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Legacy - A "Belted Doctor" extra

Title: Legacy
Author: tkel_paris</lj>  aka KendraC
Rating: T (heavy angst, sadness, character death)
Characters: Jenny, River, Wilf

Summary: Wilfred Mott experiences something tragic, which places a massive burden on him that he can never share. At least, not with anyone of his time-frame...

Disclaimer: I'm just using the characters for therapy, since if I owned them, things would've been very different... And I wouldn't need to add a warning to have tissues at hand, would I?

Author's Note: A “deleted” scene from “The Belted Doctor.” It didn't fit with the tone of TBD, but it answers the questions raised by a few readers about what happened later in their lives. As well as the ones raised by the epilogue... Because I was keeping close to Cannon, this ending made sense... I don't like it, but it fit the scope of events.

I can't believe I saw him die... And yet, it's not... yet him...

Wilfred Mott had seen more than his share of death. And that didn't count his wife and son-in-law. Now he had another death to add to the mix – made all the stranger because he would actually see the person again later that day. As he knew him...

Having the Doctor be part of his family had gotten him used to strange events happening, and the whole deal that gained him an extra Donna was certainly weird enough. Today, however, he'd been found by a man with a face he didn't know – yet clearly knew him. When he said things that only the Doctor should know, then he suddenly saw the TARDIS. Standing outside of it were two women. One he immediately recognized as Jenny – albeit older than he knew her – and the other he needed to see smile before he realized she was a grown, mature Flumena.

Oh, that meant she was now known as River. He'd nearly forgotten that detail...

The three explained that something very bad was about to happen, and that he needed to come with them. Wilf saw the Doctor pull out his Psychic Paper and send a message to his younger self in the current day. Jenny said, quietly, “The family will be safe. We were safe on the Moon – albeit antsy from not knowing what was happening.”

Wilf followed this Doctor, as he was eager for a journey of his own – even though he had a very grim feeling about this one. When he asked about Donna, the utter sadness in the Doctor's eyes told him that – in this man's past – Donna was dead. The only comment he got was, “She made me very happy, Wilf. I'm just so tired and drained from being without her...”

Jenny and River went off on their own at the Naismith residence, claiming that they had to check other things out. They looked like they wanted to go with them, but knew that they couldn't. Wilf worried for them when all the people suddenly took on the Master's face, but the mad Time-Lord seemed – thankfully – oblivious to their presence. He continued worrying on the spaceship – a real spaceship! – as they waited. The Doctor assured him that, “Things will work out. I just haven't figured out how yet. My past – the future for your Doctor – proves it.”

The idea that this Doctor was preparing to die scared Wilf. He, like to many others before him, tried to protect the Doctor and stay to help.

In the end, it felt like he'd caused the Doctor's death. That was an unspeakable burden. He'd begged the Doctor to not save him, but his grandson-in-law just shook his head. “You live in my time-line, Wilf. You were there to see a number of my children born, to see Jenny get married. I have to save you. Please don't beat yourself up over this. I did my best to go on without Donna, but my family is suffering because I am. It's my time, Wilf. Know that it was the greatest honor and joy to be part of your family.”

Wilf had been unable to say anything. Not even when the Doctor went in and pushed the button. He watched as the radiation flooded the alien's body, the agony the man was in, and felt every scream in his bones. But he also, as movement faded from the Doctor's body, overheard one clear word muttered: “Donna...”

And then nothing. No more movement from the always moving alien... It was over.

He felt infinitely worse when Jenny and River rushed in, and stopped short at seeing his lifeless body. What he didn't understand was why – through the tears – they looked like they were expecting this. He heard River whisper, “I'm so sorry, Daddy.”

Jenny numbly scanned the body to confirm, and asked for help getting him into the TARDIS – which she sonic-summoned into the room. The three of them carried him out of his tomb and into his home, with heavy hearts.

The TARDIS disappeared before Mickey Smith ran into the room, looking for evidence of what happened. All he found was shattered glass from the ceiling, a broken system that wasn't putting out the radiation it ought to be, and other broken machines. He would always wonder why he thought he faintly heard the TARDIS engines, and why no one in the Doctor's immediate family ever spoke about it...

Inside, Wilf saw River use her own Sonic for something, aiming it at the Main Console, and then they continued to one room. He was stunned to enter a rich garden, filled with all sorts of things he'd never imagined in his dreams. He could also hear the whale song of the TARDIS filled with profound sadness – an agony that he'd never imagined one could hear.

