The Doctor stood at his console, staring into nothingness. He was at present the sole occupant of his Tardis. The adventure of one half hour ago was now just a memory, the echoes of his friends' voices and laughter long gone. His Tardis somehow felt hollow and it reflected his soul perfectly. Within mere minutes, his ship had been full of happy jubilant voices of friends sharing victory, and now...There was no Donna Noble, Jack Harkness, Martha Jones, no Sarah Jane Smith, no Mickey Tyler, no Jackie Tyler Rose. Again.

His Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed, his hearts thumping painfully in his chest at the thought and scent of her clouded his sight for a millisecond, the console dutifully supporting his weight as he leaned upon it more heavily, unmindful of the cold and wet clothes that wrapped his body like a second skin.

He refused to give in to the emotions that threatened to swallow him whole but the fresh memories came unbidden. The first joy of seeing her smiling face after so long, the feel of her arms surrounding him as he writhed in subsequent pain from the Dalek's blast, standing side-by-side as their prisoners in the Dalek ship. She was still beautiful and defiant in the harsh force shield light. Oh, but the sight of her kissing his twin....

Even though it was a choice he willfully made, the memory nearly broke him. It was all he could do to turn away at the sight and leave her with him. He had to make do now. There was no Donna Noble to scold him for becoming maudlin over a decision that he thought was the best for them all. His creation and his will. He was such an awful excuse for a God. Gods were supposed to make themselves selfishly happy with their power, but no, he created a twin for Rose, so that they could do the domestic he wouldn't allow himself. Rose and his twin, holding each other as they kissed on the beach, the perfect pair, the soul mate he should have been, should have had...he could almost feel her lips on his once more, but it ghosted across his senses into nothingness.

He stepped back from the console and took a breath, trying to focus on the task at hand. He had to get out of his wet clothes, set the Tardis into the time stream. How long he'd stay there he still wasn't certain, but he had to escape, away from earth and all its beautiful, terrible, needful memories. Needful, but at what cost? Earth now reminded him of her loss and everything they once shared but it was at such a terrible burden to his soul. He hadn't lied to her about her saving him; he just hadn't told her everything. It was his prerogative as a Time Lord.

He wasn't about to go back to earth anytime soon; he had to give it a century or two at the very least. He knew he'd lied to her in this moment as his eyes lowered to the floor to watch the puddles of cold water form on the deck plating. Rose may have saved him but he was not a better man and never would be.

He was a man wounded, a Gallifreyan Time Lord scorned by the very nature of his actions and by his own hand and he knew now that Rose finally saw him for what he was...A coward to the very end. The faces came then as they had before, when Davros's query brought every face of every companion and friend that had crossed his path, of every being that had called him friend and lost their lives. Even his Jenny. She'd been with him for mere hours but oh, how she'd left a footprint on his heart.

He admitted now that he wasn't running from her, he was screaming at time's relative velocity away from his own personal demons and everything she could give that would heal him. He could feel the crashing of so many heart beats lost in his own personal timeline and he hung his head.

She deserved better and he gave it to her in the form of his twin. It was the greatest sacrifice he could give and the fastest way to make her happy and yet he knew it was just a travesty, because the look in her eyes as she stood on the damnedable beach would haunt him forever. Pawning off his other to Rose for her benefit was just an excuse and a lame one at best. He just didn't need another him running around; one was quite enough for this universe. Donna would have made a right good comment about that, somehow.

The memory of her grandfather Wilfred standing in the doorway saluting him in the rain came to him then. He gave the memory the respect it deserved. "Wilf, go on, pray for me. At least someone will."

He needed to forget her for awhile, if only to allow his soul respite from the pain of loss. He squared his shoulders and lifted his head, straightening his spine as he made the conscious, painful effort necessary to forget her. The decision made without a second thought, he closed his eyes in concentration and locked the mental door that contained any and all references to her and everything tied to her. After ten seconds, a shadow crossed his features and his countenance turned dark, moody and perceptibly harder.

