“So, how many have there been?”
The Doctor sighs, devoutly glad that Mickey has gone off to find a room. His tendency to misinterpret Sarah Jane as an old girlfriend would be increasingly irritating in a conversation about all his friends. At least Rose understands that you can love someone without being in love with them. Hopefully. Actually, it’s possible that she’s fuzzy on the concept, and that’s what’s causing this trouble.
“Well? If you don’t want to answer–“
Oh, yeah, the question. The Doctor calculates in his head, running up against some problems: does he include the Brigadier? Do Katarina and Sara Kingdom count? What about K9 and Kamelion? Eventually he sorts it out: “29. I think. Roughly.”
Rose’s eyes sort of come out of her head in a vaguely disturbing manner. “ Twenty-nine!? Jeez, Mickey was right, you’re some sort of womanizer or something!”
Yup, definitely not getting it.
“They weren’t all women, actually.”
Ok, maybe not the best come back because now Rose is looking at him like he is completely mad or something. The Doctor rolls his eyes: why did humans have to bring everything back to sex?
“I wasn’t shagging them all, you know. Or any of them, actually. Or you, for that matter.”
Rose mumbles something like, “Yeah, I think I would’ve noticed…” then steels herself. “Ok, so who were they, then?”
Who were they? Only the most brilliant people in the universe, probably! Or at least, the most brilliant people he’d ever met. He considers telling her that he only takes the best, but decides against B.S. on that scale, given the majority of his companions were forced upon him, one way or another.
“My friends, that’s all. People who traveled with me, for one reason or another. To see the sights, to get away from home, to save the universe, to kill me, the usual.”
The last one causes raised eyebrows.
“He didn’t succeed, obviously! And it was all the Black Guardian’s fault, anyhow…”
Rose purses her lips. “Look, if you’re not going to make any sense…”
“No, no, I can make sense! Actually, I am making sense, you just have no idea what I’m talking about…Look, that was Turlough with the whole killing me thing–he never made much sense to me, either. But he didn’t do it, so that’s all that matters. My fifth self was very forgiving and let him stay on board, which was good because he saved Peri from drowning…”
“Peri. She was this American botany student, traveled with me for a while until she married Brian Blessed or whatever his name was…That whole bit of my life was really odd because then I picked up Mel before I’d even met her…and then she decided to take off with Glitz, so I took on Ace. Bomb happy, she was. Now she’s off saving universes on her time-traveling motor bike–“
“Time-traveling motor bike–Look, I don’t know how it works! But maybe I should start at the beginning.”
“Yeah, maybe you should.”
“It all began with Susan, my granddaughter–“
“Granddaughter, Rose, are you getting hard of hearing? Anyway, she became enamored of 20th century Earth, but then everything went pear shaped when two of her teachers from school wandered into the TARDIS one evening. They were good companions, though, once I loosened up. Barbara made a good Aztec and Ian looked a bit of alright in a toga, but then Susan fell in love with that revolutionary and so I sort of kicked her out so she could stay with him–“
“Is that one of your human insults? I’m a Time Lord , I walk in eternity–oh, wait, I’ve given that speech before. Anyhow, Vicki was a sweetheart, but she ran off with Troilus and Steven became ruler of the universe or something. I’ve never been quite clear on that point. Katarina and Sara Kingdom both died-“
“They died?! ”
“Yes, that’s what I said. And then Ben and Polly ran around with me for a while before ditching me and Jamie at Gatwick airport. Then someone stole the TARDIS and we met Victoria and semi-adopted her after the Daleks killed her father. Boy could that girl scream! She left us for the Harrises, though. Poor Jamie was broken-hearted. Then Zoe stowed away in a box or something and drove Jamie up walls by being a genius when he was still figuring out light-switches and such. Ah, those were the days–playing the bagpipes at four in the morning, getting hit over the head with frying pans by an irate Zoe, running a lot. But then the Time Lords sent them away and killed me–“
“What? Killed you? But what about–“
“–The Time War? Later, much later. Although, come to think of it, I’m not sure why I’m so worked up about them all dying. They were seriously anal and always screwing with my life. Exiling me on Earth, sending me to deal with their problems, making weird future-clones of me that tried to get me convicted in court of law, forcing me to keep running into my second self over and over–you know, they were a bunch of assholes. I’m rather glad they’re dead.”
