Later, with Police and Firemen rushing about all around them, Mayor Greene and the Doctor stood at the foot of The Ramis Hotel. The thirteenth floor had disappeared, the glass and debris littering the street serving as the only evidence it ever existed.
"So," said the Mayor. "Are we okay now? Safe, I mean."
"God, no!" said the Doctor. "Why do politicians always ask me that? You're not safe from your own species, never mind the ones that come visiting."
The Mayor clenched her jaw, and reminded herself that this insufferable idiot had just saved her city. "Okay, fine. Are the hotels safe?"
The Doctor huffed. "What did I just tell… you know what, yes. They're all perfectly safe, everything's hunky-dory and nothing bad will ever happen. There, feel better?"
The Mayor shook her head in frustration and cut to the chase. "Look, you saved my ass today, and I appreciate it. So, if you ever need any help, just -"
"Actually, as a matter of fact," said the Doctor, looking at the watch on the underside of his wrist. "What year is it, again, 2011? Listen, in about 4 months, you're going to get reports of a man with a really long scarf fighting with mannequins inside the gift shop at Yankee Stadium. Kindly ask your Police Officers not to shoot at him."
The Mayor cocked an eyebrow. "Really long scarf?"
"Yeah," said the Doctor, "it's cool. Really long scarves are cool."
The Mayor rolled her eyes. "Whatever. You got it." She was just about to walk away, when she caught sight of Ryan across the road, having his head seen to by a paramedic. "How old is that kid?"
"17," said the Doctor.
"And you took him up there?"
"Ah, no, see I can explain. He… has this thing… about University and… fear of change… "
The Mayor gave him a disapproving look. "Listen, don't go getting him killed, okay?"
The Doctor nodded with a hint of guilt. "I'll try my best, your Honour."
Across the road, Ryan shrugged off the blanket that the Paramedic kept putting around him.
"This is the second time I've been knocked unconscious," he said. "Is that like a regular occurrence with the Doctor."
In front of him, Frankie gave him a wry smile. "Kinda. In fact, I'd consider keeping a piece of paper with you that has your name and home address on it. Just it case you ever wake up and can't remember who you are."
Before Ryan could work out if he was joking, the Doctor made his way over to them.
"Well, Frankie," he said. "What do you say? Fancy a trip?"
"Why?" asked Frankie with a grin. "So you can get me arrested on an alien planet too? No thanks. I'll stay here and get my affairs in order for the next time you breeze through town and try and get me killed."
The Doctor gave him a warm smile and wrapped him up in a big hug. "Till the next time, old friend."
"Stay safe, Doc."
"Well then," said the Doctor releasing Frankie. "Shall we be off, Ryan?"
Without waiting for an answer, he spun around on his heels, and was off down the street, jumping the Police barricades on his way.
"I suppose we are," said Ryan. But before he could follow, he felt Frankie's hand on his arm.
"Hey, Ryan," said Frankie. "If you're ever in town, and wanna talk, look me up. Okay?"
Ryan was rather confused by both the offer and Frankie's concerned expression while he offered it, but he smiled nonetheless. "Sure. See you, Frankie."
Frankie tipped his hat as Ryan walked away.
"Take care, kid," he muttered.
The sun was beginning to set by the time the Doctor and Ryan made it back to the Central Park and the TARDIS.
"So, how was that for a sight-seeing trip?" the Doctor asked.
"Well, I certainly saw some sights," said Ryan, getting a good last look at the city that never slept. "But there's just one thing I still don't understand."
The Doctor laughed. "That sounds like a line for the end of a 'Columbo' episode."
"Yeah, I suppose it does," Ryan pondered. "But still. The alien thingy -"
"The Zaubern," the Doctor corrected.
"Yeah, that. It showed people their homes, right? The place they wanted to be more than anywhere, but just couldn't quite get to."
"Yes," said the Doctor, taking the TARDIS key out of his pocket and approaching the Police Box. "Why?"
