Better With Three

Lilithanadir had been traveling with the Doctor for ten years when he dropped her off in London. There she met Rose tyler and, two months later, the Autons invaded. A rewrite of series one of Doctor Who.


16. A Lesson in Paradoxes

Lilith watched as the two of them talked in the console room. The Doctor had his feet up and the console and Rose was clearly nervous about something.

“That's what Mum always says,” she was saying. “So I was thinking, could we, could we go and see my dad when he was still alive?”

“Where's this come from, all of a sudden?” the Doctor asked.

Rose shrugged. “All right then, if we can't, if it goes against the laws of times or something, then never mind, just leave it.”

“No, I can do anything. I'm just more worried about you.”

“I want to see him.”

“Your wish is my command,” the Doctor said. “But be careful what you wish for. November the 7th?”

“1987.” Rose confirmed.

The time rotor started up as the Doctor flipped some switches and pulled a lever. The TARDIS landed more gently than usual. Rose was hesitant, but pushed the doors open and walked outside. The Doctor and Lilith followed her out into the open.

“It's so weird.” Rose said. “The day my father died. I thought it'd be all sort of grim and stormy. It's just an ordinary day.”

“The past is another country. 1987's just the Isle of Wight.”

“Are you sure about this?” Lilith asked Rose with a frown.

“Yeah.” She responded immediately, nodding. The three took off walking, Rose led the to a street corner. Lilith tried to focus on the bending of the timelines that she could see and not on the fact that they had just passed a poster with the words ‘Bad Wolf’.

“This is it. Jordan Road. He was late. He'd been to get a wedding present, a vase.” Rose sighed. “Mum always said, that stupid vase.” A green van came rolling around the corner. “He got out of his car and crossed the road. Oh God. This is it.”

As Pete got out of the van, the Doctor took Rose's hand. A beige car drove round the corner and went into Pete. The driver shields his face with his arm and kept going, leaving Pete and the broken vase in the middle of the road. Pete tried to move.

“Go to him,” the Doctor said. “Quick.”

She didn’t move.

“Rose, you have to go now.” Lilith said.

But she couldn’t. She backed away and ran off. Lilith looked up at the Doctor who simply looked back and they went to comfort her. Sirens approached.

“It's too late now.” Rose sniffed. "By the time the ambulance got there, he was dead. He can't die on his own. Can I try again?”

No. No, she can’t.

The Doctor put his arm around Rose and led her back to the TARDIS. Lilith followed reluctantly and didn’t help him send the ship back a few minutes in time. Outside,The Doctor and Rose look round the corner to see themselves by the curbside. Lilith stood back with her arms crossed.

“Right, that's the first us,” the Doctor told Rose. “It's a very bad idea, two sets of us being here at the same time. Just be careful they don't see us. Wait till she runs off and they follow, then go to your dad.”

“Oh God. This is it.” Lilith heard the previous Rose say.

“I can't do this,” present Rose said.

“You don't have to do anything you don't want to, but this is the last time we can be here.”

Pete started to get out of the van. Lilith saw Rose tense. “Don’t!” Rose ran forward, ignoring her friend’s protest.

“Rose! No!” the Doctor shouted.

But Rose was already dashing past her earlier self and pushing her father out of the path of the beige car. The vase rolled away, unbroken. The earlier Doctor, Rose, and Lilith vanished.

“Oh Rassilon, Uncle,” Lilith breathed. “What have we done?”


Pete unlocked and pushed open the door to what Lilith could only imagine was the Tyler apartment of 1987. “Right, there we go. Sorry about the mess. If you want a cup of tea, the kitchens just down there, milk's in the fridge. Well, it would be, wouldn't it? Where else would you put the milk? Mind you, there's always the windowsill outside. I always thought if someone invented a windowsill with special compartments, you know, one for milk, one for yogurt, make a lot of money out of that. Sell it to students and things.” He paused. “I should write that down. Anyway, never mind that; excuse me for a minute. Got to go and change.” He went into one of the rooms.

