Chapter Thirteen

After awhile, Brittany went upstairs to study and Lori called the other children up to get their baths so they'd have time to spend with the Doctors later. River got up from the floor and straightened her clothes.

"I'm going to have a shower as well. That sounds great at the moment," she said. "You boys have fun in the meantime."

She headed to the storage room while Michelle came downstairs, holding her textbook against her body.

"Tom and Mandy are getting their baths first so Mommy says I can wait down here and do my studying until she calls me," she said to the Doctors while she walked over to them.

She lay on her stomach beside Ten and opened her textbook until she found her place and began reading. Ten glanced at her.

"Listen, I want to speak to my other self about some things, can you keep a secret?"

"Mm-hmm," Michelle said, nodding. "I won't tell anyone what you say."

"Thank you," Ten said, patting her head. "I want to ask about River," he said to Eleven while Michelle read her textbook and listened to them. "She's part Time Lord? Since when?"

"Since birth," the Doctor said. "Amy and Rory are here parents and they conceived her in the TARDIS on their wedding night and somehow she gained Time Lord DNA from that."

"Can she regenerate then?"

"She could but she used all her remaining regeneration energy to save my life when I was dying. But that right there is her third life."

"And you are married to her? She acted like we were in The Library."

"Yes, we're married."

Ten stared at the ceiling while he thought that over. Michelle glanced at him when he didn't say anything.

"Is that bad, being married to her?" she said to him.

"No. I suppose not, I haven't done it yet so I really can't say for sure," Ten said, shrugging.

"No, it's not bad, Bookworm," Eleven said to her.

"But she told me about the SingingTowers before she died," Ten said to Eleven.

"Died?" Michelle said, alarmed.

"Not now, Bookworm, in future. Well, her future, his past," Eleven said to her.

"It's complicated, love," Ten said when they saw the confused look on her face.

"That hasn't happened for me yet," Eleven said while Michelle went back to reading her textbook. "I have no idea when it does happen so no idea how long it is until she meets you."

"What Carmen said to me, it's nearing the end for me as well, isn't it?" Ten said.

Once again, Eleven saw the alarm on Michelle's face as she jerked her head up and stared at him.

"This body can't live forever, love," Eleven said, gently, while he pointed to his counterpart. "Eventually, he'll become me and this life will come to an end."

"And you won't come and see us anymore?" Michelle said sadly.

"I'll see you but I won't be me, I'll be him," Ten said, pointing to Eleven.

"Are you scared?" Michelle said.

Ten and Eleven shared a knowing look before Ten looked at Michelle.

"I didn't used to be," Ten said. "It's not as bad as you think, it's like going to sleep but after nine times, I've grown weary of it and the constant change it brings. I get used to one body and then something happens and I change and become a new person. That's why I dread it happening again. I like being me and I'm sure he likes being him but him and me aren't the same. We have different personalities and different approaches to things, even some different opinions and likes and dislikes. It's like if you were to transform into a whole new person. What I am now dies," he said, putting his hands on his chest, "and I become brand new."

"Like being born?" Michelle said.

"Yes, in many ways," Ten said. "This body dies and is reborn as him," he said, pointing to Eleven.

They watched while Michelle thought about that.

"That would be weird," she finally said.

"Well, it's a part of who I am so it's not that weird to me, just annoying after 907 years and wearying," Ten said.

"You look good for 907 years old," Michelle said.

The Doctors chuckled.

"Thank you," Ten said, patting her cheek affectionately.

"Who is Carmen?" Michelle said.

"This woman I met during one of my adventures. She's psychic and gave me this prophecy. She said to me, he will knock four times. So I'm assuming I will die when someone knocks four times."

Michelle glanced at Eleven and saw the knowing smile on his face.

"You can't tell him, can you?" she said, guessing.

"No, I can't. I really shouldn't have told him about River but her death occurred in his past so it's already happened for him and he already guessed she marries me. So all that's new for him is she's part Time Lord and that's not really Earth shattering."

"Besides, I will probably erase some of this information from my mind so I won't remember when I become him," Ten said to Michelle. "Not all of it but some of the more important info so I won't muck up my future with foreknowledge."

"But you won't forget all of it like Donna did?" Michelle said.

"Blimey, no. It would take days to wipe my mind like that," Ten said while Eleven chuckled.

"Hey, when's your birthday?"

Eleven laughed when Ten's eyes bulged.

"Love, I can't even remember after 907 years," he said to her. "I haven't a clue anymore. Birthdays weren't that important on Gallifrey. They didn't have a big celebration on the day you were born. And technically, each time I regenerate and become a new man, that could also be considered my birthday so sorry, love, I really couldn't say."

"I was just wondering," Michelle said.

"I find other excuses to have a party and celebrate," Ten said. "I don't need to do it on just my birthday."

"Can I ask you something else?" Michelle said to him.


"What's the scariest thing you've ever seen?"

"Dalek," Ten said without hesitation.

