Like everything else they died.
Yet, he remained, youthful and boyish as ever. Not a year had fallen onto his face, not a single sign of the life he had lived. There were no war wounds from the many he had fought. There was no pain in his face, no scars he could have shown to one that was close to him. He was perfect, his body was perfect, not a single scratch on it, not a single scratch. But if you looked at his eyes, that's where it all was. That's where the scars lied, and the knowledge, and the wisdom, and all the years, they were kept in those small pools he called eyes.
How many years had it been? After a while he had stopped counting, not that he was one to reveal his age anyway, but it got to a ridiculous point where it was useless to keep counting. He gave up on birthdays, hoped that if he ignored it he'd forget. But he never did, and when it came he'd go back and have some cake for himself like every year, by himself, alone. Long ago he had enjoyed his birthdays, he had a satisfaction in surviving for another year and couldn't wait to see if he could do it again. But now the satisfaction was gone, empty, and despite himself he remembered.
It was his mother's tradition anyway. She being a human, they were the only ones on the block that had birthday parties.
"Come on, we're having a celebration." He'd tell the others.
"For the day I was born!"
And they'd look at him strangely, beings who live so many years didn't see much importance on being a year older. Not many came to the parties for either he or his brother, but mother would come up and be so happy.
"Don't forget this day, not here or in Earth days, this is your day, this is your birthday." She'd tell them.
"Why's she do this, Dad?" He'd sometimes ask when the kids were particularly cruel.
"She's a human, son." Dad would say. "They're wonderful like that." His father would smile. "Besides, gives us a good excuse to get some cake."
It was a shame she could never see him now. It was a shame he did not understand to appreciate her when he had the chance. By his years he was still a kid when he would have been an older man in her years. She never really got to see him grow up, he was still a kid when she became old. He didn't understand they grew old so quickly, that they died so quickly.
She seemed so happy when they'd visit Earth. There was that wonderful year they even lived there. It wasn't too long for the rest of the family, but to her it was so long, and it meant so much. He recalls sitting there upon that field in the country just beyond the city. How content she was to simply sit on the green grass under the green trees and that odd blue sky.
"Blue." She used to say. "It's my favorite color. But don't tell your father, boys."
He was running away when she died. His brother was one that got inspired by the vortex, he was off at home doing something wonderful for their planet, still with their mother when she died. But he was off far away not only in a different place but in a different time. She grew old like they do so quickly and she died. He didn't even realize it really. He forgot for a second, how quickly they tend to go. Terrible thing for sons, losing their mother. Mothers and sons they have a special bond. A crime he didn't get to know her better.
She's the only human who knew his name, she picked it herself. Fought with dad a lot over it, he got to name his brother, she insisted it was her turn. She was like that.
It was strange to recall something that was so far gone. Especially because he felt like it was just yesterday. It'd been happening to him recently. He'd lose track of time, memories would start popping up like recent goings. But when that faded everything, all his memories seemed so distant. Everything he'd ever done so long ago, melded together in a distant life that he recalled as if he were merely an observer in it all.
He stood upon the green grass beside the green trees under the blue sky. Where his mother grew up, where she had died. Where he had lived and made a family. Where for an instance he stopped running and had himself some children. One died from a heart condition, his human DNA gave her a weak two-heart. She died quite young. Another grew up and gave him a grandchild. And he stood there where he had once stood with her. Where he first showed her Earth as a child and she fell in love with it.
He could tell you where his daughter collapsed. She fell from a tree just over that small hill, you could see the top of it. She fell and her brother came running. She fell and her hearts stopped cause he had made them weak with his genes. They weren't really two hearts, they were more like one and a half smashed together. And she couldn't regenerate and she died right over there upon that hill under that tree where she fell.
He took everyone one of his companions here at least one time or another. He didn't tell them where it was or why it was special to him. But he wanted to bring them there, just to make the place that more wonderful.
Funny, he was still on his first face back then.
He had had lots of faces.
Never a ginger… He was thinking of messing around in the TARDIS to make sure the DNA reformatted to include red hair, but then he remembered there'd be no one to show it off to so what was the point?
Rather frustrating actually, how many faces he'd gone through by then without a single ginger. Oh and the faces he had had. How handsome he was sometimes, how vile and ugly, how youthful, how scarred. How many lives he had lived with those faces. How many men he had been, what a life, what a wonderful life made of so many lives. He didn't have a favorite. There was no point in having a favorite. He liked all of them equally and knew he had the capacity to be each and everyone of them. He remembered being old in his first face, what a funny thing it was to be old. He recalled a cane. A suit jacket. A wonderful pair of sneakers. He remembered how wonderfully each thing had fitted him at the time, how roomy they felt, how right they felt. Then that wonderful scarf, how he missed that scarf. It occurred to him because just then the wind came about and his neck was found to be cold, and he thought to himself to go and search the wardrobe closet for it. But then he realized he wasn't that man anymore and found he didn't really like the color of that scarf and wondered if he should look for perhaps another one.
