Eight months later

Hailey sat in the control room of her father's TARDIS and once again reminded herself firmly that it was hers now and no longer her father's at all. She turned around in her seat and looked around at the green and slightly glowing interior design of the room. She'd thought a few times of changing it, replacing it with one of the many possible inner design patterns contained within the ship's computer, but she was still not ready to do that. She still saw the ship as her father's and could not bring herself to change anything from the way he had meant it to look. She turned back to the monitor and her hands shook as she slowly and carefully typed in a few deliberate numbers on the keypad beneath it.

It had been months now since she'd found herself both left back on Earth and in possession of the time-ship, and she'd spent so much of her spare time alone on board the ship just walking the hallways, studying the controls and the computer, and even learning to talk to the machine. She'd been so surpised and then confused when the Doctor had first explained to her so long ago that a TARDIS had a kind of great intelligence and awareness of it's own. She called them machines - everyone did that - but really that was hardly accurate at all.

The first time she had ever heard the Doctor's ship 'talk' to her she knew it could not be just some from of transportation and little else. Her own ship, she'd come to learn quickly, so much stronger mentally than even his had been. For all of her studying and wondering and practicing on the ground, Hailey had never yet traveled anywhere at all. She'd only so far dematerialized and rematerialized, several times over the past couple of months, simply for sake of practicing something she considered to be simple and easy.

Several times in the past month, she'd heard the sound of strange cheery laughter in her head. The first time she'd heard it, she'd managed to spill her near full cup of coffee onto her lap and the console, startled out of her wits. When she'd looked around and found no one there,

she'd feared for her own sanity and remembered that her own mother had been said to have gone insane many years before. The realization had hit her as she glanced anxiously about in the control room, that her own ship was actually laughing at her hesitation and mistrust of herself, and for the first time, she fought an urge to kick the console. She thought she finally understood fully, the reason the Doctor had so often randomly banged a fist on the controls of his own ship, or even whacked the thing with a rubber hammer. Once again she felt sad at the memory of a lost friend she knew she might never see again.

Hailey looked up from the keypad and smiled to herself nervously. A small laugh escaped her lips, though there was no one around to hear it. She hit the dematerialization switch, but for the first time she hit it with a destination programmed into the computer. When the ship rematerialized once more, she quickly turned the monitor so that she could look at it again. She gasped and then laughed and grinned and shook a little with disbelief as she looked out at the expanse of space that showed on the view screen. She stood for the moment thinking intently about where she might go, but a shrill ringing caught her attention.

For a moment she panicked, with every scenario of possible malfunctions running through her head. She stood with her knees shaking as she understood with embarrassed relief that it was only the telephone. With a laugh, she reached around to connect the call.

"Hello Hailey," a familiar, yet nearly forgotten voice said over the line.

Hailey struggled for words for a second. "Doctor? "What are you... why are..."

"I set up your ship up so that it would alert mine as soon as it finally left it's last location," explained the distant voice of her friend. "Hailey, you finally did it. You're flying through time and space."

"Yeah," Hailey replied, smiling and hoping somehow that he might hear her happiness and excitement over the speaker phone. "Well so far only space, but one thing at a time right."

"So where are you then?"

"About seven thousand kilometers from Earth. Not too far from home yet."

"Well before you go too far away make sure you find Earth on your monitor and have a look at the view of it from space. Or better yet, set up your air shield and open the door."

"Of course I'll be sure to do that. So where are you now? And when?"

"Time vortex. Could end up anywhere."

"I think I really get now what you always meant when you talked about the telepathic aspect of flight," Hailey said. "For some reason too, I think this ship is even stronger willed than yours is."

"Not exactly. Well I suppose perhaps a bit. Of course they do have their own personalities. Mostly though it's just the fact that that one is yours and of course it can talk with you the best."

"Wow. Somehow such things still amaze and shock me."

"So, what's it like so far, basically maintaining a telepathic connection to an intelligent multi-dimensional machine?"

"Odd, still scary at times, and I think I know that if it ever decided to just go where it wanted to go, I'd have no hope at all of stopping it from doing that. Still though it's all so amazing."

