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In honor of Father’s day: The Doctor goes to keep an old tryst. (Note: Cross-posted to Fanfiction and my Tumblr blog.) The author is not responsible for any excess of feels.


The Doctor appeared on Susan’s doorstep five hours and forty years late, though when she invited him inside she expected it had been longer for him. He took off his hat, awkwardly, looking as if he wanted to roll the brim between his long, slender fingers. “You look lovely, Susan,” he said, stumbling awkwardly over the words. Susan half-smiled.

“Good to see you too, Grandfather.”

His tie was askew and his hair was wild, as if he’d taken a dive through the vortex before getting dressed and hadn’t found the time to tame it again. Carefully, Susan replaced the long, soft curls into something resembling order and took his hand. “Shall we?”

The TARDIS was different from how it had been; instead of gleaming white, the walls honeycombed with roundels, there was an ancient cathedral-like room, lined with books and candles and clocks. “You’ve redecorated,” Susan murmured, brushing her hand along the edge of the wood and brass console. The TARDIS chimed a faint greeting. The Doctor ducked his head, shyly.

“Yes,” he said quietly. “It seemed like time for a change.” He stood there, leaning against the door frame, a slight figure all but lost in the gloom, the shadows at the edges of the enormous space. Susan felt an ache in her chest that could not be explained by her recent cold. The Doctor walked briskly across the open space and leaned the elegant cane against the console, throwing levers and pressing knobs.

They materialized in a broom closet and joined the party as inconspicuously as they could. “We’re overdressed,” Susan said in an undertone. A half-smile pulled at the corners of the Doctor’s mouth.

“Just a little.” He held out a hand. “Would you care to dance, Mrs. Campbell?” She didn’t say anything–she just gave him a little, sad half-smile.

They had one misstep–the Doctor tripped over a floorboard during a complicated step and almost dropped her, but caught her at the last moment. “Sorry,” he whispered. “Out of practice.”

At one point, when the Doctor momentarily left her to get some punch for both of them, one of the older gentlemen attending came across to speak to Susan. “Pleasant-spoken young man,” he said. “Is he your father?”

“My grandfather, actually,” Susan corrected him. The older man paled.

“Good lord.”

When it was time to go home, the Doctor landed at the end of the street and walked Susan to her front door. She paused in the doorway.

“Thank you for tonight,” she said, quietly. The Doctor ducked his head abashedly.

“I tend to forget a lot of things in this life,” he said, softly. “I thought it was time to… give you some closure. I’m not getting any younger.” Susan smiled sadly.

“Come here.” His coat smelled faintly of old books, lavender and honey. She pressed her face gratefully against it.

“I missed you,” he confessed.

“I know.”