For one of the most painful experiences in his life, there was very little pain after the experience itself.
Then again, whether that was due to physical or mental reasons was another matter entirely. Looking around his TARDIS-a TARDIS that was on fire for some reason, not to mention having the abominable coral theme, the Doctor proceeded to take stock of his surroundings. He'd just regenerated, he knew that much. And while the circumstances leading up to said regeneration were still hazy, he still knew enough that it was best to check himself out first. Starting with the bottom.
"Legs!" he exclaimed, looking down at his methods of locomotion and the strange clothing covered over them. "I've still got legs!"
Part of the Time Lord's mind told him that it was a stupid realization-almost as stupid as kissing the left thigh. If he didn't have legs, how would he be standing? A voice inside him had other ideas however.
Quiet you. My body's my temple. And he'll treat it how he wants.
Moving up to his chest, glad to see that that was in place as well, the Doctor raised an eyebrow. His strange circumstances were...well, strange enough (the bad kind of strange, not the "fantastic!" type) and voices in his head weren't helping. And if he was going to hear them, the least they could do was use proper grammar.
It is proper grammar. Honestly, is the transition to the big double-one all that hard on the mind?
That, the Doctor didn't hear. He was too busy focussed on his arms, hands and fingers, all of them seemingly proportional to the rest of his body. That he'd used his arms to lift up his leg earlier should have told him this, but still, you could never be too sure. Most sapient species had arms in the universe, but as quite a few of them were willing to use them in ways that made the gallifreyan's stomach turn, he wanted to make sure that he wasn't in a position to fall into form.
"Fingers. Lots of fingers..." the Doctor mused, finishing off his inspection. Good fingers, as far as he was concerned, adept at wielding everything from a sonic screwdriver to a firearm. And while some voice at the back of his head chastised him for the second analogy, the Doctor ignored it. Most of his body was covered, but if by some chance his face wasn't to perfection...well, maybe he'd just get himself to regenerate again.
Fat chance. It was painful enough last time.
"Ears...yes. Eyes too...nose..." mused the Doctor, going out of his way to measure the latter. He'd had worse, as he announced to the world, but it wasn't too bad. Not like his big nosed early incarnations. Incarnations that, while having stronger jaws than he did now, had far less hair.
Wait a minute... thought the Time Lord. This is...almost too much hair...
I'll say, came the voice. And you don't have my sideburns either.
The Doctor heard that and was afraid. Not because of the fire and sound of destruction surrounding him and not because of the voice, but rather because of what the voice said. As it had pointed out, he had hair. So much hair that-...
"I'm a girl!" the Doctor exclaimed in horror. "I...I...no, this can't be right..."
Oh this is rich. And to think I was put off by new teeth...
The voice was laughing at him, even after a quick check of his laryngeal prominence confirmed that he was a male, however long his hair might have been. Hair that, to his dismay, was-...
"Ginger!" the Time Lord exclaimed, pulling down the black substance close to his eyes. "I'm still not ginger!"
And with that, the inspection was over, leaving two things on the maverick's mind. First, find out what was happening. Secondly, where the voice was coming from. And finally, why in the name of time and space he wanted to be a ginger? Bleh!
Hey, don't knock it.
The Doctor didn't know the answers, or at least the answers to the last two questions. The first however, was easy. The TARDIS rocking and its trajectory carrying it to Earth answered his question as to what was happening. He was crashing. And letting out whoops of joy, the Doctor enjoyed the ride.
Good for you. I at least managed to park it in London my first time.
The Doctor kept on laughing. Because faced with the possibility of death so soon after being granted new life, he understood. Understood where the voice was coming from. Understood why he'd wanted to be a ginger. Understood why he exclaimed "geronimo!" instead of "alons-y!" Because in the end, the Tenth Doctor hadn't wanted to go. And deep down, perhaps like all of his previous incarnations, he never would.
Landing in Britain in the year 2011, the Eleventh Doctor kept laughing.
And deep down, the Tenth laughed with him.
I think something can be said for the regeneration sequence of The End of Time in that we go from a sombre sequence to a humorous one in a matter of seconds, yet the transition felt entirely natural. Anyway, I, like many others, will miss Ten(nant) but I'm also looking forward to Eleven's time in the spotlight.
Update (19/10/12): Correct "alons-y" typo.