Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who, the BBC does. Anything you recognise, I don't own. I own the names and the original characters and the plot. As always, the name Beldaran still belongs to David Eddings.
A/N: Wow! Thank you to everyone who reviewed that last chapter, and also to everyone who added this to their alert/favourites lists! And to 'Dragongirl of the Stars' - I hope that I've added a bit more hyperness and movement to the Doctor. : )
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Midday came. The Doctor's daughters and daughter–in–law put together a quick, tasty lunch which was eaten outside. The Doctor sat with Rose on the edge of the fenced balcony as they watched the children playing. Whodestral and his sons-in-law played a ball game with their own sons. Laughter filled the noon air.
Suddenly the Doctor leapt up, a beaming grin on his face. He vaulted over the fence and shot over to his son. With a broad wink at his grandsons he waved his arms at Whodestral childishly to attract his attention.
"Look, look, I'm free, I'm open!" he cried, playfully jostling with Whodellen and the second–eldest boy. Whomallor and Wholantar laughed openly at his antics. Rose chuckled to herself before standing up. She perched next to Beldaran, Belkara and Belsacra.
"Is Father always like this?" Belkara asked, giggling as her father ran around the garden chasing Whodestral and Whodellen, who had teamed up and had squirted him with water.
"Not always, but… yeah, this regeneration, he's pretty hyper," she responded. The ball game now lay forgotten and a fast–paced water fight had started in its place. The four women passed the time talking and watching. Rose explained briefly a bit about their adventures together and more about the Doctor's personality and traits.
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Almost an hour later, Rose helped Beldaran and the other women to fetch some cold drinks. The Doctor, his sons and grandsons were spread around the garden in various states of collapse, their arms outstretched and their chests heaving. The water fight had finished when Whodestral and the other fathers had gave way and fell to the red grass tiredly. The Time Lord and the young children had followed half an hour later. The Doctor rolled over onto his front, a wicked grin on his face. He stretched out one arm, and tickled one of his younger grandson's sides mercilessly. The other young children crawled over to him, still full of energy, and retaliated. Shrieks of laughter filled the air from both parties.
"Children, stop tiring your poor Grandfather," Beldaran called mock–seriously "We've drinks for you," The Doctor thumped his head back against the thick red grass, exhaling loudly. The children ran up to their mothers and Rose.
"Vagabonds!" he exclaimed, grinning foolishly at the bright, orange sky. He turned his gaze to Whodestral as his grown son stood over him.
"Now now Father, is that any way to address your grandchildren?" Whodestral scolded, much to the children's amusement. He reached out a hand and pulled his father upright.
"The Council requested today that I returned. They are eager to meet you," he said on a more serious note. The Doctor nodded and got to his feet. He and Whodestral made their way over to Rose who had two glass tumblers in her hands for them. She smiled at the Doctor as he took several quick sips of the green–tinted juice. He grinned at her.
"Missed this," he stated. "Good ol' Hasren juice," he continued to take quick sips, savouring the taste until his glass was drained.
"When are you planning to go to the Council?" he questioned.
"Soon, Father. They requested if we could meet them in the Main Council Chamber two hours after noon," the Doctor nodded.
"Can I come with you?" Rose asked eagerly. Whodestral coloured slightly and cleared his throat.
"I'm sorry Rose but– the Council only asked for my father. They are rather strict," the Doctor frowned and set his tumbler down.
"Tell me, how many of the council are graduated Time Lords from Old Gallifrey?" his voice had a slight steely undertone.
"There are two Time Lords, father," the Doctor's mouth tightened noticeably and he nodded sharply. Whodestral opened his mouth to question his father's change of mood but the Doctor shook his head before he could speak.
"When are we leaving?" his son glanced at his father's eyes briefly and was shocked to see the hatred in the dark brown; however, he answered calmly with no trace of his worry. Rose frowned.
"We won't be long, Rose. There, answer a few questions, back again," the Doctor gave her a terse smile. "Beldaran and the kids'll look after you," Whomallor and Wholantar stepped over to them with their respective parents. They bowed politely; Whodestral's lips twitched into a quick smile as his father rolled his eyes.
"Look, I know it's polite, tradition, blah blah blah, but honestly, you don't have to scrape a bow every time, yeah?" he rushed in a rather Doctor–ish manner. Rose stifled a giggle at the astonished expressions on their faces.
"Sir, Whodestral; please excuse us. Our parents wish to return to their homes," Whomallor explained doggedly. The Doctor nodded.
"I'm glad we met under such calm circumstances," he told them mildly. They nodded politely, acknowledging his words, but their uncertainty if he had insulted them or had used sarcasm was clear on their faces. With a slight bow, the small group of Gallifreyans walked from Whodestral's home. The Doctor gave a bright grin and clapped his hands together.