They laid his body next to a gravestone with Donna's name on it. Several shovels and other equipment lay next to it. More tears came to Wilf's eyes at seeing the proof of his little General's mortality, and he couldn't read past her name.

But before he could ask questions, he heard other footsteps approach. He looked up and saw people trickling in – all with sad, mournful expressions.

What struck him was how much many of them reminded him of Donna, the Doctor, or both. A few even looked like near-splitting images of them. He realized that he was seeing their children from his future. “I summoned them,” River explained softly. “We set up a rendezvous point and a teleport system between the various TARDIS ships for this day. We knew it was imminent, and wanted to get everyone together in the shortest time-frame. You have no idea how hard that is to manage with this lot.”

Some of the others began to dig, allowing Jenny and River to pull Wilf aside while more people filed into the area. They sat on a bench, with him between his great-granddaughters. “We're sorry to pull you away,” Jenny whispered, “but since they're all yet to be born from your perspective, it seemed best to minimize your time with them. Even though they've all heard so much about you that they wish they could spend time with you.”

So I'm a constant source of stories for my great-children, Wilf thought numbly – but with a bit of pride seeping through. Through his teary eyes, he watched the grim scene before them and wondered aloud, “How many of them are your siblings?”

The girls managed big grins. “Quite a few of them,” River answered. “Despite frequently saving the universe – or just various worlds, Mum and Dad went into parenthood running. I think Mum would've had more, but her body finally got tired.”

Jenny snorted. “I think she finally had enough of being pregnant. You didn't hear the noises she was making about what she might to do Dad while our youngest siblings were inside her.”

River rolled her eyes. “When didn't Mum issue some threat toward Dad? I always thought it was just their thing,” she added with a twisted grin.

Jenny groaned, as if this were a topic she'd rather not discuss. She even put her free hand over her eyes, then ears, and lastly slapped the top of her head.

I saw nothing, I heard nothing, I know nothing. The silent translation was crystal clear, proving that age and wisdom didn't make some facts of life any easier for some to deal with. Wilf sensed that a subject change was needed. Curiosity gave him an idea. “So, who are the others? Companions?”

River's smile turned soft. “Sort of. Some are Uncle James and Aunt Donna Belle's descendents. Some are ours. Some are spouses, significant others... Nearly everyone here is family by blood or marriage. Those who aren't are either such dear friends that they're practically family, or they will be very soon connected by marriage. The very youngest are in the TARDIS nursery right now.”

That explained the youngest people in the garden, ranging in appearance from youngish children to teenagers. Who stuck together, somewhat aimlessly wandering around the various pants to stay out of the adults' way. So he was seeing those who would carry on his legacy, and his girls'. “So it's not so quiet anymore?”

“God, no,” Jenny murmured. “If we hadn't started growing new TARDISs early on, it'd be not just crowded but deafening. Gallifreyans are telepathic, so we're always having to boost our internal shields when we get together. Doesn't help that we all know which buttons to push to irritate each person.”

Wilf found a relieved smile. “Then your parents were happy together. How long did they have...?”

They looked oddly at him. “Are you sure you want to know?” River, of all of the children, always had the strongest instinctive understanding of the risks of spoilers. She often wondered why.

He nodded vigorously. “I need the reminder that, for all of what happened today, they will be... were all right.”

They understood. “They managed over 160 years together,” Jenny replied softly. “Mum almost made it to 200 years old before her body gave out. Dad kept looking for ways to gently extend her life, their time together. It was when it wasn't going so well for her, that she was suffering more than being helped, that he realized their end was coming and began to brace himself. He started aging almost immediately. I mean, he had gained laugh lines and such, but I'd never believed that a Time-Lord's hair could turn gray that quickly...”

River nodded, obviously recalling the moment vividly. “I think that was when the rest of us started grieving for both of them. We just knew that, although he would try hard to go on and carry out his promise to Mum, his days were numbered.”

Oh, my God... Wilf felt his heart break again. “How long did he make it? Both the Doctor I know, and then overall?” This knowledge could really hurt, but he needed to feel like he was sharing the burden.

Jenny sniffled, her eyes almost clouded completely. “Mum's last days were awful,” she whispered, crying over the agonizing memory. “She was bedridden, and Dad wouldn't leave her side. He wanted every last second he could have with her. We all gathered then, drifting through to say our good-byes to Mum. I've never seen him lose it like he did when she passed in his arms. I mean, I had a glimpse of it when I... died on Messaline, but this was so much worse. We had to eventually pry him away from her body. And apparently, his behavior was a magnified replay of when he thought I was gone: he couldn't handle the thought of putting her into the ground. But it was an Earth custom, and we had to do it; we'd been combining Human and Gallifreyan traditions into something new for decades.”

