I knew that one day someone would want to know about him. He was, by his very existence, unique. All I have of him is in this little box: a few trinkets and an old man's memories. Forgive me if this journal rambles a bit. I was old even then (I do believe he used to call me a 'fogey') and I wrote it many years after he had left when I was older still. For it was only then that I realized I wanted him to be remembered.
I remember when they first brought him to me. I was amazed at how small he was. He would have only come up to my hip. I had never seen anyone that small before. He looked up at me with big black questioning eyes, partially obscured by a long blonde fringe. The first thing I decided was that he definitely needed a haircut.
It was obvious they didn't know what to do with him. His family didn't want him. Didn't know how to cope with him. His mother was dead and his father was… gone. They asked me to take him in.
I shouldn't have. My school had never catered for someone such as him, but instinctively from the first moment I saw him I knew that I wanted him - because he was unique. He was the first. Besides I thought to myself: Something that small should be easy to look after. How wrong I was.
It was when he came to me on the first day and asked me to tie his shoe laces that I had an inkling of just what I had taken on. I looked down and saw far too big black boots that appeared to be held together with bits of string. He told me that at his house a servant had always tied the string together for him. After some inspection I tied the strings together and he went happily clumping off.
He looked so ridiculous in his attire. I had been informed by his family that these were the clothes brought for him by his mother and they could not afford (read bothered) to buy anything more suitable. However I found myself wincing at the indecency of his apparel. His leggings barely came to the knee and both my tired old hands and his clumsy young ones had trouble with the strange bobble like accoutrements that held his clothing together.
He would run everywhere. I had never seen a creature with more energy. But he had an unfortunate propensity to trip over his own feet. An attribute that perplexed me greatly. Whenever he fell there would always be a moment's silence as he would look around astonished unable to comprehend what had befallen him. Then reality would set in and he would burst into tears. Howling and yelping at the unjustness of a universe out to get him.
I remember the first time this happened. We were visiting the local markets to study the Shoebogons in their natural surroundings. I was shocked at the amount of noise such a small individual could make and could only stare in horror and embarrassment at what my charge was doing.
Then I was aware of a small howling little blur hurtling towards me and burrowing itself in the voluminous folds of my robe. I tried to smile nonchalantly at my fellow companions, but I was undermined by the sobbing bundle at my feet. No amount of remonstrating seemed to have any effect on the boy. A passing Shoebogan offered him some sort of crude sweet, but this only made him dive under my robes until he was in a most indelicate and undignified position between my legs.
No amount of coaxing could make him come out, until suddenly like a switch being flicked it seemed all the horror of the incident was forgotten and he scooted out in search of his friendly Shoebogon and the proffered treat, the comforts of my robe gone from his mind.
It was, I told myself at the time, very indecent behaviour. Heritage or not, he was a Time Lord and would have to behave like one.
But try as I might, I had no luck on this front.
This behaviour continued for some years. Invariably it was the howl that would first alert me. Then I would hear the clumping of his feet. It was as he had a sixth sense. No matter where I was or what I was doing he would always find me. When he was in this state no one else would do. I would be entreated to examine the offending wound or bruise as if my presence could somehow make it all better although I would protest most voraciously that I had no medical knowledge.
After a few incidents, a particularly harrowing one involving the board of directors and a spectacular display of histrionics on both his part and that of Cardinal Bunrell, I did some research and discovered an old earth remedy. I called up an old colleague and he procured for me a solution. I never did discover the cultural significance of Sesame Street, however by placing one a small adhesive strip adorned with characters from this cultural milieu over the, generally quite insignificant, wound it would greatly improve his mood and normal activities could be resumed by the both of us.
After the evening meal I would continue my personal instruction, as I had promised his family.
As I would talk he would lie on me (for after long deliberation and not a little compromise on my part, we had agreed that this was definitely the most advantageous way of infusing information, although I had my suspicions about his ability to listen with his eyes closed) and he would play with my robes in a most disrespectful manner. He seemed to have a particular fascination for my sash of Time Continuity. This, for those who have not spent 300 years mastering its intricacies, is a sort of braided rope.
