Both Lilith and Rose were staring at the new Doctor with wide, disbelieving eyes; each for a different reason. Lilith hadn’t seen that face in over half a century. It brought tears to her eyes seeing the brown eyes that she had inherited in her first incarnation and his frankly amazing hair. Rose, on the other hand, was staring at him in horror as he went over to the console and set coordinates.
“Six PM... Tuesday... October... 5006... On the way to Barcelona!” He straightened up and faced Rose, grinning as if extremely pleased with himself. “Now then... what do I look like?” He held up a hand to silence them. “No, no no, no no no no no no no. No. Don't tell me. “Let's see... two legs, two arms, two hands... slight weakness in the dorsal tubercle.” His hands flew to his head. “Hair! I'm not bald!”
Rose now looked shocked. The Doctor ran his hands through his hair gleefully. “Oh, Oh! Big hair! Sideburns, I've got sideburns! Or really bad skin. Little bit thinner...” He slapped his stomach. “That's weird. Give me time, I'll get used to it.” His eyes went wide. “I... have got... a mole. I can feel it. Between my shoulder blades, there's a mole.” He rotated his shoulders “That's all right. Love the mole.”
He grinned at Rose and Lilith. “Go on then, tell me. What do you think?”
After a moment of silence, Lilith launched herself at the Doctor. “You! Stupid! Clueless! Impulsive! Moronic! Twit!” she shouted, punctuating each word with a punch to his new chest. “What were you thinking? You should’ve let me! You should’ve let me.” She fell into his arms, shaking with tears.
“I had to,” the Doctor whispered, holding her.
“Who are you?” Rose quietly asked.
The Doctor looked up at the human, crestfallen and slightly surprised. “I'm the Doctor.”
Rose shook her head, not believing him. “No. Where is he? Where's the Doctor? What have you done to him?”
“You saw me, I, I changed. Right in front of you.”
“I saw him sort of explode, and then you replaced him, like a...” Rose struggled for words, “a teleport or a transmat or a body swap or something."
The Doctor didn’t interject. He seemed lost for words. Rose took a few steps towards him. At arm’s length, she pushed him in the chest. “You're not fooling me. I've seen all sorts of things. Nanogenes, Gelth, Slitheen.” She looked at him warily and the Doctor raised his eyebrows. “Oh, my God, are you a Slitheen?”
“He’s a bit thin to be Slitheen, Tyler.” Lilith snorted, wiping away a tear.
“Rose,” the Doctor said pleadingly, “it's me. Honestly, it's me. I was dying. To save my own life I changed my body. Every single cell, but... it's still me.”
“You can't be.” Rose whispered.
The Doctor took a few steps closer to her, looking straight down into her eyes. “Then how could I remember this? Very first word I ever said to you. Trapped in that cellar. Surrounded by shop window dummies, oh, such a long time ago. I took your hand,” he gently held her hand, “I said one word... just one word, I said... ‘Run’.” Then he whispered something in her ear, something Lilith didn’t catch.
He gazed at her. Rose looked into his eyes, her own full of tears. “Doctor.” She said shakily.
The Doctor grinned and pulled her into a tight embrace. She held him just as tightly. “Hello.”
Rose sighed and stumbled backwards. Lilith put a comforting arm around her. “It’s weird, I know.” She said gently. “But everything’s going to be just fine.”
The Doctor took off around the other side of the console. “And we never stopped, did we? All across the universe. Running, running, running.” He flicked a few switches on the console. “One time we had to hop. Do you remember? Hopping for our lives.”
He hopped madly up and down on the spot. Rose had her back against the pillar and was just watching him. Lilith rolled her eyes.
“Yeah? All that hopping? Remember hopping for your life? Yeah? Hop? With the...” His wild enthusiasm ebbed from his voice at Rose's lack of reaction. He stopped hopping. “No?”
“Can you change back?” Rose asked.
“Do you want me to?”
“Oh,” the Doctor said dejectedly.
“No.” He glanced down at the floor, disappointed. “Do you want to leave?”
Rose looked shocked. “Do you want me to leave?”
“No!” he exclaimed quickly. “But your choice. If you want to go home...”
Lilith looked at her friend with worry. Rose, still looking a bit upset, shook her head. “No, I don’t. But can we go back just to visit?”
The Doctor looked visibly relieved. “Cancel Barcelona. Change to London, the Powell Estate, ah, let's say the 24th of December.” He looked up at Rose. “Consider it a Christmas present.”
Rose edged slowly closer the console. “Are you going to leave me there?”
The Doctor looked defensive. “Up to you. Back to your mum, it's all waiting. Fish and chips, sausage and mash, beans on toast, no, Christmas! Turkey! Although... having met your mother... nut loaf would be more appropriate.”
Rose looked down quickly to hide a smile.
“Was that a smile?” Lilith asked with a grin.
“No.” Rose said.
The Doctor poked her arm. “That was a smile.”
“No it wasn't.”
“You smiled,” he said teasingly.
“No I didn't.”
“Oh, come on, all I did was change, I didn't...” The Doctor suddenly gaged as the TARDIS shudders.
Lilith stepped forward. “Doctor?”
“I said I didn't...” The same thing happened again, more violently. He made a nasty retching noise. “Uh oh.”
Lilith put her hand on his arm. “Doctor, are you okay?” A cloud of golden mist issued from the Doctor's mouth.
“What's that?” Rose asked.
“Artron energy,” Lilith breathed. “Oh no.”
The Doctor groaned. “The change is going a bit wrong. I’m all—” He gagged again and fell to his knees, his face contorted.
“Look... maybe we should go back. Let's go and find Captain Jack, he'd know what to do.”
“We don’t have time, even with a time machine.” Lilith said, though distracted by trying to help the Doctor. “Rose, you might want to stay back a bit."
A lever on the console seemed to catch the Doctor’s eye. “I haven't used this one in years.” He flicked it. The TARDIS shuddered violently and all three travelers were nearly knocked to their feet.
“What're you doing?” Rose and Lilith yelled.
“Putting on a bit of speed! That's it!” the Doctor laughed, manically.
Lilith tried desperately to reverse everything the Doctor was doing, but he was too fast. Rose tried to maintain a more secure grip on the console.
“My beautiful ship!” the Doctor cried, sounding crazed. “Come on, faster! That's a girl! Faster! Wanna to break the time limit?”
“Stop it!” Rose screamed.
“Doctor, you have to stop!” Lilith shouted.
“Ah, don't be so dull, Lilithanadir! Let's have a bit of fun! Let's rip through that vortex!” He seemed to gain a bit of lucidity for a moment. “The regeneration's going wrong. I can't stop myself.” He grimaced in pain. “Ah, my head...”
Lilith stared at him. “I’ve never seen regeneration sickness this violent.”
The Doctor sprung up into standing position again, and his voice went back to being crazed. “Faster! Let's open those engines!”
A bell went off. Rose looked around, frightened. “What's that?”
“We're gonna crash land!” the Doctor declared, sounding delighted. He laughed manically.
“Well then, do something!”
“Too late! Out of control!” His voice rose hysterically. “Oh, I love it! Hot dawg!”
“You're gonna kill us!”
“Hold on tight, here we go! Christmas Eve!”
The TARDIS shuddered and shook as she picked up speed. Well, this is going to get complicated.
Lilith swore in Gallifreyan.