to say?” Nine whispered, as the walked towards a smaller frosted glass door.

Rose searched for the confidence she’d had just a moment ago but only found anxiety.

“Nothing.” she lied.

Once they reached the glass door, Penelope paused, took out a silver key and unlocked it. “This is his office.” she said softly, “He may be with a student, so…” she put a finger against her lips. One by one they all filed in, Rose being the last to enter.

Inside was a man who looked to be either late-40s or early-50s with messy salt-and-pepper hair, his blue eyes were trained on a stack of papers. He wore a faded orange shirt that simply read ‘California’ and red flannel.

Penelope coughed, “Darling.”

The man’s head shot up, “Yes, Pen―Oh.” He stood sharply, knocking a few files of the desk. “Oh, Rassilon.”

“Hi, dad.” The Doctors mumbled, each sharing the same enigma of an expression.

“Theta.”

“I know its been a while and that what I did was just stupid and unacceptable but―” The Doctor’s father raised a hand, silencing Ten’s rambles.

“Theta Sigma,” he walked over, somehow exuding authority despite the outfit (must’ve been where the Doctor got it from), “you’ve still got that gob of yours,” he smirked, his face brightening, “and that recklessness―what, one, two three―five bodies?”

“I can explain.” Twelve insisted.

He nodded towards Missy’s direction, “And, Koschei?”

“Good afternoon, Ulysses.”

“Afternoon, Oakdown.”

“Koschei Oakdown.” Rose whispered, testing the name on her tongue. It felt like intruding to know the real names of the Doctor and the Master, like she was breaking something sacred.

“How’d you know it was me?” Missy questioned.

“The eyes.” He pointed at his own, “No matter what. The eyes stay the same, also it did help with you holding her hand and all.”

Rose looked down to find that Thirteen and Missy were, in fact, clasping each other’s hands.

“Oh.” Missy and Thirteen said.

“Nothing changes.” He happily clapped Thirteen on the back, “Now, who are all these people?”

“Friends,” Nine said, “I travel with them.”

Ulysses raised an eyebrow, “What, all of them? At once?”

“No, I just travel with Rose, here.” he rested his shoulder on her’s, “There’s a, uh, situation right now and we’re all together for the moment.”

“A situation?”

“Long story.”

Ulysses clicked his tongue, “I won’t ask.” he focused on her, “I’ve got a bit of a situation here too and, frankly, you being here has made it a bit more interesting.”

Eleven moved over to his desk, looking over the files, “What kind of situation?”

Ulysses held up a thin piece of blue paper, “This is a Burner request.”

“So?” Thirteen asked, taking it from his hands. She read it over, her features softened, “Oh.”

“Yeah.” he leaned against his chair, “A Burner for you.”

The Doctors groaned, “Again?”

“Again!?” Penelope and Ulysses exclaimed.

“‘Cuse me, but what’s a Burner?” Bill asked, raising her hand.

“An assassin, but in a time sort of way.” Twelve explained, “They literally burn you from the timeline; no body, no mess.”

Amy’s eyes widened, “And there’s one for you?”

“Don’t worry, Pond.” Eleven shrugged, “This is like my Twelfth one, they’ve been trying to kill me for centuries.”

Rose crossed her arms, “Who, exactly?”

“The Gallifreyan higher-ups. The Lord President and all his lackeys.” Ten sneered, “I wouldn’t worry about it, the paradoxes are messy enough that killing me in damn near impossible.”

Ulysses sighed heavily, “I wouldn’t bet on it.”

The Doctors froze.

Nine spoke slowly, “What do you mean?”

Suddenly, a small door on the other side of the room burst open. Two people, a man with slick black hair in a suit and a woman with short curly hair in scarlet robes, came in holding two boxes of items.

“Okay, so,” the woman spoke, “I found these in the Archives but I’m not sure if they’re gonna…” he finally looked up, “...help.”

“This is ridiculous.” the man scoffed, “Do you know what good timing is?”

“Good to see you, too, Irving.” Eleven snarked, “How’ve you been?”

Irving set down the box, “I’ve been better, actually. Seeing that you’ve, once again, done something against every rule.”

“You’re one to talk,” Thirteen frowned, “What’re you doing here? A nice boy like you wouldn’t be caught dead running with some renegades, right?”

“I grew up with you. I had to run with the biggest renegade in all the rule book, did you know that they use your picture for the training guide about dealing with dangerous renegades?”

“Oh, do they!” Ten brightened, “Is it a good one?”

“I gave it to them. Of course it’s not.”

“Boys! Boys!” The woman groaned, she sat on the corner of the desk with the robes folding gracefully beneath her. Rose’s eyes were trained on her face, it was quite striking. Her brown skin and the freckles all around her face accompanied by the brownest eyes Rose had ever seen sent blood rushing to Rose’s cheeks. “God, this is the first time you’ve seen each other in millenia and what do you do? Bicker!” her smooth, velvet voice brought silence. She slid herself off the desk, making her way over to Rose, causing everything in her head to go into a meltdown.

The woman held her hand out, “I’m Romana.” she introduced with a smile.

Electricity raced down Rose’s spine, she choked it down clasping Romana’s hand. Her mind went blank, her mouth hanging open stupidly.

Just introduce yourself! Say anything!

