"Jim, you can't be serious."
The Doctor stared at the reels of tape in his hands. Yards of brown shiny magnetized plastic coiled sleeping around four spindles in hard clear housing: a body electric of poetry, pressed into tape skin.
He couldn't just take them.
"I mean it, Doc." The young man dressed in jeans, a plain white button-down, and black boots leaned forward in the lime green overstuffed chair and gazed at the Doctor intently. "I'm not sober as much these days. Anything could happen to me. I...I don't know much longer I'll be around."
The Doctor felt his hearts curl up inside themselves and ache. Jim had no idea just how right he was.
But still. Not his tapes.
"Jim, you don't know what you're saying. These are your only recordings of your poetry. Besides, anything could happen to me and --"
Jim bolted up out of his chair. His shoulder-length halo of curly brown hair bounced around his face as he strode toward the Doctor. He stopped just inches in front of the bowtied Time Lord, locking his bright cerulean eyes with the Doctor's warm olivine eyes in a deep, burning stare.
The Doctor did not move, could not move. He knew better than to even try.
"Doc," Jim ground his words out slowly, painfully. "I do know what I am saying. You have a much better chance of living to see next year than I do. Don't think I don't know where I'm headed. I already smell scorched earth and feel flames closing in on my future."
The Doctor swallowed, hard. "Jim," he croaked out. "How do you --"
"Do the math, Doc," Jim said, laughing bitterly. "I'm twenty-seven years old with the constitution of a sixty year-old. I cough up blood every day, and I feel like shit. I'm writing every fucking chance I get when I'm sober, but sometimes my mind feels like a goddamned dull hammer. I can't go back to America yet because there's a motherfucking jail cell hungry for me and an incensed sheep-minded public screaming for my metaphorical blood. And Pam's smack habit is getting worse by the day."
Jim leaned in closer until their noses almost touched. "I may not be a Time Lord, but I can sure as hell figure things out."
The Doctor felt his jaw tighten. He glared at Jim. "But you don't know what is in my future. An empty grave crying for my body and blood. A hungry maw hiding under dirt, waiting to consume me...I the host and wine, its wretched communion. And I can't escape it no matter what."
Jim's eyes widened. "But you're a Time Lord. You cheat death."
"No one here gets out alive, Jim. Not even Time Lords," the Doctor breathed. "I'm the last of the Time Lords and on my last regeneration. I know my end." He paused. "Just as sure as you know yours."
Jim sucked in a deep breath and regarded the Time Lord in front of him. Buried behind the floppy golden brown hair, the vibrant green eyes, the childlike countenance, was...an old, tired man in a young body.
Just like him.
"Doctor." Jim's voice was thin, weak, and barely above a whisper. "For the love of God, please. I don't know who else to trust. Just...take the tapes."
The Doctor paused. His throat dammed up with a planet-sized lump. He shut his eyes and saw himself walk into the TARDIS with the tapes, and history rewriting itself in the wake of his own boot prints.
"Jim, please. I can't take them. I would gladly accept anything else from you. But these are yours: your voice, your words, your ideas. If something happened to me, to my TARDIS...they will be lost forever. And I don't think you can bear the thought of that."
Jim cast his eyes down and nodded sadly, acquiescing to the Time Lord's wisdom. He glanced back up at the Doctor.
"Doc, just do one thing for me," he said as he clasped his pale, slender hand on the Doctor's brown tweed shoulder.
"Don't forget me."
Jim closed the last remaining inch of distance between them, leaning in and touching his lips to the Doctor's. Something inside the Doctor unwound itself and melted: he allowed the younger man to slide one hand around the back of his neck, wrap the other arm around his back, and pull him close. The Doctor parted his lips and allowed Jim to slide in his tongue; he slid his arms around Jim and let the world around them disappear, eclipsed from his sight by this man -- the first human he'd allowed to undo him since...Rose Tyler. Or River Song.
As they kissed, neither the Doctor nor Jim Morrison heard the two pairs of footsteps that approached. But he did hear the high-pitched shriek and crinkle of brown paper just before a heavy bag of groceries fell onto the carpet with a loud THUD.
The two men broke away and whirled around just in time to see Pam Courson and Clara Oswald staring at them wide-eyed in disbelief.