DISCLAIMER: Dr Who in all its incarnations belongs to the mighty BBC and Russell T Davies. I’m merely a lifelong fan.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: set after end Season 3, “The Last of the Timelords” with spoilers up to Season 4: “Silence in the Library”. Some spoilers for ‘Torchwood’ Series 2.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: to ‘Something Fragile and Afraid'
I bring life
Even though she had only ever been in the Tardis for a matter of minutes Sally Sparrow dreamed of it often. Standing in that cavernous somehow organic green and gold space was a young woman, with fair hair and eyes that shone with a golden light. Somehow Sally knew that her name was Rose. Once upon a time she had been a companion to the Doctor. Something bad had happened and Rose had looked into the heart of the Tardis and the Tardis had looked right back and it had liked what it saw.
The real Rose Tyler was far away now living a new and wonderful life. So they all hoped. But this Rose lived in the Tardis forever and was the Tardis. And she welcomed Sally as she welcomed the others whose life the Doctor touched if only for a little while.
The night after the 'Titanic' space ship had almost crashlanded in London Sally dreamt of the Tardis again. And this time beside Rose there stood another young woman with blonde curls and wide blue eyes.
"How did I come to be here?" the woman asked. Somehow Sally knew that her name was Astrid.
"Because no one dies," Rose smiled gently. "I bring life."
"Where are we going?" Astrid asked.
"Somewhere wonderful. That's how it is in the TARDIS. Next stop: Everywhere."
There was a monitor screen in front of them. On it they could see the Doctor fiddling with something on the console.
"He talks to me all the time, you know. Sometimes I even think he can hear me when I reply," Rose said. "He doesn't like to be in here by himself. It gives him too much time to think, to remember."
"He asked if I wanted to travel with him," Astrid remembered. "I remember how lonely he seemed, even in a crowd of people. Doesn't he have any family, any friends?"
"More than he knows," Rose smiled. "We're going to meet some of them very soon. It's almost time. And of course, he has us." She reached out and squeezed Astrid's hand. "He'll always have us watching over him."
Always. Sally woke up. She meant to tell her friends at the next meeting about her dream of the Doctor but by then she had forgotten it.
Another time, another place
There was a good turn-out for the May meeting of F.ot.D in the back room of 'Sparrow and Nightingale'. As ever, speculation was rife about which weird and wonderful events in the world news might have the Doctor or other alien influences behind them. No one knew for certain if he was involved in the Adipose fiasco or the continuing crisis with the world's bee population. Martha Jones who had missed the last two meetings because of work commitments was able to confirm that she had seen the Doctor recently as he helped UNIT to combat the Sontaran invasion and the Atmos poisoning. "And I met his new companion, Donna Noble," she said. "She's our contemporary, we've exchanged details and hopefully we can keep in touch after " she grinned. "She'll keep him on his toes, believe me. She doesn't suffer his nonsense and she's got a mind of her own. Almost as much as " Her smile slipped.
"Almost as much as ?" Sarah Jane Smith prompted, sensing a story.
"Sorry, Sarah Jane, it's not my story to tell," Martha said.
Sarah Jane just nodded, knowing that she wouldn't get anything else out of Martha. "So what stories can you tell us?" she asked.
Martha told them as much as she could of her experiences with 'Pharm' whilst she was seconded to Torchwood. "Travelling with the Doctor changes us more than we realised and our medical science is beginning to catch up with that. It shows up in our cells. Artron energy from the Tardis the different atmospheres and types of radiation that we were exposed to in the places that we visited with the Doctor."
"Are we in danger?" Tegan Jovanka asked. "It's been a long time since I travelled with the Doctor and I haven't noticed anything wrong "
"It's been even longer for me," Liz Shaw said. "And I haven't noticed any side effects. In fact I've always been disgustingly healthy."
Barbara Chesterton and Jo Jones confirmed Liz's story. "Perhaps the good health is a side effect in itself," Jo said. "So could there be people after us because of it?"
"If information about it gets into the wrong hands, perhaps," Martha shuddered. Pharm's lack of ethics gave her nightmares still. The callous way they used their unwitting subjects should have died out with the Tunguskee Experiment and Dr Mengele. She really hoped that the world was a better place than that. "We're still basically human and it's only the most cutting edge of technology that would detect the difference."
"But the people who are likely to be interested in it and us - are the same people who are most likely to have access to that kind of technology," Liz pointed out.
