Chapter 1: James and Alison (I)
“Daddy? We want to visit Mummy.”
The Doctor cracked open one eye and peered at his children as he reclined on the couch in the library. Alison and James were all of four years old—old enough to plug into the TARDIS education docks but still young enough to miss their mother. Their eyes, wide and brown, inflated to the point of ridiculousness, which was something definitely not gained from his contribution to their gene pool.
“She’s working, so we’ll see her on Friday,” he explained. Clara had made him promise to not skip ahead days while they were raising the kids, that she would spend time with them on the weekends, get dropped back off on Monday morning, and they would spend the five days between visits over five actual days.
Five long, nearly unending, twenty-four-hour Earth days.
“But Daddy, you can make us do the vworp thing and we can go see Mummy!” Alison insisted. She pouted, knowing full-well she was right. Maybe right wasn’t the word… she was correct. Yes, she was correct.
“This is true, but rules are rules and you know that,” he replied. “Besides, you have your Dad and Auntie Idris in the meantime.”
“Auntie Idris is nice, but she’s not Mummy,” James said softly. Where his sister was brash, he was reserved. “If Mummy can’t stay with us all the time, then why did she stay with us for so long as babies?”
“…because you were babies, and babies need their mothers.” He wasn’t about to admit that Clara had stayed on the TARDIS for nearly three straight years once she found out she was “pregnant with mutant half-alien babies”. After allowing her to calm down and drink some chamomile tea, it had been decided that her having children would only make things more complicated with her life on Earth, one she felt incapable of fully abandoning, so she put in for the time at work for a sabbatical, told her family she was going to teach English in a place with shoddy wifi, and temporarily moved into the TARDIS. The time vortex was where her children were born and where they so far spent their lives. When they were old enough to fully grasp the severity of the situation, and only then they could live on Earth and attend Coal Hill and meet their grandfather under the pretense of being foster children.
Until then, the Doctor found himself a stay-at-TARDIS dad whose space-wife long-distance commuted.
“Well we’re bored and Mummy always knows what to do when we’re bored,” Alison stated. She flopped down across her father’s stomach and furrowed her eyebrows, ignoring the groan that came out of the Doctor. “What do you do when you’re bored, Daddy?”
“I take standing catnaps and skip to my bits in the conversation,” he deadpanned. “You know, and here I was thinking that the two of you were children, and that children were a wealth of not-bored-ness.”
“…but we miss Mummy,” James reminded him. “Can we please?”
“How about this, yeah?” the Doctor said as he plucked his daughter off his midsection and placed her back next to her brother. He gave them both a wide, enthusiastic grin, pumping up their spirits. “I am going to count to a hundred, and in the meantime you go hide. When I’m done, I’ll come and find you. Ready?”
“Ready!” the twins cheered.
“Alright! Now, get ready… GO!” he shouted. Alison and James spun on their heels and rushed out of the library. “One… two… three… four… five…” The Doctor listened for their footsteps—not a one to be heard.
After another catnap, some tinkering with the TARDIS flight console, and planning on what to do over the weekend, the Time Lord decided that it was probably time to start making dinner. He found the kitchen and rummaged around, soon cooking some macaroni and cheese on the stovetop, some chicken nuggets in the oven, and a plate of leftover lasagna for himself in the microwave. Putting the plates down on the table, he looked around in confusion. Usually the kids came running at the faintest whiff of food being cooked, but now they were nowhere to be seen.
“Alison! James!” he called out into the hall. “Dinner!” The TARDIS whirred softly at him, chiding crossly. He glanced up at the ceiling and frowned. “Hey, they usually end up finding something else to do my the time I get to seventy-three, so don’t look at me.” A couple lights flashed accompanied by more whirring. “Oh, yes, go ahead and lecture me on my dad skills—all the children I raise end up top-notch and you know it.”
The TARDIS chose to not dignify that with a response and the Doctor sulked off to go find his children. Not in the library, or their bedroom, or the console room, or the swimming pool, or the games room, or even the outdoor-indoor garden; with each passing room he checked, only to not find his son and daughter, he became increasingly worried.
“Kids? James? Alison? This isn’t funny anymore!” he shouted, trying to remain calm. The Doctor began to run as he searched about, his arms flapping wildly and his torso unable to bend. It was only sheer luck that brought him by the kitchen again, where he heard a cherubic, reassuring, giggle.
“Daddy? Where have you been?” James asked as his father walked back into the kitchen and slumped in his chair. The TARDIS had the decency to keep the food warm for him, but the kids were already kicking their feet happily as they munched on their dinner.
“Getting what I deserved,” he admitted, running a hand through his thick shock of silver hair. “Tuck in now; I don’t want to see a speck on your plates once you leave the table, and no milk left behind this time either.”
“Yes, Daddy,” the twins replied in unison. The Doctor picked up his own fork and began to pick at his own food. One of these days he was going to get the hang of things.
Chapter 2: Sneaking Out
Just noting that this is one of the more random things I've written in a while.
Jim and Aly Oswald-Smith always had a feeling they weren’t like other children.
For one, they weren’t exactly human, nor were they Gallifreyan. They had asked their dad about that one day after the learning docks taught them about the two species and how they developed independently of one another. Dad put the gadget he was tinkering with on his workbench and sat them down, telling them that they were rare, beautiful beings without a name. They were too rare for something so simple as a name, he said, explaining that they could be whatever they wanted. Hearing that felt good, of course, since Dad was always kinda-good at explaining things, but after a while they looked at one another and wondered if there really was a name, and that he was just being protective again.
Their dad, the twins knew, was another reason why they weren’t like other children. Some dads were old, some stayed at home, and some took care of the kids, but their dad was an ancient, ageless being, and they lived in a spaceship—a time-and-space-ship—and he took care of them while their mum worked all week. She was a teacher on her home planet (like the human version of a learning dock, it was explained), and when it was time for the work week to end she came on the TARDIS, who was also their aunt on grounds of being highly sentient to the point of sassing their dad constantly, she had to restrain herself from staying on the ship longer than two or three days. It pained her, and they could tell.
Sometimes it bothered them, not having a home planet and having a dad that didn’t age when their mum did and living inside their aunt, but other times it was really actually rather fun…
…like, for example, whenever Dad put Auntie Idris into park.
They were fourteen this particular time. Their mum was there, and she and Dad were going to go off on something they liked to refer to as “Date Night”. Of course this meant that their father had to change out of his pajamas and into something a bit more presentable, but that was his problem, not theirs.
“We’ll be back in a couple hours, alright?” Mum said gently, pulling each of their faces down for a kiss. It was only within the past couple years did they realize how small she really was, with Aly definitely shooting towards the tall end for a girl and Jim, while not especially short, wasn’t that much taller than his sister.
“Now don’t get into any trouble, you hear?” Dad warned. He was already ruffled from Auntie Idris hiding the pomade on him several times, which nearly made him pitch a fit while getting ready earlier. Now with his sharp suit and slicked-down hair, he looked the perfect part next to his wife’s long, starched skirt and vibrant red blouse.
“Us? Never,” Aly snorted. “Give us a bit of credit, Dad.”
“That’s what I’m doing,” he smirked, touching his finger to his nose. “Now we’ll see you when we get back, yeah?”
“Okay,” the twins replied in chorus. As soon as Mum had her clutch in one hand and her other around Dad’s arm, they were off, leaving the kids to their own devices.
“So… what do you want to do?” Jim asked.
“I want to go dancing, like Mum and Dad,” Aly replied. “Wouldn’t that be a lot of fun?”
“Fun? Maybe. Dangerous? Definitely.” The young man sat down in his father’s wingback chair with the novel his mother had given him just a few weeks ago. “Dad’ll know if we follow them; he’s probably expecting it.”
“Then let’s do what he’s least expecting,” his sister grinned. He looked over the book to see her standing by the flight console, hand suspiciously close to the takeoff mechanism.
“Aly… no… we don’t learn how to fly Auntie Idris until we’re sixteen!”
“According to Dad, yeah, but not according to Auntie Idris herself.” She pulled the lever and the TARDIS whipped into the time vortex, rumbling all the while. By the time Aly was able to shift gears to park, all the books that had been stacked meticulously around the console room were knocked from their piles and shelves and onto the ground.
“Where did you take us?” Jim called from the lower floor, having been flung there mid-flight. “Nowhere too-perilous, I hope.”
“Nah, just back about thirty years,” Aly smirked, skipping off towards her room to change. “Tougher to have a decent time when everyone’s breathing down everyone else’s neck, don’t’cha think?”
“Aly, we’re going to get caught…”
“By whom? Mum and Dad? They’re in the future!”
“By the human authorities or something!” he reasoned. “What if we’re at the wrong place at the wrong time? What if they want to speak to our parents? What if something bad happens?”
“Then it’s all the more fun!”
Half an hour of whining, protesting, and idle threats to phone their parents passed and Jim found himself sporting slacks, braces, and a flat cap as brown as his shirt while his sister hung off his arm in some odd knee-length sailor-skirt getup she magically dug out of her wardrobe. They were walking along a city street—he was damned if he knew which city—as twilight began to creep into the sky.
“Isn’t this weird, us going dancing when we’re siblings?” he asked, attempting to keep a straight face as they attempted to blend in with the locals.
“Nah,” she said. “Remember: our auntie didn’t want me going by myself, right?”
“Our auntie is going to get us in a load of trouble one of these days,” the boy frowned. He kept walking along until a sharp tug brought him into a dance hall, where it was Youth Night. Aly’s eyes lit up as she saw all the other young teens dancing their cares away. She quickly left his side and found herself a dance partner, abandoning her brother to figure out his own entertainment for the night. He gravitated towards the wall, where there seemed to be plenty of other irritated brotherly-escorts clinging to the painted cinderblock haven.
After keeping time to the music with toe-tapping for a few songs, Jim decided he was thirsty enough to wander towards the table where snacks and drinks had been laid out. He thanked the matronly-looking lady serving the lemonade and went back to his nook in the wall. One sip and he spit out the lemonade, coughing as he did so.
“You alright, Mack?” one of the other boys asked.
“Oh, yeah, no problem; just went down the wrong pipe,” Jim lied. He waited until the other teen wasn’t looking and took a scanner from his pocket. After a quick check of the drink, he found that the sugary liquid was positively infested with nanobots.
Nanobots when the wireless was just starting to become common? Definitely something was going on.
Quickly Jim dumped his drink in a trash bin and made his way out on the dance floor, cutting in on his sister’s dancing. She did not stop, however, forcing him to jump and jive away.
“Aly, we got to get out of here, and fast,” he tried explaining over the band. “There’s something wrong here.”
“What’s wrong is I’m dancing with my brother despite the fact that was a perfectly cute guy I was with just moments ago,” she frowned.
“No, something worse than that!”
“How can it get any worse?”
Jim leaned in and whispered hoarsely in her ear, “Nanobots-in-the-lemonade-worse.”
Aly’s eyes went wide as Mum’s and she stopped dancing, fanning herself dramatically. “I think I need to sit down, how about you?”
“That sounds like a plan,” he agreed. They found one of the tables that had been set up off to the side and sat with their backs to the wall, scanning the room for irregularities. Everything looked fairly normal and time-period appropriate, except…
“Hey, Al, that man standing over by the door the wall opposite us,” Jim muttered, keeping his lips as still as possible. “Who does he remind you of, if you take away the suit?”
A split second later and Aly groaned into her hands. “That’s Sabalom, isn’t it?”
“What is that interstellar conman doing here? Does Miss Melanie know he has a vortex manipulator?”
“That’s what I intend to find out.” Aly grumbled. She stood up and crossed the dance hall, marching straight up to Sabalom Glitz and jamming her pointer finger in his shoulder despite her brother’s best protests. “And what exactly do we have to thank for allowing us to run into you?”
Glitz blinked in confusion before cursing under his breath. “I never seem to be very far from one of you TARDIS-junkies, now am I?”
“And you seem to become more and more daft each time we run into you,” Aly snarked, placing her hands on her hips. “Are you the one who laced the lemonade with nanobots?”
“Laced the lemonade? Now why would I do a thing like that?” Glitz asked in genuine confusion. Jim groaned, smacking his forehead.
“Aly, think—that would be something sneaky of him. We’re talking Sabalom here.”
“Oh, yeah, that’s right,” she mused. “Then why are you here?”
“The Nosferatu III needs a new warp drive, so I’m picking up a couple odd jobs to pay for it,” Glitz shrugged, trying not to show how offended he was. “Nothing illegal, if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“You grey-haired old hoser, there’s nothing legitimate about you except your love of your ship,” Aly said, narrowing her eyes. “What’s the job?”
“Just some stinking bodyguard detail; nothing big.”
“Guarding who, exactly?”
“Keep your questions to yourself, Little Miss—to say would be a breach of contract!” The twins stared at him with a deadpan expression, causing him to break instantly. “Okay, it’s that man playing the trumpet over there, but I don’t know why he wanted to come here and play; I mean… it seems a bit creepy to me having all these kids around.”
“Yes, why nanobots in the lemonade at a youth dance?” Jim pondered. His eyes flicked around, from the unassuming man playing the trumpet, to the rest of the band, to the teens dancing, and frowned. Dancing would make the teens work up a sweat, so they’d drink the lemonade, but why drink the lemonade? What were the nanobots’ function?
Suddenly, the trumpeter hit an off-note and about two-thirds of the hall stopped dancing, bringing the festivities to a grinding halt. The effected teens stood still and at attention, eyes glazed over and completely unresponsive despite their friends’ attempts to get a response from them. Even the band stopped playing, freezing in place.
“Oooh my, looks like I’ve got a decent turning this time around,” the trumpeter chuckled. “Glitz! Lock the doors!”
“…but what are you…?”
“I don’t pay you to ask questions, now do I?” he retorted. “Just do it.” He snapped his fingers and the band members began moving again, putting down their instruments and stepping down to the dance floor. Their actions were jerky and static this time, moving off-script from their programming.
“Autons,” Jim murmured, checking his scanner. “Aly, we got to get out of here and fast.”
“Yeah, just after we take care of something,” she replied. She reached under the hem of her skirt and pulled out a phaser pistol that had been strapped to her leg. “Glitz, go lock the doors.”
“I’m not going to get bloody paid for this, am I?” the man whined. He turned around and pretended to lock the door while Aly took Jim and put the gun in his hand, hissing directions into his ear.
The trumpeter watched as the young teens in the crowd panicked, trying to wake their non-responsive friends while simultaneously avoiding their plastic assailants as they circled around them. He grinned to himself—another cargo was nearly ready.
“S-stop right th-there!” Jim demanded. The trumpeter glanced sideways and saw the teen standing on the stage, the phaser pistol in his shaky grip. “You’re under ar-r-rrest!”
“Don’t fool yourself, kid,” the trumpeter scoffed. “What’s that, a Papal Mainframe standard issue? I don’t know how you got it, but there’s no way you can pull the trigger.”
“I c-can and I will,” the teen gulped. He tightened his grip, the pistol beginning to slip in his sweaty palms. “G-go on. D-dare me.”
“What’s the Earth phrase? Double-dog dare?” the trumpeter laughed. He began to slowly walk closer to Jim, who was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with each step he took. “Glitz! Do your job! Take this kid out!”
“Not so fast!” Aly shouted. The trumpeter looked up into the rafters, where the young woman was standing by one of the spotlights, which was dark and unused. “Let them go or I’ll melt your troops.”
“That spotlight’s hot, but not hot enough to melt an Auton,” he replied, rolling his eyes. “You kids are out of your league.”
“Are we?” Aly asked. She took the necklace out from underneath her shirt and hit a button on the charm—it began glowing green and whirring. The spotlights all turned on, more powerful than they should have been able to be, all focused on the Autons. They did begin to melt, making their captives scream and their master panic.
“Glitz! Where are you?!” he screamed. He looked frantically across the room, finding his bodyguard fiddling with a handheld device.
“Ah! There’s the frequency!” Glitz said. He hit a button and suddenly the teens that had been under control of the nanobots were released. “Gonna have a bit of a headache for a while, kids! Nothing to it!”
“Glitz! We had a contra—” The trumpeter was cut off by Aly using a technician’s rope to rappel down and kick him in the face, knocking him out cold. Jim gawked at his sister, eyes wide as could be, completely flabbergasted by what just happened.
“You’re not allowed to choose what we go do ever again,” he said firmly, bringing the phaser pistol down to his side. Aly took the weapon and replaced it in her hidden holster.
“Let’s just get back to Auntie Idris and we can pretend none of it ever happened,” she replied with a smirk. They were just about to hop off the stage when the doors to the hall flew open, with local law enforcement swarming in.
This was not one of her better ideas after all.
It had been a lovely night, with dinner and dancing and a good snog on a moonlit beach, but all things had to end and the Doctor and Clara made their way back to the TARDIS. They went inside and found their kids sitting in the library, already in their pajamas and quietly reading to themselves.
“So, did you have a good time while we were gone?” Clara asked. “You weren’t bored without us, were you?”
“It was fine, Mum,” Aly said, calmly so as to not betray the night’s events. “Question is, did you have fun?”
“We did; now off to bed,” the Doctor said. He shoed the children into the corridor and followed them until they both entered their respective rooms. Glancing down at Clara, he raised his eyebrow. “That was too easy.”
“Should we go check the TARDIS travel logs or wait until they tell us?” she wondered, exhaling heavily.
“Let’s wait a week, then check the logs,” he replied with a grin. “They’ll come around.”
Chapter 3: Dad Keeps Mental Friends
All this chapter is is a quick Jim and Aly adventure. If that's not what you want to read, there's no shame in bailing until Twelve and Clara show up again (if they do, idk yet).
Jim moved very carefully around the workshop, doing his best to not make any noise. He saw Davros and his Head of Personal Security, Colony Sarff, staring down his sister and the woman who had introduced herself as Margot, both of whom were bound at the wrists with snakes. The twins had thought she was mental from the moment they met, but it turned out she was more than that—she was the Master, their dad’s oldest and most complicated friend. She’d wanted a bit of fun with the mongrels her idkbff had been keeping away from her for twenty-three long years, and now she definitely had it: Skaro, in the heart of the Dalek Empire, completely at their captor’s mercy.
Mercy… it was something that Jim and Aly’s father had emphasized to them repeatedly over the years. What is life without mercy? Very boring and full of cruelties, they decided, and mercy was not something high on the list of things that the Creator and Allfather of the Daleks cared for when it came to dealing with his prisoners.
“So… we meet again, Master,” Davros wheezed slyly. “Didn’t think I’d catch you here again without a good reason.”
“Mistress, please,” she insisted with a pout. “I’m a sensitive girl, after all.”
“Sensitive my arse—you’re a loony,” Aly scoffed.
“Yes, utterly bananas; it’s a blessing in disguise.” Was she laughing…? God, she was laughing.
“Enough of that,” Davros coughed. He turned his chair and faced Aly. “Now what are you, child? Her companion?”
“Not the way things are going,” Aly frowned. “I think the restraining order should be a whole star system between us at the least, don’t you agree?”
“Honey, I shouldn’t be within a star system of anyone, but, here I am!”
“No… you are different; come closer,” Davros said. When she didn’t, Colony Sarff emitted some spare snakes and pulled her closer to the decrepit old man. He put a metallic hand on her chin and examined her face carefully. “Well now, so the Doctor did take his part in the prophecy after all.”
“Prophecy…?” the twins said at the same time, Aly aloud and Jim barely above a whisper.
“Yes… although, I’ve always made him to misinterpret it, so as to make him stumble into it without knowledge,” Davros chortled. He let go of Aly and she stepped back to the Master’s side. “The fool couldn’t see what was in front of his very nose.”
“Ooooh… plot twist,” the Master sang. She looked from Aly, to Davros and Colony Sarff, and back to the young woman. Glee spread across her face and she stomped her feet.
“I don’t see what’s so funny, Time Lord,” Colony Sarff deadpanned. “The prophecy has been fulfilled—there is a new race for the Daleks to destroy.”
“I—I don’t get it,” Aly said. “What’s going on… what prophecy?!”
“Daddy dearest never told you?” the Master giggled. “Well, it goes like this, when a Mummy and Daddy love one another very much, oopsies happen… except this oopsie happens to be the fusion of two master-warrior races, more powerful than any of the parent races.”
“No…” Aly gasped. “Da said that had to do with the Daleks!” She took a step back, staggering. “That was the time he made the zombie Daleks and overflowed the sewers! It… it can’t be me!”
“It can and it is,” Davros said. “Master, for this great gift, I set you free. You have half an hour to leave Skaro, or your life shall be forfeit.” The snakes that bound her slithered off, returning to the Colony.
“Looks like I’ve got me a date with that little plant-hopper junker in the hangar. Ta~!” She then skipped out the door, nearly catching Jim as he crouched behind a corner.
“She will not get far,” Davros smirked. “Now… let’s see… what do I do with you, my dear? Without a question I will put your mind through some sort of bleaching agent, wipe it clean so I can mold it to my will… but what shall my will be…?” He thought for a moment, pensive with all three of his eyes dark and closed. “My children do not need a mother, nor do they require a sister. Maybe a protégé for you, Colony Sarff?”
“Do with her as you wish; I want the one that thinks he is so clever by hiding,” Colony Sarff replied. Jim cursed silently at himself, only to find himself bound by snakes two seconds later. The hitman appeared before him, causing the young man to back into the wall. “The girl is strong, but he is stronger yet. Give your children a mother, Davros, while I teach their uncle to be ruthless.”
“What do you say?” Davros asked Aly. “Rule by my side? It will be a better life than most queens—my lower half was lost ages ago—though if you want children of your own, I can find a way.”
“Da keeps the worst friends,” Aly grimaced. She backed away, with Davros taking that as her answer. Soon Colony Sarff forced her and Jim down to their knees before the old inventor.
“Anything else before I hand you over to my children for punishment?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Jim said. “Respiratory bypass.”
The twins immediately held their breath and grinned at one another as a smoke began to come out of the inside of Jim’s jacket. The knock-out gas hit both Colony Sarff and Davros, unbinding the prisoners and allowing them to run out the door unimpeded.
“Okay, next time someone walks up to us saying they’re a friend of Da’s, we’re not trusting them in the slightest,” Jim said as they turned a corner. They had to double-back, as it was filled with blood-thirsty Daleks.
“Oh, come on, she knew his name,” Aly protested. “Can you blame me?”
Chapter 4: A Domestic Morning
This came off a prompt I got asking for more Time Twins, but as babies, so here is the return of their parents as well.
Both Clara and the Doctor woke up from the squalling coming from across the room. The human let go of her space-husband and rolled over, grabbing her phone to check the time—five-thirty-seven. It had been about four hours since one of the kids last woke up, meaning that the day when the nursery could be a room completely separate from theirs was soon to be upon them. Instead now they were in a sort of suite, where the TARDIS had taken her bedroom and added an extra wing, giving the parents the illusion of privacy, though they were still at their infants’ becks and calls.
“He just wants to be held; I’ve got him,” the Doctor mumbled, hoisting himself out of bed.
