She stood at the window, her hair longer than he had ever seen it before but still the same shade of rich, true brown that he remembered. She had put on a little weight, mostly muscle, and she leaned against the tall window frame, her back to him. His shoe squeaked quietly on the floor and she spun, fixing him with a furious gaze and picking up a dagger that rested nearby in the same breath. She was older than he had thought; he had intended to come a few months after their last meeting but it had clearly been longer. He cursed his bad timing as he smiled innocently at her.
“Long time no see, Perpugilliam Brown,” he spoke now in a Londoner’s accent to her ears, one that neither of the bodies he had worn while with her had used. Her eyes, still the same doe-brown, were wide with confusion and a hint of fear hidden underneath her defensive posture.
“Who are you?” she demanded, her gaze flicking to the other side of the empty bed.
He followed her gaze with a frown, seeing nothing out of place in the vast room. “It’s me. The Doctor.”
“No.” The dagger shook in her grasp, its point aimed at him even though he was across the room, a good ten feet away. “No, you’re not,” her voice wasn’t loud but it was intense and her eyes flicked to the other side of the room again before fixing on him. He looked at her carefully, trying to gauge how long he had been gone. She was still as beautiful as he remembered, all wide eyes and flawless skin, but she couldn’t be more than thirty, at the most. His best guess was about 25, meaning that she had been here for about six years.
“You asked me why I wore a celery stick,” he told her, his voice calm and even, “and I told you that it was because I was allergic to some types of gas. And the celery would turn purple in the presence of those gases.”
“And then you would eat it,” she finished for him, the dagger’s point lowering slightly as the animosity in her gaze faded to sadness. “What are you doing here?” she asked, surprisingly calm.
“I wondered… do you want to go home, Peri?”
She considered him for a long moment and opened her mouth to speak when a wail broke the silence in the dark room. She placed the dagger on the window sill again, rushing around the bed. The Doctor watched her move, blinking in surprise when she headed for what he had assumed was a bureau of some sort. She leaned over the edge and scooped up a crying child, shushing it gently with the practiced ease of a mother. She looked over at him and saw his confused gaze. “Yrcanos and I were married nearly six years ago,” she told him with a faint smile.
“I’m sorry,” he apologized, something this incarnation did too often.
She shrugged. “I know that I wanted to go home, but… I had nothing left on Earth.” She held the child, dressed in a white sleeper, against her shoulder and gave it a few firm pats to the back, making the baby still its movements with a contented sigh. “I wasn’t going to go back to my stepfather,” she spat the word angrily and he felt his hearts clench in sympathy, “and my mother died, remember? There was nothing there for me.”
“I didn’t leave you by choice, you know,” he told her seriously, still standing in the doorway. “The Time Lords pulled me out of Time. They told me you were dead,” his eyes shone with unshed tears. “They told me that your body had been taken over and that Yrcanos had slaughtered you.”
She smiled sadly as the baby’s golden head rested against her shoulder. “I’ve already forgiven you, Doctor. For a few years, I hated you so much… I forgive you, Doctor.”
He moved quickly, crossing the room and pulling her close, mindful of the child held safely in her arms. “I’m so sorry, Peri,” he murmured as his fingers tangled in her long hair.
“I forgive you,” she repeated as he pulled away.
“So, this is yours?” he asked, nodding to the baby.
“Ah, yes. This is Jamie,” she told him with a grin. “She’s five months old.” She easily moved Jamie off her shoulder and handed her to the Doctor with a sly smile.
“Jamie?” he echoed with a wide grin at the baby’s pretty face and enormous brown eyes, identical to her mother’s.
“Yes, after that nice Scottish boy I met once.”
“Hello Jamie,” he cradled her easily in his arms and she gurgled cheerfully up at him. “Yes, I do apologize for scaring your mother.” Jamie gurgled again and he looked sheepish. “I know that I shouldn’t be in here. Just don’t tell your dad.”
“Doctor?” Peri asked, confused.
“Oh, I speak baby,” he replied off-handedly.
“Very useful skill. Babies are quite observant you know.”
“Mom!” a voice cried and a pair of small feet could be heard pounding along the stone floors. Another child, this one with light brown hair and a wide grin, ran into the room, running right into Peri’s legs. “Mom, did Dad tell you about how I was the fastest on my horse today?” he asked before he spotted the Doctor holding his sister. His young face suddenly fell and he took up a defensive posture despite the fact that he was at most five years old.
“Dorf, this is the Doctor,” Peri placed a hand on the boy’s head gently. “Doctor, this is my son, Yrandorf.”
“Dorf was the man who was turned into a wolf, right?” the Doctor asked.
“Dorf was the bravest warrior to fight with my father,” Dorf said proudly. “I will do honor to my namesake by being the bravest warrior to fight for our planet.”