"It really is amazing isn't it. As for the idea of the ship going where it wants to, yeah don't even try to take control of it at that point. You've seen how much trouble even I have doing that. Why do you thing we've ended up in some of the places we've found ourselves in." Everything was silent for a moment before the Doctor spoke again, this time far more seriously. "I hope you aren't angry with me for leaving you behind."

Hailey thought a minute before she answered honestly. "I was at first. I've been sad, I've been scared, I've been angry, and even furious. I wondered so often at first if maybe I

wasn't good enough, or if you just got tired of me. I thought that I must have made a mistake so bad you didn't want anything to do with me again. There were many nights I'd lay awake in bed and wonder what I could have done that would have been that bad that you would reject the only other existing Time Lord in the universe."

"I wasn't rejecting you."

"I know that now," Hailey said slowly, with tears in her eyes. "I realized months ago that there had to be a good reason for it. You may not always have a reason for everything, but you would for something like this. I just don't see what the reason might have been."

The reply was simple. "Because, I knew that you needed to find yourself on your own. You've never really been able to do that ever in your life."

"I... I..."

"You can do it all alone now. Find adventure, learn, and see, and do. There's so much out there and most of it is amazing."

"Can I come back? To you and Rose and the TARDIS I mean."

"No."

Hailey stood staring at the console and the phone speaker, crying a steady stream of lonely tears.

"But why not? You might be the only person who really understands me. You could teach me so much more. And..."

"I never said never. I only mean right now you can't come back. Travel alone for a while. Stay on Earth and work a typical human job. Fall in love. Whatever you want to do, but do it for yourself and because it's what you want to do in the moment. One day you'll understand."

"Can I phone you sometime though?"

"Of course. Phone anytime. This ship's number is stored in your ship's directory. Somewhere in there you've got a phone-book for all of time and space."

"Okay," Hailey said sniffling but finally managing to almost stop her crying.

"I guess I should let you go now. You have so much to see and learn and find for yourself. I'd have an amazing life but that sounds so final and I hardly think this is really goodbye. So I'll just say good luck and have fun."

"Good bye Doctor."

"Good bye Hailey. Remember to open your door and take a look at the Earth."

The phone disconnected with a click and a buzzing sound before Hailey reached over to hang up with the push of a little red button.

She let the ship drift quietly in the open space high above the Earth, and went to sit for awhile in a chair in the sitting room. Hers was much smaller than the room she'd come to love so much during her travels with the Doctor and Rose, but it was still a lovely and amazing room. The walls in there the same green as much of the rest of the ship, the little place was filled with a few white armchairs, an overstuffed sofa, a couple of tables, and a television. In a far corner was a bookshelf, which she'd filled over the last months with some of her most read and favored books from the library that had once belonged to her father. Among the small collection of her most used books, were her own copies of the Galifreyan textbooks she had been studying on board the Doctor's time-ship. These, she understood exact replications on the old books, that her TARDIS had produced one day for her. She'd found them in the console room, left neatly on a chair not long after she'd found herself left behind on Earth.

DW~DW~DW~DW~DW~

The next months rushed by impossibly fast. Hailey traveled a little alone, but she never went very far from her own time and place at all. Mostly she just worked at the small grocery store in the village, and studied harder than before from her books. She worked on a series of paintings based upon her travels of the year before, and of course classified them as fantasy art when she showed them once to an agent from London. George taught her to drive his old car and she inherited the vehicle as soon as she'd acquired her license.

She was offered an art exhibit at the small local gallery and of course she accepted the offer. An art show in the summer kept her busy and a second part time job teaching a children's painting class at the little village youth center took up much more of her time. She spent less and less time on board her father's old ship, and more and more time living a mostly just typical human life. And though she'd imagined she could never again get used to such a life, she loved it almost instantly. Eventually ever her textbooks were all but forgotten.

It was on a Monday evening in June, that something unexpected happened. She's worked later than usual at the store, got home tired and decided to read some classic literature to unwind. Her mother and George had noisy company over and though they'd invited her to join in the get together and have a snack with them, she simply wanted some time to herself and away from the noise. The TARDIS seemed as good a place as any to take some time alone and the sky many kilometers above Earth seemed even better still. Without even feeling like bothering to change out of her work clothes, she made her way out to the ship. She set the controls and was about to settle back into a chair in the console room with her copy of 'A Tale of Two Cities,' when a light began to blink on top on the console. She jumped to her feet to take a closer look and work out the reason for it when a forgotten concern of months ago came to her again full force as it became reality.