“I’ll be right behind you,” she replied. “It’s just going to be an early day for us.”
“I’m sure—just go get James to settle down.”
“Yes, boss,” the Doctor said. He crossed the room and went through the door that connected them to the nursery, finding his son squirming in his cot. It had been a long four months since the twins were born, even for someone who needed as little sleep as he did. Carefully, he picked up James and slid him into the crook of his arm, bouncing him until he calmed. “That’s it, lad. Your ol’ da’s got you.”
The baby’s eyes cracked open and he stared at his father. The man with wild hair was back, the one who was definitely not Mummy. Okay, so he was Daddy, but it still didn’t change that he had been crying for Mummy and ended up with Daddy. He wiggled in protest, calling for his sister who was mere feet away in her own cot and still sleeping peacefully. She didn’t wake, which irritated her brother, which meant he began to cry in earnest. This woke her up, both children now shrieking loudly.
“If I hadn’t regenerated into grey, you both would make sure I turned it faster than should be Gallifreyanly possible,” the Time Dad deadpanned, drowned out by the screaming. He tried soothing the babies with a lullaby from his youth, untranslated and full of meaning, but they wouldn’t stop until Clara came into the room. She picked up Alison and was passed James, the twins immediately placated once they were in their mother’s arms.
“Nothing like a mum’s touch,” she snarked. The Doctor pouted and shoved his hands in his trouser pockets.
“How ‘bout I go make breakfast?” he asked. “It’s that time, yeah?”
“Breakfast would be lovely, thank you,” Clara replied. She perched on her toes for a quick kiss and then let him leave, occupying herself with the children.
Raising twins on the TARDIS had been a terrifying thought at first, she was ready to admit, but there were some things about the space-time-ship that seemed to have changed since her pregnancy that Clara was more than welcome to accept. The changing table, for one, was truly a dream come true. She placed her kids down and a one-way force field automatically enveloped each baby, keeping them secure as their mother searched around for clean nappies and clothes. Soon Alison and James were fresh and clean, meaning the force fields lifted them up so that Clara could grab them both at the same time. Both babies nuzzled into their mother’s chest, happy to simply be near her.
Walking through the TARDIS, Clara followed the smell of food in order to find where the kitchen had materialized that morning. The Doctor was making crepes for them that morning, carefully using the pan’s lid to flip the thin pancakes. Two highchairs were already waiting, along with two bottles sitting on the table. Once her babies were secure and drinking their formula, Clara returned to her fluffy-haired husband, hugging him from behind.
“Smells good,” she said into his hoodie.
“Learned from the best,” he grinned, though he knew she couldn’t see it. “Was stuck in Medieval Flanders for a fortnight once and I ended up befriending a very kindly and rather talented granny. Her skills at the stove would make haute chefs green with envy.”
“Sounds like an enriching experience,” she replied. After pressing a kiss between his shoulder blades, she sat back down at the table and began to scroll through the news feed on her phone. Despite the fact she was swirling around in the time vortex, she wanted to be up-to-date on everything when she finally did disembark the TARDIS and returned to her normal life. That was a while away yet, though it didn’t hurt to stay on top of more things than the Doctor. Speaking of, he placed the plate full of crepes down on the table and sat, grabbing a couple for himself.
“Would you like me to teach you?” he asked through a mouthful of crepe.
“Would you like me to teach you how to make these crepes,” he clarified. He watched as Clara drizzled some treacle on her crepes, covering them in the sweet, sticky goo. “It’s not that difficult, but it does take plenty of practice to get it just right.”
“Maybe, when the kids can be left alone for a few minutes, but I’m not ready to go back to Coal Hill,” she nodded. She glanced over at their kids—they were still working on their bottles, though Alison was poking James with the end of hers—and sighed wistfully. “They grow so fast, don’t they?”
“That’s the Gallifreyan in them,” the Doctor quipped.
“No, I mean in general,” she said. “Babies do that, you know. One day we’ll blink and they’ll be old enough for school. Blink again and they’ll be teenagers. Another blink and they’ll be passing us grandchildren.”
“It will be a wonderful feeling,” he said, voice sad and low. The Doctor allowed himself to be mentally transported through the millennia and universe, to when he first held Susan in his arms. He wasn’t yet a Time Lord then, nearing finishing up his overly-long and poorly-completed training, and it was honestly one of the few times in his life where he could have said he was truly happy and not be lying to some degree. “Our babies will always be our babies, but it’s worth them growing up to watch them make their own way in the galaxies, conquer their fears, be in love, have babies of their own, whatever ends up suiting them.”
“Glad I went in this with an experienced soul behind me,” Clara said. She placed her hand on his, squeezing gently. “Thank you.”
Chapter 5: Lullaby
We need fluff, so I filled a prompt with the following fluff. Enjoy.
“Clara, why is this one broken?” the Doctor shouted over his son’s cries. “We have two—don’t they break at the same time?”
“It doesn’t work like that,” she replied, checking the temperature of the formula before capping the bottle and passing it to him. She watched as he tried to feed their boy with no success. “Some babies are just like this.”
“He has a fault—why does he have such a fault?” he groused. The Time Lord was attempting to figure out what James was crying about, but it was no use. Poor James was simply sobbing in gibberish, something that the TARDIS was not able to translate.
“I’m going to go check on Alison and make sure she’s alright,” Clara said.
“No, just go to sleep; I’ll keep on after James,” he replied. “I’ll sleep when you’re not looking some other time.”
“Yeah.” The Doctor leaned down to peck Clara on the lips and soon she was gone from the kitchen. Now it was just a matter of waiting things out.
Thanks to the Gallifreyan part of James’s genetics, it took him a very long time to cry until it hurt his lungs and he had to stop. Respiratory bypasses weren’t fully developed until adulthood, yet complex enough to still be used from the moment of birth. He whimpered as he glared up at his father, who was looking down at him with glassy, red-rimmed eyes.
“Don’t worry now, lad; I’ve got you,” the Doctor said, bouncing him gently. The baby croaked and he chuckled in reply. “Yeah, I know, I look like hell, but that’s what all parents of babies are supposed to look like.” He thought about it and yeah, he did look awful. With hair in need of a trim and the same t-shirt and hoodie for the past couple days, he was beginning to wear thin.
“Can I sing you a song?” he asked. “It’s a very good song, one that I’ve sung to many children in the past. It was a favorite of your niece, Susan, when she was a wee bit larger than you. I’m not one to brag, but I was her favorite; kind of explains why she went into exile with me.”
Little James gurgled and wriggled a bit within the Doctor’s grasp. He was daring the ancient, near-godly being to impress him, which only made his father chuckle.
“You asked for it.”
Soon he was singing, low and rumbling. He rocked the infant in his arms and paced the room in an attempt to soothe him further. The TARDIS left the lyrics untranslated, knowing how important it was to hear in the original language. He sung of brave heroes and valiant tales; of sweet water in babbling streams and fruit fresh-picked from the tree; rolling hills and a blood-red sky that at night turned blue. The song had it all, and the child knew.
Before long James was yawning himself back to sleep, which meant that his singing father began to walk through the corridors of their home. The door to the bedroom opened for them, as did the one for the nursery, and the Doctor placed his son down in his cot. Directly behind him his daughter slept on, not a care or a worry to her. He ended his song and left the room, only after speaking words in his own tongue over his children. The Doctor was nearly out of the bedroom when he heard Clara’s voice from the bed.
“That was nice,” she said. He turned and saw her, head propped up and giving him a congratulatory smile. Pulling back the blankets, she waited for him to kick off his boots and slide in next to her, lying within her grasp. “Is that a popular song on Gallifrey?”
“No; I wrote it,” he murmured into her chest. Shifting in the bed, he was only comfortable when their arms were around one another and he was unapologetically using her as a pillow. “I’m not the best composer, but I try for those I love.”
“I’m sure your children are honored.”
He smiled against her skin, content and safe. If there was anyone who felt honored, it was him.
Chapter 6: Dad Time
Here's some more Twelve-with-babies fluff to help everyone in this time of need.
“Okay, kids: it’s Dad Time,” the Doctor announced, scooping his children up from their highchairs and toting them out of the kitchen. He carried them like one would small barrels, which made Clara call out from behind him in exasperation.
“Be careful with them,” she reminded him. “They may have Time Lord in them, but they’re not invincible.”
“I’m always careful,” he frowned. He turned and began to walk backwards, nudging the babies in his arms and making them giggle. “They’re in the safest place when they’re in the TARDIS and with me. Don’t worry about us and go have your bath.”
Without giving her an opportunity to retort, the Doctor spun back around and scooted off down the hall, running down towards the nursery. It had recently become its own room, not a suite attached to his and Clara’s, and he delighted in playing with their children in there as often as he could. Sometimes he needed to go take something apart or read a book that wasn’t about cute and furry animals that could talk, but there was always plenty of time to do that when they weren’t looking.
“Alright, here we are,” he said, bending down to place the kids on the rug. They then zoomed off, crawling away at mach speeds towards their toys. Their father chuckled and busied himself with picking up after them, for the nursery was the one room where only trash vanished and clean clothes and nappies appeared—keeping the place tidy was for the parents so that the children could learn by example.
Before long though, everything was cleaned and it was just the twins and the soft blocks they were stacking and knocking down. The Doctor sat down with them, cross-legged and looking very curious.
“What is it you’ve got here?” he asked. Alison climbed into his lap and braced herself with his chest as she stood, poking at the holes in his jumper.
“Da!” she said as she touched the t-shirt underneath each hole. “Da! Da! Da! Da!”
“Yes, this is Dad’s favorite jumper,” he replied. He twirled a tiny bit of her hair around his finger, such fluffy, bouncy hair that reminded him of his own. “Aly.”
“Jim,” the Doctor said, pointing at James.
“Im!” she repeated. Her father knew that she was only attempting to mimic him and that actual words were likely still a few months away. The rate at which his son and daughter were growing and developing amazed him, making him unsure if it was the Gallifreyan in them or the Human.
“Eee,” James scowled, scooting over to his father and sister. He too climbed into the Doctor’s lap and plopped down on one of his bent knees. The Doctor winced at the sudden pressure, though made not a sound, and let the kids continue on.
“Im!” Alison replied happily.
“Eee,” her brother said firmly. He then went off on a string of babbling syllables, scolding his sister for abandoning the building project. It was supposed to be a grand venture between the two of them and she was slacking. The little girl rolled out of their father’s lap and crawled back over to the block pile, headbutting it so that it fell down in an unceremonious pile.
James glanced up at the Doctor, his eyes wide in horror. “No, son; it can be fixed,” he assured him. He then put his son down and leaned forward so that he laid on his stomach, propped up by his elbows, and began piecing the tower back together. Alison and James both began to help him, and before long the tower sat completed.
“Now, would you look at that?” the Doctor said. “See? We put it back together… and now…” He pulled a block from the bottom of the pile and the whole thing came crashing down. The twins began protesting, crawling on their father’s back and bouncing up and down.
Rolling over, the Time Lord tickled his children until they shrieked in laughter, wiggling away from him before crawling off. He tried to chase them, but they were too crafty, and as soon as he nearly had the one they would slip away and he’d need to head after another. In the overall scheme of things, it was a highly mundane thing, but he wouldn’t trade that moment for the entire universe.
Clara had just finished her bath and stepped out into the TARDIS corridors, wondering where her family had gotten up to in the meantime. One time she had found all three of them in the control room, the Doctor trying to teach the babies how to fly the ship. That had led to an interesting argument which ended in a ban on letting the kids fly their aunt/home/mothership until they were at least sixteen. This time the lit path led her straight to the nursery, where a precious sight was the one that awaited her.
It was her space-husband, buried alive under a mound of stuffed toys. Alison and James were curled up in the pile, all three of them taking a well-deserved nap. Clara smiled, knowing she still had at least half an hour more of peace, and decided to use it wisely. She walked into the nursery and sat down next to the toy pile, leaning against it and closing her eyes. Almost immediately she felt a shift in the plush cushion and a large, knobby hand took one of her own. She squeezed back and continued resting, just as glad for the moment as the Doctor.
Chapter 7: The Twins' First Christmas
Because it's December, the Christmas-themed prompts are rolling in, with this story being no exception.
Takes place when the kids are still less than a year old.
“Doctor, I want to celebrate Christmas.”
He looked at her as he poured Cheerios onto Alison’s highchair tray, one bushy eyebrow cocking curiously. “Is it even Christmas on Earth?”
“Yes, I’ve been keeping track of the days, and we’re almost at Christmas,” Clara said. She put the sippy cups of juice in the two cereal-related messes and stared her husband straight in the eyes. Well, they weren’t technically married by any sort of binding law or ceremony, but they were married at their hearts, all three connected intrinsically by not only their unspoken love for one another, but for the two children shoving dry cereal in their mouths with pudgy wee hands. “I want them to know what Christmas is, what holidays are, from the beginning so that they understand some things before we bring them to live on Earth. Every kid needs Christmas, or a similar holiday, and I want James and Alison to have that.”
The Doctor frowned, unable to argue with that. He wasn’t even of Earth, not a believer in all that Christmas came from, and he loved Christmases on Earth. What kind of father would he be if he didn’t allow his children to know and understand their heritage? He nodded and shrugged, throwing his entire body headlong into agreement.
“What sort of Christmas do you want them to have?” he asked. “We could spend the holiday with Vastra and Jenny…”
“I like them, don’t get me wrong, but I also don’t need Strax trying to breastfeed the kids again.”
“That’s true…” He grimaced at the memory. “Then how about we go on holiday in the American Rockies? Maybe the French Alps? The Montuvian System?”
“I was thinking that maybe we could have Christmas here—get a tree and decorate it, bake festive biscuits, snuggle by the fireplace, wrap presents while the kids are sleeping, open up Christmas crackers, you know… that sort of thing.” Clara caught James’s sippy cup as it flung through the air, not even looking at where it was going, placing it back on his eating tray. “What do you say?”
“That sounds like a good idea,” the Doctor said. “Never had a full-blown Christmas on the TARDIS before. Closest I had was taking Ace to Australia for a barbecue festival, and then there was one year Sarah Jane and I went caroling around UNIT.”
“Then maybe we can start today,” Clara grinned excitedly.
“Sure, why not?” he chuckled. He laughed as his wife leapt into his arms and gave him a kiss, elated at the prospect of having a proper Christmas. Their children stared at them, curious as to why Mummy was so happy. This Christmas thing had to be fun, yeah? That meant that they were going to have fun—new sorts of fun—and they giggled excitedly.
“Doctor, are you sure you don’t want any help with that?”
“Yeah, I’m sure,” he grunted. Clara held the twins in her arms and watched with an unimpressed look on her face. Her breath misted out of her mouth, the babies still staring at the phenomenon in wonder. They were stuffed into snowsuits, unable to put their arms down and only their faces poking out, cheeks rosy-red from the cold. The Doctor, in the meantime, was attempting to stuff a Scots pine in the door of the TARDIS with very little success.
“You’re being silly—let me help.”
“I am perfectly capable of doing this!” Alison babbled, waving her arms about, making her father’s ears turn red from more than the cold. “Do not sass me, young lady! The universe is a small place when I’m cross with you!” She blew a raspberry at him, not taking his warning seriously.
“Alison, behave; your father is trying his best,” Clara explained. “It’s just a shame he broke Auntie Idris’s Chameleon Circuit, and can’t seem to program an organics circuit in his sonic tech.”
“Clara, you are being incredibly unfair,” the Doctor groused. He put down the tree and stared at the dilemma before him, with a tree stuck in the TARDIS door and no way to actually move it either way. His extraterrestrial wife exhaled heavily and shook her head, turning around and walking back towards the park’s play area, deciding it was probably better to wait things out where the kids could play and there was a stand with hot chocolate.
“Doctor, you’re going to fall and regenerate and scare the children.”
“No I’m not, Clara,” he insisted. He was up on a ladder, attempting to secure the star to the treetop, wobbling slightly as he did so. The TARDIS had materialized ornaments for them as soon as the Doctor had gotten the tree inside the ship and to the library, which was currently doubling as their sitting room, and they’d spent the entire rest of the evening decorating. Alison and James were sitting on the floor, looking up at the scene above them.
“If you kill yourself, that’s your prerogative, not mine,” she deadpanned, hands on her hips. She bent down and picked up the kids, placing them in their double-seated walker before continuing to string garland up along the bookcases. Before long, there was a crash by the tree and Clara’s attention whipped around to find the Doctor crumpled on the floor, clutching a wrist close to his chest. “Ugh… for the love of… Idris?”
The TARDIS’s holographic interface shimmered into view, using the image of a disheveled woman in some sort of outfit that wasn’t quite steampunk, though not pure Victorian either, the sight of which made Clara sigh appreciatively. “Please and thank you? I’m sorry.”
“That’s alright,” the interface responded cheerily. “I enjoy interacting with the children more like a Gallifreyanoid would.”
“I’ll be right back.”
Clara then helped the Doctor to his feet and led him towards the medical bay. It probably wasn’t a good thing that she was becoming extremely adept at the scanners and various other pieces of medical equipment, but it seemed to come in handy for times like these.
“Now, what did I tell you?” she asked, holding a beam over his wrist that was facilitating bone setting.
“I didn’t scare the children by regenerating,” he muttered.
“…but you did fall and break something,” she scolded. Another whatsit to shoot laser-looking things at the Doctor and before long his wrist was healed, as if it had never happened. She brought the wrist up to her lips and gently pressed a kiss. “There; all better.”
“It still hurts,” he claimed. She smirked in response.
He pointed at the palm of his hand, which she then kissed. Then his knuckles, his fingertips, his forehead, his cheek; finally he pointed to his lips and they began to kiss, forgetting they were in the medical bay and the Doctor had just fallen in a rather idiotic fashion. After a while they parted and walked back to the library hand-in-hand, finding that the rest of the decorating had been finished and the kids were curled up atop one another on the rug in front of the fire, napping peacefully.
“Thank you old girl,” the Doctor said, affectionately rubbing the doorjamb before entering the room. Clara picked up James and he took Alison and they sat down on the couch, snuggling into one another for warmth.
“Now this is Christmas,” Clara hummed happily. “A warm home, loving people, and being together.”
“You forgot the turkey and the crackers,” he added.
“Those will come later; can’t wait to see you in a paper crown,” she smiled. He kissed the top of her head in response, pulling her in closer so that all four tiny members of his family were secure in his arms. It was definitely going to be one of the better Christmases he’d spent over the course of a couple thousand years, because if it was for Clara, James, and Alison, it was definitely worth the trouble.
He closed his eyes and joined everyone else in a short nap. As they rested, packages appeared underneath the tree, ready to be opened as soon as they stirred.
Chapter 8: Baby Race
The prompt for this one involved Twelve, Rigsy, and their new tiny humans that they were minding. Needless to say I instantly thought of the Time Twins and ran with it.
This also tries to help fill the gap between where the canon diverges and where this storyline picks up. Hopefully it works.
“So, um, you didn’t have that last time we saw each other,” Rigsy noted, eyeing the double-papoose strapped to the Doctor’s chest. He bounced Lucy on his knee, keeping his daughter happy, while the Doctor tried to remain dignified despite the infants drooling all over his jumper. They were in the park, resting one day while their wives took a spin around the galactic shopping center, Clara having promised Jen that the last time they’d met, when she and the Doctor had dragged her husband back from Trap Street after a harrowing experience that involved clearing his name and scolding an immortal who really should have known better than to make every crime punishable by death. It had only been a couple weeks for Rigsy and Jen, but for the Doctor and Clara it had been well over two years.
“James and Alison were… a surprise,” the Doctor admitted. “A surprise we very much wanted, mind you, but Clara and I were under the impression we’d need the TARDIS’s medical equipment to intervene when we were ready.”
“Kids don’t always wait for Mum and Dad to say they’re ready, do they Lucy?” Rigsy smirked. The girl giggled and reached for her father’s face, as if she knew he was talking about her. “Jen and I got a bit over-confident and… well… best surprise we ever had. I’m sure you and Clara can relate.”
“Not sure about that,” the Doctor muttered. He disentangled Alison’s hands from the holes in his jumper and pet her hair, so soft and fine it felt like silk. “It’s rare for my kind to breed after we make the full transition from the broad Gallifreyan to elitist Time Lord, and not merely because we don’t want to…”
“You sound so depressing,” Rigsy chuckled. He thought for a moment and came up with something to distract them from the extraterrestrial’s downer train of thought. “Hey, I bet my daughter is better at crawling than your daughter.”
The Doctor blinked and looked at him. “What…?”
“Lucy’s faster than Alison, I bet,” he elaborated. “Wanna have a race?”
“The pudding brain is insinuating that his tiny human is better than you,” the Doctor murmured to his daughter. His son babbled back, which his father solved by covering up his mouth with two fingers. “Don’t listen to James, sweetie; you have hybrid robustness.”
“I take it Jim can see the fact that Aly can’t win?”
“One, they are James and Alison, and two, my daughter is better than your daughter and we can prove it.” The Time Lord stood and went over towards a clear patch of grass, nice and soft and flat, with plenty of shade and not a lot of people around. He took Alison out of her pouch and placed her on the ground, allowing her to sit up on her own. “Afraid, Local Knowledge?”
“You’re on,” Rigsy laughed. He brought Lucy over to sit next to Alison and the fathers went about ten feet away. They crouched down and began to call them, trying to get them to crawl their way over.
Instead, the girls simply sat there, wobbling in place before falling over simultaneously. Their fathers’ jaws dropped in disbelief as the babies laid there and sputtered.
“Alison Joan Oswald-Smith, you get over here this instant,” the Doctor ordered. He was answered with giggling, which he scoffed at in disbelief. “Don’t you use that tone of voice with me, young lady! You scoot that nappy over here!” She merely wiggled in place, happy where she was at.
“Come on Lucy, come over to your dad,” Rigsy asked gently. When she didn’t make an effort to leave her spot either, he sat down in disbelief, completely heartbroken. “…but Luce…”
“It’s no use,” the Doctor marveled. He too sat down and took James from the papoose to put him on the grass, making the weight on his chest even again before laying down spread-eagle. “I was certain it was going to work.”
“They’re already rebelling,” Rigsy sighed. “Always knew fatherhood wouldn’t be easy, but this takes the cake as far as early rebellion.” He then watched in silent disbelief as James scooted his way across the grass and laid down between his sister and Lucy. The two girls then rolled themselves over and plopped down on James, the three babies in a big, squishy, sleepy, pile. “Uh… Doctor?”
“Not now, Local Knowledge.”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
“Okay.” Rigsy drew his knees up and wrapped his arms around them, watching their children with a smile on his face.
Chapter 9: The Prophecy
This came from a prompt that was about Clara and the Doctor's thoughts when the twins were first born, and I ended up tying it in with an earlier chapter, because I enjoy doing that.
