“So you see… I had to!”
It was late at night on a small deserted island in a tropical sea, and Aisha had led Adric out to tell him something. Adric had noticed lately that Aisha’s third self seemed to be putting on weight (especially last night during their latest session) and that their fellow TARDIS crewmate, Nydor Pian, seemed unusually smug about something when he wasn’t accusing one of them of doing something. But never had he put these two things together in his mind, now he saw with her revelation how it all fitted together…
“You’re… pregnant to NYDOR?” he cried. “But… why would you sleep with him?”
“You know that I’m the one to birth Susan…” Aisha said. “So I needed the paternal DNA and…” she broke off awkwardly. “You can’t… fire live rounds… if you know what I mean…”
“But… Nydor?” Adric said.
“I had a look over the timeline, he was definitely her father… Susan’s biological dad!” Aisha said, and then looked away. “You know that I didn’t WANT to sleep with him… but… time must continue…”
Adric sighed. “I don’t blame you… I just wish you’d told me about it first…”
“I was afraid you’d get upset,” Aisha said, putting her hand on his wing. “You know this means we’ll have to find a stable family environment when she’s born… that we’ll have to stop travelling till she’s old enough to go to the Doctor’s first self.”
“But where?” Adric asked.
“Gallifrey…” Aisha said. “It’s the only place…”
“But… they’ll remember us,” Adric protested.
“Not if we go back in time to when my father was still young,” Aisha grinned. “To before he even thought of stealing the TARDIS! Before we were ever forced to be the targets for the Prydonian conspiracy!”
“When are you gonna tell Ny this?” Adric said, looking back to the TARDIS.
“When we’re on the way there,” Aisha grinned…
18 months later
It was a busy Gallifreyian morning. At this point in the planet’s history the Citadel was well developed, but pockets of Time Lords and Ladies lived in small towns and villages outside the Citadel’s protective walls. One such place was built on and around a large hill. The shops and businesses were on the flatter ground, and the houses were built further up the hill, linked by steep stone stairs and stone streets. And it was up one of these streets a young man ran.
He looked about 18, and was dressed in the robes of a common Gallifreyian, but in a yellow colour hemmed with red. He also wore a silver star to hold his robe together as well as some plain brown cord ties. His normally longish hair was cropped short, and his brown eyes sparkled as he ran to deliver the message.
Adric knew he shouldn’t be smiling, given the news he was to deliver, but couldn’t help himself when he thought of how easily they’d blended in. Yes, he was alien to the people he ran past, but they didn’t know it. He mostly kept himself to himself, and stayed away from trouble. Even so, he feared someone from the future Gallifrey coming back here and recognising him, Aisha or Nydor. So he’d dressed differently (essential anyway, as he had to appear Gallifreyian), had made his hair shorter and hadn’t had his wings out for a long time. Nydor had grown his hair longer in a bid to hide himself and had taken to wearing a scarf around the bottom of his face at all times (not at all strange, considering sandstorms were a frequent occurrence in this little village). And Aisha? Well she’d had no need to disguise herself, her body had already done a fantastic job of that…
“Aisha! Got news!” he said, coming through the door of the topmost house of the street. “And it’s urgent!”
“What? What is it?” Aisha cried, turning from where she was playing with Susan.
Just after childbirth Aisha, knowing the danger going back to Gallifrey would be, had forced her body to re-generate. Her brown hair was long and tied in a plait down her back. Her blue eyes were tinted with green this time and she seemed shorter than her previous selves. The house the four of them (Digo had been left with some friends) had managed to get was right at the top of the hill, and consisted of one room. There was only the one bed which the three of them took turns to sleep in (although Adric and Aisha often still ended up sleeping together most nights), with the others sleeping with covers and pillows on the floor and Susan sleeping every night in her Moses basket with blankets. Other than that there wasn’t much furniture.
“Nydor… Aisha, there’s been an accident,” Adric said. “He’s… he’s…”
“Regenerated?” Aisha asked.
“Well, yeah,” Adric said. “And he’s not pleased with the way he looks now… just came home to warn you in advance.”
