Chapter Twenty

By the time Brittany came home, Lori was waiting for her at the open door, a huge grin on her face.

"Ugh, I had a killer math test today, Mom," Brittany said while she came in the door. "And a history quiz and four chapters to read for social studies. I'm glad we're going out to eat tonight. I see Uncle Dan, Aunt Ruth, Great Uncle Tom and Aunt Alicia are here. They're going with us?"

"Yes, they're going to take some people in their cars so we don't have to worry about a minivan this time. I have to show you something so follow me."

Brittany followed her into the living room and froze when Amy and Rory smiled and waved at her.

"Is that a movie?" she said to them.

"No, it's real. This crystal thing the Doctor had can show hidden things and that's Amy and Rory in Heaven. You can talk to them and they can talk to you."

"Why do you guys look the same?" Brittany said, walking up to Amy and Rory. "When we saw your tombstone, it said you died in your '80's."

"Because over here, everyone is about 30 years old," Amy said. "But we can alter our appearance and look any age. We look this way because this is how you remember us."

"Where's Heaven then?" Brittany said. "I just see you guys."

"That's because the crystal isn't at full strength," Eleven said. "It's on the lowest setting so only Amy and Rory are visible at the moment."

"Are you in Heaven though?" Brittany said.

"Yeah, it's all around you on a different plane of existence. We're sitting on the ground and there's a huge oak tree behind us and there's a river over there," she said, pointing ahead. "It's very peaceful. So you have quizzes galore?" she added.

"Yeah," Brittany said, shrugging her backpack off onto the floor, "and homework. School sucks sometimes."

"You don't have much longer to go," Dan said.

"I know but I wish it were over now," Brittany said, making a face.

"I hated school," Amy said. "The only high points were Rory and Mels."

"Mels? Was she your best friend or something?" Brittany said, sitting down on a chair.

She looked at River and Eleven when they giggled and frowned.

"Hi!" River said, waving, "I'm Mels."

Eleven, Amy and Rory laughed at Brittany's confusion.

"Your name is River," Michelle said, coming over to Eleven's side.

"Yes, it is now but I was originally called Melody Pond," River said.

Eleven noticed everyone's confusion when she said that.

"So…you went to school with your parents?" Brittany said.

"Yes, because I regenerated before this life and ended up a toddler and was adopted by a family who found me, took me in and brought me up in Leadworth. I grew up with my parents until I regenerated into this body."

"Did you know who she was?" Brittany said to Amy and Rory.

They shook their heads.

"I did name my daughter after her though," Amy said. "Thinking I was honoring my best friend."

"When she was really naming her daughter after her daughter," Eleven said.

"Have you guys ever considered becoming your own soap opera?" Lori said. "Because you could certainly do one with all the odd plot twists in your lives," she said while everyone laughed.

"Did you know Amy and Rory were your Mommy and Daddy then?" Michelle said to River.

"I did but I never told them that," River said. "It's very complicated."

"I'll say," Lori said, shaking her head.


After Jim came home, they repeated the same things for his benefit. Jim was astonished at the appearance of Amy and Rory but after everything that had happened in the past few months, he took it all in stride and told Amy and Rory he was glad to see and hear them again before telling the children to get ready to go out to eat. The children rushed to their rooms to get ready. Meanwhile, Ten asked to speak to his counterpart privately. They excused themselves and went downstairs for a moment.

"Yes?" Eleven said when they were inside the storage room.

"I know how important Michelle will be to us and I want to be able to come to her and her family's aid whenever they need us," Ten said, leaning against his TARDIS door. "I wanted to give her a little alarm system that would connect to our TARDISes."

"That's a good idea but…"

"But?" Ten said.

Eleven sighed and leaned against the storage room door.

"Look, you don't have that much longer," he said.

"I have all the time in the world," Ten said defiantly.

"No, you don't. Time is not yours to control," Eleven said. "You can't run forever. Eventually, you have to stop and face what's coming."

"So you can be born," Ten said bitterly.

"Yes, so I can be born," Eleven said angrily. "I felt the same way when I was you but…"

"Yeah?" Ten said.

"But eventually the TARDIS will take you where you need to be and you'll willingly face what's coming once you hear the threat to the Earth," Eleven said.