"It just doesn't make any sense. Not when it comes to you anyway." The Doctor slowed to a halt. Ryan chose his words carefully, and tried to be as delicate as possible. Because he had a feeling he already knew the answer to the question he was about to ask. "I mean, you've got a super duper space ship/time machine. You can pop back home anytime you want. Right?"
The Doctor kept his back to him, and for a second they stood there listening to the sound of New York settling in for the night. Eventually, though, he put the TARDIS key back in his pocket and turned to face Ryan.
"No," he said. "Not exactly."
Ryan had suspected as much since their awkward conversation in the elevator, and for the past few hours he'd been planning what to say when he eventually raised the topic again.
But ultimately, the only thing he could come up with was, "I'm sorry."
The Doctor nodded in unspoken thanks, and looked as if it was his turn to go about picking the right words.
"Doctor," said Ryan quickly. "You don't have to tell me what happened if you don't want to. I just wondered - "
"No," said the Doctor calmly. "I want to."
They sat themselves down on the bench where he'd picked up a newspaper earlier, and while the sun descended behind the Manhattan skyline in front of them, the Doctor told Ryan Murphy about the Last Great Time War. About what he'd seen, about what'd he done, and about what he'd lost.
"And are you sure?" Ryan asked, when the Doctor had finished. "I mean, that you're the only one left."
"Yes," said the Doctor.
"Bloody hell," Ryan breathed, making the Doctor smile. "The last of the Time Lords.
The Doctor waved a hand. "Oh, I try not to think of it like that anymore. If you keep thinking about things in terms 'Lasts' and 'Finals', you're missing the potential for all the 'Firsts' you could be. There's so many new experiences out there, Ryan, if we just give up when one thing comes to an end, they'll pass us by. That's why I keep going, even after all this time. That sky full of stars I showed you, I've barely touched half of them. So many 'firsts' just waiting to happen." The Doctor turned to him. "What about you? Still feel like coming along for the ride."
Ryan gazed across the lake, the skyscrapers starting to light up in the distance. "Yeah," he said. "I think I do."
The Doctor jumped to his feet. "Then shake a leg, Ryan Murphy! Let's go be the 'first' of something!"
They climbed into the big blue box, and took off into space, headed for everywhere.
Mayor Greene collapsed into her chair and removed her glasses.
"I was not informed that being Mayor would leave me so pooped," she said, fighting a yawn.
There was a knock on the door to her office, and the advisor who she had banned from speaking poked his head into the room. He opened his mouth, but remembered her decree and looked at her pleadingly.
She nodded reluctantly. "You can talk."
"Thank you," said the man. He stepped into the office, and held up the phone in his hand. "I have the New York Observatory on line one, and they're requesting to speak to you."
Mayor Greene rubbed her tired eyes and shook her head. "Tell them to call me on Monday,"
"No, your Honour," said the advisor, and the Mayor noticed for the first time how anxious he looked. "It's vital they speak to you now. They say its something about the sun."
"My son?" the Mayor asked, sitting up in her chair.
"No," the advisor said, gesturing to the window behind her, "The sun."
The Mayor turned around and looked out of her window, where she saw the sun, just about to fall out of view.
What she didn't see was the war raging within it. She didn't see its hydrogen fuel beginning to exhaust, its nuclear reactions stopping, its core threatening to contract.
What she didn't see was that the sun was starting to die.
It's Ryan Murphy's first trip to another world, and he didn't exactly hit the jackpot.
This is a broken planet. A humbled civilisation that paid the ultimate price to save their very world. Only some people were made to pay more than others.
In the struggle to save their race, terrible crimes took place. And now those left behind are forced to face the consequences.
In a small corner of this world, thousands of people are stranded, with no hope of escape, and ungodly horrors closing in on them. In less than an hour, they will all be dead. The rest of the world watches in despair, powerless. They can do nothing to help. To even attempt to would be a suicide mission.
And those are the Doctor's favourite.