Happy Christmas! I hereby produce this year's Christmas oneshot! Please enjoy and remember to watch "The Next Doctor," either tonight in Britain or on Youtube tomorrow!
Summary: The Doctor takes a special visit to the very first Christmas. Set between "The Runaway Bride" and "Smith & Jones."
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who. If I did, David Tennant would be the Doctor 'till the day I die. Actually, in my mind, he still will.
"Long story. I should know, I was there. I got the last room."
"Voyage of the Damned"
Doctor Who (2005)
"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes,
and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
On a small hillside, in the twilight of the setting sun, a grinding noise could be heard, a light on top flashing in tune to the grinding as a blue something flickered in and out of existence, only to finally resolve into a large blue box. It stood there for a minute, quiet, unassuming.
Until a door creaked open and a head of dark brown hair popped out. Satisfied that no one had seen his arrival (and even if they had, the perception filter would've made it no big deal), he locked his box and started walking to the nearby city.
In the city, wares were being sold. Voices shouted over each other, trying to get people to buy their goods. The Doctor wandered in and out of the primitive market, sampling fruits and wishing there were bananas. He loved bananas. His face fell as he remembered that Rose liked bananas too. He had come to this primitive place to try to get away from her memory and here he was, thinking about her. He had gladly dropped Donna back at her place after another round of "I am not a Martian!"
"Excuse me," murmured a young man as he bumped into the Doctor. He was leading a donkey, upon which was a very young woman, barely out of her teenage years, if that, so pregnant that she looked ready to deliver at any moment.
"No problem," said the Doctor cheerfully. He fell into step beside the man. "I was actually heading that way."
The man nodded. "Pleased to meet you. I'm Joseph and this is my…er…wife, Mary." For some reason the man looked uncomfortable saying the world "wife."
"Pleased to meet you too, Joseph and Mary," said the Doctor. "I'm the Doctor. Any reason you're here today of all days? I would think you would want to be close by a midwife." He eyed Mary's swollen stomach.
"Well, perhaps, Doctor, if she delivers tonight, I'll send a messenger to find you. As to why we're here, we're here for the same reason everyone else is."
Joseph looked sideways at him. "Caesar Augustus passed a decree that everyone has to be taxed in their home city instead of where they live. All the way from Nazareth to here, because I'm distantly related to King David." He gestured to the busy street. "Welcome to the city of Bethlehem."
The Doctor stopped short. "Bethlehem?" Now, why did that sound familiar…?
Joseph nodded. "Yes. And I must find a room for tonight. I have a feeling that tonight will be the night." He smiled at Mary, who was practically glowing with happiness, though her face was slightly white. Probably from the pain of riding on a donkey all the way from their settled city.
The Doctor smiled and nodded, looking up at the sky. Indeed, it was getting close to sunset. And he didn't feel like going back to the TARDIS tonight. So with a smile and a whistle, the Doctor bade goodbye to the couple and started searching for a place to sleep for the night.
Finally, he found one. He had walked all over Bethlehem and finally found an inn that had a vacancy. The inn owner was kind, but a little dim. But at least the psychic paper had worked on him.
He left the room and went to his own just as Joseph walked in. Mary peeked from her vantage point on the donkey and watched as her husband negotiated with the inn owner. The small man shook his head back and forth, his hands wildly gesturing toward the exit. Finally, Joseph came back, his head hung low.
"What is it?"
Joseph jerked his head toward the inn owner. "Idiot there just rented out the last room." He sighed. "And there are no vacancies in the other inns. We're stuck out here. I'm sorry."
Mary stroked her stomach. As the child bumped against her hand, she had an idea.
"Joseph, is he sure he doesn't have anywhere we can go for the night?"
He stroked his chin. "What do you mean?"
She shrugged. "I don't know. Can you please just double-check?"
Joseph sighed. "Yeah, I'll check. Stay here."
"Where would I go?" she said in an ironic tone.
Joseph simply grinned and went back in. Ten minutes later, they were being led to a stable behind the inn.
"It's not much," said the innkeeper, his tone apologetic. "I would've offered earlier, but with the woman pregnant, I didn't think it would be appropriate."
Mary waved him off. "It's fine. I'll be all right."
The innkeeper shrugged. "Your call." And he left.
