Title: Old Friends, Bookends
Author: Andrea, Hermione.Granger@att.net
Fandom: Dr. Who
Rating: FRM (Some language, angst)
Characters: The Doctor, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, Sgt. John Benton, Jo Grant, Clifford Jones, Felicity Lethbridge-Stewart (OFC), Sgt. Major Arthur Jones (OMC), Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart
Summary: Old friends return
Disclaimers: I do not own any of the characters from Dr. Who; I’m just borrowing and trying to play God, which in itself is not good. I also might be going a bit against canon, so don’t hate me. I’m taking liberties here, especially with the Brig’s family.
Contains lyrics from “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” by Pearl Jam
Part 1: A Birthday Surprise
I just wanted to scream, “Hello.”
My God it’s been so long
Never dreamed you’d return
But now here you are, and here I am
Hearts and thoughts they fade away…
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town – Pearl Jam
OCTOBER 24, 2008
It was late afternoon in the home of Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart where he and his granddaughter Felicity were having afternoon tea. He glanced over at her sitting at the table across from him sipping tea trying to conceal his amazement that the young woman seated before him was just a little girl so many years ago and that she would soon be thirty. Felicity caught her grandfather’s eye and grinned. The Brigadier, who in his long military career didn’t really gain a reputation as a person who smiled a great deal, couldn’t help but return the smile. They sat in silence for a little while longer until Felicity decided to break it.
Felicity paused and took another sip of tea. “I just wanted to know if you were okay. You just seemed a bit quiet.”
“Just lost in my thoughts I suppose.”
Felicity nodded. “Just as long as you’re okay. You know I worry about you. Especially since after Grandma Doris passed away.”
“I know you do, my dear, but you really shouldn’t worry about me so much. I’m concerned about you, especially since you haven’t been getting enough rest, working those ghastly hours at UNIT. Of course that is the nature of the beast as a friend of mine used to say.”
“I suppose so Grandfather.”
The Brigadier regarded his granddaughter silently for a moment. He was amazed that this young woman sitting in front of him used to be a little girl not so long ago. Of course he sometimes forgot how stubborn and headstrong she was, especially once she got some crazy idea into her head, but then again, that was the nature of a Lethbridge-Stewart, wasn’t it. He also learned that any emotional agitation came at a price, not that Felicity would intentionally hurt anyone, but since she knew very little about her father, or about what she was, it was best not to risk anything in telling her the truth.
The Brigadier placed his cup on the table, got up, and motioned for Felicity to follow him. “Felicity, I’ve got something to show you.”
The Brigadier chuckled. “Couldn’t think of a better time.”
Felicity shrugged. “Lead the way then.”
The afternoon was brisk and sunny when the Brigadier led Felicity to the garage behind the house. He knew that it wasn’t her birthday just yet, but he was a bit impatient about giving Felicity her “special present”. The Doctor left him the responsibility so long ago, but who ever knew if and when The Doctor was ever coming back. He led Felicity to the garage door and made her stop before they entered.
“Felicity, please close your eyes and hold out your hand.”
“Oooh, what is it?”
The Brigadier couldn’t help smiling as he slipped a set of keys into her hand and led her inside the garage. “All right, you may open your eyes now.”
Felicity opened her eyes and gasped in surprise and delight. There before was a vintage 1920’s yellow roadster, the exact car that she saw in her grandfather’s old photos from when he was at UNIT. So that was why he was being so mysterious. Felicity hugged her grandfather.
“Oh my GOD, it’s beautiful. I can’t believe you gave me a car. Thank you.”
“You’re quite welcome, my dear.”
“Grandfather, this is incredible. Where did you find it?”
“Her name is Bessie and she used to belong to my friend The Doctor. I put her on mothballs for a while after he left the last time, but as he used to say, a car is like a racehorse, it needs to run every once in a while.”
Felicity walked around examining Bessie in awe and then opened the driver’s side door and sat behind the wheel. “She’s beautiful. Artie is going to flip when he sees her.”
The Brigadier couldn’t help but grin at Felicity’s enthusiasm about Bessie. She reminds me a bit of The Doctor. He adored that car. Come to think of it, the strange way she dresses and her fondness for gadgets, it’s a wonder that I can never look at her without being reminded of The Doctor.
“Yes, my dear?”
Felicity grinned at her grandfather. “Would your friend The Doctor get upset that you’ve installed Bessie with a brand new sound system?”
“I’m not quite sure, I can never tell what he’s going to be like each time I see him. And it’s been such a long time, I’m not sure if he’ll ever return to a time where I’ll see him again.”
“He’s got a time machine?”
“I suppose you can call it that. He’s been all over time and space. Quite a lonely existence if you ask me. It does seem to suit him, or so he has said.”
“How can anyone stand being alone all the time? Then again, I’m one to talk, aren’t I?”
Felicity sighed and then opened the passenger side door of Bessie to let her grandfather in. “You know what? Let’s see how this girl drives. Shall we go out and ‘survey the domain’?”
The Brigadier rolled his eyes and shook his head, but he still couldn’t help but smile. His Felicity, at that moment, did indeed sound like The Doctor.
Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart looked down in amazement at the baby lying in his wife’s arms and was in total awe. After four years of marriage, he and his wife, Meredith were both finally blessed with a son of their own. He’s just absolutely gorgeous. Most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Good Lord, Granddad was just over the moon, going on about “The next generation of the Lethbridge-Stewarts” and all that sort.
