Epilogue : A New Face
The Doctor’s eyes opened slowly.
Though he had been awake and aware for some time, he had resisted opening his eyes and simply listened to his surroundings. For the most part, beyond the tricks his own ears played on him, there was silence all around him. A faint vibration was the only suggestion that there was something other than himself in that space.
His resistance against the urge to open his eyes had one simple cause: The Doctor was afraid.
Though he didn’t realize it, the Doctor was essentially nowhere. His TARDIS, after having been in motion for almost the entirety of time itself, had stopped moving through time and space and hung unmoving in an extremely empty section of the universe. What he did realize, as soon as he had woken from the semi-coma his last regeneration had put him into, was that he didn’t know who or what he was. It was this lack of knowledge of self that frightened him.
As he took in his surroundings, blinking occasionally, the fear somewhat abated.
Simple connections between words and images came to him as he looked around the interior of his TARDIS. Circle, wall, floor, lever, button, cylinder, grey. What didn’t come to him at all were more important words like Time Lord, TARDIS, Priest of Paradox, Amy, Rory.
He sat up from his position on the floor and looked around him, trying to locate something in that place that seemed familiar. The steps and platforms, strange panels full of buttons and screens, the large console in the middle of the room with the cylinder that extended upward to the ceiling, none of these were remotely familiar to him.
“Hello?” he said timidly.
When he realized no answer was forthcoming, he rose to his feet and began walking around, keeping one hand on the railings that ran throughout the room. He shied away from the main console column at the middle of the room, and instead made his way to the double doors set into one of the walls.
Trying them, he found they were locked. Sighing, he leaned his back against them, facing the center of the room. It was then that he noticed the streaks of dried blood leading from the doors to where he had so recently awoken. Pushing off the doors, he followed the trail and knelt down. There was no blood anywhere else, just from the doors to where he had been laying. The blood had pooled there, and there was evidence of some person having been the source of the blood, including a complete bloody hand print.
The Doctor suddenly had a thought and looked down at his clothes. They were caked with dried blood, most of which appeared to have come from a hole in the chest of the both the jacket he wore and the shirt underneath it.
Panicking, he pulled his jacket and shirt off only to find his flesh unmarked. Kneeling, he put his hand over the hand print on the floor. It didn’t quite match.
“Why am I wearing a dead man’s clothes and lying in a dead man’s blood?” he asked himself.
The sound of his voice sparked another question. “Why do I have a slightly Scottish accent?”
That question sparked another. “What exactly is a Scottish accent?”
His eyebrows arched in succession as his confusion grew. He knew to say the words, but didn’t understand how he knew them.
Standing quickly from his position on the floor, he moved to another door leading out from the room and discovered it was unlocked. Moving through it, he found himself in a long hallway full of doors.
The Doctor hesitated for only a moment before opening the first door to his left. The door opened easily to reveal another long hallway of doors. Instead of entering that hallway, he opened the next door on the left hand side and discovered an identical hallway, which immediately didn’t make sense, because the distance between the two doors he had opened made it appear like the hallways they revealed were connected by the doors on their opposing walls.
To test this theory, the Doctor entered the second hallway he had revealed, and opened the first door on his left, expecting it to be the same door as the first door on the right of the first hallway he had revealed.
Instead, he found another hallway of doors.
Running back to the first hallway that he had not entered, he opened the first door on his right. Impossibly, there was another long hallway of doors behind it.
The Doctor’s two hearts began to beat a little faster.
Continuing down the hall he was in, he began to open random doors. Behind all of them, he only found more identical hallways. He ran down the long hallway he had entered for a long while before realizing that it went on seemingly forever, with no perpendicular door at its end. Turning back, he was shocked to find that the door he had entered from was no longer visible either.
His fear rising, he ran in the opposite direction he had been running, and as he ran his concern grew. Doors he knew he had opened were closed, and the door he should be eventually running into never appeared.
The hallway went on infinitely in both directions.
Now in full panic, the Doctor began opening random doors and running down random hallways, over and over and over again. He lost track of time in the maze, and after forty-five minutes of the same fruitless exploration, he lost his composure.
“What is this? Why am I here?” he shouted to the empty halls. His voice echoed, and the echoes echoed.
