As the 10th Doctor reaches his 10th regeneration, the TARDIS reflects. Short drabblefic written after I heard Peter Davidson's laugh in the audio No Place Like Home. (omg its so pretty.)
Her Doctor had always grinned, but rarely laughed.
His first incarnation had the rare, warm smile that always shattered the grumpy mask of the old man he had become, reserved for those he cared about most. Susan, Barbara, Ian. The first aliens to step inside her since he had chosen to remain on Earth, and the first to travel with him in the stars.
His second incarnation had the coy, disarmingly innocent grin, while holding all the deviousness of a trickster. The class clown of his race and how proud she was of him too. He kept his friends close, his enemies at safe taunting distance. And they both mourned in their hearts for the loss of Jamie, of Zoe.
His third incarnation held charm in his smile, and a rich, low chuckle saved for small amusements. He blustered his way into the hearts of his companions with his puff and ruffle ways, and they loved it in return. And she knew he didn't hate exile as much as he said he did.
His fourth incarnation sported the wide, I-know-something-you-don't-know grin, all tooth and smugness as he worked things out behind the scenes, and enjoyed watching the others stumble over themselves with worry over exactly what that smile ment.
His fifth incarnation was shy to the world, nervously fidgiting and hiding behind a nervous smile and a light sense of, albeit bad, humor. He kept his temper under check and put up with the children that surrounded him. His laugh was saved for akward moments, for masking his nervous moments and shaking off the megalomaniacs with guns. And a rare chuckle shone through, and it was a beautiful sound that made her shiver happily.
His sixth incarnation rarely smiled in any manner other then smugly. He was king of the world and he wouldn't back down, not for anyone. And the taunting, short laugh he adapted was saved for scepticism and disbelief. But he fought fiercely for his friends, and for her, and she still adored him.
His seventh incarnation was possessed of a mystery, a knowing flicker of a smile on his lips that told you he knew more then he was saying. The grin he flashed to the occassional guard was always gone a moment later, but the pride in his eyes always spoke volumes further when he passed that look to his companions. He was a teacher again, and Ace the pupil.
His eighth incarnation was struck with the wonder of a child. A smile as shy, as rare, filled with fascination and charm, and as Gallifrey burned, first beneath the Faction, then beneath the Daleks, she screamed with him. Such a smile should never have seen such pain.
His ninth incarnation, filled with a new manic sense, had a smile that was wild, desperate. It masked the pain beneath a warped humor, and forced an air of control to the surface when there was none to be had. And his laugh was hollow, nervous again, hiding worry and fear. He couldn't forget.
His tenth incarnation was charged and reborn and bounced like a toddler with sugar high, and he smiled, grinned, with new delight at every little thing. And for a first time in many centuries, it was ment to be truely genuine, but it was thrown to all winds, and ment little, another mask to hide his ceaseless thoughts.
Perhaps, she thought softly, as the slow-acting poison at last drained his body, as he collapsed to the grating of the TARDIS floor, surrounded by worried friends with fear in their eyes, as she watched on while the energy in his body began to radiate and change and glow. Perhaps this time, he would be ginger. This time, he would have the smile that made everything alright. This time, he would open up his hearts again.
Perhaps this time he would learn how to laugh.