The two nurses bustled into the hospital ward, one, the younger of the two, looking around curiously at the comatose children ringed by partly opened sheets, the other, business-like led her to a bed in the middle on the left, where a young boy in pinstriped pajamas lay, limp and lifeless like all the others. They sat down on chairs at his bedside.

"Right" the older nurse started. "Before you take over supervision of this ward, I thought I ought to warn you about this one". She nodded her head towards the boy.

"Why?" The younger nurse asked?

The elder nurse picked up his chart from the end of his bed and passed it to her companion who started flicking through it. "I will answer your question, but first I would like to tell you his story." She took a deep breath and resumed speaking. "He is an orphan. It was never proved but as near as I can tell he is the son of two people who died in a car crash near here. He walked away from the accident ostensibly with no injuries." A shadow of anger clouded her features briefly. "He was allowed to walk away with a concussion. I assume he didn't have any family or friends to go to, because two days later, a construction worker was walking home over a bridge when he dropped his screwdriver over the edge. He went down to find it, and discovered this boy, lying semi-delirious under the bridge. He remembers the only thing he said was "help me sir I can't remember my name". He-"

"But his chart says his name is John Smith."

The elder nurse smiled slightly indulgently. "Well we couldn't very well put 'anonymous' on it now could we? As I was saying, he lost consciousness soon after and was brought here." She smiled slightly. "If that construction worker hadn't dropped that screwdriver at precisely that moment, he wouldn't have lived. Clearly he thought it was lucky too." She indicated to John's left hand in which he clutched a small blue screwdriver. "He bequeathed it to him and John has never let it go. Perhaps he thought it would help him recover." The smile turned bittersweet. "He's been here five years."

"I don't understand". The younger nurse started. She was still examining the chart. "Looking at this I'm surprised"… She looked up at her superior. "Is this why you wanted to warn me about him? He's alive but it seems like he should be dead."

"No Sarah" she replied. "It's true that he has almost died a few times but he has also been close to regaining consciousness. I wanted to warn you about him because he's special." She paused. "He has these dreams." She picked up a small blue notebook off his bedside table before continuing. "Sometimes he says things and we write them down. I don't really understand it but he seems to dream of this world, in which he travels the universe, through time and space with his Tardis."

"You mean the Total Artificial Respiration, Dialysis Including Sustenance module, his life support machine?"

"I assume that's where he gets it from. Although he calls it his Time And Relative Dimension In Space. And he calls himself The Doctor."

"The Doctor?" Sarah repeated incredulously. "I mean he is in a hospital, but that still seems-"

"Like he's decided to make himself get better by imagining he has the power to heal people? Possibly."

"So what did you write down?" Sarah asked eagerly. "May I look at the book?"

"Of course", the elder nurse acquiesced to her protégé and put the notebook in her hands. She started flicking through it. "'I'm the Doctor, just the Doctor'" she read. "'I love my so', wait a sonic screwdriver?"

The elder nurse shrugged. "A device that can do magical things, why not?"

"I suppose…." She continued paging through the book. "Who's Rose?"

"Well" she answered slowly. "See, here's the thing. Sometimes he shows a remarkable ability to recognize what's going on around him. He knows the names of the other patients, and responds when they arrive and when they leave… for both reasons." She paused. "Rose was, is I should say, a girl who used to be in the next bed over to him. She was here a long while. So was her dad for a brief period actually. I remember her boyfriend used to visit all the time, but I think he just got disheartened that she never responded at all to him. Mickey-that was his name. Anyway she recovered eventually and when she left, John started crying.

Sarah frowned. "Crying? But he's in a coma."

"Yes", she nodded impatiently. "Then again it's equally impossible that he could have said 'Rose Tyler…', yet he also did that."

"There are all these sciencey words that I don't understand, 'influx capacitator'? 'Reverse the neutron flow'? What does that mean?"

The elder nurse laughed. "At first we thought he was making all those up. But it turns out they actually make sense. The kid's a genius!"

"In his sleep?" Sarah remained skeptical.

"I don't need to convince you, once you take over this ward, you'll see." She sounded almost smug, content in the knowledge that soon, none of this was going to be her problem anymore.

"So he acknowledges the people around him?"

"Oh yes, there was this girl called Martha. She was so weak when she first came in, but eventually she recovered and then woke up. He didn't mention her name more than once or twice but he smiled when she returned here for a checkup a few weeks later." She stopped speaking and instead gazed into the distance sadly, clearly remembering something.

