He is the last. The last Lord in his Kingdom of Time.
It's taken more than awhile to realize this. To see his inheritance for what it is. Winnings.
All the moments, the disasters the deaths he has caused or watched created opportunity for; they were fixed under the old laws. Permanent, and forever when viewed by a Time Lord though to fools like Time Agents they may have appeared in flux. But they're his laws now, and maybe the foolish agents mucking about had a point. After all, change is the only constant.
He doesn't change much at first. The changes he sees in the world around Captain Adelaide are terrifying at first, but he was right. The story can change so long as the ending stays the same. Shame that Adelaide chose that ending, but still, at least the others had a chance, here, there and across the universe he revisits old adventures, sweeping in at the very last second with the TARDIS. It's harder than he thought it would be, but once Astrid caught on the controls it got a bit easier.
There are a few hiccups along the way; Madame Du Pompadour was less enthusiastic about TARDIS travel once she'd experienced the real thing, but really what did she expect prancing around in a dress like that during the 1998 Marti Gras? It’s not like he hadn't warned her about the cameras, though perhaps he should have explained what their purposes was first...
River Song is an excellent addition to the crew, though he still has no idea when he will first meet her or what it was that inspired him to give her his name! That will come in time he supposes, and tries not to think of the dizzying amount years before him. Time enough for the future later, and he knows at that least her story will have a happy ending. And there are still so many mistakes not yet mended.
There are laws he cannot bend though, situations he's not yet managed to work around. He would spare Jack the last thousand years if he could; would have Rose beside him, if he could just work out how to punch through the universe without damaging the TARDIS. Would save Donna if he could just figure out how to manage a massive Time Lord brain in her tinny ape head.
Jack doesn't remember sacrificing his grandson. He hasn't yet outlived his lover though that time will come.
When the Knock comes at the door, he has almost forgotten about it. Enough that he throws open the doors with out hesitation.
It's more than just the Master on the other side of the doors. Faces those were even more impossible than Rose's. Beautiful forgotten faces. Romanadvoratrelundar is there, and Rani and Leela and Ace. There are so many out there that it takes him a while to realize where There is: Gallifrey.
It's not a happy reunion.
He hadn't ever imagined it could be.
Some of them are really are quite silly looking when angry.
They're not the only ones who came back, and as bad as some of them are, worse yet is the Shadow.
It's been there for all his lives, the Daleks, and he wonders why his first order of buisness in his private Kingdome of Time hadn't been a visit to Skaro where he could strangle Davros in his crib.
It's too late now. The whole of Gallifrey has returned to the heavens to hold him back.
The universe is ripping at the seams, and it's not long before he meets himself old and tottering and still desperately in love with the equally old and doddering Rose Tyler. He watches them die. They’re not the last.
By the time Gallifrey send down the orders, he hands over his crown with barley a whimper.
He's seen companions forget him before; only somehow this is the worst of all. One by one, all people he has loved, gone again. He wonders if any of them will survive.
The last time they asked this terrible task of him, it had been a simple blue button.
It's the hardest return he's ever had to make, waiting in a dark and empty house for Captain Adelaide Brooke. As soon as she passes through the door way, he’s pulled her into another. The others, Yuri and Mia are there already waiting.
He wants to leave them in the past, or take them to the future that they created. The one he carelessly destroyed. But the universe is already stretched so thin. The giggles of Toclafane echo everywhere and no where.
In the end he leaves them in the flames where he found them. And as the universe snaps back into place around him, he wonders if it was worth it.
For the first time in a very long life, he chooses the change. Perhaps this time.... after all the times before, perhaps this time around he'll know when to stop.
It wasn't winnings he inherited. He gets that now.