Clara had known there was little she could do other than live in seclusion via TARDIS when she discovered that she was pregnant. The Doctor had repeated over and over that he was close to sterile thanks to being a Time Lord, and the fact she and Danny had gone without protection on more than one occasion without consequences had made her assume she possibly skewed that way as well. Biology proved them both wrong, however, and before long she was going through nesting rituals as she rearranged her bedroom and waddling around the ship’s corridors with a tub of half-melted ice cream in-hand. To make matters worse, Gallifreyan gestation periods were on-average two whole Earth months longer than a human’s, meaning she was going insane by the end of the ninth month.
Thankfully though, it only took a couple extra weeks before her water broke, sending both expectant parents into a panic. The TARDIS obligingly put the medical bay directly across the hall and they were met by the holographic interface using the faces of two former companions that actually had been medical doctors. It had been a good thing that the Doctor had recently upgraded the interface, allowing for more interaction between the patient and the ship, because he was sure that if he’d tried to help, Clara would not have let his hand go.
Birth was always a beautiful, awesome, intensely-messy affair, no matter how many times the Doctor had the privilege to witness it. He enjoyed it better though after the clean-up, long past when the screaming ended and pain subsided. It was leagues better this time as he sat on the bed next to Clara holding his son, while she held his daughter while breastfeeding. She’d wanted both babies to have their mother’s milk at least once before switching over to the synthetic stuff the TARDIS conjured from who-knows-where, and she was glad that she could do it at all.
“They’re so beautiful, Clara,” the Doctor said, placing the tip of his pointer finger in their son’s hand. “No matter how many times it happens, the first time you meet your child is humbling.”
“You know, we still haven’t decided on names,” she mentioned. “I still want to name one after you and one after me.”
“We talked about this—my true name is too dangerous, let alone no longer represents me, and to endow a child with it would be more insult than honor.” He saw his son’s eyes open, brown and large like his mother’s, and his hearts began to crack. “I’ve gone by many names since abandoning my original one.”
“Which one do you go by the most?”
“John Smith, and this little guy doesn’t look like a John.”
“Well then, what do you suggest, now that you can see them?” she chuckled.
“We can go with another David and Elena,” the Doctor suggested. “David John and Elena Clara?”
“No, too obvious,” Clara frowned. She carefully moved her daughter so they were chest-to-chest, burping her before bringing her back down level again. The girl yawned and went to sleep, causing the new mother to pass her over and take her son in-arms. “Remember: I do want to partially raise them on Earth, and those names would make Dad more than a little suspicious.” She pondered for a moment while her boy suckled hungrily, reminding her about how much some of her students could eat and drink in one go. “James; James and Alison.”
“I like those,” he agreed. “Where are they from?”
“Dad and Mum’s middle names,” she explained. “James and Alison Smith.”
“James and Alison Oswald,” he argued gently. “You’re the one with a surname to pass down.”
“Fine,” Clara grumbled. “James Clark Oswald-Smith and Alison Joan Oswald-Smith—double-barreled, so it’s like I tacked my name to the front of theirs on the adoption.”
“Our daughter looks just like you, which means that there’s no way anyone’s going to believe she’s adopted,” the Doctor said. He held her hand and kissed her forehead, telepathic sparks of adoration flitting between them.
“You can’t tell that, not yet anyhow,” she laughed. “She looks like a baby… she looks like her brother.”
“They look like our children…”
“…like two tiny versions of us.”
“That I’ll accept,” Clara nodded. She fawned over the baby laying along her arm, for he was done eating and instead was reaching up towards her, already investigating his new environment.
Every moment she spent holding one of her children, her chest swelled more and more. She was a mum now, something she hadn’t counted on happening once Danny met his untimely end, and it made her want to cry. All her tears were used during labor though, so all she did was smile. Part of her knew that wherever Danny was, whether it was still the Nethersphere or the afterlife or even somewhere else, he’d be happy for her—that’s just the kind of guy he was. She had thought about the name Daniel, or even Danielle, once or twice during the pregnancy, but felt deep-down it wouldn’t be right. Glancing over at the Doctor, she opened her mouth to say something, but immediately forgot as she saw the look on his face as he stared at their daughter. It was more melancholy than anything else; sad and glad and a whole lot of worry.
“Are you alright?” she wondered. He snapped out of his thoughts, landing back in the medical bay.
“Oh? Yeah, I think so,” he replied. Gently, the Doctor placed the sleeping baby in her mother’s free arm and gave her another kiss, this time on the lips. “I’ll be right back, okay?”
“Okay,” she echoed. The twins both slept peacefully as their father left the room, staying away for what felt like a long time. Materializing as the gentleman doctor, the TARDIS interface check vitals for all three, declaring that they would be good to wander the rest of the ship after a night’s rest. Alison and James were both on the edge of waking when the Doctor walked back into the bay, a very old book sitting open in his hand.
“I know it’s in here somewhere,” he muttered, flipping through pages. It was leather-bound and cracking, bits of the pages flaking off and floating serenely to the floor.
“What’s the matter?” the interface asked. “It better be important if you’re risking the sterility of the birthing ward.”
“The hybrid,” the Doctor replied. The interface grimaced and vanished, allowing the Time Lord to his devices.
“The hybrid…? What about a hybrid?” Clara asked, trying not to panic. “What sort of intergalactic nonsense did you get our children into the moment they were born?!”
“Hold on; I’m checking,” he said. A couple more pages and he found the page he required, the ink text supplemented with many more penciled-in notes in the margins, all in High Gallifreyan. He ran his finger over the page as he read, tapping the spot he was looking for. “This is it: the Hybrid Prophecy.
“‘One day there shall be a creature, born of two warrior races, one that shall be more powerful than the two parent races combined. It shall stand victorious in the ruins of Gallifrey, destroy the web of time, and destroy millions of hearts to heal its own.’ I don’t like the sound of this.”
“Oh God, Doctor, you’re telling me this now?!” Clara snapped. “Our children are not even half a day old and you’re telling me that they’re going to grow up to destroy your home planet?!” The babies woke up and began to cry, their mother bouncing them in an effort to calm them. The Doctor abandoned the book on the bed to take James, who was nearer to him, and attempted to help calm him down. He held his son against his chest and hummed, pacing around the room worriedly.
“Alright, so that’s still the same,” he said once the kids were both quiet again. He slowly lowered himself onto the mattress and looked at Clara, his eyes now red-rimmed from welled-up tears. “I’m so sorry, Clara. If I had known…”
“…you would have what?” she hissed quietly. “Changed their DNA in-vitro?”
“I would have engineered them to be fully-human, not a drop of Gallifreyan or Time Lord DNA in their sequences, before implanting them in the womb,” he said. He held James close, trembling in worry. There was a sinking feeling in his chest as he rocked him and stared at Alison. “Most scholars believe that the prophesized races are Time Lord and Dalek, but I was there when it was foretold, and it said nothing about who or what. I’ve been fond of human companions, even went as far as loving them, but I hadn’t had children before this with someone who wasn’t Gallifrey-born. It never even occurred to me…” He choked on his own words, fear twisting his stomach until he felt sick. “Our children are doomed and it’s all my fault.”
“No, it’s not,” Clara said. She reached over and placed her hand on the Doctor’s shoulder. “What else does the prophecy say? Does it give us any more hints?”
“No, that’s it,” he replied. “Humans are an amazing species when it comes to warriors, not because of their ferocity, but because of their compassion. I’ve seen it, I know it, and I feel it deep down in my hearts.” He reached over and placed a hand on Alison’s head, wanting to touch both his children at once. “The Gallifreyan part was always a given—what would be ready to take down the Time Lords better than one of their own—but the thought that humans would be the ones to complete the prophecy was never even considered.”
“How so?” she asked warily. “Did Gallifrey not know about humans?”
“No, we knew; we simply found humans to be inferior, inefficient, too dull to be master warriors,” he admitted. “Even I thought that, up until very recently.”
“What… what made you change your mind?”
Clara grew quiet at that, lifting Alison up and kissing her nose, right by where the Doctor’s thumb sat. Part of her felt so guilty for all that had happened—it wasn’t fair. “He deserved better.”
“He deserved a life and he gave it away without a second thought,” he said, remembering what she had told him about the boy who Danny had given the interdimensional hopper. “I should have known then, in the graveyard, but I’ve been an idiot. The other half was not Dalek or Cyberman or anything else other than Human. I’m almost certain now that James and Alison are the prophesized Hybrid.”
“Then we have work to do,” she said. “We have to make sure these children grow up to be two of the best individuals the universe has ever had the privilege of meeting. Whatever causes them to fulfill this prophecy, if they do at all, will not be due to vengeance or cruelty. For all you and I know, the ‘ruins’ are only an old order. Maybe they will help heal what the Time Council hurt.”
“I hope so, Clara,” the Doctor murmured. “I really, really hope so.”
Chapter 10: Success
I got a prompt about Clara finding out she was pregnant, so I jumped on it.
It had all started one day when Clara came out of the bathroom in a panic. She'd found grey hairs after she had gotten out of the shower and blown her hair dry, which was something that had never occurred in multiples before. The Doctor, who was picking up his clothes from around the room, was utterly confused at the entire situation. So what if she had a couple of greys sprout up? His hair was perfectly grey and he felt fine; if anything, they were now closer to matching. There was a point he made about wanting to match Clara somehow—he liked to choose his socks to match her outfit for that particular day, and sometimes even asked the TARDIS for question-mark pants to match her nighties—and soon it would be easier. What was so wrong about things being easier?
She was getting older, that was what. The grey hairs sent a shock through Clara's system, reminding her that there were still things she wanted to do, still things she wanted to have. She sat in the Doctor's wingback chair in the console room, worrying her hands as she fretted her situation. There was no way she wanted to stop traveling with the Doctor—they had been at things for years at that point, running about whenever and wherever Wednesdays wanted to take them—but she also began thinking about the things she had wanted to do on Earth that were going to slip away from her… things she had been planning on doing with Danny. She didn't want to admit it, but she was scared of it all. There were such things as single mums and women who adopted or had sperm donors in order to fulfill their maternal potential, but she really didn't know if that was for her. Should she find a new human man? No, that would be using him… it hurt to even think about it.
Standing by the console, the Doctor pretended to tinker while he watched over her from afar. He didn't need to pry into her mind to know what she was thinking about; the signals were being broadcast loud and clear, despite the fact he had long ago taught her how to shut out her surroundings and close her thoughts to others. Whenever he could read her without entering her consciousness, he knew something was wrong. He went up the stairs to the observation deck and leaned against the back of the chair, resting his chin and folded forearms on it.
"I thought you decided last week you weren't ready to have kids yet," he mentioned, recalling their conversation after babysitting for Rigsy. They were going to raise a child together, just the two of them, but she still wanted to do some running about first, going where toddlers can't crawl around and choke on small bits. He had thought that meant that one day soon they would go into the TARDIS's medical bay and tinker with some machines-that-went-ping and cobble together their DNA before transplanting a zygote in her womb. Yes, they used condoms, but it was more of a comforting habit of hers than anything else. Gallifreyans and Humans didn't reproduce easily, though they made Time Lords and Humans successfully breeding look like a walk in the park.
"I didn't think I did then, but we don't have all of time and space like we thought," she said. "We're losing valuable time that I don't have. The time for me to be a mum is running out."
"Oh," he replied. The Doctor walked around to the front of the chair and sat in front of it, placing his head in her lap and wrapping his arms around her waist. "You don't even have to carry the child if you don't want to—the TARDIS does—"
"No, I don't want that stuff if we don't need it," she insisted. "I highly doubt either one of us is sterile…"
"Maybe not within our own species, but you and I could be too different to create a child naturally." He frowned at the armrest, disappointed in the universe for putting them in such a position. "You know… you're not any less a woman if you're not a mother…"
"I know," Clara said. She played gently with his hair, twirling the strands around her fingers. "A childless woman is still worthwhile, but it's something I want, and I've always wanted, more so since my own mum died."
The Doctor lifted his head and looked at her face, his brow furrowing questioningly. "How come?"
"I was robbed of my mum early; she didn't get to see me graduate secondary school, or university, or get a job. She couldn't meet you or Danny—I want to give a child that sort of life, a life where the ones that matter to them are always there." Tears began to fall from her eyes as she mentally went back to her mum's funeral and the heartbreak that she had endured for the years afterward. "I want a child, your child if we can manage it, and I want to raise them the entire way a parent should."
"Would you like to start trying then?" he wondered. He lifted his hand and pressed it against the side of her face, feeling the connection between them heighten as skin met skin. "I am all yours, Clara Oswald. The only thing you need to do is say when."
Clara leaned forward and pressed her lips against the Doctor's, projecting her consent in his mind if her actions were not loud enough. He kissed back, bringing his other hand to her face in order to hold her steady and in place. She pushed his shoulders and suddenly he was on his back, the floor grating creasing ridges into his clothes, and he had to scoot away.
"Bed, please," he said, trying to avoid Clara's mouth reconnecting with his. She didn't even need two seconds before she was on her feet, pulling him up. She had long ago shown him the advantage to having a room just for sleeping, in that it could also conveniently double as a comfortable place for exploring one another's bodies, placing them in a position that they didn't need to move all that much to go to sleep afterwards. Well, Clara slept, but the Doctor closed his eyes and did equations as he was cuddled from behind. Yes, it was a trance-like state and that was why sometimes it seemed as if he was sleeping—anyone could make that mistake.
Pulling her Time Beau through the corridors, Clara led the Doctor to her bedroom. Once the door was closed behind them she began to tug at his clothes. She started planting kisses soon as she saw skin; neck, arms, stomach, shoulders, chest. He was more careful with her clothes, tenderly peeling them off one by one, tasting her skin as he went. Her wrists and fingertips sent as much of a jolt through his system as her lips and it was barely any time at all before they were both scrambling into bed and shoving the blankets and pillows aside.
Off and on all night, or at least Clara's approximation of it, the two made love the best they could. Sometimes it was tender and sensual, while other times it was wild, desperate, and overflowing in lust. The Doctor murmured Gallifreyan oaths into her hair, swearing that he would be there for her as long as she needed him. Clara poured all her heart and soul into their lovemaking, wanting to make sure that the night was at least memorable even if it wasn't fruitful.
A month passed in that fashion, with them having sex at every opportunity as they went along in time and space. Clara would throw herself headlong into their adventures, living as recklessly as she could while there was not a tiny life that depended on her safety. The Doctor, however, began fussing over her more, tending to her desires attentively. While she slept off the sex, he'd trail his fingers over her bare skin, taking in and mapping her curves, noting her figure so he could detect any slight changes. Eventually he began concealing a medical scanner in his pocket, leaving his hoodie close enough so that he could pull it out and inspect her hormone levels as they laid in bed, skin flush against skin from head to toe.
One Wednesday, a wee bit later than usual, the TARDIS materialized in Clara's tiny flat. He was dressed in the red velvet jacket this time, the one that made her really lose control, holding a bouquet of the Venusian lilies that she liked. The flat seemed quiet and empty—it was Wednesday, it was after school, it was time for them to make love on the beach of a primordial sea and watch the sun set.
"Clara…?" he called out. "Are you there?" He heard her weakly call out his name from the bathroom and he rushed over, dropping the lilies on the rug. Throwing open the door, he saw her hunched over the sink, a tiny plastic stick clutched in one hand. His eyebrows arched as he wrapped himself around her and asked "What's going on?"
"I… we did it," she breathed into his jacket. "I'm about five weeks gone; I'm pregnant."
"Wait; but I checked you last week—the scanners would have picked up if you were four weeks along."
"You've been away for six, idiot," she chuckled weakly. "You're gonna be a dad again."
The Doctor silently picked Clara up, one arm around her waist and one tucked under her knees, and brought her into the TARDIS. He put her down in the medical bay, setting her gently on the bed. It took some rummaging around for him to find the necessary device, and in the meantime the TARDIS interface materialized into a young gentleman, bowing politely towards the patient.
"If you could please lay down, miss," the interface requested. Clara did so, allowing the Doctor to place the device on her midsection, low enough to be over her child… their child. It beeped and whirred and a holographic readout appeared in High Gallifreyan.
"What does it say?" she wondered. Both the Doctor and interface stayed silent. "Doctor…?"
"You are pregnant," the Doctor affirmed, his eyes growing wide and red-rimmed. He took her hand in his and kissed it, voice cracking. "Twins."
It was some of the best news either one of them could have heard. The next few days were spent in bliss, bursting into happy tears and hugs and sweet kisses. It wasn't until later did the panic begin to set in.
Clara was pregnant. With the Doctor's half-alien babies. She was going to go insane.
Chapter 11: First Steps
I got a prompt for a first-steps thing over on tumblr and I ran with it. Enjoy!
The TARDIS library was warm and comfortable as the Doctor and Clara sat snuggled on the couch while they watched their children play. She pressed her face into his chest as he slowly stroked her back, both chuckling at the kids’ interactions with each other.
“They are so beautiful, Doctor,” she said, a tear coming to her eye. “I know I must say that at least ten times a day, but…”
“…you’re correct: they are beautiful,” he replied. He kissed the top of her head and squeezed her a bit tighter. “A wee version of us is what they are.” A moment passed and he grinned against her crown. “Be sure to tell me when you’re ready to make them older siblings.”
“Down, boy,” she smirked, jabbing a finger in his tummy. He writhed underneath her and they laughed.
“Mummy! Da! Shush!” Alison frowned from down on the rug. She and James were working on a very important cityscape constructed of plastic waffle pieces and they had been trying to concentrate.
“Don’t you shush us, young lady,” Clara replied, still giggling from her space-husband’s tickling retaliation. “We can make noise if we want to.” She watched as her daughter grabbed a stuffed Alpha Centuari and crawled over, propping herself up to stand against the couch.
“Shhhhh!” she said, handing her mother the toy. “Sweeps.”
“Is Tau sleepy?” Clara wondered. Alison nodded exaggeratedly. “Does Tau want to sleep with Mummy or Daddy?”
“Mummy and Da!” the girl replied. She then pushed herself away from the couch and stumbled over to the plastic tower James was attempting to construct, falling into it.
“Oh my, Clara, did you see that?!” the Doctor gasped. “Alison took her first steps!”
“She did! This is such a big moment!” she squealed. The parents then untangled themselves from each other, the Doctor going to scoop up Alison and Clara standing a couch’s length away. “Come on sweetie, walk to Mummy!” The girl babbled in confusion, unsure of what the excitement was about.
“First steps are a very important event in the life of every organism with limbs,” the Doctor explained. He held his daughter upright and was crouched down, squatting so that his face could be level with hers. “Now practice walking by going to Mam. That’s it.” He let go and watched as she hobbled over to Clara, falling into her arms. “It’s incredible.”
“It really is,” Clara replied, nuzzling Alison happily. She felt a tap on her leg and she looked down to find James sitting next to her, staring up with wide, watery eyes. “Can you walk too, pumpkin?” The boy then scooted over towards his father, attempting to stand up, only to land on his rear end.
“Here, let me give you a boost up,” the Doctor beamed. He picked James up by the armpits and put him on his feet. “Come on now; make your da proud.” The boy wobbled as he picked up a foot, coming to a face-first crash-landing instead of taking a step. His father picked him up and bounced him in an attempt to stop his sniffling. “Ach, don’t worry now; your sister won this round, but you’ll be first at something. I’m still proud of you.”
“We’re proud of both of our children, equally,” Clara said, walking up to baby and beau. She kissed Alison, then James, on the forehead and grinned at them. “Practice makes perfect, and there’s nothing wrong with needing more practice. Now how about if you two tidy up the waffles so we can get you two to bed?”
“Ahn-tee?” James wondered.
“No, Auntie Idris is not cleaning up after you all the time,” the Doctor said. The adults placed their children back down on the floor and watched them toddle and crawl their way over to the tote to clean up. He leaned over, still watching the twins, and whispered in Clara’s ear, “I had bath duty last night.”
“Is that so?” she replied. “I take it you want a reprieve?”
“Then you better be waiting for me, in-bed and ready to go and not have a third child, do you hear me?”
“Loud and clear, ma’am,” he said, flashing his teeth before diving in for a quick kiss and disappearing into the corridor.
The following day, James woke up cranky. His sister was in her cot on the other side of the nursery, running back and forth until she hit the ends of her containment unit, while the best he could do was stand and wobble about. It wasn’t fair, since he and Alison did everything together; they played together, visited their friend Lucy together, explored their aunt’s corridors together (even after Mummy scolded them not to), and now Alison was walking without him. He was officially left behind.
Soon as he noticed his sister was up and about, the boy began to cry as he flopped down in his cot. Mummy came walking into the nursery, securing a robe around her to hide the fact she wasn’t wearing anything. The twins often wondered why it was that their parents never seemed to wear anything to bed, while they had to wear their footed pajamas that looked like galaxies. It didn’t seem very fair, even if while James was picked up and cuddled he could see his father sleepily falling over while stepping into pants. Adults were so weird.
“Alright James, what’s the problem now?” Clara asked, rubbing the boy’s back. She glanced over at Alison and watched her run into the end of the bed, falling backwards onto her rear-end and giggled hysterically. “Alison, don’t do that; you’re going to break your cot.”
“Bweak! Boom!” she shrieked. Alison rolled around as her brother was changed into a clean nappy and clothes. Soon as his tiny hoodie and boots were securely on, she began to jump about. “Me! Me! Me!”
“Shuppippy up!” James scowled, waving his arm crossly at his sister. His mother, however…
“James Clark Oswald-Smith,” she scolded. “What did you just say?”
“…bad wurd,” he muttered, trying to hide in her shoulder. Clara turned his head towards her and stared straight into his eyes.
“What do you say?”
“Good, now go into the corner and wait there until it’s time for breakfast,” Clara ordered. She placed James down and he crawled over to the corner of the nursery, sitting facing the wall as he whimpered. It took a bit for his sister to cooperate long enough to get into her leggings, but once she was in and her skirt snapped on, she zoomed across the room towards him, insisting he come along to the kitchen. The pair bounced and crawled off, going through their parents’ bedroom, past their father, and into the corridor.
“You know, seeing our Alison in that skirt and jumper reminds me of when my friends Jamie and Victoria decided they were going to match,” the Doctor said, pulling his t-shirt on over his head. He was finally in his trousers and was just putting the finishing layers to his outfit on. “They really were adorable—do you think we should get James a kilt?”
“I think our James is beginning to get jealous of our Alison and her ability to walk,” Clara mentioned. She let her robe drop to the floor and she began to go through her wardrobe trying to find something for the day. “The green-eyed little monster isn’t going to take things lying down.”
“Their eyes are brown, not green,” he said, puzzled.
“No, you know what I mean,” she insisted. Clara finished putting on her knickers and bra and let the Doctor hug her from behind, bending in half to kiss her neck. “I hope he walks soon.”
“He will—he’s your son, and your son is clever enough to find a way,” he murmured against her skin. “I’ll go make sure they don’t destroy the kitchen like last time.”
“I’ll hold you to that,” she said.
Once his fingers were done ghosting over her skin as he moved away, she continued rummaging around. Within a short while she was dressed and even ready to take the kids on an adventure. A safari park, perhaps? An aquarium? They were trying to start them off slow, after all. Clara went into the kitchen and stopped as she saw James sitting on the counter, blood all over the front of his face from a cut on his forehead, as the Doctor cleaned him up and attempted not to panic.
