Last Doctor Standing

The planet Birityuba was famous for its beaches. Most of its landmasses were islands, big and small. The beaches were wide and sandy, with warm days and cool nights. The oceans were deep blue, except when they held sand bars or coral reefs. Some beaches were bordered by high clifftops pockmarked with caves. Birityuba was famous for its beaches, and also for its sunsets.

On one such beach, there was an anomaly. Something that did not belong on such a peaceful planet. Two things, as a matter of fact. One appeared to be a device shaped like a 1950's police box. It's doors were thrown wide, revealing an interior far bigger on the inside than the outside.

The other was a man, sprawled and spreadeagled face down in the sand. He was tall, with a long brown trenchcoat that fell to his ankles and wrists, covering a battered and rumpled shirt and jeans . His fancy black leather shoes were already scuffed from the sand that had blown over them. His hair was pale blonde, shining in the light of the setting sun. It hid his face, even as the wind blew it about.

The sun sank lower. The man remained motionless, either asleep or unconscious or dead. The police box remained motionless as well, doors open wide as sand blew inside. It appeared to stand watch over the man, a silent sentinal.

The brillinalty colored sky was starting to gray by the time the man stirred faintly. First his hand twitched. Then, it pushed against the sand, and the man raised his head a fraction of an inch. Pale blue eyes peered through the sand and the hair. His other hand pushed him farther upright, and eventually he managed a sitting position. He sat with his legs kicked out in front of him, watching the water. He could almost hear his brain attempting to fire up, and for now he was content to wait for it to catch up with recent events.

He was...the Doctor...

He'd just...escaped something...some kind of danger...

With the help of his...

The Doctor glanced over his shoulder, and his face broke into a relieved smile at the sight of the TARDIS. Standing up and dusting himself off, he strode unhurriedly to his ship.

"You got me out of there," he said happily. His voice was light and breathy. "You rescued me once again. Thank you."

There had been...Daleks. Yes, there had been a lot of Daleks. Again. But that was nothing new. It seemed he would never be fully rid of his old enemies.

The Doctor frowned. Normally, such a thought would fill him with helpless anger. Now, he merely felt a sense of contentment as he accepted the fact easily.

His companion...no, that wasn't right. He hadn't had a companion for months. Well, he thought cheerfully, that had meant no one to worry about protecting during his last adventure. They had swarmed him. Swarmed him and the TARDIS. He'd just barely managed to escape after setting his explosives (odd, he couldn't quite remember how he'd done it...), but just as he forced the doors closed a stray laser bullet had come through the crack and struck him in the chest. The TARDIS had known the danger, and even as the regeneration had started it had teleported away.

It had certainly picked a pleasant spot to escape to, the Doctor thought as he sat down again between the doors of his ship and watched the sun sink lower. It really was a magnificent site. Why had he never visited here before?

He supposed the regeneration had gone over all right. Actually, it had gone over quite painlessly. The TARDIS had opened the doors after landing, he'd stumbled out mid-way between lives, and had collapsed on the sand. But he hadn't fallen unconscious, he'd merely fallen asleep. Normally, his body and mind ached after regenerating. But in fact, he felt...peaceful. He was content to sit and watch the sunset.

The Doctor frowned. Was this peace merely a side-effect, like all the others? He had, after all, just used up his last regeneration to become the Thirteenth and final Doctor. Shouldn't he be worried? Shouldn't he feel the pressure that soon, he would inevitably die for the final time?

But he didn't. As he searched his mind and feelings, he realized that the loneliness, the guilt, the anger...every emotion that had dogged and plagued him across lifetimes had been replaced by a sense of complete and utter contentment and peace. So, he would die. Well, everything did. Humans did. Rose had died. Tegan had died. Sarah Jane had died. Mickey and Jake and Pete and Jackie and Susan and Ian and Barabara and Peri...all of his companions had died long ago. When he died, he could see them all again. That would be nice. He could see them again, and could explore the one place even the TARDIS had never taken him.

He smiled. Being Last Doctor standing wasn't so bad as the Last Doctor standing. He was already starting to like this new form. Peace was something he'd missed for a long time.

He waited until the sun had finished setting, and then he watched stars come out and the moon rise. He felt he could sit for an eternity, him and his beloved ship.

But, that wouldn't do. Even with his new perfect contentment, the thought of new planets to explore made him grin. There were new worlds to see, new people to meet, new enemies to fight, new companions to join the ride...so much newness. Just for him.

He stood up, stretched, and re-entered the TARDIS, closing the doors behind him. For a moment, there was silence. Then the ship hummed, the light at the top flashed, and the TARDIS and the Doctor faded, leaving the quiet beach behind and off in search of a new adventure.

The End