But he didn't dare move.
He'd gone through at least a hundred more at that point. You'd think he'd run out of steam for another regeneration or at least learn to stop dying, but low and behold he came up again with a new face. He was getting better at them too. Regenerations always did something fowl to him, he wondered if it was because of his mother's genes, but he'd been getting better. Perhaps a headache or stomach pain now but they were all fairly smooth. In fact he'd been playing with them. Why once he regenerated back to a teenager. How funny was that. He was astounded at first but realized he'd been getting younger and younger each time and concluded that this was inevitable. He remembered wearing black around that time, as the teenager, the young boy. Funny, hilarious, absolutely hilarious. He had lots of fun as a boy. He loved watching his companions discovering what was inside that young case. And once, yes once, he was a teacher. He became about thirty looking and became a teacher of philosophy over in the States. Yes, back then, he was a teacher. Then a writer. Then a real doctor, imagine that? He was a surgeon wasn't he? For a while he tried it out.
For a while he tried to live lives, for a while the TARDIS would be parked in the backyard of his homes, for a while, for a little while he didn't leave. Only for a little while. It was his nature to run to explore, he assumed he just needed some rest from all the recent activity. He died you see, and he became a different man and lived as that man. And as that man he was tired and needed a rest. He was then hit by a car and became an entirely different person who wanted nothing more but to run away and keep running until there was no more matter to run on.
Funny thing, memories, popping up like that. He used to be so bad at that once, in one face, why he'd just wake up and forget everything like that! Back then with the war coming up.
Maybe he was going insane.
He smiled because that'd be something new, hasn't happened yet.
He could smell the cool breeze and he could hear some couple speaking to each other in the distance as he stood on the green grass beside the green trees under that blue sky. How long had it been he asked himself again. How long had it been since you last came here? Silly thing, were you afraid of something?
He didn't dare move.
How long had it been? How many birthdays were spent? How many people had come and gone? When was it, when was the exact moment that he stopped caring? So long, as so many people, he couldn't possible have anymore aspects of his personality to explore. He'd been gentle, he'd been cruel, he'd been regretful, resentful, vile, and kind. He'd been in love and he'd been hated. What more was left?
The Lonely God he was once called.
It was somewhat appropriate.
It's so hard to watch the ones you love die. He wasn't there for his mother. He left that granddaughter to live a happy love-filled life. He had left so many others just on a whim because he could see them standing there, dying. And he was younger then. Thousands of years younger and though he could pass as the oldest sentient thing, he was still young and stupid. And he was not strong enough for them. He could not bear to have watched them wither into history.
Kids his age, back home where the sky was copper, they didn't talk about death. No one's parents died. No one's grandparent's died. It was an alien thing literally. But then he comes home one day and mom has died. Then he sees his son screaming that his daughter has fallen and he goes and gets her and she's dead. And then there's a war where they all die. How horrible it was for all of them, near immortal things to watch death consume their numbers. He had seen some go insane because of it. Maybe he'd have gotten used to it sooner if only someone talked about it more. Like the Earth kids, death becomes apparent sooner. And that's why their short lives are okay for them. They weren't for him of course, not that he'd admit it to the lot of them.
There were a lot of things wrong with him back then, when he was still young.
He was so scared for example.
An intense fear of being alone. That's why there were people with him, strangers randomly picked, having formed a way of picking after a while. Being able to just drop one off and pick another. He was just afraid of being alone, and that was so very selfish of him.
This was strange because he was the one that ran away from home. And he was the one that ran away from his wife. And he was the one that ran away until there was nothing left to chase him. And he was the one that made himself alone. How stupid you were, he told himself, how silly. You did this to yourself. You're alone cause you kept running, you coward.
He laughs at himself.
So he went around time and picked up companions knowing someday he'd leave them somewhere. Oh but there were an exceptional few. Ones where he felt his feet lose speed and a creeping consideration of stopping just for a moment came to him. My goodness, what would I have done with them? He wonders. What would have happened when they'd die, because they all die so very, very quickly. As soon as you admit you love them they go away, as soon as you admit the will to be with them, to keep them, they go away.