Sarah however didn't notice as she was too busy still going through the book. "Oh! Here's another name. Donna?"

The elder nurse closed her eyes briefly and when she opened them, they were filled with tears. "Donna… died." She said haltingly. "She was so-we thought- we thought she was going to recover but-". She took a breath and collected herself so she could continue normally. "We were wrong. She woke up briefly, she couldn't remember anything, who, where she was. And then she died."

"What did he do?" Sarah's voice was gentler this time, she knew she shouldn't prod at a sore spot but she wanted to know.

"It was funny. He was really excited when she came into the ward, but when she left, he didn't do anything. I-I imagined he looked sad." She gave a little self-deprecating chuckle. "Obviously I was imagining it, but I couldn't believe he wouldn't care."

Sarah looked around and noticed two empty beds to the right of John's. "I suppose you have a story about those two?"

"Ah yes." She replied. "Amy and Rory. They were lovers, in a car crash together. Rory was unconscious when the ambulance arrived but Amelia wasn't. They crashed on a rural road a good 10 miles from here. According to reports, the ambulance didn't arrive for an hour."

"You mean to say that Amy waited for an hour, with Rory unconscious, in pain for an ambulance?" Sarah couldn't believe how awful that would have been for her.

"Yes" the elder nurse affirmed in a thoughtful tone. "The girl who waited."

"What happened to them?" Sarah asked softly.

"They died." The reply was simple. "Very close to each other actually. Rory slipped away and then, an hour or so later, so did Amy. You would almost think John was heartbroken, he was crying so."

The heart monitor of the bed directly on the left let out a elongated beep.

"Oh my god!" Sarah exclaimed jumping up. "She's flatlining!"

The elder nurse remained much calmer as she followed her over to the bed and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Relax. Clara's machine is faulty."

"Faulty?" She repeated.

"Yes. See?" She picked up Clara's hand from the sheet and felt her wrist before taking Sarah's hand and placing it right over the point where a pulse still jumped under her skin. Sarah breathed out a sigh of relief. The elder nurse walked to the machine, pressed a couple of buttons and it fell silent. "I don't know why it does that", she continued as she returned to John's bed, Sarah following. "It's a bit of a mystery really."

Sarah indicated to John. "Look he's… frowning."

"Yes, he does seem to be doing that." They watched until the muscles of his face relaxed again.

"I suppose he can hear the sound. But shouldn't he be close to consciousness then?"

"That's what we thought the first few times he seemed alert like that, but no, he has never woken up. The first times he showed any awareness of what was going on, we made another concentrated effort to wake him up. We've learned by now, it doesn't work. "

Sarah picked up the notebook from where she had left it on her chair and began looking through it again. "'Then I grew a new h-' wait he-did he?" She trailed off, looking at her elder worriedly.

"Yes." She sighed sadly and leaned over John to bring his right arm out from under the blankets. The sleeve was empty. "A souvenir of the car crash" she went on. "All the bones were crushed, we couldn't save it."

Sarah nodded. She had worked here at the hospital long enough to know how these things worked.

The elder nurse tucked John's arm under the blankets again and when they sat back down, they noticed tears tracing their way down his cheeks. They glanced at each other; the one in incredulous surprise, the other is mild bemusement.

"What the-" Sarah started, only to be cut off by another loud drawn-out beep. She closed her eyes briefly. "Too much to hope that's another faulty monitor?" She glanced at her superior whose face had gone white.

"No" she replied. "That-that will be River."

Slowly they stood up and made their way to the other side of the ward from where the noise was emanating. "We've been expecting this a while. River Song came in a while ago, but she's been going backwards, her condition has always been deteriorating, never getting better."

They reached her bed, Sarah confirmed there was no pulse and pulled the sheet over her head, having to tuck in a couple of stray blonde curls. The elder nurse turned off the machine so that silence prevailed over the ward again. Silence that was soon broken.

"Excuse me?" The nurses spun around, the voice sounded like a young boy's. They hurried back across the room and came to John's bed again. He was still lying down but his eyes were open, regarding them serenely.

"He's awake." Sarah whispered. The elder nurse sunk into a chair and took John's hand.

"What is it sweetheart?" she asked tentatively.

"I've remembered something" he replied.

"What have you remembered?" She was trying to be as gentle as she could but she couldn't believe what was happening. It had been five years, he had come so close to dying and now he was awake?!

"My name" he said simply and in the next moment, his eyes had fluttered closed again. The ensuing blare of his heart monitor echoed through the hospital ward.