Categories > TV > Doctor Who

Meddling with the Doctor

by DrT 2 reviews

Shortly after the events of ‘The Day of the Doctor,’ the Doctor receives a very unexpected message. Featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Clara Oswald, and a visit from an old ex(?)-enemy.

Category: Doctor Who - Rating: PG - Genres: Drama - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2014-06-19 - Updated: 2014-06-19 - 5893 words - Complete

5Insightful
Meddling with the Doctor

By Dr. T

Dr. Who and the characters of the Who-universe are owned by the BBC and their empire (although some aliens and perhaps characters are also at least partially owned by their creators).

*

Shortly after the events of ‘The Day of the Doctor,’ the Doctor receives a very unexpected message. Featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Clara Oswald, and a visit from an old ex(?)-enemy.

*
Note that the visiting Time Lord is based solely on his appearances in the TV episodes, and does not take into account any appearances in comics, games, novels, Big Finish productions, etc.
*

“Did the Curator find you?” Clara asked when the Doctor walked into the TARDIS. She knew he was often distracted, and must have a lot to think about considering all that had happened, but he was looking even more distracted than she had expected.

“H’mmm?” The Doctor looked at her blankly, as if trying to remember either who she was or why she was standing in front of him.

“Are you feeling alright?” Clara asked, with more concern showing in her voice than there had been.

Slowly, the Doctor’s attention focused. “Clara, some of the most important things I thought I knew, not just about the universe but about myself, things I thought were true for a third of my fairly long life time, have been shown as being wrong,” he pointed out. “I can’t say how I am feeling exactly, but these changes will take some time for me to sort out and rethink.” He frowned. “Time, my time, has been out of joint for some time now. In the early days after the Time War, I thought it was partially the weight of the decision I had made and partially the fact that the Time Lords were no longer actively cleaning up some of the time conflicts that arose when the wrong sort of people ended up messing up the time streams.” He moved to the console and idly dematerialized the TARDIS.

“The wrong sort of people?”

“Few beings sense distortions in time fields. Time Lords, by genetics, training, and exposure, are among the most sensitive. The less sensitivity a being has, the more chances of creating conflicts which cause major problems if they are involved in a time event of any kind. The greatest difficulty is, if you are directly involved, the less likely you are to be able to understand what is going on, especially if you aren’t the cause. And the less sensitive you are to such things, the more likely you are to cause a problem.”

“Is that what happened with that crack in time you told me about?”

The Doctor nodded. “Exactly. The Silence were the primary cause, but it took me so long to fully work it because I was directly involved. But like I said, even before that I felt time itself was off.” He frowned again. “It still is, although not as much as it was before. And . . . and I’m forgetting things.”

“Like?”

“Clara, I’m not talking about forgetting where I parked the TARDIS, I mean things like ‘the Great Intelligence.”

“You forgot about meeting it in London?” Now Clara was worried. He had told her a bit about that experience.

“Not Victorian London or your London of course, but in 1960s London. . . .” He frowned. “Or was it the 1970s? Anyway, nearly a thousand years ago in my person time stream, during my short first regeneration, I ran into the Great Intelligence twice, once in Tibet between the two world wars and then about forty years later. I have always remembered the constructs it used then. . . .

“Not snowmen or those awful . . . what did you call them? Whisper men?”

“No, it used constructs based on Yeti those times. But I forgot what the entity that had them built and controlled them called itself!”

“It was a long time ago for you, and well . . . you aren’t as young as you look.”

“I do feel old, but by Time Lord standards, I’m barely a third of the way through a typical life-span!” He smiled slightly. “Granted, I have run into numerous entities over the centuries which were disembodied, or at least non-embodied, minds, so perhaps I could be forgiven for forgetting the name, but still, I should have remembered.” He frowned again. “This entire regeneration, it’s as if time has been working against me.”

Clara was about to make a rebuttal when there was a knock on the door. She frowned. “Aren’t we, well, currently travelling?”

