The fire courses through his veins like a fire, sending stabbing jolts of pain every so often, and he clutches to his sides in the vain hope that it the pain can be dulled. He crawls along the glass floor of the console room, hands smacking hard against it to pull him forwards.

Another flash of pain.

He settles for the railing beside the stairs and leans against it for support. The poison is strong for something so undetectable, and it makes him wonder just how long he has left. It's getting worse and he definitely feels it.

"I'm shutting down." Another pang. "I need a voice interface. Voice interface, come on, emergency."

The rippling sound of the voice interface system starting echoes around him as he turns

"Voice interface enabled."

Through his squinted eyes he sees a holographic version of himself, brand new green coat and all. The pixilation flickers further down the image and this version of himself does not move at all; instead it stares forward at a point he can't see. This voice interface does him no good at all. It can't help him. He craves something so much better.

"Oh, no, give me someone I like."

The mirror image of himself shimmers and transforms. Standing in front of him now is the tall, staring form of a blonde woman, and he feels something familiar stir in his heart at the sight of her.

Rose Tyler.

"Oh, thanks! Give me guilt."

He's gone through so much since he last saw her. He has tried to move on and not focus on Rose after all this time, and it has gotten easier with the passing of time. In a way, she did get the happy ending she'd wanted, but he still feels guilt deep inside him for what she had to go through to get there.

This isn't what he needs. He was there for her so many times before when he needed her, but he needs a different comfort this time. He's so close to the end now. He begins to feel the dread.

Rose shifts and turns into another woman. A familiar red jacket and black trousers, complete with a smug expression he was fond of.

Martha Jones.

The poison blazes again, along with a dominant feeling of shame. He felt even more guilt for her than he did Rose. Poor Martha. He'd been so blind until it was too late, something he could never forgive himself for. He finds his voice and croaks to the console.

"Also guilt!"

Donna Noble appears with a loud ringing noise. She stands with her hand on her hip, looking as cross as ever. Lovely Donna. He needed to keep the system going; he needed to find exactly who he needed. At this rate, the remorse would kill him before the poison did.

"More guilt!"

He gives a strangled yelp as the strongest bolt yet hits him and his hand smacks to his chest. He's so close to begging the console for a comfort. He can't do this alone. He's scared, he realises. The last of the Time Lords. The oncoming storm. And he's afraid of what he knows is coming.

"Come on! There must be someone left in the universe I haven't screwed up yet!"

A particularly blinding jab goes to his shoulder and he cries out, grabbing at it. He silently wills himself to stop it as his legs contort in agony. A whimper of pain escapes his lips and he knows that's the closest he'll come to crying. He won't let himself go that far.

The feeling is unbearable, and it reminds him so much of radiation poisoning, his previous downfall. There had been no one with him then either, just him. And he had been just as frightened.

"Voice interface enabled."

That voice. That voice is so monotone, but so young and so, so familiar. It rings through the room and it seems as though time itself has stopped at the sound of her voice. He feels himself freeze in his place, despite the burning, and his eyes flicker open to see what he already knows is there. Standing before him is a young girl with fiery red hair and a long blue coat, eyes piercing and wise beyond her years. She is looking directly down at him, something the others did not do.

His Amelia.

She seems so solid in front of him; so much more real than the others directly before her. The others rippled when they appeared and she certainly does not. His Amelia is a constant, unwavering force of hope, driving him to keep going. He can do it for her. He knows he can. He has to.

"Oh. Oh, Amelia Pond. Before I got it all wrong."

He shifts himself, ignoring the protesting screams of his body and sitting up to see her properly. Calm washes over him and he momentarily forgets that he has just as much guilt inside him for what he did to Amelia as he did with the others. He lets himself pretend, just this once, that he did not ruin everything. He pretends that Amelia was his. Just his. The whole universe to explore with the girl who didn't have to wait.

"My sweet little Amelia."

"I am not Amelia Pond. I am a voice interface."

The tone of her voice is harsh and cutting, but she does not take her eyes off of him. He continues pretending. This might be the last chance he ever has. He makes himself think of all the places the two of them could go, the people they'd meet and the things they'd see. A smile crosses his face and he feels absolutely mad.