Fred realised that both Ace and Sarah Jane were looking at her strangely. But she had never travelled with the Doctor, so she was all right wasn't she? This artron energy wouldn't affect her in any way. Or perhaps it was something else
She did have strange dreams sometimes. Of having two hearts, of being able to regenerate, to take on a new face, a new form. Of a strange, glowing crystal that contained the power to remake creation. Of a tower, a woman pale as death with burning eyes, another woman with silver hair and an inhuman stillness. Of some sort of wolfman who held her hand so gently as if she was the most precious object in the world. Of a boy in a yellow tunic with dark hair and eyes and a shy smile, of metal machines that struck a note of terror within her. Of a place called Gallifrey. Of helplessly watching it burn.
As always she dismissed the imagined memory. Dwelling on her fragmentary past did no good to anyone least of all herself. She had to look to the future. She couldn't rely on the charity and support of others forever. Sometime soon she was going to have to make a stand for herself.
That wasn't so easy to contemplate. It wasn't that she was dependent on Ace, not exactly. It was just that the thought of dealing with this life without her near by was obscurely terrifying. And she knew from what little her other friends had been able to tell her of Ace's history that the young woman had always been something of a loner, estranged from her family since she was a teenager. Meeting up with the Doctor had probably saved her life certainly given her a purpose. She could not be expected to put up with Fred's presence in her life forever.
It wasn't as if they had made any promises to one another or even any real declarations of love. They spent most nights, when Ace wasn't working, sleeping in the same bed. Sometimes they made love, which was nice, in fact it was lovely, wonderful even, but mostly they just slept. Fred woke most mornings with her head pillowed on Ace's shoulder, Ace's arm curved over her hip, her cheek resting against Fred's hair. Fred had tried to apologise and make light of using her as a security blanket.
"If I can keep the nightmares away then please stay," Ace said. She paused. "I've been sleeping better nights as well." Fred realised how much that confession of weakness must have cost her intensely self-reliant friend.
It was the same when she made noises about perhaps finding a place of her own not that she would be able to afford much given her small salary and the extortionate price landlords wanted even for a single room.
"You're welcome to stay as long as you need, Fred. There's no hurry for you to move out. If you really feel that you're mooching off me - which you're not - well, we can come to some arrangement. I don't want any rent or anything but you could pay some of the bills," Ace said. "And I enjoy your company. I promised the Professor that I would look out for you and I would really miss you if you moved on."
So Fred had stayed another month, then a second and a third. Their relationship matured, deepened. Life wasn't perfect but it was good. But nothing lasted forever. Fred knew that she could not afford to get complacent. She had to be prepared for the worst.
Her thoughts were brought back to the conversation still raging around her.
"So what should we do to protect ourselves?" Tegan asked. "Avoid doctors, hospitals and medical trials?"
"Keep an eye out for suspicious activity," Jo Jones agreed.
"No change there then," Sarah Jane grinned. She was already on the look-out for suspicious activity 24/7. "We should keep in regular touch with one another."
"Check in, you mean," Fred nodded. "That sounds like a good idea. Ace, what do you think? You're good with security issues."
Ace smiled at the compliment. "We could rig a central pager system. The pager sends out a message every day, everyone responds to say they've received it: if they don't respond within a certain time, the system alerts whoever's monitoring and they follow up."
"Are you sure we need to go to those lengths?" Barbara asked. "You really think that this could be such a serious threat."
"Pharm's been shut down and the head researcher is dead," Martha said. "But there were a lot of researchers working on the project. Any of them could have picked up where they left off. UNIT and TORCHWOOD are on it but these people had some pretty powerful backers."
It was in an unusually subdued atmosphere that the meeting broke up. Ace promised that she'd be in touch with everyone over the next few days about the security pagers. Fred helped Larry clear the chairs and dirty cups, noticing that Ace and Sarah Jane were having an intense conversation in the corner and that both had glanced in her direction several times. Martha was about to leave when Sarah Jane called her over and she joined in their conversation. Whatever they were talking about was a surprise to Martha.
"You're kidding!" Her voice though below normal speaking tones still sounded unusually loud in the quiet room. "And she doesn't " Her eyes darted in Fred's direction. Fred was starting to feel uncomfortable.
"I'll do the washing up if you like," she told Larry, taking the tray of dirty cups off his willing hands.
"Er okay Fred, are you feeling all right? You look a bit pale."
"I just don't like the idea that someone out there might be stalking my friends," Fred said. Sally came over to join them, carrying the biscuit tin and the remains of the carrot cake that Jo had brought.
