A/N: A moment of introspection for One as he considers events coming to a close. (from 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth').

. . .

Closing Time

. . .

He hadn't meant to leave her behind, not so suddenly, certainly not so completely.

Yet suddenly the game was up, the last counter raked in and she was the one losing. Or gaining. They had never spoken of it, of her need to be needed, her need to have someone to watch over her and yet to watch over.

He had, he had to admit, wanted it. He engaged in the cycle, taking his turn in the caring and the caring for, the other half of the circle, the loop in the eternal figure eight, or perhaps moreso the continuation of a spiral downward.

They'd been on the run for so long, just the two of them. Far too long for one so young, far too long for one so old, before there were others to think of.

Her inexperience, her fragile, easily-frightened psyche called for his grandfatherly touch. He was her protector, and she looked to him for a wing to shelter beneath; he gave it knowing without her he would have had nothing to really call his own. He had needed to be assured and reassured that he was capable of protecting. Adrift, wanderers, it had suited them for a time.

That time was up.

He would no longer play the grandfather to her granddaughter, no longer play the elder in frailty to her youthful strength. His wing could not be extended over a fledgling so nearly fledged. It was time for her to grow up, to grow apart; he would not bend her to his own path any longer.

In her youth, she didn't recognize her own need for freedom. It would have to be up to him to cut that bond, to set both of them free.

He placed his hand on the door lock.

Goodbye, Susan. Goodbye, my dear.