Author's Note: Sylvester McCoy, AKA the Seventh Doctor, played a butler named Crud on Sky TV's Ghoul-Lashed series. The memories that Susan and David will be referencing are from The Dalek Invasion of Earth, it was Susan's last televised story with the Doctor until The Five Doctors.
On a private note, I'm back but I've also been seriously ill and am having a bit of trouble recovering as quickly as I'd like so chapters and stories will be updated but will come out a bit slower than normal. I hope that you will consider them worth the wait.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in relation to Dr. Who or Sky TV's Ghoul-Lashed.
Susan is lying in her hospital bed, gazing lovingly at her two newborns while David sleeps peacefully in an armchair in the corner. She starts when she hears the sounds of eleven TARDIS engines and smiles softly in excitement as she informs the twins, "Get ready, you two, you're about to meet your great-grandfather."
The door soon flies open to the sight of all of the Doctor's filing in one by one as the Eleventh Doctor, being last in line, assures the harried nurse, "No, honestly, it's fine. I'm a Doctor. More importantly, I'm her Doctor," he insists as he gestures towards Susan before slamming the door in the nurse's face.
The First Doctor immediately heads towards Susan and the bassinettes and before she even has a chance to ask, he waves a hand dismissively and states, "The children are fine, there's no need to worry, my dear, none at all. They're being watched by a friend of my later selves." He mutters too low for her to hear, "And it serves him right too, the cretin!"
Several coos of excitement at the sight of the twins are heard along with various loving murmurs of 'Susan, my precious child' and 'our dear girl'. The First Doctor stands tall as both hands clutch his walking stick in front of him and he stares at Susan smugly while asking, "Is there something that you'd like to tell us, Susan? Perhaps, there's something that you might have been keeping from us, hmmm?"
Susan's expression is sheepish as she exclaims, "I had twins again, Grandfather! Isn't it marvelous?" She ends her question on a hopeful note.
The Fifth Doctor replies sarcastically, "Oh, yes, just brilliant in fact!" He shoves his hands deep inside his pockets as he gives her a wry look. "And is there any particular reason that you failed to mention this little bombshell?"
Susan's tone is apologetic as she twists her hospital blanket fretfully and explains, "Well, Grandfather, actually there are several reasons. One is that you've been around for so many of our children's births that I wanted to surprise you and another is that we wanted it to be a surprise for the children as well and I was afraid that they would work the secret out of you. You know how they are, after all."
The Ninth Doctor stands with his arms crossed over his chest as he rolls his eyes and mutters under his breath, "Do we ever."
"Anything else?" demands the Sixth Doctor with a knowing smirk aimed specifically at his granddaughter.
"Oh, alright, Grandfather!" huffs Susan. "The main reason that I didn't tell you is because I still wanted you to continue visiting us." She mock glares at him accusingly. "You never did fully recover from finding out that I was expecting twins the last time."
"Yes…well…that's true Susan," admits the Second Doctor, "but having, shall we say, experienced life with your previous children?" At everyone's nod of agreement, the Second Doctor adds, "Well, in saying that my dear girl, you can hardly blame us."
The Third Doctor chimes in, "Besides Susan, it was hardly necessary. You had to know that we would check into the timelines once we knew that you were expecting, just as we have with all of your other children." He walks over and tweaks her nose playfully. "Now don't you feel silly?"
Properly chided, Susan laughs and relents, "Yes, alright, Grandfather, perhaps it was a bit silly of me to keep it from you. But still," she stares at him lovingly, at all versions of him, "I would miss you so much if you didn't come and see me as often as you do now."
The Eighth Doctor bends down and places a kiss on top of her head. "Now that, my dear Susan, is a concern that you need never have."
Susan's eyes are shining brightly with unshed tears as she sniffs, "Thank you, Grandfather, you're always such a comfort to me." She accepts his proffered handkerchief and blows her nose. "Oh, these wretched hormones are just awful! I can't wait until these bloody things are gone!"
"Susan Campbell!" cries the Seventh Doctor. "You mind your language, young lady! I hear enough of that from Ace! Regardless of the situation, there's no need for that type of talk!" He nudges the Ninth Doctor in his side. "Don't you agree?"
The Ninth Doctor startles abruptly from staring at the newest members of his family. "What? Oh, yeah, absolutely. There's no need for that…Ow! Bloody hell!" He spins around and turns on the First Doctor. "Do you mind? Watch it with that thing!"
