Summary: A collection of one-shots, for all characters and settings. The Latest: There are some things that even sentient time-travelling ships cannot change, but that won't stop the TARDIS from trying.
It really had to stop.
The TARDIS had bore it for a good five-hundred odd years, but it was getting ridiculous. At first, the Doctor had been young, and like all young hooligans, thought he was immune to regeneration- even if his arthritis said otherwise. It really never once occurred to him to explain.
But after a while, he lost that excuse. The changes became more and more common. He kept on bungling on, going through bodies like it was running out of style. Honestly, it sometimes felt like barely a week passed before a regeneration. But never once did he turn to his companion and give them an explanation about the Time-Lord life cycle; he just kept assuming that he'd be fine, and there would be no need to. Her Doctor's arrogance in a nut shell, really.
So off he'd go and regenerate; and then he'd get up, grinning like mad at all those poor confused humans who didn't know what to think. "What? Oh, yes, new body. Didn't I tell you about that?" he'd say, or "Well, of course I'm the Doctor. Who did you expect?"
The Doctor liked it, secretly. He felt his companions could do with a good surprise.
The TARDIS thought it was unnecessarily cruel.
Of course, he'd gotten his comeuppance that one time, hadn't he? When he'd changed in front of that poor Rose girl. Oh, the look on the Doctor's face when he realised that she didn't understand, that she didn't trust him. While it hadn't been funny at the time to feel all that guilt, fear and rejection, looking back, it served that time-lord right.
The regeneration after that, it had gone completely differently. They'd finally gotten circumstances where everything was set up perfectly. There were three people there to oversee the change, two of whom already understood the process. Probably the safest regeneration he'd ever undergone- and then that git goes and siphons off his energy into an old hand! One of the most dangerous things a time-lord can do, even ignoring the possibility of a biological meta-crisis! It was a completely stupid -and possibly fatal - decision! But he'd done it, just to defy expectations, and to see the expression on his friends' faces
'Course, if he hadn't, she would have died in a ball of flame and the multi-verse would have ceased to exist, so the TARDIS supposed it all worked out. Not that she'd tell him that.
But it just couldn't go on. She'd just barely finished repairing herself after that last horrible regeneration, and already the Doctor gotten himself a new companion- young, human and even more red-headed than the last one. What happened if he exploded again next-time? His delicate humans were so easily hurt. It was endangerment, that's what it was.
And so, the TARDIS resolved to do something.
"Seventies...or, well, eighties. I can't tell."
"Again?" Amy asked in annoyance. "Why do you keep landing us in the English countryside of the seventies and eighties?"
"It's not me!" The Doctor said indigently, already shutting the double-doors against the rainy landscape. "It's the randomiser. Takes us anywhere in space and time; places we don't even know about! A new adventure each time!"
Amy did not look impressed. "It doesn't seem very random to me."
The Doctor ignored her, and was already busy bustling about at the console, setting the coordinates for somewhere else. Amy kept begging for another planet; he really should try harder to find her one. Of course, if the TARDIS would just stop being so stubborn about coming back to this time period...
He pulled a lever; there was a loud ding. "Off we go!" he cheered manically at Amy, and the time-ship took off.
With a wheezing groan, the blue box slowly vanished from the English lake-side, until it seemed as though it had never been there at all.
Barely five minutes later, an old jalopy bundled clumsily down to the lake shore, right next to where the ship had been parked.
Two men climbed out; one dressed in a military uniform, gun strung proudly at his side. The other was dressed in a ridiculously old fashioned velvet ensemble, that along with his old-age and distinguished air, gave him the feel of a Shakespearian actor.
"So, Sergeant Benton," the Second Doctor asked, "Where's this alien device UNIT's found?"
Far away, in the Time-Vortex, the TARDIS creaked in frustration at her bad timing.
Rory stood there, inspecting his new room, trying not to feel too miffed about the fact that the bunk in Amy's was too small for them to share. It was a nice, he supposed, although completely at odds with the rest of the ship; an airy, blue room, with gothic architecture and elegant furniture. It was nothing at all like the orange jumble that the was the console room of the TARDIS. It was nice, though, in a way. Peaceful.
He walked around, trying to get a feel for it. The bed looked comfortable, if a bit elaborate. The same could be said for all the furniture, really. He bounced on the mattress for a moment; it was nice and springy.
Rory got up and walked towards the graceful wardrobe, hoping that there would be some clothes in it. He was beginning to feel a little bit silly wearing his bachelor-party shirt. Opening its doors, he was relieved to find that yes, it had clothes in it- unfortunately, they were all too large and baggy for his slim frame. Besides, he'd feel ridiculous in one of those silly old army coats.
The nurse stepped over to the bureau tucked into the room's corner, investigating its contents. Rory could tell someone else must have used it once; it was filled with odds and ends. There were little disks of plastic which Rory thought might be an alien currency, a bottle curiously labelled 'Pheromones' and a futuristic looking watch.