She'd only wanted to send the ship into space a short ways but she quickly understood that it had thrown itself into the time vortex. As Hailey struggled to keep up with the numbers that raced by on the monitor, the ship raced rapidly through time, jumping time tracks back and forth and not stopping though she exerted more will than ever before over the ship. It was flying itself, going when it wanted or needed to be and she could not stop it or control it. Her stomach sank as she understood that she might well be in trouble. She was already passing the year 3956 and still moving further forward in time.

"Stop!" she shouted out loud with desperation. Losing her balance she stumbled backward, and tried to grab ahold of something. She fell hard onto her backside before she could ever react properly and she was right back down again the moment she tried to stand up. "Please. listen to me. What's the matter with you all of a sudden?"

With a good bit of effort, she managed to pull herself up onto her feet again, and keep her balance by holding tightly to the front of the console as the ship rattled and rocked badly on the current of time itself. From somewhere in the back of her mind she recalled reading so many times in the more advanced of her books, the great importance to trust between Time Lords and their TARDIS's. So impossible a thing it was though, she understood with concern, to hold any trust in the ship when it seemed only determined to throw itself clear across the known universe with deadly force.

Dear god, she thought silently with panic, where and when was it trying to take her and why? Her mind raced with possibilities and fears. She had no idea at all what might be out there when she finally landed. Of course she;d seen so much during the days that she had once traveled, but the universe was so big and aside from that there were so many periods of time... and she was moving forward into the truly unknown. She quickly fought back the waves of panic and dread and allowed herself to feel the excitement of exploration. She'd come to love the feeling of discovery, she'd gotten to know the year before, and finally though she was now alone and faced with the task of actually trying to fly and land the ship, it was not all together terrible once she gave up on panicking.

After what seemed like at least twenty minutes but must have only been well under five the ship stopped in midair somewhere. Hailey, looking intently at the monitor saw she was near a surface somewhere, and she tried to land. The ship hit the ground with a rough bump that nearly knocked her over again. So many thoughts raced through her mind at once. She wanted to run environment checks and then step out and see where she was. But at the same time she wanted to set a course right for home without daring to look at all. She wanted to go outside or at least check to see where and when she was, but at the same time she could barely bring herself to look. Abruptly she remembered that the ship had brought her there of course that would never just happen for no reason at all. She may not understand at all yet what the reason might be, but she knew she had no choice but to go outside.

She was still on earth, she discovered with surprise, no more than a few seconds after she'd opened the door. It was a time a ways into her future, and it was clear that she was not on a world belonging to quite the same human society she knew. But still, the arcatecture of the city all around her, the smell of familiar food cooking in a nearby flat and drifting through an open window, it was all so close to the Earth she knew. Not only was it Earth, in some future year, Hailey figured quickly, she was in London. She was standing on a city sidewalk in the springtime, looking out across the street as a high speed bullet train roared and rattled it's way past a few blocks of flats and a high chain-link fence that separated the residences from the train-track. Almost directly overhead, a metal bridge carried a steady flow of traffic over the roof tops of a few office buildings. She turned and looked toward a city park, nearly empty that day except for a few young men throwing a ball around and a lady with a great dane laying at her feet as she sat on the grass and used a small hand held computer. Through the park along the edge was a path lined with small trees.

Hailey walked forward a few steps, her confidence growing with every second that passed. She glanced back once to find that her ship had already transformed itself to best blend into the setting. It looked exactly like a blue delivery van, and was labeled with the name of some appliance store that she could see up the road the other way.

"Smart ship," she mumbled in amusement, laughing slightly to herself as she hurried toward the park.

With no real idea why she had chosen the park as a place to wander, instead of the sidewalk, but sure that it simply seemed the thing to do, she walked further in. The lady with the computer mumbled a hello without looking up, and the enormous dog sniffed the air for a second before settling back down to nap.

"Excuse me," she said to the lady with slight hesitation. "Could you tell me the date please?"

"Sure. May 15th. Thursday."

"Thanks. But what about the year?"

