Chapter Thirty One

Charlie walked down the corridor, tears coming down her face while she wept silently. She had never felt so alone in her life. These people were aliens and yet they were more of a family than she'd ever been to her child. She'd never seen a group of people so close and her heart ached when she thought that her little boy would become one of them while she was stuck back on Earth with a bleak future. Without realizing it, the TARDIS was watching her and moving her corridors around so she found herself just outside the med bay. She peeked in and watched while they finished stabilizing Tara. She was lying near the back of the room on a bed. She breathed a sigh of relief when she noticed that Tara looked human again. Then she mentally caught herself and thought she looked Time Lord. She watched as the Doctor did a scan on Tara and then kissed her forehead. She hesitated a moment and then came inside the room. The Doctor gave her a kind smile which emboldened her further. She walked over to the bed and looked at Tara.

"Hi," Tara said.

"Hi, are you alright?" Charlie said.

"Yeah. Now that I'm back to normal," Tara said. "Dad's preparing an IV bag that he's going to use to make sure the last of that lizard changing stuff is out of my system," she said, pointing to the Doctor who was pouring a slightly greenish liquid into an IV bag. "He wants to make sure it's all out of my system now."

"Will she be alright?" Charlie asked.

"Oh yeah, she'll be fine. We managed to get to her before the change was permanent. I just need to make sure it's completely flushed from her system though."

"Dad was a cat once, a big black panther. These people changed him because they were dying off and thought they could just kidnap people and turn them into their own kind to save themselves."

"You were a panther?" Charlie said.

Tara giggled when the Doctor blushed at that.

"Yes. And I still get the occasional cat jokes from my so-called loving family members," he said to her.

"That's around the time I first met him," Tara said.

"First met him? You're not his real daughter?"

"She is my real daughter," the Doctor said. "But I think you meant that she was adopted and yes, she was. We were here on holiday and she found us. She was running away from Satanic cultists that abused her and killed her mother."

"What? Oh my God? Seriously?" Charlie said.

"Yeah, they were twisted, evil bastards. I managed to sneak out and run from them. I ran and ran until I happened to find Dad and his family. I was in bad shape and they nursed me back to health and he adopted me. I've been a part of this nutty family ever since. And now I can't joke about Dad being changed into an animal since I nearly became a lizard."

"Ha ha," the Doctor said.

He chuckled when Tara slapped his arm playfully. Charlie smiled when the Doctor squeezed her nose and walked back over to the IV bag. Charlie sensed someone behind her and looked over her shoulder at Hope who was coming into the room.

"Daddy, is the big lizard person gonna get out and hurt us again?" Hope asked as she came up to Tara.

"No, he's secure, the TARDIS will see to that. And he better stay in there if he knows what's good for him," the Doctor said, looking over his shoulder.

"Hey, Creep," Tara said to Hope.

"Hey, Spaz, you got turned into a lizard, neener, neener."

"Yeah, well, I got changed back and if you don't shut up, you'll be next."

"Nah, you don't scare me, Daddy's got my back," Hope said, walking over to the Doctor.

"I do?" the Doctor said, finishing with the IV bag.

"Yes, you do," Hope said, watching what he was doing.

"Daddy, change her into a lizard, just to teach her a lesson," Tara said.

Charlie chuckled when the Doctor paused and stared down at Hope with interest.

"Actually, I think she'd make a better ocelot," the Doctor said, going over to an IV pole. "I'll change her into that. Or perhaps a wombat or a bambalambawonkwonk."

"You wouldn't do that," Hope said with a giggle as she walked towards him.

"Why not? I have enough children, I can spare you," the Doctor said, hooking the bag on the end of the pole. "Perhaps a lemur, then I can train you to climb trees and fetch things."

"Turn her into a piece of snot, Dad," Tara said.

"Shut up, Spazoid," Hope said.

The Doctor caught Charlie's eye, rolled his and wheeled the IV pole over to Tara's side.

"Is it alright for me to be here?" Charlie said.

The Doctor was taken aback by that.

"Um…you won't abuse my children, will you?"


"Then you're welcome here," the Doctor said.

"Look, I'm sorry. I know you must hate me and all…"

"I don't hate you. I do understand that you have been placed in a bad situation at a young age and you should have been older when you had your child. What you did was wrong but I believe in second chances and I think, deep down, you're a very nice, young lady. You just weren't equipped to handle a special needs child, not with everything else going on, at any rate. You're not a bad person or evil. You just need to get out of the situation you're in, everybody does. Okay, Star, hold still, I'm gonna put the needle in your arm."

"Put it in her eye, Daddy."

"Shut up, Dork, before I put it up your bum," Tara said.

The Doctor rolled his eyes and grinned when Charlie chuckled.

"This is normal behavior for this lot," he said to Charlie while he put a tourniquet on Tara's upper arm. "I have several children now and the bigger ones seem to pick on the little one here."

"Yeah, I have snotty sisters and one snotty brother," Hope said to Charlie.

"She's just as snotty as we are, don't let her fool ya," Tara said to Charlie.

"Jenny's my other sister," Hope said to Charlie. "I have other sisters and my brother but they're on New Gallifrey. They didn't wanna come."

"I'm sorry I did since I have to smell this one's farts and bad breath," Tara said to Charlie.

"Daddy, can you seal her mouth up so she can't talk anymore?" Hope said to the Doctor.

The Doctor caught Charlie's eye and winked at her while Hope giggled.

