Disclaimer: How I wish I owned them! Anyway, I don't; they're the property of the BBC.

The clock stops ticking

John Smith

He has never been terrified. Scared, yes - before taking his final examinations, before stepping into a classroom for the first time, when saying goodbye to his mother Verity at the age of eight, going to school. But all those memories now seem vague, paper-thin, compared to this pounding terror in his head and the persuasive, seductive call of the watch in his hand.

"What will you do?" Joan asks, her eyes wide and glistening.

He looks down at the watch (open me, now's the time), and takes a deep breath, and manages to smile weakly at her.

When they kiss it's the most real thing he's ever felt, in all his almost-forty years (less than three months). Joan holds his hand, just a second too long, and he stands.

"Goodbye," he says. "Nurse Redfern - Joan - I do love you. Remember that. That was real."

As he leaves tears are rolling down her face, and it is all John Smith can do not to turn back and crush the seductive watch under his heel.

The Doctor

In all his years and all his regenerations, he's worn many costumes, but this scratchy tweed suddenly feels like the strangest, the most uncomfortable. Close by, in this seemingly empty field, is the Family's ship - he knows that with piercing clarity, the clarity that's returned with the beating of his second heart and the Vortex sweeping through his head.

He looks at the watch. Not much time for clever plans now, thanks to John Smith's dithering; but Martha had handed him the sonic screwdriver as he passed her, and it's the work of a second to fiddle with it and provide the distraction he'll need.

The Doctor tucks the screwdriver away inside the strange suit, and pauses, trying to remember how John Smith talked, how he moved. It's difficult. But then three months is nothing, a blink of an eye, the turn of a sun. Smith was but a mayfly; now he'll come out for a brief encore, his last.

Joan Redfern

Leaning against the wall like that, he's the same, and he's not. It's not just the clothes - a different suit, a long coat, peculiar shoes - it's something in the way he's holding himself and the very, very direct look he's giving her across the room. It hurts to look at him - at the Doctor, this alien wearing the form of the man she had loved - hurts fiercely.

His voice is soft, tempting, persuasive. Joan can see why Martha loves him; there's promise in that voice of worlds unknown and horizons shattered. "Travel with me," he says, and she is not tempted.

The Doctor tries again, and it's harder, when he's close, but any desire she might have had is subsumed by the answer to her question, deep in his eyes. Those eyes, with fire at their centre, are not John Smith's eyes. If John Smith is in there, he's in deep, and she knows he will never return.

He leaves, and Joan turns to the window, her heart breaking.