They loved him and what did he do? He left them alone, or allowed them to die, or simply moved on. Such a dumb kid he was, he'd tell you, I was such a dumb kid.
And they all died.
But he remained.
He grew new faces, new voices, new bodies, and personalities. He became new men with a will to live and he kept going. He kept getting new ones to come with him. Taking them to that field where his mother lived and his daughter died. That was all he knew for such a long time.
They called him the Lonely God.
And if he had been someone else he'd gone mad by then. But he went to the edge of time simply by living that long, past any other point the Time Lords had known and then he kept going further and further and even further. And then the Universe ended.
Everyone died. The galaxy had expanded to where there were no more stars in the sky and was collapsing on itself and he mused it'll just go on again, big bang all over again. I'll just sit here and wait for it, right here I'll wait for the big bang to come along again and I'll watch it. He was the last living thing left as far as he knew. He had looked up at the starless sky, an abyss over an abyss. This was the way things ended, where anyone that might have been alive was alone.
The Lonely God however still smiled for it occurred to him all that had happened. The Universe, she had a good run.
And he sat down on a moon and laughed. What things he had done. What things he had seen how happy he was to have been a part of it all. How overwhelmed with joy was he to be there at that moment. After all the faces he had had, all the people he had met, the companions, the loved ones on another planet or different universe or ones simply in medical school. Look at him right there at the end of the universe. It didn't happen because of Daleks or Time Lords of Cyber Men or even a combination of either. It didn't happen from war. It happened just quietly on its own accord.
He had grown up so much. He was finally content with being there. Finally so very happy.
And the Lonely God was there when the Universe ended, collapsing upon itself. He stood up and looked up at the black sky and knew someone was probably doing the same and he loved them with all his hearts whoever they were. And then it ended softly and quietly, as if modestly having taken its bow and walked out. It would have walked off stage from the dying applause, it would have walked by him with a small smile, blushing. It would have hugged him and not even bothered to say goodbye, because it knew you shouldn't ever say goodbye. Goodbyes are never final.
So he walked back to his TARDIS and turned out the light and that was it. The universe was over.
He went back to that field with the green grass beside the green tree under the blue sky. He went back with the last nanosecond of time and space he made it back. And he stood not daring to move because he could smell the breeze and hear laughter and a couple talking.
And he saw them come over the hill. Two children a son and daughter and a couple. The little girl with a weak heart climbing that tree she'll die on in just over a year. Playing with her brother. And he saw him with his wife, and he heard his daughter laugh, and watched as he caught her from the tree and swung her through the air and his son jumped to his back and they all fell over.
He mused on visiting Rose or Martha or Sarah or even Jack afterwards. He'd get to them all he assumed, he had all the time he needed. He was so happy though that was the thing. They all die but not really. Not when he's alive for all of time, not when he carries them with him. Not when he goes to see them every now and again. They're still there and he was so pleased to have met them in the first place.
This was it he thought to himself. This is the moment he'd waited for all his life. When the Lonely God wasn't lonely, when he was just happy and thankful he was lucky enough to have it all happen to him.
He had watch worlds rise and fall, entire species wiped from time itself. He had been the first of his kind and the last. He had been a God and a Demon. He'd been a father and a brother and a lover. He had lived for as long as the Universe and he was there to walk her out, you did a good job, he had said to her, I'm glad I got to be here with you, he said to her. And the Universe merely smiled and died.
At the end of the Universe everything becomes calm and clear and somehow the restless heart of the Doctor was finally settled. He gave out a sigh as he watched the last bits of life flicker one more time. He had lived so many lives, and at the end of it all, he was happy.
Nothing really died you see, he concluded. The Universe never really ended. Because it's right here, still, look. He'd point to himself and smile, as long as I keep going, he'd tell you, it never really died in the first place. I reached the end now I can go back and forth in the middle and beginning, but in the end I'm still here, and it hasn't died yet. He'd laugh then, putting some sugar into his tea. He stopped running after that you see. There was nothing to run from he saw. He just finally faded into contentment of simply living. He went up and down the timeline, he'd live forever and soon embed himself in all of time and all of space, he'd been there at one time, and so he'd be eternally scattered in the universe. Perhaps once or twice he'd get nostalgic and take a lovely lad or gal for a ride to show them something wonderful and watch that innocent smile go up across their face. That smile he loved since he was a boy to give. But for the most part he simply walked on his own, looking back at it all, happy.
The Universe never ended, it just started to walk along with the Doctor.
He did what all Time Lords did in the end, he simply sat back and watched, soaking in and enjoying the show that was life itself.