“Actually, we’ve dematerialized, but aren’t heading anywhere yet. We are in the midst of . . . possibilities.” The Doctor frowned. “Something similar happened a few hundred years ago. I’d hate to think I could be trapped the same way twice. Still. . . .”

The Doctor flipped the switch to open the outer doors, and as he expected, a small glowing cube flew into the console room.

“What’s that?”

“It’s a Time Lord messenger cube, and yes, I know there shouldn’t be any Time Lords wandering about to send me one. That’s how I got trapped the last time.” The cube displayed a series of symbols, and then a rapidly scrolling line of symbols. Finally, a small set of symbols pulsed on the surface.

“Well?”

The Doctor sighed. “There are very few Time Lords that I’ve personally known who I suspect might both want to be able to hide from me or other time lords and who could be able to do so. This could be from one of them. And he wants to meet me on Earth, which is safer than where the last message took me.”

“Which was where?”

“Outside the universe, into a very small pocket universe.”

“And where are we going?”

“To . . . I mean, if we go. . . .”

“I know that look, of course we are!”

The Doctor sighed. “Paris, sometime in the mid-1930s I believe.” He sent the cube on the console, and the TARDIS went ‘out of neutral’ and took them to their destination.

*

The door to a wardrobe opened, and the Doctor and Clara stepped out into what appeared to be a small guest bedroom. The Doctor wandered over to the window. “Make certain the door is shut, Clara.”

Clara turned, and her jaw dropped. After a moment, she found her voice. “Doctor!”

He turned, his mouth opened . . . and it stayed open.

The TARDIS door was shut, and as far as any human could have seen, there were merely two matching panels on the wall.

The Doctor walked over, his right hand running over both panels. “This is my TARDIS,” he said, as his hand ran over the right panel a third time, amazement in his voice. Then his voice hardened as he gestured towards the other panel. “This is somebody else’s.”

“Mine,” stated a voice at the bedroom door.

They turned and saw a fairly non-descript man in the doorway. About average height for Clara’s time, which made him somewhat taller than average for this period. He wasn’t obese, but he was thickset, middle-aged, and mild-looking.

“It’s been a long time, at least for me,” the Doctor stated tersely.

“Our time-streams should be fairly well-matched,” the stranger replied. “I am going by the name of Mortimer LaSalle in this time.”

“Shall I call you ‘Morty’?” the Doctor asked.

“I doubt I could stop you,” Mortimer replied drily. He turned his attention to Clara. “And your current fellow-traveler?”

“Clara Oswald,” Clara said simply.

“Pleased to meet you.” He turned to the Doctor. “We have much to talk about, even if for once I should do most of the talking. First, however, I must apologize for the second time we . . . encountered each other.”

“An apology? Only for the that second time?” the Doctor asked sharply.

“Yes,” Mortimer nearly snapped. “I will explain my actions the first time we met more fully than I could then, and you will see why you were not totally in the right that first time. And your leaving me stranded had very deleterious effects on my psyche. I was not totally in my right mind when I was rescued, and was further deluded and conditioned by the Daleks. While not fully responsible for my actions, I still should have known better than that. I went through a full healing regimen on Gallifrey after I was rescued the second time, which was by my employers.”

“Who were?”

“The CIA of course.”

That got a response from Clara. “What?”

“The Celestial Intervention Agency,” the Doctor told her. “They were a secret group within the Time Lord government – officially, the Time Lords rarely interfered. Unofficially, well, that’s what the CIA was for.” He looked at Mortimer. “You know, that’s almost believable.”

“It’s time for luncheon. Care to join me? I can start my explanations.”

The Doctor and Clara actually were very hungry, and agreed to go to lunch.

Mortimer lived on the top floor of a six storey building. The first floor housed a bistro, and it turned out Mortimer could get them a small private room to eat in. The Doctor still disliked wine in this regeneration, but had learned to tolerate beer when playing football in early 21st century Britain. While he had a beer with lunch of onion soup and part of a huge cheese plate, Mortimer and Clara split a bottle of Rose from the Loire and a large order of escargot, plus the cheese. Plus, of course, plenty of French bread for all three.