“The Doctor is an old friend of mine,” Peri explained to her son, smoothing his ruffled hair.
“The coward,” Dorf said with a nod, speaking far better than the Doctor would have expected a child.
“My friend,” Peri corrected.
Dorf relaxed his posture and fixed a glare on the Doctor. “Have you come to take us away?”
“Only if your mother wants to leave,” the Doctor stated seriously as he handed Jamie back to Peri. “I can bring you anywhere, any time. Just say the word, Peri,” he told her with a half-smile.
“I know you may find it remarkable,” she began, “but I’m truly happy here. Yrcanos and I are in love and I have two wonderful children. I couldn’t take them away from their father.”
He smiled at her, a wide, beaming smile and rocked back on his heels, his hands in his pockets, a gesture that made her heart pang with loss as he reminded her of a younger, blonder Doctor. “I’m happy to hear that.” He rummaged in his pockets for a moment, sticking his arm far further down than he should have been able to. “Aha!” he grinned in triumph and pulled a palm-sized cat pin from his pocket. He held it out to her, a pleased look on his face.
She stared at it for a long moment before she grinned. “I hated this pin,” she told him.
“That’s why I wore it.” She took it gently and his smile faded a little. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t keep you safe.”
“Who are you traveling with now?”
“No one, not now.”
Peri nodded, holding Jamie easily on her hip even as Dorf glowered at the Doctor. “You should get going before Yrcanos gets home.”
The Doctor blanched noticeably at that. “I’ll be off then. Goodbye, Perpugilliam Brown.”
Tears shone in her eyes in the half-light as she took his hand, holding it gently. “Goodbye Doctor.”
“It was nice to meet you, Yrandorf,” the Doctor said grimly before reaching into his pocket again, this time pulling out a small, flat dagger with a red jewel at the top of its hilt. “This is a weapon from Earth,” he explained as he knelt to look the boy in the eye. He could see Peri’s determination in the tilt of the boy’s chin and fought back a smile as he continued his serious discussion. “Now, this is designed to go in your sock, flat against your leg. It’s not a weapon for attack, though.” The Doctor’s brown eyes were serious as he peered at the young boy. “Keep this with you for the day you need it. You’ll know when that is. Keep it safe.” He passed the sheathed dagger to the boy and Dorf took it grimly, pulling it out of its sheath to examine it carefully. “Remember, it isn’t a weapon for attack. Use it when your enemies attack you as cowards do.”
“With traps,” Dorf said with a nod, respect in his gaze. “I will keep it safe, Doctor.”
“All times, Dorf. Keep it with you.” He stood and placed a hand on Peri’s cheek gently, noting her worry. “He’ll be alright,” he murmured. “He’ll be a great king.” His hand moved to Jamie’s head, stroking the baby’s fair hair gently. “And you, Jamie, be brave, just like your namesake. The dagger was his. But, for you,” the Doctor smiled as she watched his movements carefully, “I have a better present.” He reached into his pocket again and pulled out a glass ball about an inch in diameter that hung from a golden chain. “For when you need it,” he told her as he handed the necklace to Peri. “When the time comes, she’ll figure it out,” he explained. “Now, I should leave. I really shouldn’t be here in the first place.”
Peri frowned down at her son before looking at the Doctor again. “How do you know?”
“Time Lord,” he explained. “I’ve… seen what will happen. I came back to give you a choice, though. You can still make it.”
“No, Doctor. I’ll stay.”
He smiled sadly. “You know, I’m proud of you, Peri. I always have been even if I never said it.”
“I’ll miss you, Doctor.”
“I miss you,” he replied. He leaned forward and kissed Peri gently on the cheek before kissing Jamie on the forehead. He crouched down again, looking Dorf in the eye. “You keep your mother safe. And your sister. And rule to help your people.”
“I will,” Dorf said firmly as Peri held the glass ball. She gasped as it began to glow.
“She’ll figure it out, one day,” the Doctor assured her as he stepped away, headed out the door. He paused in the doorway, glancing back at them. “I’m sorry,” he muttered as he left the room in a sweep of his brown coat. His trainers squeaked on the floor and faded into nothingness.
“Goodbye, Doctor,” Peri whispered as Jamie wailed again.
Fifteen years later, Jamie was kidnapped and the glass ball had provided light and warmth on a frozen planet when she was left for dead, saving her life before her mother and father rescued her.
Ten years after that, Dorf was ambushed, unarmed, and used the dagger to save himself and his wife from those who wished to cast their country into chaos.
And the Time Lord Victorious took advantage of Time to save the children of the companion whose life he had ruined, twisting Time a little more, bending Her to his will. And no one stopped him.