Author's note: During seasons 7-9 of Doctor Who, the Doctor was exiled on Earth by the Time Lords, only allowed to leave on the occasional errand for them. At the end of "The Three Doctors", he was given back his freedom.
Many thanks to my Whovian friends on Ravelry dot com for beta reading, encouragement and title suggestions!
This story is dedicated to Pelman, whose pseudo-drabbles and Doctor angst partially inspired it.
Three years, seventeen days and twenty-three minutes.
One hundred fifty-nine weeks.
Eleven thousand thirteen days. Every one had twenty-four hours, each with sixty minutes - all in all, ninety-six million one hundred sixty-four thousand five hundred eighty dragging seconds.
It's over. I can't believe it. Three years ago I tumbled out of the TARDIS into a bed of English bracken, my memories stolen, my face and body no longer my own, into an exile longer than the life of hope.
It's finished. I built my new life from the scraps I found, working with unfamiliar hands to learn again the secrets of time travel. Those hands are scarred now with every lesson I learned - the long scratch from a badly trimmed wire, the knot where a tool went awry, the nicks and scrapes and calluses that make these hands my own.
Three years trapped in one place, one time. Now they're done. I can wander the universe again, travel at nobody's call but my own. I can feel the tides of Time again, washing round me, changing their rhythm and pattern as they dance, sweeping me away as they did once before when I was young.
Am I dreaming? Is the nightmare really over? Am I free?