A/N & Short Glossary: This story is a bit strange, I admit that. I can't even remember what exactly inspired it except that I just wanted to write the Doctor as a woman. I was fixing it up for posting and realized it probably needed a bit more British slang, especially because I think Henry's character would definitely use slang. Here are some of the weirder, less intelligible ones:

Rowing- fighting

Knick- arrest (it could also mean 'steal' but it's the context)

Fancy - like, as in 'would you like'-the way I used it. (Can also mean, 'do you like so and so?')

I think that was it for the non-context understandable ones. :)

Also, 'pisses against the wall' is a Bible reference. Look it up. I don't want to swear, but it wouldn't have worked as well if I'd said 'pees.' :P

Summary: The Doctor dies, and as he's dying, reminisces. But is this the end, or a different sort of beginning? Gender-bender. One-shot.

Warning: Because it's a gender-bender, proceed at your discretion and caution. ;) PG-13.


"Running Into You"

Dying

If I kept a journal-well, I probably have, at some point in time-see there's the thing-time. Where was I? If I had a journal, I wonder what sorts of things would I write? And if I looked back on the writings of a madman, and understood them, but didn't recognize the script and scrawls, and doodles all smudged on the page-no, I'm going about this all wrong.

Let me begin again, from the beginning would be the appropriate and logical point of commencement, but I've had a very long life, and I'd rather skip to the spoilers.

You see, I've caused a great many people a great deal of trouble and pain, and I keep trying to balance it out, but there's still that unpardonable debt that weighs on me, taunting me with the possibilities that are still out of reach. I've lost track of my point again.

I never have a chance, not half. I go from one form-one face-to another, trying my best not to look back. It's there though, just at the corner of my eye. That brings back something... no, it's gone.

If I could ever just settle down, have an ordinary, beans on toast life, it would make things so much more simple. But I never was able to make the simple choice. There were too many others, too much to see-or maybe I just couldn't stop running. Someone accused me of that once. Maybe more than one person.

So I make it up as I go along. I remake myself, and I don't look at the faces left behind me, even if they're not my own.

Here's my next adventure, my next friendly smile. I hope it's a day that I can be proud of-a day when nobody dies.


Life

Physics. The darker the object, the more radiant energy it absorbs; therefore, it warms faster. But if it is warm during the day, the faster it loses heat at night because as much as it absorbs energy, and the better it does so, it must release just as much and just as quickly in the absence of light.

Or something to that effect.

So, just like the sun coming up and going down, he has to find a place to lay his head.

Somehow, no matter how much his little blue box is home, it's just not home sometimes. Like at the moment, when he stumbles out, looking for warmth that he can't find anymore. Not inside. Not behind him.

There is always a pretty face, and he always tries to avoid the inevitable. He wants to believe that he transforms their lives from caterpillars to butterflies. But on a bad day, he knows he just destroys them enough that a phoenix is forced to emerge. And that's fitting, because he's a bit of a legend, a myth, an oncoming storm.

He scoffs and stumbles toward a bench. He reaches it just before one ear stops balancing him and his legs give out. He smacks the ear a few times to try and get some wax to flow, and notices his hand in the process.

'That's funny,' he thinks, and giggles a little. "No," he says aloud. There's a touch more than a shade of astonishment there.

He covers his face with his hands.

'Life has a way... didn't someone I know say that once?' He wishes that life would just make up its mind and quit on him. He didn't think the pretty face he'd be looking for was a man's. 'I could do with a man's face right now.'

He sits up straight and stretches out his legs. He's barefoot. When had he taken off his shoes? He doesn't remember doing that. He wiggles his toes, digs them in the dirt. It's cool on his feet. He giggles again.

"Doctor!" He looks up sharply, but when he turns around, he sees a woman running toward an old gentleman. "Doctor Barnes! Hello..."

He is about to settle into a disappointed sulk, when something distracts him. "Miss, are you all right?"

He looks up, and sees the face he's been expecting. It's kind, and gentle, and a little daft, but it's the face, all right. "Just getting used to things," he answers-she answers. She needs to get used to that too. "I'm the Doctor, what's your name?"


Companionship

"The Doctor?" Henry tries not to smile, but he fears he has stumbled upon a nutter, and he's not even on the job. "No first name?"

"That is my first name," she says, then blinks and corrects herself, "Well, my second, but never mind. It's a long story, and we don't have time." She starts to stand, but obviously, she's a bit unsteady.

He catches hold of her, and she smiles brilliantly at him, like the sun is coming up in the morning or shining like some spectacular painting out of clouds or something nonsense and poetic like that. He almost gasps, but he's used to catching fainting women and being flirted with. It comes with the occupation-Detective Inspector-taking statements, catching criminals, and avoiding fraternization at all costs.

