Harry moaned. His head was a mess. An absolute mess. What had happened?
He scrambled around looking for an answer but everything was out of order. Only, no, hang on, not out of order. It was in order just not one that was useful to him. All his memories were arranged chronologically with the different versions of time he’d lived through in various realities over lapping rather than everything slotting one after another in order of how he perceived his existence to have progressed.
Bringing his hands up to his head Harry mumbled, “Oh bloody fracking frell and Merlin’s shiny rear, this is going to be a pain to sort out.”
He was distracted from further contemplating his ill organized memories by the sound of his own voice, a voice he didn’t recognize. Starting with humming he quickly worked his way through a series of exercises to test the way they sounded and felt with his new gear.
A chuckle off to the side made Harry freeze mid attempt at whistling. Was there meant to be a chuckle? Or was he meant to be alone? He was having a hard time finding the answer in the mess in his head.
“Always a treat getting used to a new pair of lips,” said a voice Harry couldn’t remember how he knew.
Shifting his hand he peaked out to see who he was dealing with and frowned. Dark, well no, was it? He could barely see anything. He rather hoped that it was the room and not his eyes. He’d suffered through enough bodies with bad eyesight thank you.
Around him the world brightened some. Not enough to strain his eyes but enough to let him see.
“Oh thank you my dear- no not dear,” Harry corrected with a smile, “my lovely.”
In such a small ‘voice’ his Timeship accepted his thanks.
“What’s wrong,” Harry asked already moving to get out of bed. No sooner did he try to hold up his own weight then he stumbled and nearly fell flat on his face. He felt his lovely’s moment of concern but then there was a pair of arms there to catch him and it faded.
“Easy there,” said the unfamiliar voice which was connected to the arms which had caught him, and all a part of a man Harry didn’t recognize.
“Hello there. I’m… well I go by a lot of names and I can’t remember which one I should give you at the moment. If I need to give you a name. Have we been introduced?”
The man was beaming down on him. Harry frowned wondering if the man was particularly tall or if he, Harry, was short. He hoped not too short, but then in his experience being too tall wasn’t all that much of a treat either especially if he was lucky enough to live long enough to grow old.
Still smiling the man introduced himself as, “The Doctor. I’m the Doctor.”
Suddenly all Harry’s memories connected to this man pulled forward like the title had been entered in a search bar and here were the results.
Rearing backward to stand on his own two feet Harry snapped his fingers. “Oh that’s right! You’re the Rose’s Doctor! I liked her. Probably still will like her. Caring. Nice smile. Can’t say you’ve made the best impression though.”
The Doctor frowned looking sheepish and Harry felt a bit bad. This expression wasn’t nearly as nice as the other.
Patting the man on the shoulder Harry consoled him, “You have a lovely smile as well.”
With his lips quirking upward the Doctor made to say something but Harry had a thought and he had to ask, “Where is the Rose then? You haven’t left her on the station have you?”
“I’m here,” said a voice, a new voice he couldn’t recognize and boy was that getting old fast. Turing around to the source Harry saw it was the Rose.
“Rose,” he exclaimed happily. He beamed at her and the Rose hesitantly smiled back. Turning back to the Doctor he enthused, “Look Doctor, I found the Rose.”
“So you have,” the Doctor said sounding oh so amused.
Harry frowned at him.
“Doctor, is he alright,” Rose asked.
Turning back to her Harry frowned with extra pout for sympathy. “Oh no. I’m terrible. All my memories are all shoved together and there is far too much regeneration energy still in my system to be up and moving about but here we are.”
Feeling a built up of said energy ready to be released Harry breathed it out into the air. The Tardis would filter it out and store it away until it should be needed just like they’d done the last time he regenerated. It proved very useful to helping him to heal and in avoiding regenerating until they’d run out. Once his ‘fountain of youth’ ran dry he’d started aging and dealing with the wear and pains of it.
“But for all that’s not right, I will admit its nice to be young again,” Harry admitted to Rose as he massaged his hands. “No aches and pains from moving around or just being. Besides, all the other problems? Those I can sort. So don’t you worry the Rose, everything really-” Harry felt his stomach drop. “…No, no, you need to worry. There’s something wrong. Something I’ve forgotten.”
