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Always The Doctor

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The first thing she noticed was her hands, how small they were. Her long fingers had been replaced with thin, shorter ones and it was the first indication that she'd changed into what humans would call the 'female' gender. The next indication was when she glanced down at her chest.

To get the rest over with, the Doctor pulled out a drawer that was tucked under the console and pulled out the mirror inside to look at her reflection. As her blonde hair and small button nose stared back at her, she suddenly felt vulnerable.

Back on Gallifrey and, of course, on many other planets gender hardly existed, it was just a silly construct humans seem to define themselves by. With her love for planet Earth, however, she suddenly wondered if things would carry on as normal. Would she still be listened to and taken seriously? Or would human males look down at her and just see a reasonably attractive female to stare at? Would they scoff at her talent and intelligence? The Doctor knew how mainly males treated women, how Earth was still male dominant. Maybe sexism was going to be a new evil she'd have to face.

She remembers Bill, about when they'd gone to London 1814 and Lord Sutcliffe had been racist to her. She'd seen the hurt in Bill's eyes. Would that be her now? A once mighty Timelord unable to have a civilised conversation and instead hit with derogatory comments?

The hoodie she was wearing was too big for her, but she wrapped her arms around herself and huddled inside it, suddenly tired. It just wasn't fair how much people had to fight to be accepted. Everything she'd tried to teach humans in her previous regenerations didn't seem to matter because they still found something to be cruel about. Sometimes she wondered why she bothered.

The Doctor had intended to sit and wish she was back to her previous self for the next three hundred years, but a sudden flash of light distracted her. It had come from the corner of the console room and when she looked round, she was shocked to see someone there.

A girl, youngish with short brown hair was stood smiling at her, a fond sort of smile. She took one look at The Doctor huddled in her hoodie and immediately walked over with her arms stretched out.

"Oh come here you, why do you have to be so bloody picky when you regenerate? First the chin, then the eyebrows...what is it this time?"

The Doctor didn't have a clue who this girl was, but the hug felt quite nice. So she was back to being huggy now then. "I'm a female," she mumbled into the girl's shoulder, "who are you?"

"Oh don't worry about that, timelines and stuff. Back to the matter at hand, what's wrong with being female? I thought your lot didn't do all this gender nonsense."

"We don't, but I spend most of my time on Earth don't I? It's going to be bloody difficult to save a planet if some sexist prat won't listen to me and asks me to make him coffee. I've seen females trying to partake in things before, they have to spend the first few hours trying to get men to acknowledge they're there and that they are in fact worth listening to."

The girl sighed, "it might be like that for us, but it's not going to be like that for you. Don't forget who you are just because your appearance is different! You're the Doctor for goodness sake, you've saved planets and destroyed evil and the minute you walk into a room everyone will know they've got the oncoming storm on their hands. All that bravery and wiseness, it's all still there."

The Doctor smiled at her and the uneasiness vanished immediately. Already she was taller, radiated power and began flicking switches and pressing buttons with gusto. The girl stared on with a sad sort of smile for a moment and then turned to leave.

The Doctor noticed she was going, "wait, what about you? You know me, you said so about my regenerations..." she rung her hands nervously, "am I still the Doctor to you?"

The look the girl gave her was warm and loving, and she walked over to envelop the Doctor in another hug. "Oh you silly thing, do you think I care so little for you that a new regeneration would make a difference?" The light in the Tardis was back and the girl stepped back into it, "you will always be the Doctor and I'll always believe in you."

The light started to fade and with it, the girl. In a few seconds she had gone and in her place was a small scrap of paper, left fluttering on the ground. The Doctor walked over and picked it up, a huge grin forming on her face as she read the words.

Run you clever girl, go see the stars. And don't worry about being afraid, for fear is a superpower. You've looked after me since I was a little girl and now this is me returning the favour, I love you; you've saved me and I'll always believe in the hero that you are. Go travel the universe and be The Doctor.