River continued the story. “After we'd... buried her, the Old Girl picked up a distress signal. Jenny, me, Dad... two other siblings, and one of our cousins answered. Things got very ugly, and our cousin nearly died. And he would have if Dad hadn't gotten in the way.”

Wilf could guess the next part. “It killed him, and he regenerated.”

Jenny nodded. “Similar story the next two times. All three times, the only other people who could've saved the day were me or River. And Dad wouldn't let either of us do it. I'm positive it was because he didn't want to see me die again, and... he didn't want to find out whether River – being more human than any of the rest of us – could regenerate.”

Wilf felt a hesitance in Jenny's demeanor, which only appeared while River was looking away at the progress – and it was as though she'd checked to make sure River couldn't see. He then remembered the story of the Library, and just knew that Jenny was protecting her sibling from the horrible truth of her future.

Just, he realized, as I will protect the Doctor from the events of today...

“Really,” Jenny added, “we never stopped loving him, supporting him. It was a little weird seeing a new face, new body, new personality... but we're Time-Ladies, so we got used to it.” She explained a bit about each subsequent self, with River adding details here and there.

“The Eleventh Doctor lasted just over eight years,” River continued, barely audible. “God, that version of him was ridiculous, but lovable,” she added under her breath, with a smile. “The Twelfth Doctor – himself a good man – turned into the Thirteenth four months ago. Next month would've been 15 years since Mum's death, but then... we all sensed it was time for him to cross his own time-line again, for the final adventure. The three of us – and the TARDIS – knew it was time to stop the Master... for the last time.”

“Remember that bus that slipped through a wormhole?” Jenny waited for the nod of remembrance before continuing the story. “One of the passengers was a bit psychic, and she told Dad something that scared him deeply. 'Sir,' she said, 'although I see you living for many years yet, your base song will soon end.' She added things about a man returning, and four knocks.”

Wilf sucked in a breath. He knew what that part had to mean...

River's head dropped a bit. “He and Mum had no idea what that meant. When that day with the Master passed without us being hurt, he managed to push that aside. Until not long after the last regeneration.”

Jenny sighed. “He threw himself into doing last little things for each person he ever considered a companion as a silent, unacknowledged thank you for all they did. Well, I guess living and starting a new Time-Lord race was how he expressed his thanks to Romana, but I think he might have crossed his own time-line again and dropped something with her. We didn't really want to know...”

Wilf guessed that “Romana” was someone from the Doctor's past, possibly an old girlfriend. He wanted to say that she must have been a Time-Lady. He still wanted to know who that woman was that he saw in that church, and who gazed at the Doctor with such sadness and... love.

The only other visit his girls wouldn't mention was the hiding-in-the-shadows visit to Rose Tyler. The knowledge of what she'd done had left bitter feelings in Jenny, which River absorbed as she copied her big sister in many ways. But that cold winter's night told them that she'd once been an innocent, romantic teenager. Donna's influence had allowed the Doctor to eventually let go of his anger, and remember Rose for the good things about her.

Jenny didn't deal well with learning that she'd gone too far. Another trait she shared with her father...

“When he finished,” River said, interrupting his thoughts, “with a brief visit to encourage Mum to take that job at H.C. Clemment's – and thank God that she never figured out who that stranger was because that could've made things really complicated, we went straight to find you. Because we always knew you were there at his end. At that point, Jenny and I knew we had to do something else; we just had the instinct that we weren't to be there, that it'd make Dad's job harder.”

Jenny swallowed before telling the next part. “When we headed back, seeing regular people again, we were stopped by the image of Ood Sigma, who knew Mum and Dad before they were a couple. He told us, 'The Ood are singing your father to his final sleep, to his reunion with your mother. His song may be ending, but his story will be sung forever.' We heard the song, and rushed to him as we could feel him dying.”

“You're never really prepared to lose someone,” River whispered. “No matter how much warning you get...”

One final question had to be asked. “So who was that dark-haired woman I kept seeing? The one in the church and then among the Time-Lords? I described her to you and your father nearly cried.”

River's already watery eyes spilled over. “His mother,” she choked out. “We could sense her just before the end. She told us she was proud of us all... and to carry our father's legacy onwards.”

