He knew, once he recovered the TARDIS, that other people had travelled with him before, in that life he did not remember. He found traces of them sometimes: an inscription in a book (“With love from Evelyn”), a handkerchief in a dusty drawer (“V. W.” picked out in neat embroidery), and once a photograph.
There was no name or date on it; it could have been anyone, anywhere. The frame was almost filled by two smiling faces, a fair-haired young woman and an older man with a mop of curls. He had his arm around her; she leaned on him affectionately. They seemed to regard the act of being photographed as the greatest joke imaginable.
Looking at them, the Doctor felt that twinge of familiarity that he had learned it was futile to pursue. Who had they been to him, he wondered? Friends, enemies, strangers he’d met once? Had he owed them a favor, had they been relying on him—were they even now wondering what had happened to him?
That night he dreamt of a pretty girl in a straw hat. “I waited,” she said, in her dream-tower. “Why didn’t you rescue me? I waited, and you didn’t come.”