The new Doctor started dashing around the console, flicking switches left and right "6 PM… Tuesday…" I shook my head at him when he grinned at me "October… 5006… On the way to Barcelona." He straightened up and faced both Rose and me "Now then… How do I look like?" I was about to open my mouth but he immediately slapped a hand over it "No, no no, no no no no no no. No. Don't tell me. Let's see… two legs, two arms, two hands…" He laughed before frowning, twisting his one wrist around "Slight weakness in the dorsal tubercle…" A second later the Doctor moved on, his hand flying to his head "HAIR… I'm not bald. Oh, oh. Big hair!"
"Very big hair," I snorted, glancing at Rose out of the corner of my eye. The blonde was staring at the Time Lord with wide eyes and growing anger. Oh dear… This was going to end badly.
"Sideburns," he cheered, fingers trailing down the sides of his head "I've got sideburns. Or really bad skin."
I hummed when he tilted his head at me "Sideburns," I pointed out, studying him closely. He seemed to be the complete opposite of the former Doctor. Actually, he was more like one of those pretty boys that Rose kept dragging along. And he was younger… Still taller than me – which is still annoyingly unfair but I doubt he would ever get close to my height, no matter how often he regenerated.
The Time Lord continued inspecting himself "Little bit thinner," he remarked, slapping his stomach "That's weird. Give me time, I'll get used to it." He froze, shifting "I… have got… a mole," he breathed, sounding as though he just cured cancer "I can feel it…"
"Rose?" I questioned, looking at the shocked girl. Her breathing had turned harsher and she looked scared of the new Doctor.
Well, at least he was still as oblivious as the last one. That's for sure "Between my shoulder blades. There's a mole." The Time Lord rotated his shoulder "That's alright. Love the mole." Finally… Finally, he turned to Rose "Go on then, tell me. What do you two think?"
"Who are you?" Rose asked him quietly, petrified.
The Doctor frowned, looking confused as to why she didn't recognize him "I'm the Doctor." He glanced at me and I mouthed 'regeneration' to him. While he told me about his past and what he could do, Rose had no idea about all this. At least, I was pretty sure she had no idea.
"No… Where is he?" Rose shook her head "Where's the Doctor?" What have you done to him?"
The Time Lord blinked "You saw me. I – I changed." He jerked his thumb over his shoulder "Right in front of you. Tyra believes me, don't you, Ty?"
"It's him, Rose. He really did change," I pointed out quietly.
"How would you know?" she snapped "I saw him sort of explode and then you replaced him, like a… a teleport or a transmat or a body swap or something." The Doctor only stared at the blonde girl silently, at a loss for words. Rose took several steps toward him. As soon as she was within arm's reach, she shoved him back "You're not fooling me. I've seen all sorts of things. Nanogenes… Gelth… Slitheen…" The Time Lord raised his eyebrows "Oh, my God, are you a Slitheen?"
"I'm not a Slitheen," the Doctor replied calmly.
Rose's voice rose to a shout "Send him back. I'm warning you… Send the Doctor back right now."
I stepped forward, getting between the two "Rose. The Doctor is the only one who can pilot the Tardis, right? If you don't believe it's him then let him show you. How about that?" I glanced over my shoulder at the Time Lord "Or you tell her something… Like… Erm, how you two first met?"
"Yes," the Doctor nodded excitedly "That's it. Very first word I ever said to you. Trapped in that cellar. Surrounded by shop window dummies… oh…" He looked away for a moment, reminiscing "Such a long time ago. I took your hand… I said one word… just one word, I said. Run." Then he looked at me "And you just randomly butted in and never left. And then we ran."
"I'll take that as a compliment," I scoffed. This Doctor certainly did seem to include me more than the last. He didn't seem to be as happy to let me hide in the background… I wasn't sure whether that was a good thing.
The Doctor smirked at me for a moment before turning back to Rose who had tears in her eyes by now "Doctor?" she whispered.