I would be reading from some particularly enthralling passage of the Great Tracts of Gravid and I would find him fast asleep… and asleep in my lap with the sash inside his mouth, wet and soggy. Indeed my sash became so… er… chewed… that I was brought to bear considerable embarrassment by Cardinal Credenza during one official function.
I could never fathom the way his mind worked. The strangest notions would make perfect sense to him and he would spare no expense in testing his theories. Indeed I heard the resulting crash from three floors above. I knew at once who must be involved. I dropped my tome and rushed from my classroom, leaving my startled pupils to gape at my undignified exit (indeed I later overheard Panrell remarking that he did not think it was possible for me to even move that fast).
He had dragged a goodly bit of the dining room furniture out into the courtyard and had built a tower out of the tables and chairs. Drenak told me later that he had emerged into the courtyard to find the boy attempting to climb to the top of the rickety structure a moment before it had collapsed.
It was Clamesk who had found the boy, and having pulled him out from under the wreckage by his ear was proceeding to shake him vigorously by it (his ear that is). Curiously enough upon seeing the boy and knowing that he was unharmed I personally experienced an unaccustomed feeling sense of relief and another emotion that I could not name.
After the mess had been cleaned up, the boy checked for damage (fortunately he had a tendency to bounce, either an attribute of his heritage or his age – I could never determine) and sent to stand in the corner I sat at my desk and pondered the incident.
When asked the reason for his behaviour the boy had frowned slightly and said that he had wanted to see if he could touch the sky as if his actions had been perfectly reasonable. I remarked that surely there must be more efficient ways to accomplish this, such as a balloon perhaps. At this his eyes had widened as if he had never even contemplated this possibility and he had nodded slowly and thoughtfully. I had then a horrible thought that in the future I may come to regret my last statement.
He had other peccadilloes. I did not call them faults for I decided that I must make allowances for his background. However some were most vexing in the extreme. He could see nothing wrong with coming to table covered in mud. In fact keeping him clean in general was something of an ordeal. No matter that each morning Tranut my Shoebogan batman and I would inspect the boy to make sure he was clean and presentable, by the end of the day he would return filthy. At dinner time Tranut would keep an ear out for the clump of his peculiar shoes and would swoop in to intercept the child before he could reach the white tablecloth and whisk him away to be cleaned.
Shiny things and bright lights attracted him to them like a moth to flame. He loved the sphere. It was a very special work created by the greatest stellar artist from the late Klarn era. It also made an excellent paperweight. It sat on my desk and often I would find he had mysteriously found the door unlocked and had come to gaze at it. When I would ask him about why he liked that particular piece so much he would reply that it was because it was always changing.
I, like most Time Lords, did not like change. I found it unsettling. So I was not prepared for when he changed. He grew. One day I realized he was taller than me. He challenged everything. Anger would spring from nowhere and he searched around for something to lash out at. No longer would he run to me as he used to when he was hurt. Now ran away from me, as if I was the one hurting him.
I did not know how to respond to his anger, his unspoken questions, his difference.
I tried to keep teaching him all the knowledge that I had taught thousands of young Time Lords for generations, but his anger kept him from hearing my words. I grew weary. I too grew angry. I did not understand him. I kept repeating the teachings.
He would only angrily shake his head and point to himself as if to ask where he fitted in to it all. He would not listen and I could not talk.
It was during one of these 'discussions' that it ended. He was angry, as always, at everything and I was angry at him. He was like a caged beast as he paced my room, refuting every point I made anger building up in him, as if blaming me for all the injustices his society brought upon him. In a fit on anger I spat that he had no respect and I reached for the sphere and threw it at him. He caught it and the two of us looked at each other over the gulf that divided us, unable to say anything to each other. Then he left.
His family came for him soon after. He was now of average height and now he looked like a Time Lord he was acceptable. His unfavourable heritage could now be more easily forgotten. I knew that he was accepted to the academy butas I did not care for affairs of state or idle gossip I heard to more of him.