Rose confidently shook her hand, and confidently introduced herself,

“I’m bisexual.”

Chapter Text

11

Clara held back an ugly laugh, watching Rose’s face turn bloody red. Poor girl, Bill had clued her in on Rose’s little discovery and she was planning to find the time to give her any advice she could with the help of Bill and Jack, the only two other gays she knew were available for (good) advice. She knew the Doctors weren’t exactly the straightest but Eleven’s reaction to her when she had come out were around the lines of ‘Oh, same’, and that didn’t seem to be what Rose needed at the moment.

The woman, Romana, only released Rose’s hand with a knowing smile, “Good for you.” she nodded towards the Doctors,

“Long time, no see, Theta.”

“It’s the Doctor.” Twelve insisted.

Romana crossed her arms, cocking her hip to the side, “I haven’t seen you in, say, one-thousand-seven-hundred-and-nineteen years, and I’ve been stuck cleaning up your mess after that Gallifrey situation.” she booped Twelve’s nose, “I’m calling you Theta.”

“What mess on Gallifrey? The Time War?” Nine asked, nearly mirroring Romana’s pose. “I didn’t cause it.”

“Not the Time War, I mean what he” she pointed at Twelve, “did a few years ago.”

Clara caught her breath, it had been years since the Gallifrey incident and she had been having a frankly amazing time zooming through space and time with Ashildr in their little restaurant, but even through everything she couldn’t forget that day. She’d seen the Doctor angry, of course, but that was different―that was the Doctor desperate. The memories made her absence of a beating heart louder than ever. Twelve and Thirteen exchanged looks, dark and silent.

“What did you do?” Eleven whispered sharply.

“Nothing, it was nothing.” Thirteen lied quickly, moving swiftly to the boxes on the table.

Romana tsked, “Keeping secrets are we?”

“No,” Thirteen said, “I’m just…withholding information.” she took a folder out of the box, ignoring the disapproving, concerned looks from her parents, “What’s all this?”

“It’s all you.” The man, Irving, said. “All your adventures, all the companions, and all of the rules of time you’ve broken.”

“Only two boxes?” Ten quipped, raised an eyebrow.

“There’s about twelve more in the back.”

Ulysses chuckled, “Twelve more!? What the hell have you been up to, Theta?”

“I’ve been busy.” Thirteen clarified.

Penelope shook her head, “You’re too much like your father.”

“They get that from you!” Ulysses asserted.

She tenderly kissed him on the cheek and took his hand, “Perhaps.”

The Doctors and Irving, the Doctor’s brother, cringed.

“Anyways,” Eleven shook his head, “where’d you two find this?”

Romana clicked her tongue, “The Citadel, tucked away in some off-room. Somebody’s been keeping a rather close eye on you, even through the Time War―look.” She slipped the file out of Thirteen’s hands, opening it to show something that looked like a foreign wanted poster with illegible writing around a picture of a tired looking man with brown curly hair who was dressed in Victorian garb. Something in Clara’s mind twitched, she’d met that man, that Doctor, as one of her echos, she supposed. He looked happier when Clara met him.

Thirteen narrowed her eyes, whistling, “Well that’s impressive. Couldn’t even keep track of myself during the War.”  

“Is that another face?” Bill asked, tilting her head to the side.

“Yeah, eighth one. Lots of hair, that one.”

Ulysses’ head snapped up, “Sorry, did you just say eighth!?”

Irving scoffed, “They’re an idiot, dad.”

“Brax!” Nine exclaimed.

“Theta!”

“Shut up!” Missy snapped, “Nothing changes, right Romana?”

“Completely with you,” Romana eyed her up and down, “I like the new look, Kos. I also really like how you haven’t killed anybody here yet.”

“Night’s still young.”

“Pardon me, but can we get back to the fact that I’ve been watched my whole life?” Ten asked sharply, shrugging off his trench coat and tossing it aside. “Why’s that exactly?”

“Honestly?” Romana shrugged, “I think it’s because we have to. You’re not a normal Time Lord, Thete. If we didn’t we’d have no way of knowing where you are.”

“You don’t need to.” He grumbled.

“Trust me,” she locked eyes with Ten, something dangerous in her eyes, “we do.” Ten looked away, Clara thought about Ten’s entrance the day before, all red-eyed and disheveled―what the hell had he been doing?

“How much do they have?” Ten croaked, sitting on the floor, soon joined by all the other companions and Doctors. Romana and Irving placed the boxes before them along with others that had been there beforehand, Penelope and Ulysses craned their heads over to look.

“This,” Romana’s hand hovered above one box nearly bursting at the seams, “is every adventure you’ve had; planets, place, times, all of it.” she went to another, nearly as full, “This is every associate, companion you’ve had.” The Doctors looked sheepish at that and some companions eyed the box with a mix of curiosity and resting jealousy, “This one, all your faces. Even the ones you don’t like…and the metacrisis.” Ten, Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen went wide-eyed, lips pressed into a straight line. All their eyes went to Ten who was nearly bright red. Nine shook his head mouthing ‘metacrisis?’. Finally, Romana touched the last box, her expression changed, ever so slightly, “This…these are the times you were danger.”

Twelve quipped, “It’s always dangerous, I don’t mean it to be but it seems to be a trend.”

“No, no, you don’t…Theta, these are all the times you were danger, danger to other people. All of your slip ups.”