The lady set her computer down on the grass and looked up with a bemused and even baffled expression on her face. She blinked her eyes a couple of times in surprise at the question. "You need the year?"

"Yeah," Hailey said with newfound confidence. laughing, she made light of it. "Yeah, supposed to be common knowledge, I know. But you know how it is... yeah, one of those kind of days."

"4837," the Lady answered simply. She picked up the computer again. Hailey muttered a quick thank you and took off into the path.

As the walking path made it's way into the center of the park, she found herself amid a thick grove of trees. Hailey's smile spread over her face as she spun around in the center of what looked a lot like a very small forest with the sun streaming in through the treetops. She held her arms out to the sides and spun again in another slow circle, looking first at the clouds above, and then letting her gaze drop lower to see the trees again. A flash of blue caught her eye once and she stopped simply because she had noticed something out of place amid the shades of green. She turned back to look for the blue color again and her mouth fell open in shock. At the far edge of the little grove of trees, opposite the end of the path, a blue police box sat half hidden by the branches of the elm tree beside it.

Right away she hurried over to knock on it's door. Her mind raced with a thousand thoughts at once as she tried to comprehend that she had really found the Doctor and his ship again. Her own ship had brought her right to his. For a tiny fraction of a second she wondered why then of all times would it do that, but just as quickly as the thought had occurred to her, it vanished in her excitement and surprise. After a couple of long minutes she knocked again. There was no answer at all from inside the ship, and she knew there could very well be no one inside at all. She thought that perhaps she should come back later. But of course she knew that later the Doctor and his TARDIS would be long gone and off to anywhere in all of time and space again.

She remembered then that she still had her TARDIS key that the Doctor had given her during the year she'd traveled with him. It was on her own ship, stored in a drawer in a small end table in the sitting room, along with a few other random but personally valued objects from various parts of her life. Hoping beyond hope that no one would return while she was gone and take off without even knowing she'd come at all, she turned around and took off running to look for her key. She returned quickly as she could, only to find that for all her fears of being too late, the little blue ship was still where it had been minutes before. She slipped the key into the lock, hoping that perhaps someone, knowing she would come, had left her a clue of some kind inside.

She was greeted only by silence as soon as she walked onto the ship. Her heart sank, though she'd to find it empty. She didn't even bother to really look at the place, though she'd missed it so much, held onto so many wonderful memories of it, and hadn't been on board in what still seemed like so long. She just took off, nearly running through a hallway without fully understanding why she had chosen that specific hallway at all, or why she self such a need to hurry. After several minutes of rushing through that corridor she reached the end or it and found herself looking right at a closed wooden door, or less ordinary than any other of the many closed doors on board. It seemed important in that moment however, so she slowly reached out to turn the knob.

Hailey found herself standing in the doorway of a cluttered bedroom, that looked as much like a disorganized and chaotic study as it did a place for sleeping. There were just so many random and only partly logical things everywhere. There was a pile of books scattered all over a well worn out red sofa. Everywhere, on shelves along the walls, on the floor and under furniture, were small and larger storage boxes of various colors and patterns. Very few of them were closed completely. Many were over filled and the lids only sat on top half open. A few had no tops on them at all. On the walls hung serval star maps of different parts of the unknown universe. The bed, with it's blue bed covers half fallen completely onto the floor sat nearest to the far wall and it was on there that Hailey finally spotted the Doctor sitting and looking intently over a pile of photographs. She knocked on the door to get his attention, but when he didn't bother to look up, she wandered inside anyway.

"Hailey, what are you doing here?" He asked slowly, looking up now, but just barely doing so. "How did you..."

"My ship seems to have found yours. Can they talk to each other or something?"

"Hmm... sort of yeah. I suppose they do, in a manner of speaking."

"Incredible," Hailey said, not even trying to contain her surprise at a new bit of knowledge and understanding. She flew into a flurry of words, as she stood in the middle of the room, looking all around. "It really did seem as though my father's ship was so determined to bring me here by itself. It knew something I didn't know. It's intelligent. Of course I already knew that, but to really see it and really know... well that's something else. It's showing it's own sense of logical to me now. I think it's forming more and more trust now. When it first took off on it's own going wherever it wanted to without stopping it nearly scared me to death as you can well imagine, but really it was actually a bit exciting too."