"He talked about those one day when we were playing a what am I game, he pretended to be a Dalek and walked around with his arms out and saying exterminate and stuff."

"I was confusing them," Eleven said when Ten gave him a questioning look. "They were being cows and lions so I was a Dalek."

"Nice to know I keep my sense of humor in the next life," Ten said to Michelle. "But Daleks are scary because all they can do is hate and they kill anyone who isn't a Dalek so you can't reason with them or beg for mercy. They don't love anything or anybody, not even themselves."

"Wow," Michelle said. "That does sound scary."

"You should have seen some before now," Ten said, confused. "When I lost Donna, I just finished saving the world from Daleks. They were all over the place and…"

He looked at Eleven when he cleared his throat loudly.

"Some events were edited out of history, like that Dalek invasion and the Cyberking. Humans no longer remember them," Eleven said. "Happy during the early days of my coming into being. And I did something else that also rewrote some of Earth's history. That's why she doesn't remember the Daleks."

Ten nodded.

"Be glad you don't remember them," he said to Michelle. "I wish I didn't remember them."

"Do that when you take out some of the memories," Michelle said.

"Uh…no, because knowing my luck, another Dalek invasion would happen and I wouldn't know what they were then and wouldn't know how to stop them. So, unfortunately, I have to leave them in my noddle," he said, tapping the side of his head.

"Shelly! It's your turn now!" Lori yelled down the stairs.

Michelle groaned.

"Ugh, I hate baths," she said, slamming her book shut. "I'd rather stay here and talk."

"We can talk tonight but you need a bath so you won't be smelly and drive us away," Ten said, pressing on her nose.

"I can't get that smelly in a day," Michelle muttered as she stood up and grabbed her book.

They watched her run up the stairs, holding her book against her. Eleven waited until she was gone before telling Ten about the visit from his future self and seeing her as an adult. Ten raised an eyebrow when he mentioned the wedding bracelet and seeing her on her wedding night.

"So, we fall in love with another human then," Ten said.

"Yes, but something's not quite right. When I saw her, she was twenty three but she hinted that it was more than fourteen years in the future."

Ten rose up on his elbow.

"Immortal? Like Jack?" he said.

"She said no," Eleven said, shaking his head. "I haven't told any of this to her, obviously."

Ten nodded.

"So she ends up like River and Rose and like them she might end up…"

"You can't think like that," Eleven said to him. "You know, I gave up on the whole Curse of the Time Lords thing because I got tired of keeping everyone at arm's length. I could have had a wonderful, intimate relationship with Rose but I didn't because I was afraid she might die. But everyone dies eventually, even us. I'd rather enjoy being with someone for however long we have than regret all the missed moments. I suppose it'll be the same with Michelle when her time comes. That's why you won't stay alone for long. It's already becoming unbearable, isn't it?"

Ten nodded.

"That's why you came here because you tried to go it alone and it was too much to bear," Eleven said. "Donna and Rose and all of our friends are right. We can't be alone, we both crave companionship. And you know what? We should. It's not good to be alone all the time. I'm willing to be with someone with an ephemeral life if it means I come away with love and happy memories. Trying to change time and make it bend to your will won't work, mate. Neither will trying to outrun the inevitable."

"So I should leave then and face my death?" Ten said bitterly.

"Yes. But not now. Stay here, rest and recoup because you need your strength for what lies ahead. And enjoy the present. Enjoy their love and affection and have fun. Rassilon knows we don't get enough of that anyway."

Ten nodded. Eleven held up his hand and put his fingers to his lips when he saw Mandy coming down the steps, holding her panda against her chest.

"I'm clean now!" she yelled as she walked towards them.

"What do you want us to do about it?" Eleven teased while Ten smiled lovingly at her.

"Pay me," Mandy said, walking up to him and holding her hand out.

"Pay you? You haven't done anything worth paying," Eleven said while his counterpart giggled.

"I want money," Mandy said, plopping down beside him.

"I want a ten foot tall ice cream but I'm not getting it," Eleven said.

Mandy grinned and squeezed his nose.

"Are you torturing me now?" he said while Ten chuckled. "Is that your way to get your money from me?"

"Mommy's fixing tacos," Mandy said.

"And?" Eleven said while Ten giggled.

Mandy squeezed his nose again and giggled at the feigned anger on Eleven's face.

"I will not tolerate this much longer and…hey!" he said when she squeezed it again. "Cheeky monkey, stop that! I can't breathe when you…" he sighed when she did it again and giggled harder. "You know, I don't believe in corporal punish…OI!" he said when she did it again.

He tugged on the panda's ear and Ten laughed when they alternated between her pinching his nose and him pulling on the panda's ear for a few minutes before Mandy tired of the game and snuggled down next to him, holding the panda tightly to her chest while she rested. Eleven smiled at his counterpart while he rubbed Mandy's arm.

"Like I was saying, companionship and love are worth the heartache," he said while Mandy sighed contentedly and closed her eyes.

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