The Room

The Room has a window to a lost world, and a skylight to eternity. It has an enormous comfy settee and all the cushions anyone could ever want. There is a library, a kitchen, a flight of stairs, a ladder from no where to no where, and at least twelve separate living spaces attached. Most days, it seems that half the clutter in the known Universe is also crammed into this Room, which is shockingly small for the nature of the TARDIS that contains it. The Console Room is just down the hall and to the left, but lately, there's adventure enough to be had inside the vast ship, inside this Room.

When the Room first appeared, the Doctor stared at it in horror and ordered his ship to put it away again. He didn't want comfy furniture, he didn't want an open plan, easy access kitchen. He didn't want coral support struts weaving themselves into bookcases and shadowboxes and shelves covered with bric-a-brac. He never asked for a purple teddy bear on the kitchen counter, actual wallpaper on flat surfaces, or things that he was terrified were probably carpets on the floors. He most emphatically did not want a window to a yesterday he could never return to, thanks awfully. Who needed to know about that?

Then, Rose had whispered their very best secret in his over-sized ear, and suddenly there was an answer. There was someone who would need comfy furniture and cushions and interesting things to look at and all that, someone who might want a purple teddy bear or a carpet. There was someone who might need to know where yesterday came from, so tomorrow could be built from the good bits. There was someone new coming into their lives, and they had made her, all by themselves.

Miracles happen. He believes that, now.

His historical ruminations are cut short by an absolute cacophony as his children come tumbling in, their mother questioning to no avail in their wake. There are an awful lot of juvenile Gallifreyans on this ship, and they have all the energy that their antecedents tried to breed out of the entire species. Rose, lone voice of reason that she is, doesn't stand a chance.

The Doctor gets one look at them and falls back onto the settee, laughing. They're so impossible and so beautiful and so fantastic, and he loves them so much, it feels like his whole dimensionally transcendental ship isn't big enough to hold the emotion.

"Happy Father's Day!" they tell him, quite proudly, in chorus.

He looks over his shoulder at Rose who is trying very hard not to laugh at her very own wild alien horde. "S'it Father's Day, then?"

"Dunno," she says with a shrug. "You lot are the Time Lords; I'm just a hitch-hiker."

The Doctor grins at her, a little suggestion in it. Her tongue peeks out of the edge of her smile, her own suggestion, still the same as it was uncounted years ago. "Come for the chips, stay for the football team?"

"Haven't quite got a football team, yet," she says, and hoists the youngest onto her hip.

The Doctor allows his mind to wander for a microsecond or so over how beautiful she looks with her belly large with their newest child, the glow she gets as she grows round and full and... likely to threaten him with death if he even suggests it for another year or so. Still, he thinks the next one will be a girl.

The tiny boy makes impatient grabby gestures, and the Doctor takes him from Rose, studying him in absolute fascination, almost unable to believe he's real, for all that he's been here for nearly two years, linear time. He's dark haired and freckled, and with something that looks like his mother's eyes. At the moment, his elder siblings have dressed him in a tiny suit. They seem quite proud about that. The baby is babbling so fast it's impossible for even the Doctor to tell if he's actually talking some alien language or he's just making sounds because he likes his own voice.

Rose says this one really takes after him.

At the moment, they're all taking after him, and his eyes are stinging, his chest full of so much joy it's nearly painful. His oldest, his jet-haired daughter, who is dressed very like his first incarnation and looks like her mother in miniature, hands him a large, unwieldy book. His first-born son hands him a small box with the insistence that he open it first and see what they've come up with.

It practically explodes when it's opened, which Rose says just goes to prove that the fruit never did fall far from that particular tree. He grins like the lunatic he is, and pulls his sonic screwdriver from the chaos. They must have found it (or possibly they're returning it) but he'll never mention he's already built another one. The baby steals the screwdriver, anyway, but his second daughter does something with another sonic screwdriver, right before she drops it on the floor, and suddenly all the baby has in hand is a very noisy flashlight.

Apparently, his children are very, very clever when they put their minds together. The fact that he's just realized, that the box is bigger on the inside, is just proof of that. The fact that he has to wrestle the oversized coffee mug out of the small opening is proof that they still need him to teach them something.

He's got a new favorite mug, he supposes, since this one says "We love Dad" with a giant red heart to show how much love. He opens his arms and they hug him one by one, telling him in their piping voices, softly, dearly, that they love him ever so much.

Then, with the baby on his lap acting as conductor, they sing him a song he can't imagine how they learned. His oldest son plays pipe for them, and his clever little gadget genius plays an entire orchestra recorded on that second sonic screwdriver. The Doctor doesn't ask about the opera cape or what he's done to his hair this time, just admires his son's brilliance. Rose dashes tears from her eyes and leans over to brush one from his cheek. "What does it mean?" she whispers.

"It's a Gallifreyan children's song," he whispers back. "Where..."

Rose points at the ceiling and he wonders why he ever worried that these kids might lack something in their education. Everyone they know teaches them something, even if it's their Uncle Mickey, even if it's how not to escape from the aliens (running is good, screaming not so much). The TARDIS is teaching them the things about their past that he cannot.

"Open the book, Daddy," his next youngest son insists. The duplicate coat-of-many-colors clashes even more with this child's ginger hair than it did with the Doctor's own golden-curled riot, when he wore the original.

The kids pile onto the settee and the cushions, surround him in warmth, laughter, love, and domesticity. Rose leans over his shoulder, wrapping her soft arms around him, and he doesn't think he'll ever be able to thank her enough.

He has a wife, a mother-in-law, and nine half-wild children. He has a TARDIS who teaches them music and helps them play fantastic dress-up games. They're wearing aspect of his past in ways that match their present personalities, all except the baby, but his children see time, and can see the future, so he doesn't mind. He's the last of the Time Lords of Gallifrey, but not the Last at all, because he's in a room crowded full of the loving, laughing, shining, smiling heirs to eternity.

He has nothing he would have asked for, nothing he expected, nothing he would have ever dared imagine. He also has everything he ever wanted.