The air turned thick and electric.

“Why do you need that?” Ten muttered.

I’oiel buio sha’marie.”   Romana returned, the Doctors’ faces darkened.

Penelope stood up sharply, “How bout some tea, dears?” she stuck out her hand, “Ulysses, please?”

The couple exited the room silently, tracked by the eyes of everybody else in the room.

Now, Clara wasn’t that great when it came to Gallifreyan―Eleven had only taught her up to a kindergartener level before he got bored and switched to Latin, but; nonetheless, she understood:

Because they’re scared of you.

Oh, dear, she thought, this isn’t going to be fun.

Gingerly, Nine shoved the last box to the side, “You said you think you know why these exists, now, that makes me think that you really have no clue.”

“I have another theory.” Romana assured, she turned around, “Irving, hand that to me, please.”

Irving looked up from the empty spot where his father had been, “Fine.” he picked a thin slip of grey paper and handed it to Romana.

“Did you hear anything from back home?”

“Not a thing, I don’t even think they’ve noticed that you’re gone.”

“Good.” she looked down at the paper, stone-faced. “Now, Theta, I found this with the archives on you―I know that this is impossible but…”

“Just read it, Romana.” Irving urged.

She shot him a lethal glare before clearing her throat, “‘Completed Burner Mission―Theta Sigma of the Lungbarrow House was terminated and wiped without error or interruption’.” she sighed, “So, basically, you died. During your first regeneration. Outside of the Academy. And you never even touched a type-40 TARDIS or left Gallifrey.”

“That can’t be right…” River mused.

“Yeah, how can they be dead when there’s five of them sittin’ right here?” Donna asked, “There’s no way!”

“There’s proof. If you want to see it.” Romana offered, she placed her hand on the paper then lifted it up revealing a black-and-white video hovering, paused in the air. Clara could only see a the backside young person with wild hair.

“No.” Thirteen denied, her eyes stormy. “Just show it to us.” she looked over the companions, “Do you lot mind going back to the TARDIS? Just for a moment, tell Nardole where we are and bring her over here. River?” River looked, “Do you mind helping?”

“No!” Clara exclaimed, her mouth proceeding her mind, she shrunk back at all the sudden eyes, “No, I…I know how to fly a TARDIS, I can get us back fine. She’s your wife, she should be here, too.”

River looked thankful, tension in her shoulders releasing slightly.

“Alright, then.” Thirteen nodded, “See you in ten?”

The companions nodded, all beginning to file out of the room. As Clara left, she heard the video start, from the crack between the door and the lock she saw the young person whip around at the sound of a footstep with fear lighting up their bright eyes. The door clicked close.

“Whew…” Mickey sighed heavily, “that was tense.”

“Was I the only one who felt weird?” Bill asked, “Intruding on all this Time Lord stuff?”

A chorus of ‘no’s, ‘same here’s and ‘not at all’s followed.  

Jack stretched, “What I’d do to take a look in those files.”

They began walking, Donna shook her head, “Why would you want to do that?”

“Doc, doesn’t tell us anything it seems like. Their own mom said so, it just...” he groaned, “it just seems like we give them everything we are and all they give back is questions.”

Jack’s statement was met with silence.

Of course they all knew it was true, there was a big doctor-shaped hole of questions in the back of Clara’s mind that not after nearly seven years of travel had solved.

The group continued to walk down the hallway, quietly and tiredly. She hoped to get at least an hour or two of sleep before swinging back in time to fulfill their promise to be ‘back in ten’. The excited energy from earlier was depleted, the reunion Clara had imagined would be joyful and loving had degraded to tense and secretive. They pushed past the doors and exited the university,

“Well, let’s count our victories, eh?” Bill suggested, smiling slightly.

“Whaddya mean?” Rose asked, eyes downcast and playing with the strings of her hoodie.

“I mean…we wanted to have a reunion―we did that.” she reminded, “So, that’s a victory.”

“Penelope seems nice, so does their dad―that’s a victory, I guess.” Amy added.

Martha shrugged, “We met their brother, and Romana. That’s nice.”

“We made it to California.” Donna said, fanning her face, “Bit hot but nice.”

“No paradoxes,” Jack smiled, “no universe shattering paradoxes, always fun.”

Mickey nodded, “I think we did good. Not our fault all that Time Lord stuff happened.”

The group agreed.

“Tell you what,” Rose chuckled, “this is the first time that visiting the Doctor’s home planet hasn’t seemed like a good idea to me, it sounds tense.”

“I’ve been.” Clara said simply, the companions paused.

“You’ve been!?”

“Yeah, well, only for a couple hours.” she stared straight ahead, thinking about the last time she was on Gallifrey, “It’s beautiful, definitely, but it’s…it’s nothing like you’d expect. He tells us the pretty parts of Gallifrey, and that’s a small part of it.”

“Does it have something to do with that situation Romana was talking about?” Rose asked.

Clara nodded, “I don’t want to get in on it now but it’s just…we both made mistakes, Me and the Doctor, and some of them were bigger than others.”

Jack raised an eyebrow, “You are a mystery, Clara Oswald.”

“Get used to it.” she smiled.

PARDON US!!” came a loud female voice from behind them, suddenly a trio (two men and a young woman) cut through the group frantically. “SORRY!!”

