A/N - Aloha, for the last time. I've decided that this is as good a place as any to end it, so welcome to the end. Thank you so, so much to everyone who has stuck with this over the past few weeks, to everyone who has reviewed, threatened me with a pitchfork or several, favourited, signed up for alerts, read this, and been insanely awesome in general. YOU ARE ALL FANTASTIC. I love you all. Yes, even you.
DISCLAIMER: Now look, we've been through this. Do. Not. Own. Can't you read?
"Doctor, wake up."
Someone was shaking him gently by the shoulder and he shrugged the hand off, scowling and turning away.
"Hush. Sleeping," he mumbled. He heard whoever it was beside him struggling not to laugh and sighed.
"Shouldn't we leave him to sleep?" said a familiar Scottish voice.
"I'm awake now," the Doctor said irritably, opening his eyes and blinking rapidly, shielding them from the light.
"Oh, stop complaining," Amy said, but smiling all the same. "You've been asleep for ages. It was really quiet."
The Doctor chose to ignore her last remark and tried to sit up, examining his surroundings. He wasn't surprised to see that they'd taken him back to the medical bay at Area 51.
"You need to lie down," Rory said, trying to push him back.
"Lying down is boring," the Doctor said, "I've been lying down for far too long. You can't see anything except the ceiling, and this isn't a very interesting ceiling. If you're not going to let me stand up, you could at least let me look forwards instead of up."
Rory smiled. "You seem to be feeling better, anyway. Do you want anything?"
"A Jammy Dodger," the Doctor said. "Or maybe some rice. Or both. Yeah, let's go with both."
"Rice?" Amy said, giving him the same, bewildered look she had given him all those years ago when he had sat in front of her eating fish fingers and custard.
"Yeah, rice," the Doctor smiled. "I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and you want two thousand of something."
Amy snorted. "You're such a dork."
"I know. Dorks are cool," he said.
"Right…" Amy said sarcastically. "Anyway, Rory and I were just saying that we should probably get back to the TARDIS, get you fixed up, and then hit the beach. And I mean an actual beach this time, not the middle of Wales, all right?"
"That doesn't sound particularly exciting," the Doctor said, looking slightly disappointed. "It sounds like something we'd do on a Thursday afternoon." He pulled a face and shuddered. "Thursday afternoons are rubbish. Can't we do a Saturday thing? I love a Saturday thing, me."
"I think you should probably take it easy for a couple of days," Rory said. "I know you heal faster than us and all, but there's still been a lot of physical and emotional strain on your body." He changed tack when he realised that the Doctor was still looking like a troublesome young child being denied his favourite toy. "Look, the last thing we need is for you to pass out on us when we're running for our lives and then get eaten by a giant outer space tiger, or something."
"You've got a point there," the Doctor said, though he still didn't look happy.
"Stop sulking," Amy said, and picked up a bag from the floor. "You can borrow some of Rory's things until we get driven back to the TARDIS, okay? There's some shaving stuff in there too. You can go to the bathroom, and I don't want to see you again until the facial fuzz is long gone."
The Doctor raised an eyebrow. "You're not picky at all, are you?" he grinned, throwing back the sheets and standing up, allowing them to help him up for once. He was still unsteady on his feet, but felt better than he had last time he'd been conscious.
He emerged several minutes later, clean-shaven and dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. Amy and Rory couldn't help but burst out laughing when they saw him. For once in his life, he looked normal.
"Blimey, you could actually pass off as human," Amy giggled.
"Shut it, Pond," he said, then looked over at Rory. "You and I need to have a chat."
Rory stopped laughing when he saw how serious the Doctor looked, wondering if a lethal alien was perhaps lurking in his wash kit. "Okay," he said uncertainly.
"Rory Williams," the Doctor said, fixing him with a stern gaze, "are you honestly telling me that you don't own one single bow-tie in your entire wardrobe?"
"I can't say that I do," Rory said, now concerned for the Doctor's sanity. "Why?"
"I don't know how you cope," the Doctor said, his expression softening to one which he usually saved for people who had just lost everything they held most dear. "I feel naked without one. Tell you what, as soon as we've done the boring Thursday afternoon thing, we'll go and get you one of your very own."
"Okay," Rory glanced over at Amy, pleading her to help him out of the terrifying prospect of male bonding with the Doctor.
"Come on, you idiot," Amy said, pulling the Doctor to his feet. "Let's get you out of here."
Ten minutes later, as they were about to depart in yet another Jeep, two figures appeared. Dr Evans and the Brigadier had come to say goodbye.
"Thanks for coming so quickly," the Doctor said, shaking hands with the Brigadier. "I've no idea when I'll see you, but until then. Look after yourself, won't you?"
"Same to you, old chap." As they broke apart, the Brigadier saluted and the Doctor rolled his eyes.
"Oh, stop it," he said. "You know I hate it when people salute." He was smiling all the same.
"And thank you," the Doctor said, turning to Evans, who was holding out his sonic screwdriver. He beamed and turned it over in his hands. "And there I was thinking I'd have to build a new one!" he said. "Thank you. You were brilliant. Just watch out for any more aliens, won't you?" he caught her up in a warm hug, trying to tell her without words that he was eternally, most ineffably grateful to her for saving his life. When they broke apart, she was smiling, blinking back a tear.
All too soon, Amy, Rory and the Doctor were settled in the back of the Jeep, waving as the engine started and they drove away, disappearing into a cloud of dust as they drove back to wherever it was they had come from.
Evans turned away, sighing, and shoved her hands into her pockets, walking back inside to clear a few things up. The Brigadier had already disappeared, presumably to take charge of his squadron.
A piece of paper brushed against her fingers and she pulled it out, frowning. She couldn't remember putting anything into her pocket. She unfolded the paper to find a phone number and a brief message in a messy, yet somehow neat scrawl, written in deep blue ink.
Just in case.
A/N - Aw man, I'm all sad to be leaving you. Now would be as good a time as ever to leave me a review and let me know what you thought of it, as a whole, or whatever. I don't mind. Just a word or two would be lovely.
I can't quite describe the egomaniac that seems to have gone wild in my brain after the completely overwhelming response that I've had from you guys. I know I've said it already, probably many times, but I can't seem to get over it. I am incredibly humbled and I'm not really sure how to thank you, except for dishing out fez-points, allowing the last few feeble waves of the pitchfork, and free fish custard to anyone who wants it. THANK YOU SO MUCH. I can't really say it enough. It's made me more happy than I can quite describe - honestly, every time I got an email saying that someone had reviewed, or sent me a message, or whatever, I was just that little bit happier. And now I'm a LOT happy.
Although I have a few new ideas that are developing nicely, you probably won't hear from me for a while because I'm leaving school on May 13th, and then I have exams, solid, until June 10th. But after that, there's a lovely long summer ahead of me (11 weeks, ah ye!) and I'll have nothing to do except write and go mental with ideas.
Thank you, once again. I honestly can't say it enough. You're all just brilliant, and don't let anyone tell you any different.
Until then, I hope you all enjoy life, and that world crisis is averted, and, just for once, everyone could just smile and get along, just for a little while. Have a wonderful lead up to summer, the very best of luck if you have Awful and Terrifying Exams like me, and Aren't You Lucky if you don't. Now get out there in the sunshine, or the rain, or the snow, or the whatever - but for the love of marmite, make it awesome.