Title: Only Forwards
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: The Doctor
Spoilers: Nothing specific.
Summary: Endings are never easy and seldom welcomed.
Word Count: 371
Disclaimer: I don’t own Doctor Who, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
The end of an incarnation was always hard, no matter what regeneration brought. That was the thing about endings; you never really wanted them to happen, it was always too soon, and you were never quite ready for it all to be over.
When one incarnation ended and another began, he was always left with regrets; things he wished he’d had time to do, things he wished he’d done differently, missed opportunities that he only realised had existed when it was too late to do anything about them. There’s so much sadness in the words ‘what might have been’.
It doesn’t matter that he has a time machine, that he could, in theory, go back and accept the opportunities that he allowed to pass him by in his previous lives, because it wouldn’t be the same.
When regeneration starts, that’s it. The man he is effectively dies to be replaced by a new version. Someone who looks different, acts differently, thinks differently, and all the things that mattered so much to the previous version of himself lose their importance in the deluge of new sensations and new experiences that his new self is bombarded with.
Every time he regenerates, in the last little while before he becomes someone completely new and yet somehow still the same, he mourns for the part of himself that is dying. It’ll all still be there, somewhere buried deep inside of him, memories of another life, but it won’t be him any more. There’s never any way to get back to what was; all he can do is keep moving forward.
Maybe that’s why he never stays anywhere for very long, it would be too easy to get swallowed by the past. The only way for him to keep his head above water is to let the current carry him ever onwards, searching out new places, new people, new sights and sounds and scents to block out the old ones that he can never quite forget.
Sometimes, he wonders if it will ever end, or if he’ll just keep on going, changing his face, his body, his personality, forever. That thought scares him more than anything, so he keeps going and he never, ever looks back.