The Rose looked at him with concern and then over his shoulder at the Doctor.
“What was it? What is it? What’s wrong,” he asked her.
Looking at the Doctor again as she tried to answer Rose explained, “I’m sorry. I don’t-“
“Oh,” Harry exclaimed with dismay as it came back to him. Walking over to the nearest wall he rest his head against it. “My ship. My ship. My lovely ship, somethings wrong with you. What is it?”
She felt bashful. His lovely ship was feeling bashful?
“Whatever it is you can tell me.”
She was worried.
“What is it? How can I help?”
And that’s what had her worried. He couldn’t help if things had gone wrong.
Harry was insulted. “Of course I can help. I’ve maintained all your systems for millennia now, just you and I. I’ve gone through more schooling than I care to think about. Fought in wars. Built new governments. Stopped apocalypses. Healed entire races. Defeated Dark Lords. I’m a very helpful person me. I’ve helped millions. And you’re my lovely. Whatever’s wrong I promise you I will fix it… unless you’re being petty… or selfish. Then I’m afraid I might say no.”
His ship’s worry was gone. All Harry could feel from her was affection and amusement as she explained that she’d been worried how his new brain would effect his consciousness. Despite most always remembering his past lives Harry’s personality had sometimes been extremely affected by the body he was born into. So far it hadn’t been a problem as a Time Lord. He was different, taking on new quarks and qualities while loosing others with each new body but his fundamentals stayed the same. New paint job and window dressings but still Harry. Seeing how different his head was at the moment his lovely worried he would be just as different. Not her Harry. Not her Time Lord.
But he was. He was him. He’d shown that and she was very grateful.
Harry hummed in agreement.
She hummed back at him.
There were two people standing in his bedroom whom he didn’t recognize.
“Who are you then,” he asked before promptly falling unconscious.
“Harry,” Rose shouted, rushing forward to catch the old man made young, but the Doctor beat her too it.
Once he had Harry supported the Doctor draped him over his shoulder.
After the light show had finished the Doctor had given her a quick explanation of what was happening. “Regeneration. My people, our people have it as a safeguard. Bodies dying? Can’t go on? Get a new one! Now hush, he should be coming around any second now.” It wasn’t much of an explanation but it was enough to calm Rose’s worries a bit until Harry actually woke up. Now, her worry was back in force.
“Did something go wrong,” she asked, hovering as the Doctor carried Harry back to his bed. Her hands were ready to help guide Harry down when the Doctor got there. “Is he okay?”
“He’ll be fine,” a woman’s voice said. Both Rose and the Doctor turned. Rose with her hand to her chest. The Doctor with his sonic screwdriver drawn.
“Sorry to startled,” the woman said not sounding sorry at all.
She was standing just inside the doorway with her arms crossed wearing a guarded expression and sorted of fitted one piece catsuit that looked vaguely scifi to Rose.
“Sorry,” the Doctor said only lowering his sonic slightly. “We didn’t realize there was anyone else onboard.
“There is no one else onboard,” the woman explained looking amused. Not that she was very expressive about it. There was only the slightest hint of an upturn at the corner of her lips and a subtle gleam in her eyes. “I am the board.”
“You wha,” Rose asked even as her eyes cut to the Doctor looking for answers. She could see he understood even if she didn’t.
Movement in her peripheral made Rose look back just in time to notice the woman had seemingly had vanished into thin air.
“Where’d she gah,” she ended with a shout as the woman appeared directly in front of her between one blink and the next.
“Sorry to startle,” the woman said again, sounding even less apologetic than she had the first time.
Next to them the Doctor was blinking away on his sonic. “Oh that is fantastic,” he complimented.
Feeling frustrated and vulnerable Rose stayed where she was, back some ways from the woman, and demanded, “What is?”
“She’s the Tardis. The one we’re in right now,” the Doctor explained.
“The what,” the woman asked cocking her head.
“Tardis,” the Doctor repeated sounding uncertain for the first time since Rose had met him. At the woman’s blank expression he explained, “Time And Relative Dimensions In Space?”
