The Doctor grew up understanding the concept of relative dimension, and had created a house in a shoebox when he was just a few years old. Gallifreyan children were tested at a young age for their skill and potential for Academy training. Only a select few ever went on to be Time Lords.

By the time he stepped into his TARDIS and took it out on his first adventure, the universe had lost much of its mystery. The doctrine of Time Lord Superiority had been drilled into his head.

He wondered if Gallifreians still birthed their offspring, still held them and watched them as they discovered the amazing fascination in their own fist, if the Universe would have seemed so blasé.

Of course, he had technically been a father. His superior DNA had been woven in The Loom to create the next generation of potential Time Lords. He had met the boy who had come from him years later, and unlike other Gallifreians, he felt a connection and responsibility to the boy. He had offered guidance and acted as a mentor, and felt an uncommon sense of pride when his 'son' joined the Academy. Although he did not go on to be a Time Lord, he was a brilliant man who contributed to the advancement of Gallifrey. And The Doctor had been there to see the next generation, a girl. All before his first regeneration.

Susan. She had been the closest he ever had to a family. Because Gallifreians didn't hold stock in familial lineage, no one had thought it odd that he asked she accompany him. No one thought it unusual. She was gifted. She had his DNA. It made sense that he would want someone equal to him.

That had been so long ago. So very long ago. Through the centuries, he had observed humans and their domesticity, and his Gallifreian teaching told him it was foolishness. A waste of time and energy. But, deep down, he wondered what it would feel like—what it would mean—to live for no other purpose than to take care of another person.

Or, persons… Rose… and Ginger.

Because, right now, nothing else existed but the tiny bundle lying on the floor between his legs, sucking fervently on her own fingers. Her wide eyes watched him, and ever once in awhile, her tiny legs kicked beneath the pink blanket Rose had wrapped her in. She was beautiful—the most beautiful thing he had ever seen—and he had seen many beautiful things.

"Look at you," he said softly, smiling as he leaned forward to bring his face closer to Ginger's. Ginger. What a perfectly perfect name. "I'm going to show you the universe."

He smelled her before she spoke, the steam from her shower permeating the air around her, leaving everything scented like roses. "I can't tell you how much I missed that bathroom."

The Doctor looked up, and did his best to tamp down the instinctive reaction to her. Wearing nothing more than a towel with her skin bright and glistening, she stirred things deep down inside him. But, she had told him that humans required weeks of recovery from giving birth and that their physical reunion would need to wait.

He watched her as she crossed to them in the beautiful nursery that was now as large as the bedroom suite and bathroom combined. The carpet was a beautiful rosy pink with swirls and stars and the TARDIS had selected the white and pink stripe motif. Rose knelt beside him, tucking the large bath sheet around her thighs as she looked down at their daughter's face.

Their daughter.


"Oh, so that's the truth of it. You came back for the bath."

Rose smiled—that same smile that had make him break rules and promises and give in to her every whim—and leaned her cheek on his shoulder. Her damp hair brushed his cheek. "You figu'd me out."

They'd spent two hours talking, and he knew almost everything about her life in Pete's World, and how she had come back to him. While it was fascinating, it didn't surprise him that she'd worked it out and convinced his other self to bring her home.

"Do you forgive me?"

Her question was so soft, he barely heard her. The Doctor leaned away from her so she had to lift her head, and touched her chin with his knuckle to make her look at him. He waited until her eyes shifted to meet his, studying her for several seconds before answering.

"There's nothing to forgive. You were right. I would have destroyed two universes to bring you home."