A Brief History of Mine

By Nix Nada

The Doctor looked up from his tinkering with the TARDIS console, to see Rose enter from a side door. He clambered to his feet.

"Rose," he beamed, "you are just in time to see some of the modifications I've made to the TARDIS."

"Is that what you've been doing all this time?" asked Rose, a little petulantly.

The Doctor wiped his hands on his leather coat. "What do you mean?"

Rose walked over and put her arms around his waist. "I mean I've missed you, silly. You hide away under that console there, and I never get to see you."

"Ah," replied the Doctor looking uncomfortable.

"What's the matter?" said Rose.

"Nothing," he replied. He had been worried about this. He and Rose had grown close over the past weeks, closer than he had been to anyone in a long time, but she still knew so little about him. "It's just that I think there's something you should see."

Rose followed the Doctor out through the door by which she had entered and on, deep into the TARDIS. She had often wondered just how big the interior of the ship was. Perhaps today she was to find out.

They walked in silence, the Doctor looking slightly nervous, like a man with a guilty secret to hide. My god, she thought, what has he got stashed away in here?

Eventually, they arrived at a white double door, with six large, circular indentions. The Doctor gave them a push and they opened onto a long, narrow room. It looked to Rose like a dusty old art gallery, with various portraits on the wall and a couple of statues.

"What is this place?" asked Rose, quietly. It was one of those rooms, like a library, that seemed to demand hush.

The Doctor walked a little way into the room. "The past," he replied.

Rose looked at the first portrait, which showed a handsome young man with collar-length brown hair. He had a slightly sad look in his eye, Rose noticed, that seemed somehow familiar. Stuck into the corner of the frame was a cartoon of a rather austere-looking man with jagged sideburns jutting out into a hawkish face. Someone had signed the picture, "There can be only one! Best of luck, REG."

"Who's that, Doctor?" asked Rose, indicating the portrait. "Family?"

The Doctor shifted uncomfortably. "An ancestor, you might say," he said at last, with an awkward smile.

Rose moved along to the next picture. This was a small photograph of a little man wearing a pullover decorated with question-marks, standing by a tall fence. He had hooked his umbrella, the handle of which was also in the shape of a question-mark, over the top of the fence, and was pretending to dangle from it, laughing.

Below this was a photograph of a man trying his best to look stately and dignified with his thumbs hooked into the lapels of his coat, but the image was spoiled somewhat by the fact that the coat appeared to have been constructed from a number of brightly coloured materials, cut into squares and sewn back together at random.

Rose laughed. "Mad uncles," she said, shaking her head. "We've all got them."

Below the photographs was a weathered old cricket bat. It too had been signed: "From one 'doctor' to another, WG Grace."

Rose looked to the Doctor, but he seemed lost in his memories. She moved on and found herself staring up at a huge statue of a man with a wild mop of curly hair, his hand outstretched dramatically. Someone had placed a brown felt hat on the head of the statue and wound a ridiculously long scarf around its neck, looping it around twice and then hanging it from the arm.

The Doctor gave a small laugh, despite himself. Rose looked around at him. "Who's this?" she asked.

The Doctor smiled and folded his arms. "Would you believe it's a depiction of the great god, Xoanon?" he said.

"In that scarf?" scoffed Rose.

The Doctor laughed again. "Oh, that scarf," he said, fondly. "I'd forgotten all about it, it was so long ago."

Next in the display was another portrait, depicting an older man in a velvet jacket and frilly shirt. He was holding a book under his arm, the title of which read, '500 Year Diary', and smiling broadly.

"Groovy, baby, yeah!" said Rose and the Doctor winced slightly. "Sorry, Doctor," she said, seeing his look. She moved quickly on to the next picture.

This was the second-to-last picture, a black-and-white photograph of a man with a dark Beatles mop-top style haircut. He was blowing into a recorder and winking at the photographer. Something in the picture struck a chord with Rose, but she couldn't quite put her finger on it.

She turned to the Doctor, confused. "Look, this is all very interesting, but I'm sure you've met a lot of people on your travels. What's so special about this lot?"

The Doctor said nothing, but merely gestured to the final portrait.

It was tall, reaching from the floor to almost touch the ceiling. It showed a white-haired old man, slim and dignified. He too had his thumbs clutching the lapels of his coat, but to much greater effect than the earlier picture. The look on his lined face managed to convey both authority and a great kindness. He was standing beside a hexagonal console, much like the one she knew from the TARDIS control room, and the walls behind him were decorated with the same roundel design as on the door to the gallery.

"My granddaughter painted that for me," said the Doctor, quietly.

Rose found that it took a moment for that information to sink in. Granddaughter? Suddenly, she knew why aspects of each picture were familiar and why the Doctor had felt he needed to bring her here.

"He's you," she breathed, staring up at the picture of the old man. "They're all you."

"Memories of me," explained the Doctor, sounding sad. "Sometimes, memories are all you have left."

"You can change your appearance?" asked Rose, incredulously. "Any time you like?"

The Doctor shook his head. "My body can rebuild itself, if it would otherwise die," he explained, "and only a certain number of times."

Rose was silent for a while, thinking and looking up into the eyes of the old man by the TARDIS console.

"So you'll not be changing any time soon, then?" she said at last.

"I certainly hope not," replied the Doctor.

Rose shrugged. "Then let's leave the past where it is," she said, "and see what the future holds, shall we?"

The Doctor grinned. "Rose Tyler, you are fantastic," he said.

"So I've been told," said Rose, taking his arm. "Now, I believe you said something about showing me the universe? So far, all I've seen is Earth and a couple of space stations."

"Your wish is my command," said the Doctor, happily, as they walked from the room.

"Nowhere too dangerous, though," warned Rose as the door shut tight behind them. "You're not getting any younger you know!"