A/N: Hello old friend, and here we are. You and me, on the last page. This is it. The end. The final chapter. Anything left unexplained at this point is either intentionally so, or you haven't been paying enough attention. (What happens to the Corsair is fairly straightforward, given that you remember the events of The Doctor's Wife.) Which means, essentially, that I'm done.

The dedication of this work is split seven ways: to Jessica, to Becky, to Rachel, to Susie, to Curt and Sandy, to all of my reviewers, and to you, if you have stuck with the Doctor until the very end.

Thanks to: Frog's Princess, FlyingLovegood123, Stellarsong, MrsDalek, Wonderbee31, JoojooBrother, Jimbobob5536, Ptroxsora, Iamthe42, Uryuu-Nipaa, Idalia, almondina, blue dragon of the 13, and LilyLunaPotter142. Many thanks especially to those who reviewed every chapter.

Fun Fact of the Day: Neil Gaiman wrote 11 facts for the Corsair, found here: post/30786184930/eleven-things-you-probably-didnt- know-about-the. Interestingly enough, I remain true (occasionally implicitly) to ten of the eleven facts.


He gasped a breath in and air seared into his tubes (he had tubes! That was new [no, not new. Why did he think it was new?] and very exciting and wow, tubes!). Okay, cool (good word, must use again), now what?

Spin.

Spinning sounded good.

His brain was still in system reboot (why was it rebooting? Oh, yeah, he had died. Whoops) which meant that everything was stopping and starting and testing things out.

Made life exciting.

There was something else that was making life exciting but it was just at the edge of his mind, so he ignored it.

Right, so his brain was checking things out, so he should be (eating [no, wrong, he shouldn't be eating, now wasn't the time for that] apples) checking things out himself.

Wasn't that right?

Regeneration always made things confusing.

But hey! Exploring a new body = also fun. Everything was fun. (Add to list of things to work out later.)

He reached down and grabbed a knee, kissing it (Things tasted different. Experiment with this). "Legs. I've still got legs. Good." Ooh, things were good, now. They'd been brilliant before, and fantastic before that, now they were good. Good. No, not right.

Didn't fit the –

That wasn't right either. Didn't matter, had to continue checks. "Arms," he said, waving them. His voice sounded differently this time, but that was almost normal. "Hands. Ooh, fingers." He leaned towards them, watching them waggle uncontrollably. "Lots of fingers. Ears, yes." Good. Very very good. And not sticky-outy like before either, nice good ears.

"Eyes, two." And sort of functional, although everything was a little fuzzy right now. "Nose," he waved a hand in and out, making a vague attempt at judging length, "I've had worse." His hands scrabbled at his cheeks and jaw. "Chin – blimey." Lots and lots of chin. Lantern jaw of justice. Watch out for that.

"Hair." He wound his fingers (ooh, good, his fingers now, and not just fingers all on their own [very bad when that happened, very very bad]) into his hair, running them through it. "I'm a girl!" Wait, his voice squeaked? Why was he squeaking? He was a Time Lord, a representative of –

That memory showed up with a thud and he dropped the line of thought quickly.

"No." One hand went to his neck, the other – down. (Wait, was he a prude? Good question, add it to the list.) "No. I'm not a girl." Yep, definitely got an Adam's apple, and… other parts. (Also beginning to sound like a prude.) Moving on. He reached up and grabbed a lock of hair, going cross-eyed in an attempt to stare at it. "And still not ginger!"

He waved his hands again, that thing that had been making life exciting earlier deciding to make itself known again. "And something else. Something important. I'm – I'm – I'm –" Tap fingers against head, maybe that would work (status: no, not working).

The TARDIS shook, throwing him onto the console. That was it! "Ha! Crashing!" He laughed, adrenal glands kicking in with a vengeance.

His TARDIS was on fire, the console room wrecked, but he was alive and his memory was kicking in to tell him how very improbable this was, he was alive and his TARDIS was alive, and even if they were crashing, there was still something he could do, because that was what he did, and apparently this regeneration had the same propensity toward rambling that the last one did.

He laughed, beginning to work on the console, spinning around excitedly. "Geronimo!"


"I've got to get back in there! The engines are phasing, it's gonna burn!" He had to get back to her, had to save her because she had saved him and not break his ankle on the shrubbery because it turned out that this regeneration was even less coordinated than the last one.

Stumbling along after him, Amelia Pond struggled to catch up. (Cute girl, lovely name, but too young.) "But – it's just a box. How can a box have engines?"

(Oh, the Scots. Police box that wasn't used any more appears in her garden, flipped on its side and spewing gold smoke, and she focused on the engines.)

