Death seemed to follow her around.

Her first funeral didn't really count; the sudden death of her primary school headteacher while he was walking in the Lake District one weekend shocked the whole village. Out of respect the school was closed early on the Friday so they could go.

Tia's mother made her put on her Sunday best and then dragged her along to the church. Until that point Tia had always felt that Mr Thompson was a mean old man and she wanted to stay at home and play. Instead she did as she was told and spent the entire service staring at the people in the front row.

Pew, her mother corrected, and they were Mr Thompson's wife and their two children. Mrs Thompson was hugging them to her side and the three of them were sobbing.

Tia remembered being fascinated by the display of grief; there was more to this man than she knew.

Her second funeral was quickly followed by her third. As was the case of many elderly couples when one died the other went soon after. "Died of a broken heart" they all said. All Tia really knew was that one week she was saying goodbye to her Gran, then two weeks later they were putting her Grandpa in the same hole.

Her mother said very little, just tried to stay composed for her daughter's sake. Her father had tried to get home in time but hadn't been able to so they had sent a "representative". Tia's mother hadn't been impressed but there was little she could do about it.

At her Gran's funeral the church was filled with a number of her friends from the social groups she'd been in. Places like the double-u-i. All these old people who looked almost bored. (Mum said that they went to a lot of funerals at their age. Tia never did find out what age that actually was.)

At her Grandpa's funeral there were fewer people. Dad's work didn't send a representative this time – they said that he could be there for this. He didn't make it to the funeral but he arrived at the after party.

Wake, her mother corrected, but she couldn't explain why.

Her fourth funeral was of a friend. She didn't quite understand that Helen wasn't coming back, that the doctors couldn't make her better.

The entire class filled out the front pews on one side of the church. Tia spent the entire service staring at the tiny little coffin in front of her, realising this was about as far from fair as it was possible to get.

Her fifth funeral was that of her father. As a child she'd not really known what it was that he did. She had to been told that he was off fighting bad guys, and when she asked if he was in the army he had smiled and said "something like that". It wasn't until he died and the soldiers turned up that she began to realise that there was more to it than that.

For one, they didn't have his body. Or they couldn't release it to the family. Her mother had asked the question and they'd just shaken their heads sadly. To keep up appearances they had a coffin at the service, they just filled it with things that meant something to them.

Tia placed her favourite childhood doll into the coffin. She heard the odd comment that she was too old for dolls but out of respect for her grieving mother she said nothing. To her that doll represented every game that she played with her father when she was young, and it was a symbol of everything that her father had died to protect.

During the wake she filled a plate with food and walked over to the soldier who remained stoic by the front door.

It was after the death of her father, in that conversation with the soldier from UNIT, that she first heard the name that would be so important to her later on.

The Doctor.

Her sixth funeral was of a relative stranger. Her boyfriend at the time had to go to one of an elderly aunt and she was dragged along as the faithful partner. She already knew the relationship was doomed – the fact she hadn't told him that she'd just been accepted into UNIT was a pretty big clue – but she went along anyway.

She held back, much like the UNIT soldier at her father's funeral, and she watched as people grieved for someone she didn't know. Funerals had always been a weird thing for her, a mixture of grief and memories. This was something new; people were laughing and enjoying themselves. Death, apparently, didn't have to be depressing.

She lost count after she joined UNIT. Death seemed to be a way of life for them and at first she struggled to get her head around it. How did you keep losing people and yet still carry on? After she lost the first person on her watch she took the offered leave and headed for the nearest bar. She drank until they kicked her out, took the first offered bed, and tried to block it all out.

It didn't work.

She missed her mother's funeral. She didn't even know she'd died. UNIT had her on operations out in Peru and it wasn't until she got off the plane and she was greeted by a mass of senior personnel that she knew. They hadn't even tried to call her.

Technically she died once. When the Daleks moved the Earth and UNIT tried to hold back the invasion, she led her command into an area of London where there had been reported sightings. They fought, long and hard, but eventually the machines drove them back.

In the confusion she had been reported missing, presumed dead, and they were about to begin the mass memorial for those fallen soldiers when she stumbled in.

That was surreal, walking in on her own funeral.

Weirder still were the puppet vultures in the corner.

Her final funeral wasn't really a funeral. She'd not tried too hard to contact old friends of the Doctor, just the two women that the Shansheeth had asked for. At the Cradle she watched Miss Smith, trying to deny that this happening. She'd heard about this woman's intuition and she tried to assuage them as best she could, knowing that she just needed to wait until Mrs Jones arrived and the memory weave could be used.

She had no one left here, nothing worth staying for. With the TARDIS the Shansheeth could take her to the stars, they could turn back the tide of death that seemed to follow her around.

It was almost poetic that her final act was reaching out for the coffin that promised life before the death that had been following her around finally caught up.

At her father's funeral she remembered being tired at the end of a long day. Someone picked her up and carried her off to bed.

"You know, Tia, death is nothing to be scared of," he whispered to her as he tucked her in. "So I hear, I tend to... side step it myself. But it'll be fine. I promise. And I'm sorry. For what it's worth... I'm sorry."

Half asleep, Tia tried to focus on this mystery man but all she could see was the bow tie.

"Death is a part of life," he said quietly, "we can't stop it. How we deal with it is what matters. How we deal with the loss of loved ones, and how we behave when our time comes."

He leaned over and kissed the sleepy young girl on the forehead. "Your dad was one of the bravest people I have ever met. You should be very proud of him."

Her own funeral was a quiet affair. Most people wanted to distance themselves from a traitor, but three people stood quietly at the back. A man in a bow tie and his two friends, who still didn't understand why their honeymoon had been interrupted this way.