A/N: This is chapter 6 of 6, and I'd like to say a big THANK YOU (!) to all the lovely people who have commented, read, and/or favourited this fic. It's great to know that you guys are enjoying it. Thanks for all the support! Enjoy the last chapter :)
She thinks to be disappointed by the lack of spectacle that comes with travelling in time. Oh, she knows that what they have just done is marvellous. They disappeared from one time and place and reappeared in another without actually physically travelling between the two. Brilliant! She'd just expected to feel more, somehow. She thought that it would change her, when in reality all she experienced was a sense of satisfaction before being thrown unceremoniously to the floor by her dad's bad driving.
It had taken only moments to release the Lydra, sending them off to their new home. She had wanted to stay a while, see a new world being made as the creatures adapted the environment to their needs. She wanted to watch them creating flora, but she knew that they couldn't hang around.
And so they left, her and her dad, going back to the TARDIS. And now she sits on the seat next to the console while he recalibrates something (or pretends to). They haven't spoken in a while. Jenny isn't entirely sure what to say, if anything at all. She still feels a bit hesitant, not completely convinced that her dad really wants her with him, and she wonders if she should ask him to take her back to her spaceship. She thinks it might be a good test: if he refuses or looks at her like she's mad or if he looks sad at the thought of her leaving, then she'll know that it's all right to stay. If he looks relieved or indifferent or agrees in a way that tells her he thinks it's about bloody time she left, then she'll go. She'll go and travel on through space. She's been doing very nicely at it until now, after all. She's not entirely sure how long she's been alive in accordance with any of the well-known universal calendars, but since she was born she has saved fourteen civilisations from certain death and visited a total of forty-one planets (some she has been to more than once, like the lovely little world where she met a very nice man who danced with her all night and bought her drinks without her even having to ask). It's not a bad achievement, considering. She'll be able to manage on her own again, even if it is a bit lonely, especially now she knows what it's like to have proper company. Still, maybe she could go and find that man again, ask him to come with her. That might be fun. He was nice (and handsome).
She realises that she has been quietly rambling away in her head only when her dad clears his throat noisily, and she looks up to find him leaning against the console, watching her. "Hello," she says.
There is a slightly awkward pause. "So, everything's all right now?" she asks just to check. "The Lydra are fine and so is that planet?"
"Yes and yes," he answers. "Everything is fine." He looks down at the floor. "Can I…? I mean, maybe I should…"
"Take the mental block out of your mind," he says. "There's no need for it now."
"Okay," she says immediately. Part of her thinks that she should want to keep the block there, just in case – after all, the thought of anyone being in her head (even her dad) is a bit uncomfortable. But things feel limited with it there, and she has to admit that it was nice to have the comforting presence of him with her even when she couldn't see him. Maybe if they're going to have to separate she could use their mental link to contact him if she ever needs help. Plus she'd quite like to be able to talk to the TARDIS. She thinks that they could be friends.
"Right," he says, moving to stand in front of her. He smiles at her reassuringly and then lifts his hands to her face, positioning his fingers on her temples. "I'll have to teach you how to do this," he tells her. "Just in case you ever need to know."
She's not entirely sure what he's doing or why she'd ever need to do it, but she doesn't say anything and focuses instead on the slight pressure as he reaches out with his own mind to brush against hers. She feels something giving way, and it makes her gasp. Then the pressure dissipates, and she knows that he has removed the mental block. She can feel a soothing hum seep in towards the back of her mind that she instantly associates with the TARDIS, as well as a hesitant presence skirting around the edges, as though asking permission to be there.
"Is that you?" she asks her dad.
Yes, he replies, and it is a moment before she realises that he has not spoken out loud. And then he says, "Is it all right?"
She thinks about it, trusting that he won't look at her thoughts when he said he wouldn't. She comes to the conclusion that it is all right, because it doesn't hurt in the way it did earlier and he feels familiar, and he fits into the big empty space in her mind that she has long felt needs to somehow be filled (although there's still something of a gap there that she isn't sure will ever be full). She concentrates and tells him with her mind, It's okay.
