STANDARD DISCLAIMER: Doctor Who belongs to the BBC. I'm not making any money from this.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This (kind of) a sequel to my fics Law and Disorder and The Favor, because it deals with things mentioned/touched upon in those fics… but hopefully it'll work as a stand-alone fic as well. This is my attempt to pull together the things we know about the Doctor's life from canon (i.e. the television show and the Fox TV movie) and the things I've written about his life in my own fics. And please forgive me if I've gotten the Yiddish expressions wrong; I'm not Jewish and have been using an online Yiddish dictionary. Please, please feel free to correct anything I may have gotten wrong. Thank you!
The Doctor paid for his coffee and sandwich, and then went to sit at an unoccupied table. There's nowhere in the Universe that does corned beef on rye like a New York deli, the Doctor decided as he took a bite of his sandwich. A previous customer had left a copy of the New York Times sitting on his table, open to the obituary section. He picked it up with a frown.
"Not a very cheerful subject," he murmured. He located a pen in one of his pockets, and then picked up the paper, preparing to turn to the crossword puzzle. His eyes fell upon a name sandwiched between Wagner, Donald and Werner, Alfred. Weisman, Alan. Survived by his beloved wife Rachel, daughter Sarah, and brother Sam.
His beloved wife Rachel.
"Oh no," the Doctor said quietly. "Oh no."
Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor stood in front of a mirror, regarding his reflection critically. He'd swapped his green velvet frock coat and tan trousers for a black suit, and his gray cravat for a black tie. The brocade waistcoat had been replaced with a plain gray one. "You look like you're going to a funeral," he told his reflection, which made a sad smile at his words.
He found the brownstone with no problem, preferring to arrive on foot rather than use the TARDIS; he had an idea that Rachel Weisman probably wouldn't look upon the time machine as a welcome addition to her small front yard. He saw men and women dressed in black coming and going from the brownstone's front door, and suddenly wished he had thought to bring some kind of food, a deli tray perhaps. Well, he was there now and there was nothing for it. He took a deep breath and climbed the steps to the brownstone.
"Shalom aleycham," someone murmured to him in passing.
"Aleycham shalom," he replied automatically. When he reached the living room, he saw her. She was standing in a corner, talking with a young, dark-haired woman. Though he knew she was human, he still couldn't believe how old she looked; after all, she was only seventy-nine. "Rachel," he said quietly, and though he knew she couldn't have heard him, she turned to look in his direction and frowned. He pushed his way through the crowd, mumbling apologies and greetings to those he passed. Finally, he reached her. The young woman she had been talking to had been replaced by a gray-haired woman about her own age, who watched him with a questioning look on her face. He squinted at the other woman, realized who she was, and sighed. "Rachel," he said, turning his attention to the widow. "I was so sorry to read about your husband." She frowned at him.
"Do I know you, young man?" He gave her a sad smile and took one of her hands in his. Her eyes widened at its coldness. "Theta!" she exclaimed, clearly shocked.
"Theta Sigma?" the other woman asked, her utter astonishment making her sound as though she knew a lot of guys named "Theta". Her eyes narrowed in an angry glare. "A broch tsu dayn lebn!" she spat at him. He sighed.
"Thank you for your kind wishes, Julia," he said ironically. "You'll be pleased to know that my life already is somewhat of a disaster at the moment."
"Good!" she replied immediately. Rachel put a hand on her sister's arm.
"Julia, please," she said warmly. "Let me talk to Theta alone." Julia glared at him again, and he heard her mutter "Farshtinkener!" under her breath as she stalked away. Rachel took his arm and led him into the den, which was empty of people. She shut the door behind them and motioned him over to a sofa. "She never forgave you," she told him, sitting beside him. His eyebrows went up.
"And you have?"
"Ah, what's the use of hanging onto old resentments?" she asked with an elaborate shrug. She looked away from him. "How is Susan? Is she well? Happy with her husband? Does she have children?"
"Fine, yes, yes, and a boy and a girl, in that order." She smiled at the thought.
"I wish I could see them," she said quietly, with tears in her eyes. He nodded.
"I think that could be arranged." He took her hand again, so old and frail that it made him want to cry.
"Don't be sad, Theta," she said in that way she had of always knowing just what he was thinking. "I chose this life, remember?"
"How could I forget?" he asked, struggling to keep the bitterness out of his voice; she didn't need that burden on top of everything else she'd suffered, and on top of losing her husband.
"I couldn't be like your mother, Theta. I wasn't strong like her. I couldn't take it anymore." He nodded.
"I know. It was a bad idea from the start."
"No, of course not. Taking you to Gallifrey. I should have known what would happen." He couldn't keep the bitterness out of his voice any longer. "How could I have not known? I'd only seen it firsthand all of my life!"
"You don't think I should have tried harder, been stronger? Because I've thought those things often." He sighed, bringing up a hand to touch her cheek gently.
"Don't think them anymore," he told her sadly. "You did your best. I should have stood up to them, the way my mother did."
"She was always telling them off," Rachel remembered with a fond smile. "She was a fiery one, all right. That's where you got it."
"I suppose so."
"David and Sarah should have never gone back to that miserable planet," Rachel said bitterly. He shrugged.
"He wanted to raise Susan on Gallifrey."
"He wanted her to go to the Academy." She gave him a look. "That didn't happen."
"That farshtinkener Kappa... he should have a miserable life!"
"He's dead, Rachel. He fell into the Eye of Harmony."
"And good riddance!" she exclaimed, making a gesture evocative of dusting dirt from one's hands. She sighed. "When you came back here with Susan, I didn't know what to do. You told me our son and our daughter-in-law were dead, and you were on the run, hiding Susan from Kappa. And how long did you run from him, Theta?"
"Quite a while. My first body was nearing the end of its life when we fetched up in England in 1963. She was still quite young, of course."
"I'm sorry I couldn't stay here with you, Rachel. I just couldn't take the chance that Kappa would find me… and you… and Susan."
"And I'm sorry I couldn't go with you, Theta." She shook her head. "I only wanted a normal life."
"I understand." They were silent for a long moment.
"I never told Alan about all of it," she finally said. "He knew I was divorced, that I'd had a son who'd been killed. But I never told him that my son had been grown, with a family of his own. How could I have? I only looked twenty-five myself!" He nodded.
"Were you happy?"
"Yes and no," she said carefully. "I never had another child. Sarah was Alan's daughter from a previous marriage… his wife died. Cancer. So sad." She stood, signaling that their time together was at an end. He stood as well, taking her cue.
"Is there anything I can do for you?" he asked gently. "Anything at all?"
"I would like to see Susan again," she replied immediately. "I would like to meet our great-grandchildren."
"Our great-grandchildren… imagine it, Theta!" she said, smiling.
"Mazel tov," he told her, returning her smile. The door to the den opened and an angry Julia stood there, glaring at him.
"Jack and Rose are here," she told her sister, without even acknowledging the Doctor's presence. "You should come out and greet them." Rachel nodded.
"I'm coming, Julia." She took the Doctor's arm and led him out of the den and through the crowd of mourners to the front door. "Zey gezunt," she said, and kissed his cheek. "Go with God." She stepped back from him, her eyes brimming with tears. "And be careful in that pile of miserable junk you ride around in."
"I'll be careful," he promised.
"I'm too old for this, Theta. I would not like to sit Shiva for another husband!" And before he could register his astonishment at her words, she retreated into the house and shut the door.