"Neither do I. I mean, the Doctor saved our lives and all and you lot have become good friends this last year or so and Larry and I well the Doctor and all of you are part of our lives as well. We might not have this artron energy thing but you and "
"No, I don't have it either. I can't I'm like you, I've never been in the TARDIS," Fred said. "In fact I've never even met the Doctor."
Sally did a double take. "But I'm sure "
"Look, these pots aren't going to wash themselves. And we've got the mums and toddlers reading group tomorrow. You'd better get the beanbags and stuff ready."
"Fred you can't avoid talking about this you know you're connected to the Doctor somehow why else ?" Something of Fred's growing distress at the turn of conversation must have shown on her face. Sally, never fond of confrontation, backed off immediately. "I'm sorry, Fred. I didn't mean "
"I know It's just "
" complicated." Sally finished the sentence for her. She swore that would be engraved on Fred's tombstone one of these days.
Fred had finished washing the cups and was just starting to dry them when Ace found her. Strong arms snuck around her waist and soft lips nuzzled at her neck for a moment. "Sally sent me to find you. She said you were upset about something."
"I'm okay, really, just concerned about all of you this Pharm business. Everything else going on in the world we don't really need a lot of bodysnatchers after us you, I mean " she paused. Ace's hand rubbed soothing circles over the small of her back. "Sally said something about me being in danger as well. But how would I have come into contact with this Artron energy?"
"I'm not sure if you're a potential target or not," Ace said. "Martha Martha wants to do a couple of tests to make sure. Face it, Fred, you don't remember who or where you were a year ago. Better to be safe than sorry."
"I suppose," Fred said softly.
It was the following weekend. Fred was dusting and rearranging the book display in the shop front when she realised she was being watched. She looked up to see a young woman dressed in combat gear, her shoulder length blonde hair pulled back in a messy ponytail. She stared at Fred for a moment and then looked down at the pda she held in her hand.
Larry edged into the narrow space beside her, a box of assorted DVDs and a rolled up poster under his arm. "There's a sci-fi fest on at the fleapit the weekend after next. They asked if we could drum up some trade for them in return for a mention on the programme flyer. And we got a stack of B-movies to get rid of so I thought we'd do a two-fer. There's some classic stuff in there. Real bargains for the discerning customer." He noticed their audience for the first time. "Cute."
"I'll tell Sally," Fred warned.
"Ah, she knows I'm a one woman man. Doesn't stop me noticing though. She's cool." He taped the poster to the window, the girl moving across slightly to study it, a frown on her face. Larry grinned at her and started to arrange his dvd's, a prominent notice in front of them advertising the two-for-the-price-of-one sale. "And we have a customer," he eased himself out of the space as the girl entered the shop.
Fred went back to sorting out the window display. Father's day was coming up within the month so she made sure that thrillers and old style westerns were prominent alongside books on cars and books on war and other things that might be attractive to the male mind.
"Fred, I think it's you she wants," Larry's slightly frustrated voice drifted over. "I'm not her type apparently." Fred bit back a smile. It wasn't very often that Larry's particular brand of clueless charm failed him. She wriggled her way back round the partition into the main shop.
"Hi, I'm Fred. What can I help you with today?" Fred smiled. The young woman was definitely easy on the eyes. There was a fresh faced innocence about her. The girl's PDA beeped and her attention was immediately on the screen. She smiled. "Got you."
"I'm sorry " Fred frowned.
"I've been following dead ends all day. I didn't realise how prevalent time travel was in this time zone. I expect it's all his fault. The professor warned me he liked to collect people. She told me that this would be the best time and place to catch up with him. Someone in this shop was giving off such a strong reading that for a moment "
"Catch up with who?"
"Oh, my dad. He doesn't half get around. Anyway, I was thinking perhaps that my dad was here which was why I talked to him first but he's so obviously not my dad. So which one are you?"
"Which one "
"Companion significant other The professor just laughed about them it was never serious not for him, anyway. I know you're not Martha or Donna 'cos I've met them. Are you you're not Rose, are you? I've heard stories "
"Fred what's going on?" Larry asked. "Should I call the batphone ?"
"I think it's okay, Larry," Fred said slowly. "I really don't think that she's one of the people Martha warned us about."
"Batphone?" the girl looked at him.
"Batphone Batman Superhero D C Comics " Registering her blank look, Larry stared at her in amazement. "I don't believe it someone else who was born yesterday."