The First Doctor hastily makes his apologies while he shifts the tip of his cane that's he's been holding in the crook of his arm away from the Ninth Doctor's nether regions. "Oh, I'm sorry, my dear boy. I'm just trying to find my welcoming presents for the children."
He continues to dig into his pockets as he remarks, "My Third and Eighth selves are right though Susan, there never was a need to conceal it from us and there was a never a chance that you would be able to either! Why the day that I found out that you were expecting again, I immediately looked into your child's timelines and was ever so surprised, and yes, even joyful, to find two stunningly bright timelines traveling far out into the future." He releases a hearty chuckle when he declares, "I dare to say that they were so bright that they could have burnt out a sun! Ah, yes! Here they are!"
The First Doctor walks over and gently eases himself down onto the bed and picks up Susan's hand. "Now my dear, before we give you our meager offerings for today's blessed event, how are you feeling?"
Susan smiles grandly and proclaims, "I'm fine, Grandfather, honestly." She turns her gaze onto her children before returning it to the Doctor. "I'm just wonderful in fact!"
He lightly squeezes her hand and enthuses, "And well you should be, my girl!" He peers down at the children and congratulates, "It's an excellent job that you've done here, Susan! Absolutely splendid!"
Wearing a self-satisfied grin, he then hands her something that feels like lumps, both large and small, wrapped up in tissue paper. He taps the gift before stating, "It's a brand new pair of running shoes to replace the ones that were ruined during the Dalek invasion of Earth. Now, I know that I may be a bit late in getting them to you but I know that you'll appreciate them even more now that you have so many Time Tots to run after, and I've included a pair for the little ones as well!"
"Thank you, Grandfather," replies Susan sweetly with a slight twinkle of mischief in her eye. "I knew you'd remember about them eventually." With the barest 'Harumph', swiftly followed by a soft chuckle at her teasing, the Doctor leans forward and graciously accepts a kiss on the cheek from his grandaughter.
The Second Doctor rapidly moves to stand alongside the First Doctor and offers him a hand up off the bed. The First Doctor shoos him away berating, "I'm not an invalid, young man! I'm perfectly able to stand on my own!"
The Second Doctor retorts angrily, "I know that, you young upstart! I'm just trying to hurry you along, you're in my way!" He takes his turn to sit down on Susan's bed and clasping his hands in front of him mentions, "I also saw those same shining timelines and I instantly thought of something that every child needs." First, he hands her a small bow tie and a tiny bow tie headband.
"Oh, Grandfather," murmurs Susan zealously, "I love them!" Susan has to bite her lip to keep from laughing when the Eleventh Doctor makes a disgruntled noise and starts digging through his pockets for another gift. She smiles widely at the Second Doctor and darts a loving glance at the Eleventh as she adds, "Bow ties have always been my favorite!" The Tenth and Seventh Doctors clear their throats rather loudly and Susan looks abashed and notes, "Sorry, Grandfather. Neck ties are lovely too."
The Second Doctor then announces, "I also brought you these, I had them especially made for the children," and holds out a pair of recorders.
Not wanting to seem unappreciative, Susan offers a tight smile as she accepts them and utters, "Um..well..yes, thank you, Grandfather. That was very thoughtless…I mean thoughtful of you." Not noticing her slip of the tongue, he pats her cheek fondly and cheerfully makes room for the next Doctor.
The Third Doctor strides over and hands her two boxes, one large and one small. Always the gentleman, he opens the larger box for her first to which he remarks, "Transdimensional diapers!" He and Susan both share a laugh as they simultaneously declare, "Bigger on the inside!"
While the others share fond memories of their discovery of the diapers for when Susan had needed them, the Third Doctor discreetly places the smaller box into her hand and covers it with her own as he comments, "I had these especially made as well." While bending down to kiss her cheek, he whispers in a conspiratorial tone, "They're hand crafted ear plugs. I believe that you and David will find these quite useful."
He leaves her with a sly wink before the next Doctor takes his place. Much more sincerely, Susan enthuses, "Oh, thank you, Grandfather! We'll make sure to keep these handy!"
The Fourth Doctor approaches and leans over to kiss both of Susan's cheeks before he plops himself down onto the bed. Smiling grandly, he reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a rumpled white bag and politely inquires, "Jelly baby?" Susan shakes her head in the negative and the Doctor pops a few into his mouth and thoroughly chews them before asking, "Now my dear, is there anything that I can get for you?"