"I'm fine."

"Hm?"

"You can let go now, Detective Inspector Henry Crispus."

"How did you know my name."

She smiles and puts her hand on his chest. "I'd like to tell you all about it, but I'm still not ready to be this close to someone who shaves, and 'pisses against the wall,' so to speak, when I was just doing the same thing last week."

"You're a man?" He promptly lets go.

"Well, not anymore." She's not at all chagrined, but he doesn't know if she's just mad, or if she's just unbearably honest, or if it's a little bit of both.

"Wait, wait, wait, you're changing the subject. I asked you a question-how do you know my name, Miss-"

"Doctor." She holds up a finger, then looks at it and sighs gustily and puts it behind her back.

He looks her over again, taking in the suit, and the bare feet, and the lovely, dark long hair, and nope, no Adam's apple in sight. She's tallish and a little gangly, but she's not homely, and her eyes are blue.

She's smiling at him again. "You were distracted again, Henry."

"Oh-right." He frowns at her. He feels like he should be arresting her, now. "How do you know my name?"

"That's not the most important question you should be asking me," she says, "Try again."

"Who are you?"

"I'm the Doctor, try again."

"What are you?" He's not sure this is it because now he's just guessing.

"I'm an alien. From Gallifrey. I'm a time lord. See my space ship-it's over there, near that tree."

He looks, and then rolls his eyes at himself. "Which tree?"

She grins. "That one." She points.

It's just a blue box. A police box-that's funny. "Okay, mis-Doctor, lets go check out your space ship."

He takes her arm, and marches her along.

"Ah, ah, ah! Hot... hot..." He maneuvers her over to the grass, and she smiles thankfully at him. He tries to ignore how squashy his motivations become under the focus of that smile.

"It's locked."

"Well, open it then." He's growing impatient. He has a job, after all. It's his break, but it won't be forever.

She fumbles out a key from the man's suit coat, and then tries to open the door, but her fingers keep slipping up. Henry takes the key and tries not to notice how their fingers touch. 'What are you thinking? She told you she was a man last week!'

Inside the box, after she's pushed him and he keeps from stumbling too far, he sees that it's not just a box, and she was probably telling the bald truth. The door shuts, and he turns to see her leaning against it and grinning from ear to ear.

"It's... bigger on the inside."

"Mmhm." She nods and shuts her mouth, but the smile doesn't go away. It's almost smug.

"You're an alien."

"Yep."

"I think I should step outside and ring the station-"

"You've had a strange case recently, haven't you?" she asks, and dances over to the consoles at the center of the room. It's like some sort of navigation center or engine, or both in one, Henry can't be sure. This is all new territory for him, no matter how many things he's seen in his line of work.

"What? How did you know about... alien?"

"No-time lord. It's History. Some people go missing, and no one ever figures out why." She flips a couple switches then pulls on a doohickey, pump-type thing. "You're one of them."

"But I'm not-" There's a strange sound, like a train, or a horn, or a whale's song. "-missing."

He's a fine enough detective to know how A got to B. He gives the Doctor a disapproving frown, and she braces her hands on the consoles behind her then winks at him. "Fancy discovering why?"


Familiarity

"No, not particularly."

"Oh. Should I put you back in the park, then?"

"Not unless you want me to nick you."

"Okay, I won't. Do you want to know what I think it is?"

"No."

"But I have a wonderful theory. It involves aliens."

"I can't argue with you about something I know nothing about."

"We weren't arguing. You call that arguing? That's not arguing. Arguing is when you shout and call each other names-or is that a marriage, no, no, cheap laugh-we're not calling each other names, especially not you because you don't know my name."

"You said it was the Doctor."

"Are you being sarcastic? Because I can turn this TARDIS back around and drop you on your bum in the middle of Trafalgar square. Is that redundant? Middle of... never mind. Just know, you've been warned, you snarky lad."

"Lad? Hah."

"It's not funny. Some people would call this-well, let's not think about what this could be called because then we're back to the name calling again, and I'm too confused to go on rowing about it."

"Don't you ever slow down? You're talking a mile a minute, and we've barely known each other for five. Someone might think you're on the run from something!"

It's too low for him to be sure of what he hears. "Maybe I am..."

"What?"

"We're here!" She turns from the controls and smiles at him cheerfully, outstretching her arms.

"Good. I want to make sure I'm dreaming."

He gets out of the TARDIS before the Doctor rushes after him to try to pull him back in.

Henry has a feeling maybe he should have waited. Looks like he's about to find out everything he's ever wanted to never know.

- end -