“GRAHAM, WAIT!” The young black man turned around, “HAVE YOU SEEN A BOX―BLUE, ABOUT YE HIGH? LOOKS LIKE A PHONE BOX??”

The companions exchanged looks, “Why…?” Rory asked.

“IT’S KIND OF IMPORTANT.”

“Nope.” Clara lied, unsure on what to make of the trio, “Sorry.”

The man groaned, muttering, “Where did she park it?!”

“YASMIN! RYAN!” shouted the older man (Graham, apparently) from far ahead, “C’MON!”

The strange trio disappeared around the corner, “I smell new companions.” Martha grinned.

“Cute ones, too.” Jack clapped his hands, “Thirteen really knows how to pick ‘em.”

Clara smiled, “Yasmin, Ryan, and Graham. They seem nice.”

“Bit panicked, yeah?” Amy noted, eyebrows furrowed.

“Nothing changes.”


Eventually, they reached the TARDIS and happily entered.

“Thank God, there’s air conditioning.” Donna sighed, kicking off her shoes.

Bill shrugged off her backpack, “Nardole!!” she called, “We’re back!”

Somewhere in the down the hall Nardole groaned, “I’m busy!”

“What’re you doing?”

“Watching TV!” he emerged from the hallway, wearing a gaudy robe and a winter’s cap, “American television is a trip―twenty different shows of rich women throwing wine at each other, I was in paradise.” he leaned against the console, “Where’s the rest of them?”  

“Something came up…it’s complicated.” Amy stretched, “Thirteen just wanted us to come back and tell…oh, no.” she stood stiff, “Rory, open the door!” Rory obliged, seemingly knowing what she was implying, Amy relaxed, “They can’t send the TARDIS off with the door opened.”

“D’ya really think they would do that?” Rose asked, concern on her face.

“What? Your Doctor’s never done it to you?”

“...No???”

“He must really like you, Rose Tyler.”

Rose looked down, red on her cheeks.

Clara smirked, Bill had mentioned Rose’s little crush on Nine―poor girl. She had had a bit of a thing for Eleven, but even if she had gotten over it and was now almost seven months in with Ashildr, she still knew what it was like to feel like that, “I’m gonna go take a quick nap, alright? Give me an hour, I can swing the TARDIS back around to about….eh, five minutes ago and we’ll go right back to the Doctor.”

Nardole furrowed his brow, “How do you know how to fly a TARDIS?”

“Another mystery, eh?” she smiled before walking off to her room.

Thankfully, she flopped onto her bed once she found it. She kicked up her feet, toeing off her shoes and throwing them across the room, she sighed. Her eyes drifted to the picture sitting in the center of her dresser,

“Well, Danny. That didn’t go as planned.”  

The picture didn’t answer.

“I mean, yeah, I wasn’t expecting rainbows and butterflies but I sure as hell wasn’t expecting that .”

She laughed, the picture didn’t answer.

“Ulysses kind of reminds me of you; authoritative, bit messy, giving the Doctor a hard time.”

Again, no answer. She sighed.

“I love you, Danny, just thought you should know.”

Her phone rang suddenly, she reflexively grabbed it holding it up to her face. It was Ashildr, she smiled, “Hey, love.”

“Hey, babe, how’s it going over there? Is everything okay?” Ashildr asked, “I haven’t heard from you.”

“Everything’s good, yeah.” she played with her necklace, “Things got a bit mucked up but nothing life threatening, yeah. Or death-threatening, in my case.”

“Ha ha, Clara.” Ashildr laughed sarcastically, “What do you mean by ‘mucked up’?”

In a very, very condensed retelling she caught Ashildr up to speed on what her day had been like. At the end, Ashildr let out a low whistle,

“You’re right, that is…that is not ideal, whew.”

“That’s putting it lightly.”

Her partner clicked their tongue, “How’s seeing him again?”

She blew a raspberry, “It’s…weird, y’know. I still remember everything, everything , we did together but I look at him and just none of it is on his face. And this Eleven doesn’t even know me yet. It’s just Thirteen, and I…I don’t know her. In a really weird way we’re back at square one.” Clara sunk deeper into her bed, “At least Bill is a good fit for him, somebody to balance him out.”

“She’s a lesbian, yeah?”

“Mmhm.”

“Wow,” they chuckled, “you got him hooked on gay girls.”

“Shut up!”

The phone vibrated in her hands, she pulled it away to see a text notification―

Bill Potts: hey, jack and i wanna know if it’s a good time for a Talk With Rose™  

She texted back: Yeah, how about tonight? My room?

Bill Potts: valid

“Speaking of gay girls.” Clara chuckled, “I have to go help one out with her first bisexual panic later.”

“Oh, god, you really have everything happening over there.”

“I know…” she smiled, “I miss you, y’know.”

“I miss you, too.”

“No homo, though.”

“Yeah, course.”

They laughed together.

They talked on for the next hour, recounting each other’s day and reminiscing on adventures they had had long ago. Soon, sadly, she glanced at the clock and found that her allotted hour she’d given herself was over.

“Ashildr, I’ve got to go.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, tell you what? I’ll call you tonight.”

“I can’t wait.” she could hear them smiling over the phone, “Bye.”

“Bye.”