“Tardis,” the woman said testing the word. “I’m not sure I like it.”
“What are you normally called then?”
The woman shrugged, “A Timeship.”
“But that’s antiquated,” the Doctor said smiling, amused and just a touch condescending which looked much more familiar on his face then uncertainty. “Your kind haven’t been called that for ages.”
The woman raised an eyebrow at him.
“I’m sorry,” Rose said cutting in. “But could someone explain to me what you all are on about?”
The woman did Rose the curtsy of looking at her while she explained. “I am Harry’s ship and this is a holographic interface I have at my disposal.”
The woman looked down at her own hand with a frown of distaste.
“Not that I use it often. It is rather limited. Like a marionette. Pulling the strings I can get some basic things across but I can’t convey all the nuances I would like to. Besides, once I let people see this they start getting ideas about it being the ‘real’ me, forgetting that all this,” she gestured at the room around them, “is the actual me.”
“Harry said you were a person,” Rose said taking a step forward.
“Harry’s good about that,” the woman, no ship, said with naked affection before her expression hardened to give both Rose and the Doctor a pointed look. “See you are as well.”
“Cross my hearts,” the Doctor promised.
“Um, yeah,” Rose said her eyes on the Doctor as he crossed one side of his chest then the other. Shelving that revelation she moved over to stand at his side. “So. Hologram?”
The ship offered her hand. Tentatively Rose gave it a poke and watched her finger pass through without touching anything. Looking up Rose found the ship smiling at her and she smiled back in return.
On the bed Harry groaned.
“You should leave him to rest,” the ship advised.
The Doctor headed for Harry’s bedside. “I’d prefer to stay with him if its all the same to you.”
The hologram disappeared and reappeared positioning itself between the Doctor and Harry which left its legs disappearing into the bed. “I’m afraid it is not all the same to me. Harry’s vulnerable right now and I will keep him safe. I don’t even let companions stay here with him when he’s like this and you are strangers. So either you exit this room on your own or I will dematerialize and leave you behind.”
Rose had no interest in upsetting with something she was currently in but the Doctor frowned at the Hologram. As she was worried he was going to argue Rose wasn’t at all prepared for what came out of his mouth. “You call him Harry?”
“Sorry,” the ship asked while Rose just looked at him like he was barmy because that’s what he was. The Doctor, absolutely barmy.
“You called him Harry. His name is the Harry,” the Doctor asked seeming genuinely confused. “And people think my name is rubbish.”
Ignoring him the ship demanded an answer, “Staying or going?”
Around them everything started to disappear with only Rose and the Doctor staying solid.
Grabbing her hand the Doctor shouted, “Staying! Staying,” while running for the bedroom door.
They’d only just passed through when everything became solid again. Just in time for the door to close with a bang on Rose’s bum making her jump.
“Good,” the ship reported, her voice floating through the air before her hologram appeared in the center of the room they were standing in which looked to be a living room.
“This way,” the hologram reported tilting her head towards a set of doors before vanishing.
Rose and the Doctor shared a look before following.
When the doors opened it led to what looked like an ordinary lift. A posh one, but still a lift.
Rose turned around taking it in as well as everything in the living room with some confusion. “I thought we were on a TARDIS?”
“Bigger on the inside,” the Doctor reminded her while pulling Rose into the lift as the doors started to close.
The ride only seemed to take a second and then they were disembarking on a new floor. Unlike Harry’s homey suite the room they exited onto was a modern large dome done in stark white with a few large thatches of black and yellow cutting up and around it and a bight hovering light source at the top.
Rose was so busy looking up she didn’t notice her foot coming down on something until it was too late.
“Careful,” the ship admonished while Rose stumbled back into the Doctor as they both looked down to see what she had stepped on.
Seemingly looking up at her from two light tipped antenna was a small robot looking creature or creature looking robot? Rose didn’t know but it was sort of oval but flat on the bottom with a hard shell covering that was split up in sections or panels? Looked kind of like one of those automatic floor cleaners Rose thought. She didn’t see any speakers on it but that didn’t stop the thing from making load unhappy noises at her while a space opened up in its hard shell to let out a pliers like attachment on an arm to snap at her.