“…what happened…?” she questioned. The Doctor jumped, nearly dropping the tea towel he was using to mop up the blood from James’s face.
“Um… erm… James can walk now…” he said nervously.
“Right into a cupboard?!” Clara shot back.
“Yes!” Alison replied, toddling up to her mother, arms up and out. “James boom! James cwy!”
“No!” James insisted, balling his fists as he concentrated on not sniffling. “No cwy!”
Clara took a deep breath and tried to center herself—this was not going to be the end of her children attempting to one-up another and getting injured in the process. At least, she hoped, a cut on the forehead would be the worst of the injuries.
Chapter 12: Silent Words
Due to material I've written for Stars in A Sky of Blood and Blue, story and prompt-fills, I got a prompt for this involving Twelve and the Time Twins and psychicness, so here we are!
One week, four day, five hours, and twelve minutes—that’s how long Clara had been living full-time on the TARDIS for when it first happened. She hadn’t yet begun to show the fact that she was pregnant, but with twins she knew it was only a matter of time and had to concoct her cover story and commit to it quickly. Now she was living in the ship, the Doctor semi-permanently moved into her bedroom, and he was fussing over her as though they were stuck on a world which was ending.
“Hmm? What was that?” he murmured into her hair. They were snuggled up together on the couch in the study, a warm fire going and their hands up one another’s shirts possessively.
“Huh? I didn’t say anything,” she replied.
“No; I could have worn you just said something, but I didn’t quite make it out…”
“I’m telling you Doctor: I said nothing.” She shifted upwards and bent down to kiss him, the action slow, steady, and reassuring. “Maybe the stress over becoming a dad again is getting to you.”
“Are you saying my dad skills are not up to snuff?” he scoffed playfully. He craned his neck and nipped at her earlobe.
“That’s not what I’m saying at all and you know it,” she giggled. She then caught possession of his mouth with her own and soon they were going back to her room hand-in-hand, the entire thing forgotten.
The next time it happened, they actually knew what was going on.
Clara and the Doctor were laying in bed, fingers laced together as they cooled off from another round of sex. Her appetite had only grown in the past few months, the exact opposite thing both of them had expected, and even though the twins were making their presence known within her figure, the parents-to-be were still going to bed as if they were still trying to get pregnant.
“This is getting ridiculous,” Clara admitted as she stared at the ceiling. Her face was bright red, partly from exertion and partly from embarrassment at their situation. “When is this supposed to stop?”
“I neither know nor mind,” the Doctor grinned. He let go of her hand and rolled over onto his side. He traced his fingers along her body, taking in the wonder that was happening right in front of him. So many things about life was a wonder that he didn’t even know where to begin. This hadn’t been a tough decision his companion made after a slip-up on both their parts, but a conscious desire she’d had and wanted to carry through with him. It was not only a wonder (how many times would he think that word within the coming months and years?), but it was always and foremost an honor.
<Are you our daddy?>
The Doctor jerked his hand away from her and his brows arched in confusion. He stared at the skin he had just been touching—her belly—and pondered.
“What’s the matter?” she asked. A frown formed on her lips as she watched her space-husband fret in the direction of their children.
“I thought I heard something,” he said. He sat on his legs and carefully traced his fingers around the small bulge in Clara’s stomach. “It can’t be…”
“What is the matter?” she repeated, propping herself up on her elbows. “Doctor, you aren’t making any sense…”
“Clara, this is incredible,” he beamed. “It’s a rare feat, even on Gallifrey with children born to Time Lords, but… oh my gosh…”
“I just heard one of the children, telepathically! I don’t have words! I…” He bent down with watery eyes, touching his forehead to her stomach, holding her between his hands. “Hello there, little one.”
<Are you our daddy?> It was the same voice as before.
<Yes, I am your daddy. How are you?>
<Bothered. Other is sleeping. How does Other sleep while you and Mummy are so loud and shaky?>
<I don’t know. Maybe you should ask Other sometime for the secret.> Tears were dropping from his eyes to Clara’s skin, rolling off to the side. <I’m sorry we bother you.>
<I try telling Mummy and she doesn’t listen! Why can Daddy listen and not Mummy?>
<Mummy isn’t the same species as Daddy—I can hear those that cannot talk, like you.>
<Can you tell Mummy that I’m hungry? Mint chocolate chip, please.>
“Only because you said please,” he chuckled aloud.
“Doctor, are you conspiring against me with the kids before they’re even born?” Clara scolded.
“Feeling some ice cream, Mam?” he asked.
She blinked at him curiously. “How did you know that? I didn’t feel you in my mind.”
“It’s a request from one of the wee things,” he explained, placing a hand on the children. “C’mon; let’s get some robes on at least before heading towards the kitchen.” He tilted his head up at the ceiling. “Is that appropriate, at least?” The TARDIS whirred in agreement—no late-night naked suppers on her watch.
Rocking back and forth, the Doctor glanced down at the tiny child laying along his arm and smiled wearily. Alison was finally calm, and quieting her hadn’t woken up James either, meaning that it was a victory.
“You are going to be a splendid young woman one day,” he told her, smoothing her fine hair with a finger. “Just like your Auntie Amy, I bet.”
<Will I ever meet Auntie Amy? You talk about our aunties and uncles a lot,> she replied silently.
“Her and Uncle Rory, unfortunately no,” he sighed. “She’d be cross I didn’t rip open a hole in the fabric of time to bring them back to me, and she’s the reason gingers and Scots alike have the tendency to be seen as fiery and stubborn to others.”
<…but you would for Mummy. You did for Mummy.>
“Yes, because out of all of time and space, I’d never met someone as extraordinary as your mother,” he replied. “I’ve been in love, I’ve had other children, and I’ve even been married, but your mam… she is truly special.”
<Can you tell me about them? One day when I’m bigger and won’t forget? Now I’m sleepy.>
“Of course, darling.” The Doctor kissed his daughter on the forehead and stood, crossing the nursery to place her back in her cot. Four months and he was just about used to the version of frantic his life had once again become. He crept out into Clara’s bedroom—their bedroom—and laid down in his wife’s arms again, covering them both with the blankets.
“Better be careful with these Daddy-Daughter late night chats or James is going to get jealous,” she warned him sleepily. Clara murmured quietly into his hair, pulling him in tightly.
“Don’t you worry; things are well in-hand.”
Chapter 13: Crossing Time Streams
This takes place when Jim and Aly are mid-twenties in their timeline, while Twelve and Clara are mid-s8
Jim and Aly Oswald-Smith sat there, wondering what in the heck they were going to do. It was their parents across the way from them at the restaurant, their father trying not to look at them as they did their best to not look at him, and everything was crumbling to ruin very quickly.
“I know that dress Mum’s wearing,” she whispered excitedly. “She binned it after they blew up that one city of the fish people—shit, we’re not born yet for them.”
“Act cool,” he warned.
“Yeah, but it’s Mum and Da.”
“I know it’s Mum and Da, so just don’t look. Pretend you’re completely disinterested.”
“…but I am interested.”
“Don’t bother them and they won’t—”
“Hey, lad, don’t I know you?”
Jim cringed when he heard his father’s voice, younger, yet unchanged from the timbre the siblings had always known, and suddenly their parents were sliding into the booth with them. It was odd sitting next to them, knowing they had no idea who they were, and he tried to smile to hide the fact.
“No… I don’t think so,” he lied.
“There’s a good chance you’ve never seen us before in your life,” Aly added. Yes, clever Aly, coming up with the half-truth that wasn’t even part-lie. She was the one who had Mum’s talent for fast-talking and not-quite-lies.
“Are you certain?” the Doctor muttered. He leaned in closer to Jim, which caused the younger man to retreat further into the booth.
“We’re sure,” Jim assured.
“Yeah—just got in town though—where’re you from?” Aly asked slyly.
“Scotland—isn’t the accent obvious?” the Doctor growled before Jim could come back with something to divert the conversation from the obvious prank.
“Mmmm, not really,” she smirked. “You sound a bit… unearthly to me.”
Jim could feel the tension as their parents tensed up. Yes, idiotic Aly, finding ways to make situations worse than they already were. “Sorry about my sister; she’s a bit odd.”
“So you’re siblings?” Clara asked. Her eyes flit between the strangers, both only a couple years younger than her, before they narrowed. “You do look awfully familiar though. Did one of you attend school in Lancashire for a while? You both sound a bit northern.”
“Mum’s from around there, somewhere, forgot where, but we went to school in London,” Jim said quickly. “We’re twins, you see, and…”
“Clara, we could have seen them wandering around on the street,” the Doctor scoffed. “Remember that time we found a young P.E. on a class trip to the seaside?”
“…which I am still trying to convince him never happened, you jerk,” Clara retorted. The Doctor made a face as she kicked his shin. “He was showing me a couple photos he still has from then and we were in one.”
“Sounds interesting,” Aly said. She leaned forward and rested her chin on her hands. “Please, tell us.”
“Just this bloke she works with, nothing more,” the Doctor said, folding his arms across his chest.
“Danny’s my boyfriend, Doctor,” Clara insisted. “Why can’t you just accept that?”
“He’s not right for you.”
“…wait, you mean the two of you aren’t dating?” Aly marveled. Well, fake-marveled, considering she was the one who programmed their ship to go to this specific year, because the food in London was apparently really, really good. Both the Doctor and Clara went red and quiet, which meant Aly hit the mark.
“Don’t be rude,” Jim frowned. He watched as their future parents excused themselves and dashed off in embarrassment, and turned his ire towards his sister. “You are the worst.”
“You’re such a bore,” she scowled, rolling her eyes. “What’s the fun of time travel if you can’t have a bit of fun with the time stream every once in a while?”
“There’s a bloody difference between having a bit of fun and creating potential paradoxes,” he hissed lowly. There were still other patrons in the restaurant, let alone the staff. “I should just drop your arse in the middle of nowhere and see how you fare.”
“You’d never,” she grinned. “Can’t live without me; how many scrapes do I get you out of?”
“How many scrapes do you get me into in the first place?”
“Not enough, clearly.” Aly snickered as the waitress came over and placed their food in front of them, watching Jim’s ears turn red due to his inability to chastise her in front of a stranger. There were some things about traveling with her brother that she would love to change on whims and fancies, but being able to irritate him was definitely something that was not going to change any time soon.
Chapter 14: Clara's Birthday
The following takes place when the twins are about nine.
“Uh… I don’t know about this Dad,” James said. He watched as his father and sister were furiously cutting at bits of paper, turning them into even smaller bits that they were gluing together in impossible ways. “Shouldn’t we let Auntie Idris take care of this? She’s usually pretty good at this sort of thing…”
“Nonsense,” the Doctor said resolutely. “We are decorating the library for her birthday ourselves—no input from the ship, in order to give her a break.”
“…but those chains are hideous…”
“It doesn’t matter what it looks like, because we made them!” Alison insisted. She pasted together another couple of links and grinned manically at her handiwork. It was very clear to the young lad that his sister was the one who inherited their father’s facial expressions, even if their mother assured him that he had as well.
“If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen,” he replied. James was a rather serious boy for his age, which Alison teased him for and his parents worried over. Being serious wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, he decided, since it merely meant that he was going to have to be the one to hold things together when it got a bit testy.
Going into the kitchen, James crept up on his toes and grabbed one of the cookbooks that his mother kept handy. He was allowed to cook, as long as he was either in Auntie Idris’s kitchen or in Mum’s flat with her. The boy flipped through the pages, attempting to find a cake recipe to use, hoping something would catch his eye. He looked, and looked, and looked, and couldn’t find anything.
“What do you think I should make?” he asked the ceiling. The TARDIS softly whirred at him, her lights dimming in tandem.
“Really? Where’s that?” James wondered. A tiny chime went off and there was a recipe card sticking out of a slot in the wall. He took it, examining the contents.
It was a chocolate cake. Mums everywhere couldn’t say no to a chocolate cake, unless they were allergic, and James knew his mum wasn’t allergic.
Quickly, the child began gathering the necessary supplies. Bowls and spoons and whisks came out, as well as flour, sugar, cooking chocolate, and all sorts of things he only vaguely remembered using. Auntie Idris helped him with a couple things, since he hadn’t memorized the kitchen yet, and soon he was well on his way to baking the best birthday cake anyone in his family had ever tasted.
…and considering his dad was over two thousand years old, that was going to be a fluffing good cake.
Clara was, as she normally was, at work on her birthday. Her coworkers all chipped in and bought birthday cupcakes, as was customary, and it was generally a pleasant day. None of the students made her aggravated for once and she was able to go home on time. She could barely wait to get back to her flat, if she was completely honest with herself, because she knew that although it was a school night, she’d find the TARDIS parked on her sitting room rug and she was going to spend an entire week with her space-family.
No, it did not matter what the space-husband said; she was entitled to use the prefix whether he liked it or not.
Nearly forgetting to lock the door behind her, Clara nearly skipped across her flat. There she was, right where she was every year on November 23rd, and the sight of the TARDIS made her glad. She rubbed a hand over the painted wooden door and chuckled.
“Thanks for taking care of them while I was away,” she said. It was a ritual between the two, for Clara to thank the TARDIS every time they met after school now. The space-time ship held the three people who were the most important to her in the entire universe, keeping them alive, safe, and relatively bruise-free, and if she was really honest, she couldn’t thank the old girl enough. Letting the hinge give way, the TARDIS opened for the current mistress of the establishment.
“Doctor? Kids? I’m back,” Clara called out as she entered the console room. The door closed behind her as she walked through, wondering where it was her troublemaking family had gone off to. She put her bag down by the console itself, checking the controls.
Nothing out of the ordinary…
“What are those goofballs up to this time?” she wondered aloud. The TARDIS obliged and led the way, illuminating the corridor floors that brought the woman to the kitchen. It was a veritable disaster, though in the thick of it all was a very neatly-done cake, and her very splatter-covered son.
“Mum! There you are!” James gasped. He ran up to Clara and hugged her, getting chocolate batter all over the front of her. “I made your cake!”
“I see that,” she laughed. “And did Auntie Idris help?”
“Nope! I did it all by myself! Auntie Idris just watched!”
“Oh, how grown-up and responsible you are!” Clara said sweetly, fawning over her son. She kissed him on the forehead and rubbed their noses together—it was a good day indeed. “Now where’s Dad and Alison?”
“Probably making a mess in the library… again…” the boy groaned loudly, rolling his eyes for good measure. His mother smirked at that, ruffling his hair.
“Then let’s go scold them,” she said. The two then walked together to the library, where it indeed was a mess. Snips of paper were everywhere, glitter covered everything, paper chains hung haphazardly across some bookcases, and father and daughter stood in frightful attention, pointing at one another in accusation. They both claimed the other started it, though both father and daughter were sparkly and smeared in various colors and covered in paper bits.
“…and I thought I made a mess,” James marveled.
“Well I didn’t start it… Da did!” Alison protested.
“You little liar!” the Doctor scoffed. “You act as if I can’t be allowed to raise my own children!”
“What’s in your hair?” Clara asked, completely ignoring the spat.
“Glitter-paint,” Alison volunteered cheerily. She then shrunk back when she noticed her mother’s expression was not changing.
“You have glitter-paints, as well as glitter-glue from the looks of it, all over everything, including yourselves,” Clara noted. “Now what do you have to say for yourselves?”
“Sorry Auntie Idris,” the girl frowned.
“Good—now showers, all three of you, and I don’t want to see you again until you’re good and clean, do you hear me?” she ordered. Her family slunk out of the library, the children having learned their lesson, while the Doctor copped a feel as he walked by, leaving her skirt a glitter-filled mess on her rear end as a preview of her traditional birthday shag.
Chapter 15: James and Alison (II)
Clara was restless… really, really restless. The Doctor could tell because she was pushing him down onto their bed now that the twins were down for their nap, kissing him roughly and pawing at his jumper.
“Whoa, whoa, hold on,” he said, attempting to wriggle out of her grasp. “I need to find where the TARDIS hid the condoms first.” He began to search through the bedside drawers, noting that Clara was not stopping, instead moving towards his neck and shoulders. “…or is this you wanting a third child? I can’t tell.”
“Find the condoms so I can shag you silly,” she ordered despite not letting up. He grinned at that, searching more fervently until he found the little, wrapped, rubbery bits of joy. The Doctor then laid back on the bed, allowing his space-wife to do one of the things she did best, until they heard the door to the nursery open.
“Mummy, Daddy, I don’t wanna nap,” Alison muttered sleepily. She toddled over to her parents and crawled into the bed, not noticing the fact her father had nothing on his top half and her mother was missing her blouse and leggings. “You gonna nap too?”
“We were, but Mummy and Daddy take naps differently than children,” Clara said. She was a bit agitated, but couldn’t be cross with her daughter. The girl was barely three after all—she couldn’t help interrupting. “Why don’t you go back in the nursery and lay down? Even if you don’t sleep, you should still lay down.”
“I wanna lay down with you,” she protested, clinging to her father’s arm. He stroked her hair and pulled her close, shushing her gently.
“You really need to listen to Mam,” he insisted. When his daughter whimpered into his chest, his hearts shattered. “Alright, this once, yeah?” Alison squeaked in delight as she hunkered down between her parents, who immediately struck up a telepathic conversation.
<You are wrapped around her pinkie finger,> Clara scowled.
<Only half-so!> the Doctor protested. <The other half is around James’s finger—I love both my children equally.>
<…and what about your wife? What does she have left in hopes of wrapping around?>
<We’ll simply have to wait to find out,> he replied sassily, kissing the tip of her nose. She stuck her tongue out at him before giggling, knowing that it was right to cherish these moments, for they wouldn’t last forever.
When they woke up, James had joined them as well, and it was back to life once more.
Both twins were crying loudly, unable to do much of anything else. Their faces were red and snot dribbled out their noses and they sat together on the examination table in the medical bay, rubbing their eyes and interrupting their cries with tiny coughing fits.
“Doctor, what’s wrong with them?” Clara asked, biting her thumb as she watched him run scanners over the children. The readouts were in High Gallifreyan, which she was always rather rubbish in, and even if she were competent in the script, she couldn’t concentrate with her babies in so much pain.
“Double-ear infections on them both, from the looks of it,” he replied. It was difficult to not shout as he talked over the children, but he had to in order to be heard. “I can have the TARDIS synthesize medicine, but it will take a few days before they are completely better.”
“You mean you can’t fix it instantly like you do a bone?!”
“Not in bodies as young as theirs—they need to go through puberty before I can start doing things like that or it will potentially damage their continued development.” He walked over to a refrigerator and plucked a smallish bottle of thick, pink fluid out.
“Daddy! It hurts!” James sobbed, holding his head in confusion. The Doctor pulled a hollow medicine spoon from his pocket, filling it to just the right amount with the pink stuff.
“Tuck in, son; this’ll help,” he said. James took the spoon and sucked it dry, holding it out towards his father afterwards. He continued sniffling, though trembled in an attempt not to cry while his mother wiped his face off.
“Doctor, you really should wash that out first,” Clara scolded. She watched as he refilled the spoon with medicine and passed it to their daughter.
“They’ve been in the same places; they have the same germs,” he reasoned. Alison took one sip of the medicine and spat it out dramatically, getting it all over her father’s favorite jumper.
“UCKY!” she screeched. The girl flopped down on her back and began kicking her legs in the air as she wailed. Her brother, meanwhile, was safely in their mother’s arms, rubbing his nose against her shoulder while he clung to her possessively.
“Alison Joan, take your medicine whether you like it or not,” Clara scolded. “It’s the only way for you to feel better.”
“Aly! Take medicines and feel better!” James shouted at her. The Doctor simply shrugged off his pink-splattered jumper and tossed it aside before rummaging through the cupboards with only a t-shirt emblazoned in faded skeletons on his top. He returned to the table with a different spoon filled with purple stuff instead, which his daughter glared at in suspicion.
“Here we go dear: better stuff,” he said. He helped Alison drink the medicine and wiped her face off as well, hoisting her into his arms. “Give it a bit to work and you won’t feel as awful.”
“Thanks Da,” she muttered sourly. Her head was still throbbing, as was her brother’s, so their parents decided to put them down for a nap. With a plush swordfish in James’s grasp and an Alpha Centuari in Alison’s, the preschoolers shut their eyes in the dim nursery in an attempt to feel better.
“What did you give Alison?” Clara wondered once she and the Doctor were back in their room. The TARDIS had been kind enough to stick the nursery so that the two rooms shared a wall again in case the little ones needed something urgently.
“Same thing I gave James,” he shrugged. The Doctor went into the wardrobe and pulled out another jumper, pulling it on over his head. First his grey fluff of hair poked out the top, then his face, and finally he was fully-clothed again.
“No it wasn’t—James had the pink stuff and Alison had purple.”
“James and Alison both had the pink stuff, but she also had a bit of sugar and a couple drops of blue food dye.”
“You idiot,” Clara exhaled, rolling her eyes. Instead of succumbing to cuddling she went over towards the bookshelf, running a finger over the spines until she came across one on pediatric medicine and childcare, hoping there would be something in there that she could shove in his face and shame him into not turning their children into pint-sized, walking sweet-tooths.
“Mummy? Why is Daddy old?”
Clara glanced down at James, who was calmly molding the wet sand at his feet into a globular mound. Alison and the Doctor were by the edge of the water, splashing about in the chilly seafoam, while she supervised James with help of a parasol in the ground, a blanket, a lounge chair, and some Austen. The sand was a pale blue and the ocean a soft yellow; whatever the planet’s name was, she forgot it already.
“How old do you think Daddy is?” she wondered.
“Old,” the boy replied. “When him and I were with Auntie Jenny, some lady thought I was his grandson. That means he’s old.”
Oh yes, Clara recalled that afternoon well, when her husband came storming back to Paternoster Row, fuming over the fact he and James had accompanied Jenny to the market, only for him to be assumed he was doting on his daughter and grandson.
“I think your Daddy is just the right age,” she said simply. “Mummies and Daddies are all different, and sometimes other people forget that.”
“Oh…” James continued fiddling with the sand pensively, squishing it between his fingers. Then another thought came to his mind. “Where is our granddad?”
“The planet where I come from,” Clara explained. “You will meet him one day, and I’m sure you will get along splendidly.”
“What about your mummy? She’s our gran, yeah?”
“My mummy died when I was a teenager,” she said. “Daddy’s parents are gone, and I only have my dad and a gran left. Sometimes these things happen, which is why we have to enjoy what time we have.” She stroked her son’s shock of hair, noting how his back was starting to redden in the sun. “Come here and let me put more sunblock on you.”
“That stuff’s smelly, Mummy,” James protested as he sat down at the edge of the blanket. Clara began to slather more sunblock on his back and arms. “Hey, Mummy?”
“Don’t die when me and Aly are teenagers,” he insisted. “That would be sad.”
“I’ll do my best, but we all in the end,” she said. “Everything and everyone, but it’s normal to not want it to happen.”
