The title comes from the song "I Am a Rock" by Simon & Garfunkel. It seemed fitting.

An Island Never Cries

In almost every culture on almost every planet, names are believed to have power. To know the name of a thing—or a person—supposedly gives you a certain degree of control or mastery over it. And so beings the Universe over refer to each other by their family names, reserving given names for the closest of relationships. Members of many religious orders either change or take additional names when they take vows, and there's at least one religion on Earth whose adherents take secret names known only to themselves. Even on Gallifrey, Time Lords chose titles for themselves upon coming of age, the traditionalists abandoning their real names altogether.

Like I did.

And when the Time Lords died, there was no one left in all the Universe who knew my name. No one, nowhere, nowhen.

Do you have any idea what that feels like? It can make you feel legendary, powerful, invincible. So famous you don't need a name. There's this glorious sense of anonymity, a feeling of absolute freedom. When nobody knows your name, nobody knows you. And then they can't hurt you. You're invulnerable. A fortress.

It's the loneliest feeling in the Universe.

I never told any of my companions my name. Not even Romana, herself a Time Lady. Not even Rose.

Ohh, Rose…

In the aftermath of the Last Great Time War, I was simply in too much pain to let anyone in. But Rose, well, she saved me. And damned me. I fell in love with her despite myself, and for a few shining moments I wasn't quite so alone. If it was going to be anyone, it would have been her. But she was taken from me before I could–

Well, there's something intimate about knowing a person's name. My Gallifreyan upbringing, my Prydonian education, and my scientific mind all rebel against such superstition, but there is only one time I could ever reveal mine. One time, and it will never come. One person, and she's gone.

So for centuries I've used pseudonyms. Of course there's The Doctor, my formally recognized title—well, it was, when there were still Time Lords to recognize it. I was called Theta Sigma at Prydon Academy, and I've gone by John Smith among humans since I first left Gallifrey. The Daleks named me the Oncoming Storm, the Bringer of Darkness, and the Destroyer of Worlds. Donna just calls me Spaceman—which I suppose is better than Martian. But none of it means anything. On the contrary, all those aliases serve to shore up my defenses, to build a barrier between me and the world. My impenetrable wall.

Nothing could ever get close enough to hurt me again.

Until The Library. I'm fighting the Vashta Nerada with a bunch of archaeologists—I'm a time traveler, I point and laugh at archaeologists—and one of them, a woman I've never met before, knows everything about me, and claims to know my future. I'm naturally suspicious, but there's a look in her eyes that gives me pause. She tells me I can trust her. I'm not sure what to think.

So she steps up to me, very, very close, and stares into my eyes. "I'm sorry. I'm really very sorry," she says, echoing one of my own mannerisms back at me. It's eerie.

Then she whispers my name in my ear.

My name. Can you imagine? I can't breathe, I can't move, I can't even think. All I can do is stare as she asks, "Are we good?"

I should answer. Our situation is growing dire and we need to get to work. But I'm still in a state of absolute shock.

"Doctor," she presses urgently, "are we good?"

Get a grip, I think to myself, and I manage a tiny nod. "Yeah." I mouth the word, but no sound comes out. I try again. "Yeah, we're good."

But she knows my name. It's absolutely impossible, unthinkable, inconceivable that somebody I don't even know should know my name. My carefully constructed wall, my fortress, is crumbling, and all of a sudden I'm vulnerable. Do you know what that feels like, to have the defenses you've spent your entire life perfecting so suddenly and completely breached? To find that your shields are made of smoke and the shifting wind has laid you bare?

It's the loneliest feeling in the Universe.