Almost viciously, he reached out and turned the necessary instruments that propelled his ship into the stream and once the computer confirmed re-entry, he nodded his head once and ran a hand through his hair, a grimace of grim determination instantly created lines across a face who's mouth once smiled wide in happiness and joy. The Doctor turned on his heel and grabbed his wet coat with one swipe of an arm and headed down the corridor to his room.

The Tardis shuddered and protectively hid the room that had once been Rose Tyler's. She was determined to hide it away and keep it protected for all eternity if necessary. Her instincts as one of the oldest time ships in existence was telling her that misery and pain were now to be her reality in the form of her Time Lord and instantly set her cognitive abilities toward formulating a way to get Rose Tyler back, even if it would take centuries. Not only did the next species or two need saving, but she would need it as well.

Thus began the reign of The Dark Lord.

The Near Future-Pete's World

Rose Marion Tyler-Smithson, standing graveside, allowed her chilled wet fingers to drop the single red rose across the casket as it slowly lowered itself into the chilled wet ground. It continued to rain gently as she stood numb with the umbrella protecting her body in its wide canopy. Her breath slid slowly in and out between her lips in small puffs of white vapor in the chilled air as she watched it disappear out of sight. As each shove of dirt hit the casket, her tears slowly dried and replaced with a burning numbness. Torchwood had been their lives until the last month in which John's health faded from a minor cold that refused to go away until it blew into a full-fledged Gallifreyan immunological disorder that wracked his body worse than pneumonia. She'd been with him until he lapsed into unconsciousness and took his rasping last breath.

The casket represented 15 years of her life to a half-Gallifreyan, half-human Time Lord who'd desperately loved her until the end, yet his love had never been a replacement for what she'd lost. She loved him just as desperately for the man he was and for what he'd been to the deepest recess of her soul. Oh, she'd loved her Jon, of that there had been no question, but there was the fact she'd fallen for the original and Jon, well....she could tell he had his 'Donna' moments and at times it was disconcerting and admittedly grated her nerves. Her mother had once said that every married couple had their 'moments,' but the Doctor and she, for all the time they'd traveled, never had more than a couple of 'moments' since his last incarnation, and that had been a long time ago. She and Jonathan had more than a couple as Josiah grew up. It had been more than she'd care to admit.

She turned away and left the gravesite with her only son Josiah, who looked down as he followed his mother and grieved for the father that had left him behind. Tall for his age, wise beyond his years and smarter than the most brilliant teens, the fifteen year old was a splitting image of his father as he hung his head low as he walked back to the car with his hand placed upon her shoulder, trying to give her support.

Josiah's cheeks were wet despite how he'd tried not to cry for him. He felt numb and was vaguely aware of how her shoulder felt rock-hard under his hand but then, his mum had been like that for a while...maybe too long, thinking back over the recent past. What do you do to make things right? He'd seen this coming and should have prepared for it, but was he going to make his mum proud enough to forget this day ever existed and just remember the good times? Could he even try?

Rose felt the grief in her son, acknowledged it by reaching up and patting his hand, but knew it would be short-lived. She had access to the dimensional canon and she had not wasted her last fifteen years of research not to utilize it now. Before Jon had succumbed, she'd found a way to crack through the Rift without harming the universes. Now, more than ever, her son was going know his father all over again and, the sooner the better. He was starting to become even more Time Lord than Jonathan had been, and that was saying much. Jonathan had saw it in their son before he could walk and they worked on the project even harder, knowing that their son had to get back to the Doctor's universe, no matter what the cost. Josiah Tyler-Smithson needed more than they could give and they knew he needed the Doctor and his Tardis more than ever. They could never have realized Jonathan's time on this earth would be cut short so quickly.

