Authors Note: This fic was inspired by di_br's AMAZING video tribute to Ten called "Tenth Doctor: The Musical". The B plot of the video suggests that "when the Doc regenerates, his older self isn't gone, it just goes home and watches his current self on the TV" an idea that I loved so much I just had to write a fic about it!
Special thanks to earlgreytea68 who encouraged me to write this and allowed me to bounce my initial ideas off her! You ROCK!
The Doctor took a deep breath before brushing at his fresh suit and reaching for the doorknob. He opened the door, stepping inside the familiar hallway and tilting his head slightly as he spied his ninth incarnation seated on the sofa in his worn leather jacket.
"Hello!" he said jovially, his face spreading in a wide grin.
The leather clad Doctor nodded in acknowledgement. "Queen Bess? Really?"
The Doctor in the tie tugged on his ear. "Weeeeellll, you know…"
There was a loud crashing sound and the younger Doctor turned toward it. "You just had to go out with a bang, didn't you?" He gestured to the ancient television set in the corner where images of the exploding TARDIS were flashing across the screen.
"I didn't do it on purpose. I didn't want to go at all." the Doctor in the suit insisted as he took a seat on the sofa next to his predecessor. "So this is what you've been up to since the change? Been spying on me have you?"
The younger man grinned broadly. "I'm only continuing a long tradition. You just missed the others."
The Doctor in the suit looked around the room, noting the remnants of many years worth of his past selves observing the future through the telly. "Aww, I would have rather fancied seeing my multi-coloured scarf and eclectic vegetables again."
The Doctor in leather shrugged. "They'll be back. Now shush I think it's about to get interesting."
Together the two Doctors stared fixedly at the small screen as the TARDIS careened violently through space. At one point it even managed to toss the new Doctor with the crazy hair out the door so that he had to hold on for dear life. Both men were relieved when he managed to climb back inside safely – they weren't ready for him to be joining them just yet.
They watched with apprehension and fascination as the TARDIS crashed into a garden shed of a quaint little house. A little girl in a red sweater came running out of the house toward the carnage.
"Oh look, she's ginger!" The Doctor in leather exclaimed. "I was always sorely disappointed when you turned out rude and not ginger."
The suited Doctor pulled at his unruly hair. "Trust me, I was too. Had a companion who was ginger though!"
"Ahhh yes. Donna Noble. She was fantastic!"
"Brilliant really." He turned back to the television just as his newest self popped his head up over the side of the fallen TARDIS. "Shame he's not ginger either."
"Perhaps twelve will be the lucky number. Blimey does he have a lot of hair. What is it with you old blokes and your hair?"
The Doctor in brown ran his hand through his hair self-consciously. "Time Lord hair is a point of pride," he said sulkily. "You're just jealous you never had any."
The Doctor in jeans ignored him. "Swimming pool in the library!" he exclaimed. "Boy, you really messed her up." He shot the Doctor in a tie a scathing look.
"Oi! You can't blame this all on me. I just died. Have some compassion mate."
"You brought it on yourself you know. If you hadn't tried to put it off for so long…"
"I had things to do!" The Doctor in the suit pouted for a moment before adding in a whisper, "I couldn't leave without saying goodbye to her."
The younger Doctor softened. "No. I suppose not. She was special, our Rose."
"That she was." The Doctor in brown smiled sadly. "How can he not like apples?" he asked suddenly, gesturing to their new addition. "It's not like she gave him a pear or anything."
"He just said it himself, 'New mouth, new rules'"
"Huh. I guess I missed that part since I was in bed for most of my regeneration."
They watched in silence for a moment as the young girl fried the new Doctor some bacon. When he spat this out as well, the two Doctors on the sofa turned to look at each other.
"He really should try a banana!" they said in unison before bursting into laughter.
As their laughter dissolved, they saw the new Doctor select fish fingers and custard as his meal of choice and both men shook their heads in disgust.
They sat in companionable silence for a few minutes, fascinated as the new Doctor and Amelia Pond investigated the crack in her bedroom wall and began to puzzle out the mystery.
The silence was only broken when the new Doctor raced back to the TARDIS and promised Amelia Pond that he'd be back in five minutes.
"Five minutes," the Doctor in leather snorted. "Not bloody likely."
"You're one to talk. You missed by twelve months, and that was when the TARDIS was healthy."
"Need I remind you of your own time blunders?"
"No, not necessary." The Doctor in a suit said quickly. "Although the TARDIS is still changing too, so the frimilogilator is not likely to be very reliable."
Sure enough, when the TARDIS reappeared in the Garden, it was clear that more than five minutes had passed.
The two Doctors winced as their newest incarnation was hit on the head with a cricket bat and promptly handcuffed to a radiator.
"She's Amelia," The Doctor in brown said confidently as they watched the ginger haired police woman speak into her radio.
"How can you be certain? She said it had only been six months."
"I think she's lying. Trust me, I'm the Doctor, I know things."
"I'm the Doctor too."
"Well, yes, but you're out of practice. I'm more reliable… Oh no, the sonic! What has that beastie done to it?"
The leather clad Doctor rolled his eyes. "You always were far too attached to that thing."
