He heard their screams at night, when he closed his eyes. Sometimes he saw rows and rows of their faces, millions of faces of all the species he hadn't been able to save over the last nine hundred years. Twenty thousand ancient Romans was a small fraction of the souls he felt he carried with him. Possible, he knew, but more likely that the TARDIS held them.
Donna would know soon, would understand, when the the feeling of having a new companion faded, when the tingle from the TARDIS down his body to his toes dissipated, she'd realise. When the screams made themselves heard and he, in his sleep, screamed with them.
She'd chosen a room next to his, like most of his companions had. He had moved rooms more than thrice, to be away from those memories, and the TARDIS gave him respite from remembering. His room moved around like all the others, even disappeared from time to time (which, in his current incarnation, amused him more than it annoyed) but never led him back to the rooms Rose, or Martha, had once inhabited. Only once in a blue moon (or occasionally a red one, depending on the planet) did he come across Sarah Jane's room, Ace's, or one of the others. He was sure those rooms rarely existed outside of the memory of the machine.
Jack's room had been erased, he'd made sure of it, had blinked it out of existence. He couldn't deal with the ideal of Jack now, and neither could the TARDIS.
That was the past, and while that was all relative to a Time Lord, he could just lie on his little sofa, hands linked behind his head, legs stretched out. Donna was the future (again, relative) and she was going to be fun and infuriating, but that's how he liked it. And they had saved a family, that was something. His coat and suit jacket were slung over a chair, his trainers underneath the sofa, and he thought maybe he could doze while Donna ran wild around the TARDIS and got lost.
Except there was a knock on the heavy wooden door the moment he closed his eyes, and then a creak and a flush red face, framed by bright red hair he was unaccustomed to, was smiling at him.
"This place is brilliant!" Donna said, "I'm making a cup of tea, you want one?"
"I'd love one," he said, smiling. She disappeared again and he settled into the sofa cushions, closing his eyes.
"Well come on, I'm not serving you hand and foot!"
The Doctor laughed and jumped up, his footsteps silent in socked feet.
"I didn't expect it to be all oak doors like this," she said, pushing one open. "Where's the kitchen gone?" The Doctor laughed. "It was here a minute ago."
"The TARDIS is playing a trick on you," The Doctor said smirking, pushing his hands into his pockets.
"Playing a trick?" she asked, hands on hips, eyebrow raised.
"Are you going to repeat everything I say?" She didn't answer. "The rooms move, the TARDIS moves them when she feels like it," he smiled further at her annoyed face, "it won't have gone far."
"I can't believe this," Donna said, opening the next door, heaving the heavy oak, "and why can't it be like films, all metal automatic doors."
"The oak is for me," he told her, pulling open another door, "ah, here it is." She looked into the room.
"It's a different kitchen."
"No, just looks different," he said, pulling her inside, "Put the kettle on." He plopped down into a chair, propping his feet onto the table. Donna went about making tea for them both, it did just look different, the kettle was still filled from before, mugs still sitting on the counter.
"What is it about the oak?" she asked, pulling open cupboards, looking for tea bags.
"I like oak, matches my suit," he said with a smile.
“It hasn't always been oak doors then?
"No, it varies, there were metal doors, looked a bit like a bad sci-fi film once. We had bead curtains once too, when it was so hot we couldn't breathe. TARDIS was broken, couldn't control the temperature."
"But it could change the doors?"
"Amazing I know."
"And the rooms move around?"
"Yep, and disappear, depending on how she's feeling. There's a kitchen with a pizza oven somewhere."
"Crazy," she said with a huge smile, and set two mugs of tea down on the table, "No sugar, don't know how I know that though."
"The amazing capabilities of the TARDIS."
They sat at the table sipping hot tea in silence for a few minutes.
"You were right you know," he said, after a little while, wondering if there were biscuits in this kitchen. Or maybe some crisps.
"I know," she said, "about what?"
"The family, they were just there, I should never have just left them."
"No," she smiled, " but you made the right decision in the end."
"Thanks to you."
"You're welcome." The Doctor sighed.
"People die though,” he added.
"It doesn't have to be everyone, all the time," she told him, "it doesn't have to be like that."
"You'll see more people die," it was a whisper, because part of him didn't want her to hear him try and scare her off. He didn't want to lose another companion to his God-complex.
"Not if I can help it."
"I'll get you a blindfold then."
"I said no funny business."
He laughed at that, the tension breaking again.
"So what else has this TARDIS got then? Cinema? Bowling alley?"
"No, not that I've come across, but! I do know a great planet with a game like bowling." He jumped to his feet. "Coming?"
"Then let's go." He downed the rest of his tea and they left the kitchen. "You're not allergic to ferrets are you?" he asked as he went to retrieve his trainers.
"They're a bit like ferrets, definitely long and furry. More legs..."
"I thought we were going ten pin bowling?"