Of course, now I'm at Rose's on Christmas. Which is surprisingly quite nice. Sure, the turkey Jackie made is underdone---all right, it's practically raw at the center, but it looks nice. Even the ship breaking up in the atmosphere looks pretty. The comets and the falling ash are almost magical. Almost.
The regeneration went badly. I try to remember a time where my regeneration went well, and I'm having a hard time remembering. I'm going to miss my leather-coated self, though. Too short a time in that life and I rather liked being him. Still, sometimes change is necessary.
Rose is inside with her mum and they're exchanging presents or some such nonsense. Jackie had made up a scrapbook in her very Jackie-esque way, and they're having a moment. I'm bad with moments and desperately bad with emotional moments, so I've chosen to step outside, give them some room. Need a few minutes to breathe, myself.
I step out into the lot of the Powell Estates. It's quiet, now. Everyone's headed inside to have their Christmas turkey and I can only hope theirs is actually fully cooked. Presents are being played with and me, well, I'm just enjoying the quiet outside.
The ash is cold like snow, and I'm beginning to wonder if it really is snow mixed in with the Sycorax. That would be nice, a white Christmas and all that. I shrug the new coat on a bit tighter and realize it's a little loose in the shoulders, I'm probably going to have to get it tailored. 3322, fantastic year for tailoring, surprisingly enough considering the eight separate civil wars going on. I tug on my ear and try to correlate tailoring and civil war. Maybe they just needed nice suits.
There's a crunch in the snow behind me and I turn around to see myself. Which is surprising, actually. Usually when I see me, I'm some other incarnation of myself and there's some sort of otherworldly catastrophe going on. This bloke, well, he looks just like my new incarnation. It's a bit jarring, actually.
He looks me up and down and I give him a quick glance over. He's changed a bit, which is strange. His hair's shorter on the sides and sticks up in strange ways on the top while mine is longish out-of-place bangs. He's also in a blue suit with red trainers. I saw that suit in the wardrobe room a few hours ago, but I didn't think it would look good on me. I wonder what made him change.
"Hey," he says. His voice sounds a little deeper, too. He radiates a sense of sadness that I haven't seen in myself yet. Well, not really. Well, not…yet at least.
"Hi," I reply. I glance behind him, expecting Rose to bound out of wherever he's parked his TARDIS. She doesn't come; the only noise is his shoes as he steps over to where I'm standing.
"Got a bit lost," he says. "Trouble with the sub refractor coils. Spat me out in the wrong decade."
"That's a shame," I reply. I was about to replace those, actually. Now I know I can't.
"What year is it?" he asks. Now, in his place I know I'd be a bit embarrassed by asking that question. Time Lord and all that, I should know where I'm going. Well, generally. I do my best! All the same, he doesn't look embarrassed, he just looks tired. Like a man who's been at a long day of work and he just needs to finish one last thing before bedtime.
"Uhhhh…" It shouldn't be so difficult to remember, but with that year lost in my former incarnation it makes the whole 'when is it?' a little harder to remember.
"2005," I say, finally.
He nods. "Ah, yes. That was three Christmases ago for me. Sycoraxes and regenerations. And Jackie's undercooked turkey."
I laugh a little at the fact that he's remembered, but his lips just twist into a half-smirk. For a moment, I think about reaching out, trying to find his mind. The result would be catastrophic paradoxes and I know this. Still, I want to know why he seems so different. Three years has changed him drastically. Changed me drastically, and I'm not even in a new incarnation yet.
We're the same man, but not. Even as he looks up to the falling ash, he sees it with a different set of eyes. He is me, but I have yet to become him. I want to ask him about his life, but know I can't. The best meaningful conversation we can have is about the weather or local politics.
"It was just Christmas for me," he says. The way he speaks is slower than I do now, but it holds a sort of desperation for noise. I can hear that resonance in my former self's body, but this one I'm in now seems so excitable, enthusiastic, and energetic, I can't imagine it being so sad. "Different part of London, but still the same ash-for-snow."
"Maybe one day it will snow for real," I offer. It's a pathetic sort of offering, but it's noise at least. It's conversation.
My stomach makes the untimely decision to growl. A few bites of Jacki's turkey turned me off of Christmas dinner and now I'm regretting it. This body is skinny, but it apparently needs more nutrition than my former one did. I think the man next to me looks thinner than me, but it could just be the way he wears his suit or styled his hair. After all, I also think he looks older than me, but that's not possible.
Bits of ash stick on the pointy ends of his hair and he doesn't bother to move them. His eyes close and his hands slowly unball from his sides. He looks almost serene, actually. His hands spread apart to either side of him like he's welcoming the death that's falling from the sky.
It's almost bordering on creepy. Oh, great. This incarnation had such promise and now I find out I'm going to get creepy.
Still, with the right companion to temper me…
"Where's Rose?" I ask. Three years doesn't seem like a long time and Rose did just say she wanted to stick around. My hearts are still light at that knowledge.
He straightens and his eyes snap open as if I've just dumped a bucket of ice water over him. He blinks and shakes off the ash from his hair. He's startled, but trying to cover it up. Why is he startled? My mind immediately suggests the worst, but I won't really, truly know until three years have passed. At least I've got those three years with Rose. Should be enough, right?
"2005! Wrong era and decade, better head out and fix those wires, shan't I?" He grins madly at me and the fakeness there is pretty insulting. If there's someone you can't lie to, it's yourself. I wonder why he's trying.
"Not planning on sticking around and celebrating Christmas?" I ask.
He laughs and the sound is rueful. "I've had enough with Christmases, I think. Too much trouble. I still say it's the tuxedo. Trouble magnet, it is."
"I get a tuxedo?"
"Yep. When you go tailor that suit. 3322, great year for tailoring."
"That it is."
He turns quickly, less carefree spring and more purpose to his step as he heads back to wherever he's come from. It's somewhat…invigorating. Watching yourself walk away with purpose. He has a reason and he knows it. Better off than I am right now.
He stops and turns. "Do you remember when we used to not like Christmases?"
"I was just thinking about that," I reply.
"So was I." With that, he's gone and I'm alone. Both of us.
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 1,370