Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who. It belongs to the BBC.
Author's Note: Okay, the events in this story use the tale of the Timeless Child with a few small changes. I don't have a problem with a female Doctor as long there is a story need for it and not just a case of do it because we can. I quite like the idea that some Time Lords we met in the series switching gender. The Rani is a good example because I can see the type of amoral scientist she is when female is very different to how it would be when male. Missy and the Master are another example. Some Time Lords however I could see taking steps to avoid changing gender, going so far as to force regeneration to get back to what they believe is their true form.
However when all is said and done the true origin of this story was very simple: What if the Timeless Child who became the Doctor had been the Doctor all the time?

Rise of the Guardians

He was a man who had lived far too long and seen far too many things. But even he knew that everything had to come to an end when it reached its time to die. And existence, the multiverse… the little reality that he called home, had reached its end. It was not a natural death, existence was dying everywhere at every moment in time. But an end had been declared and there was nothing to be done except welcome it.

Oh, there were ways he could have cheated the inevitable for a million or so years, but that would have meant a lingering painful death for something he cared for so deeply. And so he accepted that as the stars blinked out one by one, that the end was nigh.

But what about him? He had been cursed to survive a long time ago. There was little that could actually kill him and he had proven time and time again that even certain death could not keep him down for long. He was not immortal, yet he was incapable of finding his end, even as those around him fell. Would the end of existence be enough to lift his curse and allow him to enter whatever passed as an afterlife? The alternative of being stuck forever surrounded by nothingness… his mind would not even allow him to contemplate true nothingness as no matter how he tried to picture it, his imagination always gave it some sort of substance.

To be completely alone, unable to see anything, even darkness; to be unable to feel anything around him; he knew he would be driven mad by the experience. Perhaps that would be his form of oblivion, lost within his own mind for whatever happened next.

"It doesn't have to be, you know."

He turned toward the female voice and took a step back. The short blonde with a bright smile stood watching him.

"Rose!" he started to say and then stopped. The features were hers but the eyes were not those of the person he had once known. This being was something far more powerful, far more dangerous and at this time: completely expected.

"I am the Bad Wolf, the end of everything," she told him as if he needed an explanation. "Except for you. Even I cannot end you, Doctor."

"Then why are you here? You couldn't stop this, nobody can."

"I wouldn't want to," she answered, honestly. "And nor would you. This is the end, as it should be."

"What caused it?" he asked, curious to know. This was not a death due to old age. Existence had just suddenly ceased.

"Many things," she answered. "Too many things. Anyone could have caused the end. Together it was unavoidable."

"So why are you here then?" he demanded.

"To give a choice," she answered. "There is always a choice to be made."

"Which choice?"

"The same as always, Doctor: do you cease here with the rest of existence or do you go on?"

"In the void," he said. It wasn't appealing.

"As a part of what comes next. There is always something next Doctor. Even when someone dies there is something that happens next. Existence is the same."

"So I could be a part of what comes next," he repeated. "Why me?"

"Why not? The universe… the multiverse… existence needs the Doctor. Existence needs the one that will make it better."

"I'll survive?" he asked sceptically. "How?"

"The same way you have always survived, Doctor: by wanting to."

A noise caught his attention. He looked out into the growing void. He could still see shapes in the darkness. Something was still there.

"What is that?" he asked.

"When a body dies, it breaks down and is consumed," she answered. "The same thing happens with stars and planets. Look behind you."

He did so and saw the shape of a fortress of some sort moving away from them.

"That is the wave of destruction sweeping through existence," she explained. "Before it lies the future, behind it lays the carnage."

"How do I stop it?"

"You cannot. It is nothing more than a representation of time passing. The one in the tower rides the timeline, recording events as he stares out of the window to see them coming. As time passes the past withers and vanishes. That is how it should be." She pulled his hand. "Now look back to what has been left behind. "That is the energy of a dying cosmos flowing back to its source. Negative Energy feeding back to where it will feed what comes next."

"So where does that leave me?" he asked.

"With a choice," she answered. "You can choose to stand your ground here behind the wave as it continues onward, or you can run."