“S-sorry,” Rose stuttered out even as the Doctor crouched down to study the thing with fascination. He used his sonic to give it a looking over but refrained from touching.
“May I,” he asked the ship.
“While they are connected to me, they remain independently conscious. If you want to pick it up ask.”
Nodding the Doctor turned back to the robot and in his sweetest voice asked, “May I.”
The robot gave what sounded like a rather affronted negative before heading off into the elevator to disappear off somewhere.
“Sorry,” the ship said and Rose couldn’t help but to wonder if she ever said the word and meant it, “but the DRDs don’t like their schedules to be interfered with.
“DRDs,” Rose asked.
“Short for Diagnostic Repair Drones. During our travels we came across a fellow sentient ship. Elack was her name,” the hologram said smiling with soft affection. “She was old, dying. The DRDs were hers, grown from her, and they would have died with her, but we asked to take them in. We have a symbiotic relationship. They are sustained through me and help me in return by seeing to some maintenance, cleaning, and a few other small chores.”
“You should see about getting some for your Tardis,” Rose ribbed.
“Oiu,” the Doctor exclaimed.
The hologram was looking at the Doctor with suspicion. “Does the Doctor not keep his ship in good repair?”
Rose didn’t really know how to answer that. “Well…”
She went to look to the Doctor for help but the hologram did its vanish and reappear trick again, putting her up close in Rose’s face. “Well? Does he, or doesn’t he?”
And Rose may not have known this ship very well but she could hear the threat in that. “I mean. I’ve only been with him for a bit. Only traveled in it-” the ship glared “-her a couple times. Once across London, once again, and then to the future. So I can’t really say.”
“You can speak for the parts you saw.”
“It was just a joke,” Rose tried to explain.
“What people joke about can be very revealing,” the ship insisted. “So why would you think to joke about the Doctor bringing helper robots on board?”
Full of a sense that she was betraying him, Rose admitted, “Its just, well, the bits I’ve seen looked… a little… dingy.”
“Dingy,” the Doctor repeated indignantly.
The hologram turned to look at him. “Dingy,” it repeated, challenging the Doctor to explained.
“That’s just the paint job,” the Doctor defended, disbelieving. He leaned around the hologram to glare at Rose. “And she has been through a war! See how good you look after being through what she has. I’m not gonna force her through a remodel just so she can look spiffy for strangers.”
Rose looked down at her feet feeling small and miserable.
Satisfied the Doctor turned back to the Hologram to continue earnestly, “My Tardis means everything to me. Honestly, I wouldn’t mistreat her.”
The hologram eyed him shrewdly. “You better not have, because first chance I get you can bet I’ll be having a talk with her and Harry does not take kindly to abusers. Being another Time Lord wouldn’t spare you.”
“Alright,” the Doctor said accepting that.
The hologram nodded accepting his acceptance.
However despite their mutual accepting things were still tense.
Rose tried to break it. “So, how long will Harry be sleeping for?”
“A few days. Possibly longer. Depends on the Time Lord and the regeneration.”
“Right,” Rose said, “So what are we meant to do until then?”
The hologram finally stopped staring down the Doctor. Flickering out of existence she reappeared at the opening of the room across from the elevators.
“Through here is access to my control room, and I’ve rather had enough strangers traipsing through there for now. As such, for the remainder of your stay you’ll be staying out of there, unless you’d prefer to wait on Platform One until Harry wakes up.” Her tone told Rose that is what she would prefer.
“We’re good waiting thanks,” the Doctor promised with a tight smile.
“Are you sure,” the ship pushed. “Gonna be a long wait. You could save yourself the time. Walk out there and it would just take long enough for me to go and come back.”
“Really, no trouble at all,” he assured.
The hologram stared at him another moment and he stared back. Taking a deep breath she finally continued, “Alright then. I suppose you’ll need the Welcome tour.” Her eyes went a bit distant. “Harry usually does this bit. He likes doing it.”
“Have many visitors does he bring on,” the Doctor asked, sounding confused for reasons Rose didn’t understand.