“I’m positively sure.”
“James! Son! Come over here!” the Doctor shouted over the roar of the waves. “We found a seastar!”
“Coming Daddy!” the boy replied. Once Clara was done covering his disturbingly pale skin in lotion, James gave her a kiss on the cheek and ran to join his father and sister.
“I promise I’ll do my best,” Clara vowed, knowing her family couldn’t hear her. She knew she would see her children grow up, maybe even have children of their own, but she also knew that the inevitable was… well… inevitable.
Except, well, a thought tugged at the back of her mind as she watched her family from afar. Her cosmic deity of a husband and their children, born of two warrior races, would someday watch her pass on to Heaven, Hell, the Nethersphere, nothingness, some alternate dimension, wherever it was, yet she had no idea if they would ever join her. It wasn’t that she wanted to think about it, but with the increasing grey in her hair (though not noticeable, thank goodness), she not only was experiencing a spike in arbitrary vanity, but morbid thoughts as well.
“Mummy! Mummy! Come look at the seastar Daddy stepped on and almost killed!” Alison shouted cheerfully, waving at her mother and jumping up and down. Clara placed the errant leaf—all metallic pink and silky—she had picked up for use as a marker in her book and placed the novel down, ready to investigate.
Chapter 16: The Twins Meet Granddad
Clara kept on fussing over her children in the library, making sure they were picture-perfect for the big day. She had been waiting for this moment for a long time and it wasn’t going to be spoiled by smudged noses and wrinkled clothes.
“Mum, we look fine,” Aly whined. She was fidgeting as Clara combed through her hair for a third time, attempting to tame her unruly curls. “It’ll just be Granddad—he won’t mind.”
“Yes, but I want to make a good first impression,” Clara stated. “He’s going to meet his grandchildren for the first time, which means that they have to look their best, which also means your hair.”
“It makes me sad that we never got to meet Granddad and Linda before this,” Jim frowned. He was curled up on a chair with a book, glad he could go without a necktie that day. “I understand why we couldn’t, but that doesn’t make it less sad.”
“I know, sweetie. I know,” his mother replied. Clara knew she denied her father a lot when it came to his grandkids, and that under normal circumstances anyone was liable to be furious with her for it, but she hadn’t been in a normal situation for a long time—years before the children were even born—and that deep down her father would both know and understand. She kept on brushing her daughter’s hair as she gently raised her voice, calling out into the vastness of the ship. “Doctor? Are you ready yet?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” he replied from the depths of the library. He came out from behind a shelving unit, not glancing up from the large book he was reading, already dressed finely in his wine-red jacket and having run a bit of product through his hair. It was still a bit wild and didn’t lay flat like his son’s, but his son also had to utilize a few more globs of the stuff and he wasn’t about to stoop to that level.
“What’cha reading, Dad?” Jim wondered.
“A contemporary account of the foundation of the Fifth Alexandrian Empire of Helos II; what do you have?”
“Ptolemy actually was a very big fan of elaborate gate architecture, so I’m sure he’d be proud.” The Doctor finally peered over the top of his book, seeing his space-wife attempting to wrangle their daughter’s hair into a braid. “You know that’s not going to work.”
“Won’t stop me from trying,” she muttered in reply. Clara tied off the end and surveyed her work: it was still acceptable towards the bottom, though at the top it was already attempting to curl and frizz its way out of the hairstyle. She then cursed under her breath, undoing the hair tie and brushing out the braid to start over.
“A Time Lady’s hair is gonna do what it wants,” Aly scoffed. Clara finished with the brush and stared at the mane in front of her before animatedly giving up.
“It’ll have to do—come on, or we’re going to be late.” She rounded up her family and they went to the console room, ready to hop out of the time vortex and back to Earth.
“Mum, we’re not going to be late though; it’s impossible,” Jim noted. “We live on a space-time ship.”
“Don’t sass me, young man,” Clara warned. “Now what’s the story?”
“You’re gonna be our step-mum in a few weeks, so we already call you Mum, and Dad managed with two kids because his aunt helped him out when we were little,” Aly recited.
“Our ‘actual mum’ died when we were babies; her name was Alexandra and it was due to an electrical fault at the library where she worked at the time,” Jim added. “It’s only the two of us and Dad, now that we’re old enough to walk home from school on our own, and we’re just as excited as you and Dad are about the wedding.”
“Do we have to call Granddad’s wife Gran?” Aly asked.
“I don’t expect so,” Clara replied. “It would be nice, but I’m not going to force it one way or the other.” The Doctor finished putting the TARDIS into park and they left the ship, finding themselves standing in a discreet alleyway a short walk from their destination. “Now please behave.”
“Yes, Mum,” the children echoed.
“Yes, Clara,” the Doctor said at the same time. They then began the trek over, hoping that their efforts would pay off.
Dave Oswald lived in a neat, tidy house in a quiet neighborhood in Blackpool. It was the same house Clara grew up in, therefore being a place with many memories of her late mother. Not all visual evidence of Ellie had been erased by Dave’s second wife, Linda, for one thing she was at least sympathetic and kind about had been the gaping hole in her husband’s life that had been left behind. She couldn’t wholly fill it, as she knew first-hand from a flash-in-the-pan marriage when she was just out of secondary school, but she did truly love him, and he loved her, and that was the only reason why Clara tolerated Linda’s very presence.
Walking up the drive, Clara led the way up to her father’s house. Before she could as much as knock on the door, Dave opened it with a wide grin on his face and more grey in his hair and beard than his daughter remembered. They hugged, happy to see one another.
“Oh, it’s good to see you,” he said. Dave then pulled away from Clara and held out his hand towards the Doctor. “…and you must be Basil.”
“Yes, and these are my kids, Alison and James,” the Doctor replied. He caught the look on Clara’s face and cleared his throat before shaking Dave’s hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Pleasure’s mine.” Dave then turned towards the tweens and chuckled. “Can’t forget you two, can I? You can call me Granddad, if you like.”
“Yes, please,” Aly said cheerily. “Yeah our aunt helped raise us, but Clara’s the only mum we’ve really had, which makes you Granddad.”
“Let’s all get inside—I can put the kettle on and we can all get to know one another,” Dave beamed. He went towards the kitchen, while Clara led her family towards the sitting room. Linda was nowhere in sight, allowing the parents time to regroup.
“Clara, I need my flashcards,” the Doctor hissed. “Why didn’t you let me bring them?”
“…because Dad will definitely think something’s up if you go silent and whip cue cards out of your pocket,” she scolded. She then turned towards Aly, narrowing her eyes. “Alison, watch it. That was close.”
“Don’t worry, Mum—I’m careful,” the girl said. A few minutes passed and Dave returned with the makings for tea, closely followed by his wife.
“Clara,” she said stiffly.
“Linda,” Clara replied. “Faring well?”
“Well enough.” The older woman looked at the twins sitting on the sofa and gave them a genuine smile. “And these must be the good sports; I hope you aren’t bored hanging out with us old folks.”
“We’re okay, thank you Gran,” Jim said.
“Yeah—Da’s ancient and we still get on with him,” Aly added. The Doctor smirked at that, while Clara hid her face in her hands in embarrassment.
“They’re typical kids alright,” Dave laughed. “It’s a shame my mum couldn’t have met you—died before you were born—‘cause she would have loved you. Same sense of humor.”
“Gran and Alison is a combination I don’t even want to think about,” Clara muttered. It was true that her grandmother had died years ago at that point, but it didn’t change the fact that the memory of her had not faded and the potential situation was a terrifying one.
“Oh come on, I think that would have been fun,” the Doctor said, rubbing her back soothingly. “It sounds like the two of them were cut from the same cloth.”
“Funny how that happens, isn’t it?” Dave admitted. He glanced over at the twins and caught something interesting: Aly’s eyes looked almost like Ellie’s as she laughed. No—he shook that from his mind. It was him projecting and nothing more. These were going to be his grandchildren, no doubts about it, but they both very clearly resembled their father and any similarities to the Oswald family were pure coincidence. Speaking of, “So Clara tells me that she’s adopting you two, giving you her name. How do you feel about that?”
“Really good,” Jim said. “She is our mum, so we should have her name, yeah?”
“I guess that makes sense,” Linda commented. “You’re really attached to her, aren’t you?”
“We are,” Jim replied. “She’s family.”
“Uh, yeah; she’s Mum, no one else,” Aly said.
“That’s good,” Dave nodded. “You’ve got sweet kids, Basil. You should be proud.”
“Don’t worry, I am,” the Doctor said as he stirred the many sugar lumps in his tea. “Soon my family will be officially complete and I couldn’t be happier.” He leaned in and pecked Clara on the cheek, demonstrating his devotion towards her. “You didn’t do that bad with your kid either, Dave.”
Chapter 17: Sideways in Time
“Sideways in time” was how the Doctor put it. He and Clara had hit a clump of cosmic dust while in the time vortex and now they’d gone sideways. It was entirely possible, and he’d done it several times before, though never to a place that was so… so… placid. The planet was merely a dual-biome entity: water, and the very Earth-like forest the two were currently wandering in.
“Well, at least it’s a change of pace not having to run around everywhere,” Clara mentioned. With them having just escaped electromagnetic ghosts, calm and quiet was welcome for a change. “Where are we?”
“A planet that has no name, technically, and it looks like we only were bumped a few years off-course,” the Doctor replied, looking about while waving around an absurd scanning device. It was positively huge, needing to be carried on his back and over his shoulders, making him look more like an aged Ghostbuster than an intergalactic stick insect. “You know, this presents us with a very interesting opportunity.”
“If I can correctly calculate the space-time coordinates of this planet while we’re here, when we go back to our dimension, we can see how much difference there is! Imagine knowing two possible outcomes of history! Normally people can only guesstimate using absurd conspiracy theories and probability equations riddled with organic error. This… this we can know for certain!”
Chuckling to herself, Clara only half-listened as the Doctor babbled on about the seldom-traversed field of dimension-hopping. He was absolutely overflowing in excitement, which was in no way fueling him onwards as they trekked further and further into the forest. She eventually told him she was going to sit down for a rest, which he took as the go-ahead to continue exploring without her. Taking out her mobile, she began to idly play a game as she took in the forest around her. It was even more peaceful without the Doctor prattling on, expertly identifying every plant and insect around them. That was part of the fun, of course, yet she still relished in the stillness of it all.
…and the moment was shattered.
“I’m right where you left me!” she shouted into the forest, not even glancing up from the device in her hands. She only looked away when she heard the Doctor’s boots stomping through the underbrush, accompanied by high-pitched giggling of all things. Sure enough, two small children were attached to his legs, staring up at him adoringly.
“I thought you said we were alone on this planet,” she quipped. The children then looked over at her, their wide brown eyes lighting up.
“Mummy!” they both cheered, running to her. Clara sat there frozen as the two attacked her with hugs. They couldn’t have been much older than First or Second Year, dressed in matching jumpers, with the boy in trousers and the girl in a skirt and leggings. They had fluffy brown hair and the same mischievous smile on their faces.
“We found Da!” the girl laughed gaily. “Now we have to find you, Mummy!”
“Um… Doctor…? What’s going on here?” Clara asked. Her own eyes went wide in confusion as she watched her space-beau whip out a scanner and begin analyzing the newcomers.
“They aren’t anything I’ve come across before,” the Doctor marveled. “Well, I have… once… sort of… though the genetic markers are completely off… and that doesn’t even cover the ratio…”
“What’s wrong, Daddy?” the boy wondered. He bounced over to the Doctor and stood on his tiptoes, attempting to see the device’s readout. “Do you need to go back to Auntie Idris and fix it?”
Now that made both the adults stop and stare. There weren’t many people who knew the TARDIS’s name—that name, in particular—and this small child was well aware. The Doctor crouched down to be at eye-level with the boy, his brows furrowing.
“What did you say?”
“I… uh… asked if you needed to go back to Auntie Idris,” the boy mumbled, his eyes immediately finding his feet. “Did I say something wrong, Daddy?”
“No you didn’t,” the Doctor replied. “Tell me: where did you last see us?”
“Umm… over there,” the girl said, pointing into the wood. “Did you take a special way to get here?”
“No, I—” He was cut off by another voice in the forest, one that sounded suspiciously like his own.
“Alison? James? Where’d you go?”
“…Daddy…?” the boy marveled. He stared at the man next to him, peered into the wood, then back towards the man. “What’s my middle name?”
“What’s my middle name?” James demanded with all the authority he could muster.
“DADDY! HELP!” the child screeched. The suddenness of the sound sent the Doctor toppling over onto his rear, and the boy was soon joined by his sister. Some leaves and shrubs rustled and before Clara knew it, there was a second Doctor rushing into the tiny clearing, scooping up the children in his arms.
“Who are you and what do you want with my children?!” the Other Doctor growled. “Why do you look like their mother and me?!”
“Doctor…? What’s going on…?” Clara asked. She stared as her Doctor stood up and brushed off his trousers, the two men sizing one another up. “Is he this dimension’s version of you?”
“He must be,” the Doctor said. The Other Doctor placed the children down on the ground and cautiously walked up to his doppelganger. They stared at one another in amazement, mimicking movements and facial expressions, until they both burst into a maddening grin.
“Sideways in time!” they said in unison. The Doctors shook each other’s hand, with the Other Doctor looking over his shoulder at the children. “James! Alison! It’s me!”
“It’s not you, Da!” Alison insisted. “You are you!”
“Yes, but this is an alternate me, from a different dimension,” the Other Doctor explained. It was then that another Clara arrived, taking in the scene with caution. “Oh, good, Clara! Allow me to introduce you to you and me!”
“They’re us…” Other Clara echoed.
“Admit it: that’s not the weirdest thing that’s happened,” Clara replied. Her other self chuckled at that in agreement.
“Can’t argue with that—come here, kids; Daddy and his other self are about to explain something terribly clever.”
“Precisely, Clara!” the Other Doctor beamed. “This has happened to me several times in the past! Now it seems that thanks to the fortunate detour the TARDIS was able to provide, we’ve been presented a rare opportunity to compare and contrast our lives to this point!”
“Though really, it seems pretty much the same, aside from the going sideways bit,” the Doctor mentioned. “I don’t know what’s in store for our future, though it seems like we have a bit of a sneak peek.” He waggled his eyebrows and stuck out his tongue at the children, making them both giggle. “How the two of you managed this, I’d like to figure out. Perfectly spliced genetic coding is rare no matter what’s happening.”
“Do not turn my babies into experiments,” the Other Clara warned. Clara stood and joined her adamantly—she hadn’t birthed them yet, but that wouldn’t stop her from protecting her children.
The women then fussed in a motherly fashion over the kids while their space-husbands decided to swap theories of this and that, completely ignoring the fact they were probably at risk of creating a paradox the longer they stood within proximity of one another. James and Alison, however, were confused, and figured it would be something that their parents could explain later on. There were plenty of things that they were told would make sense later, and the youngsters had learned to roll with it.
…because their not-mum was right: this wasn’t the weirdest thing that had happened, and it wasn’t going to be the last.
Later on, as the nigh-immortal Time Lord punched a diamond wall, one thought ran through his head, desperate, angry, protective, and unsaid as he mocked the being that was to bring him to his death:
Their names were Alison Joan and James Clark Oswald-Smith—the prophesized Hybrids—and now they would never exist in his dimension. If he couldn’t have them, then no one would.
Chapter 18: Parents' Day
Here's a thing written because I got a prompt for a Whouffaldi AU with bambinos and Mother's/Father's Day stuff. I ended up writing a bunch of different things because I couldn't decide which AU to write for, so there's the one for this story.
"Are you sure we've got the day right?" James wondered. He colored in his card carefully, making sure that it was neat and tidy. The sheet of paper contained his rendition of a bouquet of flowers, which was very realistic to his nine-year-old self, and the inside was blank so far. His sister was on the other side of the little sitting area in the library, pinning hand-made streamers to the walls and bookshelves.
"Of course we have the day right!" Alison insisted. "I looked it up and it's May 8th! Dad's got that calendar he ticks off on the wall in the kitchen and today's the eighth!"
"…but it's one of those days that moves, isn't it?" he frowned. "Some countries celebrate it another day—I read that too. Earth holidays can be so complicated; why can't we just celebrate Christmas and that's it?"
"You're no fun," she teased. When she was done, she climbed down from the stepladder and rushed over to a spot on the wall where a video monitor sat. Tapping some buttons, the screen showed the Doctor grumpily lording over the technical cords and boxes and interfaces that were jumbled up underneath the TARDIS console. As the girl watched, a coolant tube disconnected itself, blasting the Time Lord in the face with cold air and generating many an untranslated curse word in Vulgar Gallifreyan. "Good! Auntie Idris still has us covered—we can still stick to the plan!"
"I still say the date's wrong," he muttered. James whined as his sister yanked him from his work and dragged him out the library and towards the kitchen. When the twins entered, they found a bunch of ingredients sitting out on the counters and two kid-sized aprons waiting for them.
Working quickly, James instructed his sister in how they were to bake their planned cake. It would have been much easier to have the TARDIS make said treat, but then it wouldn't have come from them, which was the entire point of the thing. This time he didn't take the mixer out of the batter until it was finished stirring, making it so that the kitchen and Alison both stayed splatter-free.
Now, if only they could finish before their father did.
The Doctor was furious. He had just tuned up the TARDIS for its semi-millennial systems check the previous month and everything was now in pieces. From his perch underneath the console, he worked tirelessly on the circuitry above him, hoping he'd be able to get things working in time before he had to fetch Clara for the weekend.
He cursed to himself and scowled fiercely. How did he not catch this during the systems check? Tweaking the tightness of a bolt, he then found the job to be satisfactory before easing himself down and stood on the floor, staring at the network of tubes and cords and whatnot above him.
"Now what's gotten into you?" he growled. The Doctor then took his goggles off and wiped his brow against the sleeve of his hoodie. He'd have to find a new one now that the one he was wearing was covered in grease and suspicious stains, not to mention wash up. It didn't take a mirror to know that he was covered in all sorts of smudges and sweat, and that wasn't going to do for cooking dinner.
Nearly dragging his feet, the Doctor made his way up the stairs and into the corridors, wandering his way towards the bay with the learning docks. He wanted to check in on the twins, since they should have been nearly done for the day. To his surprise, however, the docks were both empty, with the last login being set for yesterday afternoon. He exhaled in exasperation and ran his fingers through his grey shock of hair; he couldn't chastise them too much for playing hooky from their lessons, as he had done once upon an eon ago, though he was definitely going to have to have a serious discussion with them about the importance of education. Should he get Clara for this? No… she had enough on her plate making sure the pudding-brained nutters over at her work could tell their Brontës apart.
"Where'd they run off to, old girl? Not too far, I hope," he wondered. The TARDIS hummed in reply, illuminating his way via the baseboards in the corridor. As the Doctor continued along, his brain began to pick up a puzzling fact: he was being led around in circles and on detours that couldn't possibly lead towards his children. "Give me their location, not the path they took to said location."
With a "you should have said so sooner" sort of whirring noise, the TARDIS took the Doctor down to the library, where Alison and James were waiting patiently. The two jumped up and cheered when they saw their father, throwing confetti in the air.
"Happy Parents' Day!" they shouted. The siblings ran towards the Doctor and tackled him in a hug, not caring that he was a greasy, sweaty twig.
"What's this…?" he marveled. He looked at the low coffee table and saw there was a wide array of snacks laid out, along with a hand-made cake that was covered in shaky piped lettering. "I don't remember anything about this."
"That's because Aly made it up," James stated. That earned him a punch on the arm from his sister.
"No, I did not," she insisted. "It's perfectly legitimate! Parents' Day is a thing, Jim!"
"Then how about if we swing on by Mam and pick her up, since you do have more than one parent," the Doctor offered. The kids took him up on that immediately—it was a bit early to get Mum, but any excuse was good enough for them.
Chapter 19: Dad Skills
This takes place when the time bambinos are about three.
“Daddy? Why Mummy have to leave Auntie Idris?” Alison wondered. She was sitting at the kitchen table, very sad that there was one less person at the table than normal as she played with her breakfast cereal. Fishing out some marshmallow bits, she ate them pensively while her father came up with an answer.
“Mam has some very important business to take care of outside of Auntie Idris,” the Doctor half-lied. In reality it was merely her visiting her dad and other Earth-related contacts, pretending that she was on a break from the job that kept her away from England. Clara had wanted to bring her children with her for a split moment, but it would be a huge surprise to spring on her father and she wasn’t sure he could take it. Instead it was the Daddy and the kids for a whole week, one that was beginning to start off smoothly.
“Is she on her home planet?” James asked. “I want to go!”
“Not until you’re old enough,” his father said.
“When we don’t need to hold hands in the markets and you can drive Auntie Idris.” Okay, that was a full lie, but the kids didn’t need to know that. “Don’t worry though! We’re going to have loads of fun!”
“Are you sure?” Alison added. “Mummy’s the one good at picking out what’s fun.”
“That’s true, but sometimes Mam isn’t and then we go to places like the intergalactic petting zoo.” The children both shuddered; that had been a bad experience, with them nearly being eaten and all. “In fact, in order to have fun, we don’t even need to leave Auntie Idris!” The kitchen lights buzzed at him chidingly, causing the twins to giggle and the Doctor to frown. “Yes, yes, I know, they probably wouldn’t approve of the bouncy castle room…”
“BOUNCY CASTLE ROOM?!” the kids gasped.
“…oh? Is that something you nips think you might like?” the Doctor asked, attempting to hold back his grin. “That is, unless you didn’t want to go to the ice cream parlor, or the room that’s filled with wading pools and things that spit water, or…” As he continued, his children’s eyes kept getting wider and wider—just like their mother there were when it came to their eyes: large and round and so very, very brown. “…would you like to do it all?”
“Yes please!” they shrieked before inhaling the remainder of their breakfast. Within a minute their cereal was gone, excess milk drunk, and the bowls and spoons hastily placed in the dishwasher on their way out the door.
“That was simple enough,” the Doctor shrugged. He sipped his coffee as he flipped through his book, absentmindedly wondering how long it would take them to return.
It took seven minutes and fifty-three seconds before they came sliding back into the kitchen, dressed ready to go. While both siblings wore sandals, James had his swim trunks on and a t-shirt, while Alison presumably had her bathing suit under her clothes and her hair was now in pigtails. They had a beach ball and a tote filled with other inflatable things, and stared at their father, bouncing impatiently.
“Oh,” he said, feigning surprise, “are you two ready to go?”
“Yes!” they screeched. The Doctor finished off his mug of coffee and stood up, following his cheering children into the TARDIS corridor. On the way he grabbed a cooler filled with drinks and snacks, as well as a takeaway cup of coffee that the ship courteously provided him with. He hadn’t always been a big coffee drinker, but with the preschoolers running about, he needed it more than ever. Walking down the corridors, he didn’t even bother to tell the kids to slow down—the floor lighting was guiding the way, after all.
