I did not finish my finish-a-thon story. But if not for the finish-a-thon, I wouldn't even have started it, so I think I am still ahead. And I did start it, so, as per the rules of the finish-a-thon, I am posting a (thousand-word) portion of what I did write. Since it so happens that the first scene is just over a thousand words, the first scene is what you are getting.
I don't know what the title of the story is, yet.
I don't know what the title of the story is, yet.
Jo heard it before she saw it. The sound, so familiar, yet so tantalizingly unrecognisable. It wasn't a dying elephant, or a steam engine, or an explosion, but it was like all of these. She knew she should know what it was, but she couldn't quite remember. But it was enough to get her running out the door, running towards the sound, afraid and excited at once.
The outline in blue, fading into existence, was enough to make the last connection. It was the TARDIS!
The door opened, and a white-haired man staggered out, clutching his chest. A cloud of smoke poured out behind him.
"Doctor?" Jo said, reaching out for him. It wasn't the Doctor. Not the Doctor she knew.
His eyes widened with recognition. "Miss Grant," he said. "How ironic." His legs gave way under him, and she grabbed him before he fell, easing him to the ground.
"Doctor!" she said. He might not be the Doctor she knew, but she'd already met other versions of the Doctor who looked completely different from each other. This must be yet another one. "What's wrong?"
He grimaced with pain, teeth clenching over the syllables, "Dy... ing." He shut his eyes.
"No!" Jo said.
"You..." he gasped, "fool... ish..." And he stopped breathing.
"No! Doctor!" Jo said. "You can't die!" She tilted his head back, preparing to perform CPR, when he started to glow. His head and arms erupted with light, and she fell back in the dirt. He was a living fire, and if she wasn't careful, she would get burned. In the midst of the golden light, she saw his features melting, changing. His arms were flung wide, and his mouth was open in a silent scream. Oh, she thought. This is how he changes his appearance. It looks painful.
The glow faded. The person who lay before her on the ground was much younger; white hair changed to brown, lines smoothed away. If she hadn't known better, she would have thought him younger than her. Not just a younger version of himself, but a completely different person; thin rather than stocky, a softer, rounder face, and eyes so dark - he was looking at her!
"Hello," he said. "Who are you?"
"It's Jo, Doctor," she said.
"Doctor? I don't need a doctor!" He leapt to his feet. "I feel fine!" He tapped his chest. "Both hearts in perfect working order." He frowned down at her, and offered her his hand. "Except that I don't know who you are." He pulled her to her feet. His frown deepened. "Or who I am, for that matter."
"You don't remember you're the Doctor?"
"I'm the Doctor?" he said. "Doctor who?"
"You never said," Jo said. "Well, you called yourself John Smith, but I don't think that was your real name."
"John Smith?" he said. "Not very me, I don't think."
"But you must remember," Jo said. "Me, the Brigadier, working for UNIT?"
He winced, then shook his head. He stared at her, his brown eyes going almost black. "Tell me what happened."
"You came out of the TARDIS-"
"TARDIS?" He whirled around to face the tall blue box. The double doors had closed. He reached out a hand to touch the worn wood. "Ow!" He drew his hand back, wringing it as if stung. "Behave yourself, you daft machine."
Jo frowned. "Oh you're just teasing me," she said. "You recognise the TARDIS, of course you know who you are."
He whirled back and glared at her. "I am not bloody teasing!" His eyes locked with hers. "Tell me what happened!"
"You came out of the TARDIS," Jo said. "An older you with a different face. You said you were dying, you fell, you stopped breathing, and then you started glowing, and you changed."
"Regenerated," he said with a frown. "That might explain it; regeneration amnesia. The synapses are are all shook up. But that doesn't explain..."
He turned to stare at the TARDIS, frowning. He gestured to Jo. "My dear, would you mind opening the TARDIS doors for me?"
Jo laughed. "You think she's still cross at you?" She didn't wait for an answer, but stepped up to the TARDIS and pushed the double doors open. A billow of smoke came out. Jo coughed and waved the smoke away.
He stepped up behind her and peered inside. "Oh no."
"It's a mess, isn't it?" she said. "Still, I'm sure you can fix her up."
"That isn't the worst of it," he said. "I regenerated near a badly damaged TARDIS. I regenerated right next to a damaged TARDIS!"
She looked up at his face. "That's bad, isn't it?"
He clutched his hair. "Bad? You have no idea how bad it is! Time Lords and TARDISes are linked together. If I can't fix the TARDIS within the next fifteen hours-"
"Regeneration window. The time of maximum healing energy. Without that, it could takes weeks, even months, for me to recover my memory. If I recover it at all."
"Oh dear," Jo said. "Well, at least you remember that you're a Time Lord. Imagine if you thought you were human!"
"I am-" he began, then muttered, "I am not Yana."
"What?" Jo said.
"What, what?" he said. "How do you know I'm this Doctor?"
"Well, you're a Time Lord, this is his TARDIS, and you recognised me."
"You did," she said with a smile. "You called me Miss Grant."
"And your first name is Jo?"
She grinned and held out her hand. "Hello, I'm Jo. How do you do?"
He blinked at her hand, then shook it. "Pleased to meet you, Miss Grant."
"Mrs Jones, now."
"Cliff fell out a tree while collecting samples. Broke his neck. Silly, really."
"It's been a few years, now. I'm okay." She glanced inside the TARDIS and back at him. "But you're not. So the sooner we get started, the sooner you'll get better."
"We?" he said. "What earthly use could you be in fixing the TARDIS?"
"As much as I ever was," she said. "Hand you your tools and tell you you're brilliant."
"Ah," he said. He gestured at the TARDIS doors. "After you, then, Mrs. Jones."