Susan responds kindly, "No, thank you, Grandfather, I'm fine."
The Doctor nods and says, "Well, alright then…" he searches through his inside coat pockets until he finds his prize, "now, then what do you think of these?" And he whips out a pair of TARDIS blue matching onesies that read 'I LOVE JELLY BABIES' across their fronts as well as a matching pair of K-9 shaped booties.
"Oh, Grandfather! They're adorable and just perfect for the twins!" gushes Susan.
The Doctor readily agrees, "Yes, they are rather marvelous, aren't they? And speaking of the twins, I have something else to give you. I picked it up on the way here." He reaches behind him and picks up a shopping bag off the floor and hands it to her.
She peers down into the bag excitedly and then looks back up again, her brows furrowed in confusion. "Grandfather, don't you think that the babies are a little too young to play with yarn?"
His tone loses a bit of its joviality as he declares ardently, "It's not for these twins, it's for the other two. They owe me a new scarf!" With a huff of indignation, he jumps off the bed while Susan takes another peek into the bag and silently muses, Maroon? Really?
The Fifth Doctor beams at Susan before reaching into his pockets and pulling out two cricket balls. He tosses them into the air and she catches them with practiced ease. Susan asks teasingly, "Two more to add to the collection, Grandfather?"
His expression is sheepish as he sticks his hands deep into his pockets and admits, "Yes, but this way I have to come back and teach them how to play."
Susan grins fondly at the Doctor and divulges, "I know, and that's what makes all of the broken glass worth it."
The Sixth Doctor approaches and gives the Fifth a slight shove that knocks his hat askew when he decides that he's not moving fast enough. He is carrying two quilts over his arm, both in the exact same pattern as his coat. "To match the vibrancy of their timelines, Susan," he declares wholeheartedly and then leans down to pull her head forward so that he can place a kiss on her forehead.
The Fifth Doctor mutters behind them, "Those must be some timelines. Poor Susan, no chance of them getting to sleep now, not with Joseph's technicolor dreamcoat staring them in the face."
Six glowers at Five while Susan grabs his hand in a loving squeeze and soothes in a grateful tone, "Thank you, Grandfather, they're lovely and I'm sure that they'll inspire the children to be as full of life as you are." With a quick cradling of her cheek and a last sneer towards Five, Six makes way for Seven.
The Seventh Doctor immediately pulls out a book from his coat pocket and delivers it to Susan. He taps the cover and suggests, "It's best that you read it while you're here, before you have no chance at home." Susan looks down at the tome to find it is a book on hypnotism. "After today, I realized that I should have given it to you several Time Tots ago."
Susan begins to flip through it eagerly as she breathes, "Finally!" Her eyes are alight with the anticipation of future plotting as she remarks, "This is just what we need, Grandfather, I will definitely put this to good use! If only so that I can have enough free time to watch the old Ghoul-Lashed re-runs on Atmosphere Televid!" She reaches up to give him a hug and laughs, "Honestly, thank you so much!"
The Eighth Doctor strolls over and casually drops down onto the bed next to Susan and declares, "I present you with these," as he hands her two tiny Doctor kits. He holds up a hand to prevent any protests and states, "Yes, before you even say anything, I know that they're too young for them now but they'll grow into them. Besides, everyone should have a chance to play the doctor at least once in their life."
Susan giggles at his joke and heartily embraces him. "They're wonderful, Grandfather, thank you."
The Ninth Doctor appears and gently sits beside his granddaughter. "Are you doing alright, love?" He tucks her blanket in around her and plumps up her pillow. "Anything you need besides an extra set of hands?" he asks cheekily.
Susan laughs aloud until she glances at her children and ruefully admits, "Yes, I might need those soon, actually." Her smile widens again as she notices the Doctor smoothing out her bedcovers and she places her small hand on his large one and promises, "I'm fine, Grandfather, there's no need to fuss so."
She leans back against her pillows and considers, "You know, all of you here reminds me of when Barbara met the Aztecs." At his quizzical glance, she expounds, "With all of these lovely offerings, I feel like a goddess being worshipped."
He chuckles softly, "Well after today's, excuse the pun, labors, you most definitely deserve it." He hands her a bunch of books, all bound together in rough twine, and decrees, "And as one of your most loyal subjects, allow me to present you with this."