Rose wandered into the main room. “All the stuff mum kept. His stuff. She kept it all packed away in boxes in the cupboard. She used to show me when she'd had a bit to drink. Here it is, on display. Where it should be.” She picked up a trophy with a green bottom. “Third prize at the bowling. First two got to go to Didcot. Health drinks.” She pointed a pile of jugs on the floor in the corner. “Tonics, mum used to call them. He made his money selling this Vitex stuff. He had all sorts of jobs. He was so clever.”

Lilith studied the Doctor’s hard face intently. ‘I know that look,’ she thought to him. ‘You’re about to say something you know you’ll regret, so don’t do it.

Rose finished her little speech and looked up at the silent duo. “Okay, look, I’ll tell him you’re not my boyfriend.”

The Doctor paid neither girl any mind. “When we met, I said ‘travel with me in space’. You said no. Then I said ‘time machine’.”

“It wasn't some big plan. I just saw it happening and I thought, ‘I can stop it’.”

“I did it again. I picked another stupid ape.”

“Oh, here we go.” Lilith moaned to herself.

“I should've known. It's not about showing you the universe. It never is. It's about the universe doing something for you.”

“So it's okay when you go to other times, and you save people's lives, but not when it's me saving my dad.” Rose demanded.

“I know what I'm doing, you don't. Two sets of us being there made that a vulnerable point.”

“But he's alive!”

“My entire planet died. The rest of my family. Do you think it never occurred to Lilith or I to go back and save them?”

“But it's not like I've changed history. Not much.” Rose insisted. “I mean he's never going to be a world leader. He's not going to start World War Three or anything.”

Lilith tried to calm the situation. “Rose, there's a man alive in the world who wasn't alive before. An ordinary man. That's the most important thing in creation.”

“The whole world's different because he's alive,” the Doctor added.

“What, would you rather him dead?” Rose snapped.

“I'm not saying that.”

“No, I get it! For once, you're not the most important man in my life.”

Lilith visibly flinched. That was not the best way to take it.

“Let's see how you get on without me, then. Give me the key. The TARDIS key. If I'm so insignificant, give it me back.”

“All right then, I will.” Rose shoved the key into his hand.

“You've got what you wanted, so that's goodbye, then,” the Doctor said.

“You don't scare me.” Rose hissed. “I know how sad you are. You'll be back in a minute, or you'll hang around outside the TARDIS waiting for me. And I'll make you wait a long time!”

The Doctor left and Rose slammed the door behind him. Lilith covered her face with her hands. Pete poked his head out the bedroom door.

“Boyfriend trouble?”

Lilith groaned and shook her head. “I’ll just…” she trailed off at the look on Rose’s face and slipped quietly out the door. She chased after the Doctor. “Uncle! Wait!”

He didn’t listen. He just kept storming ahead.

“Uncle, please you have to stop. We can’t just leave her behind!”

“Why?” the Doctor roared, turning around to face his niece in full Oncoming Storm mode. Lilith didn’t even flinch. “Give me one good reason why we shouldn’t leave that stupid little ape behind!”

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe because she’s a twenty first century girl and this,” she gestured wildly around, “is the late nineteen eighties! Because she’s got tech from the future just sitting in her pocket! Because it’s morally wrong to abandon someone outside their own time! But mainly,” Lilith grabbed his arm when he started to turn away and pulled him back, looking him straight in the stormy eyes, “mainly because you love her.”

The Doctor glared at her. “It makes no difference.”

Lilith tried not to be too happy when noting that he did not, in fact, deny that he was in love with Rose Tyler. He pulled his arm from her grip and turned to unlock the TARDIS. But when he pushed the door open, they weren’t met with the sight of the console room. It was empty, just the inside of a big, blue box. The TARDIS was gone.

The Doctor’s eyes widened in horror. “Rose!” He dashed off towards the church, Lilith right behind him.


As they ran, the church, and Rose, finally came into view. “Rose!”

Rose turned around.

“Rose! Get in the church!"