Joseph immediately set to work setting up a bed for Mary. Just as he had finished the last bit, she sucked in a breath.
"I think it's time."
In his room, the Doctor flopped down on his bed. Why did all this sound familiar? Bethlehem, Mary, Joseph…
Then it hit him. The Christmas Story. When Christ was born.
"Of course, of course," he muttered. He should've remembered this key point in time. "I'm thick, I'm so thick, thick, thickity thick!" He paused and grinned. "Nah."
He grabbed his coat off his chair and darted out of the room at top speed.
By the time the Doctor skidded into the stable, Mary's contractions were already less than a minute apart. She was panting heavily and Joseph was nervously waiting for the child to be born.
"Hello, again!" said the Doctor bouncily. He threw his coat to the side and rolled his sleeves up.
"How'd you know we were here?" asked Joseph.
The Doctor shrugged. "The innkeeper told me." He really didn't want the poor man to worry about his real source of information.
"Will you two stop chattering?" said Mary through gritted teeth. "I'm trying to deliver a coconut here!"
"Okay, does it hurt?" asked the Doctor. A second later, he realized what a stupid question that was. Then…
"No, not really. Mostly it's just pressure on my insides."
"Here," said the Doctor. He touched a place on her stomach. Instantly, the pressure went down a few notches.
"How did you do that?" she said, breathing better now.
"Acupuncture of a sort," the Doctor replied. The couple simply looked at each other in amazement.
"Doctor, you have come into our lives on the oddest night," Joseph said.
"Yeah, I tend to do that sort of thing."
The quiet moment was interrupted by a muffled scream from Mary as she underwent another contraction. Evidentially, the pressure release didn't work for very long on her. That baby wanted out right now.
"Spread your legs and push!" ordered the Doctor. "And get me some warm water and a clean towel!" he ordered Joseph.
They each did as they were told.
"I can see the head!" said the Doctor. Joseph scrambled back with the necessary items, although the blanket he had found was not entirely clean. Oh, well, work with what you've got, the Doctor always said.
As the baby boy slipped neatly into the Doctor's hands, he inhaled deeply and coughed. Not a scream was heard from the child. Instead, as soon as he was done coughing, he looked around, his eyes landing on the Doctor. Instantly, the child smiled.
"Well, hello," said the Doctor, cleaning the blood off the boy with the blanket while instructing Joseph to help Mary clean herself up as she was breathless, but sill sitting upright.
The child mostly clean, he picked up his coat and wrapped him snugly in it. The boy cooed at the feel of the strange material in his little hands.
"Mary," whispered Joseph, "he's all right."
Mary leaned forward, now covered again, and took the child, still in the Doctor's coat. "Hello, Jesus."
Jesus gurgled happily at his mother before reaching out and touching her face gently. She smiled and kissed her baby on his forehead.
"Thank you, Doctor," she said.
"No problem," he said, stroking the child's head. "I know what being a parent's all about."
Joseph started. "You're a father?"
"Was. They're all dead now, along with their own children. They died in a war."
"I'm sorry," whispered Mary.
The Doctor shook his head. "Don't be. It wasn't your fault. And it was years ago."
Joseph looked at the Doctor suspiciously. "You can't be more than thirty years old, yet you claim to have had grandchildren old enough to fight."
The Doctor smiled. "Trust me, if I told you, you wouldn't believe me."
But Joseph wasn't one to let the subject drop. "Try me."
The silence that fell was almost as pregnant as Mary had been. Then the Doctor jumped up before Joseph could react.
And without another word, he darted out, still leaving Jesus wrapped in his coat.
He rushed around the TARDIS, frantically pushing buttons and pulling knobs. Just as he was about to take off, he heard the door creak open.
"On the inside, yeah, I know, common reaction." He really wasn't in the mood to deal with the young man. "Look, you really need to be with Mary for this part."
"I guess saying 'just 'cause' wouldn't get anywhere with you, would it?"
Silence for a moment.
The Doctor raised an eyebrow. "So?"
"What was that about a star?"
"Er…just a bit of history that needs to be played out."
"When you said 'Time Lord'…"
The Doctor stopped fiddling with the TARDIS controls and turned to face the young man.