The ship shrugged. “A few. Keeps us company.”
She flickered out again and reappeared at what appeared to be a nook in the wall. “This is the replicator. It makes all sorts. Food, snacks, clothes, and more. If it doesn’t have what you need it either can’t make it or it doesn’t have the blueprint. If you brought something on board you want replicated, you put it in to be scanned then it will be in the system.”
Rose was definitely interested in that. “By food, do you mean like alien food or?”
The Hologram waved her over. With an encouraging look from the Doctor she went with him trailing besides her. Once they were in arms reach of the replicator it lit up as well as the wall on either side of it with two menus popping up. The one on Rose’s side was showing her all familiar Earth Cuisine. The one on the Doctors was not. Curious he stepped up to examine while Rose held back waiting for the ship to explain.
“The replicator is tied into my systems so it has access to the scans I do of all those boarding. It knows species, your origin in time, and what nutrients you should need. The first suggestions at the top are what it most recommends for a healthy diet but if you’re looking for something else just tell it and your options will be refined. The more you order it will learn to show better what you might be wanting but it does default to food outside of a medical emergency.”
The Doctor having already settled on his choice pressed the image, and in the replicator nook a small device appeared which he immediately plucked up to begin scanning with his sonic.
Rose looked at the menu and felt overwhelmed.
“I just really want some chips,” she admitted and the menu changed, shuffling the images to present her with a menu of all different kinds of chips with neat little writing at the top of the image telling her what it was. Clicking on the one she wanted the image filled out the screen. She waited but nothing happened.
“Press again,” the Doctor recommended.
And so Rose did and there were her chips.
“God, they even smell right,” Rose enthused as she snatched them up. Popping one into her moth she moaned, “These are gorgeous these are.”
The Doctor and the Ship were looking at her amused but not in a mocking sort of way.
Rose held the contain out to the Doctor and smiling he took one for himself. He looked surprised at the taste and nodded his approval.
Gesturing behind her the hologram disappeared then reappeared again in the center of the room.
“Two taps brings up the emergency medical arrangement,” the ship explained. She tapped her foot two times to demonstration and up out of the floor came gurneys and all sorts. “Or you could just ask me to do it. However even if I’ve been disconnected there are back up sensors that should still work.”
“Twice again will take it away,” she added and again demonstrated with two taps of her foot which had all the furniture sinking. She than tapped her foot four times, bringing up an entirely different set. “Four times brings up the general rest and recreation arrangement with four sending it away again just like medical.”
She gestured them over to the table and indicated for them to sit side by side. Rose was about to put down her fries then the tabletop lit up like the wall besides the replicator had displaying a menu of a very different kind.
“These are the rooms and levels available to you as guests, and before you ask, we can make new rooms but that is a privilege you don’t have. What’s here should be more than enough. There are guest suites. There are stocked kitchens. There is a library. There are greenhouses. There is a theatre. There’s several rooms with just a couch and a screen. Music. Movies. Board games. All sorts. All time periods.” As she listed off from the different sections of the catalogue it flipped in time showing them what she was talking about
“You have a spa,” Rose asked disbelieving when she saw it on display.
“With automated masseur,” the ship agreed.
Sitting down with her chips Rose took control of the catalogue to continue looking through what was on offer.
The Doctor looked at her, this simple ape. He’d promised her space and time but rather than being disappointed she was excited to stay indoors. He looked back up to check with the Timeship about whether there was anything they should avoid, but she had already shut down the hologram.
“Doctor, look at this,” Rose exclaimed.
Letting it go he sat down with Rose to share in her enthusiasm.
Groaning Harry buried himself deeper in his bed. He may have managed to go back to sleep if not for the twinkling of his Timeship’s laughter. Thumping his head down on the pillow he grumbled, “Is it time to wake up then.”
His lovely sent an affirmative.
Blowing out a lungful of air that made his lips flubber about Harry resigned himself to the inevitable. Pushing up he found himself holding a plank. Impressed with himself Harry remarked, “Haven’t been able to do that in awhile.”
His Timeship’s laughter returned to fill his head as he got up out of bed marveling at how easy it was. “Always so nice to be healthy and young. How young am I now?”