'No,' Rose corrected herself. 'That wasn't quite right.' Maybe Jonathan's time was meant to be cut short, but he was a better human than just being half Gallifreyan and what had been thrust upon them all had been unasked, unexpected and ultimately hard to forgive. 'I could have easily given the Doctor a son,' Rose thought angrily. 'given the right genetic coding from his onboard chameleon circuit but the Doctor hadn't had the time to consider the possibilities and didn't give either one of us a choice. More's the pity.' She felt the weight of the remote in her coat pocket bumping her hip as they walked back to the car. 'Time for a remedy.'

She glanced at Josiah and knew the ancient Hebrew name they had picked for him meaning 'God Will Save,' might just end up the other way around for them both when they finally confronted him. She was determined there wasn't going to be an 'if.' She reached out for Josiah and he took her hand automatically. She squeezed it tight as they made it to the car.

Her smile was slow in showing but she managed it as she opened the doors with the security fob. "Josiah, we're going on that trip now. Did you pack everything you needed like I told you?"

"Yeah, Mum, we're packed. Everything is packed and loaded in the boot like you asked. Are you going to tell me what this is about?"

She reached up a hand and cradled the side of his face gently, rubbing the stubbly beard hair that was determined to grow on his angular cheekbones so prominently. He would need to shave soon.

"Nor yet'; it'll be a surprise. Get in the car, Josiah and belt in. It'll be better when we're on the road to Cardiff."

"What's in Cardiff, Mum?"

"An old friend, Josi, a very old friend." Rose suddenly looked off into nothing, praying Jack Harkness would be where he was since the last time she'd seen him. Josiah knew he couldn't ask one of those questions, noticing the look. She and Dad always got one of those funny looks whenever they talked about the past.

He stepped away from her and made it to the other side of the car and got into the passenger seat and buckled up, even as Rose got behind the wheel and placed the key into the ignition but, instead of starting the engine, she clicked the ignition far enough to allow the radio to come on and put it on Jonathan's favorite channel, show tunes.

She pulled out the remote control to the canon just as "I Could Have Danced All Night" started to play and flicked it on with her thumb, the light blipping green in response. She smiled gently and looked up to make sure that Josiah was the last thing she saw in this universe before she winked out. She smiled wider at his confused expression because he looked so much like the Doctor when he wasn't sure what was wrong with the Tardis. "Josiah, hold on to you door handle tight, yeah? Here we go!"

He did as he was told and complained, "Mum," just as Rose gripped her own door handle and gripped it even harder as she hit the button and Josiah's universe blinked out in a flash of brilliant white light.

The Far Future-Earth Prime

Yank...strain, pull! Nope, getting no where fast. Jack Harkness looked up at the Doctor who stared at him with the coldest of eyes.

"What in hell are you talking about?"

"Yup! You did. The weevil came from the rift." The Doctor pointed his screwdriver toward his feet and switched it on.

"Okay, just because you tracked its origin from the rift, doesn't mean I sent it and it wouldn't mean that I would have launched from my kitchen table! This is the Twenty-second century, and I don't run Torchwood anymore. These people aren't that tech'ed yet and I've learned to be more responsible, thanks to you. I've had years of practice."

"Well, a rose by any other name.....even if you didn't, you'd know who did." The Doctor sing-songed his response and cocked an eyebrow, twirling his sonic screwdriver between his fingers and the look he gave Jack was cold, distant and nearly black. It almost made Jack shudder. Almost.

"Doctor, come on, you just aren't the same! What's happened to you? I know it's been a good twenty-five years or so since I've seen you, but you haven't really been right for awhile, maybe even since you left Rose in the other universe. Are you schizoid now? Multiple-personalitied? Severe Denial? Cut me a break, here!" Jack struggled again at the bonds that held him immobile at the moment as he watched the Doctor pace back and forth wordlessly in his small kitchen. At present, Captain Jack Harkness was currently tied up to his kitchen chair in his studio flat with his special 'gorilla' duct tape, none other by the Doctor himself.

