This story takes place after "The Nightmare Child".
Ok, so it hadn't been relaxing.
The Doctor ruminated on the wisdom of going to Lock Tar Morakai for the thirty fifth time that day, as the control panel sparked again. Standing next to him, trying desperately to keep the lever she was holding level, was Carrie, his current female companion, a lovely twenty something (he forgot the exact age, but it wasn't important at the moment) woman who he'd met in a bank while investigating some Cybermen.
Corporal Daniel McKenzie, of UNIT fame, was off doing his military thing of course, as usual, which suited the Doctor fine, considering what he was fighting.
They had landed here about five hours ago, and had discovered that an evil race of mad robots invading. Of course, the Doctor, being the Doctor, had decided to stop them. After about five minutes, he'd worked out that they ran on a specific power mechanism, and that if he sent a signal at the exact right frequency, they would be disrupted and destroyed.
Of course, building a machine to send that signal was slightly more complicated than saying you needed one. So here he was, five hours later, Daniel fighting the bad guys and him doing the technological stuff. It seemed pretty familiar, but he didn't remember why…
Ah, absent mindedness, he thought to himself. A blessing and a curse. Still, it can't have been anything important. He would have remembered it surely?
"How long 'til it's finished?" Carrie asked.
"Couple of minutes, yet," the Doctor replied. "Give or take an hour."
"An hour?!" Carrie said, despairing slightly. "Doctor, they'll be here in a minute!"
"Well, maybe not an hour," the Doctor grinned, as the console lit up. "Maybe more like a second. Now, Carrie, when I say when, let that lever go."
"Ok…" Carrie said, as the Doctor checked the monitor. This had actually gone to plan. The Doctor seemed to be - no he was - smiling in utter bliss.
"What's up?" Carrie asked.
"Well," the Doctor said, "We've set up the plan, beaten he bad guys… that's almost a classic Doctor-saves-the-day!" He folded his arms and looked especially pleased with himself. "The Doctor, wandering Time Lord -One, all-the-evils-of-the-multiverse – Nada!"
At which point of course, the great universal power known on many worlds as 'Sods Law' decided that the Doctor was being a bit up himself, and decided to rain on his parade. The door to the room exploded inwards and dozens of the evil Robots burst in, firing lasers everywhere.
"When?!" Carrie yelled, crouching.
"No! Not when! Categorically not When! As far from When as it gets!" the Doctor yelled back.
"Why?!" she yelled despairingly.
"Because I said so!" he yelled. It would take forever to explain that the machine would take another thirty three seconds to get fully charged for the exact moment, so he resorted to doing the authoritarian gig. He grabbed pole and swung for the nearest robot. They were no longer firing their lasers – 'probably realized that this place is filled with dangerous technological gubbins,' the Doctor thought – but they were still trying to get to the Doctor and Carrie. Twenty seconds. He knocked a robots head off. Fifteen seconds. Daniel burst into the room, spraying laser fire at the robots – lovely, Daniel, the Doctor thought sarcastically. Always the military option, which was Daniel through and through. Ten seconds. He hit another robot, but it wrenched the pole out of his hands. Five. He ducked as it tried to hit him. Four. He dodged again. Three. It hit him in the shoulder, driving him to his knees. Two. He looked up at it. One. It's hand turned into a blade… and he remembered why this situation seemed familiar. Because he had been here before. Fighting monsters. Dying.
This was it.
In the few moments he had left, give or take, he smiled and considered his life. The Cybermen. Davros. The Nightmare Child.
"WHEN!!" he yelled, not caring about himself, just about the victory, saving the day… doing what he always had, always would. Never stopping, never halting. His life flashed before his eyes. The blade came down… he closed his eyes, and waited…
Carrie let go of the lever.
A blinding flash lit the room.
A scream pierced the silence.
The light receded as fast as it had come.
The robots were lying around, sparking.
The Doctor was lying prostrate on the floor, a hole through his chest.
"Doctor!" Daniel yelled, running over to him. His body went into spasm, blood pouring out of the hole in his chest, him gagging on the blood welling up in his throat.
"What happened?" Carrie yelled, running down to where they were.
"He must've been stabbed by one of the robots!" Daniel said quietly. "Doctor? Doctor?!"
The Doctor tried to talk, but the words wouldn't come, and he screamed in pain and frustration. Daniel picked him up, and turned to Carrie, his face blazing.
"Get your key out. We need to get him to the TARDIS."
The door opened, and Daniel carried the Doctor inside, putting him down carefully by the glowing green console. The TARDIS was darker, as if she knew her owner was dying once more, and was preparing the suitable atmosphere.
The Doctor had improved slightly, the blood clotting, but the wound was obviously terminal. He had by this point either swallowed the blood in his throat or spat it out, and was gulping air down like – well, like a dying man.
"What do we do?" Carrie asked, looking around as if trying to find a cure for a great big hole in the chest.
"Nothing," Daniel said. "He's already doing it, I think."
"What?" Carrie yelled, angrily. Daniel realized that, to her, it looked as though the Doctor was finished. This must be dreadful, he thought, absolutely dreadful.
Daniel had studied the files. He knew about Regeneration. He knew this part. Not that he wasn't upset, but the Doctor would be the same person after this.
"Time Lords have a failsafe in case of mortal injury," he explained to Carrie. "They call it regeneration. He's going to heal his wounds, but in the process his body's going to be restructured – it's going to look different. He's going to look different. And act different. UNIT has lots of files on the different Doctors."
The Doctor was trying to stand up, and managed to pull himself upright, with a great effort.
"But," Carrie said, addressing him, "you'll be alright, won't you? I mean, you'll survive?"
The Doctor said nothing, absolutely nothing, but he grinned. The old, good-times-around-the-corner smile. And then, the smile faded, and the Doctor collapsed to the floor, face peaceful, eyes closed.
He was dead. Carrie stared at the body in abject shock for a long moment, and started to sob. Daniel stared at it solemnly. He knew what happened now, and he was merely waiting.
The face twitched. Then the hand twitched. A bolt of lightening struck the face from – somewhere. Then, a light shone, and at first, neither Daniel nor Carrie could tell where the light was coming from – but then it became apparent, because it was coming from him. He was overexposing, his face glowing, and then… and then they couldn't see his face, just the light. And then… and then it was gone, little wisps of energy flying away… but they still couldn't see his face, their eyes were still adjusting, and he put his hand over his face, moaning.
For a moment, neither of the humans in the room said anything, and then they heard the new Doctors first word, spoken softly, in a similar but slightly different voice, deeper, more sarcastic, and muffled through his hand.