THE MASTER, THE DOCTOR AND THE WOLF

Chapter Fifteen

Eleven and Clara were led into a huge parlor at the front of the house. The wooden floors hadn't been waxed in a long time and had lost their shine. The floral wallpaper was peeling in places and there was cracks in the ceiling and a few cracks on the glass in the windows. But it was still better than the Doctor expected. The furniture was ramshackle, old and used and mismatched but still sturdy and serviceable. There was a granite fireplace on the left side of the room with a small fire going. There was a large pile of wood beside it and Susan added a couple of logs and stoked the fire until there was some warmth inside the room.

Susan asked them to sit down while she made some tea. The Doctor sat down in a battered purple recliner near the fireplace while Clara chose an old faded sofa with floral print. She sat down and gasped when the cushions sank nearly to the floor and stood up and sat on the plump armrest instead.

"So, she's your granddaughter?" Clara said, trying to make small talk as the Doctor turned the recliner around and stared into the fire, deep in thought.

"Yes," the Doctor said as he stared at the flames.

"How old is she, she's young."

"Eighteen, I believe. You can ask her when she returns," the Doctor said, glancing at her.

"You left her behind when she was only eighteen?" Clara said shocked. "Here? In these ruins?"

She regretted her words when the Doctor bowed his head and she could see the guilt plastered on his face.

"I thought it was the right thing to do," the Doctor said softly as he stared at the floor. "Like I said, I've had a history of deciding what was best for the people I loved."

Clara remembered the Doctor trying to leave her behind when he was on Trenzalor and being furious at first when she showed up with the TARDIS three hundred years later.

"She was with David," the Doctor said as he continued to stare at the floor. "He was older, they were in love, the Daleks were defeated, I thought she'd be safe. Besides, she was spending too much time worrying about a doddering old man like me when she should be young and having fun."

"Is she a Time Lord then?"

"Time Lady and yes, she is," the Doctor said, looking at her. "But she's only on her first life, a child but still more intelligent than the average human. She went to your school actually, Coal Hill. I was parked nearby in Totter's Lane and her teachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. They followed her one day because she was incredibly smart and they wanted to find out who she was. They stumbled into the TARDIS and I took them with us for a bit until they returned to London in 1965.

"Ian Chesterton? He's the head of governors at Coal Hill," Clara said.

"Oh? Tell him I said hello and tell him to tell Barbara I said hello," the Doctor said.

Clara was stunned by this revelation and made a mental note to talk to Ian one day and compare notes. She was about to probe further when Susan came back into the room carrying a huge tray laden with a pot of tea, cups and small cups of milk and sugar. The Doctor leapt up and hurried to her side, taking it from her and walking over to a small wooden table that was scratched and chipped. Clara stood up and the Doctor told everyone he'd be mother, waving Susan away when she tried to help him. He brought her a cup of tea with a smile as Susan sat down on a battered ottoman near the sofa. The Doctor gave Clara her cup of tea and turned the recliner back around to face them before retrieving his own cup.

"So, where is David then?" the Doctor said, sitting down in the chair with his tea. "He hasn't scarpered, I hope."

"No, he left earlier to go get food," Susan said. "He's still here and still watching out for me, Grandfather."

The Doctor raised his eyebrow when Clara giggled at that.

"I suppose I can guess but what's so funny, Clara?" he said to her.

"Sorry. Just funny hearing someone call you Grandfather when you're so young…young looking," she corrected herself.

"I'm nearly 2000 years old, I think I qualify as an OAP now," he said to Susan.

"2000," Susan said, shocked. "But I thought you were about 450 years old, Grandfather."

The Doctor cleared his throat.

"It's been ages since I saw you last, Susan," he said gently. "I'm now the eleventh version of the Doctor, not the first."

"You waited 1600 years to come and see me again?"

Clara winced when she saw the stricken look on his face and she could practically hear his hearts lurch in his chest. The Doctor sat the cup of tea on the floor beside the chair, got up and walked over to her. Clara smiled as he embraced her.

