Chapter Eighteen

The adults slept for a couple of hours while the children played silently with their toys in their bedrooms. The Doctor lay beside River, doing his usual thinking while Rex chewed on his rawhide bone. He looked at River when she turned on her side in her sleep and snuggled against his side. He stared at her, thinking about how beautiful she looked in her sleep and thinking back to the other women he loved. He thought about Rose and wondered if she was getting along with his clone in the other universe. Did they have happy Christmases like this? He hoped so since he only wanted the best for her.

He thought about Michelle and the cryptic message from his future self. Michelle would become so much more than just a companion. Would she be a lover as well? He cared for her deeply but at the moment it was more of a fatherly love but Michelle would grow up someday just like Amelia Pond did when she was small and dreamed about traveling with him. He had no idea which of his future selves visited him but given that Michelle was human, he guessed it was his twelfth life. But then again, perhaps it was a version of this life and he disguised his voice so he wouldn't know. He decided not to think about it and just let time play out on its own.

Still, he was sorta curious to see what Michelle would grow into. He glanced at River and slowly got up. Rex stopped gnawing on his bone and looked up at him inquisitively.

"Be right back, Reg," the Doctor said, rubbing his head. "Carry on with your bone."

He went into the storage room and went inside his TARDIS.

"Okay, I'm curious now," he said to his ship as he shut the door. "I want to know about Michelle and her future. Can you just allow me a peek at it? I want to know if she turns out alright."

The TARDIS was silent for a moment and the Doctor wondered if she would comply. Then he heard her start up and his hearts raced when he realized she wasn't going to show him a vision of Michelle, she was actually taking him to her. His mind reeled as he hurried up the steps and sat down in his chair.


When the TARDIS finally stopped and powered down, the Doctor got up from his seat, wondering what he would find. He took the steps two at a time and hurried to the door. He opened it and blinked from the glare coming off a pure white marble terrace. Standing on the terrace in front of him was one of the most gorgeous women he'd ever seen. The woman was tall and curvy with brown hair that flowed down her back in waves. Looking at her, the Doctor could see Michelle's face except it was older and more mature. Michelle was wearing a white strapless gown and holding a glass of red wine in her left hand. The Doctor stepped out and closed the door. He looked her up and down. His eyes lingered on her breasts and looked away for a moment in embarrassment. He looked back and his eyes finally noted a wide gold bracelet on her right wrist. It had the seal of Rassilon engraved on it and he realized with a shock that it was a traditional wedding bracelet from his homeworld.

"Doctor?" Michelle said in a deep, smoky voice that resembled Lori's but more seductive sounding to his ears. "What are you doing here? I haven't seen this you in years."

"I…came from Christmas. The first Christmas we spent together. I was a bit curious about the future," the Doctor said sheepishly. "My God, Michelle, how you've grown."

"I'm not nine anymore, Doctor," Michelle said, setting the glass down on a marble wall behind her. "Haven't been nine in ages."

"And you're…your body is gorgeous! Thank God you didn't get rotund from all the pigs in a blanket and enchiladas."

Michelle laughed and the Doctor smiled, loving the sound of her voice.

"I have a very good metabolism," she said, walking towards him. "I never lost my taste for either of those and neither did you."

"Why are you dressed this way though?" the Doctor said, pointing to her gown.

"Well…you are meeting me here for a…romantic night out," Michelle said.

The Doctor looked past her, past the veranda there was a garden with a hedge maze in the distance. There were two moons in the night sky so he knew it wasn't Earth.

"Where are we?" he said.

"You don't know?"

"I just asked the TARDIS to show what you turned out to be. She brought me here on her own."

"Oh, okay," Michelle said. "Well…this is Luna Costa in the year 6549, I believe."

"Luna Costa, that's a honeymoon destination."

Michelle grinned, held up her arm and showed him the bracelet.

"So, you and me, we just married?" he said.

"Yes. Very romantic wedding," Michelle said, coming closer to him.

