Letting go isn't always easy, but more often than not is necessary. [Eighth Doctor]
Fandom: Doctor Who
Summary: Letting go isn't always easy, but more often than not is necessary.
Notes: Doctor Who belongs to the BBC, though I'd gladly adopt Four and Eight if given the chance.
He was late. Grace had never known the Doctor to be late before, especially on this particular date. After the incident with the Master and the Eye of Harmony, Grace and the Doctor had shared an unspoken agreement that they'd meet every year. Same place, same time. She knew he was easily distracted and often forgetful, but this was the first time in five years that he hadn't returned to Earth to spend New Year's with her right on time.
What had changed this year? Grace wondered if the Doctor had actually forgotten this time while he was off galavanting around the stars. Maybe he'd just decided to rather abruptly end her hopes of him ever staying for little more than a day or two; every time he'd visited before, he'd left the offer of travelling with him open just as she'd left the offer of staying with her open.
Maybe he'd found someone else to travel with... Maybe he was caught up in something... Maybe he had regenerated again...or perhaps was even killed... Grace had no idea why the Doctor had missed their appointed meeting time. She wasn't terribly worried; he was a Time Lord who had survived for centuries now. It wasn't as if he couldn't look after himself.
But even then, a small part of the surgeon was concerned for the errant Time Lord. He could be so naive sometimes, so child-like in his nature that he got himself into trouble more often than not without realizing how.
Or maybe...this was his way of forcing them both to let go. He had wanted her to come travelling with him; she had wanted him to stay on Earth with her. Either way, one of them would have been miserable. It was hardly love between either of them, but still they had clung to each other in what almost amounted to desperation for company. It really wasn't healthy; Grace had realized this long ago, but kept up with meeting the Doctor regularly every year for New Year's. Perhaps the Doctor had just come to this conclusion and decided that it was better for them both to move on.
With a slight sigh, Grace stood from the park bench and stretched a bit before taking one last glance around for the Time Lord's old police box. It wasn't anywhere she could see.
"See you around the universe, Doctor," Grace murmured as she left, heading back home.
Unseen to the surgeon, keen blue eyes watched her from atop one of the buildings nearest the park. The distinctive blue police box sat behind the Time Lord, a young girl poking her head out of the doors.
"Goodbye, Grace," the Doctor offered in a whisper, a sad smile crossing his aristocratic features.
"Who was that?" Charley asked, peeking over the Doctor's shoulder to get a look at the woman he had been watching.
"An old friend," he replied. "Someone best left to get on with her life. She could never be a part of mine, nor I a part of hers. Best that she moves on."
Charley favored the Doctor with a solemn expression before wrapping him up in a hug from behind, resting her head on his shoulder. "Will she have a good life?"
The Doctor smiled widely now, tilting his head to lean against Charley's. "Yep. She'll have better tomorrows now without the memories of all those yesterdays holding her back."
"That's good," Charley replied. She released the Time Lord from her embrace when he shifted to stand up. The pair returned to the TARDIS in silence, the door locking behind them as they entered the camouflaged timeship.
The TARDIS remained on the rooftop for another minute before the familiar grinding and wheezing of the engines started up, the blue box dematerializing into the time vortex while Grace Holloway started the rest of her life without the Doctor there.