Years. It had been years. Decades, actually, if his counting had been correct. It had been so very long. And the TARDIS was still there, still where he had left it. People passed her without a second glance. He could see, he could tell what the lack of travel had done to her. He’d be sorely convinced that there was a chance she wouldn’t even choose to work anymore. That traveling through Time and Space was a thing of the past. And, oh, it did feel that way. At times, he did miss it. People, places, things. Planets, galaxies, universes. It had been all he had ever known.
That is, until he had been faced with the greatest loss he had ever known. His family. It had been so very long since he had known one, since he had felt so closely apart of something that had weaved its way into his life. And then… And then it had all disappeared. Just like that. They had slipped out of his fingers far too quickly for him to grasp back onto.
And then he landed here, and there was that inkling of hope, that wonderful feeling that perhaps the universe had given him one more chance, that perhaps not everyone was against him anymore. And he had to take it, even if it would take decades, he had to take the chance. And he couldn’t use the TARDIS. He couldn’t risk never being able to come back. He’d never forgive himself.
So it took several decades. Four, to be exact. And on that snowy night in the beginning of January, he found that chance in the form of a small, thin piece of paper. On it were several letters and words scribbled lazily across the paper. And that was it, that was the clue he had spent decades waiting for. And so he took it. He took it in hopes that maybe this was it. Maybe decades, centuries of all he had been through would pay off.
So, there he was. Wiping his snow adorned shoes against the cool pavement of the steps that lead up to the connected houses. Right in front of a dark door. And this was it. He would find out, all these years spent in this large city, it was the moment in which all he had been hoping for had lead him to this very door.
The Doctor licked his drying lips and closed his eyes, holding in a breath he was not even aware of as his arm raised, taking several seconds before there was: one, two, three knocks to the door, echoing in his ears over and over again.