A/N: If you are still reading this, kudos… because man, it took a long time for me to finish. I just want to say thank you for not cursing me and for remaining to stay enthralled in this fic. So here it is, the last chapter. Enjoy.
It had been four years since Clara Oswald and her daughter Ellie left the Doctor, and they had not seen the Doctor since. Clara realized that it was for the best considering she could have never lead a life with him on the TARDIS and it would not have been fair for Ellie to have to endure her step father constantly leaving. Clara was perfectly capable of being by herself and after everything she had been through with her deceased husband, she preferred it that way. However, seeing the Doctor regularly would have been a welcomed surprise after their final adventure together. She would have given anything to have him be a small part of Ellie's life. She would have given anything to have him be a small part of her life.
Ellie was fast asleep in the room next to where Clara was currently doing dishes. Clara very rarely got time to herself, so she took advantage of it and began to think. She scrubbed a dish and put it off to the side in the drying rack. What if the Doctor had stayed and turned out to be a great father? What if she was worried for nothing? What would she tell Ellie if she ever began to ask about what her father did or who he was? It was all too much to think about and Clara found herself putting the dishes down and walking towards the couch. Ellie was now four and she could definitely find her way out to Clara if she needed her. She took this moment to lay back and relax for the first time in what felt like months. Her life was hard, but she knew she would not change it for the world.
In the midst of drowsing off, she heard a noise. Not a regular noise, but a noise that she remembered hearing four years ago just as her favorite man in the universe scurried away from her. She pushed herself up off her couch and ran to her window. A big blue box was situated right outside and she could hear her heart flutter with excitement. It had been four years. Four years of waiting for him to return and today was the day she would finally get to see her Doctor again. She ran through her flat towards Ellie's room in order to make sure she was still fast asleep, and once she confirmed that she was she sprinted through the front door and towards what looked like the TARDIS. A man in purple tweed appeared from the front doors as he braced himself for Clara's impact. They were in each other's arms as soon as Clara reached him.
"Well, hey there!" he said while spinning her around in his arms.
"I missed you" she confessed as she began to tear up.
He pulled away from her. "Clara" he whispered as he looked down at her face, now red with tears.
"It's been four years…" she trailed off and started to distance herself from him.
"Four years?" he whimpered, trying not to cry.
"Yeah" she frowned, "Ellie's four now".
He looked around nervously, clearly trying to find the words to fix the past, but he gave up and the only thing he could muster up was, "I'm sorry".
The two of them walked hand and hand back to Clara's apartment and talked about what had happened between them. The Doctor apparently never meant to be gone for that long, for him it had only been a matter of months since he last saw her. However, the TARDIS may have gotten itself off track and brought him four years into the future instead of a few months. Clara grinned, now she knew exactly why the Doctor could never be a larger part of their tiny family. He was just too unreliable.
The two of them sat on Clara's couch and rekindled their friendship while drinking tea. It was like the older times when neither of them had to worry about what was going on with their lives or how they could never properly be a family. They just sat and accepted their fate. It was a melancholy experience for the both of them. A lot of their sentences were punctuated by tears and their lack of personal space was increasing as time went on. Clara's hand found her way to his lower thigh and his arm was around her waist. They were so engulfed by each other's presence that they did not even realize that Ellie had woken up and was right behind the two of them.
"Mom" she cried as she ran around the couch and into Clara's lap.
Clara looked up at the Doctor tried to think of what she should say, but all that came out of her mouth was, "Honey…"
"Hello" the Doctor started his eyes still red from crying, "I'm the Doctor".
Ellie snugged into Clara's arms, clearly trying to get as far away from the strange man as possible. She was scared. It was only normal, but Clara wished that Ellie knew that the Doctor would never do anything bad to her. He was a nice man, but Ellie did not know that because the Doctor had been gone for four years. There were four years of Ellie's life that the Doctor would never know or be able to witness. Clara began to tear up and sigh.