“In your terms, I was born a little more than fifty years fifty before the Doctor,” Mortimer told Clara. “So while I had heard of him, I didn’t know him at all and he didn’t know me.”

“True,” the Doctor agreed.

“Why had you heard of him?” Clara asked. The Doctor grimaced.

“Has he told you anything about our training at the Academy?”

Clara shook her head.

“We are tested as mere children. Those who pass are then given a solid by advanced education while we are still but children. With few exceptions, those who do well are admitted into the Academy in our equivalent of your late preteen years.”

The Doctor growled.

“I had nothing to do with your granddaughter being rejected,” Mortimer pointed out. He turned back to Clara. “We age very slowly from your point of view over the next hundred years or so. Those of us who are accepted into the academy and who are successful are expected to pass the basics over a fifty to seventy-five year period, and then take much of the rest of our original lives adding to our knowledge. There are actually a thousand subject areas covered in the Academy, and several hundred thousand sub-areas. Obviously, no one can cover all the sub-areas, and few ever try getting though all the major areas, at least in their first lifetime.”

The Doctor stopped eating and placed his elbows on the table and his face in his palms.

“We have to master the seventy-five basic areas and at least start on a hundred and fifty others in that first period. Only then can we be considered Time Lords. We have to have mastered five hundred before we are considered seniors. Most of us finish that at some point before the end of our first life. I, for example, mastered seven hundred and two, and had excellent levels well above the minimum in most of them. This is much better than most, but not really unusual either; over a quarter earn between six-hundred and seventy-five to about seventy hundred and twenty. Maybe three percent earn more than that. Your friend here usually scored the minimum in any given area, but there are two important caveats.”

Clara glanced at the Doctor, who maintained his pose.

“First, he generally got through each mastery exam on the first time, with a few exceptions. That’s fairly remarkable, actually. Secondly, he is the only the sixth Time Lord in the history of the Academy – and that history is nearly a billion years now – to have mastered all the fields – although of course not most of the sub-fields – in that first life time. In fact, he is the only one to have done it in over four hundred and eighty thousand years.”

Clara looked properly impressed.

“So for that reason, and the fact that he and his granddaughter left in an old stolen time capsule. . . .”

“Time capsule?” Clara interrupted.

“TARDIS is an acronym my granddaughter coined shortly before we left Gallifrey,” the Doctor explained. “It did catch on I understand, but not all Time Lords, especially older ones, would use it.”

“Any way, that’s how I knew of the Doctor,” Mortimer finished. “Most Time Lords have some specific area of research they are primarily interested in. The Doctor’s was field work, gathering the primary information on societies others of us used. I was interested in changes in the time stream, and how those changes might, in a sense, fix themselves in some way. I generated a great deal of information and theoretical papers, which brought me to the attention of the CIA. Immediately after my first regeneration, I continued my work, but for them, and was given a time, err, a TARDIS and sent out to do field work on the major problem.”

Clara looked interested and looked at the Doctor.

“You wanted to know how to get around fix points in time,” the Doctor stated, almost in an accusing voice.

“We wanted to define those points more clearly, and yes, determine which, if any, could be gotten around and how,” the other Time Lord acknowledged. “I had studied them and broken the idea of the ‘fixed point’ into thirty-seven categories before my first regeneration. Seventeen of those I knew no one should ever try and get around. Thirteen, I felt needed to be left alone at least until more data accumulated. Seven, however, I was going to test.” Having finished his escargot, he poured himself a bit more wine.

