“Of course,” she heard him mutter, staring at his hands, the backs of which had started to shimmer gold. “Wearing a bit thin, are we?” he raised his head, giving her a weary smile “I suppose I should have expected this.”
She nodded, smiling even if her heart wasn’t in it. She knew what was coming. They both did. And even after all these times, it still hurt to watch him do this.
The Doctor chuckled “I suppose it always had to end this way…still, I wish I had met you in this life, my dear. Met you properly.” He didn’t move to step towards her, but his eyes were soft, and he was smiling “You really are quite extraordinary.”
Her cheeks caught fire in an instant, her heart pounding faster as she ducked her head for a second to hide it. A long curtain of dark red hair fell in front of her face, hiding most of her expression from sight. Even after…everything, he still thought of her as extraordinary.
After learning what she was, and why she was born, he still called her extraordinary. She wasn’t, but there was no argument she could make that would make him see otherwise. Her Doctor was too stubborn for that.
And now he was dying again; his bodies never lasted, but this time it was different, because he had met his future regenerations. She had only just gained his full trust, and he was going to forget all about what she did to keep him alive.
“I don’t know how you can say that,” she didn’t quite know what she was, but she knew she would, someday. “I’m not-I might be powerful, but I’m not extraordinary. I’m no Doctor.”
The Doctor chuckled “And yet it was you that reminded me what it meant to be a doctor in the end,” he said, and she swallowed, trying to smile at him. He was dying, and she could feel that this version of her wouldn’t last long, either. “You reminded me of my promise, and you saved our home. All of you.”
Our home. She liked the sound of that. She’d left Gallifrey before she graduated, but she was still a Time Lady. And she hadn’t been the only one saving their home-the Doctor had worked with her to do it.
“It wasn’t just me,” she replied, smiling more sadly now, feeling her power beginning to drain away again. She was going to wake, and this time, she wouldn’t be able to come back; she could feel it. “You had a big hand in this, you know. My Doctor,” she stepped forward, heedless of the regeneration energy coming off of his hands and face.
Both of them knew it couldn’t hurt her, so even though he took a reflexive step back, she kept walking forward. She felt herself start to fade and fought it, struggling to stay here, to stay with him until he regenerated.
Switching to the language (of a sort) she shared with the TARDIS, she tried to impress on the ship that she needed to stay, at least until the Doctor regenerated. It was communication entirely in images and feelings, but it was much easier than communicating with words.
The TARDIS hummed sadly, impressing an image of the swirling Vortex and an odd, shifting-changing feeling she’d come to interpret as the TARDIS’s interpretation of fickle. The feeling of heat surrounded her briefly, and then vanished, and she felt Time slow around them.
She had what time she could, then, before this body faded, like all the others. Hopefully it would be enough.
The Doctor tried to stop her “You shouldn’t. We don’t know when it will start to hurt.”
“You don’t,” she corrected, reaching up to touch his flaming-hot cheek through the energy, which spread around her arm and hand with a pleasant, soft warmth. “I do. You won’t hurt me, Doctor. Not like this.”
The Doctor staggered, gasping “Won’t be long now,” he said, wincing as his hands started to turn to fire “You should-stand back…” he coughed “I hope the ears are less conspicuous this time.”
Bowing her head slightly, she smiled, knowing that wasn’t the case, and took a step back from the Doctor, never taking her eyes off him. He managed a yell as the energy enveloped him, throwing back his chest as his body caught fire beneath his clothes, a blast of energy washing through and around her, deflected quite easily by the energy she possessed. Light caught his face, pulling and tearing and changing until an entirely new, taller man stood before her.