This is an alternate version/earlier draft of Ten's Goodbye from my other fic 'Ten Goodbyes and One Hello'. I liked it well enough, but not to be included with the others, so I thought I'd share it separately here.
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who or any of its characters.
The Promise of Brandy
The Brigadier turned his head and saw a fairly tall man in a suit, with his hands tucked into the pockets of his trench coat, standing in the doorway. He smiled, and said, "I knew I'd see you again, Doctor." He then sat up a little in his bed, and the effort didn't go unnoticed by the Time Lord. "They moved me into this nursing home only recently, you know. Doris, bless her heart, was having trouble taking care of me by herself. It's for the best; they're taking good care of me."
"I'm glad to hear that," said the Doctor, moving to sit down next to him.
"It's strange, isn't it, though?" said the Brigadier. "Being old. The young can never imagine it. I certainly never could; then, one day, it crept up on me, and there was an old man staring at me in the mirror.
"Now I'm here," he continued. "Laid up in this strange bed, and I've left Doris all alone. No children, no legacy. One day I'll be gone, and, at first, they'll tell anecdotes, perhaps drink to my honor, but then, eventually, they'll move on, until, finally, they'll forget."
"I know exactly how you feel," said the Doctor, leaning in a bit closer. "It's funny, all my life I've strived to keep moving, never stay in one place, never long enough to be remembered. Didn't always work, mind you, but I honestly did try... Did I ever tell you the first law of the Time Lords?"
"What is it?" asked the Brigadier.
"Never to interfere," said the Doctor.
"Well," said the Brigadier. "That's definitely a lost cause in your case."
"Hopeless from the very beginning," said the Doctor, smiling mostly to himself.
"All the people you've traveled with, though," said the Brigadier. "They'll remember you."
"But how will they remember me?"said the Doctor. "Almost all of them chose to leave me. The novelty wore off and they decided it was no longer fun. They would eventually grow tired of aimlessly drifting with a man who never learned to stop running. At first, it's like I'm some grand mystery to them, but then they eventually come to realize that they'll never truly understand me and that they don't want to be like me anyway."
"What rot!" said the Brigadier. "I remember the way they used to look at you: Miss Grant, Miss Smith, and the others. They adored you; they still adore you. And as for myself, we may not always have seen eye to eye, but I've always admired you."
The Doctor stared at the man in the bed for a moment before answering, "You've become a lot more sentimental in your old age."
"And you're much more maudlin," said the Brigadier.
"I'm really not, though," said the Doctor. "I'm usually much more cheerful than this. I suppose it's just the subject matter. I don't really like talking about the past, unless I'm in the past, then it's fine, I suppose."
"Of course," said the Brigadier, not really sure if he was following, but at least putting up a good effort. He sat up a bit more and leaned over to his nightstand. From his drawer, he fished out a bottle of brandy and two glasses. "One of the men from my old unit stopped by a while ago and brought this as a gift," he explained. "Would you care to try some?"
"No," said the Doctor. "Not today." The Brigadier frowned, so the Doctor continued. "I'll come back," he said. "I promise. Then we'll have that drink. We'll toast to old friends and unforgotten memories, aye?"
"I'll keep you to that promise," he said.
"You know, Brigadier," said the Doctor, rising to stand. "No matter any of the nasty things I've said to you over the years, even if I meant them, I really didn't. I've made it a rule never to revisit old companions, but for you, I've always made an exception... Because you are an exceptional man."
"Likewise, Doctor," said the Brigadier. They grasped each other's hands, the Doctor's grip naturally much firmer than his ailing friend's. But there was life in the man yet, and that meant there was still time for memories over which to reminisce and even new ones to be made.