For some reason it was incredibly difficult to get myself writing this. I don't really know why though I was trying to do some background research into the Doctor's companions. Where I ran into my first wall because there are tons of classic episodes. If my characterization of the classic companions is off then I apologize. Considering my A.D.D (and yes, I do actually have it; ask my doctor) I'm surprised I was even able to focus enough to make an effort.
That said, it's time to thank all my lovely reviewers :)
Saucy-Duck (me? Have power over the reader? Yeah, right XD)
Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life
It isn't fair. The only thought that remained constant in his head as he stared blankly at the controls, Rose lying unconscious on the grating across from him. It isn't fair.
He'd only just met her and while he'd known as some point that he was going to regenerate, had even seen who he was going to become, he'd foolishly thought he'd have more time with her. More than this, anyway.
It isn't fair.
He'd never see Rose again. Not like this. Never get the chance to see another world and laugh, fix a planet, stop a war, start a nation, see Rose's smile, help a family, dance with Rose, see a new star, hug Rose--
Stop it, he told himself firmly. He needed to stop thinking about it. He couldn't get rid of the vortex energy that was pulsing through his body. There was no way to save himself and he'd only make it harder for her if he let her see how difficult this was for him. That he was dying.
She was only a few feet away and he wanted to go to her, to crouch down and embrace her even though she couldn't return the gesture. He wanted to hold her hand one last time.
The Doctor stayed where he was and let his head dip down. Any moment now and he'd be gone, a manic pretty boy taking his place to run off with his--
Rose Tyler may be his companion but nothing more, no matter that his future regeneration was bent on destroying the timelines to have her and no matter that he desperately wanted to help him because he cared for her so much that sometimes it physically hurt.
He glanced to the side and saw Rose's head swivel from side to side as she took in her surroundings and gingerly sat up.
"Don't you remember?"
"It's like...there was this singing," she said hesitantly, face scrunching into confusion.
He pushed away the not entirely unwelcome thought that she looked adorable like that and tried to muster a cheerful tone, "That's right, I sang a song and the Daleks ran away."
She ignored his comment and continued musing out loud, staring at some point on the floor as she spoke, "I was at home. No, I wasn't... I was in the Tardis and there was this light and I can't remember anything else."
His skin was aching uncomfortably and he saw his hand take on a faint golden glow and tried to shake off his panic. Not long now.
He tore his gaze away and watched Rose bite her lip before meeting his stare. He tried to smile but it felt more like a grimace.
"Rose Tyler. I was gonna take you to so many places. Barcelona. Not the city Barcelona, the planet Barcelona. You'd love it, fantastic place. They've got dogs with no noses! Imagine how many times you end up telling that joke and it's still funny."
The Doctor realized he was rambling and cut himself off, averting his eyes. He needed to explain it to her, to make her understand that she wouldn't ever see him again yet he'd still be here but his worry was twisting his speech and he was well aware that he sounded at least half mad.
"Then why can't we go?"
"Maybe you will," he answered, "maybe I will. But not like this."
"You're not making sense," Rose protested, standing and gazing at him with concern.
"I might never make sense again," the Doctor said seriously, chuckling though it wasn't remotely funny, no longer caring that he sounded insane. He certainly felt it. "I might have two heads. Or no head. Imagine me with no head and don't say that's an improvement."
Right, time to shut up Doctor, he thought when he saw she started to look both annoyed and a little scared.
"But it's a bit dodgy, this process," he continued and Rose's whole body went still, the smile on her face frozen. "You never know what you're gonna end up with."
Pain, an intense burst of it, hit his stomach as his cells started to change and he doubled over, gasping with the effort of keeping himself upright.
"Doctor!" she cried and, obviously panicking, ran forward.
"Stay away!" he shouted, clenching his teeth as he tried to talk through the pain.
"Doctor, tell me what's going on," Rose begged, eyes wide with fear.
"I absorbed all the energy of the time vortex and no one's meant to do that. Every cell in my body is dyin'."