"I was not born yesterday!" she pouted. "I was generated at least "
"It's okay," Fred soothed. "Larry didn't mean it as an insult." She laid her hand on the girl's shoulder, feeling the coolness of her skin and a shudder ran through her. She snatched her hand away as if she'd been burnt.
Two hearts beating. Stars burning falling a voice calling across unimaginable distances Something inside her stirred, woke. Something from her dreams, from the deepest recesses of her mind.
The girl turned so fast she must have given herself whiplash, eyes round with wonder. "I don't believe it, you're " Abruptly she realised when and where she was. "We need to talk."
"You felt it too," Fred breathed. "How how is this possible. Who are you?"
Larry realised he was fast becoming surplus to requirements. "I'll er well, you two obviously have a lot to erm catch up on there's boxes and boxes of stuff needs emptying . I'll be " He beat a hasty retreat, carefully closing the door to the store room behind him.
The two women stared at each other and smiled, then enveloped each other in a fierce hug, the kind that survivors give each other when they find that against all the odds they are not after all alone in the universe.
After clearing it with a bemused Larry, Fred took the girl to the coffee shop over the road. "Okay, spill," she said, after they'd been served with their coffees and flapjack for Jenny, shortbread for herself. "That means I want to know everything. Who are you what are you and what do you think you know about me?"
"My name's Jenny and, well, I'm not from round here, if you know what I mean," Jenny grinned. "I got here a couple of days ago. Hitched a lift with a friend of a friend. Really, I am looking for my father. I know he was travelling with two friends, Donna and Martha, but that could have changed by now. From the stories I've heard about him he doesn't stay in any one place or with any one person for any length of time. He's "
"The Doctor. Your father is the Doctor."
"Yes. Look, that part is really really complicated. Anyway, before he had time to tell me anything really, something happened and he had to go. There was a war, just a little one and the Doctor stopped it like he does but there was this guy didn't like that the fighting stopped. Didn't know any other way to be I suppose. And he tried to shoot the Doctor and I I stood in front of him. The charge hit me instead. He thought I was dead everyone thought I was dead. And I suppose I was, for a bit anyway. They decided that because I wasn't quite the real thing as far as his people go that I wasn't going to regenerate you knew he could do that, right?" Fred nodded. She had heard the stories from those who had witnessed it. "And he and Donna and Martha left me behind. Only something happened and I wasn't dead anymore. I didn't regenerate I still look the same. I just wasn't dead any more. I didn't get to spend more than a few hours with my father before he left me and, well, there wasn't much time when we were together what with the fighting and the running "
Hand in hand in the rain running for the joy of it for a change rather than scrambling over rocks or through a swamp running for your life the hat she had insisted on wearing threatening to blow off with every step. Being completely happy even in the face of the probable collapse of the whole time/space continuum. Time Lady. Walking in a garden in a place between worlds, outside of time. The seal of Rassilon. The moons of Gallifrey setting, the skein of stars burning across the heavens. Home.
"Yes there was always a lot of running," she said softly.
"What?" Jenny asked.
The flashback, memory, or whatever it was faded. Jenny looked at her expectantly. She shrugged. "Sorry, miles away for a second, there." Light years. "So basically you're looking for your father. And he doesn't know you're alive?"
Jenny shook her head. "I don't think so. If you've travelled with him you know how it is, keeping things straight in your head. I mean, ten days ago I was in the 51st century talking to the Professor she's an archaeologist and she's really cool - and now I'm here. I'm still learning what it all means. That's really why I need to find him. He's the only one I think who can tell me, who can really tell me what it all means. He said that he was the last of them. Does that mean he doesn't know about you?"
"No. And I made myself forget. For a while, anyway."
"He told me that I couldn't be a Time Lord that it was more than just being his daughter. And I've read up on them, I've read everything I could find about them and he's right. I don't want to be a Time Lord not the way they were. But I do want to be like him. We didn't get off to a good start, my dad and me. He didn't believe that I was real because of the way I was created from a sample of his DNA. He told me that I was just an echo," Jenny paused, visibly upset. "He said that a Time Lord was much more. A sum of knowledge, a code, a shared history, a shared suffering. And that it was gone forever, because of the war."
A skein of stars exploding like a string of firecrackers with enough force to crack space and time. Fred closed her eyes. The domed city shattering, ash falling like snow. "Everything ended," she whispered. "Everything died. And yet " She opened her eyes, directed Jenny's attention to the bustle of humanity passing along the High Street. "No one noticed. Everything continued."
