Note: This is the final chapter for this little story and I hope you like it. I wasn't sure what direction to take this and it turned out a little better than I expected. I've decided to end it here because I feel that this is a good moment to stop and move on to other projects. I plan to participate in Frankenwolf week so I figured it best to wrap this up before I start more Frankenwolf stories. It's a simple and straightforward ending and hopefully, not too cheesy. I was also very obviously inspired by some memorable lines from Doctor Who.
Thank you to everyone who has read the story and I'd love to hear from you! Any comments and feedback would be most welcome.
The good doctor sank into his chair after a long, grueling day. He sighed and rubbed his aching head. It was tough being one of the few licensed physicians in town. He had to take care of almost all types of injuries.
Sometimes he thought that if he had taken that commission in the army, it would have been less work than what he had to put up with in Storybrooke. But then again, that was another life.
There was a knock at the door and Whale looked up to see a smiling Ruby holding out a basket of goodies.
He grinned at her.
"You're an angel," he said gratefully as she put the basket on his desk and brought out a thermos of piping hot coffee.
"Hardly," she replied with a smile, "Everything all right?"
"So far," he said, "but I still have a bunch of other patients to see in a bit. Hopefully, people stop getting into accidents but I think that may be too much to ask in Storybrooke."
"That bad, huh?" Ruby asked sympathetically.
"I know I shouldn't complain though," Viktor remarked, "I like keeping myself busy. Everything all right with you?"
"Just fine, thanks," Ruby replied, "although we're all really dismayed about what happened to the bean fields."
"Oh, yes, I heard about that," Whale said, "I'm sorry."
"I still think there will be some beans left undamaged," Ruby continued, "they asked me to sniff around and though I haven't found any live seedlings yet, I think whoever torched the fields would have kept some for him or herself. It's only a matter of finding out who was behind it."
"And I don't think there's a very long list of suspects for that," Whale added, "especially with Cora gone. Only a handful of people in town would have any motive to destroy everyone else's hopes."
"I know," Ruby agreed, "but it's one thing to find out who committed a crime and another to confront them about it."
"When that time comes, please be careful," Dr. Whale said in a concerned voice, "I wouldn't want you to get hurt."
Ruby was surprised at how solemn he was and she tried to lighten the mood a bit.
"Don't worry, doc," she reassured him, "you won't have another patient on your roster. I'll be careful."
"I'm serious, Ruby," Whale said adamantly not even trying to hide how much he cared for her, "There's so much at stake now and I think the people involved will be willing to risk everything just to get what they want, no matter who stands in their way."
"I know that," Ruby replied in a more subdued tone, "and I'm not planning on throwing my life away for anything. I am looking forward to the future."
"Yes, when you get to go home again," Viktor said sadly, "I'm sure the issue with the beans will be sorted out. Knowing the intrepid members of Snow and Charming's family, things will fall into place soon enough. Everyone will be able to return to their lands soon."
"Only if they want to," Ruby added, boldly bringing up something she had wanted to talk to him about for quite some time now.
Whale raised an eyebrow at her in puzzlement.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
Ruby sighed and saw that she would have to be more explicit. She wasn't sure if he was being clueless on purpose or if he really had no idea of what she was about to discuss. Either way, the truth needed saying.
"Viktor," she began gently, "I know that you've been having some doubts about returning to your world."
The doctor's expression grew grim but this did not dissuade Ruby.
"And I've been giving it some thought for the past few days," Ruby continued, "and I figured that maybe, only if you want to, you could come with us."
Viktor stared at her incredulously. But she was looking at him expectantly and he could see that she had meant every word. He didn't know how to react to this.
"And I don't just mean back to the Enchanted Forest," Ruby clarified, "because at this rate, we're not even sure if that's going to work out. I meant that you don't have to be alone anymore. You've endured the curse for 28 years along with everyone else. You're one of us now. And if you want, I wish you would come with us, wherever we end up."
"I," he began hesitantly but could not find a way to continue. He turned away from Ruby and tried to gather his thoughts properly while Ruby waited for his answer anxiously. This was better than anything he had ever hoped for. She was inviting him to go with her.
"Thank you," he managed to say after a few moments of happy confusion, "that really means a lot to me. I.. I would love to go with you, wherever you may go."
Ruby heaved a sigh of relief. For a moment there she had been afraid that he would refuse and she didn't know how she would bear it. But seeing the surprised joy and gratitude in his eyes made her unbelievably happy.
"That's great!" she exclaimed jubilantly.
And as was her nature, she threw her arms around him in an affectionate embrace.
Viktor was even more overwhelmed by this gesture and for a few moments he stood frozen in utter surprise. But her arms held him tight and he could almost feel the beating of her heart against his. Slowly and carefully, he put his arms around her and returned the hug sincerely.
"I'm so glad you said 'yes'," she whispered into his ear.
"I don't think I could ever refuse you," he replied honestly to which Ruby simply tightened her hold around him, "you mean so much to me."
They had not expected to reveal so much of their true feelings in such a simple way. But now that they had, they realized that there was never any need for big speeches or sweeping, romantic gestures. They had always understood each other well enough to forego the usual processes. Monster to monster, they shared a unique and powerful bond that would never be broken.
"So, it's a deal then?" Ruby said, pulling away from the embrace slightly so that she could get a good look at him, "We're going together or not at all. Is that clear?"
"It's a deal," he replied, beaming back at her, "together or not at all."