"It's not a box," he told her, panting. "It's a time machine." He picked up the grappling hook, trying to divide his attention between her, his TARDIS, and himself, still not fully integrated with his new body.

Amelia gave him a disbelieving look that he didn't have time to deal with. "What, a real one? You've got a real time machine?"

(No, a fake one obviously, couldn't you see that he was the type of guy to go around telling blatant lies to small children? [Except that he had told her a lie, several of them, but all trying to keep her safe {of course he had a time machine, that's who he was}])

"Not for much longer if I can't get her stabilised," he said instead, forgetting for a second that most people didn't know the TARDIS was alive. "Five-minute hop into the future should do it."

Another lie that he couldn't bother to elaborate on. It would be five minutes for her but three days for him while he tried to force enough energy into the TARDIS that she could reset herself on her own. She was weak and bleeding energy but he was bursting with it, drawing artron in from the surroundings like flies to honey. No. Wait.

(He added metaphors to List of Things He Could No Longer Do.)

(It was a very impressive list at this point.)

(The List of Newly Acquired Skills was much shorter.)

"Can I come?"

No.

I got people killed.

I'm not safe.

That wasn't what he said, though, he'd never told anyone that. "Not safe in here, not yet," he said, trying to avoid looking at her. This was not a discussion he wanted to have. "Five minutes. Give me five minutes, I'll be right back." He hopped up on the edge, ready to dive into his TARDIS.

Amelia looked doubtful again. "People always say that."

Nope. He was not going to stop and help. That was not who he was, not anymore, he was going to fix his TARDIS and fly off and save planets, not one little girl in her nightie –

"Go rescue the children, Doctor. I'll be fine."

He looked at her, and jumped down off of his TARDIS, getting right in her face. "Am I people? Do I even look like people?" This, he already knew, was a blatant no – the chin, for one. "Trust me, I'm the Doctor." More lies, but it was all he could offer.

She smiled faintly and he turned away, clambering back up on the edge of his TARDIS. "Geronimo!"


Five minutes he'd told her, not twelve years, there was quite a bit of a difference there and he'd really mucked it up, hadn't he? At least his TARDIS was stable now, although she was decidedly unhappy with him and in the middle of redecorating. On the flip side, he'd saved the Earth again and found Amy Pond (Amelia, but grown up and wearing skimpy clothing for no reason that he'd ever found out) and her attachment, Rory (nice, if a bit slow).

And now his TARDIS was back and fully redecorated, and sexy.

Ooh.

New name for her. New lots of things, actually, because god was she pretty, but he hadn't called her sexy before.

And new toys on the console – he laughed, twirling on the glass. Two levels – loads of things to fiddle with. "I got a bow tie, dear!"

Her console light flashed as he began basic flight protocols. Got to do things properly the first time, at least, because he wasn't going to do it again.

"So where to first? The moon'd be a good bet, nice short hop –"

She hummed, and a paper slid out of the underside of the console. Spinning over, he grabbed it and read the line of typing. All of the excitement bled out of him. "Yeah. Yeah, I should."

He reached automatically for controls (funny how they moved and he still knew precisely where they were [then again, not funny at all, they were telepathically linked]), giving her a time and a place. A time and place that, in his opinion, constituted the worst possible location for him to go.

He had to go. He didn't want to. She wanted him to go. Three guesses who won that fight.

Sighing, he turned towards the typewriter (new) and began composing a letter.


The TARDIS landed precisely where he wanted her to, for once, right on the other side of the street. Stepping out, he straightened his bow tie with one hand, holding the letter tightly in the other. "I don't want to do this," he whispered.

She made a disgruntled noise and closed the door behind him.

"Fine." Straightening, he walked across the street (in view: four shrubberies, three houses, a cat, and a lot of bugs) to the house. It was a stand-alone, with a small car parked in the driveway and toys scattered in the garden. He looked at the letter in his hand and swallowed, sticking his chin out.

Once up the driveway, he hesitated again before shoving the letter through the mail slot and ringing the doorbell. Shoulders slumped, he turned away, kicking at the grass as he went.

He knew what the letter said. He knew what the residents' reaction would be. He didn't need to be there for it. It wasn't his story anymore.


Mickey –

I'm sorry. I lost her. It was my fault. There was nothing you could have done. It can't possibly make up for it, but you will always have a job and UNIT will give you her retirement package.

Tell your children she was brave. She fought until the end and she gave me courage. Never blame yourself. She saved so many lives through her actions. All of her men came back alive.

I'm sorry. You won't see me again. It was all my fault, what happened. You'll get a letter from UNIT, but she went into battle and she shouldn't have, I should have stopped her but I thought I was too busy and I was wrong.

I thought you should hear it from me, since it's my fault. I'm sorry.

The Doctor

~fin~