A large creature with bat-like wings appeared in the sky. It hissed and started to swoop. Rose screamed. The Doctor pushed her to the pavement just in time to avoid the creature’s talons.

“Get in the church!” Lilith yelled to the other wedding guests. They all rushed towards the doors, but stopped in their tracks when two more of the creatures appeared.

“Oh, my God. What are they? What are they?” a woman in pink cried.

“Reapers.” Lilith spat. A group of people appeared in the doorway.

“Inside!” the Doctor shouted at them.

“Sarah!” one man yelled.

“Stay in there!”

Another man tried to run away, but one of the Reapers pounced on him. Another blocked Sarah's path to the church, but when she screamed, it flew off and attacked on the vicar instead.

“In!” The Doctor and Lilith ushered everyone into the church through all the chaos and slam the doors on the creatures. “They can't get in. Old windows and doors,” the Doctor said. “Okay. The older something is, the stronger it is. What else? Go and check the other doors! Move!”

“What's happening?” asked the 1987 version of Jackie Tyler. “What are they? What are they?”

“There's been an accident in time. A wound in time. They're like bacteria, taking advantage,” the Doctor explained.

“What do you mean, time? What're you jabbering on about, time?”

He whirled around. “Oh, I might've known you'd argue. Jackie, I'm sick of you complaining. I haven't got time for this!"

“How do you know my name?” Jackie demanded. “I've never met you in my life!”

“No, and you never will unless I sort this out. Now, if you don't mind, I've waited a long time to say this. Jackie Tyler, do as I say. Go and check the doors!”

“Yes, sir.” Jackie muttered. Lilith raised her eyebrows at the Doctor who just grinned back.

“I should have done that ages ago.”

A man, the groom, came over. “My dad was out there,” he said.

“You can mourn him later. Right now we've got to concentrate on keeping ourselves alive.”

“My dad had thi—”

“There's nothing I can do for him,” the Doctor cut him off.

“No, but he had this phone thing. I can't get it to work. I keep getting this voice.” He handed the Doctor an old fashioned mobile phone.

The Doctor held it up to his ear and laughed. “That's the very first phone call. Alexander Graham Bell. I don't think the telephone's going to be much use.”

“But someone must have called the police.”

“Police can't help you now. No one can.” Lilith said darkly.

“Nothing in this universe can harm those things. Time's been damaged and they've come to sterilize the wound. By consuming everything in sight.”

“Is this because…?” Rose trailed off. “Is this my fault?”

The Doctor walked right past her. Lilith gave the human girl a pitying look before following in suit. She put her hand on the Doctor’s arm as he stared out the window.

Pete came over. “There's smoke coming up from the city but no sirens. I don't think it's just us. I think these things are all over the place. Maybe the whole world.” A beige car appeared at the corner, turns, the driver covered his face and it disappears again. Lilith and the Doctor exchanged looks. Pete frowned. “Was that a car?”

“It's not important,” the Doctor said. “Don't worry about it.”

You don’t want him to know, do you? You think you can keep him alive.

Not now, Lilith.’ The Doctor put up his telepathic walls, keeping Lilith out. She frowned and returned to the main area, passing Pete and Rose having a conversation.

“Rose, you okay?”

“I guess.” Rose sighed. “Pete, this is Lilith.”

Lilith extended her hand to the ginger man. “Lilith Smith.”

“You’re from the future too, then?” he asked.

“I’m not really from a specific time, that’s what happens when you travel with the Doctor, you never really know.”

“Rose said you’re his niece?”

Lilith nodded. “That’s me. I’m mainly here just to keep him and Rose from getting into to much trouble. It’s a hard job, you know. He calls her particularly jeopardy friendly.”

“Oi!” Rose protested.

“Mickey!” someone shouted and a little black boy came running over and attached himself to Rose’s legs. Lilith snorted.

“Do you know him?” Pete asked.

“I just didn't recognize him in a suit. You have to let go of me, sweetheart.”

“You’re always saying that.” Lilith chuckled, prying the little boy off her legs. “Come on, Micks.”