There were other more personal items as well; pictures and photographs. Rory supposed that the Doctor might have travelled with other people in the past, but here was resolute proof. The same man was in many of them, dressed in the RAF long-coats that seemed to line the room's closet, and Rory thought he looked like a hero out of an action film. He also found the smiling face of the same blond haired girl in many of the photographs. Sometimes there was another man, dressed in leather with short cropped hair, wearing an almost constant look of annoyance at having been caught on camera.
Rory flicked through the pictures for a while, although with some embarrassment. It seemed a bit of a personal intrusion, to be honest - but Rory couldn't help himself looking. There were pictures of the trio everywhere; bustling space-ports, Incan pyramids, even what looked like a futuristic Disneyland. These were snapshots of the life of a time-traveller. The life he and Amy now had.
He only stopped briefly to wonder why the Doctor wasn't in any of them. Maybe he'd ask sometime.
Amy had been having some very weird dreams lately.
She guessed it was all a consequence of the travelling. Before, living on Earth, she'd only ever had those common dreams, about failing tests or flying. Now she was visions of homicidal pepper pots and fish-vampires running around her head. It probably a testament to just how odd her life had become that these dreams all seemed completely plausible.
But honestly- her dreams lately had been becoming even more and more unusual.
"Oh, don't worry about it," the Doctor had said, brushing her off. "Plenty of people have weird dreams on board. The TARDIS is mildly telepathic, you see. Affects your brainwaves. Nothing to worry about."
That made sense, Amy supposed. She just wished she could understand why the TARDIS was making her dream about Joseph, dressed in his amazing Technicolor dream-coat, throttling an annoying American woman.
"Like my new scarf?"
"Um, definitely," said Rory, although perhaps not with complete truth.
The Doctor didn't even respond- to him, humans and fashion was just like blah-blah-blah. Why couldn't they just stick to one outfit? It kept everything so much easier! Instead he just kept dancing around the TARDIS console, coaxing the old girl to go where he wanted. She could be so stubborn...
Amy persisted. "Oi, Doctor! What do you think?"
The time-lord sighed, turning around. "I'm sure it's...where'd you get that?"
"I found it on my bed," Amy said, surprised at his reaction. She tugged absently at the absurdly long length of cloth draped around her head. It was as colourful as a circus tent, and about as large as one too. Even wrapped several times around the neck of the tall girl, it still trailed to the ground. "I thought it looked comfortable, and you said the next planet would be cold."
"It is comfortable," the Doctor agreed, looking at it. "Or, well, I think it was...Rassilon, I haven't seen that thing in centuries!" Having already completely forgotten whatever he was doing with the TARDIS console, he came closer to inspect the scarf. "I don't remember it being quite so long..."
Amy looked down at the scarf. "You used to wear this?"
The Doctor grinned. "Yep! All the time...barely ever took it off, actually."
"Like that bow-tie?" Rory asked, watching them from the stairs.
"Oi, I have more than one bow-tie."
Amy giggled. "Sorry, it's just a little weird to think of you wearing anything but-" she gestured at the Doctor's whole body- "that."
"No, no- what is weird is that scarf just appearing in your room. You found it on your bed, you said?"
"Yep. Right on my pillow."
The Doctor shot a suspicious glance at the TARDIS controls. The machine purred away innocently.
"Right, well, at least you like it," he said, turning back to business. "Hate to see that scarf rotting away, unloved. Don't think you'd like some of my other old clothes quite as much." He laughed. "Like that leather jacket..."
Amy and Rory stared at the Doctor in amazement. "You wore leather?" The girl asked, a ridiculous image of the alien rising in her head. "What were you thinking?"
"I'm not quite sure myself..." The Doctor admitted.
Rory's brow wrinkled as he looked across at the time-lord. That photo from the bureau, of the scowling man in a leather jacket, sprung to mind.
The Doctor's voice was filled with such jubilant glee that his two newly-wed companions couldn't help but smile. This nine-hundred-year-old being had seen all of space and time, yet he could become so completely and utterly excited by something as simple as a banana grove.
"I planted one once, y'know. A banana grove," he clarified, seeing Rory and Amy's confused expressions. "Well, not so much 'planted' as heavily suggested someone else plant one. I did blow up the weapons factory on the same piece of land, though. Good fun."
The man was now trying to reach the bright yellow fruits hanging tantalisingly above his head. It made quite a ridiculous image, this strange young man hopping comically, his hair flopping into his face. His companions just watched with wry amusement; they weren't going to stop him making a fool of himself.
Finally, after much jumping up and down, the Doctor finally claimed his prize. With a happy grin, he unpeeled the banana, and stuck it in his mouth.
And then promptly spit it out.
"Oh, that's horrible!" He started wiping his tongue fervently on his hand. He looked disappointed. "Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Baaaah. Nope. Don't like bananas. Don't like bananas at all."