Ten sighed, his shoulders slumping. Eleven's hearts went out to him since he was in the same situation once.

"Go and talk to Sarah again, have her tell you again that everything has its time," he said gently to Ten while Ten looked at the floor. "I know you're weary of regeneration but think of it this way, you'll continue on as me and you'll see Michelle again in this body."

"And I land up with River then," Ten said, looking at him.

"Yes, you do."

"No regrets about Rose?" Ten said, raising his eyebrow.

"I always have regrets," Eleven said mildly. "Why? Is she the next problem we'll be sorting out?"

Ten said nothing, only shrugged.

"They're sorting out Donna, aren't they?" he said.

"Yes and if they do, Donna goes with me."

"I'm sorry?"

"You heard me," Eleven said.

"She's my companion," Ten growled at him while he pointed to himself.

"And she's mine as well," Eleven growled back.

"And what? I can't have her back because I'm about ready to snuff it so I can't change future events? What if her being with you changes something in your future?"

Eleven sighed and looked skyward while Ten stared at him intently.

"Well? We're mucking with history, yeah?" Ten said. "You already changed your past when you found me and let me know about this family's existence. This wasn't in your past before, was it? So why would Donna coming back with me make a difference now? Especially since you would land up with her anyway. And possibly, Amy and Rory would be spared their fate since I know about them and what's going to happen."

"But if that's true, why are they still in "Heaven"?" Eleven said. "If you resolved to save them, why aren't they here in the flesh? Apparently, you don't do that. Or…you don't have time enough to do it."

"But I could do it after I regenerated," Ten said.

"And once again, why aren't Amy and Rory alive and here?" Eleven said. "Why isn't Donna here with us now or Rose? If you have foreknowledge of this, wouldn't the future change around us and the people we love would be here celebrating with us?"

Ten sighed and slumped his shoulders again.

"This is why the laws of time said we should never be with ourselves at any given point," he said to Eleven.

"Yes, because it complicates things," Eleven said. "And I'm sorry, I'm sorry that I accidentally bumped into you and didn't leave right away and I'm sorry that I allowed you to come back with me to get revenge on the gits at Thanksgiving. I never should have done that but I did and now here we are, arguing on Michelle's birthday."

Ten nodded.

"You're right," he said softly. "I am being a coward which is why I came here in the first place. I don't want to face the end."

"Yes, but I'm living proof that it isn't the end, only a continuation. And to be frank, this life isn't that bad. It could have been a lot worse."

"Do you want Donna back?" Ten said.

"I wouldn't mind. I can't use Amy and Rory any longer and River doesn't want to travel with me full time."

"Why not? She's your wife, isn't she?"

"Yes, but she was warped early on in life by people out to destroy me and she's a bit psychopathic. As she put it, there's no room in the TARDIS for two psychopaths."

Ten studied him for a moment.

"So you're going to let her walk to her death unknowingly," he said.

"I have no choice."

"There's always a choice," Ten said.

"No, not always," Eleven said, shaking his head. "I tried to outrun my fate and events led me back to where I needed to be. The universe has a plan of its own, despite what we may think sometimes. Adelaide needed to die, mate, and River needs to land up in CAL. I hate that but…it has to happen."

"And Michelle, one day she may end up dead or missing, are you prepared to deal with that?" the Doctor said.

"Doctor, I would love the idea of putting a tracking device on all of them and keeping tabs on them every minute, but knowing the universe, the trackers would short out the moment we left and something would happen to them without our knowledge. The TARDIS knows where to take us when we're needed. We just have to trust that our family up there will be fine between visits. And if Michelle must meet with a sad end…at least I have my memories of her and the fun we had together."

Ten nodded.

"Is that all you needed to tell me then?" Eleven said. "Because the children are probably ready and I'm sure they won't wait for us."

"Yeah, that's all I wanted to say," Ten said.

"Just go with the flow and enjoy the present. Have fun and stop worrying for tonight about the prophecy and how close your "death" is. Michelle is ten, let's enjoy that along with her."

Ten smiled. Eleven walked over to him, patted his shoulder and followed him when he opened the door and walked out.

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