“He just grabs hold of what's passing and holds on for dear life. God help his poor girlfriend if he ever gets one.” Jackie said, coming in. Lilith snorted again and winked at Pete.

“Me and Rose were just talking,” he said.

“Oh, yeah? Talking? While the world comes to an end, what do you do? Cling to the youngest blonde.”

“Kinda uncalled for, Jackie.” Lilith muttered.

“And who’re you?” Jackie demanded, airily. “Come on, Mick.” She and Mickey left. Pete made to go after her.

“You can't tell her.” Lilith said quietly.

“Why?” Pete questioned.

“She means I really don't want you to tell her.” Rose told him.

“What, do you don't want people to know?”

“Where I come from, Jackie doesn't know how to work the timer on the video recorder.”

“I showed her that last week,” Pete said, Rose nodded. “Point taken.”


The Doctor was sitting by where the choir stands with the baby Rose. “Now, Rose you're not going to bring about the end of the world, are you? Are you?”

Lilith rolled her eyes and shook her head, but followed elder Rose as she approached.

“Jackie gave her to me to look after,” the Doctor said, not taking his eyes off the baby. “How times change.”

“I'd better be careful. I think I just imprinted myself on Mickey like a mother chicken.” Rose said, reaching to hold the child

“No.” Lilith held her back. “Don't touch the baby. You're both the same person. That's a paradox, and we don't want a paradox happening, not with freaking Reapers outside. Anything new, any disturbance in time makes them stronger. A paradox might let them in.”

“Can't do anything right, can I?” Rose sighed.

“Since you ask, no. So, don't touch the baby,” the Doctor said.


“I'm not stupid.”

“You could have fooled me.”


The Doctor sighed. “All right, I'm sorry. I wasn't really going to leave you on your own.”

“I know.” Rose said.

“But between three of us, I haven't got a plan. No idea. No way out.”

“You'll think of something.”

“The entire Earth's being sterilized. This, and other places like it, are all that's left of the human race. We might hold out for a while, but nothing can stop those creatures. They'll get through in the end. The walls aren't that old. And there's nothing I can do to stop them. There used to be laws stopping this kind of thing from happening. My people would have stopped this. But they're all gone. And now we’re going the same way.”

“If I'd realized…” Rose cried.

“Just tell me you're sorry.”

“I am. I'm sorry.” They hugged. Lilith turned away, giving them a moment to themselves.

“Have you got something hot?” Rose asked with a frown. She reached into his inside pocket, pulled out a key and dropped it. It was glowing.

“It's the TARDIS key!” the Doctor exclaimed. He took off his jacket to pick it up safely.

“It’s still connected to the TARDIS.” Lilith breathed.

The Doctor ran to the front of the room to speak to the entire group. “The inside of my ship was thrown out of the wound but we can use this to bring it back. And once I've got my ship back, then I can mend everything. Now, I just need a bit of power. Has anybody got a battery?”

The groom picked up the mobile phone. “This one big enough?”

“Fantastic. Just need to do a bit of charging up and then we can bring everyone back.” He used the sonic screwdriver to charge the battery while Lilith paced the aisle, listening in on everyone’s conversations. She tried to focus on the timelines, something that always calmed her down, but now it just made her sick.

The TARDIS started to slowly materialize around the key.

“Right, no one touches that key. Have you got that?” the Doctor announced. “Don't touch it. Anyone touches that key, it'll be, well, zap. Just leave it be and everything will be fine. We'll get out of here, all of us. Stuart, Sarah you're going to get married, just like I said.”

“When time gets sorted out…” Rose started.

“Everybody here forgets what happened,” the Doctor said. “And don't worry, the thing that you changed will stay changed.”

“You mean I'll still be alive,” Pete said thickly, “though I'm meant to be dead. That's why I haven't done anything with my life, why I didn't mean anything.”

“It doesn't work like that.” Lilith tried.

“Rubbish.” The man shook his head. “I'm so useless I couldn't even die properly. Now it's my fault all of this has happened.”

