Regenerations by Rowan Thursday
It was the same. The very same trickle of golden light. Not the same hand- not the same body, in fact, but most assuredly not the same hand... and yet... it was the same light, the same convulsion of the cells, the same boiling tumult of the intracellular organelles as they faced the same choice... live, or die.
The offending hand balled into a fist and punched the control console hard enough to send shockwaves of fresh pain shooting up his arm, and make the engines' rhythms shift uneasily. What was the point of any of it? Years ago- how many- who could say? He was never terribly good at keeping track of it- years ago he had stood here, just here, so brave, so terribly brave. He had given his life for her- no, he had saved her life, his Rose, brought her back from the brink... and then, just as he believed all was ended, that they were *safe*... he had seen the light. The light he had known would come, but dared to hope would not. He had dared to hope he'd got away with it, that was what it amounted to.
"He will knock four times..." his voice shook with bitterness.
"You stupid old, blundering, blithering, blistering fool!" The words snapped into an angry scream, and he lashed out at the air, spinning, then almost falling. Not long now. He *had* made it back into the Tardis. He would *not* die in the street, crumpling in the snow. No... that was past.
The Ood... had... their song had... He shook his head. It was growing hard to concentrate. For a moment then... the pain was welling up again. Had he really seen the things he'd seen? Dreamed his dreams? In a moment... in a moment he would be gone, and some fresh faced bright eyed *alive* monster would be dancing round his console, flying *his* Tardis, off for new and exciting adventures. "Damn you..." he sank to the floor, feeling bile rise in his throat and choking it back. "Damn you to hell...." It feels like dying, that's what he'd told the old man. No. It felt worse.
Everyone... will.. "Miss me for a day... but then it changes, it becomes a joke. He gets told 'Oh, I liked you better the way you were..' but nobody grieves, nobody's *sorry*!" he crawled across the floor, choking. He would die on his feet- for death it was. "Nobody... the Doctor goes on, the Doctor always goes on... but, *I* don't!" He grasped the edge of the console with one shaking, numb hand. Already he was beginning to burn. He could no longer look directly at that treacherous, tell tale hand that had been the first to show the onslaught. Matter becoming energy- artron energy, breaking down, transforming genetic material into pure data, restructuring, recreating... a process which could not be controlled. There was no way to stop it, that was the problem, not once the dam was burst. Not until... a new man was born. Or reborn. Which was it? They said he was the same, underneath it all. They said he might change his clothes, but underneath it all he was always the Doctor... but now... oh, yes, this new Doctor would remember everything he had remembered... eventually, and no doubt, shaped by the same experiences, the same thoughts thought with a similar mind, he would still be 'himself'... but... but...
"Will I? I... don't... want to go." His voice cracked, and he felt tears start in his eyes. No... he would go back, he wasn't ready... all of them, he could see them one last time, he could... but his body was afire now, raging and seething, he could feel himself being torn apart, and the pain was rising, but not faster than the terrible fear.
"Neither did I." He was leaning against one of the coral pillars, arms folded, drumming long, large fingers on the sleeves of a leather jacket that had seen fire and war in its time. Head hanging slightly forward, looking at the dying man from underneath heavy brows. "I can't answer your question," he sighed, his voice soft with a compassion which belied his features. "About whether we're one man, or thirteen?"
"I did my best!" The burning man reached out to him. "I wanted to..."
"Listen to me." The man by the pillar clasped the burning man by the wrists, fearing no hurt, not any more, and stared into the burning eyes as they blazed gold in a face which twisted and shimmered into shapeless golden light. "I don't know what happens next. I don't think anybody does and maybe that's right, maybe that's how it should be. Maybe we're all still here, somewhere deep inside, or maybe we're just the one person who thinks we're many, or maybe I died and you're dying and it will really be a new man standing there in a few seconds who just thinks he's us... but whatever happened, remember them.. and remember the life you've lived. Our life- our lives- whichever it is- they're different to anybody else's in the entire universe- and your life was different to mine, will be different to his. Nobody in the universe can do what we're doing. That's the exciting thing... and you know what?"
What? He could not reply, there was nothing left to reply, not even in thought, only the tiniest flicker of awareness remained, writhing and changing and flowing and ebbing through the burning chaos. Enough to understand.
"We were both fantastic. Fantastic!"
Then came the new dawn, and eleven men- or one- rose to their feet and realised that their Tardis was on fire.
END OF TIME OVERNIGHT RATINGS
Ratings..... as reported by The Doctor Who News Page. They say it better than I could:
"10.4 million people watched the final part of The End of Time on BBC One yesterday, according to unofficial overnight figures.
The programme got a 35.5% share of the total television audience and was the second most watched programme of the day. EastEnders once more took the top place with 11.6 million, the programme benefiting from the Doctor Who inheritance. The later showing of Coronation Street on ITV1 had 9.8 million viewers while its earlier placing got 8.6 million, with Doctor Who beating the soap in the period they were head to head. Doctor Who peaked with 10.87 million watching between 7:45 and 7:50pm.
The rating makes the Tenth Doctor's regeneration the most watched regeration in the series' history.
Doctor Who was also available on BBC HD where a further 389,000 watched the episode.
On BBC Three Doctor Who Confidential had 1.1 million watching with and additional 76,000 on BBC HD, one of the highest ratings for the series and the second highest multi-channel programme for the day.
2 million viewers watched the lunchtime BBC One repeat of The End of Time Part One, where the programme comfortably won its timeslot"
They do have a host of statistical data so pop over to their news entry to check the specifics.
Source: The Doctor Who News Page