The Doctor's tweed jacket ripped across the shoulder as the TARDIS sent he and Clara flying across the console room. The ship had just crashed and was half broken, jittery, toppling around the time vortex mentally.
'Where's she taking us?!' Clara yelled over the sounds of snapping wires and the spaceship's groaning.
The Doctor grunted, trying desperately to reach the controls. 'Good questiooooooooon!' His last word turned from a shout into a scream as the TARDIS jolted again. 'She's crashing against the walls of the vortex - either we'll end up anywhere, or we're going to the only place she can call home!'
'Which is where?!' asked Clara.
'I don't know,' the Time Lord replied truthfully.
Head throbbing, the Doctor felt sorry for Clara, a battle scar streaked across her cheek.
The whole world seemed to stop when the time machine stopped groaning. It stopped spinning, the lights had gone and the Doctor and Clara smashed their heads on the floor. Despite this, the Doctor got up, rubbing his head. He ignored Clara's moans of 'A little help?' and continued toward the battered doors.
They creaked when he opened them. He wouldn't be surprised if they fell off their hinges.
The Doctor had a grim look on his face.
He did not even acknowledge what was outside - he was too busy examining the damage to the exterior of his ship. Bruised and scarred, the same as what he had seen of the inside.
As he turned around to see where they were, Clara stepped out and sniffed. That was her signature thing - sniffing when they had opened the TARDIS doors. Something she did that reminded the Doctor of his previous self. This time, however, she regretted it, wrinkling her nose. Luckily for her, she had made her way through the broken wires hanging from the ceiling, cackling with electricity, unharmed.
And then the last Time Lord's jaw may as well have dropped completely to the floor. He realised where he was, and why the TARDIS had chosen to land in a particular place.
I.M Foreman's Scrap Merchant, 76 Totter's Lane - where, in a sense, his life had all began.
It seemed the Doctor had just left with Barbara, Ian and Susan, by the TARDIS-shaped mark in the mud.
'Is it weird that I like it here? As in... I feel, kinda... at home?' Clara said.
Just as he had managed to close his mouth, his eyes widened. It was all beginning to make sense . . .
'Look at my girl!' exclaimed the Doctor. His TARDIS was successfully defeating the entity known as House. 'Look at her go! Bigger on the inside! See, House? That's your problem -size of a planet but inside you are just so small!'
'Make it stop!' House screamed.
'Finish him off, old girl.' that's the last thing a part of the TARDIS had heard. It had slipped through a crack in the wall - a crack in time. She knew she was just enough particles to escape into a human body and live. Homing in on the only place she knew well enough - 76 Totter's Lane - and finding the largest event around that time. John F. Kennedy's assassination.
Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger. At that moment the TARDIS particles escaped into his sister, there with him at the time. And at that moment, the sister of Lee Harvey Oswald - the man who assassinated President John Kennedy - was splintered across time...
Clara Oswin Oswald...
The Doctor had realised all of this information very quickly.
'Clara,' he said, fast, 'you can't die by falling from a distance - nor can the TARDIS. You can't die in explosions - nor can the TARDIS. I know who you are, old girl.'
Clara grinned. 'I was wondering how long it would take you,' she said. And then the grin turned into a frown. 'It was an accident, Doctor, I swear. I never meant to escape - I slipped through the crack in time. And when I realised I could, I followed you through time and space!'
And now the cracks made sense. After all this time, it was his fault
'But that's not all you know, is it dear?' Clara added.
'The Fields of Trenzalore,' he murmured. He hadn't thought... he hadn't had a chance to think properly. 'It's in Gallifrey, isn't it? And that's where I'm due next. The fall of the Eleventh.'
Clara smiled a sad smile.
'But we can't get there?' the Doctor exclaimed. 'The TARDIS is dead.'
'I can open the Time Lock. It's a fixed point, Doctor. You must. But that's using up the last of my time energy - I've been trying not to use it up, but you kept on running. Once that's used, I can die in ways as of a human.'
A hot tear trickled down the Doctor's cheek. This is where the TARDIS took him when it all began. And where she took him when it all ended.
'Come along, old girl. Let's face our deaths, the way it should be - with you by my side. The Doctor and his TARDIS, my only faithful companion.'
'I love you...'
But this was when she partnered him. And now even that must come to an end.
Where no living being ever to live may speak falsely or fail to answer, the first question in the Universe will be asked...