“I in fact tested them, and found that they could, in fact, be gotten around if it was done very carefully and with careful application of at least a bit of temporal energy – that is,” he added to Clara, “someone like a Time Lord had to be involved. Someone without that connection, who was merely caught up in the event, like I believe the Silence was in some of your friend’s somewhat recent activities, would merely cause more problems, as, indeed, they did.” He turned back to the Doctor. “Those findings would be used to send your first and second selves to help your second regeneration deal with the Omega crisis. It was ignored when they sent your third regeneration off to try and destroy the Daleks – at that point, having so interacted with the Daleks, no Time Lord, and especially not you, could have successfully done so. Even trying was contravening one of the seventeen points that even I at my most insane wouldn’t have tried. However, by then the Time War was becoming more than just possible, and some people must have been desperate.”

“I had wondered about that at time,” the Doctor acknowledged.

“Your sixth regeneration’s use of the Hand of Omega against them fell into one of the thirteen ‘we would need a lot more information on these situations to before even thinking of trying this crazy idea’ category,” Mortimer pointed out. “You of course didn’t know the details, but you should have been warned by those who did – you damaged the Daleks, but there was really no way you could ever destroy them, then or in the future. Your timelines are far too intermixed for you to ever completely destroy them, even if you can still stop their immediate plans. Of course, the Time War was getting even more likely, and our leaders were even more desperate. The loss of Borusa to his nearly insane ambitions probably made them even more frantic and even careless. On the other hand, if you had stayed and used the Hand at the point in your first life when the CIA wanted you to, before you had directly interacted with the Daleks, there was a seventy percent chance you would have succeeded, and there never would have been a Time War, at least not with the Daleks.” There was always a possibility that the lack of Daleks in history could have created a situation where some other race would have acted in a similar manner, or even worse.

The Doctor winced. “I don’t think I wanted to know that.”

“Well, it was a seventy percent chance,” Mortimer replied. “There was a ten percent chance it could have made thing incalculably worse.”

“That doesn’t help very much,” the Doctor retorted.

“As for me and the Doctor, I was engaged in my experiments when he came across me.”

“You were trying to stop the Norman invasion!”

“No, I was trying to stop Hardrada’s invasion,” Mortimer retorted.

“But that was stopped!” Clara protested.

“At the Battle of Stamford Bridge, but the fact that William of Normandy’s invasion followed so quickly, when King Harold’s forces were more than half the country away, are accounted as major factors in William’s victory,” Mortimer pointed out. “The question was, at what point would history have sorted itself out?” He glared at the Doctor. “It would have, you know. Perhaps by Harold being killed in any event, or perhaps in any number of ways over any number of years.”

“You can’t know that,” the Doctor argued.

“I can, and I can supply you the research, including application of the principles by myself and others on other planets,” Mortimer retorted. He snorted, and then added, “Of course, the most obvious solution to the time conundrum didn’t occur to me then, but only well after our second encounter.”

He again turn to Clara. “As I said, I was not fully sane at that point, and was again stranded by the Doctor. I realized after a time I was not really mentally competent, and forced my second regeneration, which restored my sanity, and allowed me to call for rescue. I was in therapy for a few years, but I had already found my answer for why I failed in my first encounter, although it meant I had made an error.”

The Doctor frowned, but then said, “You said time itself would restore the timeline in some way. I was that way.”

“You were, probably because you were already so involved in the timelines of this planet. It turned out that my method for this particular problem really works best on a planet where no Time Lord has interfered with the time stream earlier on, and that is certainly not true of this planet, even discounting you.”

“Couldn’t you have explained what you were doing?” Clara asked.

“The CIA would have come down on him very hard,” the Doctor responded.

“Worse, they have ways of keeping you silent about working for them, and I was under them at the time,” Mortimer gripped. “I think the stress of dealing with you without being able to give you the information to shut you up and make you go away did more to snap my reason than being stranded by you.” He turned to Clara. “So, in a nutshell, that is my relationship with your friend, my dear.”

“So how are you here?” the Doctor asked in the mild voice that Clara knew meant he was both angry and of course seeking the information needed to end a problem.

“Like you, I fought in the Time War,” Mortimer replied. “Unlike you, I believe, I lost a regeneration in it, which still put me ahead of many others – at least I was able to regenerate.” He made a face. “Pity; I have to say that was my favorite regeneration in terms of my self.”

