Kate Lee shivered at the images of the previous night. She remembered the process she had gone through to actually understand what had happened.
It wasn't long after her shift at Hayley's when she came back home to find her fiancé, Betty, dead on the floor in their bedroom. How could that have happened? It was impossible, completely and utterly impossible.
The police had told her it must've been a fire, but Kate knew it couldn't have been one. There were no traces of it. Especially in a bedroom. There was no stove, they didn't smoke, they had no candles.
Betty was the only one burned to death.
She slowly approached the casket Betty lay in. "You're still so beautiful." she said while tenderly touching her cheek through the white veil. In the corner of her eye, she noticed her mother approach.
"You're in the house of God, mum." Kate whispered. "Don't make rude comments."
"God forbid this marriage, child." her mother replied. "Gay marriage is a sin."
"God loves all." she calmly replied. "Now, please leave. You have never supported us, so why should I need your support now? Especially from you."
"Everything all right?" the Doctor asked, but in his eyes, she detected the look of 'please tell me something is up so I can escape your mother'.
"Yes. Well, no." Rose replied. "Well, yes and no."
"Yes and no on a molecular level kind of way or yes and no on a subatomic particle level kind of way?"
"Yes and no on an atomic level kind of way."
They both grinned at each other. "What are you two blabbering about?" Jackie interjected. "You sound like two idiots."
"Two idiots with big brains." the Doctor replied but then cringed at his own statement. "I'm not saying that ever again."
From the other side of the spacious room, they saw Pete enter. He placed kisses on Rose's and Jackie's cheeks, then turned to the Doctor. "I hope you're well, Doctor."
"Yes. Of course. Thank you for your hospitality." they shook hands.
"Of course. You've saved my planet, you've given me a chance for a new life. That's the least I can do." Pete shrugged. "Now, I know this is out of the blue, but we need to have an important conversation. If you'll follow me to my office?"
"I understand you are not the same Doctor?" Pete sat at his desk, gesturing to the Doctor to do the same. "Or so I've heard. Jackie tried to explain it to me, but her description was a bit..." he laughed. "And I'd like to hear it from you."
The Doctor leaned back in his seat, unbothered by the question. "Weeellll, technically speaking, I am the same man but I am not. I was shot and was about to regenerate. After healing the damage to my body with the regeneration energy, I channeled the excess energy into my hand," he wiggled his fingers. "a bio-matching receptacle, allowing me, well him, well practically the same people. In a way-"
"Is this going somewhere?" Pete asked.
"Oh yes." the Doctor nodded. "Allowing me to heal but not change appearance or personality. Shortly after this, my friend Donna, oh you would've liked her, touched this hand, causing an instantaneous two-way biological Meta-Crisis, allowing the energy to regenerate my entire missing body."
Pete pursed his lips. "So... you grew out of a hand?"
"Yes. This hand." the Doctor held it up.
"But that doesn't answer my question." he furrowed his brows. "Are you or are you not the same man?"
"The short answer is 'yes'."
"Rose doesn't seem to think that way."
"I haven't had a chance to explain it to her."
"Would you like me to?"
"No." the Doctor shook his head. "No. That would be unfair. Especially since there's plenty of time now."
"Rose, were you the one to empty my pockets?" the Doctor closed the door to Pete's office.
"Yeah." she replied. "Before sending your suit to the cleaners. I didn't want someone to get a hold of something important. I pulled everything out and stuck it on the shelf."
"And the TARDIS coral?"
"It's down in the basement. I wanted her to be in a peaceful and quiet place."
The Doctor's mouth twitched. "What?" Rose asked.
"You said 'she'."
"Yeah, well," Rose tilted her head slightly. "She is a she. Isn't she?"
"How do you know?"
"Well, I don't know. It just... feels like it." she replied. The Doctor's lips grew a grin. "What?" Rose asked again.
"Rose Tyler. You never cease to amaze me." She grinned back, her tongue sticking between her teeth. Ah, there was that smile. "Oh, by the way. I need to ask you something."
"Anything. I mean, yeah."
"I need a doctor."
"Why? Are you still sick?" Rose quickly rose her hand, placing her palm on top of his forehead. The Doctor made a face. "Sorry. It's... out of habit. With Tony and all."
"Y-yeah." the Doctor scratched the back of his neck. "Of course."
"So?" she asked.
"What?" he smiled. "Oh, yeah. Sorry. I need a doctor. But not any doctor. I need someone you completely trust. This body has been through some stuff and I need to know what I am dealing with. The anatomy seems a bit... wrong. So I need to make sure."
"Well, perfect timing." she grinned. "Fancy a trip to Cardiff?"