When the Doctor regenerated this time, he was alone in the TARDIS. Amy and Rory had long since left, and he supposed he had been deliberately acting more reckless, eager to leave behind this body and the painful memories it bore. A bullet would have never hit him, much less brought him down, on his best days.

“I’ve had better,” he said in a strained voice, clinging to the console and flipping levers and switches to get himself somewhere safer. As the TARDIS landed, he forced himself upright - it was always easier somehow to regenerate while standing up. He straightened his bowtie and smiled in a sad sort of way. “It’s been fun,” he said. And then he extended his arms and exploded into golden light.

When his new body coalesced, his clothes were all hanging off of him. He put a hand to his stomach and another to his back. “Blimey, I’m thin! I’m skin and b-” And that’s when he stopped, because he realized something was wrong with his voice. It was different, of course, but there was something else…

He put a hand to his face. And then to his hair, which was…long. Really long. “I’m still not ginger!” he lamented aloud, and there was that thing with his voice again, and he just had to see. He dashed off to the wardrobe.

He was pretty sure that was a girl in the mirror looking back at him. It was a bit hard to tell, because his vision had gone all fuzzy - he would need to do something about that. Or she would, rather. The Doctor was female now. This was bad - was this bad? She didn’t know. She felt like having a sulk about it. Perhaps it was just that she wasn’t used to it. Either way, this was going to take some getting used to.

She looked pretty daft in oversized tweed and a bowtie, so she tore through the wardrobe for something that fit. Should she wear skirts or something now? No, that didn’t sound fun at all. It would impede the running thing. She found some trousers that fit, some trainers, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt. She even found a deerstalker at the bottom of an old trunk that had always been too small for her head back when she’d been male. She felt excited to finally be able to wear it, and made some noises that weren’t particularly girly noises, but who cared.

She’d been fussing about in front of the mirror for a while when she heard a startled “Oh my god!” from the console room and raced back to see what was going on.

A girl had walked into the TARDIS, and she had that look of awe upon her face that the Doctor associated with realizing it was bigger on the inside.

“I left the bloody door open, didn’t I?” the Doctor said, running over and closing it behind the girl before anyone else could see inside. “Right then, yes, bigger on the inside. This is my spaceship, the TARDIS, Time And Relative Dimension In Space. Sorry to drop this all on you, but you did sort of walk into my spaceship so you haven’t really left me with a choice.”

“Who are you?” the girl asked.

“I don’t know yet,” the Doctor said, grinning. “Certainly a bit of an emotional wreck if the past few minutes have been any indication, but I’m also bloody brilliant. Look at this hat!” She pointed to her deerstalker with a manic expression on her face. The girl was looking at her like she was mad, but there was that hint of intrigue in her expression that usually made for a good companion. The Doctor cleared her throat. “I’m the Doctor. I’m a Time Lady. Fancy a trip?”