Wilf, moved even more by the knowledge, then noticed that the burial was finished. Where there had been a hole in the ground, now grass was covering it again. The headstone had expanded. The trio walked over, and Wilf saw the new writing:

The Doctor and Donna Noble

Partners in “Crime” and Love

Wilf was confused. “Crime?”

Jenny laughed, a genuine laugh tinged with sadness. “A description of them from the Adipose Incident. That was an interesting story...”

Then some of the crowd backed away, and the rest formed a large, thick circle around the grave. Jenny and River joined it, and it seemed they all reached out to the nearest people to hold hands. Someone, Wilf couldn't be sure who, started singing in the most beautiful language he'd ever heard. Slowly, everyone else in the circle – including Jenny and River – joined in. A song filled with deep mourning, and yet... there was something else, too. Soon he felt the TARDIS reach to him and give him the translation. It was a celebration of two lives, their separate triumphs, and their shared journey.

He couldn't imagine anything more moving than that song...

Later, it was almost a reverse procession. Only each person came by and hugged Wilf. He lost track of how many called him “Great-Gramps” and who called him by his name. He also watched as people transported off, in small groups. One of the last groups, however, included a woman who called Jenny and River “Aunt,” but who barely held any resemblance to the Doctor. He waited until her group was gone, and Jenny was handling the remaining groups, to ask, “Who's Susan?”

River had a wan smile. “One of Dad's grandchildren through his first marriage,” she explained. “She was his first companion. Eventually settled on Earth and raised her own family, hence our ability to see her. She and Dad parted on... bad terms, but we ran into her and Mum helped them move past that.”

Wilf sensed the story was a lot longer, but it was hard enough to handle all that they already had. He supposed that they didn't want to bring up more pain than any of them absolutely had to deal with today. “So that's why she looks almost nothing like him.”

“Well, yes,” River admitted, “but his first self and tenth self did share some similar features. Though we've always found it weird that Jenny most resembles his fifth self. None of us could ever explain that. Or that some of the others hold some common features with other earlier selves.”

Wilf had one more question that he wanted an answer to. “What about... Lee?”

The smile turned somber, but the eyes were filled with fond memories. “He waited almost ten years for Jenny to grow up enough to be married. She wanted to be sure she was mature enough to handle it. Dad, of course, would've made them wait longer, but Mum backed Jenny, who wanted you there for her wedding – which proved that there wasn't much that Dad could refuse Mum.” She laughed lightly, lost in a memory. “He was an inspiration to me for what I looked for in a man; he sensed that she was worth the wait, and was such a lovely person.” Her eyes went very sad, as something else crossed her mind. “They got over 70 years together before a rare illness slowly killed him. Of course, he was lucky; my husband had a violent death during one of our save-a-world adventures. I'm still in agony over it, so I can't blame Dad for his reaction... It was afterward that my time-line was no longer in the same order as my parents' adventures.”

A beeping came from something River was carrying, just as the last group shimmered off. She checked the readout, and gave a small grin. “Oh, it's time for me to go home. Jenny, can you give me a lift?”

Jenny snorted – which sounded like a strange mixture of both of her parents – as River joined her at the Controls. “If I don't, you'll use that damned Manipulator, and I stand by Dad's edict that that won't ever be used inside a TARDIS.”

They continued like that, with some of the others helping them pilot. Wilf noted there were at least seven other people still in the TARDIS. All children or grandchildren of Jenny or River, if he wasn't being misled by their looks.

The landing was abrupt, seeming like the TARDIS herself was shaken to her core. Wilf didn't doubt it; any sentient being would be deeply attached to someone she spent over 250 years with – if he was recalling the stories correctly. The Time Family seemed unfazed, like bumpy rides were expected. River then sighed, hugged each of the other people, and then came over to hug Wilf tightly. “I wish we could've reunited under better circumstances, Great-Gramps,” she choked out.

He returned the hug, just as tightly. “I know, love,” he whispered. “I know.”

She broke the embrace reluctantly, and went to hug Jenny. They exchanged some silent good-bye, and then River left.

The silence afterward was stifling. Wilf didn't dare voice his thoughts, but someone else did. One of the younger girls asked, softly, “We're never going to see Nan again, are we?”

Jenny shook her head slowly, and was barely able to speak. “It'll soon be off to Darillium for her, and then... not long after... the Library.”

Oh, my God... Wilf felt his heart breaking further. His little soldier had, for all intents and purposes, lost two of her family today, and was losing a third for the second time. And was now the official matriarch of the family. The primary torch bearer of the Doctor's – and Donna's – legacy. What a burden...