Until nearly one thousand years later…
I looked up from my study of time rifts and there was a man standing in front of me. Although the eyes were blue and the hair dark and curly now I knew instinctively it was him. He had the same lopsided smile and restlessness my boy had. I wanted to embrace him, as he had done so unconsciously to me many times in the past. But I did not. Instead I told him that as usual he needed a haircut.
He grinned self consciously and looked down at his feet.
Then he held out his hand and I saw that he was holding out an object for me. It was the sphere that I had thrown at him so many years ago.
He placed it gently on the desk.
'I just wanted to return it,' he said. 'And to let you know that… I kept it safe for you.'
I picked up the little swirling sphere and looked into it. 'I did not realize that you had kept it,' I said amazed.
'Oh yes,' he answered hurriedly. He smiled sheepishly. 'I never lost it. It was an excellent paperweight.'
Then he left and I knew I was forgiven. My boy had grown up.
He was a thing of wonder. He was a boy. He was the only boy. The only child born in a thousand sterile generations. He awakened feelings in me that I did not know I had. And, perhaps, for a short while…
(Here the journal ends)
The boy, the second boy, the only child born in a thousand years finished reading and looked into the box. In it were only a few objects: a small glass sphere, an old photograph of a little boy holding the hand of an old Time Lord looking stiff and solemn in ceremonial robes, and a piece of frayed rope.
He held out the sphere questioningly to his mother.
She reached out and took the sphere. 'I often thought he was a shamen.' She watched as the lights in the globe swirled. 'He held universes in the palm of his hand.'
She sat beside him on the steps and looked over his shoulder at the photograph. 'Look,' she said. 'His ears stuck out like yours do. Perhaps it is a sign of greatness?'
The boy, safe and comforted by his mother's presence harrumphed.
The Doctor sighed and tried to wriggle a bit. He looked around helplessly. But it was no good. He was trapped. Stuck like a fly in honey. He regarded his captor and moved experimentally, but this only resulted in her tightening her grip. No, unless he did something drastic he was definitely stuck. He decided he might as well make the best of it, picked up his book and sighed again.
He looked down. There was Ace, her nose buried in a red woolly question mark as she slept happily with her head in his lap, her hands curled around his pullover. It reminded him of an old memory, long forgotten. It reminded him of someone, but he couldn't quite remember who…
He looked down again.
Dear god, she wasn't sucking it was she?
Postscript: Which canon shoots your balls?
I wanted to explain a few of the concepts I used in this story because I am a sad anorak who finds the whole idea of the Doctor's heritage fascinating. There are two major conflicting 'canons':
Lungbarrow – in which the Doctor is supposedly weaved from a giant loom like a rug (although there is something funny going on there as he has a belly button but no body else does) and that Time Lords are totally above all that love, emotion stuff and the interchanging of bodily fluids and somehow they all ended up sterile or something.
The TV movie – in which the Time Lords actually do the horizontal tango and the Doc has a Time Lord dad and a human mum.
There is also another theory from the books that implies the Doctor is actually a fusion of come weird crystal dude and his own half formed memories, but I'm not going into that now.
And as for Susan – Rassilon knows!
So basically people pick and choose their preferred canon and run with it because if you try to make sense of all the conflicting bits and pieces you go loopy.
However this story explores my own little pet theory regarding the Doctor's heritage. Everyone knows Leela left the Doctor to marry a Time Lord called Andred. And proving that Time Lords do have a full working kit and caboodle (and presumably the enthusiasm – especially when it comes to Leela) Leela fell pregnant in Lungbarrow and produced the first baby born on Gallifrey for ages.
But what if that baby wasn't the first. What if the Doc's dad had found himself a nice young lass from Basingstoke and nine months later: one little Theta Sigma. The first child born on the planet for millennia – now that would be a bit of a shock for your average Time Lord. Remember they aren't exactly a fun loving bunch, especially the Doc's house – who are a right bunch of nasties.