“And I suppose I was to blame for that?” the Doctor nearly snarled.

“Not at all, at least so far as I know,” Mortimer retorted. “In any event, I was seriously injured, and would certainly regenerate in a year or two, but I was fairly useless as I was. Normally, I would have been forced to regenerate, but there was enough instability that there was a good chance doing so would kill me. And I was always a better researcher than a fighter. So, I was given a different TARDIS – the one I used to have was taken away from me when I returned to Gallifrey, and I used one of the small War Capsules in the War – my current one is a late model research unit. I was told to research what the War was doing to the universe’s time streams for two subjective years. Fifty-four days before I would have returned with my report, you ended the Time War.”

“But. . . .”

“But I should have been swept up in the Time Event Horizon, like the other Time Lords outside of Gallifrey? Other than you, I mean, since you were protected by the Moment. If I had been in this Universe, I would have been,” Mortimer agreed. “I wasn’t. I was not viewing events, I was viewing the eddies in the Time Stream.”

The Doctor blinked at that. After a moment, he said, “That is amazingly advanced work.”

“Analyzing it is, gathering the data is merely boring,” Mortimer pointed out. “I was doing a bit of analysis, but I admit, most of the analysis needed was more than a bit above my head.” He gave the Doctor an ironic twisted smile. “Above yours as well.”

“Probably,” the Doctor agreed. This was the most advanced Time Research, and few except the elite, and even then the elite after a few regenerations of background research, were capable of doing such work, let alone advance it. After a moment, the Doctor asked, “Were there others doing that kind of work?”

“Did others do it during the War? Certainly. Were any doing it at the moment you used the Moment?” Mortimer gave a very Gallic shrug. “I don’t know. When it happened, I had no idea what was going on. I returned to the universe, having engaged every bit of stealth technology my capsule had – and it was made for stealth, to avoid being detected by Daleks, time agents . . . or Time Lords not currently part of the CIA.”

“Ah,” the Doctor said, understanding why he had not detected his fellow Time Lord. While he had worked FOR the CIA, often under protest, he had never been a member of the CIA. The advanced nature of Mortimer’s TARDIS must have allowed him to spy on the Doctor since the Time War.

“Exactly. When I am within five kilometers of my capsule, you can only detect me if you are within a hundred meters or so. And if I am within a hundred kilometers of it, you would have to be on the same planet at the exact moments of time I was away from it. As I have not been further than about twenty kilometers from my capsule, you could not possibly detect me. Now, for you, your excursion with your other selves and the Moment has just ended, even if it’s been almost four hundred years since your ninth regeneration. It’s been almost the same length of time for me since the Time War ended, and for most of it, I have been studying you.”

“But not interfering?”

“Absolutely not! I couldn’t interfere with even tertiary time points in this messed up universe, let alone contacting you before now! That would have been a disaster. I could only hope that you were able to survive the changing time eddies and get to this point. Any interference with that could have destroyed time!” He gave the Doctor a dirty look. “And considering some of what you did, or at least what happened to you and around you, there were more than a few close calls, both to you and to time itself, even discounting what would have happened if you had not survived to work with your other selves and the Moment.”

“And you observed all this from Earth?” Clara asked.

“Oh, no! I was ensconced on a lovely little planet, not unlike this one, where, as best I could determine, no Time Lord or Dalek had ever been,” Mortimer answered. “I needed an uncluttered observation post. I only came here in 1920, as I only had an approximate point in the time stream for this Doctor to interact with the Moment. When our times matched, he was contacted automatically and directed to the proper point in my time stream.” He glanced at the Doctor. “If you had not shown up by July, 1939, I would have had to have tried setting up a different life.”

“And what is it you want?” the Doctor asked.

“You will be facing a crisis soon, as great as any you have ever faced. I would be surprised if you did not already know that to some degree, despite just having gained back your knowledge of the Moment. You know the Time Lords will try and return. I need to talk to you about that. Would you prefer to talk about it before or after you have reviewed my data?”

