PROLOGUE:

Time fractures. It splits open, just a tiny crack in the fabric of reality, and then it just doesn't stop; growing wider and wider, swallowing up worlds and people and memories. It takes, takes, takes until there's nothing left. Just a tiny planet, in the eye of the storm, kept warm by the very thing that caused everything to explode in the first place.

Earth, an insignificant place in the grand scheme of things, now the only reminder of an entire universe. The humans of Earth – vicious, cruel things that they usually were - forgot about the stars that once existed, of the alien invasions that had taken thousands. History never happened and, by pure chance, if something remained from the old world, it was distorted; the penguins of the Nile, for example.

Or the Pandorica.

The Pandorica; a magic box that was secretly the perfect prison, made for a man whom everyone feared deep down. Inside was a woman, not the man, and this woman was just that; a woman. Not a girl, not a child, she was Amy Pond and she was amazing. Amy would go on to marry the man she loved, have a child that she'd never raise, and would eventually live out her life stuck in the past.

But this story isn't about Amy Pond; her story is over.

Or, well, her story never happened; the cracks fed and fed, paradoxes feeding them from the fall of the Eleventh. The cracks never existed but they did, because the Doctor had to close them, but the reason why they were formed in the first place stopped existing, so they did too. Except they didn't.

You see, dear reader, the cracks were formed when the Silence blew up the Doctor's TARDIS in an effort to stop him reaching Trenzalore, the place where he was fated to die. You know this, I know this, but you don't yet understand, I think.

The Doctor was fated to die because there was a crack – yes, one of those cracks – that led to an alternate universe where the Time Lords lay in waiting, ready to return to our universe. They required an answer to an ancient question; Doctor who? If the Doctor said his name, they'd return.

Thus, silence had to fall.

So a rogue chapter of the Papal Mainframe travelled back, and they destroyed the Doctor's TARDIS and they stole a young Melody Pond from her parents and raised her to kill the Doctor. It all failed, as anyone with a brain would've known, but they were desperate. Another Time War would rip apart reality.

But the Time Lords were only saved because of a young girl named Clara Oswald; it was she who convinced the Doctor to rewrite his own personal history and save them. He viewed this as a victory – others viewed it as a staggering loss of morals for the man who once claimed that his people were nothing more than monsters.

But, and here's the kicker, the Doctor only met Clara because of his grave at Trenzalore. It was there that she threw herself into his timestream, creating echoes of herself right along his timeline; echoes that the Doctor would meet in his past, echoes that would inspire the Doctor to find the real Clara.

All of this, quite literally all of it, relied on the Doctor's death at Trenzalore.

And, at the end of his life, he regenerated.

Regeneration means no grave at Trenzalore; no grave means no timestream, so no Clara. No Clara equals no Time Lords, so there isn't a reason for the Doctor to be at Trenzalore; there isn't a question to be asked, so there isn't a need for silence to fall. So… no reason for the Kovarian Chapter to travel back in time, no reason for Melody Pond to be kidnapped. And the TARDIS doesn't explode, either.

And with no TARDIS explosion… no cracks in time.

The future wiped out the past, made it so everything he did never even happened. His entire life, just like that, wiped out. But we can't blame the Doctor; it wasn't his fault.

None of that timeline was ever supposed to happen, it was twisted by a malevolent force who wanted – well, I can't say that yet, but what it wanted wasn't good. It almost succeeded in destroying the universe… so it definitely wasn't good.

But the universe was left with a conundrum; the new Doctor couldn't exist, because the reason for his regeneration never happened. And the old Doctor couldn't continue on as, technically speaking, his life stopped five minutes after he regenerated.

See? Conundrum. A big one, too.

That's where I come in.

The universe felt bad for this old Doctor, with no malevolent force tied to him, and they had to do something with him because a Doctor left alone always ended up with a genocide or two happening.

So, on a fateful night in late 2016, they sent him to me. And together, we were fantastic.