At the top of the month, I released Hell Bent-Another Fanedit, which I said would be the first of two projects that made use of the ending of ‘The Husbands Of River Song’, this is the second of those projects, an ideal jumping off point for Peter Capaldi fans (I do like Jodie and series 11 and 12 aren’t nearly as bad, problematic for their preachiness yes, but not unbearable to watch)
It’s December, that means Christmas, that means Doctor Who.
…Or rather not, as the Beeb have once again stuck it on New Year’s Day where it will be demolished by families having hang overs and Coronation Street.
So what do we do in the meantime? Well, good news, today, on the 1st of December, and then on December 25th, two unique edits are coming your way….as both have the same ending.
I was never a big fan of series ten of the show, despite it being a firm favourite with the majority of the Capaldi era’s fanbase, and I often though the immeasurably flawed but criminally underlooked ‘Hell Bent’ would have made for a worthy conclusion to both Moffat and Nu Who’s run at the top . Series 9 to me is my third favourite series of Nu Who next to series five and four…it’s sole issues are the dire Girl Who Died and Husbands of River Song
Ah, but that ending of ‘Husbands’…that ending is perfect. A sublime cap to the ongoing frustration that was the Doctor and River Song’s love story, if only they had The Doctor say ’26 years’ instead of ’24’, and if only the Beeb had waited 26 of those years before relaunching the show afterwards!
So for this edit of Hell Bent, my third such attempt at a take on the series 9 finale, all I’ve done is alter the very end so after Clara and Ashildr drop off The Doctor, he heads off to the singing tower on that fateful date with River, with a couple of additional trims to leave out Nardole and the other guy.
As for which episode will use the ending a second time…well, come Christmas Day 2020: The Doctor Falls No More!
Coming to both the Planet Mondas Discussion Forum and this very site. A collection of short Doctor Who stories written entirely by me. Some are prior works, and some are brand new to the collection.
I hope to have it drop on December 23rd or 25th
- Meet Me At The Station
- Intermission Impossible (NEW)
- Keep Your House In Order
- Forever Late Than Never
- The Man I Was
- A Good & Beautiful Fairy (NEW)
- In Service of the Daleks (NEW)
- Wheezing, Groaning Sound
- Count The Children
- How The Snake Was Released From Its’ Tail
- Good Men
- Vanity Issues
- That New Familiar Feeling (NEW)
Just thought I’d pop one out here after reading a Radio Times article on where Dawan’s Master fits in the chronology. The first words spoken by The Doctor come from the annual, and I figured it’d make for a good self-prompt, so having not read the annual, I challenged myself to finish the conversation
Under a charred orange sky brimming with ashes, The Doctor stood in the ruins of Gallifrey, The Doctor asked her old friend and many-a-time foe of the last time they understood one another.
“You looked quite different the last time I saw you, I quite liked you as Missy. At least she wanted to change, to be a better person.”
“She spent too long in your company, Doctor,” The Master, architect of the last great destruction of Gallifrey, replied, “A mistake I don’t intend to repeat.”
“Why? Because it may calm all the rage?”
“Maybe. Not telling you”
Frustrated, The Doctor’s thoughts swiftly turned elsewhere, she looked out into the distance, she could see something faint in the distance just beyond the perimeters of the capital. She smiled. There was always hope to be had, provided you use your eyes.
“My place?” she asked.
The Master chortled.
“You never knew your place”
“Is that supposed to have a double-meaning now I’ve had an upgrade?” asked The Doctor
The Master didn’t respond, he looked back at the shattered dome of the great Gallifreyan citadel, attempting to place upon his face a mask of proud accomplishment.
“Come on, my place. You left it standing”
“How thoughtful of me”
“Yeah, well, probably the only clear thought that came into your head when acting out this deed”
She offered her hand to The Master, he hesitated.
“What makes you think your place is where I need to be? Even after seeing all this around you?”
“Do you remember Harold Saxon? Do you remember the year that never was? Where you plagued humanity with a brutal, quasi-omnipotent rule? Do you remember what I said? Could you bear it at the time? Can you bear it now? What did I say? What did I do?”
“You forgave me” The Master whispered, holding back a faint tear.
“And then you held me”
He looked back at The Doctor, her eyes matching his in urgency, in sincerity. Here, there was no such thing as malice, or hatred, or even the blight of disappointment, here there was only concern, there was a yearning to understand.