"So why didn't you die?" Jenny asked. "How did you end up here?"
"I ran," Fred said simply. "I ran as hard and as far as I could. And with the help of an old friend, I made myself forget. I took everything, my memories, my experiences and hid them in a safe place. I changed myself so that I could pass for human. And I've lived on this world for over a year now. See." She took out her wallet from her back pocket and showed Jenny her driver's licence. "I go by the name of Winifred Hope Fred for short - and I was born here in London in 1977," Fred said. "At least that's what my ID tells the world. But I have no memories of who I am not clear memories anyway before about a year ago."
"If I'm going to stay around here I'm going to need I.D," Jenny said.
"Ace a friend of mine can probably help you with that." From where they sat they could see the door to the bookshop. A car, familiar to Fred, came racing around the corner and screeched to a halt outside the shop. Ace flew out of the car and into the shop.
"Oh dear, looks like we spooked Larry and he called in the cavalry," Fred said. "That was Ace. She'll be here in a minute. She's a good person, really, she can just be a bit "
"Act first ask questions later," Jenny grinned. "Someone after my own heart. So this Ace is she your "
"Yes," Fred smiled. Impetuously she decided that she could trust this young woman. "Significant other, guard dog, support network "
Fred blushed. Ace emerged from the shop, looked over to the coffee shop window. Fred waved, signaled that she was okay. Jenny giggled as they saw Ace visibly relax and turn to glare at a sheepish looking Larry.
"Come on, I'll introduce you," Fred smiled. She left a fiver on the table and Jenny followed her out back across road to the bookshop.
"Ace this is Jenny. She's well, she's looking for the Doctor. I need you to do something for me. At home the things in the lock box. I need you to bring them here. I want to give them to Jenny."
"What? Why? What's so special about you?" Ace asked Jenny directly.
"Ace, love. Trust me, please. I need you to do this for me. I'll explain everything later, I promise."
Ace cast a final suspicious look at Jenny who smiled at her brightly. "Well, if you're sure about this, Fred."
"I've never been more sure of anything," Fred said.
Ace left. Fred went to the phone and called Sarah Jane. She had the other piece of the puzzle that was her life before.
"Sarah Jane, it's Fred. It's time, I think. I need you to bring it to me now."
"Fred, are you sure? I mean, what's changed? Why now? What's happened?"
"Everything's changed," Fred said simply. "But in a good way. I'll explain when you get here."
Both women arrived back at the shop within the half hour. There had obviously been some frantic phoning around as they had brought reinforcements. Sally was leaning on the desk, talking to Jenny when Tegan arrived and a few moments later the Brigadier, freshly returned from his holiday in Peru, bustled through the door followed by Martha.
"What is going on?" he asked. "Who is this young lady?"
"Jenny?" Martha asked, incredulously. "Oh my god, does this mean it worked after all? We left you behind I'm so sorry."
"It's all right," Jenny said. "I've been traveling all over the place since, having all sorts of adventures. But I need to find my dad. I need to know more about who I am, where I fit into all of this. Fred says she can help me."
"Everyone, this is Jenny. Jenny, Martha you know, but the rest of us we're all, well, I suppose we're all friends of the Doctor. Most of the people here have traveled with him for a time. Jenny is the Doctor's daughter."
"It's true," Martha said. "She was artificially created, but she's his biological daughter."
"Well, it's a pleasure to meet you," the Brigadier said, taking Jenny's hand. Slightly awestruck everyone else introduced themselves offering a few words of explanation about where they fitted in to the Doctor's life.
The doorbell jangled again and Sarah Jane and Ace walked in. Sally went over to the door and flipped the 'Open' sign.
"We did as you asked," Sarah Jane said. She took a green leather box from her pocket and tried to hand it to Fred.
"Could you hold onto it for just a moment longer for me," Fred asked. "Ace?"
Ace was carrying a small bundle of black velvet cloth. She laid it on the floor and unwrapped the metal egg shaped object. "What do you need me to do?" she asked.
"Put it on the floor in a clear space," Fred said. "Everyone stand back."
She bent over the egg, stroked her fingers over the surface. The egg began to open, there was a flowering of light and sound. Everyone moved back another pace or two. Suddenly, in the place where the egg had been there stood a metal pillar about six feet high and three feet in diameter. Whatever metal it was made of was a dull black colour and like the egg it was chaised with lines and shapes.