Before long, Jenny had directed the TARDIS back to his day; they had to get him home before the rest of them returned. Wilf still had to ask, “You will be all right one day, love?”

Jenny smiled, sadly but genuinely. “Mum always said something particular whenever things got really sad: 'We go on. We live. We remember... What else can we do?'”

Wilf teared further; she was unconsciously sounding like Donna, and even some of her gestures were more reminiscent of her adoptive mother than her “single” parent.

Neither could find any further words to say; what else could be spoken? So they hugged tightly, for the last time – for her – before the final good-bye. He forced himself to walk out, but turned to give one final piece of love: “Carry on, my brave little soldier.”

He would wonder about the extra tears in her eyes, even as she smiled. Until he realized what he'd said to the younger her not long after...

Jenny couldn't close the doors right away; she needed to watch. She silently directed the others to increase the Perception Filter's strength, and to be quiet. She felt them come up behind her to join in on the view.

For the readiness with words that both of her parents had, she couldn't find anything that could cover the bittersweet feelings engendered upon seeing the younger TARDIS materialize. And as the family came out, one by one... it hurt her hearts so much to see the younger, living family. To see Nan well, Lee still brimming with energy (“Daddy,” her youngest daughter whimpered at the sight, and drawing a mutual hug), herself and River still so innocent, Uncle James supporting their pregnant – and rather anxious, she vaguely remembered – Aunt Donna Belle... and...

Mum and Dad... So much ahead of them then... So many memories to build...

She couldn't watch as her Gramps was reunited with them. Couldn't stand to see him whisper those same words to her younger self, or to see him nearly break her dad's ribs with a hug.

It was time to leave the past in the past... “Allons-y,” she whispered in tribute as she closed the doors.

She found that same resilience that both of her parents had in spades as she turned to face the family still present. She had to lead the way. “Right. Let's go find a planet and be magnificent for them all.”

They all managed small smiles of agreement. “Onwards,” someone said.

It was what they did, after all. They were the New Time-Lords: the brains and bodies of an ancient race, and the imaginations of a brilliant, young race fused together.

They would carry on the legacy of the Doctor and his beloved Donna Noble...



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 11th, 2011 06:50 pm (UTC)
So sad...*sniff*
But great to read about the long life Doctor and Donna and how much they loved each other.

Thank you for that chapter!!
Jun. 11th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
Re: So sad...*sniff*
Like I said, I didn't want to write it, but it was good practice for writing something unhappy. When my beta told me she was crying as she read it, I knew the story would work.

If you'd like to comment on your favorite parts, please let me know what they are. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
Jun. 11th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
Re-reading this, after what seems a long time, I'm surprised how much of an emotional punch it still has. Great work, love!!
And thank you for letting me read it in the first place. :D
Jun. 11th, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. Thank you for helping me with "The Belted Doctor." It wouldn't be nearly as good without your input. (hugs)
Jul. 28th, 2011 06:13 am (UTC)
Ah, this is painful and very sad, but it does tie up the series in a beautiful and extremely touching manner. I'm just glad that the Doctor had a long and satisfying life with Donna and that their legacy was such a powerful one. Beautiful!
Jul. 28th, 2011 11:49 pm (UTC)
Once again, an appropriate icon... You people with your paid accounts! ;D Anywoo... (dancer's bow in thanks)
Jun. 19th, 2013 10:56 pm (UTC)
Wow, seriously emotional story, certainly won't be reading that just any time!

Great chapter, and wrap-up for the series.
Jun. 20th, 2013 01:33 am (UTC)
Ah, well, not exactly a story I wanted to write, but it seemed like it needed to be. Anyway, thank you.
Dec. 29th, 2015 04:50 am (UTC)
This chapter just answered the question my comment in the previous story asked. Wow what a punch in the gut. I can totally imagine him going slowly mad without Donna there especially once the mate bond was snapped. His children would indeed hold him together but at the same time I could see them also becoming daily reminders of that gaping hole in his hearts, mind and soul. Thanks for writing that chapter and though it was downright depressing it was nice to see that they all did get a long happy life together in the end with tons of progeny to carry on their legacy.
Dec. 30th, 2015 06:05 am (UTC)
My thinking is that he DID go mad in canon. An incomplete bond combined with no family to restrain him is not good. I think I would write this differently now, because Donna would've prepared him much better to treasure the good times and carry on - in her memory. And the descendants would help.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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