One Last Time, Okay?

This is based off a Headcanon of my own from Season 8, Episode 20, Pac-Man Fever. (Spoiler Alert!) When Charlie starts to read The Hobbit to her mother, there is a part where she says "One last time, okay?" And if look into her eyes, it almost looks as if she's quoting her mom—as if she's repeating what her mother used to say to her on the nights she'd pick up the book and read it over again to her daughter. I can just imagine Gertrude picking it up because Charlie's requested it, her favorite book, to be read once again and Gertrude just says, "One last time, okay?" But it's never the last time because Charlie keeps asking her to read it again once they finish.

This fic is co-written by myself and LetGo-LetOpenDoorsOfPurgatory. The first part (before we hit the line break) was written by her. The rest after that was written by myself. This was originally posted to Tumblr, under a post I wrote about the Headcanon.

Disclaimer: We do not own anything but our own ideas.

Summary: Spoilers for 8x20, Pac-Man Fever! Headcanon: What if when Charlie says "One last time, okay?" in the hospital room, it's because she's quoting what her mother told her when she was a kid and wanted to hear The Hobbit again? Co-written by myself and BecauseI'mCatwoman!

The little red-headed girl sits cuddled in her bed. Her blankets are swaddled around her for warmth as she lays there. To her left there is a lamp that radiates a soft white around the light blue room. The walls are decorated with a few Star Wars posters. The 12 year old is obviously waiting for something. She hears the footsteps coming down the hallway and she becomes more eager, squirming. Mrs. Middleton always read The Hobbit to little Charlie to get her to go to bed at night. The door opens and in steps the mother of the child, the book tucked safely under her arm. "Momma!" Charlie cried happily. Gertrude laughs bit as she takes a seat on the edge of her bed. "Ready for bed, babygirl?" Charlie nodded to her mother and slid down onto her fluffy pillows. Her green eyes sparkled brilliantly beneath the soft lamp light as her mother slid the book beneath her leg.

"I don't think I'll read it to you tonight."

"But mommaaa!" Charlie whines petulantly. "You have to!" It had become a habit for young Charlie. Every night since the New Year her mother had read it to her. They were just getting to starting the book for the fifteenth time! She couldn't just stop now. Gertrude laughs.

"One last time, okay?" She states for the fourteenth time as she pulls the book from beneath her leg and opens to the first page. "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."

Soon little Charlie falls asleep, the words of The Hobbit having lulled her to bed. Gertrude closes the book and smiles to her daughter. She leans over and kisses her forehead. "You've got a big day tomorrow, sweetheart." She states, knowing it would be Charlie's first sleepover ever. Only, neither of them knew that after Charlie left tomorrow for her big day…that tonight would definitely be the last conscious 'One last time' for the two of them.

The "big day", as her mother put it, was finally here. Charlie was beyond excited. Her parents dropped her off at the designated time, kissing her and giving her a hug, reminding her that if she had any problems that she was to call them right away. She had promised she would, even though she doubted it would happen. What kind of scaredy-cat called their parents on the night of their first sleepover? Not Charlie.

The party was much fun that she was kept so busy she didn't even realize she missed her parents—that is, until it was nighttime, and all the little girls were bid to sleep.

Charlie sat awake for a long time. She couldn't sleep. This wasn't her house; wasn't her bed. Her parents weren't here; her mom wasn't here to read The Hobbit to her like she had every night for a long time. They were on the fifteenth reading of the story; Charlie had kept track. She never got tired of it, and her mother read it so beautifully she often found herself not wanting to sleep, just to hear the next part which was already committed to her pre-adolescent memory.

Before she knew it, tears were pouring freely from her eyes. Sobbing quietly, trying to hide it, Charlie remembered what her parents had told her when they dropped her off. Call if you need anything. She needed something all right; Charlie needed her parents. Shyly, she searched for her friend's parents, asking them if she could please call her parents—she needed to go home. They had given her a small, sympathetic smile and handed her the phone, and Charlie dialed home.

Little did she know that that phone conversation would be the last she would ever share with her parents.