"I remember you quite well, Jack, and it's been quite a bit longer than that for me. The fact that you're people threw the weevil into the rift without regards to when they were throwing it, shows even less regard for life itself. It almost wiped out a village. It tried taking me with it but I stopped it, in the nick of time as usual." He threw up the screwdriver but caught it in mid-air. "I'm the law, Jack, and this kind of aberrant behavior means I get to shut Torchwood down, permanently ...and, this Rose?" The Doctor suddenly advanced on him and his touch was nearly cruel in how he yanked Jack's chin up and around so that he could stare Jack in the eye.

"What?" He asked, nearly whispering the word. How could he forget Rose, of all people? It couldn't have been that long...and the Doctor never forgot anything.

Jack looked up into his face and blinked again and realized he meant what he said. He could tell he didn't remember Rose at all. "You know, Rose Tyler, defender of the Earth, sidekick...your former love interest? You've pined for her for years!" He studied the Doctor's face as he said the words and no hint of recognition at the name, no
twitch. His face was devoid of expression.

"Vworp, vworp! Vworp, vworp! Vworp, vworp! Vworp, vworp!"

Jack's cell started ringing and the Doctor only spared a momentary glance downward as he let go of his chin and stepped back, displeased at being interrupted. "Seems you're wanted." Just as suddenly as it started it stopped and Jack's hope of getting out of this predicament went with it, at least for the moment.

"Well, I may not be running Torchwood anymore, but you're right; I do get consulted from time to time..." That particular ring was his special ring for when there was activity in the Rift. Very special activity. The last time it had rung was just before the Doctor showed up. "I really needed to get that."

"No, you didn't." The Doctor stepped away and started inspecting the contents of his spacious kitchen, particularly inspecting the rack of kitchen knives. Jack wondered if he really was going to go for one of them, considering he could die, but he knew that, right? The Doctor sighed, fingering a knife handle and managed to make it sound a bit sinister. "What am I going to do with you, Jack?"


"Are you gonna get that, 'cause... I'm a bit tied up at the moment." Jack gave a half-smile at his lame joke but the Doctor's only reaction was to shove the screwdriver into a pocket, scowling as he made for the door. No one was going to interrupt his form of justice!


Before the Doctor could reach the door, dust and debris flew in all directions. The Doctor did his best to cover his face. The best Jack could do was cringe at the noise. "Oh, come on! That was a perfectly good door!" Jack complained. This was definitely turning out to not be a good day.

Once the dust had cleared, both men could see two people stepping through from what they could see of their legs and the Doctor brought out his screw driver and waited.

"Come on, then, let's have at you! Eh, Jack! Looks like I'm not the only one interested in your carcass!" The Doctor said half-smiling as he stood battle ready.


The quiet, very feminine voice said his name and he suddenly felt a bit dizzy. Fighting the feeling, he yelled, "Oi! Who goes there? Show yourself!"

Within seconds, the dust disappeared and Rose Tyler-Smithson and her son Josiah stood before him. The boy's face betrayed his bewilderment and stood gob-smacked but the woman's face showed signs of confusion and was that...irritation? Did he actually hear the boy whisper "Dad?" or was his ears playing tricks on him?

"Rose Tyler! Girl, you can make one hell of an entrance! You look fantastic, by the way...why haven't you aged? Don't tell me, you moisturized, right?" He lost his smile as he looked from Rose, the Doctor and Josiah and stated the obvious. "That has got to be Junior!? Splitting image of your dad, you are...what's your name, son?"

Josiah looked between the Doctor and the tied-up Jack and answered, his voice showing his distain. "The name's Josiah Tyler-Smithson. I'm not your son and who the bloody hell are you?"

"Hello to you too, Josiah," he responded, keeping his voice jovial. "Jack Harkness, at your service. Doctor, would you please put your screwdriver away? They're safe. You know them, at least one of them anyway..."

"What are you two playing at, bondage? Are we bored?" The scene before her almost made her smile. Rose slowly stepped toward Jack and Josiah followed her, keeping a wary distance between himself and the Doctor. "You don't know what I had to do to get through to this side and I'm in no mood to play games." She turned back to the Doctor who still had his screwdriver raised but when Rose looked at it, she grimaced. "Do you mind? That's a bit rude, Doctor!" He looked at it and finally lowered it but kept it handy in a pocket as he continued to study her.