Susan turns the collection of books to face her and reads the various titles of author Charles Dickens. She looks at her grandfather shrewdly and he grins in response, "Yeah, they're for all of those nights that you and David will be walking the wee ones up and down the halls trying to put them back to sleep. Babies love to hear the sounds of the voice that they love the most."
Susan smiles softly at a far off memory. "Yes, I remember you doing that with me. Even as much as I loved Dickens, I never could make it past too many chapters. Thank you, Grandfather," she whispers as she reaches out to hug him and kiss his cheek. "I'll treasure these as much as I treasure you," she nods to the twins, "and so will they."
He pulls back from her embrace with his usual manic grin and stands up with more than a hint of pride as he puffs out his chest. As he passes Ten, he taunts, "Top that!" Ten gives a snort of derision and scoffs, "In my sleep!"
Nine smirks just a little too knowingly and inquires smugly, "Yeah? That's probably how you'll start out your regeneration and all." When Ten stares at him agape, Nine shoves him towards Susan and urges, "Well, go on then! Don't keep our girl waiting! Although, you're pretty good at that, aren't you?"
The Tenth Doctor shoots a glare at Nine before he sits down on Susan's bed and while he pats her hand, he calmly consoles her, "Don't worry, Susan, the bad man's gone now." He gives a little bounce on the bed and then a few more until he realizes Susan's not looking all that well. "Susan, are you alright?"
He whips out his brainy specs as he studies her. "Hmmm, I bet it's the hospital food, just one more reason to hate hospitals." His gaze darts around the room as he asks in an anxious tone, "You haven't seen any cat nuns around here have you?"
Susan gives him an odd look and assures, "No, Grandfather, I haven't but I'll be sure to keep an eye out."
He nods and praises, "Good girl, you do that!" He digs in his outer coat pocket and boasts, "And now for the best gift of all!" Ignoring his other selves various eye rolls, scoffs or other assorted forms of disbelief, he pronounces, "A year supply of Spitumup baby food straight from Villengard!"
He becomes a little sad as he tells her, "The first month is pears but you can ring them up and tell them that you want to exchange that particular month's offering."
Susan grimaces in distaste. "Pears? Oh, that's disgusting! Thank you for the warning, Grandfather, and for the lovely gift." His only response is a pointed stare. With an apologetic glance towards his other selves, she amends, "I mean, thank you for the best gift."
Ten proudly struts away just in time to hear Nine mutter in passing, "Jerk." Seeing Susan's reprimanding gaze, Nine throws his arms out to his sides in a helpless gesture and asks, "What? I was just discussing the TARDIS dematerialization sequence with my prior self here," as he indicates an agreeing Eight, "and noting how it seems lately with each regeneration process that it seems to come out with a bit of a jerk."
Susan shakes her head in surrender while Ten opens his mouth to fire off a retort. Nine holds up his hands and instantly expresses regret. "Sorry, mate. That was very petty of me but then you remember how I was. I apologize," he states as he pats him on the back.
As Ten nods in acceptance and makes his way to the other side of the room, the other Doctors try their best to avoid Susan's chastising glare and hold in their snickers of amusement at the post it that Nine stuck on Ten's back that reads 'Pear Lover'.
The Eleventh Doctor walks past Nine and whispers, "I approve," before he sits down next to Susan and he sighs in frustration. "Well, I had a lovely pair of bow ties for the little ones," with a slightly heated gaze at Two, "but never, ever, let it be said that I'm repetitive. Fortunately, I also brought these," and he pulls out two knitted wool baby-sized red fezzes.
Susan squeals in pure delight. "Oh, Grandfather, I absolutely adore them!" She looks at the top of his head and recalls, "They match yours perfectly and they remind me of the first trip that we took on Earth."
He nods his head and the smile he wears is one of fond remembrance. "Yes, we went to Egypt and you wouldn't quit pestering me until I bought each of us a fez so that we would fit in with the locals. I've treasured that memory of our time together and every one after that along with the one who shared them with me ever since." He taps his own fez and quizzes, "See? This way you're always with me." He leans down and kisses her head, "Just as I always will be here for you whenever you need me."
Susan replies genuinely, "Just as you always are, Grandfather." She suddenly drags him down towards her and hugs him fiercely and sniffs, "Thank you for coming today, Grandfather. It's meant everything to me."
The Doctor withdraws enough to remove his handkerchief from his pocket and dry her tears and soothe, "Of course I'd especially want to be here today of all days, Susan." He smoothes her hair away from her face as he reminds her, "I've already told you earlier that there was no place that I'd rather be than at your side and I meant every word."