“So, his attitude hasn’t improved then?” she asked.
“Nope. Still stuck-up…” Adric sighed, closing the door and sitting on the bed.
“I hope that his obsession with me’s been lost,” Aisha said, as she picked up her child and carried her over her shoulder. “I mean… I know at present it’s merely annoying… but Nydor’s always been a bit… sinister. Hopefully his new self won’t do something stupid if he has retained his love for me and his… problems with you.”
“I wouldn’t bet on it,” Adric said, lying back on the bed. “My back feels so cramped… can’t I just let my wings out for a quick stretch?”
“If one of those Citadel Guards burst in for another ‘quick inspection’ while you have them out, you’ll be for it,” Aisha reminded him. “You know how much they hate non-Gallifreyians in this time period. And I remind you that they WILL have restraints of loose metals that can hold you!”
“I was just asking,” Adric said, looking away.
“It’ll only be for a little while longer Addie,” Aisha said, as she rocked Susan to sleep. “Only till Susan is old enough.”
“And how long is that going to be?” Adric asked, turning back. “You’re always deliberately vague on that point. It’s almost as if you want to hold onto her as long as possible… but you know you can’t forever. Not if time is to be maintained.”
Aisha sighed; she knew that Adric was right. But her maternal instinct was just as strong as her duty to her ‘job’. Every time she was on the point of going out towards the place where her father’s youngest self lived, she was stopped by something her child needed. And she would always be too tired afterwards, telling herself ‘I’ll do it tomorrow…’
“I’ll do it tomorrow…” she muttered, thinking out loud.
“Yeah, but as we know, tomorrow never comes,” Adric said. “Especially when you’ve got a TARDIS and can skip over days, weeks, months, years at a time!”
“Yeah, but our TARDIS won’t return for a while yet…” Aisha said. “Not until it senses that Susan is no longer in our care…”
As she went back to settling the child in her basket Adric ran through the thoughts in his head. Gallifreyian life was all right, for once he knew what he was going to have to eat, and there were no surprises in day-to-day life… But it was boring. He missed having freedom, he missed his wings, he missed exploring some of the still unexplored corridors of the TARDIS when they had a ‘day-off’ (not so common nowadays) and he missed the love Aisha used to heap on him. Nowadays although he still got some, Aisha’s love was mostly for her child… And as much as he loved Susan like a father might… he couldn’t wait till she was at ‘Theta Sigma’s’ so that the three of them could get off Gallifrey and go back to their random time-travelling adventures. But for Aisha’s sake he squashed the feelings, and walked over to her where she was watching the sleeping Susan.
“She’s so cute when she’s asleep,” Aisha said, smiling.
“She’s like her mother then,” Adric said, putting his arm around her shoulder.
As they turned to each other and then shared a passionate kiss suddenly the door opened.
“Ahem,” said an impatient voice.
The lovebirds broke apart to see a strange Gallifreyian man standing there, looking barely old enough to be out of the Academy. It would have been impossible to identify him for Aisha, had it not been for the robes he was wearing and the glare on his face. She sighed.
“Afternoon Nydor,” she said.
“Hmph,” Nydor said, grabbing something before turning and walking out again.
As he slammed the door shut and both of the lovers flinched with the noise there came a whimpering from the basket. Aisha sighed.
“He’s woken her up again!” she said, turning to attend to her baby. “Some father he is…”
“I just wish I could give you children, then you wouldn’t have had to go through with sleeping with him,” Adric said, as he rubbed his cramped back.
“No… time dictated that Nydor was the father, so sleep with him I had to,” Aisha said, rocking Susan.
“One day I’ll give you a child of mine,” Adric said. “There’s got to be some way.”
“Yeah, I know,” Aisha grinned.
“Long as Nydor doesn’t get in the way…”
Outside Nydor was storming down the steps, his robes flapping in the wind and his scarf pulled up close to his dark reddy brown eyes. His face was one of pure fury.
“I’ve had enough of this…” he muttered. “I’m clearly the superior one, but she still refuses to see me in the right light! That Alzarian corpse doesn’t deserve her! Well, I’m going to get him out of the way… for good!”