by Kathryn A

Doctor Who ( 350 words) [2008-04-19] First Doctor

Some would be inspired. Some would run away. And some would go mad.

When he was eight, he ran away. The raw chaos of the Untempered Schism had scared him more than anything he'd ever seen in his short life. It was necessary, they said, to be exposed to raw time to ensure that the newly inserted symbiotic nuclei were activated correctly. Didn't stop them from making a huge ceremony of it, though. A test of the mind, as well as science.

At least he didn't go mad, but that was small consolation. He didn't want to stay there a day or a moment longer. So he ran away. It wasn't that difficult for someone ingenious to get out of the Citadel. But once he was out, he wasn't really sure where to go. He'd had a vague idea of trying to join a band of outsiders, but if the hermit hadn't found him, he'd probably have died falling off a cliff.

The hermit didn't just save his life, he probably saved his sanity. Here was a Time Lord who wasn't afraid of time, who wasn't shut up in the Citadel, away from change, who wasn't stuffy and sterile and buried in dust. The hermit showed him how to rejoice in his time senses; to watch a butterfly grow, to feel the turn of Gallifrey below them, and the wheel of the stars above.

"A wise man does not fear change," the hermit said. He waved his hand at the silver tree that they were sitting under. "For without change, one cannot grow, and a tree that does not grow is dead." It wasn't until many years later that he wondered whether the hermit had been referring to Time Lord society, and not just himself. For those who could see what was, what could be and what will be, they would loathe change like a human would loathe sea-sickness.

But he was just a boy, and did not think deep thoughts, not then. Soon enough he left the hermit and went back to the Academy. But not forever. For the Citadel was built of unchanging stone, and he himself, he rather liked trees.

Inspired by a remark the Doctor made in "Fires of Pompeii", plus additional things mentioned about his childhood in "The Sound of Drums" and "The Time Monster".