The line went dead, she groggily sat up, trying her best to fix her hair before putting back on her shoes and walking out to the console room where everybody else had gathered. She carefully set the TARDIS into motion after shutting the door,

“It’s Berkley Uni, right?”

Bill nodded, Clara pointed at the stack of papers in her arms, “What’re those for?”

“Essays.” She explained, turning one over to prove it, “The Doctor’s still gotta grade them, finals and all.”

“Grade?” Donna questioned, “Is Twelve like a teacher or something?”

“Professor, actually. He’s been at Saint Luke’s for nearly seventy years.”

Nardole interjected, “Sixty-eight years, actually.”

Mickey scoffed, “Didn’t think he had the attention span to be a professor, what does he teach?”

“Honestly?” Bill shrugged, “No idea. I just show up and write notes about whatever he’s talking about. Look,” she picked out two essays, “this essay’s on interdimensional travel using string and ribbon; this one’s on whether or not ‘Infinity On High’ can be considered a classical masterpiece.”

“The Fall Out Boy Album?” Amy scoffed.

“We got into a row. And it is.” Bill asserted. The TARDIS landed smoothly, the group exited. Clara beamed with pride upon finding that she had landed perfectly outside of Ulysses’ office.

She snapped her fingers, “Ten minutes since we left, give the girl a medal!”

“Wow.” Jack whistled, “Good job, shortstack.”

“I don’t think that’s a compliment, Jack.”

She pushed the door open, “We’re back, Doctor.”

Thirteen looked surprised at their presence, Amy rolled her eyes, more directed at Eleven, “I know you, Doctor.”

Romana glanced up from the sprawl of files that now surrounded every part of the room, her face was darker, “Is their TARDIS out there?”

Clara nodded, “Parked perfectly, if I may add.”

“Good. You,” she pointed at Ten, “skinny one.”

“Hey!”

“No time for that, you go get your TARDIS ready. Set every single Galactic Phaser to the highest setting.”

“Blue lever with the bit of gold inside.” River explained.

“Won’t that kill her?” Ten asked worriedly.

“That’s a type-40 TARDIS that’s survived two millennia of you as a pilot―I couldn’t kill her if I tried.”

Ten pulled a face but still went outside to do what Romana said, she stood, pulling her curly hair into a ponytail, “Brief your companions, will you? I’ve got to get Irving.”

“Brief us on what?” Martha furrowed her brow as Romana pushed past her.

The Doctors stared silent, from the side Missy looked on, “I’ve got a very serious question for you all.” Twelve said finally, he took a deep breath, “Do you trust me?”

“Of course.” they chroused.

Twelve shook his head, “No.” his eyes sharpened, “Not as the Doctor, but as your friend―Do you trust me?”

The response came slower, but still the same.

“Of course.”

“Good.” Nine interjected, “‘Cause this could be dangerous.”

“We’re going somewhere I’ve been avoiding for a very long time.” Eleven added.

Something in Clara’s stomach got itself tied in a knot, “Where?”

“We’re going home.” Thirteen stuck her hands in her pockets, “We’re going to Gallifrey.”

Chapter Text

12

 

Amy wasn’t able to say a word as the team (Gang? Fam?) raced into the TARDIS, Romana and Irving pushed past them.

“Good Gallifrey, Theta.” Irving chortled, “Thousand years in and you still can’t pick up after yourself!”

“Shut it, Irving.” Thirteen groaned, “Stick to the objective.”

“Rich coming from you, this console is for a sugared up kid!” Irving gestured widely, “Half of these don’t make sense!” He pointed to a blue-gold switch, “Like what is this for?”

Twelve rolled his eyes, “It connects to Bill’s phone, it’s for when she wants to play her music.” He reached over and flipped the switch, unseen speakers crackled:

“...sipping on straight chlorine, let the vibe slide over me…the beat is a chemi—”  

Bill blushed, turning the music off. Irving raised his eyebrows but didn’t say anything.

How in hell is he the Doctor’s brother?

Romana placed a box of information on the ground,

“Get off it, boys.” She dug through the pages, placing some on the ground. Amy caught some of the words heading them, they were names: Sarah Jane Smith, Ian Chesterton, Ace McShane, Charlotte Pollard…

Companions!

She eyed the remaining pages; she and Rory’s little descriptions were in there—she couldn’t help but wonder what they said. Attempting to downplay her interest, she kept her face enigmatic, “Hey, Romana,” the Timelady looked up; Amy couldn’t help but identify with Rose in that moment, she’d proclaim her queerness for that face anytime. “Mind if I look at… my page?”

Romana made a face, “It’s Amy, yes? Amy Pond?”

“Yeah.”

“Sorry, Amy Pond, can’t do that.” She shrugged, “These reports have your entire span with the Doctor—beginning to end. Can’t have you reading that, too many rules have already been broken today.”

Amy frowned, “Okay…” she recovered quickly, thinking of another plan, “Say, I think we ran into some future companions an hour ago. They’re names are Ryan, Yasmin, and, uh, Graham. Can I…read theirs?”

“Why?” Romana tilted her head.

“Curious.”

“Tell you what? The Doctor definitely has a type.” She rifled through the sheets, then handed three sheets to Amy.

“Why’s this okay but reading mine isn’t?”                 

“They’re still travelling with them, there’s just a start but no end. No spoilers for you, just don’t let the Doctor see it, eh?”           