"You're Rose Tyler?" The Doctor's tone was one of confrontation and it sent off warning bells in Rose's head. Something was wrong. The Doctor could never not know her even if it had been roughly thirty years. Had he suffered head trauma while she was 'away?'

Rose looked at him and waved a hand toward Josiah who automatically got the message and sat down in one of the living room chairs. He knew his mother well enough that something was wrong and she needed him out of the way for the moment which was understandable, considering this man looked like his father, talked like his father but appeared harder, more cold in disposition than his father could ever dream to be. He wasn't immune to strange, far from it. Let his mother deal with it; he'd had enough 'weird' for one day.

"Yes, Rose Tyler. What's wrong with you, Doctor? Did you hurt your head?"

"Rose. I don't quite know what's going on, but he doesn't know you and I really want to help you both, so could you get me out of this? Maybe I could have some tests run..." Jack wriggled in his seat and showed his obvious discomfort.

Rose hand-signed to Josiah and nodded once, pointing to Jack and Josiah knew what she meant. He got up and went for a kitchen drawer so that he could cut Jack's bonds. 'When did this become a Jake Bond movie?' He wondered sarcastically.

"I don't need any tests! I want some answers!" The Doctor wasn't happy and wasn't going to take much more of this namby-pamby but instead of going on with his usual action-self, he hung back, uncertain. He wasn't used to the feeling of being uncertain, and still, he felt dizzy. What was it about this woman that made him feel ill at ease? He feared no one, let alone a stupid female ape!

"Sit down, Doctor and I'll start some tea and we'll work on some answers, yeah? Does that work for you? I'm not your enemy. I'm actually very far from it."

Rose took off her coat and threw it on the loveseat in what Jack must call his living room and stepped to the stove to touch the teapot only to snatch her hand away from its heat. "Oh, Jack, looks like you're one step ahead of me."

"Well, give me credit Rose; I was trying to make him feel at home until I was so rudely interrupted." Josiah ripped at the last section of tape and it finally let go with a snap and Jack was able to bring his arms forward, rubbing his wrists. Jack got up and, keeping a wary eye on the Doctor's reaction, gave Rose a peck on the cheek. "Now, there's a proper welcome, Rose. You are a sight for sore eyes and Josiah, is it? Nice to meet you!" He got up and stretched, stuck his hand out and Josiah reluctantly shook. "There's a good man. So, this is 'Homecoming Week,' is it? Come on everyone, sit down. Please. Let's make nice, shall we?"

Within moments, he started helping Rose find the teacups and sugar. He eventually shooed Rose away and she took a seat next to Josiah while he finished with the cups and handed them out, all the while giving the Doctor sidelong glances.

The Doctor was unaware of Jack as his attention was riveted by Rose, looking at her as if he was trying to place her but he couldn't.

"It's nice to see you too, Jack. You look great as usual. What's the year?" Rose tried to sound as conversational as she could, given the circumstances. The fact the Doctor looked at her with no recognition in his eyes unnerved her.

As he sat the last of the teacups down for his guests, he grabbed his and sat down next to Josiah. Unconsciously, all three looked like they had lined up around the kitchen table and had the Doctor in their sites.

"Well, Rose, let's's, wait. It is! It's forty years to the day you left us."

"You mean forty years since the Doctor dropped us all off and left us on our separate worlds before the door closed."

"I didn't know about that, Rose, until way after the fact. It was at least a few years later. He never said anything to me; I had to hear it by word of mouth."

"Oi! I'm in the room, people and if I did that, I'd remember it!"

"Mum, why does he look the same as Dad? He even sounds the same. Is he the one?" Josiah questioned his mother as he nodded his head toward the Doctor.

