DISCLAIMER: As this is the final disclaimer, I shall now say that I DO own Doctor Who. That's my big secret, I'm actually the BBC.
Well. I don't, naturelle mon. Sillies.
Well, this is it. It's Time to face, the final curtain (to quote Frank Sinatra).
I've loved writing this, and I've loved reading your comments. It's meant so much to me. So thankyou for giving me the oppertunity to publish my first non-one-shot fic. And I was SO unbeleivably nervous before I posted the first chapter.
Actually. I'm a bit more nervous now.
Here goes, for the final time, prepare to say goodbye to Scarlett....
Although she knew he couldn't stay, she wished he would. He was a bit like snow; gloriously unexpected, utterly transforming to everything he touched and not all-together real. And, like snow, at the back of your mind there was always the knowledge that you would wake up one morning to find him gone.
Scarlett was playing a game with herself now, if she could go for a minute without blinking, if the News Castor didn't say the work 'public' for a whole item, if she could make her Mother stay in her chair, then The Doctor wouldn't leave her. It wasn't working though. She blinked, the Welsh man on the TV said 'public sector', her Mother got up to collect the plates all at once.
And The Doctor looked at her.
And she knew.
"I want to show you something." She said, her voice remarkably calm and tearless. "Come upstairs."
He did, marvelling at the love these parents showered on their daughter as he walked up the stairs accompanied by framed school photograph Scarlett's, smiling shyly at first and then flicking their hair over the backs of their blazers with painted fingernails.
Her room was the first on the left, looking out over the garden and houses beyond. As Scarlett opened the door, The Doctor hesitated outside for a moment, unsure if he were allowed to enter this private sanctuary of girl-dom.
"Don't be silly, Doctor." She said, smiling. "I think we're past all that."
She had 3 white walls, and one with a blue, Victorian style wallpaper on it. Her bookcase was large, and he saw that well-loved way the books had all been put in. Carefully, methodically, so as not to bend the bindings. She had a little wooden desk in the corner, a notebook and pen left haphazardly spread over the wood as if she'd left them in a hurry. Above her bed was tacked a large poster of a dark-haired actor, the word HAMLET scored underneath in bright red. No boy-bands for her obviously. He wouldn't have expected any less.
Her view looked out onto her garden and the houses over the way from her. Yellow roses, gray 4x4's, neat little lawns and clean glass in the doors and frames. Scarlett stood for a moment by the window, looking out a familiar view and feeling like something had changed, irrevocably. It took a few minutes to realise that the change was her.
The Doctor spotted the book she was reading on her bedside table. "Oh, I like th – "
"Don't leave me." Scarlett interrupted, whirling to face him, a burning intensity in her eyes. "Take me with you, leave me on some faraway planet if you have to, just don't... don't leave me here."
The Doctor looked at her helplessly, the book still in his hand. "I can't."
"No! You can't leave me. Not here. You can't show me all those things and worlds and possibilities and leave me here! You can't! It's not fair!" She shouted at him, tears flowing freely down her cheeks.
"You've got to sta– "
"No!" Scarlett rushed at him, her hands balled into fists, hitting his chest ineffectually. He took it, and gathered her up in his arms and held her to him, refusing to let her go until she went limp in his arms, sobbing and murmuring the immortal line: "It's not fair."
Life, he thought, just isn't fair.
When she had quietened, he pushed her away a little and gripped her shoulders. "Scarlett Redmond, look at me." He waited until her green eyes had found his. "You know why I have to leave you. You know that I wouldn't if I had a choice. You know that I think you're brilliant. You know that when you grow up you're going to have worlds at your fingertips. You don't need me or my TARDIS. You do it all by yourself."
She sniffed, her tear tracks glistening in the increasing gloom. "But what if I want you and your TARDIS?"
"Oh, Scarlett, look at you. You have so many people that love you. Your parents adore you. Did you see your friends on the news, appealing for 'witnesses to come forward'? They miss you. What I wouldn't do to have what you have. If there's one thing you should have learnt from me Miss Redmond, it's that you should grab onto the people who care about you and hold on tight. Your life is here. I can never have a life like that." He smiled at her, sadly. "And anyway, you've got writing to do."
He tapped her temples. "You do."
It was dark outside when he left. Years later, Scarlett would be able to record those minutes in minute detail. The way her hair had been blown from her shoulders by the light breeze. The way she'd had to keep swallowing hard to keep the sting of tears from her throat. The air smelt cool and fresh, and like summer. Her feet were bare – she felt the damp grass on her right foot and the hard, gravelly pavement on her left. The alleyway the TARDIS was in felt different at night. The walls felt closer together, the bricks seemed to move in to each other.