"You run, Doctor. Run faster than you have ever raced before and overtake the wave. Run ahead of the destruction and make what you find there better for as long as you can before time catches up. Run beyond the death of this existence and help make what lies on the other side a better place."

The Doctor had by his own admission been running his entire life. Running to danger, running away from boredom. Seeking out what was wrong in an attempt to make it better. He had run fast enough to avoid death and now he was being offered the chance to run one more time into a new existence, a future he could not know… It sounded fun.

"What do I need to do?" he asked.

"This archway will take you to where you need to be," she told him "It will only allow you to go one way."

He gaped at the massive archway that loomed above him. It had not been there before and he had not sensed its appearance.

"Very well," he agreed as he turned toward the archway. "I just didn't think it could be s simple."

"Oh Doctor," she replied, her eyes glowing with golden energy. "Nothing is that simple. You will survive, but not remember. You will learn to be yourself again however long it takes. And while you are learning the universe will have to get along without you. And when you do find yourself, then you will start to make it better."

"Wait, this isn't what I agreed to," he protested. He found himself frozen in place.

"No, but it's something you could not refuse," she answered.

The archway glowed and the Doctor screamed as he was dragged into the vortex. His body was thrashed and torn by the forces at work. He struggled but could not endure. Against his will his body did the only thing it could in the circumstances: it changed. And then everything went dark.

In the early days of the planet Gallifrey, there existed a race known as the Shobogans. The Shobogans held the appearance of being humanoid, an appearance they would later attempt to make the default shape for all intelligent life in the cosmos. Although they had started out as a primitive race, the close proximity of their world to a tear in the fabric of time caused a rapid evolution. Their minds were radically altered by the temporal energy around them, allowing them to learn and discover at an amazing rate.

As time passed the ancient Shobogans discovered the secrets of extra-dimensional energy. They used it to light their early cities and cool their homes. But there were some among them who could channel that energy and use it to perform incredible feats. At the time they lacked the ability to tell what energy they were using, but in centuries to come they would identify that as a race they possessed vast amounts of spiritual energy, could collectively control psychic energy and in some cases could master the arts of magic.

Their evolution made the Shobogans fast learners. They developed technology that allowed them to reach the stars and beyond. They used the energy they had barely begun to understand to power their ships as they sent out fleets to learn more about the universe and to secure their place within it. The colonies they established would remain long after the race discovered its greatest secrets and due to their use of magic, would become an embarrassing secret.

Thousands of years later and civil war on Gallifrey had seen the planet divided between those that could use magic and those that favoured the highly praised arts of science. The ruling factions had been overthrown countless times as dominance shifted back and forth. Neither side had yet to gain the power to completely subjugate the other. Although they were more powerful at the time, the magic users lacked the desire to slay their enemies, preferring to be merciful. Sadly that meant further uprisings and more bloodshed as those favouring science and logic continued to seek the removal of magic from Gallifrey by any means…

However, some did not involve themselves in the war and chose to continue exploring the cosmos. Space flight had evolved to the point of being about to cross galaxies in a matter of months. Tecteun was one of the planet's greatest explorers had already gone further than many of her peers. With the help of another engineer, Tecteun had built a new type of craft capable of crossing galaxies in a much shorter time, without the need for deep sleep. It was her latest flight that would attempt to reach the limits of known space as observed from her homeworld.

The flight was a success, crossing known space in a matter of hours. At her destination, she landed upon an empty world to refuel. It was there that she was drawn to a strange building and a child. There was no sign of other life forms on the planet, not family for the child. There seemed to be no logical way for it to have gotten there and no way for it to return to where it came from. It possessed no food or drink and was hardly dressed for the environment.

Tecteun did the only thing that she could, gathering the child and carrying him back to the ship. In her haste, she forgot to look for the source of the light that had drawn her attention in the first place. Together the explorer and her newly adopted son made a return to Gallifrey.

Time passed and Tecteun postponed her plans for exploration to raise her son. Although intelligent it was noted that he often seemed vacant and unaware of his surroundings. He had difficulty fitting in with the other Shobogans. He was not as physically strong as they were. And one day his weaker body cost him when following a falling out with a friend he suffered a head injury and died.