Susan and Eleven, their hands clasped tightly together, are so caught up in each other's devoted gazes that it takes Ten clapping his hands together to break into their reverie as he broadcasts, "Alright, that's enough of that, you two!" He nods his head to indicate a few of the other Doctors dabbing at their eyes with their own handkerchiefs. "Otherwise we won't have a dry eye in the house. Besides, we have to start the naming part of our visit and I vote for Alonzo!"
The Fourth Doctor clears his throat along with the final vestiges of sentimentality at the previous scene and poses, "I like Fred."
"No!" refuses a petulant Ten. "Alonzo's a much better name for a boy than Fred!"
The Fourth Doctor stares back at him in confusion before pointing to the baby girl in the bassinette. "I meant for her."
"Oh," deflates Ten. "Well, that's alright then."
"Fred?" questions the Third Doctor in distaste. "How unfitting for one of my progeny. I'm sure that you've all seen as I have that she'll have a great gift for the second sight," as he strokes the baby's cheek. "What do you think of Cassandra?"
"No!" and "Are you out of your mind?" rage the Tenth and Ninth Doctors as Ten rolls the bassinette away from Three and growls, 'Give her back to me!"
Three recoils at their vehement reactions and rebukes, "No need to be so rude! It was just a suggestion." He pulls on the hem of his jacket to straighten it and then tugs on his cuffs as he poses, "I had also considered…"
"No!" interrupts Nine hotly. No second chances! One suggestion is all that you're allowed, you know the rules!"
Ten nudges Nine in his side and moans, "No second chances is my line."
Nine rolls his eyes and replies, "Don't worry, mate, you'll get around to it."
The Second Doctor snorts in derision at Three as he passes him. "Chose Cassandra, did you, after the seer? Well, you didn't see that reaction coming, did you?"
The Third Doctor rounds on him and hisses, "I don't know which is smaller, the size of your body or the size of your mind!"
The Second Doctor glowers and spits, "Oh, please! You wish you were me!"
"You imbecile!" retorts the Third Doctor. "I was you!"
The Second Doctor returns, "Which only proves that newer isn't always better!"
When Susan begins to rub her temples with a frustrated sigh, Eleven decides to intervene. "Gentlemen, please!" begs the Eleventh Doctor. He looks pointedly at the Second Doctor and poses, "I believe that you have a name to suggest?"
"Why yes I do," remembers the Second Doctor as he pulls out his recorder and readies himself to blow into the mouthpiece. "What do you think of Melody, like a pleasant tune?'
The Eleventh Doctor shakes his head gently and places his hand over the mouthpiece as a wave of sadness radiates from his being. "I'm afraid that particular name won't bring up the best of memories when associated with a baby." He glances over at two of his counterparts and relates, "Besides, you know how humans love nicknames. All too soon they'll be calling her Mel and…"
"Absolutely not!" huffs the Seventh Doctor.
"You've said quite enough!" orders the Sixth Doctor.
He and Seven walk over and adjust the babies' blankets. Six mutters, "I will not have carrot juice memories attached to either of these little ones!" Seven nods his head in full agreement and concurs, "Most definitely not! And no slurs on their impeccable fashion sense either!"
Seven leans in close to Six to whisper, "Which of course means that particular set of Eleven's hat wear will have to go!"
Six whispers back, "Yes, I agree wholeheartedly. I mean truthfully, fezzes? What in Rassilon's name will we be thinking?"
The First Doctor taps his cane on the floor to draw everyone's attention and then offers, "Dorothy's a rather lovely name, like the little girl in those Oz books that Susan used to enjoy so much!"
The Eighth Doctor shakes his head firmly as he runs his fingers over the little ones hair. "We can't, Ace would have our hide." He casts an apologetic glance over at his first self as he had always thought it to be a lovely name, despite Ace's numerous protests, and confides, "You haven't met her temper yet, but believe me, it's not worth incurring it."
The Fifth Doctor suggests, "Well, let's work on the boy's name for a bit, shall we?"
The Tenth Doctor asks, "What? Why? I thought that we had all settled on Alonzo!"
The Fourth Doctor scoffs, "Honestly? That tripe was disregarded the moment that it was mentioned aloud."
The Tenth Doctor squawks in protest while Five reaches under the little boy's chin and tickles it while declaring, "Well, it definitely won't be Jack, will it young man?"