Rose took her son's hand and squeezed it, placing on top of the table. She took a deep breath and prayed what she was about to say wouldn't fall on deaf ears as she glanced at the Doctor. "Josi, do you remember that story me and your father told you about telling you how we got to Pete's World? Your Dad was a metacrisis, born from this Doctor's right hand when we tried to get away from the Daleks."

"And Aunt Donna saved you all, by being a human metacrisis herself, holding the Time Lord consciousness to help her deal with the Tin Cans...Yeah, I remember the story. So this is him?" Rose noted honest curiosity in his question and breathed a mental sigh of relief.

The Doctor leaned forward placing his hands on the table over his teacup, forgetting it as he stared at her in wonder. "How would you know that? You weren't there! That was years ago!"

Rose just raised her eyebrow and smirked. "As Donna would say, you Dumbo! Yes I was. I was the first to find you. I was also the last person you saw when you left Jon on the beach with me. I'm still a little upset over that. You could have warned me you were going to do that!"

"My metacrisis? I left him on the beach by himself! There was no one else!"

Rose started to get angry again despite the fact she knew something was wrong. He couldn't completely deny her existence, could he?

"I was on the beach and just as you wanted, I married Jon and we had Josiah! You wanted me to have a fantastic life and that is precisely what I did." She nodded her head toward Josiah, never breaking eye contact with the Doctor. "He's as much your son as he is Jon's and if you keep denying my existence, so be it, but so help me, you will not dishonor Jon's memory and you will not deny your son's!" His nostril's flared with her anger and her breathing grew labored even as she banged a fist on the table to emphasize her point.

"Mum? It's's alright..." Josiah attempted to calm his mother even as he shot a glance toward the Doctor that, if it had been daggers, it would have pierced his hearts. Why couldn't he get it through his think skull? Mum was right here, flesh and blood!

Rose turned toward her son. "No, it's not alright, Josi! He should remember! You're becoming more of a Time Lord than your own father! We need the Doctor to remember so that you can be what you need to be." She turned away from the Doctor's shock and Jack's surprise and raised a hand to his cheek. "Don't you understand? Your father and I fought hard to get the means to get you here. We just didn't count on..." She couldn't continue; the sight of the burial was still to freshly inlaid in her memory. "The Doctor has to complete your training so that you can be who you're supposed to be. You and the Doctor are the only two Time Lords left. "

Rose's words finally broke through the wall of shock the Doctor had erected in his disbelief and spoke, his voice tinged with agony and frustration. "You know so much about me...why don't I remember you? That happened over a hundred years ago...."

Rose's eyes misted with unshed tears and she made a decision then, deciding on doing what she should have don't so long ago on Bad Wolf Bay. She gave her son's hand a final squeeze and without looking back, she got up to deliberately walk around to the Doctor's side, placing one hand on his cheek and the other she ran through his hair, letting her nails gently scrape his scalp in what was to her, a familiar gesture. She decided Bad Wolf desperately needed to make an appearance. She leaned down and lowered her face, not wanting to wait for his permission as she brushed her lips against his in the gentlest of kisses.

At first it was tentative, slow and delicate, letting her lips test the waters that were her first Doctor. She tried not to cry, tried to keep the memories of kissing her Jon at bay, knowing it would be harder and harder as she gave herself into the kiss. He tasted so much like Jon...

Without realizing what she was doing, a small yellow light started glowing where their lips met and she whispered against his lips, "Remember, Doctor, please remember, I've come so far..."

The Doctor gave a strangled cry as he reached up and pushed her away, braking their connection and closed his eyes. The memories that had been hidden so long came back in harsh, brilliant, sharp-edged visions of steel and coupled with the emotions they elicited, it burned his synapses. Rose was in every memory from grabbing her hand to the smell of her hair to their last moments on Bad Wolf Bay. He gasped as the memories washed over him around him and through him. When they were done wracking his emotional stability, he looked up into Rose Tyler's eyes and gave her a watery smile. This time it was of recognition and Rose's heart leapt to her throat.


Rose smiled back then, letting her tears fall as she heard the recognition in his voice. Only he and Jon could say her name that way.