"Shall we go, hmm?" he asked lightly. He started to follow his sons–in–law. Rose walked with them to the edge of the garden where it met the well–kept street, half–listening to the conversation that struck up between father and son.
Suddenly the Doctor stopped and shivered violently. His brow creased into a frown and he turned his face to gaze up at the sky. His dark eyes were troubled. Rose too frowned; his expression was all too familiar to her.
"Father? Father what's wrong?" Whodestral demanded worriedly as the Doctor shivered again.
"The air… it's– too heavy," he observed, his voice absent. His son gave a quick relieved laugh, brushing away his concern.
"It's summer Father, the air here can feel heavy at midday. I can't feel a thing," he added, also looking up at the sky. "I don't think there will be a storm later," the Doctor shook his head fiercely, his eyes turning distant.
"You haven't been trained to feel it, Whodestral. It's… time. Something's coming," he replied musingly. Rose paled.
"That's what you said at the Olympics, Doctor," she realised. She touched his arm anxiously. He nodded tersely.
"The same. There is a storm– its closer than before. But that's impossible! London, Earth, 2012– this is New Gallifrey, two thousand light years from Earth, and 15,000 years after 2012!" he groaned in frustration "What does it mean? What's coming?" he demanded of himself. He scrubbed his hands over his face to try and rid himself of the shuddery feeling. There was a tense pause.
"Come on then, let's go," he sighed resignedly. "See you later," he added to Rose. He hugged her briefly before he and Whodestral continued onto the street. Rose chewed her lip worriedly, the Doctor's ominous predictions repeating in her mind. She turned and headed back to the Doctor's family as, like he, she couldn't draw a conclusion from the foreboding feelings.
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"Junior Councillor Whodestral and his guest to see you, sirs," a steward announced, opening the heavy set of carved doors Rose had seen the previous day. Whodestral entered first, and the Doctor followed. Politely they sketched quick bows to the gathering of seven Gallifreyans. Only two men, both wearing robes that labelled them as Time Lords, didn't return the greetings. They remained motionless in their ornate chairs, silent and aloof. The one that graced the head of the table cast an appraising eye over the Doctor; the Doctor's expression tightened and he met the young Time Lord's gaze coolly. One of the elder Councillors stood up and bowed again in a gesture of respect as he recognised the Doctor's attire.
"My Lord, welcome to New Gallifrey," he murmured politely.
"You requested that I attend," the Doctor reminded them, clearly waiting for more details. The head Time Lord nodded.
"As soon as you materialised here on my planet, I felt your mind. You guard it well– I wanted you here today to discover if you are a renegade and a threat to my society. Also, to demand that you give your TARDIS to me, providing it is fully functional," his voice was supercilious and full of self–importance; it brought back many memories of the Time Lords of Old Gallifrey, of all the hard, cold comments they had flung at him and the control and regulations they tried to force upon him. His jaws clenched.
"Excuse me?" he asked, dangerously quietly. The young Time Lord sat up in his chair, his expression contemptuous.
"I am not in the habit of repeating my orders," he said. The elder Councillor shook his head, clearly shocked.
"Whodernal you–you cannot make such demands of a Lord President–" he said in a scandalised voice.
"And I am not in the habit of following orders from my juniors," the Doctor gritted through clenched teeth. The two Time Lords exchanged knowing looks.
"A renegade. Councillor Whodestral, I am surprised," the Time Lord, Whodernal, tutted condescendingly. Whodestral blushed but stayed firm.
"I am proud beyond words of my father," he countered icily, his fists clenched at his sides. There was a tense silence as the Time Lords glared at each other.
"My Lord; we– Gallifreyans requested that you attend today for the reason that you can help us develop our society on New Gallifrey to reach the technological and economical standards of Old Gallifrey," another elderly Gallifreyan said formally, interrupting the silence. The Doctor tore his eyes away from the arrogant Time Lord. His lips twitched into a brief smile as he nodded.
"I would gladly help you to shape and better your society," he replied politely. He threw a scornful glance at the Time Lords. "And I would gladly advise you to avoid repeating the mistakes of the Time Lords of Old Gallifrey," he added curtly. The Gallifreyan Councillors were visibly relieved.
"If we could adjourn to a more comfortable chamber…?" one questioned, awaiting the Doctor's approval.
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"It is customary, I believe, to offer a chair to the Head of the Council?" the first Time Lord said waspishly. The Doctor looked up at him calmly, his eyes flashing as he settled into the chair pointedly. Whodestral stood next to him; he watched the Time Lord with hard eyes.
