A/N: Not mine; Doctor Who obviously belongs to its writers and creators and things, and I am not them. I hope you like it! : )
It was about to end.
Moment by moment, he was edging toward regeneration, and no amount of quick thinking or Time Lord technology could help him now. He had knocked four times, this life's song was ending.
He had to see them again, however.
He couldn't die with violence being the last thing he had seen; he would much prefer to go with the image of his most loved companions burned in the back of his eyelids.
So he visited them all.
He purposefully left her for last. He wanted his family-years and years of companions-to be the last thing he saw, but even more, he wanted her to be the very lastperson he saw in this body. So he held off the desire to see her again, as well as the thought of how she wouldn't recognize him. At least, until he was on his way.
He allowed his mind to go back over the hundreds of times she had made him smile, the many times she had made his day so much better. She had made him better. And now he couldn't see her in real time, he had to go back to before she had him, before she had his clone. Before she had ever even seen his previous regeneration.
He slowly walked around the TARDIS, flipping switches. Not because he had to; mainly because he needed something to do. He didn't want memories to overcome him. He wanted her first memory of him, one she was not likely to recall by the time she met him, to be of a calm and smiling Time Lord, not a dying, pitiful one.
And then he realized what he could do. He wouldn't be breaking the rules of time, though it would add several memories to his mind. When he never got around to speaking to her about certain things, this would help, though it may not completely fix things. It could also aid in making their eventual separation a bit less painful, too.
So he made his way to the kitchen, grabbing a pen and a piece of paper. Sitting down at the table, he began writing, scrawled cursive making its way across the page.
He walked out of the TARDIS, hands in pockets. It was winter, and it was snowing. Maybe this time is was legitimate snow, not some ship's ashes raining down on the inhabitants of earth.
He watched her and Jackie walk towards their home, hugging, before they split up, Jackie off to some unknown party. It was New Year's.
A wave of pain hit him as she passed, and a small sound escaped his mouth, making her turn and notice him.
"You alright, mate?"
"Yeah." It was so hard not to simply walk over and hug her, grab her hand, anything. But that would not be acceptable in her current time. He had to stay away, no matter how much he wanted to reassure her that he was still here even though she hadn't lost him yet.
"Too much to drink?"
"Something like that."
"Maybe it's time you went home." Home was the TARDIS. Home meant she was in her room, sleeping, while he piloted them to their next adventure. Home was running through a distant planet, clasping hands, as Daleks or Cybermen or some other alien chased him. Of course, home was also traveling with his large family of companions after Daleks stole the earth. As long as he didn't lose any of them. But he couldn't go home now. They were all gone, had continued with their lives, whether they wanted to or not, whether he wanted them to or not.
"Anyway, happy new year."
She gave him a smile before turning and walking away, towards her home. But he had to know exactly how early this was.
"What year is this?"
She turned, grinning, amused at how drunk he must be. "Blimey, how much have you had?"
"Two thousand and five, January the first," she said, acting as if she was talking to a three year old.
"Two thousand and five." The year she first met him. Only a few months and their adventures would begin, and there would be his ninth regeneration and her running around the universe. She would forget about this moment in time, and exactly what was said, but he had given her so much more, it was only important, he supposed, that he remembered this. It was to be the last time he saw her, and he couldn't even say goodbye. Fitting, really, that the last time he was able to see her for the rest of his life was only a few months before the beginning of her adventures with him. It all came full circle.
She nodded, looking a bit uncomfortable. Maybe missing things from last year. But soon, he knew, she would be having the time of her life. A million memories flashed through his mind, and he couldn't keep the smile off his face.
"Tell you what. I bet you're gonna have a really great year."
"Yeah?" she smiled, for some reason believing this drunk stranger. He smiled, nodding.
She gave him one last smile, a true one, before turning again.
She turned again, giving him a questioning glance.
Taking in a breath, he walked over with his hands in his pockets, looking as if this was exactly what it seemed to her—a stranger making a strange request.
As he got nearer, he pulled two envelopes out of his pocket, both lacking an addressee. "One day, you and I will meet again. When we do, I want you to give this one," he pointed to the larger, more plain of the two, "to me. Keep the other one, and do not open it until I tell you to." He heavily doubted that she would ever bring it up, or even remember. Maybe she would simply return home after this and throw away the envelopes. But if luck was on his side, she would find a reason to trust him and keep them.
She looked at him oddly, even more convinced that he was drunk, but his eyes showed some complex emotion as he looked at her. That wasn't the look of one who had been drinking all night. It was the look of someone who had lost so much, who was trying to find a small sliver of hope in the universe. Partly because of this, she felt as though he was someone to trust. She continued staring into his eyes, looking for something that would tell her he wasn't serious. But when she didn't find what she was looking for, she nodded.
Another wave of pain hit him, and he gave her a brave, relieved smile before they parted ways and he made his way back to the TARDIS.