The stars were enviably bright that night. Scarlett looked toward them and remembered the Bronte's kitchen. It felt like and age ago. It was an age ago. She might have laughed at this thought, had the circumstances been different.
"Do you want one more look?" The Doctor asked. His Converse had dirt around the bottom, and he hadn't done his left lace up properly.
"No. It's probably better if..." She gestured helplessly. Her arms felt strangely heavy. She glanced at her hands, expecting to see them dark and leaden. Her blue nail varnish was still chipped.
The Doctor took a deep breath. "Listen, I wanted to give you something. You don't actually need it, but, it kind of... Well. You'll see. Close your eyes."
She did so, curiously, and held her hands out. Into them she felt something cold and small and spiky being pressed.
She didn't. She kept them squeezed shut for a second more, savouring the glory of not knowing, of all the possibilities the gift could hold. When she did obey his command, however, she was not disappointed. "It's a key!"
The Doctor grinned and put his hands in his pockets. "To the TARDIS. Even though you can't come with me... It kind of makes you my official friend. Companion. Fellow Traveller. I know you can open it yourself, if you ever wanted to but –"
Scarlett would always remember the way he felt when she hugged him. Tall and thin and strong. His suit lapels brushed against her cheek and the top of his chin rested on her head. He was safety and fear and excitement and possibilities and stars and worlds. He was time. He was The Doctor.
He was the man who had changed her life, and that was really all that mattered.
"Before you go," Scarlett said when he was standing leant against the TARDIS doorframe, "there was something I've been wondering about. Who was that boy? The one you said was like me? Was he – is he – famous? "
The Doctor looked at her, wondering what had made her think to ask him that question at that moment. "He was a soldier in World War One. He lived to be a very old man. He saved someone's life. His name was Tim Latimer."
Scarlett froze. She wasn't sure she could physically begin to breathe again. Nothing that had come out of The Doctor's mouth during the time she had known him had shocked her more. Clearing her throat, she began to speak. "Latimer? Tim Latimer? Who went to a boys boarding school? And saved his best friends life in the first world war?"
He nodded, slowly.
"He was my Great Grandfather."
The Doctor shook his head. "No. You've got to be kidding. Too many co-incidences. Too strange..."
"He died when I was 5. I don't remember much about him, except that he smelt like an old man, like dusty shelves. When we visited him I used to sit on his knee and play... play with the little pocket watch he had. I loved it 'cuz it was shiny – although he didn't open it. Not ever. I tried to once, he took it away from me."
"That's my watch. The one I gave him. The piece of me I told you about."
"No. No-oh-oh!" Scarlett laughed loudly, clapping her hands together in glee. "This is crazy!"
"Everything about you is Scarlett." The Doctor said, still shaking his head in shock.
"It would explain it, though. Explain why I'm different, explain why I could see... Explain why my Mum could see the TARDIS! He's her Grandfather, Doctor, it's in my genes." She stopped talking and looked straight up at him, buzzing. "I was always going to meet you. Even before I was born, this had been planned for me. It was my destiny to save Charlotte Bronte. To save you."
"I don't believe it!" The Doctor said, gazing at her in wonder. "I mean, I do believe it, it makes everything make sense. But, I mean, what are the odds! Then again," he said, almost to himself, "stranger things have happened. Especially to me."
"We'll meet again, won't we?" Scarlett said suddenly, the cold key grasped tightly in her clammy hand. "This proves it. My Great-Grandfather, your TARDIS, me, you, we're all connected. We'll meet each other again?"
"If I'm lucky." The Doctor said. "Anybody's lucky if they get to meet you more than once, Scarlett Redmond." He bent down and kissed her on the cheek. "Thankyou. For everything."
"No. Thankyou. You've made me me again. You've showed me a world." He smiled at her, and she returned it.
"Keep safe!" She called above the whirring and humming of the time machine. The time machine. Magic. Look how much you've changed, Scarlett, she thought through her tears.
Then, she her face to the sky and yelled it to whoever was listening.
"Look how much I've changed! Thankyou, Doctor! Thankyou!"
So. That was it. What did you think? Did it live up to your expectations? I'd really like you to comment on this and tell me whta you think, especially because it's the last one. Go on, you know you want too.
If you do comment, could you also tell me if you think I should maybe do a follow-up to this? Like a, 10 years on thing? Or should I leave it as it is?
Lastly, I want to thankyou. Thankyou for sticking with me and reading and reveiwing. Couldn't have done it without you.