"Can't you do something?"
"Yeah, I'm doin' it now. Time Lord's have this little trick. It's sorta a way of cheating death. Except, it means I'm gonna change and I'm not gonna see you again. Not like this, not with this daft old face and before I go--"
"Don't say that," she interrupted softly.
"--Rose, before I go, I just want to tell you that you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And do you know what?"
She shook her head minutely, staring at him apprehensively.
"So was I," he beamed, drawing a reluctant smile from Rose.
All he knew then was pain as his body burned-- Rose-- and all he could see was a bright golden white light that seared his eyes even as they changed shape-- It isn't fair-- his body was changing but the pain was just so intense—Rose, I lo--
And then it was gone and he blinked, dizzy from the sudden loss of it.
The first thing he registered was a pretty blonde girl staring at him incredulously, hugging herself against a support column and looking for all the world as though she was trying to disappear.
Funny how he couldn't recall her name, but then he couldn't seem to remember much at all as he took his first breath and decided to break the ice.
"Hello. Oomph. New teeth. That's weird," he mused. The girl stayed silent and really, it was a shame he didn't know her name but what was the last thing he was talking about, anyway?
He hated it when his regeneration interrupted a conversation. It was very rude.
Not the city Barcelona, the planet Barcelona.
"Now where was I? Oh, that's right! Barcelona!"he grinned.
Memories flooded his mind, each thrown into stark relief as though they'd only just happened. Facts, figures, places and names all becoming a jumbled mess in his mind as he walked over to the controls and started setting coordinates for Barcelona.
"Grandfather!" His lovely Susan, so bright and beautiful.
"I'm not the tea lady." Jo Grant, more than a bit absentminded but confident and brave nonetheless.
"I thought all this might give me a good story. I'm a journalist." Sarah Jane Smith, fiercely independent and so very curious.
"Five thousand and six..."
"Regenerating. Do you like it?" Romana, always ready to give him a piece of her mind yet soft hearted and a little naïve.
"On the way to Barcelona!"
None of the names or faces he saw in his mind seemed to fit the young woman before him. Places and times crowded his head as he struggled to recall her.
Cybermen, U.N.I.T, the Shadow Proclamation, the Medusa Cascade, Terminus, Savartos...
"Now then," the Doctor said, turning to smile at the spooked girl. His hearts seemed to fill with something he couldn't name as he stared at her and gave her a fond smile. He didn't know who she was but he wanted to. "What do you think? No, no, no, no, don't tell me."
Leela, Peri, Mel, Ace, Grace....
"Let's see: two legs, two arms, two hands," he said aloud, gazing at himself in contemplation, before grasping his wrist and gently rotating it, "Slight weakness in the dorsal tubicle."
His hands flew to his hair and swept through the thick locks. "Hair! I'm not bald! Ooh, ooh! Big hair. Sideburns! I've got sideburns!"
The Doctor forgot his quest for a moment in lieu of this enormously important fact and couldn't keep the enthusiasm from his voice. His whole body seemed to thrum with energy and he wanted to go, to take off and visit planets he'd never seen, to run until he was ragged from exhaustion.
"Ooh, really bad skin," he said sulkily before patting his stomach, "Little bit thinner. That's weird. Give me time, I'll get used to it." He paused as something grabbed his attention. "I have got a mole. I can feel it, between my shoulder blades, there's a mole. That's alright, love the mole. Go on then, tell me. What do you think?"
Nestene Consciousness, getting chips, Charles Dickens, the Game Station, Reapers, Slitheen in Downing Street, and...
Warmth filled him and his smile softened. Rose. How could he have ever forgotten her? She was--
--brilliant. Compassionate, loyal, and brave. His plus one.
Who was glaring at him distrustfully. "Who are you?"
"I'm the Doctor."
"No, where is he? Where's the Doctor? What have you done to him?!" Her voice rose with her anger until she was almost shouting but he could hear the fear too. No longer scared for him, she was scared of him. And that shouldn't hurt as much as it did.