By the time the Doctor caught up, James and Alison had already found the wading room. The kids were sitting down on lounge chairs, working hard at making sure their water wings and inner tubes were fully inflated. The entire room was huge, with a high ceiling that simulated sunlight through a “glass” ceiling, and many different pools scattered throughout the place, including a couple with slides. There was a changing screen in the corner of the room, which the Doctor went behind and found a pair of swim trunks for himself. While normally at the beach or a waterpark, places where there were potential hordes of pudding-brains and worse, he kept all his top layers on despite being in a place where he was going to get sopping wet. For his children though, he was willing to go all-out. When he stepped back out from behind the screen, he stood there in all his pasty, sparse glory, only the swim trunks and glad neither James nor Alison were the type to tease him. Yet.
“Are you ready, Daddy?” Alison asked. She had taken off her t-shirt and shorts and was now standing in her purple bathing suit, water wings on and an inner tube around her middle. James was next to her, also standing there having shed his non-swimwear and donning arm-floaties.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” he said. “Now let’s see… you just ate breakfast, so we can’t have you swimming just yet, but... hey!” The Doctor watched in horror as his kids ran straight for the one wave pool, jumping in with large splashes. “What did I just tell you?!”
“We’re not swimming, Daddy! We’re floating!” Alison protested. She splashed about, scooting her way towards the middle of the pool, giggling each time a gentle wave passed by and lifted her up with its crest. “This is fun!”
“Aly, get back here,” James frowned. “Daddy says we can’t swim yet!”
“Just know I’m going to be watching you two closely,” the Doctor said in resignation. He sat down at the edge of the pool and put his feet in, glad that the water only came about midway up his thigh if he actually went all the way into the water. It was a sight to see as his daughter paddled her way back to the pool’s edge, looking up at him curiously.
“Da, are you sure?” she asked.
“Of course I’m sure,” he replied. He patted her head and slipped all the way into the pool. “Come on, kids; let’s play in the waves!”
The twins cheered happily—they not only lived in the best auntie in the universe, but they also had the best daddy. Things were great.
“Doctor? Kids? I’m back,” Clara called out, setting her suitcase down in the console room. She had gone on enough holidays to her original place in the space-time continuum enough to know that by the end, her husband and children would be awaiting her arrival nearly at the door, ready to attack her with hugs and kisses and an affectionate grope. They were not immediately showering her in attention though, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it was an odd thing for sure.
Carefully, Clara searched the console room, checking to make sure they hadn’t decided to play hide-and-seek on her instead. When all the usual hiding places proved empty, she glanced over at the console and had an idea.
“Could you please tell me where they are?” she asked. An image popped up on a viewscreen and she walked over to it, checking to see what was there. First there was a chaotic mess in the room with the wading pools, inflatables and drink containers everywhere. Then in the ice cream parlor there were three empty sundae glasses and another mess all along the vintage 1950s diner counter…
…but then came the important part: her family, laying cuddled together in the bouncy castle room, the twins sleeping on their father’s chest as he was spread out in some monstrosity that was part bounce-house, part plastic ball pit. They were all still in swimwear, looking tousle-haired, ice-cream covered, and completely pooped out.
“Thanks,” Clara chuckled, turning back towards her suitcase. “Just let me unpack and I’ll get on having them clean up after themselves.” The TARDIS whirred and beeped, eliciting another laugh. “I know—a bunch of slobs, the three of them. Now you know why I go on these quick holidays, and not purely to see Dad.”
Yes, the TARDIS definitely approved. She loved her thief and his family, though they still had a bit of growing up to do.
Chapter 20: Reading
This answers the question: if Alison beat her brother at learning to walk, what did James beat his sister at learning? The actual answer is that they beat one another on oodles of things, but this is one instance in particular.
It was Quiet Time in the TARDIS, a period of about half an hour the Doctor and Clara used as a cool-down period between playtime and naptime for the kids. Mostly it was used for snuggling and looking at picture books, but today… today was a wee bit different.
“Mummy?” James asked. Clara glanced over from her spot atop the Doctor’s chest at their son, seeing he was staring at a book. It wasn’t one she had seen before, but she trusted the TARDIS when it came to what the kids’ bookcase was stocked with.
“What is it?”
“Darjeeling? A type of tea; why do you ask?”
“Because Timmy the Tiger likes Darjeeling and I didn’t know what it was,” the boy answered.
The parents both looked at one another in surprise. “I don’t remember a book about a tiger named Timmy,” the Doctor frowned.
“Oh, yeah! I just found it today!” James grinned. He held it up so that his parents could see the illustrations. “A little boy in Scotland is pen pals with a tiger and they get to visit each other!”
“Liar!” Alison scowled. She stopped her coloring long enough to glare at her brother from across the rug. “You’re just guessing because of the pictures!”
“Nuh-uh! It says so, right here!” James insisted. He flipped to the front of the book and slowly began to read aloud. “‘One day in bon-nie Scotland, a wee lad named Donny wanted a pen pal…’ Mummy? Daddy? Why’s a friend called a ‘pen pal’?”
“It used to be that people on Earth only wrote letters to one another on paper, because they couldn’t communicate easily over long distances,” Clara replied, too shocked to do much else. “That was before computers could make sending messages much quicker.”
“Oh, okay,” James nodded. He tried to go back to his book, but Alison threw a crayon at him instead, smacking him on the nose. “Ow! What’s that for!”
“Being a liar-liar-pants-on-fire!” Alison cried. She stood and stomped her foot in frustration. “You’re mean!” The little girl then ran out of the room before her parents could finish untangling themselves from one another and getting off the couch. Clara went after her, while the Doctor stayed with his confused son.
“How am I mean…?” the little boy wondered, his eyes beginning to well in tears. The Doctor sat cross-legged on the rug and peered at the pages of the book.
“Since when have you been able to read?” he asked.
“A while now,” James admitted. “Why is Aly so cross?”
“She can’t read, the last time I checked,” the Doctor said. “Has she ever asked for help?”
“No—she just gets angry,” James shrugged. He looked at his father with worry in his eyes. “Daddy? What can I do to make her un-cross?”
“Not sure; I can’t remember not being able to read, so I don’t know what to say or what would help. The only things I do know is that I’m glad your reading practice has been paying off… and that just because you’re the first to learn to read by yourself, doesn’t make you necessarily smarter or better. You have to remember that, okay?”
“Okay… but why?”
“…because if you start doing more things first than your sister, it might be easy to forget that she’s just as smart as you,” the Doctor explained. He pulled his son into his lap, book and all, and wrapped his arms around the boy. “Everybody learns things differently, at their own pace, and they aren’t all even good at the same things. I’ve made the mistake of thinking ‘slower’ means ‘stupid’ before, and I want to make sure you don’t make the same assumption.”
“Aly won’t let me forget she’s smart, Daddy,” James said.
“That’s true, but right now she feels rather stupid,” his father sighed. “There’s nothing you have to apologize about, since you did nothing wrong, but don’t be mean about it, alright? You two are siblings, and siblings shouldn’t hate one another.”
“Okay Daddy.” James curled up in his father’s lap, for a moment before scrambling to his feet, an idea slapped across his face. “Where do you think Mummy and Aly went?!”
“I don’t know—let’s find out,” the Doctor said. He stood and held James’s hand as they walked along the TARDIS corridors, eventually finding the nursery where Clara was sitting next to an inconsolable Alison who was sobbing on her bed. The little boy carefully went up to his sister and, with the utmost caution, tapped her shoulder.
“Go away!” she cried.
“Can I please read to you?”
“Why? So you can make fun of me?!”
“No… because it’s always more fun to share a story with others.” He waited until Alison stopped crying and grabbed her stuffed Alpha Centuari, making enough room for him to sit next to her with the book open. The Doctor grabbed Clara’s hand and pulled her away, the two watching their children by the doorway.
“How long has James known how to read?!” Clara hissed quietly. “You’d think he would have said something by now, or Alison would have complained, but this is new!”
“Our boy sure does know how to keep the peace,” he marveled. “Our daughter has your temper though.”
“Our daughter has our temper, Mister,” she fired back. “Don’t tell me you haven’t threatened genocide to get me out of a spot.”
Unable to refute that, the Doctor changed the subject again. “What were you able to get out of Alison?”
“Just that she’s still struggling,” Clara said. “Honestly, she’s at a normal rate—James is the one freakishly ahead.”
They then glanced over at the kids and saw that Alison was now laying down, fast asleep from both tears and the story. James pulled her blanket over her and put the book on their table, afterwards crawling up into his own bed for a nap. Clara dimmed the lights and both parents closed the door behind them as they stepped into the corridor.
“Peace has been kept,” the Doctor said.
“For the time being,” Clara corrected. She tugged her space-beau’s hand as she began to walk towards their room. “Come on—time for our nap.”
Chapter 21: Naptime
Anonymous wanted the Doctor and a baby, so I did them one better and wrote Twelve and BOTH the Time Twins when they were under the age of one okay let's go.
Ah, naptime: a glorious time of the day when small children and overly-large children both get to take a rest from the hustle and bustle of daily life. With Clara gone to visit her family, it was entirely the Doctor’s responsibility to look after the twins, and once they were nestled down snug in their cots, he decided that he needed a lie-down as well.
It wasn’t that he needed sleep—at least not during the day, as he caught up on his lack of standing catnaps during the nighttime hours—but the Time Lord figured that if he was going to be in charge of James and Alison completely one day, he needed to figure out a schedule while he could and things were still flexible. Until what age did human children need naps? Would the genetics that he contributed take effect while they were still young, or would they come out of puberty not needing as much sleep? He laid in his bed, thinking with his eyes closed, until a weight dropped on his chest, alerting him to her presence with a string of babbling syllables.
“Alison Joan Oswald-Smith, why aren’t you in your cot?” he asked, not opening his eyes.
More babbling and her tiny hands smacking his collarbone.
“I don’t care if you’re not sleepy; you need your nap.” He opened his eyes and sat up, allowing his daughter to slide into his lap in a fit of giggles. “Yes, I know Mam’s gone, but that doesn’t mean we have to go and not follow any rules.”
Scooping up Alison into his arms, the Doctor carried her back into the nursery, only to find that James was awake as well and playing in the corner with some toys. He put Alison down and watched her crawl over towards her brother, sputtering as she went.
“I wasn’t asleep to begin with, young lady,” he scolded gently, following her across the room. He sat crosslegged on some cushions and watched his children as they quietly scooted their toy cars around the rug. At least they were still rather calm for playing, and he took that as a good thing.
Eventually, Alison stopped with her toy and crawled over towards her stuffed Alpha Centuari doll, lugging it over to where her father sat and tossed it in his lap. She then crawled in after it and held the plush up high over her head with both arms.
“Yes, that’s Tau,” the Doctor replied. “Oh really? Tau wants to nap with me? Are we sure that’s Tau talking?” Alison scrunched up her nose and her tiny eyebrows furrowed in something resembling a scowl, at which her father couldn’t help but chuckle. “Alright, alright, it is Tau talking. Let’s settle it down for a nice nap, yeah?” He then stretched out his legs and handed the doll back, allowing Alison to snuggle into his side.
Not to be outdone, James abandoned his car to fetch his stuffed swordfish, bringing that over to his father and sister, babbling in a panic. The Doctor let his son cuddle underneath his other arm, both babies now safe within his grasp.
“Does Sonny need to nap with Da as well?” he wondered. James nodded quietly, rubbing his face against his father’s jumper. “Well, then there’s nothing to fear—Da’s got both Tau and Sonny for a nice and restful nap. How about that?”
The twins both made a noise that their father took as being in approval and they went to sleep, nestled comfortably against the Doctor. When he tried to move to put them back in their cots, however, they only clung tighter, whimpering for him to stay put.
‘How long will they stay like this?’ the Time Lord wondered. He absentmindedly stroked his son’s fluffy hair and frowned as he lost himself in thought. ‘When will Da no longer be needed for naps? When will they be too big for naps? When will they be too big for Da?’
Shaking his head, he excised all those sorts of worries from his mind—they were babies still. This was what Clara didn’t want to miss by leaving them entirely in his care from the get-go, and he really, truly, could not blame her in the slightest. He had almost forgotten the joy of holding a child—his child—in his arms, and now he was fortunate enough to have two sweet, adorable little ones of his very own.
An odor reached his nose and he sniffed experimentally—two sweet, adorable little ones with rather soiled nappies. He attempted to wiggle away from them again and they stayed latched on, not wanting to move.
Curse Rassilion, he was trapped.
Chapter 22: Bathtime
This chapter takes place when the twins are able to crawl, but walking hasn't quite started to happen yet.
“Alison Joan, you take that back or you will bite soap,” the Doctor warned. His daughter babbled again and he scowled. “I mean it—as soon as your teeth come in, you will be getting a fresh bar shoved right in there.”
“Doctor, please,” Clara sighed. She picked Alison up off the floor and bounced her in her arms. The Doctor had been charged with watching the children while she had a soak, and it was all well and fine normally, except he was speaking Baby again, which was really rather silly. He should have been concerned with the fact James was attempting to scale his back using his hoodie, yet instead Alison was distracting him with her incoherent mimicry of sounds.
“She was saying I’m an old fuddy-duddy!” he said, standing up. He blinked in surprise and silently mouthed the word before repeating it. “Fuddy-duddy… huh… must be the swear filter again…”
“I dunno; he was around here somewhere…” The Doctor turned to look at the mound of stuffed animals and pillows, which was where his son often was, only for his space-wife to discover that the boy was sitting happily in the hood of his father’s sweatshirt. She rescued him (which he was rather upset about), after which the Doctor turned back around and looked at her sheepishly.
“If you’re so fluent in Baby, then why don’t you teach them how to behave?”
“It’s a steep, uphill battle when your daughter has a sassy streak and your son hides whenever he can!” he protested.
“Uh-huh… you can’t speak Baby. Admit it—you’ve been guessing because of your psychic abilities.”
“I can too speak baby… it’s a complex system of babbles and coos that has syntax and irregularities and all the functions of any other sentient language! You’d be amazed at the massive vocabulary they’ve developed…!”
“Doctor, I’m not hearing any more of this now, because it’s time for their bath,” Clara said firmly. She carried the children out of the nursery and towards the bathroom, where the TARDIS already had laid out soaps, towels, baby-sized pajamas, and even filled the tub with a one-to-seven ratio of the perfect-temperature bathwater and fluffy bubbles.
Clara knelt down next to the tub and put her babies down, first attempting to get Alison out of her overalls. This allowed James to make a break for it, zooming towards the corridor, only to be snatched up by the Doctor instead.
“None of that now; when Mam says it’s bathtime, that means bathtime,” he gently scolded. He took care of undressing James, putting him in the bath next to Alison when he was done and had rolled up his sleeves. The babies stared at one another before waving their pudgy arms around and playing in the lavender-scented bubbles.
“Hold still,” Clara insisted. She held Alison by the arm to get her to hold still long enough to wet her hair, yet the girl was too wiggly. The feat was accomplished by the mother eventually grabbing a small cup from the edge of the tub and using that to pour soapy water right over her daughter’s head. This made Alison freeze in surprise, ending in a jagged sob as the deluge stopped.
“Mam did tell you so,” the Doctor said. Alison glared at him, still crying, which made her father scoff. “The shampoo says ‘no tears’, so I don’t want to hear it.”
“It says ‘no tears’, as in ‘no tearing their hair out’, not tears as in ‘crying their eyes out’,” Clara interrupted. The Doctor grabbed the bottle and furrowed his brow, inspecting it carefully.
“It amazes me how the TARDIS makes sense of English sometimes—this won’t do at all,” he scowled. Getting up off his knees, he went into the cupboard and began rummaging around, pulling out a bottle with an oddly-sweet smell to it before kneeling back down next to the tub. “Use this.”
“Are you sure?” Clara wondered. She couldn’t read the Gallifreyan on the bottle, but by the time she looked back at the Doctor, he had already taken a gob of it (how he got it, she did not know) and was running it over James’s hair.
“This is a no-crying formula,” he said. Once he cupped some water in his hands and used it to rinse the shampoo off James, he took some bubbles and placed them on the boy’s head and face, giving him a mohawk and goatee. “Now don’t you look silly?”
Clara shrugged and began using the shampoo, careful not to get any in Alison’s eyes, or press down too firmly on the soft spot of her head, and washed her daughter’s hair. Silky soft and smooth, she hoped the girl’s hair would stay like that instead of needing all the conditioner and products she herself needed in order to simply keep her hair looking healthy, let alone prevent it from growing brittle. Maybe it would come from her father’s side of things… she could hope.
Eventually, the children were washed and began to wobble as they sat in the near bubble-devoid tub. Their parents lifted them out, dried them, put on fresh nappies and footed pajamas, and carried them back to the nursery. They made soft noises as they were put down, making their father’s eyes well up.
“What is it?” Clara asked. Instead of replying verbally, he put his pointer fingers on her temples, connecting her mind with his, which was in turn connected to the children’s.
‘Good night Mummy. Good night Daddy. We love you.’
Chuckling in an attempt to not cry, Clara hugged the Doctor around his middle, pressing her face into his jumper. “No fair; you’ve been holding out on me.”
“You hear it in your heart though, don’t you?” he said. He rubbed her back and kissed the top of her head. “A mother knows it, a father knows it, whether they’re telepathic or not. They simply know.”
“We do, don’t we?” she laughed.
Gently, the Doctor took Clara’s hand and led her towards the door connecting the nursery to their bedroom. When there, he helped her undress—pressing tender kisses to her cool skin—eventually sliding her nightgown over her head. He stripped down to his pants and joined her under the blankets. Wrapping her arms around him, she used his shoulder as a pillow while he made sure they were covered, snaking one arm under her and around her waist.
“Good night, Mam.”
“Good night, Dad.”
Chapter 23: Space-Ikea
Here's a prompt fill that takes place during the incubation of James and Alison.
Now that she was fully moved into the TARDIS, Clara found herself in a position she had never been in before: living with the Doctor. She had spent a couple nights in the ship before, when she wanted to make sure she was wholly recouped before returning to her students, but it was nothing like seeing the daily routine that her time-space beau had… or didn’t have, more the like. While her life on Earth wasn’t exactly regimented by any means, it certainly had a lot more stability than his.
“Come on, Clara—time to rise and shine!” he said. The Doctor flicked a switch on the wall and the false window projecting a quiet wood lit up into sunshine and birdsong.
“You are going to die,” she growled, pulling the blanket up over her head.
“We all do eventually, though I’m not sure why you’re mentioning it now…”
“Pregnant women need their sleep, which is what I’m going to keep on doing thank you very much.” She made sure the covers were snug and curled up underneath them. “Get me in two hours.”
“Except we need to start the day now,” he insisted. He tugged at the blankets, hoping she’s relent. “How am I supposed to know which socks to wear if I don’t know what you’re wearing?”
Clara poked her head out from underneath her blanket cocoon. “You match your socks to my outfits?”
“I match a lot of things to your outfits; come on,” he urged. She watched him as he exited the room—in bare feet, sure enough—and got out of bed despite her body’s aches and pains. It all had to do with the pregnancy, she told herself, which was frankly the only reason why she even tolerated it. A lumpy red jumper and a pair of black yoga trousers seemed suitable for the day, as they were both large and stretchy enough to hide the distinct protrusion beginning to form in her midsection. She wanted to be pregnant, by any and all means, yet that did not necessarily mean she wanted to constantly see it… yet.
Walking over towards the kitchen, Clara sat down at the table while the Doctor put together breakfast. Sipping at her coffee—decaf—she scrolled through her phone, catching up on the daily news thanks to the TARDIS’s wifi patching her into her native time. Things here and there, in the UK and abroad, happening despite the fact she wasn’t on Earth anymore. The world kept spinning while she was adrift in the time vortex.
“Anything interesting?” the Doctor wondered, putting down two plates of eggs, bacon, and toast. Clara shrugged noncommittally, which caused him to nod in reply. “I see. Well, it’s a good thing we have a full schedule ahead of us for the day.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Well, we have to go over your progress, make sure you’ve got the necessary bits doing the necessary things, then pop on over to the shop and see what we can get for the children now, and…”
“Doctor, we have a lot of time left, don’t we?” she asked. “I mean, you don’t want to take this slowly? It’s not like we’ve both got jobs to keep us from running errands, and the TARDIS should make getting there a breeze.”
“That’s true, but I’d rather be on top of things before the time we do have simply vanishes,” he replied. “Being with you reminds me that time isn’t forever.”
She watched him eat breakfast for a bit, pondering on those words. It was true that he wasn’t normal as she knew it, being a nigh-immortal space-alien and all, except in this case, wasn’t she the space-alien? The alien whose life was so fleeting that it made beings like him appreciate the passage of time and how fragile things were? He was probably overcompensating, but that wasn’t as big of a revelation.
Then again, he was also wearing red socks.
It was good to know that Ikea made it to the Outer Galactic Rim, Clara thought as she and the Doctor walked through a building staffed by all sorts of sentient lifeforms planning to sell them easy-to-build furniture that was likely to be anything but. A small tray of meatballs (at least, Clara thought they were meatballs) in-hand, the Doctor wandered over towards a room display meant to be a nursery in order to inspect the furniture. He looked everything over critically, a contemplative frown on his face which seemed unfettered by him shoving meatballs in his gob periodically.
“What’s the matter?” Clara wondered. She placed a hand on her stomach, feeling closer to their children somehow, and attempted to look her space-stick-insect in the eyes. “You look like these won’t do at all.”
“I’d rather they use the cot I did as a baby, but that’s only a one-seater,” he explained.
“You still have your cot?”
“Passing down the first cot is a tradition of sorts. I even let the Ponds use my cot… that was, before I found out their daughter was River.”
“Sometimes your personal life never ceases to amaze me,” she deadpanned. Nudging him gently in the side, she gave him a smile that would cheer him up with any luck. “How about they take turns? We can get two of the full-sized ones, and while they can, switch off whichever child gets to stay in Daddy’s old cot.”
“That sounds nice, but what happens when both need to be down for a nap?” he asked. “I highly doubt that they’d both fit in there very well, even if twins are born slightly smaller than normal children thanks to their shared gestation period.”
“That’s when you switch which one gets the old cot and which gets their new cot—weren’t you listening?”
“It still doesn’t sound right.”
“It’s the closest thing to ‘right’ as we can get,” she said. Putting a hand on the display’s changing table, she wiggled it around to test the sturdiness—passable. “We’re going to be parents soon and parents don’t have the luxury of second-guessing all that often. Might as well get into that mindset now while we still can.”
The Doctor popped a meatball into Clara’s mouth and kissed her gently on the forehead. Handing her the tray, he climbed into the display cot, bouncing slightly and leaning on the high bars. “Could be worse.”
“Doctor, get out of there before we get kicked out.”
“I’m testing it for faults—no one can kick us out for that.”
Clara ate another meatball and sighed as she watched the father of her children play on the display furniture. How her life had become this, she had no idea.
Chapter 24: Study Session
This takes place when the twins are sixteen years old, and therefore living on Earth.
