She looked older than you during the War. That happens sometimes, children aging in a regeneration further than their parent. It was common, normalcy. All the same, even with your youthful face and dark red curls versus the streaks of white in her ginger hair, she still called you ‘Grandfather’ and you doted on her...that’s the way a family should be. Ice cream in the parks, watching meteor storms light up the sky.
The War. Not three hours after you saw her for the first time in two centuries, and you were barking orders of death into a communicator to your grandchild, and she was calling you ‘Sir’. The thought of her calling you that makes you nauseated today. Why had you let her go? You were guardian, that meant that you had the ability, no the responsibility to make her stay behind. Protect her. Stop everything from going to hell.
And go to hell it did. The lines fell back, Susan lost a regeneration and the rest of her squadron in the battle. Curled up and hiding from the swarming Dalek forces, she pieced together her communicator to make a last goodbye to you.
“It was never your fault, Grandfather.”
You don’t remember what you said in return. Something blubbery and infinitely immature, begging her to try, that you would find her. Save her.
“No, Grandfather, you can’t. It’s my time.”
The comm. Was staticy, and you could see in the white noise your granddaughter. Brilliant Susan. Tiny dark pigtails and bright pink bows reading aloud from Charles Dickson to you as the TARDIS flew in orbit. Growing, maturing, tinkering with bits of machinery and brightly smiling at you through the glow of the console as a new destination was picked. Holding your hand as you aged, keeping you safe when you might’ve died. She was your child and still your hero.
“There must be no tears,” she said, quietly, her voice muffled and frightened-sounding, “No regrets. No anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. I love you, Grandfather.”
There was a sound of a crash.
Parents should not outlive their children. You just outlived your whole line. Your only living family, dead. And with her, a large piece of you died as well. A kinder, more merciful piece. By the time the rest of the communicator crew turned to offer condolences, you were already gone, armour on, gun in hand.
You don’t like to think what you did to that Dalek squadron. One day you’re sure you’ll come to terms with it. That day is not today.
Muse: the Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 495