The Doctor looked right at her with a smile, and moved to jump to his feet. But he stopped before he could really move anywhere and she could see that the smile was forced and used to cover another emotion. He was trying to convince her that he was glad to see her, but she could tell there was something going on that she wasn't sure she liked at all.

"So what's with the photographs?" she questioned casually, simply making conversation as she took a couple more steps forward.

The Doctor quickly put the pictures he held in his hand back into the little red storage box that sat nearby, placed the lid on the box and reached over to shove it into the open drawer of the nightstand beside the bed. He closed the drawer.

"Oh nothing really," he said. "Just a few boring old pictures from the last couple of years."

"Doctor," Hailey said quietly. "What's the matter?"

"Nothing's the matter," the Doctor said, the fake and overdone smile still on his face. "Just doing some sorting through some old stuff and trying to tiny up in here. Never was very good at it though as you can see. 'Course you knew that all along. I try to tiny up a room and it just gets more and more messy. I blame that of the tendency to become distracted I think.." He was starting to ramble on, clearly trying to distract both himself and her from whatever the trouble was. A couple of tears escaped from his eyes and he quickly turned away from her to stare at the wall, pretending to have noticed something he'd not seen before. Hailey began to panic once again. Something had happened, she knew that much. But she had no idea what it was or what to actually do.

"Doctor," she said with determination. She quickly crossed the room, reached over the bed, on which her friend still sat and trying to gently pull him around to look at her again. She just wasn't good with such situations. She didn't trust herself, but she knew who might be able to help. "Where'd Rose go? I can go and find her. Is she in her room?"

The Doctor mumbled something so coherently that she could even hope to make it out. She sat on the bed and quietly asked him to repeat himself. He finally turned to look at her and for a second she was shocked by the tears that streamed from his eyes. But she sat still and said nothing at all.

"Hailey, I lost her," he said, this time slightly more clearly. She was about to ask exactly what he could have possible meant by that, or to assure him that he must have been mistaken, but the look in his eyes told her that there was so much more to the situation than she so far knew. She stayed silent and he went on speaking, now clearly quite unable to stop once he had started.

"She couldn't hold on tightly enough... I told her to but she couldn't... Martha later just walked away because... just couldn't do this anymore... I destroyed her innocence. I've made so many mistakes, hurt so many people. Then Donna could have easily died. She was never the same... I couldn't save her... couldn't save anyone..."

His words were only somewhat clear and part of his rambling and confused explanation was lost in helpless tears. But Hailey was beginning now to really grasp the fact that this situation was indeed bad. No, not just bad - she let her self face the truth of it - something completely horrific had happened. Judging by the amount of names he had mentioned and the way everything sounded unrelated, she guessed it was a few terrible things. Something just

didn't feel right to her. She thought he looked older than the last time she seen him.

"Doctor," she said slowly, trying to understand so that she might have a hope of helping. "It's only been a year for me since we last saw each other. How long from your perspective?" She dreaded the answer.

"Three and a half years," came the helpless reply. Even that was nearly drowned by tears of helpless and disparate pain. "It's been so long. So much has happened since those early days. Everything was so easy then. Why did it have to get so hard?"

Hailey crept closer and mumbled slowly, and with great uncertainly, "I... I don't know.

I'm sorry it did, but I don't know."

For many long moments the two of them sat saying, neither saying anything at all. Hailey reached out to pull her friend closer to her and the Doctor stayed for a while half sitting and half laying with his body pressed against hers, still crying so hard both knew he couldn't just stop now. Hailey felt so completely helpless to do anything, but she had gathered from his mumbled story that there was no one else left on board. Not only had Rose not been there for at least a couple of years, but in the time since she'd left, other's had come and each of them gone again

After so many long minutes dragged on for a while longer he tried at last to pull himself together once again. He simply couldn't yet, and soon Hailey was crying her own stream of tears as she tried to imagine and relate to his feelings of despair and the many reasons for all of it.

