Rose watched in horror as her friend collapsed on the floor in a bloody heap.

"Doctor? Please wake up!" she cried, shaking his shoulder, ignoring the ever-growing puddle of blood around him.

The Doctor rolled over and a gold wisp of breath escaped from his lips. "Rose… get… away…" he managed to choke out, a pained grimace crossing his face as the puddle grew larger and flesh started to peel away from bone. Rose skittered away to the far wall of the TARDIS.

The Doctor let out one last cry before exploding into a fiery burst of light.

"DOCTOR!" Rose screamed in terror, shielding her eyes and letting out a sob. She pushed herself as far away from the horrifying scene before her as she could and curled into herself, sobbing uncontrollably. Her friend was dead and she was all alone. So alone…

"Rose?" an unfamiliar man's voice spoke to her gently. "Rose, it's okay," he cooed as his hand entered her line of sight. She pulled her face away from her knees and met his eyes. Her face fell instantly.

"Who are you?" she whimpered. "How do you know my name? What have you done with the Doctor?" she cried, trying to stand but slamming her head against the metal railing of the TARDIS in her haste. She let out a yelp of pain and her hands flew to her head.

"Rose, it's okay… I am the Doctor," he said calmly. "Now that was quite a bump, will let me check your head?" he asked as he reached out to take her into his arms.

"NO! NO, STAY AWAY FROM ME! HEEEEEELP!" she screamed loudly, kicking at the Doctor's outstretched hands. "HELP ME!"

The Doctor stood and took a few steps away from the screaming young girl.

"Rose, please let me explain, okay? It'll all be okay if you just let me talk to you."

Rose slowly quieted, her screams becoming whimpers until eventually she fell silent.

"Rose, I was dying. There were monsters called Vashta Nerada living in the shadow that was following us. They got on me and they were eating my flesh. If my regeneration had taken any longer, then I would have died for good. But you see I'm a Time Lord and I can cheat death by changing every cell in my body. I changed to save myself, but it's still me. I'm still the Doctor, and you can trust me. I know that I don't look the same, but in here, it's still me," the Doctor finished, patting his chest. A single drop of blood splashed onto the TARDIS floor.

"Oh, Rose, you're bleeding. Please let me fix up your head," he said gently, but didn't dare move towards her. He would wait for her to come to him.

Rose stood carefully and rubbed a few stray teardrops from her cheeks. She walked over to the Doctor and stopped only a foot away from him.

"Doctor?" she asked quietly.

"I'm here, Rose," he said as he reached out for her. She quickly closed the distance between them and leaned into his new body.

The Doctor scooped Rose into his arms and carried her to the med bay. The TARDIS helpfully rearranged her rooms and the Doctor got to the makeshift hospital on the first try.

Upon laying Rose down on the nearest bed, he grabbed a towel and a bowl which he filled with water. He sat his supplies on the table beside Rose's bed.

"Alright, Rose, let's sit up now," he instructed, helping her into an upright position and adjusting the pillow behind her back. He dipped the towel in the water and began rubbing at the gash adorning Rose's hairline.

Once the wound was thoroughly clean, the Doctor concluded that it required stitches. He sat down the towel and went to retrieve more supplies.

"Rose, can you be a brave girl for me?" the Doctor asked while filling a small syringe to numb her cut. "I think you'll need about four stitches. Now I promise this won't hurt a bit. Do you trust me?"

Rose shook her head and frowned. "I don't need stitches," she objected quietly, a lump forming in her throat.

"I'm sorry Rose, I'm so sorry," the Doctor said gently. He put down the syringe and sat on Rose's bed beside her. "But I promise, I'm great at stitches! I am a doctor after all!"

"No, you're the Doctor," she pointed out, glaring at him and crossing her arms. The Doctor sighed.

"Rose, this isn't optional. That's a nasty little gash you've got there, I need to close it up!" he said sternly.

Rose paused momentarily before grunting out a quiet "fine." She flopped back on the pillow and the Doctor got to work at once.

oOo

"See, I promised you it wouldn't be so bad," the Doctor grinned. Rose looked up at him with a pouty face.

"My head feels funny," she complained.

"Yeah, well… the numbness will wear off soon then it'll go back to feeling normal again," he said with a smile as he cleaned up in the med bay.

"Doctor?" Rose said quietly.

"Mmm?" the Doctor responded.

"How did you change your face?" Rose mumbled.

"How about we talk about it over a nice cuppa tea?"

A/N: MERRY CHRISTMAS! Sorry for the awkward ending, I didn't want the entire explanation in this chapter. Oh, and check out my blog! The link is on my profile. Enjoy!