"I really meant it, Joseph. I'm the only one left to watch the timeline, make sure what needs to happen happens, what doesn't need to happen doesn't happen, what can never happen, what will happen." He pointed to the door. "And what needs to happen right now is that you need to get back to your wife for time to go how it should. Not to mention the shepherds heading your way now, thanks to a tip-off. Now, off you go." He shepherded the man out. "Go raise the greatest doctor the world will ever know. And considering I'm the one saying that, it's quite a blow to my own ego, but I'll recover."
He pushed the young man out and shut the doors, pulling another knob that would cause the TARDIS to dematerialize and rematerialize just where he wanted her to, leaving Joseph wide-eyed at the box disappearing before his eyes. Another few button pressed caused the light on top to go to about 300% its normal brilliance.
The bright light on the top flickered in and out for the next couple of weeks, just like a star gone supernova, attracting the attention of the magi, who had been traveling for a while. As the TARDIS floated back to where the young family was, the magi immediately took the bait and began following the light.
The Doctor took the opportunity to fix a few things while he was there, occasionally checking that the light still worked. It was the most he had ever spent in one timeline, barring his third incarnation's exile on Earth during the 1970s. Or was it the 1980s? He never could remember.
When he saw the magi heading a different way, he knew it was safe to put the TARDIS down. He materialized as close to where he had set down the previous time, sometime during the night, and, stepping out, came face to face with Joseph. Behind him was Mary, cradling the child.
"Everything all right, then?" said the Doctor, knowing the answer full well.
"Yes," said Joseph. He handed the Doctor's coat to him, which had carefully been cleaned of any and all afterbirth material. "Thank you. We don't know what might have happened if you hadn't been there."
"Oh, everything would've worked out just fine. Where are you going now?"
"An angel of God told me to flee tonight to Egypt. Herod is furious. He thinks that he needs to kill Jesus while he's still a child to keep his throne safe."
"Now, where have I heard that one before?" muttered the Doctor, pulling on his coat. "Well, in you go."
"What do you mean?" asked Mary.
"Well, judging by those guards over there" – the Doctor indicated two men rushing toward them with very lethal weapons – "I'd say they already got their orders and are coming to kill you. Come on, in you go."
The four of them quickly got in the TARDIS and the doors locked. The guards yelled and battered at the door and Mary reflexively drew her baby closer. The Doctor began setting the coordinates for a hop to Egypt.
"It's all right, not even Genghis Khan's army could get through those doors and believe me, they tried. So…Egypt! Land of the pharaohs, part human gods, and bananas! Love bananas. Mind you, don't make Anubus mad. How was I supposed to know an alien who happened to look part dog crashed there years ago and worshipped by the primitives?"
The central column stopped moving. Carefully, as though not believing it, Joseph stepped outside, where it had turned to day. He could hear an Egyptian woman calling for his child, who ran past, dressed in an Egyptian toga. Merchants were setting out their wares, getting ready for a busy day. Mary came out as well, clutching Jesus, as though she could hardly believe the sight. Lastly, the Doctor came out, shutting, but not locking the TARDIS doors and leaning against them.
"You'll be safe here; Herod won't dare invade Egypt to get to you."
Jesus began to fuss, drawing Mary's attention.
"He only cries a little when he's hungry, otherwise, he's perfectly silent," said Joseph, amazed at the little child. "Were yours like that?"
"Yeah," he murmured, stroking the child's head. The child looked back at him with dark eyes, paradoxically as old as his, and suddenly grasped his finger.
Do not worry.
The Doctor started. "Excuse me?"
You are not alone. Fear not. She will return.
"Let me guess, he's talking to you?" asked Mary, smiling.
"Yeah, how is he doing that?"
Mary shrugged. "I don't know. He did that with me in the womb."
"Hm. I'll let you three get going. You have a life to live, things to do."
He waved at the three as they left, the bag containing the gold, frankincense and myrrh on Joseph's back. Jesus peeked over his mother's shoulder and waved good-bye. The Doctor waved back, shook his head, and, grinning, went back into the TARDIS, where it flickered in and out of existence, going on to the next adventure.
This oneshot has been sitting on my hard drive for exactly one year. I began it last Christmas, but didn't have enough time to post it. So, over time, I edited it, put in more info, took some stuff away and here's the final result. If you liked it, please press the little button down below to submit a review. If you didn't, well, flame away. I've got a little lizard that needs to stay warm.
A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!