His lovely didn’t answer. Instead she encouraged him to go find a mirror and see.
Nodding in agreement he looked himself over examining all the new details as he made his way with her opening the door out of his bedroom then the door into the bathroom once he’d gotten through the sitting area. Off the bathroom was his closet which would hopefully have a few things that would work with his new body or he’d have to go digging through his storage. If that didn’t work out he could go shopping. It might not have been the most noteworthy trip to make with a new body but it could be nice. Shopping centers were usually good for some people watching if nothing else.
His Timeship encouraged him to focus on the now and leave anything else for later.
“Right you are lovely,” Harry said patting at the wall.
Stripping down he left himself bare to examine in the mirror. “Blimey no scars. Look at that, not a single scar. And I am young. Look at me! I haven’t been this young in- oo how long?”
2,754 years his lovely supplied as well as sending concern that he didn’t know. From what she could feel his memories were all arranged in the right order again. He’d sorted that out while he was sleeping. Seven days of sleeping and sorting out his head. Things should have been settled. Had something gone wrong?
“No, no,” Harry promised. His eyes became distant. “Nothing wrong. Just not the best recall. Maybe its because I’m just so bloody young now but time seems monumental. That past seems so very far away.”
He forced a smile as he shrugged of his melancholy.
“Perspective. Such a funny thing.”
His lovely hummed in agreement but there was no feeling behind it.
Spinning around he headed for the shower.
“So, tell me, anything fun happen while I was out?”
The image of Rose and the Doctor filled his head. He’d failed to think about them yet.
“You didn’t let them go did you?” He could only imagine the problems with letting them off to tell tales. Besides, it wouldn’t be far with all they’d been through.
He got an impression of ‘What do you take me for’ followed by the highlight reel of the pair’s stay on board. Laughing. Eating. Drinking. Exploring. Swimming. Reading. Watching a film. Dancing. Mud masks.
Harry laughed as he suds up his hair. “And where are they now?”
She showed him. They were sitting with their legs hanging over a balcony that looked out at a representation of the universe. The Doctor was pointing things out and explained them to Rose. The science. The history.
“Knows a lot doesn’t he,” Harry said coming to a stand still under the spray.
He could feel his ship grow cautious of continuing this topic of conversation.
“You’ve been hiding something from me. I didn’t push when you wanted me on Platform one, but you brought this pair on board and you don’t do that. You materialized Rose inside. You opened your doors to this Doctor. Why are they so important? Why did you want them with me?”
His lovely hesitated. And then she showed him.
Rose startled as the hologram appeared. They hadn’t seen her since they arrived and suddenly there she was.
The Doctor was already getting to his feet and following his lead Rose did the same.
Eager the Doctor asked, “He’s awake?”
“He is,” the Hologram confirmed. “And he knows what you are. He didn’t before, but he knows he’s not the last.”
Swallowing the Doctor nodded. Rose thought he almost looked scared. They hadn’t really talked about things. On the first day he told Rose a little about his and Harry’s people and the time war but it was like the summary on the back of a book. She knew she was missing the most important bits.
Reaching out she rubbed a hand up and down the Doctor’s arm. He looked at her with a small smile of gratitude and Rose couldn’t help but to cautiously smile back.
“He’s still down in his suite,” the Hologram explained, pulling the Doctor’s attention back to her. “You should go speak with him. I’ll stay with Rose.”
“Alright,” he agreed rubbing his palms down his coat. He turned to Rose. “This may take awhile.”
“Take all the time you need,” she assured him. Then wanting to lighten the mood teased, “We are on a Timeship after all.”
He gave her a small smile for her efforts before heading off the balcony and through the elevator doors.
Left alone with the hologram Rose couldn’t help but to feel awkward. This was a living ship she’d spent the last week living on but didn’t really know the first thing about as a person beyond the fact that she was a bit scary and protective. “So…”
“If you could see anything, do anything, what would it be,” the hologram asked apropos of nothing.
“Just answer. What was the first thing that popped into your head?”