"Hello," he grinned. Rose sighed exasperatedly and stumbled backward, coming to rest against one of the beams behind her. The Doctor took off around the other side of the console "And we never stopped, did we? All across the universe. Running, running, running…" He flicked a few switches on the console "One time we had to hop. Do you remember? Hopping for our lives." The Doctor started hopping up and down energetically "Yeah? All that hopping? Remember hopping for your lives? Hop? With the…" he trailed off, catching Rose's lack of reaction "No?"
Rose swallowed heavily "Can you change back?"
"Do you want me to?" the Time Lord questioned quietly.
"Yeah," the blonde nodded.
The Doctor bit his lip, looking close to tears "Oh."
I put my hand on his arm "I don't. I'm sure that I would even enjoy travelling with you if you were wearing a stick of celery."
At those last words, I winked at him, causing a beaming grin to appear on his face. It fell quickly though as he turned to Rose again "Do you want to leave?"
"Do you want me to leave?" Rose questioned in shock.
The Doctor shook his head "No. But… your choice… if you want to go home…" When the blonde didn't reply, he nodded sadly "Cancel Barcelona. Change to… London… the Powell Estate… ah… let's say the 24th of December. Consider it a Christmas present." Rose slowly edged toward the console, staying as far away from the new Doctor as possible "There," he stepped back, his arms tucked under his armpits defensively. The Tardis shuddered.
"I'm going home?"
"Up to you," the Time Lord shrugged "Back to your mum… It's all waiting. Fish and chips, sausages and mash, beans on toast… No, Christmas. Turkey! Although… having met your mother… nut loaf would be more appropriate." Rose looked down quickly, trying to hide a smile "Was that a smile?"
"No," Rose scowled, trying to drop the grin that was forming on her lips.
"That was a smile," the Doctor pointed out knowingly.
The blonde shook her head "No, it wasn't."
"Oh, come on," the Doctor rolled his eyes, slightly annoyed by the other girl now "All I did was change, I didn't…" He gagged suddenly, bending over the console.
The Tardis shuddered again and I carefully made my way over to him "Are you alright?"
"What?" Rose blinked.
"I said I didn't…" The same thing happened again, more violently. The Doctor was retching, leaning against me for a moment "Uh oh."
The blonde edged around the console again "Er… Are you alright?" A piece of time vortex escaped the Doctor's mouth and Rose jumped back "What's that?"
"Oh… the change is going a bit wrong and all," he gagged, almost falling down if I hadn't steadied him.
"Doctor," I murmured into his ear "Could you try and land the Tardis before anything else happens? I think that would be the smartest thing to do now."
A lever on the console caught his eye and he surged forward "I haven't used this one in years." The Doctor pulled it, causing us to nearly fall from the jerk the Tardis gave.
"What are you doing?" Rose demanded.
"Putting on a bit of speed," the Doctor laughed crazily "That's it." He started turning more knobs while I held onto the console for dear life. I was still a bit weakened from dying earlier and since I didn't have any blood… Well, I certainly needed to feed and fairly soon "My beautiful ship. Come on, faster. That's a girl. Faster. Wanna break the time limit?"
"Stop it," the blonde demanded angrily, glaring at the new Doctor.
The Time Lord rolled his eyes "Ah, don't be so dull… let's have a bit of fun. Let's rip through the vortex."
"Is that really your plan of action?" I frowned "It seems a bit… What's the word?"
His voice calmed for a moment "The regeneration is going wrong. I can't stop myself…" he grimaced in pain "Ah, my head." The Doctor sprung up again, voice going back to the previous crazed tone "Faster. Let's open those engines."
A bell rang and Rose shivered in fear "What's that?"
"We're going to crash land," the Time Lord proclaimed in delight.
"And that's a good thing?" I questioned, tilting my head at him "You know that it won't help anyone if you were to kill us all?"
The Doctor laughed "Too late. Out of control." He ran past me, giggling and hopping around "Oh, I love it. Hot dawg."
"You're gonna kill us," Rose breathed.
"Hold on tight. Here we go," the Doctor grinned madly "Christmas Eve…"