A/N: This is a first for me, never done a Doctor Who story before, but there is a first time for everything.
Starts in the final moments of The End of Time part 2, and goes from there.
Disclaimer: Nothing owned but a computer.
The ghosts of the past whispered to him. Echoing around him in his dying moments, weighing heavily on his already fractured soul. They spoke of lost love and broken promises, creating a montage of angst-filled memories to flicker through his injured mind. Each one tearing into him with no way for him to repair the damage they were creating.
And he was scared.
He had always accepted the regeneration process before, but this time he truly felt like he was dying. This body meant more to him then the others had, and that was the problem. He did not want to change this look, not yet... he wasn't ready, he doubted he ever would be.
Resignation took over the fear for a moment and he made a final decision. He had essentially become a hero by sacrificing himself for a human, so it was time he did what any other hero would do. He would collect his reward.
Feeling the familiar sensation of burning in the pit of his stomach, he made a mental list of companions he wanted to glimpse at one final time. Of course, he would see them again in the future, but he would miss the first look of recognition they would give him. The possible smiles and hugs he would receive, when they realised he was still here... still protecting them. Instead, it would be confusion and disbelief over who he was, and that broke him.
So, one by one, he visited them - the children of time, and they had been - simple children to the rest of the universe, but to him they had been so much more. He would miss them, more then they realised. It seemed the Universe had deemed his destiny forever... alone.
Mickey, Martha, Sarah-Jane, Jack, Donna. All names he would never forget, all people who had sacrificed so much for him.
In no time, at all, he had worked through the list, and he was now at the last name. This was the place he needed to visit the most. This had been his true salvation.
Her name fell from his lips in a whisper as he leaned back against the hard, cold wall. Looking around slowly he took in the area, this was where it had all started. It had been a full circle and he had ended up right back at the beginning.
If he closed his eyes, he could recall the memory of Rose helping him from the Tardis and accepting the change he had made years before. If only he could go to that moment, how he would change things. The main difference would be he would never lose her in the first place. Him and Rose - the stuff of Legends travelling through space and time... forever.
Hearing a person approach he sighed softly, arming himself against the assault of emotion he was likely to feel. He could not let her see him, it had nothing to do with the delicate fabric of the universe or crossing time-lines, it was more for self-preservation.
Any of the others would have been hard enough, but to see her and find no hint of recognition in her eyes, no hint of love and affection, which he had come to associate with her smile, would destroy him.
Therefore, he resigned himself to just watch her, hoping in vain that, that would be enough. As she rounded the corner, he berated himself for being so idiotic. One look would never be enough... not with her.
Watching her walk past, he struggled to ignore the urge to call out. Instead trying to concentrate on just absorbing everything to memory. Suddenly a stabbing pain shot through his abdomen and he cried out, leaning a hand heavily on the wall. Taking a few gulps of air, he tried to keep himself from making too much noise.
"You alright mate?" she asked. The lack of noise from the crunching snow beneath her feet, alerting him to the fact that she was facing him.
"Yeah," he replied. Ignoring the pain for a moment, to focus on the woman before him.
"Too much too drink?" she enquired. Crossing her arms again to fend off the cold.
"Something like that," he answered.
"Maybe it's time you went home".
If only she knew how much he wished he could go home. What would she say if he replied that she was home, at least for him? Closing his eyes briefly, he quelled the ache in his chest, before glancing at her. "Yeah."
Satisfied with the answer, she smiled and stepped back, giving the mysterious stranger a nod. "Anyway. Happy new year!"
"And you," he replied. Seeing her turn, he called out to her, eager to know how far back into her life he had gone. "What year is this?"
Laughing she turned back, raising an eyebrow at him in disbelief. "Blimey how much have you had?" Seeing him shrug his shoulders, she replied, saying each word pointedly. "2005, January the 1st".
"2005," he echoed. It would be a year of change for her, the start of something brilliant... he could not say the same for the ending though. Smiling sincerely, he tilted his head slightly. "Tell you what. I bet you're going to have a really great year."
Not answering for fear of letting something slip, he nodded again briefly. Then he saw it. The look in her eyes she would have just moments before they had to run. It was excitement mixed with the hope that there was something waiting, and this time he knew what it was.
It would be him.
"See ya," she said, giving him a small wave.
His gaze stayed on her until the final moments when she was no longer in sight. This would be the last time these eyes ever saw her, and the new ones never would.
It would be the last time he would allow himself to love.
Pushing away from the wall, he began a slow stumble towards the Tardis. He only managed a few steps before his legs gave way beneath him and he collapsed to the floor, crying out as the motion jarred his aching body. Slowly he began to crawl forwards, realising helplessly that he was not going to make it.
His time was over, and he tried in vain to fight the exhaustion. Noticing a figure to the side, he looked up slowly, the mixture of snow and tiredness making his vision hazy, but through it all, he made out Ood Sigma.
"We will sing to you Doctor. The Universe will sing you to your sleep."
With that a song began, and it ignited a final spark deep within. Feeling a small burst of energy he managed to push himself up and slowly began the final few steps towards the doors of his ship.
"This song is ending but the story never ends."
Hearing the words echo around him, The Doctor finally managed to stumble through the doors leaning against them for a moment. This was it... no more running. He was finally out of time. Pushing away from the comforting wooden panel, he walked forward removing his coat and throwing it onto a beam as he went.
He had just enough energy left to put the Tardis into the Vortex. Letting out a cry as the fire began to spread, he stumbled around the central column, feeling the comforting tones of his ship in the back of his mind.
"I don't want to go." he said. Not being able to control the emotion in his voice. The frustration broke him and he felt lost.
A glow began to seep from his skin as he lifted a hand to his face. He only had mere seconds left, breathing in heavily he felt the tears well behind his eyes. Shakily he lifted his arms to the side as the light engulfed him, before shooting out, making him miss the soft sigh from another presence echo through the control room.
"Then don't." It whispered. Answering The Doctors whimpered statement.
As if the words were an entity themselves, they surrounded the flames erupting from the Doctor amongst a blue light, and began to slowly extinguish them. The regeneration energy began to dissipate into the air and after mere seconds the control room was quite, the light had vanished along with the blue essence which had saved him.
Collapsing to the floor, he breathed in heavily, confused as to why he felt no different. Something was wrong; he just could not pinpoint what the problem was. Lifting his hands to his face, he ran them over his skin.
"Nose check, eyes - two of, ears - pretty much the same, hair... great hair," he said shakily, raising an eyebrow in confusion. "Wait." Jumping up he ran to the mirror on the wall, clasping the edges tightly with his fingers, as he focused on the reflection staring at him.
Lowering one hand to touch the glass surface, as if it would change the image he was seeing he repeated himself, "what?". As he pulled away, he ran a hand through his hair, hoping to find an answer somehow.
"How? I should have regenerated. It started, there's no stopping that. Nothing--nothing can stop that." Taking a step back, he dropped his arms to his sides in disbelief. "It's impossible," he let out, baffled by the entire situation. "It--"
Freezing at the unknown voice coming from behind him, he slowly turned coming face to face with the one who had achieved something he could not fathom. "Oh".
Let me know what you think.