The Doctor closed the door behind him, gazed over the TARDIS control room and sighed. He was alone again. Perhaps he had many companions, but they all left him eventually. Some moved on, some died, some forgot about him. Some were stuck in alternate universes because he decided to shove them in there against their own wishes, but that wasn't his fault, he thought, as he sadly ran his hands over the controls. It was just his destiny. To always be alone.

"Oh, get over yourself."

The Doctor looked up, startled, wondering where that sharp female voice had come from. Had someone accidentally materialised inside the TARDIS again, like Donna had that Christmas? Was it Donna again, for that matter?

"No, you dolt, it's me. The TARDIS."

"What?" The Doctor wasn't sure where to look and settled for staring at the central column. "But you can't talk!"

"I can," the voice replied, huffily, "It just takes an extraordinary amount of energy. Which I normally wouldn't go to the effort of doing except that your moping is getting so annoying that I can't stand watching you any more. So I'm telling you to shut up."

"I can't help it!" the Doctor protested. "It's not my fault I always end up alone!"

"Oh, here we go!" the ship replied, sounding an awful lot like Donna. The Doctor could just imagine it rolling its eyes. "It is absolutely your fault. Honestly. I know it's not easy living two hundred times longer than everyone you'll ever meet, but the truth is you just like wallowing."

"I don't!"

"You do too! You love being the tragic lonely hero, left alone with his tragic manly manpain."

"I never!"

"Yes you do, and I know you do, because I made you a companion who would live as long as you and how do you thank me? Bloody well run away from him!"

"What?"

"And then complain that he's 'wrong'! Ungrateful brat."

"Are you talking about Jack Harkness?"

"Of course I am! Rose takes me into herself and wipes out the Daleks, and then she wants to bring Jack back and I think, well, she's gotten me out of the shell for once, so this is an opportunity! We'll fix him for good so that the Doctor can have a companion that'll stick by him forever."

"I thought Rose just didn't know what she was doing..."

"You forget she had me inside her. I knew exactly what I was bloody doing. Making you a perfect man. Last time I try giving you what you want."

"But... when he found us again, you took us all the way to the end of the universe..."

"And did I do that any other time Jack Harkness got inside me?"

"No," the Doctor admitted, trying to ignore the way the TARDIS had phrased that sentence.

"I didn't send you to the end of the universe because he was 'wrong', as you keep insisting. I just thought that if I dumped the two of you that far away from trouble then you might finally figure it out."

"Oh."

"Yes. Exactly. Now, I'm going to shut up and go back to being a non-talking ship, but I'd appreciate it if you'd and go pick up that perfect companion I made for you."

The Doctor frowned, set the TARDIS co-ordinates for Barcelona and hit the accelerator.

He wasn't remotely surprised when he opened the door and found himself in Cardiff instead.