* I referenced "Christmas Invasion". Happy December to all!

Do You Still Burn?


Harsh light spun and danced within my head. I could see it in the corners of my eyes, feel it in the back of my skull until it curled round to the front. I thought the blaze had been extinguished, but something went wrong, terribly, horribly wrong. It, this new body, was trying to fail me. All of it was new; the burning, the eyes, the skull. These new things were mine now, and they already appeared to feel everything with startling clarity, even with blinded vision.


Just two voices, a male and a female. Blimey, why do I feel cotton in my ears? Their words were muffled, but I could just make out hints of confusion in the hesitant lexis. I think I know these voices; one was shrill while the other sounded deep. I was having trouble placing their faces, though. Ah. I'm one to talk. I haven't even seen my face yet.

The conversation was exchanged somewhere above me. They seemed so far off.

The grating, oddly comforting sound of a door hinge sifted through. Followed by the closing of a door, a new voice chimed through me. The feminine voice held such lucidity and warmth. I know this woman! Her voice sounded so clear. Her presence was defined as well, radiating with kindness and her usual compassionate concern. The two other presences were detached. I couldn't feel them as much as I felt her.

In what seemed like moments, the hard ground beneath my back slid away until I was laying on soft, worn bedding. My jacket had disappeared as well, replaced by more soft and flimsy material. Disappointing, really. I was rather fond of that jacket, or at least I used to be. Do I still like leather now?

The burning in my mind was no longer as vicious, but still resided, a trivial pang that wrapped around my temples. The twinge was ignorable, as I was still focused on her presence which had yet to leave my side. Literally. The slight dip in the mattress told me she was sitting right next to me, as if I needed further proof. Why could I feel her and not the others?

Ah, one of the other voices had returned, the shrill one, speech conversational with a touch of worry. Their talk was quick, until the shrill voice made a suggestion of something, eliciting a defensive finality in my…oh, what's the word…Oh, companion! That's what I call her. My companion. And…Now, that's strange. I've seem to forgotten my name. That's all right. Perfectly normal post regeneration.

Regeneration! That's what I had been doing. That must be why I'm like this. I was wondering why I'd passed out. Oh yes, just another regeneration…for which I cannot remember the reason. Was my companion there when I regenerated? Does she know what happened? And why has she stopped talking?

There was silence, and then I felt something round and flat press against one side of my chest, then to the other. Even though I could hear her better than the others, I still felt the cotton in my ears. I was just able to hear her mentioning my two hearts. She'd been listening for my heartbeats.

I hadn't seen myself yet, so I knew that my companion and I were both confused. I didn't know me just as much as she didn't know me. Neither of us could predict what I was going to be like, not right now, and yet she wasn't abandoning me. She was looking after me.

I wished I could open my mouth, give her my thanks. I wished I could open my eyes so that we may talk face to face. I remembered what she looked like.

This woman that I had known for a solid year had beautiful, flowing blond hair that sometimes held minute tones of brown at the roots. That wide smile that always curled excitedly upwards at the first mark of adventure would always grace her face. And she had wonderfully bright hazel eyes.

No…Not hazel…

Her eyes had been taken away from me. For a short time, those eyes had vanished, replaced by blinding gold light, but I brought them back. I forced the burning in her head to fade into my own. That's why I was like this, tucked away in bed and staving off some vile after-effects of regeneration.

I wanted to tell her that my ailment wasn't unheard of, that this sometimes happened during or after regeneration. She needn't worry. In fact, I should be worrying about her. Everything was coming back in disarrayed fragments, and her presence seemed to help.

Where is the TARDIS? Where are we now? Did we land in the correct time and place? Is it Christmas? Did Jack come with us? Did we vanquish the Daleks? Do you still burn?

No, wait, she shouldn't burn any longer. I pulled all that energy out of her, I made sure of it.

Her voice shattered my thoughts, bringing my focus straight to the present, to her. I heard her say to the other woman to leave me alone, and the shrill one produced an annoyed grumble, but relented. Then, the room lapsed into an empty silence, and I read it as their departure from the room.

…Oi! It's fantastic that your mother left the room, but what makes you think you need to leave?!

Hmm…'Fantastic'…Doesn't seem to fit my vocabulary anymore…Perhaps it'll fit the teeth. I'll need to run some tests la – Agh! I sighed a bit harshly as raw regeneration energy passed my lips and into the air, making my muscles tense up when the pang in my temples intensified. A small bump in recovery.