Eventually he started to speak again, now even less clearly and sensibly than before. Much of whatever it was he said was entirely impossible to understand and so many details were missed so badly that it was not possible to follow it at all. But Hailey was able to grasp the very basic idea and that was enough to really see the seriousness of the entire situation. Three companions and best friends in three years had all been forced to leave him behind in one way or other. An old and long lost friend from childhood, who he had struggled for centuries from ideas of evil and needless power had chosen death over some compromise or other. So many people on Earth that he'd tried so hard to save from a couple of great conflicts that had spilled onto their planet from so far away, had died in spite of his best efforts and he just couldn't accept that number of innocent lives lost on top of all else.

She understood without anyone around to tell her, that he was near the point of a serious emotional breakdown. He'd always been so together and brilliant and so many other things. But all of those things were generally positive and good. She'd never seen him in such a state before as he was in now. She knew then exactly why it was that her ship had brought her to him at the time that it had. The two TARDISes were always vigilant and aware and ever thinking. His had known right away that he had needed someone who could help him and had sent for the only one of his companions it had within it's own power to send for. Hers had of course responded at once to it's desperate plea for help.

The Doctor fell asleep, too exhausted by the last hour to hold his eyes open anymore. Hailey slid gently and slowly out from under him, but his hands held tightly to the button down top of her green grocery store uniform. He reminded her so much in that moment of a helpless very small child, and she nearly started crying again. Carefully she moved just enough that she was laying on the bed and still letting him hold into her clothes. Her day had been a long one, and her sudden and unexpected flight through time and space had been the only thing that had fully woken her up after several hours of overtime standing on her feet. The shock of it had worn off by then and with her friend quiet and sleeping for the time being, she couldn't keep from falling asleep herself.

Hailey opened her eyes an unknown amount of time later. And at first wondered where she was. Then she remembered and wondered how long she'd slept. Her eyes snapped open in sudden concern for her friend as soon as everything came back to her, but she saw that he was half sitting up in his bed, leaning calmly against the wooden headboard and waiting to move much more to avoid waking her up. She sat up quickly and then he moved as well. Both nearly got to their feet but instead sat on the edge of the bed.

"Hailey, I am very sorry about this," the Doctor said and she could tell he was embarrassed about everything over the last many hours. "The emotion, the break down, that was just bad. I don't know how that happened."

"These things happen," Hailey replied simply and with a new kind of confidence.

"Yes but still. A companion and friend shouldn't have to find herself in such a... Never mind. Just please understand that I really didn't mean to..."

"Hey, don't worry so much about it. I understand, I really do."

The Doctor looked at Hailey, this time studying her clothing. "So I guess you work in a shop of some kind now then?"

"A grocery store," Hailey muttered. She realized something about herself in that moment though and instantly she voiced it. "I might quit though soon. I'm just pushing buttons on some cash register all day and listening to people either chatter on about their boring lives, carry on to me about how the produce is never fresh enough, or try to stop their children from screaming for sweets. I could do so much more than that."

Surprisingly the Doctor nodded his agreement. "Yeah, you could. You could do anything. You should do everything."

"Thank you."

From your perspective, how much have you experienced of what's become of the Earth lately?"

Hailey wondered at first how much she should reveal given the Doctor's so recently fragile state, but it had been him after all that had asked her the question. She never could lie to him very well, so choosing her words carefully she answered honestly.

"Well I live in the village now, with my mother and her husband. I never did back back to the city. I guess that's a good thing really, because there was some trouble in London a few months ago. It was in the paper and all over the news. The whole thing confused so many people and now they mostly all say it was some sort of crazy hoax, or a set up of some kind or other. People are so stupid some times. Of course they must all know something really happened that day. The whole world knows and they are all just so busy living in their little ideas of what reality is, that they can't wrap their heads around that one. But of course it was really. I mean, at least a thousand people died in London alone, and there was never an official death toll for the rest of the world."

"What happened?"

"I don't really understand it. I don't think anyone does. All anyone really knows is that there were metal men everywhere and eventually something that turned out to be even worse than that. Smaller machines, but they seemed to be able to think for themselves. People were shot at and blown up or just went missing. Both sides wanted to take over the world and kill everything. A war started over planet Earth. My god, that all seems so crazy, but it really happened."

"Of course it really happened. You've learned so well that little is beyond being possible, especially on Earth lately."