"And I believe that it is customary for youths to have manners and show respect towards their elders and betters. I am both and as of yet I have not received either," the Doctor replied coolly. He raised one eyebrow, daring him to speak out again. Whodernal glared acidly at him and deferred.
They had entered a smaller, less forbidding room with soft chairs and small tables. Maps were pinned to the stone walls, and carved wooden cabinets were gathered at one wall. A writing table was placed in front of one of the chairs, with writing materials laid neatly on its smooth surface.
"My Lord," one Councillor spoke. He raised his hand to get the Doctor's attention. "What news is there of Old Gallifrey? Has the Time War ended?" the Doctor kept his face carefully blank as he nodded slowly.
"The Time War has finished, yes," he told them gravely. A mass sigh of relief sounded.
"Your TARDIS, my Lord. Is it functional? Does it have resources enough to supply the Academy? My fellow Councillors and I have discussed this point for many hours; if we are to progress, our youths must have the resources available to become Time Lords," another voiced. The Doctor grinned.
"Learning's everything, I'm sure I'll be able to rustle up some bits and pieces from my T–" he was interrupted sharply as the ground shook violently. An alarm rent the air urgently.
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Rose returned to her seat next to Beldaran, Belkara and Belsacra. All three were watching the children who had, after a short rest, started up a new game.
The Gallifreyan women looked up sharply as their offspring cried out– shrieks from all around the quiet neighbourhood sounded as blue lightning raced across the clear, cloudless sky. All were thrown to the ground. They held their ears as a terrible tearing sound filled the air, deafening and constant. Rose cried out as the noise vibrated through her body. The sudden lightning storm filled the sky from horizon to horizon, its bolts continually flashing and striking in the sky.
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"What does that alarm mean?" the Doctor demanded, standing up as the aftershocks of the apparent earthquake finished. The alarm continued to wail in the background. The Councillors pulled themselves up, shocked into silence. The Doctor raced over to the door and wrenched it open. Gallifreyans rushed past in a state of panic, some with tears on their faces. The alarm echoed in the high–vaulted foyer. He spun around with a fierce expression on his face.
"What does it mean?" he demanded again, his voice urgent.
"It's – It's signalling the failure of the transduction barrier and or other components set up for New Gallifrey's protection…" the younger Time Lord responded flatly, his eyes wide and shocked. The Doctor groaned.
"Where's the engine room? Has the transduction barrier failed before? Do you have controls, monitors, anything that keeps a record of its status? Talk to me!" he yelled, throwing his arms wide. The elder Time Lord stood up shakily, his face twisted with fear and irritation. He strode over to the Doctor and quickly regained his composure.
"Who are you to assume such authority?" the Time Lord sneered arrogantly. The Doctor's eyes went flat with rage as the younger man reached him.
"I'm the Doctor, and I'm the highest authority there is," he snarled, his voice low and full of threat. "The Time Lords of Old Gallifrey were too arrogant to imagine or even prepare for the possibility that the transduction barrier could break, and that failing ultimately led to their downfall. I'm not about to stand here and allow another egotistical idiot to take my family away from me again," the Time Lord in question and his fellows were speechless. The Doctor glared around the gathering silently before pushing himself away. He came to stand next to his son, who remained standing by his vacated chair. The Doctor's eyes softened as he noticed Whodestral's almost–scared expression. He reached out a hand and held his shoulder, briefly sending reassurance and comfort to him.
"My Lord," one of the elder Gallifreyans stuttered. The Doctor's now–calmer eyes flickered to him. "What– what news is there of Old Gallifrey? Will they send help if we were to ask for it?" the Doctor gave a tight, mirthless smile.
"Care to tell your fellows?" he said lightly, his voice full of lilting mockery. The two Time Lords exchanged worried glances but remained silent. "No?" the Doctor mocked. The younger Time Lord glared at him, while his fellow Time Lord looked down at the table, both unable to speak. The other Councillors watched the exchange, fear and curiosity clear on their faces. Tactfully, they let the matter drop.
"Now that that matter is finished," the Doctor said, his mood changing in the blink of an eye. "Show me the engineering room that has the transduction barrier controls," the scared Councillors immediately called for a steward to escort the Doctor. The Doctor paced restlessly, his hands threaded through his hair. He could think of two races that had the capabilities to break through an operational transduction barrier. But maybe he was jumping ahead of himself; maybe it was a simple failure of the power generator. His clenched stomach and the sense of – of an approaching storm told him otherwise.
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Now, this seemed a good place to stop. Don't kill me, seeing as I didn't explain what exactly is going on- yet. Please review!