"You saw me," he said, gesturing over his shoulder, " I changed; right in front of you."
Rose frowned, inching forward slightly, eyes raking over him. " I saw him sort of... explode and then you took his place. Like a transmat or a body swap or something."
She walked forward slowly, looking as though she would bolt if he made any sudden moves, until she was in front of him. She pushed him, the palm of her hand lightly touching his chest before retreating several paces away. "You're not fooling me."
"I've seen all sorts of things," she continued, "Nano genes, Gelf, Slitheen."
Rose paused, looking at him in horrified fascination, "Oh my god, are you Slitheen?"
"I am not a Slitheen," he clarified, trying to keep a straight face.
"Send him back!" she demanded furiously, " I'm warning you! Send the Doctor back, right now!"
"Rose," he replied desperately, "It's me. Honestly, it's me. I was dying. To save my own life I changed my body. Every single cell. But, I'm still me."
"But you can't be," she breathed.
Bursting through the double doors and seeing her, head bent, eyes clenched shut. "Run," he told her, grabbing her hand and seeing warm brown eyes.
"Then how could I remember this?" he asked her, coming forward to stand before her, invading her personal space. "Very first word I ever said to you? Trapped in that cellar, surrounded by shop window dummies, oooh such a long time ago. I took your hand," he reached for her hand slowly and clasped it in his own, squeezing reassuringly, "and I said one word. Just one word. I said, 'Run.'."
Rose's eyes widened, glistening slightly with unshed tears. "Doctor?" she whispered.
The Doctor smiled, relieved. "Hello!"
She exhaled shakily and he slipped his hand from hers to race around the console. "And we never stopped, did we?" he exclaimed, "Running, running, running," he flipped a switch in time to each 'run', "and that one time we had to hop. Do you remember? Hopping for our lives."
He hopped in place, grinning. "Yeah. All that hopping. Remember hopping for your life? Eh? Hop?No?"
His energy withered away as she stared at him, not answering.
"Can you change back?" Rose asked.
"Do you want me to?"
"Yeah." No hesitation whatsoever, quick and final.
"Oh." How quick she was to cast him away.
"No," he finished quietly.
Silence filled the room before he could bring himself to ask, "Do you wanna leave?"
A pause, then, "Do you want me to leave?"
"No!" Calm down, he thought, trying to sweep the picture of her walking out the door from his head. "But, your choice. If you want to go home."
She said nothing and he turned to the controls, his hands flying over them with practiced ease. "Cancel Barcelona. Change to: London, the Powell Estate. Ah, let's say twenty fourth of December. Consider it a Christmas present."
Rose walked forward slowly until she was beside him and glanced at the column as it whisked up and down. "I'm... going home?"
"Up to you. Back to your mum. It's all waiting. Fish and chips, sausage and mash, beans on toast. No, Christmas. Turkey! Although, having met your mother, nut loaf would be more appropriate."
A small smile curled her lips, though she obviously tried to fight it and looked down, one hand reaching out to touch the console.
"Was that a smile?" he teased.
Immediately it dropped. "No," she lied.
"That was a smile," he insisted.
"No it wasn't."
"No, I didn't," she said in a falsely careless tone, rolling her eyes.
"Come on, all I did was change, I didn't--"
"You need to listen to me."
Pain hit him suddenly, wiping his mind blank. "-- flahh!"
"What?" Rose questioned, obviously confused and wary.
"I said, I didn't--"
"Because you have a decision to make."
How could he have possibly forgotten the damage his future self was wreaking? He could feel Time bending and twisting unnaturally around himself and Rose and it hurt. Energy swelled within him. He was still technically regenerating and the energy sought out the pain he was feeling, trying to rid him of it. But it couldn't because it was in his mind. Not good.
"Are you all right?"
He breathed out slowly and a golden wisp left his mouth, burning his throat as it exited.