"Ellie" the Doctor smiled as he looked down at the little girl before him, "I'm not going to hurt you. I'm mommy's friend".
Clara smiled at this. That was something he could be, a friend. "Yes, dear" she said holding Ellie up to her chest, "He's a very good man and a wonderful friend".
Ellie moved away from her mother and looked up at the Doctor with her big brown eyes and her bow tie shaped lips formed a tiny smile. She was never scared of the Doctor again.
Twenty years later:
"Clara, what do you want me to do with this?" he yelled staring down at the tuxedo laid in front of him on the spare bed.
"Put it on!" Clara screamed exasperatedly as she ran through her flat trying to get ready.
The Doctor looked around the room and slowly got dressed into the tuxedo which was complete with a bow tie. "Ellie is too young for this" the Doctor whispered to himself before slipping into his socks.
"She's twenty four" a voice from the doorway stated before walking up beside him. "This man is good to her, Doctor. She will be fine".
He smirked, "I'm glad I got this day right. I wouldn't want to miss this" he said as he pulled Clara close to him.
"Think it's time to tell her about our relationship?" Clara laughed.
"Clara…" he chuckled, "If she hasn't realized it yet, there's no helping her" he could not help feeling overwhelmed by the joy being a part of Clara's family had given him. He left for months at a time, but always came back. Ellie was still unaware of their budding relationship and Clara was awful hesitant about telling her. Ellie always knew the Doctor as a family friend, so the Doctor saw where Clara was coming from by not telling her sooner. It had been four years since they decided to finally consider themselves as lovers, but Ellie was nineteen and Clara did not want her getting her hopes up for a new father.
"Maybe we should wait until after the wedding".
"Maybe we should".
The wedding was beautiful, and Ellie looked absolutely gorgeous. She was the starlet of the night and all eyes were rightfully on her. Her husband was a tall man who looked as though he would give her the world. However, if he turned out to be like Clara's first husband, the Doctor would personally save her from her misery. He promised Clara that he would keep an eye out for her, even after she had passed. It was always extremely hard talking about Clara aging and passing, but it was something that was necessary if he wanted to spend the rest of her life with her.
The two of them danced the night away at Clara's daughter's wedding, and they both presented themselves as the happiest of couples. Clara's dress was short and red, and she looked remarkably gorgeous in it for someone who had a daughter who was getting married. The Doctor wore his black tuxedo with pride and swept Clara off her feet while they danced. By the end of the night, the two of them were so taken in by each other that they shared a soft but passionate kiss on the dance floor. It was beautiful, and there was only one problem.
"I knew it" Ellie grinned as she ran up to her mother and hugged her.
"Ellie..." Clara began trying to save herself from what just happened.
She interrupted and looked at the Doctor, "Take good care of her. I trust you, Doctor". She then started beaming as she grabbed her husband's hand and pulled him back in for a dance.
"Remind me again why we didn't tell her sooner" the Doctor whispered into Clara's ear as they pressed up against each other for another dance.
"No idea" Clara laughed as he dipped her in beat with the music. Everything was beautiful.
She spent the rest of her life with him, running away from aliens and making soufflés. However, the inevitability of their situation arose quicker than they both hoped and she was growing old. The Doctor wished that there was something he could do in order to put a stop to time, but there was no way. She had lived for ninety years, sixty of which were with him. It was a rainy Wednesday when she passed away from old age and the Doctor was with her the entire time. He held her hand and cried with her daughter.
With her last breath she turned to him and muttered, "Run you clever boy… and remember". His face was pained with shock as she closed her eyes and died. He thought back to the two versions of her he had met previously and refused to stop looking. His plan was to save her; he would do anything to give her the best lives possible. He loved her, and that needed to be shown to her as much as possible. He was going to run and find her… no matter what got in the way. She would be safe with him, no matter the cost. He swore the next time he found her; he would protect her from people like her ex-husband. He would be her protector.