Hailey said no more about the matter. She know that that had to be where the whole run of terrible events had started. It had to be. Instead of talking about that or other related subjects anymore she proposed they go somewhere and see something new. She thought as she sat on the bed looking up at him and excitedly awaiting his eager response, that it would be like the old days again, even if only for a little while. She needed to give him something to keep him busy for a while and of course that seemed like just the thing. But instead of the excitement and agreement she'd somehow expected, he only looked at her sadly once again. He shook his head.

"Hailey, I'm very sorry, but you've got to go now."

"Go?" Hailey muttered in disbelieving surprise. She felt like crying again, with the feeling that once again hie was rejecting her. But at the same time she knew that he was not rejecting her at all. In fact he never had at all. There was always a good reason for his deciding to sent her away, and there was still a reason now why he was doing it a second time. "Go where?"

"Anywhere. Go off and do all that you want to do."

"Doctor... what's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong."

"I'm not stupid, and I'm certainly not so foolish that I could be convinced of that anymore. Please tell what's happening. I... I can help you."

"No Hailey. you can't."

Hailey took both of his hands in hers and she looked him directly in the eyes with determination plain on her face. "Please explain. Maybe I can't help, but I can at least understand."

"I'm going to die very soon," the Doctor said with complete seriousness.

His companion's mouth fell open in confusion and then stayed theat way for a second in unbelieving denial. "Oh come on. You can't possibly know that. Not for sure."

He turned to look at her again and mumbled a long and somewhat detailed story involving a bus and prophecy. Hailey only laughed than and shook her head.

"Oh for goodness sake. Please don't convince your self something is true just because some lady on a bus stranded on some desert planet told you it is. That's just ridiculous! Besides," Hailey said, her hope growing with each passing second now, "you're a Time Lord. You won't die. in most cases, you'd just end up regenerating. And that's assuming there's something to this crazy incident on the bus, which I still don't think there is."

"It all seems the same to me though," the Doctor explained. "You wouldn't understand. You're practically still a child, even if you are a Time Lord."

"Maybe I am. But..."

He silenced her with a firm look that told her the matter was settled and there was no debating it now. She was leaving again and he wherever it was that his path would take him, he would walk that path alone.

Hailey began to argue with him instantly. She let go of his hands, and reached over to throw both arms around him. She said with great resolve, "Doctor listen, if there really is something about to happen that's so bad it could kill you, you need someone to help you fight this battle. I couldn't help you before because I simply wasn't there, but I am now. Please take me with you. Please let me help..."

"I can't," the Doctor said, with just as much resolve. He returned her hug and for a moment he just help onto her, trying to commit another companion fully to memory again. "I wish I could. I don't want to be alone anymore. Something big is coming. I can't just tell somehow. It's been said that something is returning. Something that was lost and something that is so dangerous it must be stopped. I don't want to try to stop it alone and I'm not sure I can even succeed at all. But Hailey you're just a kid. You have a life to live. You could be so much and do so many things. I just can't put your life at risk. Not this time."

"I'm not just a kid," Hailey said almost in a whisper as she stepped back and looked up at him once more. "I'm another of your people."

"And that's what worries me," the Doctor said, finally admitting at least in part, his greatest concern about taking her with him on a path as dangerous as the one he was still so sure he would soon face.

It was against her better judgment that Hailey left the Doctor's TARDIS once again. He left her no choice at all but to leave him on his own again. She argued of course, but he refused to listen to any more of her arguments on the subject. When finally she turned from begging him to give her a chance to go along and help him, to begging him outright to please not let himself be killed, he only laughed it off with a comment about how no one ever really had much choice in such matter. Eventually she walked off the ship, not knowing what else she could possible do. It dematerialized as soon as she'd stepped outside. She was shaking at first from the fear and uncertainly of it all, but the universe itself seemed to assure her somehow as she walked away from the park that whatever happened, in the end it would be okay.

A/N; Well that's it... this particular fanfiction has reached it's end. Sad way to end I know, and I'm sure it;s obvious where within the Doctor's time stream I put his last meeting with Hailey. But fear not readers, I am already well on my way to plotting the few few chapters of part two, and the first bit should be up soon enough. As always please review if you are so inclined. I'd love to know what everyone thought of this one.

Thanks to everyone who read this story and followed it and who added it to your favorites. I'm glad to find that you liked this one.