Disclaimer: The Doctor in this story is the creation of fellow FFN author Orrien (Flinch-Hayward), who is also my beta reader, so most of the credit goes to her. The companions Molly and Twitch also belong to her, but apparently Nadrin is the creation of one of her friends (not sure who, but I'll find out), as is Harvey (who she thinks belongs to templremus1990, but she can't quite remember).

The show itself obviously belongs to the BBC, as does the general concept.

In fact, the only thing I can claim for my own, other than the writing, is the design of the TARDIS, which Orrien helped with (it was going to be red, blue and white to be very British, but she suggested making it look mauve overall).

Please let me know what you think.

There had been four of them. Just the four, and that in itself was a remarkable thing, given his usual penchant for companionship. But his twelfth incarnation had been rather – well, economical, looking back on it. His eleventh, not so much – he had had more than his fair share, actually, sometimes three or four at a time. But his twelfth had stuck to a mere four in total. Perhaps he might have found another, in time – not that it mattered particularly. Ifs, buts and whens – ha! It didn't matter in the slightest, because it was a fact that there had only been four, and facts rarely changed. Facts like that certainly didn't.

But four had been enough. He had chosen them wisely, each with their own merits, and a purpose that he would never quite admit – Harvey, to remind him to feel human every now and again; Nadrin, to remind him that he wasn't human every now and again; Molly, to remind him that it didn't matter; and Twitch, to remind him that they were all just made from sub-atomic particles and that there was little point in differentiation when you got down to it.

He ran his tongue along his teeth. No idea why he actually did that – more habit that anything else. New incarnation, new teeth. After so many regenerations, it got no less strange, having unfamiliar things in his mouth. Well, the mouth itself was new and unfamiliar, too. Everything was. Goodness knew why it was the teeth that bothered him so much. Still, at least this would be the last time he'd have to be bothered by it. The last time. Gosh, he suddenly felt so…mortal.

He leaned back against the central console with a sigh and felt the TARDIS hum against his hands. Sometimes, the Doctor wondered if she changed with him (not just the interface, either, but actually her), or if she was just fantastic enough to understand what he needed, no matter who he was. He suspected the latter and thanked her silently for it. The console throbbed beneath his palms.

It was a light purple these days, bright red floors and blue-white lights, all bathed in a hazy glow from the central column. Overall, it might even be called mauve, and how appropriate that would be. Well, the main room was like that, anyway. The side rooms were much as was appropriate to their purpose and to their occupants, as he had left them be. No need to wipe their memories from the face of his ship, after all, no matter how painful it was to be reminded. Sometimes he needed to remember.

Besides, it wasn't as though he needed the space onboard. Only one of the rooms was occupied these days. Only one of the Twelfth's four companions remained – though now, of course, she was also the Thirteenth's, assuming that she wanted to stay.

"Are you-" For the briefest of moments as she entered the room, her face fell in horror, one of the few times that the Doctor had ever seen her lose her composure. But it was only for a second, then her abrupt tone returned. "Feeling better?"

Gently, the Doctor pushed himself – and he was sure he felt the TARDIS pushing too – back to his feet. He stood away from the console and quietly regarded his companion for a moment.

The dark rings that encircled her eyes didn't entirely mask the redness that was evidence of her recent trauma. The Doctor knew it best not to bring it up, lest she start crying once more – which would, of course, be entirely understandable (she had lost two of her travelling companions in the space of a day, and although one had survived, he could hardly be called the same man) – but it was still something he would rather avoid.

Her eyes were the only giveaway feature, both to this and to her alien heritage, something that she and Nadrin had had in common. The Doctor often wondered if there was some sort of genetic loophole that favoured the eyes when humans reproduced with alien species. Her mousy hair had been brushed back into place and her clothes changed for something a little less bloodstained. She looked quite recovered, in fact. Until, that was, she laid eyes on the Doctor.

"Is it that bad?" he asked jokingly, though no mirth was expressed in either his words or the girl's response.

"I wondered why the TARDIS had hidden all the mirrors." Her voice was deadpan.

The Doctor's fingers instinctively reached up to his face. The girl responded with an almost involuntary shake of her head, as though she, like the TARDIS, was trying to protect him. She watched as his fingers mapped the contours of his face, as his eyes strained upwards in an effort to see his own hair. Perhaps a millimetre or two stuck across his forehead in a vague attempt at what might pass for a fringe. As it caught his eye, he grinned widely. "I'm ginger!"

His face was ecstatic – he'd always wanted to be ginger, just the once. After twelve incarnations that had miserably failed in granting him his wish, he'd rather given up on it. But now, at last – fantastic!

He grinned across at the mousy-haired girl, who didn't appear to share his enthusiasm. It took a moment for him to process. Then his face fell, faster than a cartoon anvil. He was ginger. Like Molly had been. Sweet, caring, human Molly, the girl they had earlier watched slaughtered by a Dalek. Ah.

This would complicate things rather a lot.