Title: Alone at First
Chapter 2: Baptism by Water Chapter One here
Rating: PG (nudity reference)
A thud woke him up with a start. As he opened his eyes, silence and stillness surrounded him. It was the exact opposite of what he awoke to before but just as disconcerting. Without the chaos or hum of the TARDIS the silence inside of him was deafening. As his senses adjusted a panic arose within that was a response to the silence. He felt his body seize up as the panic grew.
Before it became unbearable he bolted from the TARDIS. He didn’t even check exactly where they had landed; he was desperate to hear something other than the silence. He pulled the TARDIS doors open and in his haste tripped over her threshold and fell into soft sand.
His ears were bombarded with the roar of the ocean. He lay nose deep in the sand while he drank up the sound of the tide coming in and out. With each incoming wave his panic level decreased. After ten waves he noticed he wasn’t tingling in terror anymore. After a further five his body was calm enough where he was finally able to notice the absence of the intense pain from before. He pushed himself out of the sand and sat up with relative ease.
Judging by the type of sand and the temperature he could tell he was somewhere near the equator, but where exactly he had no idea. With his TARDIS out of commission until she was able to repair herself, he wouldn’t find out anytime soon.
Since he was stuck there for a while, he leaned against the TARDIS and watched the waves come in and go out. She still felt warm and despite being outside he could smell a subtle aroma of something burnt. He brushed his hand across the wood above his head and felt a few paint chips rain down on him. He shook them out of his hair and scooted away from the TARDIS.
It was then he noticed the burnt smell followed him. He had assumed it was his poor TARDIS but it was actually him. In all his pain and panic he never noticed that his clothes hung about him in half burnt tatters. For a moment he just sat there staring at the remnants of his clothes. Then he sprang up and started pulling at his shirt, ripping it from his body as fast as he could. His pants never stood a chance as he shoved them down to his ankles, the few patches fabric left tearing. With long strides he ran toward the ocean, leaving the remnants of his former life half buried in the sand.
The water probably warmer than he thought it would be, but it felt good on his skin. He ran into the waves as far as he could until a powerful one nearly flipped him upside down. Then he started swimming straight out, diving under any incoming wave. Eventually they got smaller again until there was barely a disturbance on the surface of the water. There he paused in his swimming to turn around and spot the TARDIS on the shore. She wouldn’t be going anywhere but he still felt protective of it.
He wasn’t sure exactly how long he floated out there, the shock and trauma of the regeneration was still playing tricks with his sense of time. But he was able to track the movement of the sun, which helped.
He tried to force himself to remain as still as possible, only moving to remain afloat. He needed to confront the sudden silence within him head on and conquer it. This far out there was no roar of the ocean to comfort him and keep him company. He closed his eyes and cast out once more for any connection to his people. He knew it would be futile but it didn’t stop him from trying at least once more. With a deep breath he focused on a mantra. I’m here. It’s me, the Doctor. Please is anyone out there? Anyone? I’m here. Please. Over and over he repeated it long after he would have gotten a response had there been anyone to respond.
Frustrated and angry, the Doctor flipped over and dived as deep as he could. He swam straight down, pushing himself further than any human could go. As he felt his lungs burn he simply turned on his bypass. That single act separated himself from everyone else on the planet, isolating him even further.
The ocean floor was in sight, the sand smooth and featureless as the shore. When he reached the bottom he tried to sit on the floor, but his buoyancy made it a struggle to remain hovering a few inches above. He used the eggbeater kick, grateful to have learned it one summer during UNIT training. Still he refused to surface, content to stay where it actually was silent and made sense for it to be. Only when he felt his bypass failing did he kick off from the floor and ascend.
He repeated the process several times, and each time he broke the surface of the water, he noticed the sun had moved further west. As much as he would have loved to, he could not continue for fear that he could lose sight of the TARDIS. When the sun touched the horizon, he guessed he had time for one more dive before it would get too dark.
Down on the bottom he kept his mind still as the water above him. He was tempted to try to reach out one last time but he knew it would be futile. So he consoled himself with the silence and the stillness of the ocean floor, wanting to never return to the surface again.
But soon after there was a voice in the back of his mind. At first he was elated because he thought someone was finally answering his call! The he realized the voice sounded too familiar to come from some distant Time Lord. His TARDIS was singing to him, happy once again now that she had finally repaired herself. He flailed along the ocean floor before launching himself towards the shore. Once he broke the surface, he swam and body surfed before running in the shallow water. He covered the remaining feet between him and his beloved ship in a desperate gallop. Despite being soaking wet and naked he pushed open the doors to the phone box and stepped inside.
Chapter 3 Here