“Promise.” She held the papers excitedly. “What are you doing, though, actually?”

“I’m trying to find a good place for us to land…somewhere where they won’t cross with another regeneration, other than their first, and somewhere where the Time Lock won’t be a problem.”

“Like a gap?”

“Exactly like a gap, dear. I’ve yet to find one, though.” She raised her voice so others could understand her, “So, if anybody has any suggestions, I’m all ears.”

“I don’t have any Gallifrey gateways, sorry.” Rory joked, Amy playfully slapped his arm.

Clara wrung her hands together, “I think I have one.” Romana nodded in her direction, “You can get coordinates for an object, yeah?”

Ten nodded, “Yeah, why?”

“‘Cause you have one that’ll get us right to Gallifrey.”

Eleven cocked his head to the side, “How do you think that?”

Clara sighed, “I gave it to you when you were a kid.”

The Doctors sputtered, “What!?”

“You keep us on our toes, Clara Oswald!” Jack exclaimed, Clara clicked her tongue.

“I did it during that whole ordeal with Orson Pink and the thing under D…Danny’s bed. When you passed out in the spaceship,” she knelt under the console, “the TARDIS brought me to this…barn…?” Amy noticed the Doctors stiffen. Clara brought our cases and collections of random things from under the floor, “Well, I didn’t know it was Gallifrey but I figured that out soon enough. Ah!” She retrieved a small army figurine, it was broken—it had no gun. “There we go.”

Nine gasped, “No…”

Missy gaped, her eyes lighting up in recognition.

Eleven took the object from Clara’s hands, “You were the thing under my bed!?”

“Yeah, sorry. I panicked and grabbed your ankle.”

“What the hell!?” Thirteen marvelled, “Why didn’t you tell me?!”

Clara exclaimed, “A lot of things were happening! Does it matter? We have our gap!”

Ten rolled his eyes, “Yeah! I guess!”

Taking the object, Twelve plugged it carefully into the console. A few moments passed, finally, a jingling sound resonated. “It worked.” He didn’t look happy at all to hear it, “We’ve got coordinates. Alright, here goes…” he threw down a lever, suddenly the TARDIS was plunged into darkness. The group yelped as they were thrown around and slammed against the console room. Red lights washed over them, turning the machine eerie; sparks rained down. River lunged at the console, quickly pressing a series of buttons. Soon after, the chaos subsided.

That’s my girl, Amy grinned relieved, gathering the spilled papers from the ground.

“What just happened!?” Donna snapped as the lights returned, “Spaceman?”

Twelve groaned sharply, “She doesn’t want to go! The engines are drained so we can barely go three feet, much less to Gallifrey!”

“Can we make it to Cardiff?” Martha questioned, “To that riff thing?”

“Maybe…” Twelve gingerly set the TARDIS into motion, watching the rotor swirl up and down intently. After a minute, it landed, everybody collectively sighed in relief.

“What year is it?” Nardole asked, wiping his brow.

“May 14 th 2006.” Eleven opened the doors, “Nice out.”

Rose perked up, “2006?” She joined Eleven at the doors, “Can I go see my mum?”

Nine grimaced, “Why?”

“I dunno…just seeing you with your mum just made me think, y’know? I just wanna see her.” Rose said, shrugging.

“What happened with Penelope and Ulysses anyways?” Rory finally regained his balance, now leaned against Amy’s arm.

“They’re staying back.” Irving explained, “We’ll send them updates, this is a lot to take in all at once for them.”

Donna groaned, “For us too, posh boy.”

Irving seemed perplexed by his new nickname, ignoring the absolute revel on Ten’s face. Rose stepped out of the TARDIS, everybody joined her; she squinted, trying to find her bearings. “This way.” She decided, beginning to walk in the direction of her home, Amy assumed, folding the reports of Thirteen’s future companions and placing them in her jacket. Content with following Rose, the group trekked through 2006 Cardiff; Irving and Romana looked completely out of their depth—they were aliens too, just like the Doctor, unlike the Doctor they didn’t have a millennia or two years worth of experience in Earth (or more specifically, London). Missy and Thirteen walked arm-in-arm, chatting about something completely wild; River and Twelve clasped hands, something River looked taken aback by.

“Everybody’s lookin’ at me strange.” Bill commented, Twelve tsked,

“You’ve got your phone out and you’re wearing fashion from eleven years in the future.” He said, Bill tucked her phone in her pocket.

“This is a cute outfit,” She defended, “and it’s from around this period, too. Well, it’s designed to look that way.”

Rose shook her head, “Never seen anything like that, mate. Pants are far too tight, how do you move in ‘em?”

“They’re comfortable!”

The conversation continued until they reached a large building, Rose smiled softly, “Welcome to the Powell Estate.” Amy looked around, it was quite plain with the exception of some children’s drawings and graffiti all along the fence (quite a few just read ‘BAD WOLF’, wonder what that’s about?). “My flat’s up there.” She pointed to the third level, she smiled even larger, “And my mum’s home!”

Nine groaned, “Fantastic.”

She swatted him, “Don’t be rude!” They climbed up the stairs together, passing residents that looked curiously at the group of people, “Wonder how long it’s been since we’ve been home?”

“Eh, not too long.”