"Yeah, Doctor, it's me. Hello."

Instead of saying hello back, he grabbed both sides of her face and drew her into his lap, the sight of her face was like water to his drowning soul. "Rose, Oh, Rose...I'm so sorry....You're home....oh, Rassilon, Rose..." and kissed her deeper and more soundly than he'd kissed anyone in his life. He held her precious body against his and refused to let go as memory after memory washed over him again. So much regret, too much time. He held Rose tighter as she broke his kiss and cradled him in her arms. She looked over his head at both Jack and Josiah, willing them to understand. Acceptance was written in Jack's answering smile but Josiah refused to meet her eyes. She could read his confusion and pain in the way he held his body and knew the stumbling block she feared threatened to trip her resolve.

"Josiah...he's as much your father as your Dad was..."

He looked up then and she knew she had won one battle and had another to fight as she saw defiance in his gaze. "He will never be my father. How could you do this? Bring us all this way for this? I want to go back! Everything I know is back there! This isn't fair!"

Rose was expecting this reaction and hoped she was as prepared for it as she could be. "Josiah, we can't go back, not for a while. Please, I'm not trying to replace your father, the Doctor is your father, genetically speaking of course, as much as your Dad was..."

"No!" He got up then and looked like he was prepared to run, but his fists he unconsciously balled at his sides started to glow golden yellow and seeing this new development, Jack backed up while still stilling in his chair, not knowing whether to stay where he was at or jump for safety. "Whoa there, Josiah! Rose, hello?"

With a final kiss to the Doctor's forehead, she got up out of his lap and stood there resting a hand on his shoulder, intentionally not moving toward her son; between the Vortex energy and his emotions in turmoil, his walls were up. Not a good sign. She kept her voice as gentle as possible. "Josi, stop. Look at your hands. Do you see what you're doing? This is the reason why we're here. As parents to someone as special as you are, a child that is part Time Lord and part Bad Wolf, we knew this day would come and we prepared for it, but we never counted on your own father dying. We were going to make the trip together, all three of us. I know you're hurt, but there's no other place to go. The Doctor is our family now...."

Unknown to Rose, the Doctor scrubbed his face with a sleeve and got up. Doing his best to pull himself together, he took a step around Rose so that he could face Josiah...his son. He had a son now who was effectively keeping them all at bay in a standoff, within minutes of arrival. Gods, how had it come to this?

"Josiah? I', so sorry...Please, I understand now what it cost you all...what you're father ultimately wanted. Uhm, can you at least, let me help? I have something called a Tardis..."

Josiah stood there and watched this man that was so much like his father and not, who seemed so much older than what he looked, pleading him to stay and he was torn. What would his father have said, what would he have done?

A few moments passed and the Vortex light winked out from his hands and let his shoulders droop, feeling defeated but not sure over what. "I've...I've heard of the Tardis. My father would tell me stories about flying in the Tardis...."

The Doctor's eyes brightened at this. "Did he tell you about the time we met Queen Victoria..."

Josiah looked up then and his eyes got wide and gave a half-smile. How many times had he heard this story? "And defeating the Werewolf?"

"And then we topped it all off by," the Doctor and Josiah then said in unison, "getting knighted! Sir Doctor of the Tardis!"

The Doctor looked back at Rose with a look that said, 'everything's going to be OK,' even as he smiled back at Josiah. He held out his hand then and offered to shake it but Josiah just stared at it, comprehending what the Doctor really wanted. He looked up into the Doctor's eyes and the coldness was gone. He could almost see his own father staring back at him. He took a deep breath and decided. He took a step forward, then another and stretched out his hand and before he could take another breath, he was being drawn into a hug. He could smell his dad's aftershave in the Doctor's lapel. He could almost believe he was home again. Within seconds, he could smell his mother's perfume and he felt her arms go around them both and was joined by another set of arms as Jack gave them a hug too.

Jack laughed. "From bondage to group hugs, I think we've made progress! Welcome home!"