He hasn’t been this young in centuries, and he’s never been as old as this. Nine hundred and seven and barely more than a schoolboy–if he keeps this up, maybe he’ll get to be a child again before it’s all over. He leans back against the trunk of the tree and pulls an apple from overhead. This body hates apples, he thinks, polishing it on his sleeve and wondering why he picked it. It’s half frozen, cold enough to sting even his cool fingers. If he holds it just so, he can watch Amy with one eye and the apple with the other–her hair and its skin take on the same fiery orange in the sunset. Like his planet viewed from space, his mind finishes, although it’s something he tries not to think about.
Amy catches him staring and shoves him, hard. He’s laughing as he hits the snow, but even a body this young can’t escape the aches of old age. His fingers stiffen with cold; his back seizes up when he falls. Amy crashes down beside him and they lie very still, catching their breath, her mittened fingers curling into his hand. Her breath is warm on his cheek and the stars are coming out–Polaris, Sirius, Betelgeuse, Rigel. Nights like these, forgetting is so easy. He forgets to be old, forgets he’s all that’s left of the Matrix, forgets to wonder what comes after he runs out of lives.
History takes lifetimes to travel across the stars, leaving dead stars and planets burning on. Light years away, Gallifrey’s still a red pinprick in the sky.