Murmurs of agreement at this statement are heard all around until Susan announces, "Actually, Grandfather, as wonderful as all of your suggestions have been, they're not necessary. David and I have already picked out the children's names."
"Oh really?" questions the Sixth Doctor? "And who said that you could do that?"
The Fourth Doctor bumps his elbow against Six's arm and states, "She's perfectly well within her right to name her own child." He wears a bit of a pout and stares down at the floor as he scuffs the toe of his boot against it. "I suppose."
The Eighth Doctor asks, "So what do we call them, then?'
Susan answers enthusiastically, "Their names are John and Rose. We chose John, after your Earth alias, and Rose, after David's grandmother."
The Eighth Doctor leans over the boy's bassinette and introduces himself. "Hello there, John, I'm your great-grandfather, or at least one version anyway. You're going to do great things one day and I'm going to do everything in my power to assure that you have the chance to do them. I will do whatever it takes to keep you and our family safe." He strokes the baby's head as he vows, "You, your siblings and your mother, you're what will keep me fighting," and then places a kiss on John's head.
The Ninth Doctor moves over to Rose's bassinette and picks up one of her tiny hands between his thumb and forefinger. "Hello, little one. I'm another version of your great-grandfather. When you're older, I'm going to take you on trips in the TARDIS and show you the universe, just as I did with your mother." He aims a manic grin at Susan who returns it wholeheartedly. His gaze returns to Rose and he adds sternly, "Except for planets with pretty boys, we'll skip those."
The Tenth Doctor peeks over Nine's shoulder at the children and applauds, "They're excellent names, Susan, both of them. Thank you for such a lovely honor."
A soft snuffle from behind reminds everyone that David is present, albeit still asleep in the corner. Susan whispers, "We'll have to try and be more quiet, Grandfather. Poor David, he's exhausted from working all night."
The Ninth Doctor spares a quick glance at David before going back to playing with Rose's fingers and remarking sarcastically, "Right, he must be worn out from watching you give birth to twins."
Susan defends, "Grandfather, that's not fair! David's been working the graveyard shift as well as double shifts twice a week for months so that we can have enough money for him to stay at home with me until we're settled into a routine!"
Nine merely grunts in response while Two, who isn't quite satisfied by Susan's explanation, slyly sidles up alongside David while pulling out his recorder to place it next to David's ear. Susan spots him though and scolds, "Grandfather, don't you dare wake David! Besides, you'll scare the babies, they're almost back to sleep!"
Two apologizes, "I am sorry, Susan. I simply thought the children would appreciate a soft lullaby, just as you used to when you were a child."
Four walks over to Two and tuts, "Susan's right, of course. What in Rassilon's name were you thinking?" Then he hisses in a much lower tone, "Be quicker next time! I've seen Ice Warriors that move faster than you!"
He and Two share a grimace before he turns to stare at David in disgust. "Look at him just laying there, a true lout."
"What are you saying, Grandfather?" questions Susan in suspicion. "Nothing much, my dear," replies the Fourth Doctor. "I'm just warning my younger self not to be too loud."
The First Doctor edges closer to the dresser behind David and purposely knocks a vase against David's head, thus startling him awake. David's Scottish brogue fills the room as he exclaims, "Ow! What? What happened? What's going on? Susan, are you and the children alright?"
The First Doctor acts contrite and utters in remorse, "Oh, I am sorry, my boy, but accidents do tend to happen. In regards to your last question concerning Susan and the children, well…you'd know the answer to that if you'd bothered to stay awake! They're all fine," he pulls David out of the chair, "but don't take my word for it." He thrusts David towards Susan and prods him with his cane. "Check on them yourself!"
When David begins stumbling as he's not fully awake yet, the Seventh Doctor hooks his brolly into the crook of David's arm and steers him towards Susan's bed. "Go this way, David. That's right, right next to Susan, where you should have been all along."
The Fifth and Eighth Doctors are busying themselves at Susan's bedside, seeing to her comfort by straightening her covers and fluffing her pillows. Five doesn't so much as glance at David as he greets, "David, how kind of you to finally join us." He smoothes the covers and tucks in the corners of the blanket. "I'm sorry but there's only room enough for one in here."
David rubs at his eyes in attempt to clear the sleep from his mind while the Eighth Doctor remarks, "Yes, we've missed your animated presence. It's so kind of you to make a conscious effort to visit with us." David watches them continue to fuss over Susan as he muses that he always thought that these two were the most gentle of all of the Doctors selves as they had always been the most kind to him. He figured that meant that they would probably kill him the quickest if he ever hurt Susan or the children.