“This is my fault.” Rose insisted.

“No, love. I'm your dad. It's my job for it to be my fault.”

“Her dad? How are you her dad?” The four looked up to see Jackie standing by with baby Rose in her arms. “How old were you, twelve? Oh, that's disgusting.”

Lilith groaned and the Doctor rolled his eyes and walked away.

“Jacks, listen. This is Rose.” Pete said.

Jackie, clearly not understanding, took a step back. “Rose? How sick is that? You give my daughter a second hand name? How many are there? Do you call them all Rose?”

“Oh, for God's sake, look. It's the same Rose!” Pete took baby Rose from Jackie and handed her to Rose.

“No!” Lilith and the Doctor yelled. The Doctor snatched her away too late and gave her back to Jackie. A Reaper appeared inside the Church.

“Everyone, behind me!” the Doctor shouted. Everyone rushed behind the Doctor. “I'm the oldest thing in here.” The Reaper dove forward.

“DAD!” Lilith screamed.

The Reaper pounced on the Doctor then flew over the TARDIS, knocking the key with its tail. The TARDIS and the creature vanished, and the key dropped.

Lilith fell to her knees. “No,” she cried. “No, please.”

Rose ran to pick up the key. “It's cold. The key's cold. Oh my God, he's dead. This is all my fault. Both of you, all of you, the whole world.”

“This is it,” one of the women said. “There's nothing we can do. It's the end.”

“No.” Everyone looked at Lilith who stood and started digging though the pockets of her denim jacket. “The Doctor was wrong.”

“How do you mean?” Rose asked.

Lilith apparently found what she was looking for and pulled it out. It was a small gun. “Back on Gallifrey, Time Lords and Ladies were trained to take care of things like this. Trained to get rip of pests like the Reapers.” She spat the name. “My Aunt Nyx was one of them and she gave me this.”

“You’re going to shoot those things?” Rose guessed.

Lilith shrugged. “Why not? They’re after me next. I may as well take a few with me.”

“He said they go after the oldest thing here. How old are you, eighteen?”

“I’m one hundred and twelve, thank you.” Lilith sniffed. “Besides, my father just died before I was born. I’m a living paradox, dessert to these creatures.”

As the Reapers start scraping at the stonework outside, Pete watched the car drive around the corner again and again from the vestry window. He went back into the church and over to Rose.

“The Doctor really cared about you. He didn't want you to go through it again, not if there was another way. Now there isn't.”

“What are you talking about?” Rose asked.

Lilith shook her head. “Pete, you don’t have to do this.”

“The car that should have killed me, love. It's here. The Doctor and Lilith both worked it out way back, but he, er, he tried to protect me. Still, he's not in charge anymore. I am.”

“But you can't.” Rose protested.

“Who am I, love?”

“My daddy.”

“Jackie,” he said to his wife, “look at her. She's ours.”

“Oh,” Jackie breathed. “Of course.” She hugged the weeping Rose.

“I'm meant to be dead, Jackie.” Pete said. “You're going to get rid of me at last.”

“Don't say that.”

“For once in your life, trust me. It's got be done. You've got to survive, because you've got to bring up our daughter.” He turned to Rose. “I never read you those bedtime stories. I never took you on those picnics. I was never there for you.”

“You would have been.”

“But I can do this for you. I can be a proper dad to you now.”

“But it's not fair.”

Pete put his hand on her cheek. “I've had all these extra hours. No one else in the world has ever had that. And on top of that, I got to see you. And you're beautiful. How lucky am I, eh? So, come on, do as your dad says. You going to be there for me, love?” Rose nodded. “Thanks for saving me.”

Pete took the vase and ran out into the street where the car was waiting to hit him. The vase fell to the ground and shattered.

“Go to him. Quick.” The Doctor urged Rose. She ran to her dying father’s side. 

Lilith hugged the Doctor tightly, refusing to say a word, and then retreated to the ship that sat just on the other side of the road.

She heard Rose whisper the words she was thinking to herself.

“I love you, Dad.”

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