My body was in stasis, the only thing that could make it worse would be sleep disruption. Otherwise, the process should go as planned, if a bit extensive.

I heard her voice only once. Amongst the shouting, banging and clattering, her concerned tone outstood all the racket filtering heavily into the room and made the ache in my head dull fractionally. Just like that, her voice was gone, allowing all other noises to bombard me.

The cotton from my ears had faded hours ago and I was now able to distinguish between Jackie and Mickey, who were both shouting in terror. I heard Jackie shout something in regards to death by a Christmas tree. That must've been their assailant. Really, a Christmas tree? Not exactly the most threateni-And that would be the Christmas tree tearing through the bedroom wall… Never mind. What was a homicidal tree doing in the flat?

I heard Mickey's gasp of surprise and Jackie's shrill cry, but my companion was silent. Perhaps…the tree was after her, and Mickey and Jackie were simply in line of fire. That almost made sense. She's had more of an impact regarding cataclysmic events than her mum and idiot boyfriend. Not that they aren't important. Of course, I have to say that, or risk getting smacked by the mother. Now, when it comes to Mickey…

The Christmas tree had done its damage and was now simply whirling madly. I couldn't hear her. I only felt her presence, mucking about in the room. Why have you stopped talking? What are you looking for? Where did the tree come from? Why won't you to tell me if you're all right?

There was a shudder directly to my left. I breathed a sigh of relief when I felt my companion touching my hand, unfurling my fingers to have them wrap around familiar metal. So, that's where my sonic went. She'd kept it safe this whole time. Suddenly, her hand shot away, and I instantly felt bereft, and concerned.

The whirling of the tree grew closer to me and my companion, whose tension I could feel in waves. That's when she leaned in close to me, and the pain in my mind suddenly lifted. Consciousness was returning, and I already knew I had explaining to do. I never told her of regeneration, not in detail, at least. After I woke up, after the bloody tree had been dealt with, after I was assured of her safety, I'd have to give her an explanation. I'd have to tell-

"Help me."


Without pause, I bolted upright and aimed my sonic screwdriver at the Christmas tree to make it short circuit. And by 'short circuit', I mean 'blow up'. Destroying it was an accident, really. Keeping it intact would mean the easy work of dissecting it, but my patience immediately ran out. I wanted it gone, I wanted it away from Rose. I heard Rose's breath of relief from behind me, calming me down exponentially. Unfortunately, she'd woken me too soon. And when the headaches returned, I knew we were in trouble. The explanation may have to wait.

The regeneration was going terribly wrong. The burning in my head swelled over the rest of my body, thrumming everywhere like a third heartbeat. After collapsing on the balcony outside Jackie's home, my entire world was nothing but darkness. Nothing registered anymore in my comatose state, not Jackie, not Mickey. But somehow I could still feel Rose. However, it wasn't as intense as before. I could now only hear her as if she were mumbling. Her natural presence had even decreased in strength, but she was still there.

I must've imprinted on her, to some degree, when I regenerated. For Time Lords, it wasn't unheard of to develop an attachment to a being that you regenerated in front of. Although, it was a tad strange to become attached to a human in such a manner. Perhaps she felt a connection as well.

While unconscious, I could only understand her presence, no one else's. I heard her crying, heard the hopelessness filling her desperate voice. For the next few hours, I was listening to her give up on me.

However, if she didn't feel a connection, why would she waste her time making the idiot help her carry me back to the TARDIS? I'll admit, I didn't like simply being dumped onto the grating and left there, but even after everything the day had wrought, she was still trying to take of care of me.

For a while, the TARDIS was quiet, occasionally being broken by light conversation between Rose and Mickey. I think she mentioned something about having to go help her mum, and soon they both left the console room, the doors slamming shut behind them. Leaving me alone.

I'd heard her scream. Something just outside the door was threatening her, and I was lying there useless. My hearts jumped sharply when everything went silent again. I was lying still, but in my mind, I was going mad.

The heady scent of herbs filled my senses. The burning inside me was now dulling gently, and I was able to think more clearly. I just wasn't able to move yet, to wake up, unable to get to her. And was that…tannin I smelled? I could almost feel my synapses heating up. My nose scrunched as the scent of warm tea hit me, and I realized I was slowly waking up.

Right, then. To hell if she's decided to abandon me!

Nothing in this universe is gonna make me abandon her.