A/N: Takes place immediately before the first chapter of 'Brothers and Sisters' so is based very much in my own personal post Journey's End canon. There is a TARDIS! This is the first thing I wrote in that universe, so I was a bit iffy about posting it. Ah well.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who and all recognisable characters thereof are the property of the BBC. I am making no money from this. The sproglets came from my mind, but they wouldn't thank me for claiming ownership of them.
"Bless this twain, that they might prosperous be,
And honour'd in their issue."
William Shakespeare 'The Tempest' Act 4 Scene 1
The Doctor knew that Rose was sleeping, and that their boy was safe in his nursery, and yet he couldn't help but worry as he held his newborn daughter in his arms.
Something twitched in the back of his mind - a warning or a promise he couldn't be sure - but the timelines twisted, and he knew that this tiny creature was the reason. Whatever else she was, her arrival was important to the universe. He wouldn't really have expected anything else.
She squirmed in his arms, all pink and wrinkled like a sunburnt raisin, and he couldn't pretend that she was beautiful; that was a human skill that he'd yet to completely master. Her round face twisted as she grimaced, and her tufts of bright red hair shone sickly green in the TARDIS's light.
He wondered, vaguely, if her hair was once a promise for a future incarnation of his own (now his own, but the thought didn't hurt like it once did), or if it was a relic of good-old dead-old Pete Tyler sent to taunt him. Her eyes were newborn blue, but he knew with a certainty he couldn't explain that one day they would be wide, brown and shining; Rose's eyes. Not the eyes of one of his previous selves, like Rigel's too-blue ones, but eyes to which he would never be able to refuse a thing. He would destroy the universe for her eyes.
He wondered if somewhere, somewhen, he already had.
"What's your name then?" he asked, shrugging off his contemplative mood and returning to the matter at hand. He was faintly surprised when she didn't answer him.
He could feel her presence in his mind, unsteady and tentative, but certainly there, and he didn't know why he expected to know her already, but he did. He placed her gently into the cot the TARDIS had provided (not, he observed, the same one that Rigel had once slept in. He didn't know whether to be pleased or disturbed at his ship's willingness to provide nursery equipment. Maybe she was getting broody in her old age), taking a step back in the hope that distance would help him gain some perspective on the situation. Tilting his head to one side he decided that maybe she could be a Venranthe from this angle, mind you, this angle was likely to give him serious neck problems if he kept it up for the rest of his life. Anyway, if he tilted his head the other way she looked more like a Sarah.
He was so deep in his deliberations that he barely noticed when another small figure joined him, mirroring his posture and squinting their own eyes to match.
"I 'fink we should call her baby Rigel," sniffed his son, as haughtily as a three year old (in Earth linear time, anyway) could manage. The Doctor considered for a moment before shaking his head. It would be easier, he supposed, but Rose was likely to view it as a cop-out, and it was bound to cause trouble when they got a little older.
"Why's that then?" he asked, more to stall the inevitable decision than out of any real hope for help from a child who had only just learnt to use the bathroom like a humanoid rather than a cat.
"Well," said Rigel, taking a step closer to the cot and narrowing his eyes in concentration, "she's just like me. Just redder and more littler."
The Doctor couldn't resist a proud grin at Rigel's reasoning. He couldn't quite dress himself yet, but his boy had got logical deduction down pat. Mind you, it wouldn't be like him to let the lad go completely unchallenged.
"Wellll…" he drawled, "sort of, yeah, but there's one massive difference between you."
Rigel looked at his sister more closely; she grimaced at him in return.
"She's got orange hair," he stated with something like distaste.
The Doctor's grin widened and he ruffled Rigel's own blond locks, "Well, yes, that's different. Two major differences then; one of which makes her very, very different indeed." He wriggled his eyebrows in a manner that he rather hoped would go over his son's head. It didn't.
"Oooh," Rigel whispered, his voice somewhere between awe and horror, "she's a girl. Like Mummy."
"Not exactly like Mummy," corrected the Doctor, "she's Gallifreyan, mostly, like you, not all human like Mummy is."
Even as he spoke the Doctor felt a twinge of the old pain that had remained mostly buried since the amazing, and somewhat traumatic, day that Rigel had been born; the pain that came from the knowledge of what it meant to be the only one, the unshakable feeling of guilt at his own failure as a father. He couldn't even be human properly. He still had to pass on his own old curse, and damn them both to an eternity.
He wasn't sure if Rigel had had the same thought, or if something of his own mind had touched the boy, but he turned from the cot and eyed the Doctor with a mixture of concern and whatever passed for a toddler's version of pity.
"So she's all new then? Brand new?"
"Yup!" He popped the 'p', trying to shake off his morbid train of thought on what should be up there as one of the happiest days of his long life, "Brand new baby for a brave new world!"
He froze. He didn't know why he hadn't thought of it before. Shakespeare was brilliant wasn't he? Even that slightly creepy flirting thing hadn't taken away from his skill with words, and if the greatest writer humankind had ever produced couldn't be trusted to come up with a name then who could? A little girl who grew up surrounded by strange creatures with her otherworldly, even stranger, father. A little girl who got a happy ending against almost impossible, distinctly improbable, odds.
"Rigel," he said, lifting the baby from the cot and feeling inordinately proud of himself, "I want you to meet your sister; Miranda."
I orginally wrote this in present tense, but changed it after realising how much of my DW stuff is in that form. Do you think it would read better in the original tense? Review and let me know!