Clara glanced towards the door to her classroom and saw Alison poking her head into the classroom. It was lunchtime, meaning that she had no students and her daughter was free.
“What is it, dear?”
The teen came all the way into the room and closed the door. “Is it alright if I bring a friend over for dinner tonight? We were talking and figure that tonight’s a good night.”
“Will Holbert,” Alison replied, unable to hide the grin on her face. “I’m very fond of him, and I want to bring him home to meet everyone properly.”
“This will drive your father bananas, you understand this, right?”
“Well, yeah, but Da’s always a bit… odd when it comes to us not living in the TARDIS, so I’m not worried about him. I just want to know what you think.”
“I don’t see a problem with it,” Clara said. She remembered the young man from when she had him in Year One and as long as puberty hadn’t messed him up too much, he was far from being the worst her daughter could drag home. “Dinner will be at six and homework comes right afterwards. Is that clear?”
“Crystal.” Alison gave her mother a kiss on the cheek and left to return to the lunch room. Her plan was going perfectly.
“I still don’t understand how you cannot tell us who Aly is bringing to dinner,” James frowned as he set the table. He watched his mother cook through the doorway to the kitchen, seeing that she was still happily staying silent. “Come on—it’s not going to be a big deal, is it?”
“It’s not my fault you don’t keep tabs on who your sister associates with,” she replied. Her son grouchily finished with the table and retreated to his room. They had been lucky that there was a flat within the Coal Hill catchment area with bedrooms enough so that the twins did not have to share, though it also meant that they were both prone to vanishing into their rooms for hours at a time and not coming out unless it was to eat or use the loo. The Doctor was worried at first, but Clara assured him that it was completely normal for human teenagers. At least they weren’t sneaking into their parents’ bedroom to gain access to the TARDIS, running away across all of time and space.
As it grew closer to six, the Doctor walked in the front door and made a beeline straight for his wife, hugging her from behind as he kissed the top of her head. He was dressed in her favorite jacket of his—the red velvety one—and smelled of odd chemicals from experiments he conducted in and around UNIT. It was a good thing that he was still on their payroll, since she could not afford the flat on her salary alone, though the only catch to being able to access his account would be to actually work with an office and desk and reporting in on a regular basis. Kate Stewart almost seemed to take pity on the Time Lord when he said he wanted to return to UNIT so that he could provide for his children, but proved him wrong when she made it clear that she understood as a fellow parent the amount of sacrifice one was willing to go through when it came to raising a family. A grounded Doctor was not often a happy Doctor and for him to be grounded willingly—he must have had a very good reason to put himself, and the world, through that.
“How was work?” Clara asked.
“I’m not allow to commit ‘genocide’ on a one-celled organism even though I’ve proven that it’s a creature that’s only going to cause problems in a few years; how about you?”
“Flu bug’s going around, so I had two pukers and a fainting and that was all before lunch.”
“You get to have all the fun,” he murmured. He bent down and kissed her neck, catching sight of the table out the corner of his eye as he did so. “Who’s the extra plate for?”
“Alison’s bringing a friend,” she said. “James is sulking because he doesn’t know who it is, but I told him everything was fine.”
“I better keep an eye on him or he’s going to turn out a bit too much like me for my own comfort,” the Doctor chuckled. He kept on kissing his space-wife and caressing her fondly, disengaging quickly when they both heard the front door open and their daughter’s voice filter through the flat.
“I’m home!” Alison announced. Within moments she appeared in the kitchen, holding hands with a boy her age. “Mum, you remember Will, yeah?”
“Of course I do—good to see you again,” Clara said. Alison then turned towards her father, who was busy pretending to get a glass of water. “Da, this is Will Holbert—Will, my da.”
“Glad to meet you, Mr. Oswald-Smith,” the boy added.
“Likewise,” the Doctor nodded curtly. He excused himself from the conversation and immediately headed towards James’s room, entering without so much as knocking. It startled the young man, who was only glad that he was doing homework.
“Dad, what’s wrong?” he asked.
“You have to tell me everything you know about a ‘Will Holbert’ and if we need to push him out the TARDIS into the time vortex or not,” the Doctor said. James groaned loudly and ran his hands over his face in exasperation.
“Will Holbert? That’s who she brought over? What is she pulling?”
“Something that involves holding hands, apparently.”
“Ugh, that prick? Really? I need to start vetting the guys she interacts with at school…”
“Tell me more.” The Doctor placed his water glass on his son’s desk and perched himself on the edge of the bed, ready for information.
“Just this knob who’s a total suck-up to the teachers when he’s really just some guy who thinks he’s all that because his dads run some tech firm that they nurtured from a startup before he was born,” James scowled. “Most of his good marks are because of honest smarts, but I don’t think they’re all because he’s some dashing golden boy.”
“Hmm… interesting,” the Doctor mused. “Does your mam know that?”
“I dunno—he’s got most of the faculty fooled.”
“Alright then; I’ll be in the TARDIS if you need me.” The Doctor went towards the bedroom door, spun back around, and fetched his water glass. “Stay in proper brother form, will you?”
“Sure thing,” James said. He waited until he heard the sound of his parents’ bedroom door close before putting down his reading and going out into the sitting room, only to find something truly disgusting there.
Alison and Will were sitting on the couch, arms around one another and tongues fighting for dominance. Attempting to keep his appetite, James grabbed the television remote and sat down on the couch, breaking up his sister and her beau while turning on the news.
“What do you think you’re doing, Jim?” Alison frowned.
“Catching a bit of telly before dinner,” he said honestly. “Current events are sometimes brutal to keep up with, you know?”
“Absolute murder,” Will replied. He folded his arms and slouched into the couch in defeat. Alison merely bristled, rolling her eyes in a huff before standing.
“I’m going to see if Mum needs any help,” she said. This left James and Will alone with the television, the two boys sitting together awkwardly. When the story on the news changed, James leaned over and muttered lowly at his sister’s guest.
“I’m on to you,” he warned. “One wrong move and I’ll make your life a living hell.”
“What if it’s Aly who makes the move?” Will asked smugly. James only strengthened his glare, not backing down.
“Then it’s your responsibility to be mindful enough to back down,” James insisted. “Touch any girl and I’ll be cross; touch my sister and you’ll instantly regret it.”
“Is that a threat?”
“That’s not only a promise, but a warning… and not something I’ll carry out.”
“That’s what a father’s for, lad,” the Doctor chimed in. The teens looked over to where he was standing, noting the wicked-looking grin he was wearing. He held a large knife in one hand and a small sharpener in the other. “Brothers are for helping to hide the evidence though, so you’re not wrong about that.”
“Erm… what are you doing, Mr. Oswald-Smith?” Will asked nervously, his eyes trained on the knife.
“My wife was complaining about her kitchen knives getting a bit dull, so I thought I’d help her out,” the Doctor explained. He brought the blade to the boys and presented it, allowing them to see the sharpness. “What do you think?”
“Looks good, Dad,” James said.
“Yeah…” Will gulped. Suddenly he didn’t exactly feel like coming over for dinner was a good idea anymore.
“Good, I’m glad. You know, I’m also working on this cleaning agent over at work, and we’re attempting to develop something that can wholly and completely clean objects, which would next to eliminate cross-contamination in restaurants and the home.”
“You work for a chemicals firm?” Will asked.
“No, the government… sort of… you will keep quiet about it, won’t you lad?” The Doctor flipped the knife in the air, catching it deftly by the handle, and gave his son a wink. “See you at dinner.”
“Okay, Dad,” James smirked. He leaned back in the couch and began watching the news in earnest.
As it turned out, dinner didn’t escalate into a family disaster, but then again, it was only because Will did his utmost to not be noticed. It was only because he was able to make it out of dinner alive did he stay long enough to do homework with Alison, but it was only that and none of the “extras” the young woman was hoping for. She got a kiss by the door when he left, and that was it.
Alison was livid with her brother and father. It had to be them, she just had a feeling, and catching the two giving one another a high-five confirmed her suspicions. Storming into the TARDIS, she refused to come out for the remainder of the weekend.
Chapter 25: Christmas on Earth
Here's a Christmas prep-related fill. The twins are eleven in this one, during their first Christmas living on Earth.
With a clank, the Doctor flipped open the stepladder and sat it down next to the mantle. He was halfway up when James approached him, holding up a string of lights in his hands.
“Here we go, Dad,” the tween beamed. The Doctor pulled a small box of thumbtacks out of his hoodie pocket and placed it on the top of the stepladder, taking the lights and hanging them up with the tacks as support.
“This looks about right,” he said, having reached the edge of his reach. Stepping down, the Doctor examined his in-progress handiwork and nodded. “Yeah, I think so.”
“Do you think Mum’ll like it?” Jim wondered. “It’s not Auntie Idris, but it’s a start.”
“She’s wanted us to have a proper Christmas on Earth for a while now, so it’s definitely going to make her happy; now go fetch the garlands from Auntie Idris before Alison and Mam get home.”
James scampered off towards his parents’ bedroom, where the TARDIS was parked in a corner. The Doctor chuckled to himself, glad that his son was getting into the spirit. For being a holiday originally a midwinter festival hijacked by religion, it definitely worked for him despite the fact that he neither had a winter to be in the middle of nor a religion to fuss over. Clara fussed, though she certainly didn’t make him fuss along with her, which was kind of her. It was why he didn’t protest against the manger scene she had set up in the corner of the dining room, or even the holiday itself. He was about done with the second section of lights when the door to the flat opened and his wife and daughter returned home.
“Hi Dad!” Alison said cheerily. She put the shopping down on the floor and looked at her father. “Oh, hey, you setting things up already?”
“Yeah—was hoping to get done before you got home, but apparently not,” he said.
“I decided to cut it short today, since the stores are a bit nuts,” Clara explained as she entered the room. “Where’s James? I need him and Alison to bring in the box with the tree.”
“In the TARDIS fetching garland.”
“I’ll get him!” Alison said. She dashed away, leaving her parents alone for the moment. Clara folded her arms across her chest and shifted her weight to one hip, looking up at her space-husband.
“You’re being rather festive,” she mentioned. “Should I get used to this?”
“I am fond of Christmas, Clara… always have. You know that.” He tried to go down the steps and stumbled off instead, falling face-first into the nearby couch before scrambling to get up in an attempt to brush it off. “Besides, the children love it, and it’s the first time we get to host your dad.”
“It is, isn’t it?” She stepped towards him and wrapped her arms around his middle, rubbing her nose against his shirt and taking in the scent of him. “Dad gets his grandkids for the first time and we all get to be a family.”
“It’ll beat the Christmas we spent on that penguin planet.”
“The smell will be better, at the very least.”
“…only until Alison and James start puberty. Teenagers emit some of the worst odors. You know once when I was travelling with Adric…”
“We’ll be right back!” the twins announced as they ran through the flat and out the door. Their parents chuckled and held one another tight.
“Aren’t we lucky?” the Doctor asked.
“The luckiest in the universe,” Clara replied. She pulled his face down for a proper snog, to which he immediately reciprocated. With his hands on her waist and her on his rear, the two tenderly kissed until they heard the sounds of preteen disgust coming from by the door.
“The two of you have a room, you know,” Alison frowned, scrunching her nose.
“We technically have a whole flat, so I’d shush up if I were you,” Clara fired back. The kids both grumbled in disapproval as they dragged the cardboard box containing their new artificial Christmas tree into the sitting room, over towards where they had cleared out space to set it up in the corner. They ripped open the box and fished out the instructions in an attempt to ignore their amorous parents. Instead, the Doctor picked his wife up and sat down in an armchair, having her settle down on his lap as they continued kissing and caressing.
“…are we going to be big siblings soon?” James wondered in concern.
“I wouldn’t mind,” the Doctor wheezed, Clara moving from concentrating on his lips to his neck. “Do you want a brother or a sister?”
“Hush, you,” Clara scolded. She smacked his shoulder and he squeezed her bottom in retaliation, causing her to bite his neck.
“Come on, Jim; I think we’ve still got homework to do,” Alison scowled. The twins sulked off towards their rooms, which meant that the tree project was abandoned.
“You scared off our free labor,” the Doctor teased.
“I scared them off? You were the one asking if they wanted a baby sibling.”
“Never hurts to ask. I mean, it would be fun giving them one, wouldn’t it?”
“Say that when you’re the one carrying the kid,” she hummed, resting her arms along his neck. They continued to kiss without a care, knowing that they could still convince the kids to assemble the tree for them, even if it took until after they stopped the festivities.
Chapter 26: Music Lessons
The following takes place when the twins are around three years old, post-events from the "James Can Read" chapter (ch.20). Also, I know very little about music and apologize in advance.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The Doctor listened carefully as he sat on the console room steps, strumming the guitar as he tuned it. He was usually a deft hand at it, putting an instrument into perfect pitch in no time flat, although today… today he had a couple beings that were getting in the way.
"Daddy! Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!" James and Alison screeched as they ran out of the corridor and over to him. Their arms were spread wide like wings as they pretended to be flying through the air like wee airplanes. The preschoolers crash-landed onto their father's back, flinging their arms around his neck in a hug.
"I thought I told you two it was time to quietly read," the Doctor muttered.
"We don't want to read! We want to play!" Alison declared.
"Can we go see Jenny?" James asked. "Mr. Gordon-Fletcher makes yummy biscuits, even if he does call them cookies."
"Yeah! And if we can't see Jenny, we can go see Lucy and Mr. Rigsy!"
"Hold on there, kids," the Doctor said. He rested his guitar against the stair railing and stood, children clinging to his back and shoulders as he did so. "Dad said it was time to read, so therefore we're going to read."
The twins whined in chorus as their father walked through Auntie Idris, carrying them back to the library. When the two were born, it was with the closest the ship could come to glee did she put together a new children's section, complete with picture books and simple sentences and everything they would need from small babies to beginner readers. Sometimes they took books back to the nursery, and sometimes the books in the nursery switched themselves out for new ones, but it was still one of the things that the TARDIS truly enjoyed. The Doctor found the children's bean bags and pried them off, dumping his daughter on the green one and his son on the yellow.
"Now read," he ordered. "Dad was in the middle of something."
"Mummy always intermupts you and your guitar," Alison reasoned.
"I know, which is why I'm tuning it now instead of when she's here. This way I can play for her when she's home for the weekend."
"Your music is dumb though."
"Alison Joan, watch your mouth."
"But Daddy! She's right!" James insisted. "Your music is… is…" He paused in search of a word, which the TARDIS hummed in reply. "Yeah! A-throw-suss!"
Conspiring; they were all conspiring against him, that's what they were. What good was raising children inside a sentient space-time ship if he couldn't have half an hour to himself every once in a while?
Oh, yeah, because Clara would find out and she'd lecture him about how Alison and James were still children and needed to be watched over by someone with corporeal hands to snatch them up with.
"How about if the two of you try to play an instrument?" the Doctor frowned. "I bet you'll find out it's not that easy."
"I don't wanna," Alison pouted.
"Fine—then this means that I win."
"No you don't! That's not fair!"
"It is too, young lady. Now, back to your reading."
"I can barely read!"
"Daddy? Can you teach us how to play an instrument?" James wondered. "If we play good, that means we win, yeah?"
"It could," the Doctor shrugged. "Would the two of you like to try?"
While the twins usually did enjoy learning something new, it was the fact that they could win against Daddy that made their eyes sparkle in anticipation. They jumped up from the beanbags and began to bounce around as they overflowed in excitement.
"Then follow me," their father said.
He took them each by a hand and began walking through the ship, eventually finding a room the twins had never been in before. It had many, many different kinds of musical instruments, including many the kids hadn't seen before. Staring at the dust-caked chunks of brass and wood and whatever else there was, it was almost intimidating seeing pieces larger than they were.
"I think we'll start the two of you out small, though not too small. Met a man once who insisted kids your age start out on the small stuff." The Doctor searched through the instruments until he found a plastic recorder and a tiny violin. He held them up triumphantly, approaching his kids with a grin plastered over his face. "Alright, who wants what?"
"Oooh! I'll take the violin!" Alison gasped. She jumped up and down, attempting to reach the instrument as she opened and closed her hands. "I want it, Daddy!"
"Ooh! That means I get this one!" James said, reaching for the recorder. The Doctor handed the twins their new instruments and couldn't help but chuckle.
If Clara found his playing atrocious, then she was going to be in for a surprise.
Later that week, Clara returned to her flat to find the TARDIS dutifully-parked in its designated spot in her bedroom—just what she needed after a long, aggravating week at work. She had been proctoring exams for five days straight and all she wanted was to snuggle with her space-husband while their children did their best to make her laugh. After dumping her marking on the floor of the console room, she wandered through the ship, using the path made by the corridors' baseboard lighting to find where her family had run off to this time. She eventually found them in the study, the kids curled into either side of their father while he was reading to them from a book much too advanced to read on their own.
"Mummy!" the twins shouted when they saw her. They abandoned the story without so much as a second thought, sliding off the couch and running over to her. Clara knelt down and hugged them both, feeling her energy return with their hugs and kisses.
"There's my darlings," she cooed. "How was this week with Daddy?"
"We can play music now!" Alison announced. Clara blinked in surprise.
"Music? Really?" She glanced at the Doctor, who was now standing with his hands in his trouser pockets. "I thought we agreed that they wouldn't start learning a musical instrument until after they started utilizing the learning docks."
"Just a bit of fun to get them used to the idea—get your instruments, kids!" The Doctor clapped his hands and the preschoolers ran off, giving their parents time alone. "There's no harm in it."
"I didn't say there was any harm in it; I just want to make sure that you're not making major decisions without consulting me first," Clara said. She closed the distance between them and wrapped her arms around his middle, resting her forehead on his chest. "Missed you."
"And I missed you… but at least I have the privilege of the children."
"Lucky bastard," she teased. They then kissed, reacquainting themselves with the other's taste, only to be interrupted by the tykes returning with their instruments.
"Kissy-faces later, Mummy!" Alison scolded. She held up her child-sized violin, presenting it to her mother. "See? Daddy found us instruments!"
"He said we can change later if we don't like them," James added. "Wanna hear us play?"
"Of course," Clara said. She and the Doctor then sat down on the couch together, waiting for the impromptu concert.
What came out of the instruments sounded like a tune, though how Clara's ears didn't spontaneously begin to bleed was beyond her.
"Okay—that's enough!" she shouted over the noise once she couldn't take it anymore. "It sounds like you're coming along nicely."
"Good!" James grinned. He put his recorder down on the low table by a chair and hopped onto the couch between his parents. "Can we continue with the story now?"
"Oh, yeah, Daddy was reading to us!" Alison remembered. She left her violin with the recorder and found the Doctor's free side, both children cuddling in close, not wanting to miss a thing. He took the book from his pocket and opened it to the page where they'd left off, giving Clara a smile in the meantime.
For this story's sake, The Return of Doctor Mysterio was a Twelve-Clara adventure from before the twins came into being. There were weird time-disturbances preventing the TARDIS from always materializing in New York City, blah, blah, blah, something about the Williams-Ponds that would make me sob like a baby, blah, blah, Clara your degree is in children pls help. (It was English/Literature, yeah, but you get the joke.) Then voila! You get a new friend for the Time Twins who you can also imply has a stay-at-home-dad (the Doctor, Grant, and Rigsy are the best okay (yes Rigsy counts)).
Chapter 27: Playing Dess-up
Prompt was the Time Twins playing dressup in the vast wardrobe collection of past Doctors/companions. They are around ten when this takes place.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was the weekend and Alison and James were bored.
Usually weekends were not boring at all, but when they went to go pick up Mum, they found out that she had caught a cold from one of her students coughing all over everything. This meant that they were having a weekend in, though it also meant that Dad was waiting on Mum and making sure she was doing alright, leaving the kids to generally fend for themselves.
“Auntie Idris? We really wanted to go sledding on that snowy planet with Mum and Dad,” Alison frowned up at the TARDIS core in the control room. “Do you have a room where it snows enough where we can sled?”
The ship hummed in reply.
“That’s nice, but Mum said she was going to have to get us new winter stuff because we outgrew the rest,” James mentioned. The TARDIS whirred again, chidingly this time. “But there’s nothing in our wardrobe!”
The lights around the children dimmed, the only light around them being the emergency ones that lit the floor’s edges. When something like this happened, it was usually because the TARDIS wanted to lead them somewhere, so the kids ran over to the corridor, stopping directly where it branched off into a couple different paths.
Only one of the paths was lit—it was time for an adventure.
Heading further and further into the ship, the siblings followed their aunt’s directions until they came to a door whose frame was all brightly lit. The rest of the lights went on and the kids knew they had reached their destination, not that they knew where it was. They stepped forward and the door opened to reveal a large room that had many mirrors and wardrobes, along with a couple chairs to sit in, and even some curtained stalls in the very back.
“What is this place?” James wondered.
“I dunno, but it’s Auntie Idris, so it won’t be that dangerous,” Alison replied. She walked up to a wardrobe and opened it, scrunching up her nose at its contents. “It’s just clothes.”
“Yeah, look at this,” she said. She pulled out a hanger holding cricket whites and a brimmed hat to present to her brother. “Didn’t Da say once he used to fancy something like this?”
“He used to fancy wearing a lot of things,” he shrugged. James went into another wardrobe and pulled out a large, blue-violet pelt that covered him from head to toe and then some. “This looks like it was supposed to be a puppet-monster skin.”
“Better than that fur coat Da used to wear,” Alison chuckled. She opened another wardrobe and broke into giggles. “Here it is!” She put it on and laughed before letting out a sneeze. “I wonder what sort of animal this is.”
“Probably a life-like synthetic, knowing Dad,” her brother said. “He told me once it was a yeti—bet that’s a load of crock.”
“Look at this!” Alison gasped, going into another wardrobe. She pulled out a pair of yellow boots that went up past her knees and a dress that looked like it would have been too short had she only been a couple years older. “Dad ran with some weird people if this is what they used to wear. It almost looks like some Halloween fancy dress!” She then ran into one of the curtained stalls and changed into the outfit, giggling as she did so. “This is wild!” When she drew open the curtain to show her brother, she saw that he was no longer in sight. “Jim, where’d you go?”
“I’m in here,” he said from the other stall. A few moments and he opened his curtain to reveal his outfit: a black turtleneck and a kilt. “Found Uncle Jamie’s clothes.”
“Wow! That looks good on you!” She walked over to another wardrobe and peeked inside, gasping in delight. “More of Da’s old things!” Alison nearly tripped in her boots as she took a new armful of clothes back to the changing stall, coming out wearing flared dark trousers, a white frilled shirt, and a green velvet jacket.
“I still don’t understand green velvet,” James said, shaking his head. “Do you think the red one will go with what I’m wearing?”
“I dunno—try it.” She watched as he reached into the wardrobe and pulled out another velvet jacket, putting it on. “Nope.”
“Then let’s see what does…”
It was only after Clara was fast asleep did the Doctor realize that he hadn’t heard from their children in hours. He checked their rooms first, then the library, then the study, the console room, the kitchen, the park… it wasn’t until the TARDIS nudged him along did he find them in a place he hadn’t been in a long time: a room that provided him with different weather conditions for experiments. It was gently snowing while the twins were trudging up to the top of a hill, James pulling a sled behind them.