“Who am I?” he cried, barreling through another door.
“Who?” he said again, moving into another hallway.
His rage grew and he grew violent, shouldering through each consecutive door. Slamming his fist against the wall of each new hallway.
“I just want a mirror! Please!” he bellowed.
The next door, he kicked open, revealing what appeared to be a dressing room.
Stopping, he blew out air between his lips. Disbelief crumpled his face. “Seriously?”
Sure enough, just as he had asked for, on one wall of the dressing room, a floor to ceiling mirror was mounted.
Cautiously, the Doctor strode up to it, taking in what and who he was.
The face that looked back wasn’t familiar. The clothes he wore weren’t familiar.
“A bit old,” he said, bringing a slightly wrinkled hand to a gaunt and slightly wrinkled face. His silver-white hair was short, but had some wave to it. His eyes were somewhere between pale blue and sea green depending on how he turned his head.
Angling his chin down to his neck, he frowned. “Eh, weak chin. I look like a tortoise. And that forehead.”
The room was littered with various articles of clothing, some on racks, some piled on the floor. He picked up a ridiculously long scarf of multiple colors and tossed it aside in disgust.
“Who does all this belong to?” he asked himself. “Is this mine?”
Picking up another object, his mind told him it was a cricket bat, but his memory was unable to identify exactly what a cricket bat was.
After a few moments, the Doctor had found a simple white shirt and black pants that he changed out with the blood-caked ones he had woken up in.
He looked at himself once more in the mirror, and, following an intense urge that he couldn’t explain, he grabbed the ridiculously long scarf and wrapped it haphazardly around his neck.
“Ach, good heavens, no, no, no,” he expelled, quickly taking it off and tossing it back into one of the piles.
Turning from the mirror, he returned to hallway he had entered from.
“I want to go back where I woke up today,” he said confidently, approaching a door opposite the one leading to the dressing room.
Taking a deep breath, he opened it, revealing the TARDIS control room.
A smile played on his face, and he then strode confidently through the door, closing it behind him.
“You know, that’s not how it happened,” one of them said, watching the Doctor on the screen walk into the TARDIS control room.
“You chose the scarf?” another asked.
“No, I mean I didn’t regenerate like that,” the first explained. “I mean, I was the Doctor he was before, but I was someone different next before the me I am.”
“Well, I was neither,” the other replied. “But I do remember that scarf.”
A third Doctor pressed in between them to view the screen. She exclaimed happily, “Oh, I remember him! I was just him!”
“Yes, but were you me?” the first of them asked the third.
“I think so,” she replied. “I’m mean, I wasn’t ever this you that you are now, but I was that you that was him before he became this, yes.”
“So are you a twelve?” the second asked the female Doctor.
“Fourteenth, I think?” she replied. “I had the scruffy one, so it’s a bit confusing.”
The other two Doctors nodded knowingly.
The first one, the one with the large forehead and brow, and the floppy hair, then said, “Well, I feel sorry for this one. He’s completely amnesiac.”
The second, the one with the googly eyes and big smile, informed the other two, “You know, I forgot who I was once.”
“Alright, you three,” a stern voice commanded. “Shut that off. You risk them discovering we’ve got a connection to this one.” This was another Doctor, the one that most of the Doctors trapped in that place remembered being first. “We can observe him another time, once we have a better idea of how we might prevent him from ending up like the rest of us.”
“This one’s going to have a rough time,” the female Doctor said. “He doesn’t remember anything.”
“That may work to our advantage,” the stern one reasoned, touching a finger to his chin and tapping it for a few seconds. “Regardless, this requires further discussion. Come now, let’s return to the rest of us. I understand one of us still has been discovered hoarding a supply of jelly babies and they’re likely to run out before long as the others find out.”
The other three cheered at the revelation. It had been so long since any of them had tasted a jelly baby. Reluctantly, the floppy haired Doctor took a final look at the Doctor on the screen, who was approaching his own TARDIS console.
“Good luck, Doctor,” he said sadly. Switching off the console, he turned and joined the other three Doctors as they moved back into the common room.
Soon, all four had melted into a veritable sea of billions and billions of other Doctors.