"Oooh, the change is going a bit wrong. I'm all-- foofah!" The Doctor doubled over and his mind was splitting in two, he could feel it.
"Look, maybe we should go back. Let's go and find Captain Jack, he'd know what to do!"
"Nah," the Doctor said dismissively, the momentary absence of pain making him giddy, "he's busy! He's got plenty to do, rebuilding the Earth!"
A switch caught his attention-- "Ooh, haven't used this one in years."-- and before he could stop himself he flicked it. The Tardis lurched, throwing him against the console.
"What you doin'?" Rose shouted indignantly.
"Putting on a bit of speed!" he shouted back. He felt like he was on fire again.
"But you have to make a choice because I can't."
"That's it! Come on, what a beautiful ship. Come on, faster! Thatta girl!" His fingers found switches and buttons he hadn't used for years and wouldn't if he was in his right mind. "Faster?! Wanna break the time vortex?!"
"Stop it!" Rose screamed, plainly terrified.
"She is worth fighting for."
"Oh, don't be so dull! Let's have a bit of fun! Let's rip through that vortex!" His hand violently punched through the air of it's own volition and his vision cleared for a second. "The regeneration's going wrong. I can't stop myself."
He lowered his head, clenching his teeth against the urge to scream. "Oh, my head... faster! Let's open those engines!"
A shrill bell rang through the air and his lips twisted into a smile.
"Crash land!" he responded happily, laughing.
"Well, then do something!" she yelled, clutching the console as the ship rocked around them.
"Too late!" he giggled, "Out of control! Oooh, I love it! Hot dog!"
"You're gonna kill us!"
"Hold on tight! Here we go! Christmas Eve!"
The Tardis bucked and swayed violently before settling suddenly with a bump. Rose stumbled and lost her footing, hitting the floor with her hands outstretched to break her fall.
The Doctor grabbed her arm and hoisted her up on unsteady feet before bolting to the doors and throwing one of them open. He popped his head out and gazed around curiously. "Here we are, then! London, Earth, the solar system, isn't it?"
He took a few steps forward, pain and excitement making it difficult to breathe. He halted when a vision of pink and yellow met his inquisitive gaze. "Jackie!" He looked to her side and saw, "Mickey!"
"Blimey! No, no, hold on!" he begged, back tracking, "There was something I had to say. Something I had to tell you." He circled around them and grasped them both by the shoulders. Jackie flinched. "No, hold on. Shh. Oh!" He beamed brightly at them both. "Merry Christmas!"
He couldn't stop himself from falling or his sight growing dim, but before everything went black, he looked across the courtyard and met a pair of familiar brown eyes belonging to a face he now wore.
"Anything else he's got two of?" Jackie's curious tone filtered through his groggy mind and he found himself almost happy that he couldn't make a sound because he was pretty sure he would've squeaked or made some other undignified noise.
"Leave him alone!"
Ah. Good old, Rose. She'd protect him from her mum and slapping, he thought tiredly as he drifted off.
His throat was aching.
He was gaining a little strength now, enough to sit up in bed at least. He'd heard the front door close not long ago and guessed that Rose had left to go shopping with Rickey.
Of whom he was not jealous. Even a little.
He could hear Jackie nattering away on the phone in the next room and managed to not only sit up but twist his torso so that he could see out the window. He had to warn Rose... when she came back... that there might be....
He gazed down at the street and saw himself standing below, wearing a blue pinstriped suit. He looked up and winked at him.
What little strength he had drained away and he fell back into bed, his mind going soothingly blank.
The tenth Doctor sighed as he stared up at the window. He certainly didn't envy his younger self and winced as he remembered the burning pain of regeneration.
He was still traveling, of course. His past self didn't need him following every move he made and he was anxious enough that he welcomed even the tiniest distraction. Although saving Christmas from a human- Cyberman hybrid and flying a bus through a wormhole weren't exactly what he had in mind, they were normal enough considering his record.
