1st time.

To be honest, he wanted nothing more than to make her happy. He smiled at her, even as he was dying. But still, she cried, she begged him not to. She had hated it first time, he remembered, but things had changed since then hadn't they?

Hadn't they?

She had gotten to know that he was still the same man! Surely she could accept that he was going to change again. He didn't think she would harangue him for this again, not after the pain it had so clearly caused him last time.

Besides, it was coming. It was coming very fast, and he didn't know that he could stop it. He almost wanted to know who the next guy was going to be…

He stood himself up, prepared the last words, the ones he had been planning for years. Very good last words they were too.

And then she yelled at him; "but you can't!"

I can't?

A more uncharitable thought might've been "who are you to tell me what to do?"

A more witty thought would have been "just watch me."

But somehow, though he didn't know how, he crumbled under that cry, that cry of sadness and despair that he was about to do the only thing that could save his life, and he wavered, abandoned the words, abandoned the idea of this new person he was going to become.

Instead, he tried to appease her, and said "I'm sorry" but then a thought came to mind, and he looked away as the energy came, and he did something really clever.


2nd time.

He looked at this man, this man who said he was the Doctor. He looked over the clothes, the face, the head, and the companion: the… well, everything. This man was him. The Doctor. The Next Doctor – or at any rate, a future one.

The Tenth Doctor watched the man go through the Doctorish motions. He almost wanted to see the little bits of past lives that had gotten caught up in the man's new persona – the bluster of Six? Maybe a little of Five in the accent, a little of Eight in the dress sense, a little of him in the "Allonsy…"

Ha, allonsy survives regeneration. Who'd have thought it? Fantastic didn't. He'd always thought he'd end up saying something silly, like "Geronimo" or something.

Nothing changes, he had said, clinging to his future's tail, and he was right, and he was glad. His life would go on. This Doctor seemed happy. Yeah, maybe a little confused, but happy. This was gonna be a good future.

But then, the seeds of doubt, the fact that this "new" Doctor, this "Next" Doctor didn't recognise him.

Well, he loved mysteries.


3rd time (lucky?).

He threw his coat over a railing and sent his ship into space. The last words he had prepared had been designed for a companion. Nice, uplifting. He knew that they would have been really nice, beautiful, uplifting last words; the perfect ending for him, he thought with a sad smile, but then the smile dropped away. There was no one here to deliver them to. No one but himself, and he didn't want to deliver nonsense to himself.

He wanted someone there.

He wanted to deliver his lines to a close friend.

He didn't want to go yet.

And he said so.

And then he changed forever.


"I… I have something to tell you. I'm dying.

No, no, it's ok, it's ok, I'll be fine. And yeah, I know that doesn't make sense, but it will, it'll make perfect sense. See, Time Lords have this thing, this thing where, when we die, we have a sort've… cheat. We change. Our entire body, every single cell, changes. My body will change. I'll look totally different.

But it'll still be me, I promise. I just need you to promise that you won't give up on me. Don't give up on me. It's still me.


Here I go.



And maybe in retrospect, those last words wouldn't have worked anyway, because he'd planned them. Never plan anything. He didn't like plans. Except when he made them,. And he didn't do that very often, he decided.

Spontaneity was the key. And as he talked to himself, looked around trying to remember just what the word was for a TARDIS hurtling out of control towards Rassilon-Only-Knows where (ooh, bad choice of phrasing) and yelling the clichéd old cry for a parachutist (that's what he wanted to do next – parachute out of a plane! He'd never parachuted out of a plane!), he promised, that the adventure would go wherever it would go, and he'd run with it.

To whatever end.

To no end at all.

And he realised that that cry wasn't silly at all. It was brilliant. It was amazing.

It was definitely, very much, him.