Amy rose and eyebrow. "Doctor- how exactly could you forget that you don't like bananas?"
"So that was Captain Jack," chirruped Amy.
"How come you never mentioned him before?"
The Doctor shrugged, fumbling with his TARDIS key. "He never came to mind."
Rory looked over his shoulder at the handsome man who had already turned his back on them, RAF coat billowing in the wind. "You seem to be in a big hurry to get away from your 'friend."
"It's too early in his personal time-stream," the Doctor explained, pushing his way into the console room. "He's still living in Cardiff. I don't want to let slip anything about the future. Spoilers, y'know."
Amy watched the time-lord with a cat-like stare. "It seems to work out fine with River."
The Doctor gave a boyish laugh. "I really don't think I need another River, thank you."
The human couple had to agree with that; it made time-travelling all the more confusing. Still, there was something bugging Rory. "What did he mean when he said he 'liked the new look'?"
"Oh, nothing. I've just been trying out some new clothes, is all. Bow-ties are-"
"-cool," the three finished in unison.
The TARDIS was beginning to think these humans were slow.
"Can I come in?"
Rory looked up at the sheepish silhouette of his wife hanging in the door way. "Of course you can," he said, and pulled her onto his lap, planting a kiss on her mouth. "Why aren't you asleep?"
"Weird dreams; something about a cricket match and celery...anyway, what're you doing up?"
Rory shrugged, and Amy looked at the many pictures that he had scattered across the duvet. "Insomnia. And, er, well, I like looking at these pictures- they're interesting. Especially since I know who they belong to now."
"Its Captain Jack," Amy said with surprise. She scanned the photos. "Wow, he sure went to a lot of places."
"Yeah, well. That's life with the Doctor, I guess."
A companionable silence passed for several long moments as the husband and wife stared down at the snapshots of the strange man's travels. Eventually, Amy spoke, picking up a slightly blurred picture of Jack, the blond girl, and the leather-jacketed man. She pointed to the latter. "I don't recognise him."
"...should you?" Rory asked, confused.
"Well, I once got the Doctor to show me all the past-inhabitants of the TARDIS- well, tricked him into showing me them, at least. And I recognise her, and I recognise him- but I don't remember seeing that guy." She pressed her finger into the face of leather-wearing man. "Why wouldn't I?"
"Maybe you just forgot?"
"A handsome guy like that?" She laughed, seeing Rory's flushed face. "Oh, I'm just kidding. His ears are too big, anyways."
"There's something weird going on, Doctor. Something you're not telling us."
The Doctor stared down at them from atop the stairs. "Like what?"
The TARDIS, which has been set adrift lazily through the vortex, snapped to attention. After months of prodding and hints, were they finally narrowing in? The two humans had talked for a long time the previous night and now the questions in their minds felt like a physical object to the time-machine.
"Well- I don't know. Its just- the banana thing."
"What banana thing?"
Amy stared. "You know. You couldn't remember that you hated them- and before you could explain, we got attacked by giant carnivorous bugs. So, now. Explain."
"There's nothing to explain, Amy." He sounded exasperated, but the two humans had travelled with him long enough to tell her was nervous. The ship jolted slightly underfoot. "I just have better things to do than to keep track of my food preferences, that's all."
"But it's not just that," Rory said, butting in. He'd been watching the exchange silently. "When Amy was seven- you didn't know what to eat then either. You said something about a 'new mouth'. What?" he asked, seeing the Doctor's surprise. "I played 'Raggedy Doctor' a lot when I was little."
For once, the time-lord looked dumbfounded; the TARDIS hummed happily. Humans could be slow, but finally- finally!- they were worked things out. She sent some subliminal signals to nudge them in the right direction.
"...actually, that's another thing." Amy looked as though she'd suddenly just remembered an obvious question. "The raggedy clothes. How did they get like that anyways?"
"I crashed the TARDIS. How do you think?"
"But how did you crash the TARDIS?" Rory insisted.
The Doctor stared down at them for a long time, as if weighing his options. The TARDIS gave him a gentle mental nudge; there was no use in hiding it. Finally, he sighed. "Well- I guess you deserve an explanation. It'll take a while, though."
The two companions just looked at him, as if to say, 'don't care'.
He began to explain. "You see, it's a bit difficult to kill a time-lord. That's because we-"
Suddenly, there was a sharp jolt, as the distracted TARDIS was jerked by an eddy of time. The ship rocked wildly. The two humans grabbed desperately for the console; the Doctor, taken by surprise, tumbled down the stairs. His head hit the floor with a sickening crack. Red blood began oozing onto the floor.
"Oh, bugger," he muttered, before exploding into orange light.
The TARDIS could have sighed. So much for that plan.
AN: It's always bugged me that the Doctor never tells his companions about regeneration- does he want them to freak out in the change and the subsequent weirdness? And so this was born, although I'm not so sure about how good it turned out.
Happy New Year to everyone!