Little Susan Smith was close to perfect. Intelligent like no one else, adventurous, imaginative, a beauty in the blue dresses she always wore, she was the darling to her older brother John's eye. The only thing that wasn't perfect about her was her health. Not that anyone realized that until it was too late.

It was a normal day, their parents, Ian and Barbara, leaving to go on one of their trips. John was left to take care of Susan. He could handle it, he was a mature young man now.

He did handle it quite admirably, until Susan's heart gave out with no warning in the middle of the night.

John felt as though he lost his heart as well when she died. It was all his fault. If he checked up on her more. If he was smarter. If he paid more attention. If he was a doctor. A doctor would not have let Susan die.

And so, when John Smith was faced with this tragedy, he fell into a deep coma and became his own doctor.

John Smith was now everything he wanted to be. He was not only a doctor, but he was the Doctor. Older, wiser, smarter, more adventurous, he flew into the stars with his family by his side. And now, everyone looked to him for the way to go, and he knew exactly what to do.

Yet somehow, even then it hurt to have his family around him, even if John wasn't John and they were no longer his family. So they left. And new people came to join him, to fill the void. But they still all left him eventually.

There were times when Ian and Barbara and other medical doctors nearly woke John up completely. Just bordering full consciousness, so close to waking once more. But then John would remember what waking had in store for him, what it did to Susan, and he would panic and sink back into his dreams. But every time after that happens, he would come back a different man. Changing completely.

Years passed this way. John smith lies still in a hospital bed, while inside his own mind, he runs free, no longer trapped by families or grief. The Doctor changed and grew, gaining new stories and friends and enemies, and never looking back.

There came a day, years after Ian and Barbara Smith lost both their children, when the Doctor realized it was pointless. This form was old and crotchety, and he found little happiness or escape in these dreams. Towards the end of this dream, he found his travel companion of the time, Ace, confronted with her past. She could not escape what she had done years ago. And the Doctor suddenly found himself confronted with what John had done years ago. John had let Susan die.

The shock and sudden anger of reality haunting his perfect dream world caused him to wake.

He remained in reality for several more years. Normal dreams abounded, with no thoughts of the Doctor.

He appeared only once, this one a long-haired man, with a companion named Grace. Seeing the Doctor again nearly blindsided John. He didn't even know who he was for a while. This dream lasted only one night, and was mostly forgotten by morning. Mostly.

How could you forget your one escape? The one who helped you run away, who was a better you than you were?

He dreamed about the Doctor again. An old angry man, and a Great War. The war haunted John, even after wakening. And so did the two young brown-haired men in it.

The dream scared John. It showed the Doctor's world was not as perfect and safe as he had thought. It also showed how easily John could slip back into his old ways, and become another man. Become the Doctor once more.

John got more and more fed up with reality with each passing year. Never talking to his mother, the only parent still living. Taking flowers to Susan's grave every year on the anniversary, the twenty-third of November. Stopping past his father's grave. It seemed to him as if everywhere he turned, sorrow and pain were there. He wanted an escape.

And when he next dreamed of the Doctor, a big-eared tough guy with a beautiful blonde companion, he sunk back into their world eagerly.

John stayed as he changed again and again and again. He stayed as the Doctor found happiness and hope and life, and sorrow and destruction and death. Whatever the Doctor lost, it was easier to face than reality.

John grew older and older on the small hospital bed. His mother died and he never knew. He was no longer John Smith, he was the Doctor.

After seeing two more Doctors leave, John was now a floppy-haired young man. And he stayed with him for years. After the Doctor lost the couple he loved, after he nearly died, after he sent away his impossible girl. He stayed. The Doctor grew older and older, now close to resembling what John now looked like in the real world, a weathered old man. And yet he stayed.

The end was coming near. The end of the Doctor, which would signal the end of John Smith.

In his dreams the Daleks were coming, and one of the Doctors hearts started to beat irregularly.

In reality, John was approaching his own heart failure.

The Doctor's first heart gave out while the Daleks tore apart Christmas.

John's own heart started to slow while alarmed nurses began to crowd him, to save the old man whose life was spent in a hospital bed, and in the stars.

The Doctor felt as his organs began to fail him and his one remaining heart slowed.

Nurses started to pump at John's chest.

Both John and the Doctor saw a golden light come. They both smiled.

John was soon buried next to Susan and his parents in a quiet cemetery outside of London. He spent his life in fantasies away from his family, and now he was able to show them the stars. Now he was happy to be John Smith, even if he was once the Doctor.

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