“What aren’t you telling me now?”

“How much do you remember about your last encounter with the Master?”

The Doctor paused, and then admitted, “Not a great deal. It’s all rather a jumble, but it was when I last regenerated.”

“You were dying, but there was about twelve days between the last time you saw the Master and your actual regeneration.”

The Doctor thought about that. “I did somehow revisit a number of my old companions,” he admitted, “but that’s pretty much a blur as well.”

“Gallifrey is still interfering with you and your mind,” Mortimer claimed. “Review my data and see what you can get from your own databanks. Try and remember; it could be important.”

“Could be, or is?” Clara asked.

“Could be,” Mortimer answered simply.

“How long do you think it would take for me to go over your material?”

“I’m not sure,” Mortimer replied. He dug into his jacket inside pocket and pulled out a little device. “If I press this, the data will transfer. It will take you some time; however, you can take all the time you want. My capsule will also have implanted a pairing with your TARDIS, so that only three hours will have passed for myself and your friend here.”

The Doctor thought a moment, and then agreed.

*

The trio returned to Mortimer’s apartment. He was living as an artist, and Clara would pose for him as they waited for the Doctor. As he sketched her, Mortimer asked, “Do you have any questions I can answer?”

“How complicated is all this time-streamy/timey-whimey stuff?” she asked, making certain she did not otherwise alter her pose.

“’Timey-whimey’? One of the Doctor’s technical terms, I take it?” Clara only snorted. “It’s dangerous and complicated. As I said, it would have been even more so before the Doctor, this Doctor, had his involvement with the Moment. I needed to be certain that the interference was originating from Gallifrey within the time bubble and not from the Moment. That clarified within seconds of Gallifrey being trapped and the power exerted on this Doctor by the Moment faded.” He paused, his pencil stilled as he thought. “Actually, the Moment was exerting some of the interference until that point. That might have gotten the Doctor through some of his adventures, especially parts of his work on the crack in time. However, the most powerful interference from the time he fought with the Time Lords right before his last regeneration. . . .”

“He fought with the Time Lords then? How?”

“Please put your right shoulder back into position, dear girl. He never mentioned it?”

“No.”

“He probably lost most of the details due to the interference.” He carefully tore the page out of his sketchbook. “Would you like to try another pose?”

“Sure. I’ve been asked to pose by a few artists. You’re the only one not to ask me to take my clothes off first.”

“I’d be happy to sketch you that way, but I rather think it would make the Doctor cross.” Mortimer’s smile twisted. “Trust me, I do NOT want to be on his bad side again.”

“You don’t like him, do you?” Clara thought and struck a provocative but more comfortable pose.

“No, I don’t. We are not a noble race; we are arrogant, pig-headed, vain, and sanctimonious when we are at our best.” He paused, and then continued more softly, “No, that is not totally accurate. We Time Lords are all those things and more. The average people of Gallifrey are more intelligent than humanity, and a bit more emotionally stable – they have to be in order to deal with regeneration. Those of us selected to be Time Lords, especially those of us from old Time Lord Families, are all arrogant and self-centered. And the Doctor is from one of the Original Families. Even if you believe his arrogance and ego fight for good or truth or justice or whatever, he is essentially a Time Lord in his hearts.”

*

At the end of the three hours, the Doctor rejoined the other two. Clara could see he was tired and upset.

“You saw the problem?” Mortimer asked.

The Doctor merely nodded.

Mortimer turned to Clara. “The Time Lords were able to interfere with the entire life-stream of one our own, creating numerous time paradoxes. Some of those affected the Doctor, and this planet, in fundamental ways. They used this Time Lord, who calls himself ‘The Master,’ to try and bring Gallifrey out of the time bubble.”

Clara turned to the Doctor. “I thought you told us you didn’t know about that? That you didn’t know about these things because of the Moment and other interference?”

“I did and I didn’t. The knowledge of Gallifrey being in the bubble was mostly suppressed. That’s in part why I was so confused when I was confronting them, and in part why I have been so confused this entire regeneration.”