Rose just blinks and looks at him warily.
“Anyway, I completely forgot Dodo! But she just went crazy or something. Back to the story: after killing me, they exiled me on Earth and broke the TARDIS, so I hung about with UNIT. I mostly just argued with the Brigadier a lot and knocked Benton out occasionally–he always made the weirdest faces. Liz was brilliant and looked good in short skirts and then Jo came along and ruined half my projects, but she was always good for getting out of handcuffs. Unfortunately, she fell for a hippie with a Nobel Prize and they ran off to Brazil. Then I met Sarah Jane, but some spiders killed me with radiation–“
“Look, how many times do you die in this story?”
“Nine times. Let me see…I got old, I got executed, the thing with the spiders, fell off a radio telescope–still not sure what I was doing up there, I think I might have been drunk–got poisoned by some guy in a mask, hit my head on something–that one was weird, too–got shot because I didn’t use the TARDIS scanner, Time War, and then ate the Time Vortex. I think that’s about it–I almost died a lot more times, though. And weird covens with pink robes kept trying to sacrifice me, especially in my fourth incarnation. Not sure what it was about him that attracted that kind of attention, but…”
“Could we get back to the friends part?”
“Oh, right. So, Sarah Jane, and then we picked up Harry because he didn’t believe that the TARDIS could really travel. He was good for pressing the wrong button and getting eaten by giant mutant clams–after the Zygons stole his body for a while, he decided to go back to the Navy. Then the Time Lords called me and I had to leave Sarah behind. I ran into Leela next and tried to get her to wear more than her usual leather bikini thing–“
“–not my fault she was a savage! Then I took her to Gallifrey to shake things up and she fell in love with that security guard dork who she’d talked to approximately once. However, I was insane at the time, so it might have made more sense than I remember it making. Oh and the first K9 stayed with her. I made a second K9 and then the White Guardian foisted Romanadvoratrelundar on me–“
“That was my reaction too. I called her Romana. She was very snarky and had a penchant for hideous, fuzzy coats, but then she regenerated into a woman with a sense of humor and a body she copied from this one Princess with a dorky boyfriend. She took K9 and she’s off running around E-space about now, being utterly and wonderfully superb.”
He doesn’t tell Rose that he was in love with Romana, probably.
She sort of narrows her eyes at him, so he continues.
“Then Adric stowed away, but he died. And Nyssa’s planet got eaten by entropy so she stayed on Terminus to help sick people and Tegan yelled at me a lot because I kept missing 20th century Earth. Then Turlough showed up and you know the rest. Oh, and Grace,” he concludes.
Rose blinks. “Jeez. So if you weren’t shagging them, what did you do all that time?”
“Got arrested, mostly. Plus the Daleks and Cybermen kept popping up–I could probably sue for a restraining order on them if I thought it would help. Let’s see, what else? Well, there were robot Yetis, and green warriors from Mars, really bad CSO, dinosaurs, Mike Yates–no, wait, he was a good guy, wasn’t he?–weird creatures that needed my larynx to speak, but we’ll skip over how incredibly phallic the thing looked, your mum–“
“–the Master’s rotting corpse, deranged Time Lord renegades, unicorns, John Nathan Turner, potato headed warriors, a historically inaccurate Emperor Nero, giant constipated frog-slugs, the end of the universe (multiple times), the beginning of the universe (occasionally), men in kilts, monsters that sound like a salad ingredient, falling rocks made of Styrofoam…the list goes on and on. Also, I went fishing occasionally and visited the Louvre.”
“And no shagging?” Rose seems unconvinced.
“My first self was an old man, my second had a Beatles haircut, my third was old again, my fourth was slightly mad, my fifth wore candy-striped pants, my sixth was really loud, my seventh looked like a ferret, my eighth had perpetual amnesia, and you’ve met nine and ten.”
“Oh, I see.”
And then the story rather inexplicably ends.