Title: Gallifrey

Author: nostalgia

Rated: PG

Summary: Eight drabbles, one story.

Disclaimer: Let's see. the BBC owns Doctor Who, we pay TV licences, TV licences pay for the BBC, therefore Doctor Who is ours. Quad erat demonstradum.

Spoilers: Massively for 'The Ancestor Cell', though if you haven't read that, this won't make that much sense. Other random references to most of the Gallifrey stories, clues to which in the sub-headings.

- - -

[Unearthly]

He has never quite felt like he belongs here. The sideways looks and the muttered remarks have weighed him down, haunted him, plagued him.

The girl with the dark hair and one-eighth of the wrong DNA asks to join him, insisting that she has no reason to stay.

Somewhere - not here - he can be happier. See all the stars, all the worlds; see all the things that his father warned him about.

It certainly can't be any worse than here.

The girl with the dark hair takes his hand.

He isn't sure yet if he's ever going to come back.

- - -

[War Games/Mind Games]

Of course they were going to miss him. Of course they were going to start watching, monitoring and disapproving. Of course they were going to object.

He's never forgotten why he left in the first place.

They offer him an exile, a change of form. 'Offer' in the sense that allows no rejection.

They saw it in him centuries ago, in school; when he mixed together the wrong chemicals because he wanted to know what would happen if this instead of that. Congenital contrariness, his aunt had said, when he was slightly too young too understand the meaning.

Congenital contrariness.

- - -

[Government in Exile]

The punishment they have inflicted on him is a skewed facsimile of the life they would have wished for him - stay in one place, do as we tell you.

He detects more than a little spite in this particular turn of events.

But they didn't take his TARDIS, they didn't make him go back there. Small mercies. Or, more likely, a small hope that he would reform, return to the fold. The arrogance is typical; he sulks.

The gravity feels like an insult, the air an admonition. But he won't be here forever.

He's very good at escaping from things.

- -

[Time of Invasion]

He has crossed the same bridge twice and feels immensely pleased with himself. President, no less, flaunting the socially acceptable half of his parentage, twisting the hierarchy to furnish his own ends.

He finds it funny. Lord President of All Gallifrey. An elaborate insult of his own creation, a bitter joke with a sting in the tail. He's the teacher now.

So they scurry about, bowing their heads and pledging allegiance. Let them scurry, let them try to make amends. They had their chance years ago and they didn't take it. They made him, they shaped him.

Let them scurry.

- -

[The Famous Five]

He wonders sometimes if they deliberately seek him out when something's going wrong. He resents having been dragged here to solve the puzzle for someone else. And Borusa.he would never have expected it of Borusa. He strikes another name from the list of Gallifreyans worth knowing. One day, presumably, there will be no names left on his mental list, and the place will finally stop tugging away at him, trying to call him back.

The world could still produce the occasional ray of sunlight; Romana, Drax, Borusa. Blame the people, not the planet. He has to make sure he remembers this.

- -

[Trials]

Not again. Not another mindless session of complaints about his life. Hasn't he been through all this before, haven't they come to terms with what he does?

His relationship with his home planet has never changed - he still wants to change it, and it still wants to change him.

Of course if either of them had succeeded then he wouldn't be here now, would he? Or if disinterest had finally set in, and they given him up for lost. He isn't like them, he's.

His hearts beat in turn, reminding him of what he is.

What he always will be.

- - -

[Remembrance]

He hasn't seen any of them in.how long? He crosses paths with the renegades, with the ones who made his choice but for the wrong reasons.

The planet itself is a distant speck, a disturbed night's sleep. He spends his time clearing up its mess - viridium, the Hand of Omega. Perhaps he's mellowing in his old age, but he doesn't seem to mind as much as he used to. It's just another thing he has to deal with.

In Ace he has a kindred spirit, another wanderer who loves and hates the home she left behind.

He remembers the past.

- - -

[The Ancestor and the Self]

His left hand is on the lever, ready to pull his home planet out of existence. Mere seconds, but still time enough to hate himself.

You have to do this, says a voice in his mind, there is no choice. He is promised innocence, a loss of memory.

One world or every world, simple mathematics. But why does it have to be him, why can't it someone else?

Because this is the life you made for yourself. Because you're all there is..

This can't be how it ends, this can't be how it ends, this can't be how it.

- - -