"Yes, they would," agrees the Sixth Doctor aloud as he responds to David's thoughts. He moves to David's side and adds, "But I'm not so kind. In fact, I've been on trial, don't you know?"
The Third Doctor steps up as well and says, "As have I, even caused me to be exiled on Earth."
Six puts in, "And a man like that has nothing to lose."
Three requests, "So be a good chap and take care of our girl, won't you?"
Six places his arm around David's shoulder as he leans close to whisper in his ear, "Because I can always find you, you know. Any time, any place."
Susan rolls her eyes and reprimands, "Grandfather, that's enough!" She reaches out and grabs David's sleeve and tugs him closer to her. "Look, David," as she hand's him Ten's gift certificate, Grandfather gave us an assortment of baby food for the twins for an entire year!"
David stares down at the paper and exclaims excitedly, "Oh, pears! My favorite!"
At this declaration, the room goes silent and Ten speedily hooks a finger into each child's bassinette and slowly rolls them away from David. David casts a forlorn gaze at Susan and bemoans, "I was never supposed to mention that, was I?"
As the Tenth Doctor continues to move the children away from their father, Susan rolls her eyes and orders him to stop his shenanigans and to put them back. Ten cries, "But Susan, he likes pears! How can he possibly be trusted? I mean, how much do we really know about him anyway? Take his name for instance!" He casts a beseeching gaze around the room for support. "Does the name David sound even remotely Scottish to anyone?"
Exasperated, Susan proceeds to grab a pillow and hold it over her face while she groans into it until the Eleventh Doctor calmly walks up, plops down next to her on the bed and removes the pillow from her grasp. "Now, Susan, calm down." He stares hard at David. "There now, do you see what you've done to her?"
His gaze softens considerably as he turns to Susan. "My dear child, you mustn't upset yourself so! David knows that we only want what's best for you even if it does include him." He smiles benignly at David. "I'm sure that by now, I've made it perfectly clear on how I really feel about you, haven't I?"
David swallows uneasily before responding, "Crystal clear, Doctor. That's what makes me so nervous whenever you visit unexpectedly." The Eleventh Doctor slaps his hand hard against his thigh and declares, "Good! That mean's it's working! Remember David," he advises solemnly, "the only thing to fear is…well, me, actually."
He releases a soft sigh as he states, "Well, it's time to be off I suppose, before the twins aren't the only ones needing nappies. Am I right, David?"
David releases a soft chuckle and then a resigned sigh as he responds, "It's always a pleasure to see you, Doctor." He looks around the room as he adds, "Especially when it's all at once."
"All right, all of you," announces Susan in a firm tone. "That's more than enough of terrorizing my husband. Don't you have a house full of children to return to?" At their acquiescing nods, Susan's brow furrows slightly and she frets, "I hope they haven't been too much trouble, Grandfather."
She doesn't notice how deathly quiet they've become as she laughs, "It's a good thing that each of you brought your own TARDIS here. I remember how much trouble that I would get into when I would flip the Fast Return switch when I was little." She bears a worried expression again as she asks, "You did remember to lock it, didn't you?"
The Eleventh Doctor rapidly replies, "Of course I did, Susan!" With a nervous glance at the others he inquires, "How absent-minded do you think I am?" He ends his question with a small, wobbly laugh.
David squeezes Susan's hand reassuringly as he tells her, "I'm sure everything's fine, Susan. It's not as if the children are going to hijack the TARDIS and take off to Skaro." The couple laughs heartily until she takes note of all of the Doctor's horrified and stricken gazes. "Grandfather," she asks anxiously, "did something happen…"
Ten jumps in and fusses, "Yes, well, time to go everyone! We don't want to leave those Time Tots alone with Jack too long!"
Nine grouses, "Yeah, I can't even fathom a guess at who will be the worst influence on the other, Jack or the kids."
Ten gives a quick nod of agreement before growling low and tossing a glower back at David. "I can't believe how he almost dropped us in it! It's no surprise to me that he likes pears! Eleven darts his own glare at David and opines, "I bet he enjoys beans and all!"
Then each of the Doctors takes their turn and lines up to hug and kiss Susan and the twins goodbye, each of them issuing a tearful farewell. Ten is the last to stay near the children as the others move towards the door and he whispers in a gruff voice, "I don't want to go."