“And that’s why I had to contact you,” Mortimer stated. “You had to remember the confrontation with Rassilon .”

“Who?” Clara demanded before the others could move on, leaving her further behind.

“Rassilon was one of the founders of the Time Lords, who somehow managed to make himself immortal,” the Doctor answered. “I ran into him in my Fourth regeneration, and thought he was one of the, well, good guys.”

“He is not evil, but his first goal is the preservation of Time Lord society, above anything else,” Mortimer retorted. “I can’t prove it, but I believe he was directly or indirectly behind the CIA all along.” He tossed down the sketchbook he had still been holding. “Do you understand the dangers?”

“The Time Lords will be back. I don’t have to look for them, they know I am the key to releasing them in some form or another,” the Doctor answered.

“Exactly. The question then arises, which Time Lords would you be releasing, or at least being asked to release? The Time Lords immediately after you trapped them in the Time Bubble? Or at least before Rassilon tried to take over the Earth?” That information made Clara blink. “I assure you, that would create a time paradox that will crack time more than what the Silence did.”

“I saw those equations,” the Doctor replied. “I’ll study them some more, but I didn’t see anything wrong with them.”

Mortimer bit off his retort to that, but instead went on, “Or they could be the Time Lords that you bested. The question then would be, who is in charge? Rassilon? The Master? Someone worse than either? Some other faction if Rassilon was overthrown and the Master captured? You may or may not remember, but from what little I saw it looked as if nearly the entirety of the Colleges backed Rassilon! There may not really be many of what you might wish to call ‘the good guys.’ You know better, at least now, than to go charging in as you usually do. Whatever your faults, and I think you have many, at least you try to do what’s best for the universe.”

“Thank you, I think,” the Doctor retorted. “You know, there is another consideration.”

“What’s that?”

“You obviously know the Dalaks were not destroyed either.”

“Unfortunately true,” Mortimer agreed.

“If they find out about Gallifrey being released. . . .”

“The Time War could restart,” the other Time Lord agreed. “However, if either Rassilon or the Master is in control, I doubt that will be the main problem you, or the universe, has to worry about.”

“Not you?” the Doctor asked.

“No, not me,” Mortimer replied. “Within a few weeks, I will be gone, not only from this planet but from this universe.”

“Why run away?” the Doctor demanded.

“I don’t have your luck, or your burning desire to save people, at least not at your scale,” Mortimer retorted. “I know of a nice little universe with at least three planets I can blend into. No, I will not restart my experiments, and I will only interfere if there are any time incidents. I am barely sixty years into my fourth regeneration; I’ll have plenty to do and would prefer doing them without having to worry about crossing paths with Daleks, the CIA, the Master, Rassilon, or you, especially if two or more of those are in conflict.”

Considering their past, the Doctor could only blame Mortimer a bit.

Mortimer stood and handed Clara two of the four drawings he had made. He handed a third to the Doctor. The one with Clara posing topless he was keeping. He again pulled out the small device and pressed it. “All my experimental data have been downloaded to your TARDIS, Doctor, as well as the other data I collected. If Gallifrey is ever restored, it may prove more than a bit useful.” His voice became a bit wistful. “I doubt it can be truly restored, considering Daleks, Rassilon, the Master, and who knows what or who else, but despite the odds, I have learned not to bet against you.” He glanced at Clara. “Would the two of you like to see my work before you leave? I can also offer dinner afterwards.”

The Doctor understood why ‘Mortimer’ would be leaving. He didn’t fully approve, but he understood. And, if Mortimer was telling the truth about leaving, he understood why he wanted the Doctor to view his work and stay for dinner. Time Lords were usually aloof, even amongst themselves, but that was different from being alone. Whatever friends, even loves, Mortimer might have in another universe, it wouldn’t be contact with another Time Lord.

The Doctor understood being apart from his kind. “Dinner would be fine . . . Mortimer.”
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