David sat on the floor, his stubby little legs splayed out in front of him, as he watched the telly. It was absolutely his favorite show, the one with the brave Doctor and his faithful companions flying through space and time, battling monsters and ruining the plans of evil humans and aliens. He especially loved the monsters. His friends were always scared of them and hid behind the sofa to watch, but he was fascinated with them and stayed right there on the floor through the whole programme.
As soon as the closing theme started to play, he jumped up and ran over to his Da, who always watched with him, begging him to get up and play. "You're the Doctor and I wanna fight aliens with you!"
Da smiled fondly at his little boy. "And what monsters do you see on the scanner?"
"Ma's a Zygon!"
"Oh, no! Well, we better investigate. But Ma's not back from the store yet."
"We can make a trap for her."
"We could! Let’s fly to the kitchen, to the time when she gets here!" Rising from his chair, he bent down and swept his son up onto his shoulders, and spun around, David whooping with laughter. He ran around the room until the boy could barely breathe, then, dashing to the kitchen, swung him down and deposited him back on the floor.
David giggled until he was finally able to catch his breath. "Da?"
"I wanna go with the Doctor. Can I meet him?"
"Well, David, he's just a person on the telly."
"Yah. So you can take me there?"
Da knelt down in front of his son. "No, I can't take you to meet the Doctor. You see, he's not really the Doctor. He's a man pretending to be the Doctor. He's called an actor, and his name is really Jon Pertwee."
David was crestfallen. "He's not the Doctor? Why does he pretend?"
"It's because he wants to tell a story to you. All of them on the telly are actors, and they're pretending to be other people to tell you a story. Do you like the stories they tell?"
David brightened. "Yah!"
"See? That's why they pretend. To make you and everyone happy."
David's face broke into a brilliant smile. "Then that's what I want to do, too! I want to tell people stories! I want to be an ac-tor!"
. _ . _ . _ . _ .
He'd been looking forward to this weekend, the first he'd been out of Cardiff in a while. Just today, he'd finished filming the first of the four specials for this year of Doctor Who, and now he would be spending the weekend with a friend he hadn’t seen in a while. He'd have to go to some family party or somesuch with him on Saturday, but other than that, they'd just be hanging out - something he hadn’t had the luxury to do in a quite a while. A tinge of apprehension made him swallow nervously. The jacket he was wearing was fine for the party, but the Star Wars t-shirt and faded jeans wouldn't do. He hoped he had remembered to pack a nice shirt and trousers; he’d hate to have spend Saturday morning shopping.
The quiet of the long drive gave him time to think more about his recent career decisions. He'd decided to give up the role of the Doctor while he was still enjoying playing it, rather than waiting until it got dull or people wanted him to leave, but, as filming began on his final episodes, he’d begun to wonder if he'd made the right decision. The show's popularity was at an all-time high, and that's always a great boost to a career. But he wanted to do other things, things that the long, high-pressure television shooting schedule made impossible. For example, he was going to play Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Company, which was something he'd always wanted to do, as well as a return to the stage, his first love. He wouldn't have been able to do that if he was still involved with Doctor Who. Still, he was leaving the role he'd dreamed of since he was a kid. He was convinced he was making the right decision, but there was always that tiny voice in his mind screaming, "Are you mental? You want to be the Doctor!"
There were other benefits to leaving the show. He wouldn't have to spend a major part of his time in Cardiff, which meant he could be in London, where Georgia lived. He had only met her last year, when she played the Doctor's daughter, Jenny, but they'd hit it off very well. Living over half of the year in Cardiff, he hadn’t tried to start anything with her, as a relationship would be neither easy or nor fair to her, but returning to London gave him the opportunity to consider a move in that direction.
As the car came around a wide turn, David noticed the tail lights of the cars ahead were arranged in a strange pattern, but the downpour made it difficult to make it out. Then he saw the problem: there was a pile-up in front of him and none of the vehicles were moving. As he slammed on his brakes, he realized that his brief moment of hesitation was going to cost him, and he spun the wheel in a futile effort to avoid the truck in front of him and reflexively braced himself as the car skidded on the water. But, before the impact, his car jerked to a sudden stop and he was thrown into the airbag blossoming in front of him. Confusion and incredulity flooded his mind before everything turned black.