Jenny finds herself caught up in a hug then, and she knows without words that her dad is proud of her for what she has just done, communicating without speech. He laughs and she finds herself giggling along with him, although she is failing to see how the situation is funny. It's just a natural reaction. She loves to laugh.
"Where do you want to go?" he asks her once they have calmed a bit and he has moved to sit next to her on the seat.
"I… don't know," she replies. "It depends."
"Depends on what?"
She's just going to have to say it. "On whether I can come with you or not."
Her dad's face crumples into an unreadable expression and she can feel just a hint of something in her mind, obviously an emotion she has not yet experienced because she doesn't know what it is. "Oh, Jenny," he says, his tone of voice matching the way he feels. "Of course you can come. I'd love you to come." He tenses slightly as though bracing himself for hurt. "If you want."
"I want to," she says, unable to stop the huge grin that breaks out on her face. "If you'll have me."
"Oh yes," he says, his grin matching her own.
It occurs to her that they must look pretty silly, sitting here grinning at each other like lunatics (she's never understood that expression – most of the true lunatics she's met have actually been quite sad souls), but she doesn't care. "Will you teach me how to fly the TARDIS?"
"Of course I will."
"And you'll tell me about the Time Lords?"
"Definitely." His smile drops a bit, and she senses that there is a sense of underlying sadness surrounding the topic of their people, but she can wait a while to find out the exact reasons why.
"And we can go to our planet?"
The smile disappears completely and sadness flows from his mind to hers for all the time it takes for him to catch himself and draw the feeling back inside him. "No," he says. "It's gone. Gallifrey is gone."
"Gallifrey," she says, turning the word over in her mouth. He doesn't say anything else, which she takes to mean he doesn't want to talk about it at the moment. "It died in the war you told me about." Somehow she knows that this is right, that the war he mentioned on Messaline is what killed their home. "I'm sorry."
He shakes his head. "It's fine."
She knows he's lying. "No, it's not."
Her dad sighs and smiles a self-deprecating smile. "No, you're right. It's not."
"Sorry," she says again and then takes his hand with hers, because she knows that it's meant to be a comforting gesture in stressful situations.
"I'm sorry too, Jenny," he tells her in all sincerity, looking her straight in the eye. "I'm sorry you've been alone. If I'd known you were alive, if I'd had even the slightest inkling…"
"It's not your fault. I ran away from Messaline. I just… I couldn't resist! There's just so much to see and I couldn't wait. I just ran."
"I can sympathise with that." He is obviously telling the truth.
"It wasn't enough, though. I had the whole universe to explore, but I still felt like I needed more, like I needed time as well. I need to run in time."
He smiles softly and lifts his free hand to stroke her hair, something that she'd only ever do to children. But then, she supposes, she is his child even if she never actually had a child's body. And as far as her mind is concerned, she's still very much a child compared to him. "You can now," he tells her.
She nods. "With you." She knows that it will be hard, at least for a while. Even if he's certain about taking her with him (and she's pretty sure he is), there are still going to be things that are awkward for them, especially when it comes to things she needs to know to be able to understand herself and how she relates to the universe they live in. She senses there are things that will be hard for her dad to talk about, and things that it will take her time to grasp. She knows that she can never replace what he has lost, but she hopes that with time she'll be able to carve out a distinct place for herself in this life, here with him on the TARDIS. Plus, she tells herself, if things ever get too awkward then they can always go and find a battle to throw themselves into, run for their lives to let off some steam. She really does love the running, and she knows he does too, so at least they'll always have some common ground.
"With me," her dad says, echoing her sentiment as he jumps up from the seat and bounds to the other side of the console. "Any time, any place. We have the whole of time and space to choose from. We can go anywhere." He grins at her and she grins back.
"New worlds," she says, moving to join him at the console.
"Anywhere you like," he says, looking at her fondly. "You choose."