Pursing her lips Rose bit on the tip of her tongue. Looking down and off to the side she couldn’t quite bring herself to look the hologram in the eyes, cause she knew what she wanted and she felt kind of bad about it.
“What is it,” the ship asked in an encouraging whisper.
Rose couldn’t help but to look up. The softness on the holograms face captured her and she found herself helpless but to explain, “As amazing as everything here is, what I really want? Is just to go home. See my mom. Breath that London air.”
The ship smiled at her, properly smiled, and Rose got the feeling that rather than being insulted she approved of Rose’s desire.
“Alright then,” she said.
“We’ll take you home.”
Rose leaned her head forward. “No, really?”
“But aren’t there still things on the platform to work out? The Doctor’s Tardis?”
“A quick detour for you to visit home and then I’ll double back. The boys will be so occupied they won’t even notice. You just tell me where and when and off we’ll go,” the hologram promised with a smile. Swinging her arm off towards the elevator the doors opened.
“Alright then,” Rose said going forward.
Blipping out the Hologram vanished then reappeared in the lift next to Rose.
As the doors closed Rose couldn’t help asking, half serious and half teasing, “Think I could bring some souvenirs back for my mum from that replicator of yours?”
The hologram laughed and Rose could have sworn she heard a second laugh echoing inside her head.
Looking at her considering the ship declared, “I think we might just have to steal you.”
The Doctor… was terrified. He was about to face the only other member of his people who was left. A peace of home. The only person in the universe who had a right to hate him more than he hated himself.
The lift doors opened revealing him. He was slumped back in a chair, hair wet, in only a robe. There were tear tracks on his face. Sadly the Doctor had plenty of experience to tell the difference between tears and water droplets.
Seeing he had arrived Harry forced a smile and wiped at his face with the back of his hand. “Hi, sorry, here. Come here and have a seat.”
The Doctor tried but he only made it a step before he found himself stalled.
Harry looked sheepish. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry that was a rubbish thing to say. It’s only… I haven’t really had time to think about how I’d like this to go. She only just told me about you. She my ship I mean. She only just admitted to you’re being a Time Lord and I had thought I was the last.” Harry stopped. It was clear he couldn’t go on.
“So did I,” the Doctor confessed.
Harry smiled at him sadly and the Doctor smiled back.
“What a pair we are,” Harry joked with a laugh that fell flat.
That pair fidgeted in awkward silence until Harry found his resolve.
Standing up he made his way over to the Doctor and without hesitating wrapped him in a hug.
“I’m sorry,” he declared with heartbreaking sincerity.
Returning the embrace, the Doctor asked, “What for?”
“I’m sorry you thought you were alone. I’m sorry I wasn’t there. Not just for what came after but the war as well. I wasn’t there for that. I’d gone off to other universes. Got caught up in things. By the time I got back all that was left was history and legends.”
The Doctor kept Harry held close so he wouldn’t have to see his face while he processed that.
“Tell me will you? Tell me what happened,” Harry requested.
The pair of them were sat on the couch. Neither had said a word since the Doctor finished with his tale. He was waiting on Harry’s scorn and Harry was busy wallowing in his guilt for not being there. It was only his lovely showing him the Doctor’s face that reminded Harry he might not be the only one dealing with guilt.
Reaching out Harry took the Doctor’s hand. “It’s not your fault.”
The Doctor looked at him disbelieving.
“It isn’t,” Harry stressed looking the Doctor in the eye while working to convey his conviction in that belief out to the other Time Lord. The benefit of belonging to a race with physic abilities. “You’d been through a war. You were warn down and you saw a chance to end it with the threat eliminated before any more of the universe could become collateral. You did what you felt to be right.”
The Doctor scoffed.
“You did your best. No one could ask for more.”
“No one could ask for more,” the Doctor repeated with scorn.
The Doctor was sitting on the couch feeling rung out. A row could do that and he’d just been through the most epic row of his life with Harry arguing against him while the Doctor gave voice to the darkest thoughts in his head. They’d gone on and on until Harry wore him down into an emotionally drained, blubbering mess. After a while of the pair just holding each other the Timeship reminded them that as he was recently regenerated Harry needed to eat. The reminder of life outside of themselves brought in the awkwardness and clearing his throat Harry babbled while excusing himself to get dressed.