He shivered and watched his breath fan away in little puffs of white. He really should get back to his Tardis before Rose happened along. She'd be back any minute now.
He strode down the road at a leisurely pace and, despite his growing impatience and worry that his plan would come crashing down around him, he felt relieved here, in a time where he knew Rose was still happy and clueless about what was to come.
He turned the corner and froze, eyes taking in every detail of the stranger leaning against his Tardis.
The young man had dark brown hair that was swept to the side, revealing a pale face and sharp dark eyes. He was thin, sporting a pair of black jeans and a dark sweater under a black suit jacket.
The stranger blinked as he returned his gaze, eyes sweeping over the Doctor in what he could only describe as an apprehensive and melancholy way.
The Doctor resumed his walk until he was standing before the man. "Who are you?"
The young man grinned and the Doctor noted that, despite his features being a bit broad and sallow, it gave him a boyish charm and almost instantaneous trust.
"A messenger. You could call me Christmas future, if you will, considering where and when we are."
It took a moment before the Doctor realized that he was smiling with an ease he hadn't felt in a long time.
"You don't exactly look like a regular ghost. And trust me, I've seen 'ghosts' before."
The man shrugged, his grin growing wider. "Ah yes. The Gelth, am I right?"
The Doctor felt as though he been punched and his smile faded away. "Excuse me?"
"Gelth. Christmas, 1869. Met Charles Dickens. Nice but a bit too stubborn."
The Doctor carefully appraised the man, taking in details he hadn't seen before. The man gave off an air of confidence and carelessness and his eyes were ancient and gleaming with knowledge and the same hidden away coldness he saw in his own on a regular basis. The man stood still, letting him look.
"You have to stop this, Doctor. She's where she's meant to be. You know that."
"But I can't," the Doctor whispered. "I need someone."
The young man smiled sadly. "That someone can't be her."
"Why are you here?" the Doctor asked past stiff lips.
The young man sighed. "I'm not entirely sure how to answer your question. We both know time is in flux. Every now and then you change things, usually for the better. Save someone that would have been lost, stop certain people from gaining power, that sort of thing. And sometimes you can change big events. But not those certain fixed points, Doctor. You're timeline and hers are... unstable at best, even before you decided to change it all."
"Why are you here?" the Doctor repeated, dread growing in his stomach.
"Because this time you need someone to stop you. Someone who understands better than anyone. That someone is me," the man explained gently. "You have to stop. Best case scenario, time bends around you both and you might succeed. At worst, time snaps. And then everything is gone."
The man walked forward and let his hand rest on the Doctor's shoulder, his other hand pushed inside the pocket of his jeans.
"I'm not ordering you or warning you. Yet. I'm asking you. Please, let her go."
The Doctor turned his head and met the man's gaze and could see time swirling in their depths.
"Now," he said lightly, in a deceivingly pleasant tone, "I really must be getting back to Amy. See you later, Doctor."
The eleventh Doctor walked away and didn't look back, humming an upbeat tune as he went.
Ten trembled for a moment, shaken to his core, before unlocking the doors to the Tardis and rushing inside.
A moment later and an odd grinding sound filled the street as the police box vanished, leaving no sign that it had ever occupied the peaceful street.
Goodness that took some time. Let's see if we can get this story finished before season 5 can we? And of course I had to throw eleven in there ;) We haven't seen too much of his personality yet so I'm taking a stab in the dark but then it is all just fiction anyway. The outfit I had him wore you can google and I chose it because it looked more fitting than the dorky 1950's professor getup I saw him in. What else? Oh, some of you may be asking, if Ten is changing everything then why doesn't Eleven have Rose with him. Well all I can offer is that time is in flux. The tenth is taking a route he couldv'e took and eleven is on the path the Doctor will be should it fail. Wibbly wobbly and all that.
But Eleven isn't the only surprise I'll have popping up. Bet no one will guess who's next ;)
Song I was listening to: How To Save A Life by The Fray