He was old.
Oh, he knew he didn’t look it. And he’d never exactly acted his age. But sometimes it was brought back to him.
He was old. He was so old that the haze of his memories tapered off in the distance. He couldn’t now remember all the things he’d done in his life. The places he’d been, the people he’d met.
Some things stood out. Saying goodbye to his granddaughter. That would always hurt, always be seared into his hearts.
The loss of Adric. Tegan fleeing him in horror. Donna.
But, he had to remind himself sometimes, there were good memories too.
The birth of his first child had been an amazement. He knew he’d made a complete cake of himself, very un-Time-Lordy, but he didn’t care. It was a miracle! A small miracle that smiled up at him with his eyes and kicked with little feet.
His children, his grandchildren, his wife. Sometimes he couldn’t exactly remember their faces anymore, but he remembered them. All the aggravating and funny things about them.
Leaving home. And that moment when he realized he’d found a new home out wandering the stars. A life he could never have had if he’d stayed behind and played by all his homeworld’s rules.
His heart swelled at that memory. It hadn’t happened all at once. He’d been terrified at first, out, alone, responsible for his granddaughter, prey to every misunderstood circumstance or unexpected danger.
But, eventually, it stopped being a terror and started being a wonder.
He was a wanderer. He knew that. It was a very strange thing for a Gallifreyan to be. They hadn’t understood him at home. They, with their traditions and rules and safe, if stultifying, way of life. It hadn’t been for him. He’d tried. But he’d never fit in, never followed the mould.
They didn’t know what to make of him. There were others, others who preferred being outcast to following the rules. He’d met and made friends with some of them at school, personalities inevitably drifting together due to common outlooks.
But those others tended to go rogue. He’d been labeled a rogue himself, for lack of any other category they could fit him in.
Granted, stealing a time capsule probably did not make him seem very law abiding. But there’d been no other choice by that time.
He’d meant to take it back. Eventually.
He grinned. His TARDIS. As much of a rogue as himself, to think, she thought she had stolen him. He grinned.
Fair is fair he supposed. It was good that she’d always been there on his adventures, she could remember them, even when they’d fallen into that long tunnel of increasingly hazy memory for him. She could remember his past, even remember his future (which was entirely unfair if you asked him.)
But nothing was lost, nothing was wasted. The memories were all there, swimming in the sea of his mind, he could catch them when something happened to remind him of them.
But to look back now, down that long tunnel of centuries, things grew together into a mist, maybe that’s why he focused on today.
“Today” was good. “Today” was not filled with lost friends or lost opportunities. “Today” was not filled with centuries of failures, or thousands of moments of fear or doubt or all the little moments that had piled up to make up his life to now.
“Today” was good. “Tomorrow” had its own problems. And eventually they would both become “Yesterday” and eventually fade into the distance down that long tunnel of his life. Still there, but softened, like velvet, with distance and familiarity.
He bounced up and looked at the door. Today was good. And it was right out there outside that door.
He had a wife to flirt with, friends to tease, mysteries to solve, amazing places to visit.
All too soon they would become the past too.
Today was the time for today.
He set some coordinates and pulled the lever.
He may be old, but this day was new.
What would it bring?