“I don’t trust ‘not too long’, Doctor!” Rose chided, smiling, “Remember ‘only 12 hours’?”

He scoffed, “It was a mistake!”

“Sure!”

Finally, they reached the flat Rose had pointed to. She happily knocked on it, waited a moment then knocked on it again,

“Hellooo…!” Amy called, knocking on it heavily.

“Oi! Keep your pants on, I’m coming!” A woman’s voice came from behind the door, Rose beamed. The door cracked open,

“Hi, mum!”

The woman behind the door scooped Rose up in a massive hug, “Oh, Rose!! Hello, love!” Rose’s mother kissed her forehead then set her down; her look of excitement was quickly replaced with confusion. “Wait a minute…what the hell’s going on?”

Nine crossed his arms and leaned back, “Evening, Jackie.”

“What are you doin’ here?” Jackie asked, “I thought…Rose said you were dead? Well, not dead but that he” she pointed at Ten, “was you?”

Nine frowned, “Oh. It’s 2006, yeah?”

“Yes?”

“Oh.”

Ten sighed, “Can we come in Jackie? We can explain.”

“Yes, sure.” She opened the door wider letting in the group.

After a very, very condensed explanation of what had occurred in the past 48 hours, Jackie Tyler still still looked confused.

“So you’re all the Doctor?” She asked for the sixth time, making a sweeping gesture to the five of them.

“Yes!” They exclaimed.

All of you!?”

“Yes!”

She pointed at Eleven, “Even that one?”

He sputtered, “Yes!”  

Jackie sat back in her armchair, “So, you’ve got two heart, are a thousand years old, and apparently can change gender? Anything else?”

“I’m allergic to aspirin.” Thirteen quipped,

“Get off.”

“No really, I’m deathly allergic to aspirin. All Gallifreyans are.”

Romana and Irving nodded, corroborating the Doctor’s claim. Jackie turned to them, “And who are you?”

“Irving Braxiatel, I’m their brother.” He took Jackie’s hand, shaking it firmly. He offered a charismatic smile that made the Doctors look as if they wanted to regenerate on the spot. “I apologize for any rukus my sibling has caused.”

“Oi!” Thirteen snapped.

Romana extended her own hand, “Lady President Romanadvoratrelundar.” Jackie scoffed, Romana smiled, “Romana, for short.”

“Lady President?” Bill mouthed, wide-eyed

Then, Missy nodded with a shark-teeth grin, “Missy.” She introduced, “Charmed to meet you, Jackie Tyler.”

Amy shuddered, Missy looked as if she was raring the swallow Jackie whole.

“And your Galli-whatever-you-call-it like hi—uh, them?” The three Gallifreyans nodded, “I thought you said they were gone, Rose?”

“It’s complicated.” Rose offered.

Her mother then turned her attention to the companions, “And you’re their new partners or whatever?”

“I prefer friends!” Eleven smiled.

“What happened to my Rose, eh? Why’d you need all these new people?” Ten’s face was ashen,

“Jackie, you know you can’t tell you that.”

In response, Jackie raised her hand, poised to apparently give Ten the slap of his lifetime(s). He flinched, as did all the Doctors, “She’s safe! She’s safe and alive, I promise!” Ten yelped.

“You aren’t lying to me?”

“He’s not!” Mickey supported, “Promise!”

Jackie relaxed, “Fine then.” She looked at her watch, “It’s gettin’ late, you lot will just have to stay here for the night.”

Twelve frowned, “Eh, Jackie, I think we can just sleep on the TA—”

Jackie poked him in the chest, “No, no, you stickman. I haven’t seen my Rose in months, she’s spending the night.”

Now, Amy had seen the Doctor face evil—she’d seen armies, demons even, turn around at the mention of his name; he was the Oncoming Storm, the absolute whirling of chaos.

But he didn’t stand a chance against Jackie Tyler.

Twelve backed down, “Fine.” He grumbled.

“Thought so.” Jackie smiled, “Who wants chicken?”


 

After a crowded dinner, they went off into separate rooms for the night: the guys went into the guest room, the Timelords and River shared the living room, and the girls took Rose’s room.

If anything was to be said about Rose’s room it was all told in the first words out of Amy’s mouth: “Good god, this is pink.”

Everything, and she meant everything , was some shade of pink—the walls, the bed, the rug, the pillows. Hell, even the curtains were a garrish hot pink.

Rose smiled sheepishly, “It’s my favorite color.”

“We can tell.” Clara commented, sitting on the bed. “So, how’re we feeling, ladies?”

“Like my brain’s been bashed in.” Bill sighed, “Things keep coming one after another! And now we’re going to Gallifrey?”

Martha shrugged off her jacket, “Any tourist tips for Gallifrey, Clara? You’re the only one out of us that’s been.”

“I didn’t really see much of it.” Clara stretched, “It’s beautiful, definitely, but the people—at least the ones I met—they’re not like you expect.”

“I don’t know what to think about Gallifrey…” Amy took the papers for Yasmin, Ryan, and Graham out of her pocket. “I always thought it was a planet full of people just like the Doctor, but apparently it’s not.”

“Like I said, I didn’t see much! The rest of them could be entirely decent, Doctor-y people.” Clara reminded.

Donna yawned, “I feel like we’re going to see something we shouldn’t; they keep so much of their past under wraps—maybe it’s for good reason.”