This was love
“Let me hold you. Again, just once, one more time, there is a rage inside of you and I don’t know if I can stop it this time, but if there’s any part of you that enjoyed my company as Missy, that relished the very notion of redemption, and if you have any secrets that need sharing, then for my sake, for your sake, don’t hide it behind a campaign against the universe, embrace it in a quiet, private place in the universe. Share it with me, without a cross word before, not a cross word after, without any hesitation. Whatever it is, I forgive you. Always”
“It’ll hurt, trust me, it is going to hurt” The Master warned.
“Whatever hurts me can sting only once, from there we’ll heal. Together”
The Master reached out and gripped her hand tight.
Together they headed over to an old, well worn hut.
There they made everything better.
There, by some miracle or another only their bond could achieve, they calmed all the rage.
Prompt: Date Night Preparation
Yasmin Khan couldn’t believe the state the TARDIS console room was in. More to the point, she couldn’t believe she had taken time out of her day off to check in on her friend and mentor as she fumbled her way through the TARDIS wardrobe, leaving piles of discarded clothes laying across the floor, some had even found their way onto the centre columns.
Yaz gasped as her keen sense of smell starting picking up whiffs of something burning, she kicked aside some fur coats to reach the source of the smoke that was forming.
The Doctor’s head peered out the small changing room, catching a glimpse of Yaz’s activities.
“Here, careful with that, they’re the latest fashions from Spyradon” The Doctor spoke,
“You’ve left the iron on. Again, it’s burning a hole in one of your shirts”
“I know, it’s all by design, brilliant isn’t it?”
“No it’s not brilliant, that’s a perfectly fine looking shirt and it’s ruined now, what were you thinking?”
“Depends, I do a lot of thinking, like whether or not Graham’s kept his sights on the schedule”
“And what do you mean by that?” Yaz asked, her arms folded, tapping one of them with an index finger rather frantically. Her patience running thinner and thinner.
“Tell me he knows when the Hatton Road bus is due?”
“7: 39…and no, Doctor, that’s not in the morning, how many times have I told you not to go by military time?”
“I can’t keep count of those times, they slip in between the cracks of history, I stick more closely to those”
“Doctor, he’s not going to forget the schedules. He used to be a driver remember? He keeps tabs on all the timetables, even now; it’s a hobby between him and his mates”
“It’s just; we’re doing this all his way this time, no reliance on this old snog box”
Yaz broke out into an uncontrollable giggle.
“That one didn’t come from me, it came from a friend, and it’s quite a fetching title at this stage in our little drama together” The Doctor replied.
“You shouldn’t treat your dates like they’re a constant drama” Yaz insisted.
“Everything in my life is a drama, I’m not wired to think any way differently…life is so rich with complexity, even the simplest things follow convoluted rules and restrictions…take this restaurant we’re going to, yeah? Black tie…where am I going to find a tie at such short notice? A chap called Turlough wore out pretty much all of them back when he travelled with me. Only time he didn’t have any on was when he headed off back to Trion”
Yaz shared with her friend some words of wisdom, which she had meticulously formed during this phase of The Doctor’s ranting. Perhaps being around her for so long had also helped piece together both the right temper and fluidity of this advice.
“Everything is a process, the point is to enjoy yourself when you sort all that out, then you can look back on all this worry, all this drama if you will, and laugh about it with Graham when the two of you have dinner. Drama makes good conversations, you’ll be at it all evening, trust me”
The Doctor emerged from the dressing room chambers, Yaz reacted with some surprise, she also felt like she shouldn’t be all that shocked, but her mind was drifting more in favour of the situation presenting itself within an hour’s time for the Doctor and Graham.
“Are you…are you really going out like that?”
“Why? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing it’s just…so typically you. I thought you’d strive to be a bit more…feminine for once, you know, so you wouldn’t have to worry so much about black tie”
Yaz’s phone started ringing; she took a moment to answer it.
“Hello? Yes, oh…oh of course, yeah, she’ll be on her way shortly. Just for FOMO, what’s exactly the time right now? 6:55? And is the schedule still good for you two? Yeah, yeah I see…ok, not bad, I’ll let her know. Yes…yes, I know she has a time machine, that doesn’t mean she keeps track of any on odd occasions”
Yaz switched the phone off and turned back to The Doctor.
“That was him?” The Doctor asked.
“That was him, don’t worry, if you make it to where he is, you’ll be early” Yaz assured her.
“What did he say about the schedule?”
“The bus will be running two minutes late”
The Doctor punched the air with a sense of triumph.
“Ah, so the schedule couldn’t keep track of HIM, that’s better, I like it when time becomes your enemy, gives you another reason to head on out there and make yourself it’s master”
Yaz rolled her eyes.
