He flies around the TARDIS console, piloting with both hands, both feet, his nose, an elbow here, an elbow there, nudge this lever this way, and that one that way, just a touch, a smidgen, there, there, can't she go any faster? Of course, it doesn't matter, faster doesn't matter, not when you're traveling through time, but it feels as though it matters. Human beings always wonder when he fails to explain the complexities of time and this is it, this is why, because time's personal and shared, everyone and no one's, relative and set, and can't she go any faster?
"Come on, old girl, come on, come on... Amps to 11, ludicrous speed, damn the torpedoes, come on."
And he jumps back from the console, bounces on his toes, because he's made all of the adjustments he can, and it's up to her now, the TARDIS. He trusts her, she'll get him where he needs to be, but he can't help the impatience.
First they'd landed in London instead of Edo, and, really, those just weren't the same. Tokugawa Japan and 21st-century London, they both had their merits, but the ukiyo—kabuki and geisha and chonin and samurai—wasn't one of London's. Well, not yet. Give it a few millenia.
So he'd settled down to repairs, and she'd gone off to see the sights and the shops; he'd given her a mobile before she'd taken off, universal roaming enabled, certain she'd be fine. If she could handle the Titanic, disintegration and reintegration, she could take on London.
Halfway through the repairs, the TARDIS had started up, of its own accord. A time scoop, he'd thought, but that was impossible, they were gone, all dead, the ones who could do that to him, summon him at will.
It hadn't been a time scoop. Temporal genetic lock, the Menagerists, an elite group of 7000th-century dilettantes who collected rare...animals of all types, all across time and space, and kept them on an elaborate prison planet. A zoo. And what rarer than the last of the Time Lords?
It had taken him minutes to escape, but months to get the rest of them out. There had been human beings there, future humans, survivors past the destruction of the Earth, and how could he leave them?
But the instant he'd had them all away, out in the Menagerists' hijacked private star-yachts, he'd shot to the TARDIS, because he couldn't leave her, either. Astrid. His Astrid.
The TARDIS sets down, and he thanks her, a mental nod, nothing spoken, as he bolts through the doors, out into an alleyway. The same place. Good. The same time? He's not so sure. Maybe. Has to be. He can't be that far off, can he?
And he fishes his own mobile out of his jacket pocket, dialing her number as he dashes out into the streets proper, eyes scanning over every passerby, every shopfront window. She's here. She's got to be here. He didn't mean to leave, and he won't let this be another parting, another failure, something to remember and regret.
Faster, faster, the phone has to dial faster, ring faster, he has to run faster, through the streets, as though velocity were like gravity, an attractive force. As though faster mattered.