"Hey, let's run away and have adventures. Come along, Pond."

He's trembling now but continues watching her. Amelia Pond is his lifeline; the last conversation he'll have. Fooling himself into believing this is nothing is far from stupidity as his mind shouts at him. It's much more. It's far braver. He won't die begging on the floor. He won't let himself. Amelia Pond is his perfect distraction.

"I am not Amelia Pond. I am a voice interface."

The smile slips away and is replaced by annoyance. His own voice interface system can't even work the way he wants it to.

He makes himself keep talking to her. It soothes him, and when he speaks he forgets the pain that now shoots up and down his legs. But as he falls into silence now, the fact that he is poisoned works its way to the front of his mind, white-hot and searing.

"You are so Scottish. How am I doing?"

"Your system has been contaminated by the poison of the Judas tree. You will be dead in thirty-two minutes."

He gasps for breath as he feels the poison deep in his neck. He covers it with a shaking hand and moves to fix his fringe with the other. No more pretending. He has so little time now. He needs to regenerate, he thinks. Even more pain.

"Okay, so basically, better regenerate, that's what you're saying?"

"Regeneration disabled. You will be dead in thirty-two minutes."

Cold fear runs down his back and the hairs on the back of his neck stand up as he shakes. This really is the end of the line, something he has been so close to before but escaped time and time again. He can't go know. He can't.

"Unless I'm cured, yeah?"

He is not willing to admit he's afraid aloud, but he hears it in his own voice as he responds to Amelia. It cracks and goes higher, desperation flooding in. Panic settles in his stomach.

"There is no cure. You will be dead in thirty-two minutes."

"Why do you keep saying that?"

"Because you will be dead in thirty-two minutes."

"You see, there you go again, basically skipping thirty-one whole minutes when I'm absolutely fine. Scottish, that's all I'm saying."

"You will be fine for thirty-one minutes. You will be dead in thirty-two minutes."

He thinks to himself that maybe if he just keeps talking to her, she'll start to respond. He racks his brain for something he can tell her. Anything remotely related to her would do. He just needs her to pretend with him. He was begging his TARDIS for a comfort and all it's given him is fear.

"Scotland's never conquered anyway, you know! Not even a Shetland. River needs me. She's only just beginning, I can't die now."

"You will not die now. You will die in thirty-two minutes."

Telling Amelia about River does no good and he slumps slightly, worries about posture not exactly high on his list of priorities. This Amelia does not know about River and certainly does not know what will happen if he isn't there to guide her. He's seen her life and he's seen her death. He has to be there.

"I'm going out in the first round, ring any bells?"

He tries to finish his sentence but fire in him suddenly increases to a volume he never expected, and it is the worst he has ever felt. He screams and clutches his chest again. The pain is too much and he collapses to the floor, falling face-first on the glass. His hand slams down and he tries to hold himself up to no avail.

"Okay. Need something for the pain now. Come on, Amelia. It's me. Please."

"I am not Amelia Pond. I am a voice interface."

The same silence he felt when the form of Amelia first appeared in front of him returns once more. He needs her; he needs his Amelia, he needs his Amy. And he needs her more than ever.

"Amelia, listen to me. I can be brave for you."

He's willing to do this for her. He hopes it speaks volumes that he's giving his last moments to a little girl, a woman, someone who isn't even his.

"But you have got to tell me how."

Hope flutters tauntingly in him when she takes a beat to respond to his pleads. It is small, growing slightly, like a tiny flame.

"I am not Amelia Pond. I am a voice interface."

The flame is extinguished.

Amelia told him he had thirty-two minutes left, but the pain is already too much. It bears down on him and feels like a weight. He doesn't think he even has the strength to move any more. All he needs is something for the pain, but Amelia Pond is a voice interface. She has nothing to offer.

He lies there, eyes shutting and mouth gaping open, mumbling her name.

"Amelia… Amelia…"

"Fish fingers and custard."

He freezes and dares to crack his eyes open. It can't be. It can't. He must have imagined it.

"What did you say?"

His eyes widen to see her properly but she stands there with pursed lips, unwilling to say anything more. He doesn't need to hear any more than that, he thinks to himself.

Because that was everything.