Fifteen minutes later, The Doctor announced her arrival at Graham O’Brien’s house with a firm knock on the front door. Graham swiftly answered, and, to the Doctor’s delight, she found him wearing a most fetching tuxedo, a velvet black tie tucked into his coat.
To his own surprise, he found The Doctor was wearing a matching tuxedo and shirt
“Here I am, all good and proper. Shall we?”
Graham gave the Doctor a little bit of the soft-shoe shuffle at the door.
Graham also noticed The Doctor’s bow tie looked somewhat displaced
“Your bow is looking a little crooked there; here let me sort you out”
His hands reached out to adjust the bow tie, the Doctor allowed him, humming a couple of musical notes to herself, all slightly out of key, but in her head sounded like blissful release…relief from all that earlier pressure.
“Mind asking me what compelled you to grab that?”
“You said it was black tie. Couldn’t find one lying about the place, figured the coolest thing I could find would suffice”
“Well, who am I to argue? We’ve all got to bring a little flavour to a restaurant”
The Doctor giggled.
“There, good as new” he said as he finished adjusting the bow tie, poking The Doctor on the nose with the tip of a middle finger.
The Doctor tucked in her lip and closed her eyes briefly, allowing herself to revel in the ever decreasing pressure. Around Graham, the drama just all seemed to wash away.
She also let out what Graham could distinctly identify as a mischievous chuckle, almost as if she was sharing a private joke to herself.
“What’s tickling those ribs of yours Doc?” Graham asked.
The Doctor wrapped her arms snugly around his neck, their two powerful and thunderstruck eyes matching.
She knew Graham wouldn’t get what she meant, and caring little if he did. He didn’t know every story, she was just thankful he had become the latest chapter.
“Let’s just say it’s a good thing we aren’t going to church…”
State of Play
Self Prompt: Graham gets the results of his Covid-19 test.
The Doctor couldn’t resist any longer.
Resistance was useless in a situation such as this.
All those eras she had lived through, ruthless pirate captains, horned nimons , manipulative space/time traps, all of it paled to the persistent conundrum of the very irritable human presence in front of her as she sat rather impatiently within the waiting rooms of the local medical clinic.
A young human girl, approximately five years of age, playing with a large red beach ball, repeatedly bouncing it across the edge of the wall and back to her. Five seconds worth of peace and quiet between each shot.
The Doctor could read a room like it was the history of everything you could ever find, she could gauge reaction and emotion just from seeing the faces of all those around her. Some burying their heads in an old magazine, forcing themselves to focus on the text, staring blankly at the celebrity snaps. Some twitching, some coughing loudly as if hoping it would put the young girl off the activity or allow her parents to ‘get the message’ and directly intervene.
But perhaps the most tragic and telling of the reactions was a teenage lad forming a small pistol with his right hand and taking ‘aim’ at the girl and mimicking gunfire noises. Unfiltered, as loud as he could.
The Doctor realised this was taking it too far. Why couldn’t any of them just talk to the girl?
This menace had form, but not yet, to her knowledge, a name.
She would ask her of it.
“Hi, young lady, don’t mind me asking, what’s your name?” she said.
“Annabelle” the girl replied.
“You seem a little distracted, well, a lot, where are you parents?”
Annabelle pointed over to a corner of the room where her mother was occupied with chatter on the phone.
“Oh, got noone to play with but the wall then?” said The Doctor.
Annabelle persisted with knocking the ball against said wall, the Doctor could tell she was indulging more aggressive in the activity.
“Those people around us, they’re getting to you aren’t they?” she said.
“They’re scared. Scared of what I can do”
“Really? And what exactly can you do?” The Doctor asked quizzically.
“I can anger them” Annabelle said.
“Oh that’s smashing, because between you and me, humans are very easy to anger, it takes the tiniest bit of pressure, but they thrive on it. This kind of anger you’re producing? It feeds on their morality, their very right to be angry, because they don’t know how to best express it to an innocent”
“So I do have power? Over them?” Annabelle said, excited to think she had such an influence.
“Nonsense, you’re an innocent, and power isn’t innocent, power puts fear into others. None of those surrounding us would dare use their power to hurt a child directly, with what they’re capable of with their own two hands, or their words, no, they’ll let the fear do all of that for them. A gesture, a glance, a telling smile, they’ll communicate that way. You’re picking up on that fear aren’t you? That’s why your state of play is more aggressive, you’re trying to make them fear what they could do if it continues. Do they have the right to lash out? What kind of monster would they become in the eyes of others as well as themselves as they did? It’s best not to wield any such power around them; they’re terrified enough as it is”
“Are they scared?” Annabelle asked.