“All these years and I still don’t trust my fashion sense,” he complained reappearing in the doorway. He was dressed in a pair of jeans with a white jumper, white sneakers, and a white coat over his arm. “What do you think? Should I just scrap it and try something else?”
“Looks fine to me.”
Harry nodded but was looking down on himself with a frown. “A friend of mine, Edna, made this for me, but that was the old regeneration. Wasn’t sure if it would work now. New coloring and all that.”
“Fits good considering.”
“A bit baggy.”
“Sometimes that’s popular,” the Doctor said. In fact Harry looked pretty in line with the fashions for Rose’s time.
Harry hummed and then his stomach rumbled. Giving a sigh he rubbed at the back of his forehead.
“Food,” he asked.
The Doctor nodded and together they made for the lift.
When the doors reopened they found Rose lounging around in general rest talking with the hologram.
“You look nice,” she said taking in Harry with an appreciative smile.
Harry smiled back.
Not liking that and not liking how it made him feel the Doctor headed for the replicator.
“You know, I’ve traveled the universe, but you have things on this ship I’ve never seen before,” he said.
“Benefit of exploring more than one reality.”
“TS was telling me about that,” Rose said smiling at the hologram then going up on her knees to lean over the back of the couch and keep an eye on the pair of them while they saw to getting food. “She explained all about how there are multiple universes and the like. Said you’ve taken her to like over a dozen of them? And you found one where their were no shrimp on Earth, like not that they’d gone extinct but there just never were any.”
Harry nodded as he replicated a tray and then proceeded to begin filling it up with food and drink. “Anything you can imagine exists. Its just a matter or being in the right place, and sometimes that place is another universe. Worse I’ve been to was one without light. If your born to it that’s your normal but when you're not,” Harry shivered.
“You found a universe without light,” the Doctor asked intrigued.
Harry grimaced. “More like it found me.”
Having finally filled his tray to capacity Harry moved to go sit at the table. The Doctor followed.
“Are you really going to eat all that,” Rose asked incredulously.
“Probably not,” Harry admitted. “But I’ve got new tastebuds to get familiar with. Who knows what I’ll like now.”
Rose’s expression fell. “Yeah, the Doctor explained about regeneration. Did it work out okay? Are you alright?”
“Far as I can tell. I’ll do a full diagnostic later but everything seems tickety boo,” he said, trying to make Rose smile. And it worked. She did.
“Tickety boo? You really are out of time aren’t ya?”
“Would seem so given we’re in 2005.”
“We’re what? When did that happen,” the Doctor asked even as Harry’s face scrunched up as he asked, “Wait, did you call my Timeship TS?”
“I wasn’t going to let her call me lovely,” the ship explained. “That’s only for you.”
“And I needed to call her something,” Rose reasoned to Harry before turning to the Doctor. “Once Harry was awake TS said were were free to land.”
Harry mouthed TS again looking like he was having a hard time processing this. Meanwhile Rose was plowing on.
“I admitted that after everything it would nice to stop home. Just to see my mom not to like stay or anything,” she assured the Doctor. “She landed us at the Estate only we got talking then so I haven’t made it out yet.”
“2005 London. Remind me what that’s like in this universe,” Harry requested.
“Well, last night shop dummies were breaking out of stores to attack everyone,” Rose said sharing a look with the Doctor.
“How did that happen,” Harry asked.
As the two told their tale and Harry ate somehow everything was just fine. Any important matters that needed to be discussed ended up shelves and pushed back as the trio bonded, establishing relationships that would see their timelines tangled together for a long time to come.
Seeing she wasn’t needed there Harry’s lovely shut down her hologram and took flight. With the three of them talking Rose wouldn’t be ready to visit her mother yet for a while and the newly dubbed TS had her own family she wanted to visit with.
Back on Platform One she landed besides her sister. Taking on the form of a blue police box to match she reached out telepathically so they could connect. The two commiserated about the loss of Gallifrey for it had been their home as well and when that talk was done they discussed their travels, their Time Lords, and the future.