"Forgive me, my child," he said as Susan hugged him with one arm while holding her cup of tea out away from them. "I was busy. You understand that. That's why I wanted you to stop and settle down. Especially since I could see you were in love with David. I never meant to be away so long but one thing led to another and time passed and I supposed the TARDIS got tired of me not keeping my promise."

"I forgive you," Susan said as they ended the embrace. "I'm just glad that I only had to wait one year instead of 1600 but…that means that Ian and Barbara…"

"They left not long after you did, Susan," the Doctor said as he walked back to his seat. "We fought the Daleks again and they had a time machine of their own and Ian and Barbara used it to go back to London. I was traveling with another young girl called Vickie and we were able to see them and see that they made it back to London. In fact, Ian is head of the governors at Coal Hill and Clara works there as…English teacher, was it?"

"Yes," Clara said to Susan, nodding.

"What year?" Susan said.

"2013."

"50 years from my time there," Susan said. "And so you're the latest one to travel with Grandfather?"

"Yes, I am."

"Is there anyone else?" Susan asked.

"No, it's just me and him at the moment," Clara said. "So, you're helping to rebuild London then?"

"Yes. The survivors are trying to do it. There's probably about 400,000 here in London. Not sure how many across the world but the Daleks devastated the entire planet."

"I met the Daleks…well, one Dalek. We…went inside it," Clara said, wondering if she was saying too much.

The room fell silent except for the crackling of the fire. Clara noticed both the Doctor and Susan were staring at her in a stunned silence.

"You went inside a Dalek?" Susan said. "With Grandfather?" she added, nodding her chin at Eleven.

"Not me, I've never been inside one before," the Doctor said.

"I'm not actually traveling with him at the moment. I mean I am but I'm actually traveling with the next version of the Doctor but there's been a problem and this evil version of the Doctor kidnapped this woman called Rose and tried to kidnapped me and my other Doctor's TARDIS summoned this Doctor and…"

"Clara, I think you lost Susan back at the beginning of your long winded explanation," Eleven said when he saw the confused look on Susan's face. "She's out of sync with time at the moment," he explained to Susan. "There is a cloned version of me that has become evil and does have another companion of mine and the future me at his mercy. Clara asked for help and was instructed to call me so here I am. The evil me is coming here and apparently the TARDIS not only wanted me to find you but to make a stand here. Perhaps the resistance might help us?"

"I can ask for a meeting, Grandfather, but I'm not in charge," Susan said. "We do have a council and it'd be up to them whether they'd fight for you. But as for me, you can rely on me and I'm sure David will help as well."

"Thank you, my dear. I think at this point in time we need all the help we can get."

"So, this evil Doctor is coming here then," Susan said.

"I think so. The TARDIS sent a homing beacon to the other TARDIS so I think she wants him to come here. If there are only 400,000 people here, there won't be many people around if he decides to start killing. If there are casualties and I'm hoping there aren't, we can keep them to a minimum. Do you have any way of defending yourself, my child?"

"We have guns but I know you frown on using them," Susan said.

"I wouldn't if they're used for defense but I'd rather no one died," the Doctor said. "But let's only use them as a last resort. We can use the terrain and our minds to try to defeat them first. I must warn you though, he has an old adversary of mine called the Master under his power and although I'm sure his hold on him is tenuous, he can still use him against us. There is a child as well but I don't see him as a threat unless he arms him. I'm hoping that perhaps I can immobilize the Master so leave him to me if you can. You and Clara try to rescue the other me and Rose and concentrate on that."

Susan nodded.

"David should be back soon. When he returns, I'll ask him to go to the council and try to get a meeting for you."

"Thank you," the Doctor said.

He sipped his tea and smiled.

"Total devastation in London and there is still a decent pot of tea to be had. Gotta love the British," he said.

Susan and Clara chuckled and the three of them sipped their tea and made small talk while they waited for David to return.

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