“They’re already scared, they’re all here because something’s wrong with them, you’re here because something’s wrong with you, and you’re scared”
“Are you scared?”
“I’m scared for someone I care about, he’s been feeling a bit unwell, we’ve been up here twice already, once to take the test, and this is to find out the results”
“I hope he gets better”
“Me too” The Doctor replied
An older man with kind but exhausted eyes strolled into the waiting room, his hands in his pockets, glancing up at the bright lights before glancing in the Doctor’s direction; she immediately got up and dashed over to him.
“How’d it go?” The Doctor asked.
“Negative, the results, they came back negative” Graham O’Brien said, sighing with relief.
“You’re shaking” an observant Doctor nodded, holding his hand steady, checking his temperature with her eagerly warm free hand.
“The fear is still there” Graham replied, his eyes watering
“You’re also inflating” The Doctor replied.
Graham chuckled; he knew the Doctor was referring to his tears
“Oh, these waterworks? Don’t worry Doc, its just relief”
“Bit strange to cry when it’s nothing but good news” The Doctor replied.
“Yeah, well, you were a bit strange when I brought up my cancer anxiety to you”
“Are you ever going to let that go?” The Doctor said.
“So long as you never let go of me” he said, and planted a small tender kiss on her lips that held for what seemed like a blissful eternity
The Doctor, still locked in the kiss, gave Annabelle thumbs up. Annabelle nodded in approval.
This right there was a power she wanted to share with someone one day.
Annabelle’s mother finally got off the phone, her daughter sat besides her watching the Doctor depart with Graham, arm in arm.
“Who were you talking to dear?”
Anyone who caught “The Doctor’s Wife” watchalong may have stumbled on the little online treat on the Doctor Who Lockdown Youtube Channel reuniting Arthur Darvil and the disembodied voice of Karen Gillen as Amy and Rory Williams will no doubt have thought to themselves ‘wow, now I wish this scene had been in the actual episode”….thoughts like that are precisely what sites like these are for, to take those dreams and make them reality.
This is the third time I’ve made my way back to this episode for an edit, and with each take, it continues to evolve…I knew this one had to be different, not just for the inclusion of the ‘Rory’s Story’ short, but also to make it stand out more uniquely than the original episode. My previous edits had arranged things like Rory and Amy surviving the Angel’s touch and removing Rory’s tombstone, but here on the third go, all of that is kept in for the sake of the short, hence the “Restored” part of the title. Rory’s fate is restored to an edit of mine, and Rory himself now gets the final word instead of Amy, as we focus on their future rather than wish their past a fond farewell. Amy said all she needed to say to the raggedy man at the cemetary anyway.
So where does that leave The Doctor? Why, a date with River of course. This time River does not leave Eleven to feel sad and sorry, this time she travels with him. I made use of the short minisode “Rain Gods” found elsewhere on the series seven DVD to acheive this task…and you’ll find it’s not the only minisode I used here. Now instead of that long pre-title side-story for the doomed detective, The Doctor’s short trip (hur hur), to the inforarium (using the minisode of the same name) is used instead. If you choose, you can skip through the episode straight to the Rain Gods scene as everything in the middle is uncut.
New York, the city of a million stories, some of them haven’t happened yet.
Nothing to do with me, just helping to promote a very talented team of collaberators who are working on a fully illustrated series of adventures for Clara Oswald and Ashildr/Me, taking place after the events of Hell Bent. The series commences May 16th 2020.
Thought I’d share a story from my forthcoming free anthology e-book “Chess With An Ostritch & Other Thraham Prompts”, a collection of Doctor/Graham stories that I was requested to write from a fellow author and fan of mine on Archive of Our Own called ‘Vgault’. Expect it to drop sometime this weekend or next week.
Yaz stepped out of the Taxi as delicately as she could, the baby bump doing its utmost to keep her pressed down on the seat, Ryan hoisting her out holding both her hands. She tipped the driver his money and the cab hastily sped off.
Yaz and Ryan made their way towards Graham’s house and looked at one another. There was love present between the two, but also a lingering sense of uncertainty.
They had faced many hardships together in the years that led them through their gradual courtship, but now as the reality of their new life loomed, nested in a physical cocoon ready to break free any day now, the question of how to best go forward compelled them to process their options.
This was not a safe world. Not any longer.
They knocked on the door, and Graham answered, a toothbrush lodged in his mouth.