Eleven pats his shoulder consolingly and hushes, "None of that now, we'll be back." He throws a cheeky grin at Susan and his counterparts. "We always are."
Once Susan and David have waved the last of the Doctors out the door, David collapses onto the bed next to his wife and inquires, "Do you think that he'll ever forgive me for stealing you away from him?"
Susan snuggles into his side and answers, "No, I don't think that he will but that doesn't mean that he doesn't love you." When David shoots her a disbelieving look, Susan revises, "Oh, alright, what I meant to say is that doesn't mean that he doesn't accept you as a member of the family and accept how much that I love you," she finishes with a twinkle in her eyes.
"That's a bit more honest," declares David grudgingly.
"Besides," persists Susan, "it's all just an act, really, because he's so protective of me. You know, David, you impressed him greatly when you asked me to stay and marry you."
David leans away from Susan, slightly offended, and counters, "Of course I asked you to marry me when I asked you to stay with me, Susan! Your grandfather may think what he likes of me, but I am an honorable man!"
Susan laughs heartily at David's affronted expression. "David, you're so funny, that's not what I meant at all. I was referring to the fact that you asked me twice."
"Twice?" asks David in bewilderment. "Is that supposed to mean something, the fact that I asked you twice?"
Susan nods gently and replies in all sincerity, "It does to Grandfather."
David nods once in acknowledgement and in his own quiet way declares his love for his wife as he murmurs, "Thank you for staying, Susan."
She leans her head on his shoulder and grips his hand tightly while she responds just as softly, "Thank you for asking me, David." They share a quiet moment before David twists around to open her bedside drawer and pull out a small bag. "What's that, David?" queries Susan.
He reaches into the bag and teases, "Let's see if I can jog your memory," as he suddenly waves a pair of stuffed animals in her face and playfully chants, "Fresh fish, fresh fish!"
Susan squirms away from his teasing just as she did those many years ago before they shared their first kiss. She pushes the toy fish away and reproaches, "David, you idiot!" Their mutual laughter ends trails off to end in a gentle kiss and Susan whispers, "I do love you, David."
Her husband's gaze and reply are both overwhelming with emotion as he replies, "I love you too, Susan, so much."
He leans his forehead against hers and muses, "You know, it's nice to not be interrupted by your grandfather this time." Susan giggles in response and David adds, "However, in honor of your grandfather, I also bought these for the children." He reaches into the bag again and out comes two little stuffed monkeys holding tiny bananas.
"Oh, David," laughs Susan, "you should have shown him these! The bananas alone may have changed his whole outlook about you."
David offers her a wry grin before mentioning, "They reminded me of how he likes to tease you about being a little monkey because your cupboard on the TARDIS was always so muddled."
Susan smiles widely and shakes her head in amusement. "I can't believe that he still does that after all of this time, or that he even has the nerve to chastise me about it! Have you seen the state of his storage cupboards?"
David's answering grin is as indulgent as his demeanor, having heard this particular opinion many times over the years. "Well, regardless of that fact," he shifts to look at her tenderly, "I'll always be grateful to him for bringing you to me."
Susan looks back at him just as warmly. "Me too, David." She slowly pulls him towards her for another kiss and murmurs against his lips, "Me too."
Their brief moment of solitude is interrupted by a very loud reminder of what has brought them there in the first place. David comments jokingly, "I see that the twins have inherited your grandfather's timing."
Susan smiles happily as she watches David lean over the bassinettes and fuss over the children. Although, she is completely exhausted from both the labor and her grandfather's visit, Susan has never been more at peace or felt such contentment within her hearts. She loves to watch David with their children, the way he adores each one, encourages every single one of them to follow their own interests and dreams and always finds time in his busy day to make all of them feel like the miracle that they are. Her gaze is full of love as she watches him dart around, like the expert he is by now, seeing to the twins needs until it is obvious that only a feeding will soothe them.
As Susan reaches out to take John, who has thus far been the more gluttonous of the two, Susan reflects on how she would be more than happy to remain right here in this moment forever. However, Rose's cry quickly reminds her of her other children that are with all eleven versions of her grandfather. While she moves John into a more comfortable position for feeding, she recollects a long ago trip that ended in Rassilon's Tomb and wonders how each version of her grandfather is coping with the other. Foremost on her mind though is, What in Rassilon's name is going on back home?
To Be Concluded…