The window to Jackie’s apartment is dark. Relieved not to have to climb the stairs, the Doctor walks across the courtyard to wait. Staggers, really, although he doesn’t let himself think about that. Standing upright is difficult, so he props himself against the cold metal door, savoring the feel of snow on his face.
He’s never regenerated due to radiation poisoning before. Metebelis crystals, spectrox, bullets, his fellow Time Lords — nothing else has been quite this painful. The radiation is blighting him slowly, saturating to his marrow. Worst of all, it’s meshing with his natural regeneration energy. The combination feels like fingers of fire pushing at his cell walls, demanding release.
Containing his regeneration is more than just a struggle now, it’s a war, every atom a battlefield. He’s walking a dangerous line, suppressing the inferno without snuffing it out — if he keeps it up much longer, he’ll cross the line and abort his regeneration altogether.
He thought he had properly steeled himself for what was coming, but he was wrong. He hears her before he sees her, nattering with Jackie about New Year’s. He can’t even concentrate on the words, his body is shaking so badly. It’s regeneration energy and radiation and his hearts, thundering erratically in his ears. It’s Rose Tyler, and how every pore of the man he is now was born out of love for her.
She rounds the corner alone, huddled in her pink hoodie, a cap hiding her blond hair. He can’t even see her face, but his hearts seem to stop altogether. His concentration falters and the energy inside his body flares painfully, nearly overcoming him then and there.
Regenerating in front of Rose Tyler before she’s even met him. Time paradox wouldn’t begin to describe the levels of bad that would be.
Using every scrap of his will, the Doctor clamps down on the regeneration energy and radiation, on the pain and his failing hearts.
“You alright, mate?”
He lifts his gaze from the ground to her face. Rose Tyler was the first thing he beheld with these eyes; it seems fitting she should be the last.
(GIF by tennantscookiejar. Thank you, thank you darling!)
# The Doctor in pain makes my heart hurt # And he saved Rose for last # And all my feelings # And this might be the angstiest angst that I ever angsted # Doctor Who # Rose Tyler # Doctor/Rose # OTP to end all OTPs # The End of Time Part II # EoT # angst # ficlet # tennantscookiejar
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