“What are you doing Granddad?” asked Ryan.
“I’m taking my temperature” said Graham
“With a toothbrush?” asked a bemused Yaz.
“Yeah, it was the Doc’s idea”
“We’d like to see The Doctor if you don’t mind” said Yaz.
“She doesn’t want visitors. She thinks something’s after her. It’s got her proper spooked”
“So why did you open the door then?” Ryan asked.
“Because I don’t agree with her”
Yaz called out for The Doctor.
“Doctor? It’s us, if you don’t want us in, I can understand, social distancing and all that, but we’ve been through the worst of it you know…the toll’s gone down since Easter, that’s what they’ve said”
The silence from the interior of the house was deafening, and gave Yaz a shudder as the disquiet only worsened her existing apprehensions.
“Doctor…we wanted to talk to you just a bit, it’s our baby, will it be safe? Do you know something you’re not telling us?”
Graham walked into the house, handing Yaz the moist toothbrush. He climbed up the stairs and into his bedroom, where he spotted The Doctor, hung over the edge of the bed, her boots off, clutching a stuffed teddy bear. A photograph of a strangely alluring and quizzical young lady with a short haircut distinct to the 1960s. The photograph looked like it had been taken in a junkyard, and it was in black and white.
The Doctor grabbed the photo and tenderly stroked the features of the girl with the tips of her fingers, she bit her lip anxiously.
She spoke to the photograph, even though she was aware of her living audience of one beside her, as Graham sat himself down to comfort The Doctor.
“They’ve still got all you’re going through yet to come, how do I prepare them for that? For all I know, this is what sets it off now, what weakens humanity, what readies them for the days where they lose everything, the days I left in your care” she said.
“Who are you talking to the Doc?” asked Graham.
“The past I left in your future” The Doctor spoke, wanting to apologize for the riddle but was sure Graham wouldn’t mind a bit of bamboozlement.
“Doctor?” Yaz called again.
“You’ve got to answer her sometime Doc” Graham said.
The Doctor put the photograph down and curled up in his arms, wrapping her right arm warmly around his head.
“We’re living through an uncertain time Graham, one I can’t spoil, in case you lot try to rewrite every line. This is one time I’m going to have to heed my wife’s warnings….and take my first selves’ advice. Oh why do our minds wander so far from how they were in our youth?”
“When we’re young we look at it all very unclearly, we’re lost in the arrogance of it all, the audacity of it, it’s only when we’re older that we look at life a bit clearer, or when we’re faced with something that makes us take it less for granted. Strangely enough, those of us that see it all too clearly are still on some level afraid we’ll be amongst those who vanish”
“I’ve been a lifetime of older people Graham, and all those lives are among the vanished, footprints in the sand on a warm beach, just like that, we’re gone”
“As long as we’ve got today, we’ve got each other, we’re family, and it’s about to get even bigger once the baby comes calling”
“She wants me to be its godmother, but what kind of God would I be exactly?”
“I don’t think you should take it so literally Doc”
“I’ve played God for so long Graham, and it still doesn’t keep anyone together. They vanish, they all vanish, and I linger on. I can speak baby, but what else can I say to them other than try to not get themselves killed by an invisible killer?”
“Tell them there’s a visible hand holding theirs, tell them to trust in a healer that will do their best to make them feel better, tell them to be brave, tell them to trust you”
“You know how socially awkward I am”
“I know you can learn Doc, I know from how much you talk about your wife that you learned to love, and, hey, you fancy me a little don’t you?”
The Doctor giggled.
“More than a little you big lolly” she said.
Graham kissed The Doctor on the forehead.
“This kid has a whole world of love waiting for him Doc, don’t deny him it, don’t count him among those who’ll vanish tomorrow, remind him how special he is today, and for every tomorrow, because every tomorrow becomes today”
The Doctor grinned, pressing her lips against Grahams’, she then quietly pricked his nose with her finger got up, put on her boots, and dashed down the stairs to give Yaz the best possible advice she could.
She would reassure Ryan and Yaz that their baby would be safe as long as they worked hard to keep him so.
Because every day is a struggle, regardless of how sick the earth makes us, the perseverance against the illness, the will to survive, is what makes the human race ultimately win each tomorrow as it comes.
Sometimes she lets that slip her mind as she walks through eternity, sometimes she forgets. It’s up to the blessings in her life, the Rivers, the Susan’s, the O’Brien’s, the fam, to remind her that those still privileged to dare tomorrow should never be made to feel as if they count amongst those who vanished yesterday.