"But you said you hadn't seen me in ages," the Doctor said.

"Yes, that's right," Michelle said, nodding. "I married a future version of you. I suppose I shouldn't say which version since you…you from the future cautioned me about timelines and all that."

"But you're still young," the Doctor said, confused, as he looked her over. "How old are you now?"

"Twenty three," Michelle said, putting her arms around his neck.

"So…I regenerate in less than fourteen years then?" the Doctor said.

"No," Michelle said, shaking her head. "You live longer than that."

"Okay, so…future version of myself comes back in time to marry you?" the Doctor said in confusion.

"No," Michelle said. "I have to wait awhile until this moment."

"Then how come you're still young then?" the Doctor said.

Michelle grinned and winked.

"I'm willing to bet I can't talk about it," she said.

"Wait, are you like Jack? Are you immortal now?"

"No," Michelle said, shaking her head.

She giggled at the consternation on the Doctor's face.

"As AuntRiver used to say, spoi…"

"Oh don't even say that to me," the Doctor said, putting his hand over her mouth. "I get irritated enough when she says that to me."

"Well," Michelle said when he took his hand away, "shoulda thought of that before you decided to be nosy."

"Now see here, Bookworm," the Doctor teased.

"Bookworm! God, you haven't called me that in ages," Michelle said. "Now you call me Azerte'te."

"My Universe?" the Doctor said.

"Yeah, you taught me a bit of Gallifreyan. After giving me that medallion, I wanted to know more," Michelle said.

She giggled when they fell silent and just stared at each other.

"So? Is this all you wanted then?" Michelle teased. "Just wanted to know I wasn't a fat ass in the future?"

"Well, are you successful?" the Doctor said.

"In what way? I bagged you, I'd call that successful," Michelle said and blushed when he slightly blushed at that. "Just kidding, Squid Monster. I suppose I'm successful. I like to think I've had a good life so far."

"And the rest of the family? Are they alright?"

He saw a hint of pain in her eyes for a moment before she nodded.

"They turn out fine," she said. "And so do you."

The Doctor grinned.

"And does Mandy end up with Rory then?" he teased.

He saw another flash of anguish in her eyes and she shook her head.

"Uh…no, Rory and Amy stay together. At least I think they do," she said vaguely. "And you know what happens to AuntRiver…"

He nodded and Michelle laid her hand on his cheek.

"She does visit from time to time to check up on me. Obviously before her final day at The Library," Michelle said. "She has that vortex manipulator so we see her sometimes. She was actually cool about us being together, probably because she knows what's going to happen to her and she wants you to be with someone. She doesn't know about the wedding though, she hasn't visited in a long time. But there you have it."

"Well, I'm glad you're safe in future," the Doctor said.

"In THE future, Mister Macaroni Cheese," Michelle said, poking his chest playfully.

"Oh, belt up, Bookworm," he said while she laughed. "Still cheeky after all these years."

"Yeah, but you like it," Michelle said with a wink.

"Well, better get back to Christmas then," the Doctor said.

"No goodbye kiss?" Michelle said. "Or would that be too weird since I'm nine where you came from."

The Doctor hesitated a moment before leaning in to kiss her. Michelle responded in kind and the Doctor did have to fight the image of her being nine while he kissed her firmly on the lips. She pulled back without snogging him and rubbed the back of his neck.

"Take care, my love, and have fun putting up with my bratty nine year old self," she said.

"I will. I will beat you around the house with those bloody boxer shorts of mine."

"Oh God, I forgot about those things," Michelle said before laughing hysterically. "The look on your face when Amy showed them off was priceless. Thanks for the laugh, Squid Monster. So now…I'll let you go. Have fun."

"And you. Happy honeymoon," the Doctor said.

Michelle winked. She stood back and watched while the Doctor snapped his fingers and went into his TARDIS. She waited until he closed the doors and the TARDIS started up before saying, "See you later, my beloved."

She watched it fade away and with a chuckle, walked over to the wall, picked up her glass and sipped some of the wine.

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