“Hey! You two get over here!”
“Coming Dad!” the tweens replied. They took the sled to the bottom of the hill and ran over to their father, who could now properly see what it was they were wearing: James was in his old brown coat and extra-long scarf, while Alison was in a pink version with a very long white scarf.
“Where did you get those?” he asked, furrowing his brow.
“Auntie Idris gave them to us,” Alison said.
“Oh, well I was just about to ask you two if you wanted lunch and…”
“Yes!” the kids cheered, scurrying out the door. The Doctor followed, glad he knew precisely how to get his children’s attention.
The blue-violet furry cape is actually part of the Thal wardrobe in the movie Dr. Who and the Daleks, which is the movie version of the introductory Dalek story with a larger budget, Technicolor, and some changes to the Team TARDIS 1963 dynamic (for one, Barbara and Susan are sisters). It’s also notable for being the first of two movies with Peter Cushing, the Grand Moff Tarkin himself, playing the Doctor in a way that makes me maintain that it’s a viable AU of the main canon, sort of like how there are apparently a bajillion alternate realities when it comes to Ace’s adventures post-cancellation. It’s campy, but damn it, I love the thing wholeheartedly (and it was weird watching the TV version of the story because of it, as I saw the movie first). It also feels like I’ve gushed about this movie before, but I don’t care—it deserves it.
Another thing to note is that James and Alison end up dressed as the Fourth Doctor and Romana II from the story Destiny of the Daleks. They also found clothes from the Fifth Doctor, Second Doctor, Jo Grant, Jamie McCrimmon, and Third Doctor, in that order.
Chapter 28: Christmas on the TARDIS
Takes place when the twins are three.
Clara sat on the mound of pillows in the corner of the nursery, a child on each side as she read to them The Night Before Christmas. She had volunteered to be the one to read to them while the Doctor took their presents from their hiding place and put them into the study, which was where they had set up their Christmas tree. Neither parent had wanted the TARDIS to transport the gifts to beneath the tree because then they weren’t Santa. Being Santa on Christmas Eve was a tradition that they didn’t want to miss out on because their children were being raised inside a sentient space-and-time ship and the TARDIS thankfully obliged.
“‘Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.’ Well, now that was nice, wasn’t it?”
“Can Santa really get into Auntie Idris?” Alison wondered. “We’re in the time vortex, so how can he get a sleigh here?”
“He can, and it’s because Mummy and Daddy met Santa personally, letting him know how to reach us on Christmas Eve,” Clara explained. “There’s a super-secret way to get presents in from the sleigh, and only Mummy, Daddy, Auntie Idris, and Santa know.”
“What about the elves?” James asked. “The story mentions nothing about elves, and they would know, wouldn’t they?”
“Elves would just get into a spat if they came along with Santa; they’re about as agreeable as Mr. Strax,” Clara said. “Wouldn’t that be something? Mr. Strax dressed up as one of Santa’s elves?”
“Mr. Strax is something all by himself,” James muttered.
“That’s right; now get to bed, both of you, or Santa is going to skip over Auntie Idris, and then nothing will be delivered!” She watched as the kids scrambled to bed and jammed the covers over their heads. Chuckling to herself, Clara was able to tuck them in and get goodnight kisses from both before she left the nursery and went into her own room, finding that the Doctor had just sat down on the bed.
“They down for the count?” he asked.
“That they are—they’re already starting to wonder how Santa gets here,” she said, sitting down next to him. “Too clever for our own good.”
“No such thing, because their mam is where they get their cleverness, and she’s had longer to perfect it,” he said. The Doctor put his arm around her shoulders and kissed her forehead. “How about we turn in, yeah? I think I pulled something in my shoulder during… you know… and it should heal up with a little rest.”
“Sounds good,” she agreed. Clara and the Doctor then changed into their pajamas (actual pajamas for the former, while the latter simply stripped down to his pants and t-shirt) and went to bed cuddled together. It was to be a night of nothing more than snuggles and sleeping, or else risk not being prepared should a pair of pint-sized peepers decided to catch them off-guard for presents come morning.
After being lulled to sleep by the scent of the Doctor’s shampoo, Clara woke from a dreamless sleep to find that he was gone. It was not an unusual thing to experience, but thought it odd when she checked her mobile and saw that it was already eight in the morning.
For this to happen on Christmas was unacceptable.
Clara stretched as she got up, chasing the remaining sleep away before putting on her robe and slippers. The TARDIS already had a mug of coffee waiting for her as she shuffled towards the door, which she grabbed before giving the wall a nice, grateful pat before heading into the corridor. After checking the nursery—blankets were still tossed back in child-like hurry—she went to the study, where she found the twins playing with some new stuffed animals while the robe-clad Doctor sat on the floor near them, overseeing the fun. The stick-on bow that had been attached to Alison’s present was now sitting atop his head, precariously clinging to his fluffy hair by what remained of the adhesive.
“Ah, you’re finally awake,” he said the moment she walked in. “I caught these wee ones trying to open presents without us.”
“We only opened one each,” Alison argued. “Besides, they were from Santa.”
“Maybe Santa wants us to watch to make sure you got the correct ones,” Clara replied. She sat down on the couch, waiting for her space-husband to join her. He did quickly and soon they were taking turns passing out presents and opening them for all to see. Once everything had been opened, the parents quietly watched as their children played with their new toys from their cozy spot on the couch.
“It looks like Santa did a good job this year,” the Doctor chuckled in Clara’s ear.
“He’s no pudding-brained fool, that’s for certain,” she replied. She kissed the tip of his nose and watched red creep up from his neck to his face. “You know, I wonder who I should go back in time to visit so that I can brag to someone about turning you domestic.”
“There’s a long list—you want it alphabetical or by their initial appearance in my timeline?”
“Doesn’t matter, because you are the real Christmas present here.” She patted the bow atop his head and giggled before taking another sip of coffee. “Looks like our daughter had the right idea.”
“Alison? Naw—had to make sure it got on myself,” he murmured. He tucked the top of Clara’ head under his chin and held her a bit tighter. “Merry Christmas, Clara Oswald.”
“Merry Christmas, Doctor.”
Chapter 29: The Life and Times of Idris Jr.
This takes place when the twins are four.
The Doctor wasn’t entirely sure how the tiny, blue-haired feline got inside the TARDIS, but he was not pleased when he discovered its presence. While he was not particularly against the creatures’ existence as a whole or by principle, he was concerned about the shedding and shredding problems that usually followed a cat, which was, of course, something that his two children seemed to completely ignore.
“…but Daddy!” Alison scowled. She held the kitten closer, keeping it away from her father’s grasp. “Idris Jr. found us! We keep things that find us!”
“Not things that ruin the upholstery,” the Doctor replied firmly. He tried to grab at the kitten, but his daughter refused. Even James got in on the action, stepping between them.
“Daddy! We want to keep Idris Jr.!” he demanded.
“Now what did I say? Give it here.”
“…but you ruin the upholstery too!” Alison pointed out. Well, she had him there.
“Yes, but Auntie Idris can’t be cleaning up after us and a cat all the time—it’s not fair.”
“Idris Jr. is a little kitty! Little kitties only make little messes!”
“James, I can personally attest to the fact that just because you have the tinier version of something doesn’t mean it won’t make a full-sized mess,” the Doctor said. “In fact, you two are proof that sometimes the littler something is, the bigger the mess becomes.”
James, thinking quick on his feet, allowed his eyes to go wide as he made the face Mummy always did in order to get something out of Daddy. When it didn’t seem like it was working, he looked to the space just behind his father, squealing, “Mummy!”
“Clara…?!” the Doctor breathed. He spun around only to find that there was no one there, turning back to his children to find that they had taken off as well. “JAMES CLARK AND ALISON JOAN OSWALD-SMITH, YOU GET BACK HERE WITH THAT CAT!”
Dashing down the corridors, the twins took their newfound pet and scurried into a room in order to hide from their father. They stayed quiet as he stormed past them, only bothering to breathe until after the Glasgow-inspired growling was gone. Standing up, they investigated the room, which wasn’t one that they’d been in before. It was small, with some food and cat toys laid out on a faux-grass surface, along with a litter box and a fuzzy-looking tower with little holes in it and bits jutting out. Alison put Idris Jr. down and watched the kitten stumble along towards the food bowl to experimentally nibble.
“I guess we need to ask for Mummy’s help on this one,” she said. “What day is it?”
“Tuesday,” her brother replied.
“Then we have,” she counted on her fingers to be safe, “three more days until we see Mummy again. We need to keep Idris Jr. safe until then.”
“It won’t be easy,” James said. He squatted next to the kitten to pet its short blue fur and sighed heavily. “Daddy knows all the rooms, doesn’t he?”
The TARDIS dimmed its lights slightly in reply.
“Really?!” Alison marveled. “Daddy’s been with you for ages! How does he not know all the rooms?!”
A further quick dim of the lights and the two children laughed—at least they knew their aunt was on their side…
…or so they thought.
All things considered, Clara found that the day hadn’t exactly been a difficult one to bear in the overall scope of things. She still returned home to an empty flat—no husband or kids to greet her, let alone their blue box—and that was the thing that made her the most upset. Everything at work was absolute child’s play when compared to missing her children, and that pained her greatly.
Dinner for one was eaten and cleaned up, and she was just about to start on a load of evening laundry, when a distinct ring came from her mobile. Clara picked it up and saw that it was, yes, indeed, the Doctor.
“Well, that was quick,” she deadpanned. “Are the kids in bed? I’m not saying dirty things over the phone unless they’re in bed.”
“They’re not in bed; plugged into the docks for their evening lesson, then bed,” the Doctor replied.
“Bath’s tomorrow—wait, hold on, dirty talk isn’t why I called though.”
“It’s not?” she wondered, truly impressed. “When was the last time it wasn’t?”
“Can’t recall at the moment, but this time is about a cat.”
Clara’s face fell as she continued sorting the clothes that were in need of washing into their own loads. “A cat? You’re joking.”
“I wish I was. Somehow a cat got on the TARDIS and the children found it before I did. They want to keep it.”
“We can’t—it’s bad enough we’re raising them in the time vortex, but adding a cat to the mix...”
“I wanted to tell them that, but they wouldn’t listen. They even named the thing and are trying to hide it from me thinking that I’ll just forget, Clara… I don’t know what to do.”
“Tell them the truth: no pets until we’re living on Earth, no exceptions.”
“That will only make them want to live on Earth more.”
“Well, find a way to let… um… what’s its name?”
“…find a way to let Idris Jr. out in some space-Istanbul or Greece or something similar and let things go from there. I trust your judgement.” She paused for a moment, silently repeating what she had just said. “They named a cat ‘Idris Jr.’?”
“I’m only reporting back what I’m hearing.”
She chuckled slightly at that, knowing that it was simply her children showing how much they adored their home. “Thank you for consulting me before making a decision. Are you sure you don’t want any dirty talk? Responsible co-parenting across time and space is incredibly attractive.” There was a silence on the other end of the call, one Clara knew was her husband contemplating her offer.
“Give me two hours and I’ll call you back, bye,” he said quickly, ending the call. Clara put the mobile down and chuckled, setting the washing machine; hour and a half, max.
The following day, the Doctor peeked in on Alison and James as they were sitting down in the learning docks, information being churned into their minds at a rate that truly boggled their mother’s understanding off learning and teaching. They were lucky to have his mental capacity, for it allowed for the more Gallifreyan method of education instead of the Human way. Clara was, of course, by no means an idiot, nor were some of her students, but the information processes in a Gallifreyan mind were far more multilayered and to get the mental exercise… it was good for them, to say the least. After making sure that the twins did not hear him, he closed the door and went on his search.
It did not take long to find the cat, as the TARDIS was unable to figure out a Ship’s Veto to the Parental Pet Ban. Idris Jr. bounded up to the Doctor and squeaked happily, rubbing itself against his boot. He picked the cat up and scowled.
“You know I don’t want to do this,” he told the kitten, who simply stared at him. “Maybe one day, but that day is not today.”
He could have sworn the cat was mocking him.
It was after the main lessons were done for the afternoon when James and Alison went searching for their kitten. The siblings searched high and low, only to discover that Idris Jr. was nowhere to be found. They approached their father as he sat in the study, tears in their eyes.
“Daddy!” Alison sniffled. “Where’d you put Idris Jr.?!”
“We just want our kitty,” James whimpered.
“Now kids, don’t be like that,” the Doctor said gently. He put down his book and gingerly put a hand atop either child’s head, stroking their hair affectionately. “I told you that you couldn’t keep Idris Jr., but you were the ones who didn’t listen.”
“It’s not fair! Why can’t we have a kitty?!”
“Because, Alison, Mam and I discussed having pets of any sort and it’s best to leave them until later on when you’re older.”
“Why, Daddy?” James wiped his nose on his sleeve, which caused his father’s eye to twitch. “Idris Jr. was a good, smart kitty.”
“I know, but even if you found the best and smartest cat in the entire galaxy, I’d still have to turn them out, at least for a little while.”
“…why…?” James asked.
“What did we do wrong?” Alison wondered.
“You two did nothing wrong; c’mere.” The Doctor opened his arms wide and his children climbed into his lap, hugging him tightly. “Lots of people have pets their entire lives, that’s true, but sometimes parents don’t want their children to have pets until they’re older due to a number of reasons, like wanting to make sure allergies don’t exist or waiting until the child is old enough to care for another being on their own. It’s even so that the children don’t necessarily feel like they need a pet as they get older, so that having one is more out of desire than of anything else.”
“Why can’t we have a kitty?” Alison asked.
“A variety of things, but nothing that should make you angry or upset,” her father explained. “Don’t worry—I let Idris Jr. out into a very nice colony that takes good care of animals. I may not want a cat aboard the ship right now, but that doesn’t mean I’m cruel. We may be able to visit one day, even.”
“Possibly, but only if you dry your eyes and get a move on—I thought there was some playtime yet before dinner.”
The twins slid from their father’s lap and shuffled away, feeling rather dejected. Watching them, the Doctor felt his hearts break as they left the room, demonstrating the most difficult part of parenting: making one’s children sad. He made a mental note to look into a cat or dog when they were with Clara on Earth full-time, but for now, he was simply going to have to live with the decision.
Chapter 30: When Mummy's Away...
This takes place when the twins are around ten months or so
It was supposed to be only a couple days, the Doctor reminded himself as he plucked his children from their cots. Clara was to be back in her own spot in the time stream for only a couple days—a miniature vacation to assure her family and select friends that she was still amongst the living—and then she was coming back. This all meant that it was up to him for those few hours, those couple of days, which was something that he was completely capable of accomplishing.
At least, so he thought.
A baby under each arm, the Doctor carried the wee ones to the console room where he needed to do work. In the underneath-level, where he had access to the wiring and tubing normally hidden from view, he plopped James and Alison in a playpen that had materialized there for their use. Once the twins were both sitting up of their own accord, he took the bottles from his inner jacket pocket and gave them each one.
"Now have your juice and let me work, alright?" he commanded. He saw them both stare up at him with their brown eyes and curious faces. "No, we aren't getting Mam now—she still has some things to do. I also have things to do before we get her, hence the pen."
Ignoring the Twins' curious coos, the Doctor went straight to work. First he shed most of his top layers, putting his jacket, hoodie, and jumper on nearby pegs, and donned some goggles. His t-shirt was already one that was a bit stained from work, so he didn't care when he realized that he was likely going to get rather disgusting while tuning up the ship. A couple adjustments of some wires and he was on his way.
The Doctor was just about to unhook a coolant tube when he heard the clack of hollow plastic against the metal floor. He glanced over and saw Alison's bottle on the outside of the playpen, with the girl staring at him with an innocent look.
"Don't test me, young lady," he frowned. He went and gave her the bottle, raising a brow in warning. "You know what'll happen if you misbehave."
Alison knew—as she was no fool—that there was little punishment when it came to Daddy, so she smiled nicely and let her father return to his work. She waited until he was back in the harness that kept him aloft and took her brother's bottle, tossing it over the side of the pen. James gave her a baffled look and she put her hand on his mouth.
Shhhhh… no telling Daddy!
"James, not you too," the Doctor sighed. He lowered himself to the floor and returned the second bottle. "Do you need more toys to keep you occupied? Let me get you some more toys."
It only took a few minutes and the Doctor returned with an armful of things from the nursery; a couple blankets, some favorite stuffed animals, a few soft blocks, and a few things that made obnoxious noises that he seemed to be able to tune out, yet Clara couldn't. He tossed them on the children, making sure to aim the harder things for the mattress, nearly burying them.
"There," he scowled, putting his hands on his hips, "are you happy now?" Alison giggled and hugged her Alpha Centuari toy. "I thought so. Now behave."
Things went smoothly for the most part after that. The Doctor heard a couple things hit the TARDIS floor now and then, but mostly he knew it was the couplings and pipes and whatnot that he put there. He was nearly at the root of the problem (a squeaky landing gear, which wasn't getting the proper fluids thanks to this line and that) when another issue arose. He glanced over towards the playpen and saw that all the toys and things that he had brought for the children were scattered around their containment unit, with James sitting in the corner while his sister stood against the wall, smacking the padded top.
"Now what did I say?" the Doctor scolded. He stormed over to the playpen, avoiding the minefield of baby things, and picked up his daughter, holding her at arms' length. "Alison Joan, what do you have to say for yourself?"
He watched in momentary confusion as she stretched out her own arms, opening and closing her tiny fists. Clarity hit him and he brought her to his chest, allowing her to cuddle in close.
"…oh," he murmured. He kissed the top of her head and bounced her gently. "This is what you wanted, isn't it?" She sputtered in affirmation; of course it was.
Before long, James was whimpering in the playpen, which led to the Doctor picking him up as well. With his children virtually glued to him at this point, he wondered what he could possibly do that would not only satiate them, but allow him to continue working—he needed to get the maintenance done or else he couldn't pick up Clara and he would be stuck drifting listlessly throughout space and time until he crashed somewhen, somewhere.
The TARDIS hummed and the lights flickered for a moment; the ship had a solution. Turning around, the Doctor found two baby-sized harnesses hanging from the underside of the console deck, with just enough clearance for them to stomp about, yet close enough so that he could pull one closer to him if need be.
"Nanny of the Year, you are," he chuckled. He put Alison down on the ground and secured James first, then caught the escaping child to stuff her in the other harness. The children were able to stand on their own with the harness' help, which caused them to gasp and squeal in delight. They could pick up their discarded toys and wobble about, even leaning forward until they were horizontal in the air. Their father nodded in approval and returned his attention to the console once more.
That was, until, a toy mobile smacked him in the head.
Chapter 31: Painting
Clara walked into the TARDIS and automatically knew things were not going well. For one, she could hear the ship specifically whirring and buzzing while the Doctor shouted nonsense, which usually meant that they were arguing (with intense swearing on his part). Another was simply that he wasn’t there at the front door to greet her after having come home from work, which had been a distinct rarity within the past year and a half. Actually, she couldn’t remember him having missed a day since she told him about the fact she was pregnant… something that she was finding increasingly difficult to hide from her coworkers.
The most telling way she knew that things were not going well, however, was that all of the railings in the console room were wrapped in foam rubber held in place by cable ties.
“Uh, Doctor…?” she called out, unsure of what might answer her. She put her bag down on the wingback chair and carefully walked around, investigating the silent, eerie mood in the ship. There was a crash from further inside the exiting corridor as she entered, the sound of which made her wince. “Are you alright…?”
Another string of nonsense-syllables and a nearby door slid opened, allowing the Doctor to fall onto his rear, a veritable tangle of cable ties, foam padding strips, and electrical tape. The ship spat a box of screws, a non-sonic screwdriver, and an assorted collection of brass hardware that seemed too mish-mash to actually have mates amongst them. A stern –braap— from the TARDIS and the door slammed shut.
“What did you do?” Clara asked with a chuckle. The Doctor’s attention jerked in her direction, ears turning red as he stumbled to stand and untangle himself from the mess.
“Nothing!” he claimed.
“Nothing…? That didn’t look much like nothing.” She watched him as he threw the debris into the closed door, finishing it off with kicking the box of screws into the mess. “What were you doing?”
“I began to childproof the TARDIS,” he admitted sourly, glaring at the ceiling. “It’s not like there’s a finite number of rooms or anything, so I might as well start now.” The Doctor stepped towards Clara and put his hands on her hips, bending down to gently press his forehead against hers. “How was work, Clara? Did the pudding brains learn anything?”
“I think I convinced Courtney that her argumentative skills need to be concentrated in debate club and not wasted in Literature class,” she nearly purred. She felt the children inside her leap in joy as they realized their parents were standing there together, cuddling the best they could for standing in the corridor. “Yes, kids; we’re with Daddy again. He’s having a spat with Auntie Idris, the numpty.”
“I am not a numpty,” he pouted.
When Clara simply laughed in reply, he picked her up and carried her down the corridor to a room that they had gotten to know well over the past few weeks. Ever since Clara had begun to experience irregular nesting urges (and the Doctor, via an odd phenomenon he couldn’t explain without going deep into Time Lord hormones that served no purpose to any functioning human being), the TARDIS had gone and created a room for them to turn into a nursery. The walls had already been painted by-hand and a couple bits and bobs rescued from the interior of the ship, including a short bookcase that was sitting half-painted on a drop-cloth in the middle of the room.
“I think she wants you to confine your efforts to this room,” Clara smirked. She left a quick kiss on his cheek and knelt down next to the bookcase to continue her painting project from the day before. Glad that the sentient ship kept the paint dry, she picked up the brush and continued spreading the white goop over the mismatched planks of wood.
“Did you tell your boss you’re leaving?” the Doctor wondered, sitting down next to her.
“I’m giving my two-week notice as of Friday,” she said. Glancing over at him, she found the Doctor’s gaze upon her, soft and adoring. “What…?”
“Again: that doesn’t look much like nothing.” She leaned into the kiss he pressed behind her ear, then behind her jaw, and lower on her jawline… “This can’t wait?”
“I’d like it not to,” he murmured hotly. Clara gently tapped his cheek with the tip of her brush before continuing, leaving a glob of paint on his face. He wiped it off with a nearby rag before grazing her face with the face with the wet remnants. She stared at him in false outrage, this time smacking his nose with paint. It was not too long before the two were absolutely covered in paint splatter and the TARDIS was whirring at them to stop giving her even more of a mess to clean up.
“Alright, alright,” the Doctor groaned. He leaned over Clara—now laying on her back—and bent down, gently kissing her. “We’ll stop being silly and shower all this off. Won’t we, Clara?”
“Sure thing, my silly, daft man.” She gazed up at him with a fire going through her, one that wanted to get her space-insect into the shower soon as possible. One of the twins attempted to protest, instead wanting to eat some pickles, but its mother and father decidedly ignored that as they made their way to the bathroom.
Their spaceship-aunt, however, cleaned up the spilt and splattered paint. Again.