"Like I said, they're a handful but I love them all."

"Are they all adopted?" Charlie said.

"She is," the Doctor said, pointing to Tara. "This one here is biological. I have two other adopted children and biological triplets and Jenny, the other girl that was in here, is technically my biological child, although she was cloned from my hand."

"Your hand?" Charlie said.

"Long story," the Doctor said as he finished inserting the needle into Tara's arm. "But my children are a mixture of biological and adopted. My brother, Alan, did the same. We both adopted children and our wives gave birth to them and we love all of them."

"But you've never had any children like mine? I mean, deaf children."

"Had a blind daughter until she was cured," the Doctor said. "And I loved her just as much as my sighted children and still do. She's not here though; she's back on our home world with her brother and sister. They're in the Academy…our school."

"I'm going to go this year. I have to go through placement exams and find out what level I'm at," Hope said to Charlie.

"Yeah, we have to take her to do these exams in a few days, which is why I'm hoping to get all this sorted out before then. She needs to have time to study a bit so she'll do well."

Charlie was amazed. The Doctor and his family were chatting with her just like she was a member of their family. It was something she'd never had with her own family growing up. But these people, who were all aliens, seemed a hell of a lot more normal than her family ever was. While she watched the Doctor adjust the speed of the drip, she suddenly had a thought.

"Tara, you were human once?"she asked.

"Yeah. Up until I was ten."

"And now you're an alien?"

"Yeah, Gallifreyan…well, Time Lady too but my species is Gallifreyan," Tara said while the Doctor moved over to the counter.

"How did you become an alien?" Charlie said.

"Well, we have this friend named Imiko who is a kitsune. Or she was, till she become Gallifreyan like us but when she was kitsune, she gave my dad these crystals that could change people into Gallifreyan like he was. At the time, my dad was the last of his kind and the crystals helped his species come back from extinction. It was how we managed to get enough people to repopulate a planet. My dad isn't the last of his kind anymore, because of that. We have a very large family because of these crystals. My dad basically changed his friends into us and they became our family members. You oughta see us when we all get together."

"Is there anything you have to do to get changed?" Charlie asked.

The Doctor paused and looked over his shoulder at her while Hope walked over to her and took her hand.

"You wanna be a Time Lady?" Hope said. "Daddy still has the crystals if you wanna. You could come live with us."

Charlie flinched at the Doctor's stare. The Doctor smiled warmly though and turned around.

"My daughters are very persuasive when it comes to that," he said to her. "I have another daughter, Namid, who kept recommending people to me. I've learned to just keep my mouth shut since they usually bring people to me."

"Is this what'll happen to Daw…Doug? Will he become one of you?"

"Yes, I think so. That's up to my brother and sister in law, but I'm sure they'll change him."

"Will it hurt him?"

"The change? No, I've been told it's quite painless. I've always been Gallifreyan so I haven't done it personally but most of my family have done it. Not Hope though, she was born Gallifreyan along with my triplets. She was conceived normally with my wife," he said, patting Hope's head. "Tara, though, has been through it."

"It doesn't hurt a bit," Tara said. "You get lots of perks too like telepathic communication and enhancing healing from injuries. You don't get sick as easily and you get smarter and on your 20th birthday, you gain Time Lord knowledge, which I have but Hope doesn't."

"I still have some growing to do," Hope said. "And if you get hurt badly, you can change your body and not die. Daddy's done it lots of times."

"Nine times…well, ten times technically, but I got to gain my former life back after I had to regenerate."

"And you let others do this…change?"

"Well…I get to decide since I own the crystals. I also have to like you…which I do, in your case. I said before that you're a nice woman; you've just been through a bad situation. But…the thing is, do you want to do it? Because if you do it, you won't be human anymore, you'll be Gallifreyan."

"Will I stay here?"

"Um…not unless you want to. You could come to New Gallifrey and live there. That's where we live but that's your decision. If you want to stay here, you can. I don't force people to do anything and that includes changing over. You have to want it."

"New Gallifrey is nice," Hope said.

"Yeah, it's a very nice planet. We live in Kasterborous City and it's beautiful."

"And since you're not of age yet, you won't have the Time Lord knowledge until you reach the age of 20," the Doctor said.

"But am I good enough to do this?" Charlie said.

"Well, do you think you are? I told you I believe in second chances and I think you are willing to become a better person and I think you are truly sorry for what you did. I think you've been a scared, hurt and angry little girl who was forced to have a child too soon. If you want to do this, I'll let you do it and help you have a new life on New Gallifrey. But I have to know that you will turn over a new leaf and not abuse people."

"No, I won't. I don't want to do that anymore. I am sorry for what I did and I want to be a better person."

"Then do you want to do this?" the Doctor said.

Charlie looked at Hope and Tara who were smiling warmly at her and she smiled back at them.

"Yeah, I want to do this," Charlie said. "I don't have much of a life here and I want to try to start over somewhere else."

"Then you're welcome among us," the Doctor said. "You might have to go to the Academy once you're there. Have you had much education?"

"Not really," Charlie said.

"Then you should come with us when we take Hope for her placement test. I can get you an appointment to take the test and see where you need to be. If you want to do that."

"I do. I would like to."

"Then I will make you one of us," he said while Hope cheered. "Just let me finish here and I'll go get the crystals and…"


Everyone looked over when Duer came to the door.

"Yes?" the Doctor said.

"You better come look at the monitor. I think we just got an even bigger problem on the horizon," he said.

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