Only the son did not die. Instead, he glowed brightly and when the glow faded, the son had been replaced by a stranger. Research proved that the child and the older boy that had replaced him were the same despite the difference in appearance. Further, the effect of changing had been to heal his injuries, leaving him fit, healthy and alive.

For decades Tecteun sought to unlock the mystery of what had happened to her adopted son and to replicate the results. She conducted experiments upon her child, sometimes forcing the change to occur to gave data. As time passed, Tecteun grew old and fragile while her child remained young and healthy. It was only as her life was drawing to an end that Tecteun made the breakthrough needed to isolate the parts of her child's DNA that caused the effect; coincidentally the removal of such genetic sequences from his blood led to his DNA resembling that of a Shobogan.

Having finally unlocked a serum that could duplicate the effects of her son's ability, but knowing she did not have the time for formal testing, Tecteun injected herself with the spliced genes. The effect was an instant change of appearance as the genetic sequences altered the connection between her physical body and the life energy it contained. At the moment of change, the DNA triggered a cascade of spiritual energy to flow through the body, tearing it apart and then recreating it in a new form.

Years more research followed to perfect the method of splicing the DNA into the Shobogan body and making the changes genetic. Realising that immortality could prove a disadvantage, she altered the serum so that after a set number of changes it would break down allowing death to follow. At that point, she was satisfied with her efforts and shared the secret of her discovery with the rest of her people.

Her discovery was welcomed by the enigmatic leader of the Shobogan's anti-magic faction. He could see the benefit of an extended life to push their race onward. He was not made aware that she had changed the original nature of the serum, only that in its current form it would work twelve times. Tecteun was acknowledged as one of the greats of their newly formed society, along with their leader and the great engineer that stood at his side.

More time passed. The Shobogans mastered the art of space travel and turned their attention to the mysteries of time. They used their discoveries to continue their war on magic, attacking magical societies throughout history and forcing the universe to become the logical place they desired. They kicked the magical leaders off of their own world and rebuilt their cities to function on purely scientific principles. They proclaimed themselves the Time Lords and set out to record history in a way that would secure their importance and plane in the cosmic hierarchy. Eventually, they even went so far as to move their world through time and space so that it appeared to have been one of the earliest worlds to evolve, placing them in the company of the Guardians of Oa as part of the elder races.

As for the child that had brought such fortune to the Time Lords. After many years he became an adult and then attended the Time Lord Academy. From there what happened to him was unclear, but generations later a man known as the Doctor left Gallifrey in a stolen TARDIS. By that time his memory had been wiped and his personality changed several times.

There is a vault on the planet Gallifrey that is so secret not even the planet's leadership know of its existence. Inside the room stands a piece of ancient technology known as the Chameleon Arch. The Chameleon Arch was a device capable of altering the biology of the body and the memories of an individual allowing them to become a new person. This chamber was filled with the collected memories and biological records of the Time Lord known as the Doctor.

The room has ceased to be used after an incident had threatened to expose the work of the Division and its successors. They had ceased using the Doctor as their tool, allowing him to finally become his own person that they would manipulate in other ways. But the containers used to hold his memories and genetic sequences remained as a record of all they had achieved. And in pride of place was the first container they had ever created.

This one was different to the others, for it had been this one that had turned the alien being into a true Time Lord, locking away his natural abilities in favour of those his people chose to give him. His memory of life before Gallifrey was removed. His knowledge of Tecteun and her research was lost. The possibilities that could have been unlocked through further experimentation, wasted.

But in the back of his mind, the Doctor retained some sense of what he had once been and a distant memory of the existence that had come before he had arrived in the universe. He would never remember it, but it would drive him in his quest to make things better. The new cosmos like the one that came before did not need to be perfect. It just needed to be right. Whether or not he could remember it, whether or not he chose to walk the same path he had walked before… even if he decided to remain on Gallifrey and never seek out his truth, a part of him would always remember what had come before.

And as an elderly man ushered his granddaughter into a waiting TARDIS, the universe seemed to hold its breath, desperate to see what would happen this time around.

End of Part

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