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The Doctor looked affectionately at the twins. Actually having children had changed his perspective on them - and, he had to confess, though only to himself, on domesticity.

"Dada..." pleaded Delta, lifting beseeching brown eyes, so like her mother's, to his face. "Tell us a story."

He groaned inwardly. Most of the stories he could tell weren't suitable for children. "The Daleks!" chattered his son. "The one about the Daleks!"

"I don't like that one," pouted Delta at her brother. "'Cept when they all die, and it's safe again. The end makes it okay."

He sighed. They could never decide on what story they wanted. "Delta, it's your turn to choose."

She bounced up and down on the mattress. "Where mummy saves you! Tell us the one where she saves you."

He scratched his head. "Which one where she saves me?"

"The wolfie one!"

"Ah, that one. Okay. Once upon a time, there was a Time Lord in danger of his life. He had a beautiful companion, who he loved more than anyone or anything in the entire universe, but he never told her, because he didn't think she would return his love. He loved her so much, he sent her away... sent her to her family to be safe. He thought everything was at an end. It was one of the hardest things he'd ever had to do, sending her away. He desperately needed her to be there, because she was his strength. But he needed to know she'd be safe as well, die knowing that she was safe.

"So he sent her away in his TARDIS, thinking he would die, and never see her again..."

"But he does, doesn't he?" asked Delta, wide-eyed, knowing the story off by heart. It was almost a learnt dialogue, now.

"Yes," he smiled, softer than his normal grin. "She was strong-willed, and she loved him, but had never told him how she felt, not guessing that he loved her. But she couldn't leave him to die, so she did the one thing nobody should ever do." He paused for effect. "She looked into the Time Vortex!"

The children gave gasps of delighted horror.

"Yes, she looked into the Time Vortex, risked her own life out of love for him," he continued. "She reached him just in time, just as the Daleks were about to kill him. And she came out of the TARDIS, shining bright with the light of the Vortex, like an avenging angel, the Bad Wolf, and she destroyed the Daleks utterly, saving his life."

"What happened next, dada?" asked Delta, grabbing his hand just as her mother did.

"The Vortex became too powerful for her to hold on to. The Time Lord realised that she was dying, and that only he could save her, with a kiss, so he kissed her, and saved her life, pouring the power of the Vortex back into the TARDIS."

"Didn't he have to re-regenerate?" asked Omega, stumbling over the word.

"No, he didn't. Because when his companion woke up, back in the TARDIS, she remembered that he'd kissed her. And she realised he must love her, after all, so she kissed him to say goodbye, thinking he would have to regenerate. And the TARDIS used the link between them to heal the Time Lord, and to fashion in his companion a second heart where she could leave a part of her power, to keep them strong forever."

"What happened next? Dada?" asked Delta.

"Then they told each other that they loved each other, and lived happily ever after."

"But what happened next?" demanded Omega of his father. "After that?"

"Um..." How do I explain that to my kids?

He was rescued, once again, by Rose coming in. "Telling that tale again?" she laughed. "Come on, you two, it's time you were fast asleep. Settle down, now."

"But mummy..." began Omega.

"No," she said firmly. "Bed."

They were quiet for a few moments, until the irrepressible Delta piped up, "Dada?"


"Did they really live happily ever after?"

He grinned at Rose before answering. "Absolutely. Now go to sleep." He shut the door softly behind him.

"Delta's request?" she asked.

"You really think it would be Omega's choice?"

"Maybe not."

He put his arms around her, almost draping himself over her. "Remind me again where the nursemaid is?"

"You know very well Jack's having a well-earned break from enforced nannying."

"I'm knackered," he grumbled. "I can't think of any stories suitable for them. Delta always wants that one, Omega wants to hear about the Daleks. Or the Autons. Or the Cybermen. Or..."

Rose grinned. "So like his father. Cup of tea?"

He grinned back at her, eyes lighting up. "Fantastic."

Review "Domestic"

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