I inhaled so deeply that my lungs felt as though they were going to burst. Yet exhaling did nothing to relieve the pressure. This quick hop into my past was going to be more trouble than it was worth. It was about to become incredibly complicated. On one hand I had Amy Pond demanding to be shown a planet, to which I had responded with my usual 'Environment check' talk. On the other hand I could not risk leaving the Tardis through the front door because I was already outside. I couldn't allow myself to be seen here. Especially not by myself.
As I clenched my fist the strap of the vortex manipulator tightened around my wrist. The pressure seemed to ease me. I looked down at the Tardis doors. There was a very slim chance I could slip past myself and use the vortex manipulator once out of sight. I turned my head to see Amy staring at me, arms folded in her ever impatient manner. Humans... I'd never understand why they rushed everywhere... Even when they had all the time in the universe. I certainly knew how to pick them didn't I? Comes with the territory I suppose...
I stepped towards the doors of the Tardis, my heavy steps clanked down the slope to the base of the console area. My face screwed into a wince as I grabbed the latch and stepped out into the daylight. There I was, crouched in the grass. It wasn't often I got to see the back of my own head. I reached up to feel the identical locks of thick brown hair on the back of my own head. Brilliant. I shrugged very slightly, ginger was clearly never going to be an option. The door clicked shut with more force than I had intended. I froze with my back pressed against the door. My mouth was suddenly very dry. I stared across at myself. His legs extended as he rose from his crouched position. He paused, looking thoughtful, head cast to one side. He turned. And I waited.
I stared at myself. There was no emotion on his face, no look of shock, no look of confusion. Just a very calm and relaxed stare. He pressed a finger against his lips and expelled a quiet shushing sound before turning back to his exploration of the environment. I shuffled my way around the Tardis, my back pressed firmly against the cool wood as I did so. Once out of sight I activated the vortex manipulator and retraced my journey through the wormhole through which I had came.
The white light subsided and I was once again in the present day time machine. I grinned stupidly at myself as I tucked the cheap answer to time travel back into its rolled up hiding place.
I clattered down the metal steps to the heart of my trusty companion. River, still in her white suit, was sat, legs outstretched, on the small cushy sofa there.
"Where did you get to?" she asked spying me approaching the controls.
I curled my hand around the cold materialisation lever, "I had to take care of something"
"You've been gone for hours; the Tardis couldn't find you..."
I turned to look into her all knowing eyes. No one knew me better than River; she was the one person who I couldn't lie to if I tried. An involuntary smile broadened across my face, "I had to make sure you'd have your screwdriver in the Library"
I continued to smile at her. It was hard to believe that she would be lying dead in the Library now if it wasn't for me taking her to the Pandorica.
"What you travel without the Tardis now?" she laughed, "What are you? A Time Lord Machine?"
"A Tardis in the form of a body...? No... There are things River, things that you'll never know... Never understand..." I stood back from the console, tucked my hands in my pockets. An attempt on my part to add a hint of mysticism. A failed attempt of course... This was River Song I was talking to.
She cocked her head to one side, staring fixedly at my cryptic self, "So where did you go and how?"
I sighed in pure exasperation. She wasn't about to let me off the hook for disappearing for so long, "Vortex manipulator... For a quick trip into the past..."
"You were gone for hours... You're becoming exactly like the Tardis..."
"Bigger on the inside...?"
"... Always late..."
I laughed loudly, feeling the soft material of my bow tie as I did, "It's never too late... Never"