“Watch out, the light’s on out there, they’re probably listening in.” Rose warned, Clara waved it off,

“Nah, the Doctor’s just afraid of the dark.”

“No, he isn’t!” Donna gasped, “Out of all things for that dumbo to be afraid of…”

“Afraid of the dark and allergic to aspirin.” Amy chuckled, “It’s a marvel that they’ve managed to live to thirty.”

The girls laughed, happy to have a pause from the unrelenting craziness of this unintended adventure. Bill stopped laughing first, nudging Clara, “Hey,” she whispered, “should we…y’know?”  

Clara nodded, Bill nodded back.

“So, Rose.” Bill began, “Do you wanna talk about that thing?”

“What thing?” Rose questioned.

“The thing you told me earlier…about…Thirteen...”  

Rose went pink, even pinker than her bedsheets, “O-Oh.”

“We don’t have to if you don’t want to!” Clara assured. Rose looked pensive, then nodded,

“No, I’m fine. Let’s talk about it.”

“Well, don’t keep us all in the dark!” Donna exclaimed, “What’re you three talking about?”

Rose played with her hair, curling it around her fingers, “Well, I, uh, well…jeez, I…I think I may be bisexual.”

Silence followed her confession. Amy stalled,

Oh.

She’d thought the mishap with Romana had been a joke, like the many times Amy had exclaimed her sexuality at the sight of any attractive person (mostly Rory, being her husband and all); but now she was realizing, that was probably the first time Rose had said it out loud. That poor Rose looked absolutely terrified, Clara placed her hand on Rose’s.

“Me too.”

“Me too!” Martha grinned.

Bill slung a arm around Clara, “Lesbian, but yeah.”

Amy smiled, “Very, very pansexual, supporting my sisters.”

“Me as well.” Donna ruffled Rose’s hair.

Rose furrowed her brow, a grateful smile fixed on her face, “Really? All of you?”

“The Doctor has a type.” Bill suggested.

The girls hugged each other closely, the short amount of time they’d had together seemingly irrelevant.

that’s so sweet!’

The hug broke apart abruptly as Thirteen’s voice came through the door, Rose went bright red.

‘shut up!’   Twelve replied sharply. The girls exchanged exasperated looks,

“I cannot believe them.” Donna groaned, getting up quietly. She waited at the door, counted down from five silently then flung the door open, sending the five Doctors, River, and the boys falling in. “Nice of you to stop by!” She smiled facetiously.

“Sorry!” Eleven apologized, “I thought you didn’t hear us.”

“That’s not an excuse for eavesdropping.” She waited for the intruders to stand up before continuing, “How much did you hear?”

“Not much!” Ten said, rocking on his heels, “Just the last bit, which was very nice.”

“Oh, shut it.” Donna moved from the doorframe, “Get in.”

The intruding party sheepishly squeezed into the room, which was getting very cozy now. Rory sat by Amy, “I’m bi, too!” He announced, “Just so you… know…”

Amy sputtered laughing at his awkwardness, planting a kiss on his cheek.

“Can I just ask—” Rose looked around, “are any of you straight? At all?”

The companions looked around, nobody made a sound. When eyes went to Jack he made a face as if even suggesting he was heterosexual was abhorrently offensive.

“Really?” Thirteen marveled, “God, maybe I do have a type.” She sat on the floor, taking a box from Rose’s dresser full of earrings, “Do you want to talk about it more, Rose?”

Rose shook her head, “I’m already completely drained. Just happy to have it out there.”

Nine leaned against the door frame, “How long have you known?”

“Not long.” Rose shrugged.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

She shifted, “I dunno, I guess I was just afraid that you were going to, I don’t know, be weirded out?”

The Doctors laughed.

“I’ve married James Dean five times, Rose.” Ten said, “I wasn’t going to be ‘weirded out’.”

Eleven scoffed, “I asked Michelangelo out seventeen minutes ago.”

“I thought you were married to River?” Martha asked suspiciously, Eleven furrowed his brow,

“She was asking out Cleopatra!”

“Asking out sounds so elementary .” River purred, “I prefer ‘made arrangements with’.”

Amy grimaced, recalling the story River had told about the aforementioned Cleopatra yester and the…unfortunate amount of detail that had came along with it. Rory looked as if he may vomit.

“Long story short:” Twelve knelt in front of Rose, “You don’t have hide anything from me. I’ve seen it all; you being bisexual is probably the last thing that’d catch me off guard. If anything, it’d add more things to do—there’s tons of things to do with pride around space, if you know where to look.”

“Yeah!” Bill’s face brightened, “You wouldn’t believe it, one parade lasted for six months and the other six was spent recovering from it! You have to go.”

Suddenly, tears began streaming down Rose’s red face. Bill breathed sharply, “Oh, I’m sorry! What did I say? Are you okay?”

“No, no, it’s fine.” Rose wiped her eyes, “I’m just really happy.” She beamed, “Thank you, you guys are the best.”

Again a big hug swallowed Rose, everybody quietly squeezing her gently.

“Hey, sorry to break up the fun, but” Thirteen said suddenly, everybody’s attention turned to her. She was sat, surrounded by earrings, she held up a long chain containing two shaking hands and some stars, “how would I go about putting these in my ears?”