"Is that what I think it is?" Sarah Jane asked.
"My Tardis. I called it back into being," Fred said.
"Does this mean that you're leaving?" Ace asked.
Fred smiled, shook her head. "I'm not going anywhere, I promise." She looked at Jenny. "Are you ready for this?"
"Sarah Jane give the watch to Jenny." Sarah opened the box and took out the silver fob watch. She handed it to Jenny who held it cupped in the palms of her hands.
"What should I do?" Jenny asked. "What is it?"
"It will open for you. It's just getting to know you at the moment. As for what it is it is who I was and everything you need to know about your father's people."
"Gallifrey and the Time Lords?"
"Gallifrey and the Time Lords," Fred confirmed.
Jenny's thumb traced the catch on the seam of the watch case. "It won't hurt, will it?" she asked softly.
"I don't know," Fred said truthfully. "I remember some terrible things but there are a lot of wonderful things as well."
"And I will still be me."
"The memories and knowledge that were once part of me will be there when you need them. Otherwise all your thoughts and feelings will be your own, I promise."
Jenny nodded, unsmiling and took a deep breath. "Here goes. See you on the other side." She thumbed the catch and the watch case sprang open. For a long second nothing happened and then tendrils of golden light rose from the watch. They tumbled lazily in the air for a moment before enveloping Jenny. Jenny closed her eyes, her brow creased in pain and confusion.
"So much," she whispered. "So much!"
"We should stop this," Martha said, clutching at Fred's arm. "It's too much for her."
"We can't stop it. And she's all right. See?" Fred smiled.
The light had faded. Martha turned to see Jenny smile again, dimples showing. The watch case was closed, clasped between her palms as she bowed her head over it for a moment. Jenny turned to Fred, embraced her. "Thank you," she said. "I can never thank you enough."
"I know you'll put it to good use. You're his daughter, after all, impossible man that he is." The sentiment was echoed by everyone else in the room. Fred took Jenny's hand and laid it palm-down on the surface of the TARDIS, her own hand on top, fingers entwined. Golden light spilled from their joined hands traveling around the engraved lines and grooves on the surface of the pillar until it glowed with a soft nimbus of light. When the glow faded, instead of the metal pillar there was a tall book case."
"The chameleon circuit is active. It's attuned to you now," Fred said. She took her hand away. Jenny's hand remained, stroking the surface, now apparently made of leather bound volumes. She read the title of the book she was touching and started to laugh. 'Time and Relative Dimensions in Space: a beginner's guide.' She pressed on the title and the door opened, light spilling out from the space inside.
Craning her head, Sally could see that the interior of this Tardis appeared to be blue and silver rather than the green and gold she remembered from the Doctor's Tardis. The memory of her dreams came back to her and she knew what she had to do.
"Larry, do you think you could manage on your own for a while?" she asked.
"Er, yeah, I suppose, why?" Larry asked, a moment later twigging what was on her mind. "You don't mean "
"Sally?" Jenny asked.
"The Doctor always has a companion and I don't see that his daughter should be any different," Sally said. "If that's okay with you."
Jenny reached out, took Sally's hand. "That sounds fantastic," she said. They stood on the threshold. "So where shall we go first?"
"I don't know," Sally said. Then she remembered something Rose had said in her dream. "Next stop: Everywhere."
"We'd better get going then," Jenny said. "That's a lot of ground to cover." She turned and smiled at everyone. "My father is so lucky to have friends like you in his life. If you see him before I do, tell him I'm fine and that I miss him and I might just run into him one of these days."
"We will," Martha said, coming forward to give the girl a hug. "Take care, both of you."
The TARDIS door shut and seconds later they heard the familiar sound of the dematerialization circuits. Jenny's Tardis had an altogether more melodious sound than her father's. And a moment later, they were gone.
Fred hugged her arms around herself. Her memories from before were back but they were distant, a reminder of a past that was done. She could never go back, now, even if she had wanted to.
"Are you okay?" Ace asked her. "What you gave up I don't understand how you could do it, how you could just walk away "
"Very easily," Fred said. "I think it's a matter of perception. I'm a different person now, I have a different life." She smiled. "A life I happen to like very much. I have a job, friends Ace. I don't think I had this before. I don't think I was loved." She looked up at Ace, who looked down at her with a smile on her face, her hand gently touching Fred's cheek. To those watching it was clear for the moment that the two women had forgotten there was anyone else in the room.
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