"Oi!" The Doctor in a suit glared at him. "You used it too!"
"Not nearly as much as you did."
"No matter. Look at it now. All covered in slime," the suited Doctor cried mournfully.
The Doctor in jeans ignored his lamenting, instead choosing to focus on the screen.
"I knew it!" The Doctor in brown poked the shoulder of the man beside him triumphantly a few minutes later. "I told you she was Amelia Pond."
"Twelve years?" the Doctor in leather exclaimed. "And you thought twelve months was bad?"
"It was bad. It got you slapped by Jackie Tyler."
The younger Doctor touched his cheek and winced as though the slap had just happened. "That was horrible." He shuddered.
They fell silent again for a while after that, watching sombrely as the new Doctor became acquainted with Amelia's town and slowly unravelled the mystery of prisoner zero.
The Doctor in brown was most upset when the sonic screwdriver finally broke.
"We've got on fine in the past without a screwdriver. He'll be okay," the leather wearing Doctor assured him.
"I hope you're right. He's running out of time."
"Of course I'm right. I'm the Doctor."
The brown suited Doctor didn't respond. Instead he leaned forward, watching intently as the new Doctor met Amelia's friend Rory. "Ha! The Raggedy Doctor. Makes him sound like some kind of doll."
"Well, he does look rather scruffy. You did quite the number on that particular suit."
"I was having an off day," the Doctor in brown cried in exasperation. "Six billion versions of the Master, Rassilon, saving Wilf, the TARDIS falling apart. My appearance wasn't exactly foremost on my mind."
The Doctor with very little hair eyed him speculatively. "I suppose you do have a point."
"What? What? WHAT?" the Doctor in the suit was shouting at the television. "Why is he calling the Atraxi back? He can't kill them!"
The Doctor in leather rolled his eyes. "You know, you really have quite the mercy complex that continually gets you into trouble."
"Yeah, well, I learned it from you. Besides, we've caused enough death and destruction. If he kills the Atraxi, it'll be murder."
"Oh shut it. We don't know what he's planning. Give the poor bloke a chance – WHAT is he wearing?" The Doctor in jeans gaped openly as the new Doctor burst out onto the roof of the hospital in dark grey trousers and a pinkish collared shirt. Red braces hung at his sides and there was a collection of ties draped around his neck.
The Doctor in brown laughed. "And I thought you looked silly, what with your jumpers and your oversized leather jacket."
"Oi! Watch it! Mr. Suit and Trainers."
"What's wrong with trainers? Ooooh, what have we here?" He leaned forward, nearly falling off the sofa as he observed the Atraxi scan the new Doctor. "Perhaps I misjudged you," he whispered, watching intently as the new Doctor cast aside several ties whilst reasoning with the Atraxi.
"Very clever," the leather wearing Doctor remarked as the new Doctor asked the Atraxi if the Earth was protected, prompting the giant, eyeballed creature to run a scan.
Images that reflected the memories in both Doctor's minds began to flash across the screen. These images were soon replaced by an image of the Doctor in his first incarnation, then his second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth. Ten different faces in over 900 years, each and every one of them protecting the Earth and the universe from countless threats.
"Wow," the Doctor in the suit said softly. "Sometimes I forget how far we've come. Everything we've accomplished. Everyone we've saved."
The Doctor in jeans nodded. "It is quite the legacy we've left, isn't it?" He beamed proudly as the new Doctor walked through the image of the man sitting beside him and pronounced himself to be the Doctor.
"It really is. And you know. I think maybe he's going to be okay." The Doctor in the suit pointed to the screen. "Wait, is he wearing a bowtie?"
The other Doctor attempted to hide his smirk but failed miserably. "Yes, I believe he is."
"A bowtie?" His voice squeaked. "But why a bowtie?"
"Perhaps he's worried Miss Pond will shut him in a car door again if he wears a tie?" the Doctor in leather suggested.
The Doctor in brown laughed. "Perhaps you're right. That was a rather sticky situation. Though I was impressed with how he used the cute little smiling apple to convince her to trust him."
"That was rather ingenious. But then again, he does have our mind."
"True." The suited Doctor looked at the screen again and his jaw dropped. "It changed? The TARDIS changed? But I liked the coral desktop theme."
The Doctor in leather chuckled. "I rather like it. It's brighter than before. And look at those beautiful staircases."
"Yes, but look at the console. All the little bits and bobbles you and I added over the years are gone and now it's just – is that a tap?"
"I believe so. Oh and look at the typewriter." The Doctor in jeans smiled fondly. "It reminds me of times past. I like that."
The other Doctor was still sulking. "Yeah, I s'pose."
"Cheer up mate! Look, she's flying properly again. Now he can safely continue the work we started."
He watched as Amelia – Amy, and the new Doctor braced themselves against the sudden movement of the TARDIS as it took flight. It reminded him of his early days, when his heart was still light and happy, travelling with Rose and having the time of his life. He smiled sadly, glad that this new version of him seemed unburdened and carefree. The past few months had been filled with too much loneliness and sorrow; it was time he learned to enjoy life again. He silently wished his successor a joyful new beginning before turning away from the television set.
"Got anything decent to eat around here?" he asked his younger self. "I'm famished."