Meredith looked at her husband and smiled. Gordon smiled back at his wife and held her hand, trying to remember the last time he had ever felt this lucky. Gordon remembered the day he met her some time after he recently moved back to London after the events that occurred on September 11, 2001 when he started at the London branch of Cantor-Fitzgerald. They met on a blind date arranged by mutual friends shortly after New Year’s, got engaged the following year, and then May 1, 2004 were married (he remembered in amusement about how Fels went on and on about how lucky he was getting married on the Festival of Beltane). He realized that things went rather quickly for them in the beginning, but he couldn’t have been happier about how things had turned out, especially after late last year when he and Meredith found out they were going to be parents. Their son, Jonathan Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart was born at the end of September and was getting bigger every day.
The other love of Gordon’s life, aside from Meredith and Jonathan, was his younger sister Felicity. At times she was a right pain in the arse, but she was the best friend he ever had. They were as close as two people could be, although she drove him nuts. Sisters, you can live with them and they won’t let you live without them. Mum made sure that they were raised right, but they were always moving from place to place when they were younger and Mum never really explained why. Gordon couldn’t really remember his birth father, who walked out on him and Mum when he was a year old. My parents were divorced before I was even a year old and Fels, she doesn’t even know her birth father at all. Doesn’t matter when the man we’ve called Dad for a good part of our lives has always been there for us. He took care of us when Mum died and Fels and I adore our Stepmother when he got remarried and we’re special to her because we’re special to Dad.
“Babe?” Meredith interrupted Gordon’s thoughts. “There’s a strange car pulling up in front of our home.”
Gordon looked outside and he felt his heart leap in his chest with excitement. He thought he was imagining things for a moment but there she was. There was no mistaking it was Bessie.
“Bessie! I can’t believe it, it’s really her.”
Meredith looked a bit perplexed. “Old girlfriend Babe?”
“Sort of, yeah. I haven’t seen her in years.”
“Well tell her that you have a wife now and can’t be going around with old girlfriends.”
“Aw come on Love, you know the type, pretty to look at, but dumb as a post. Don’t think she’d care anyway.”
Meredith peered out the window carrying the baby to get a closer look. “Gordon your sister seems to have acquired a new car.”
“Babe, the car, that’s Bessie.”
“Bessie?” Then it occurred to Meredith that Bessie was the car the Gordon had told her about when he was telling her the stories about his grandfather’s friend. “Oh, she is absolutely gorgeous. How on earth can Fels afford a car like that?”
“My guess is Granddad gave Fels her birthday present early if you ask me.”
The Brigadier got out of the car and Gordon rushed to greet his grandfather, with Meredith following behind.
The Brigadier shook Gordon’s hand and kissed Meredith on the cheek. “Gordon my lad, it’s good to see you.”
“Good to see you too Grandfather.”
Meredith grinned as she handed the baby to the Brigadier. “I have a feeling why you’ve stopped by and we are very happy that you did. Jonny, you’re happy to see your Great-Granddad, aren’t you.”
Jonathan, happily nestled in the Brigadier’s arms, merely stared and drooled on the Brigadier’s sleeve.
“Ah, see we’re still trying to work on our aim aren’t we?” the Brigadier cooed to the baby. “Well, we’ll make you a great marksman out of you yet.”
Felicity stood next to the Brigadier, arms folded mock glaring at Gordon. “And where is my hug?”
“Excuse me?” Gordon swept his sister into a hug and kissed the top of her head. “Hey, Felicity Jo, waddaya know?”
“Don’t give me that Gordy.” Felicity couldn’t stay mad at her brother for long and he knew it. “Granddad and I decided to come by and see you guys for a bit.”
“And apparently to show off. I see Granddad gave you Bessie.”
“I had no idea, I swear.”
“Ah, well that explains a lot.” Meredith walked over to Gordon and he put an arm around her shoulders. “Bessie seems to be a close family friend.”
“Yeah, she sure is. Never met her before today though.” Felicity grinned and waved to her nephew. “Oh, look at that, he’s smiling.”
The Brigadier looked at his granddaughter sternly, but his eyes were twinkling. “Don’t be ridiculous, Felicity, the baby has gas.”
“Well, Granddad, you know what they say, babies are like cars, if they’re full of gas, they go.” Gordon smirked at his sister and Felicity grinned back. Felicity and Gordon tried to stifle their laughter and were both given a stern look by the Brigadier.
“Gordon Michael and Felicity Joanna, you’re both out of order.” The Brigadier handed Jonathan to Felicity. “Jonathan, your father and auntie are both insane.” Jonathan stared at Felicity as drool dribbled down his chin.
Gordon smiled. It felt really good to see his family together at times liked these.
A few hours after The Brigadier and Felicity returned home, Sergeant-Major Arthur Jones parked his car in front of the Brigadier’s home and nervously made his way up the walk. He had requested an audience with the Brigadier to ask him for Felicity’s hand in marriage and if all went well, he was probably going to propose to her tonight. He didn’t tell his parents that he was planning to do this, not yet anyway. If he was going to ask Felicity to marry him, he was going to do it properly and ask her grandfather for his permission first. I shouldn’t be nervous, it’s just Fels’s grandfather. But he was an important man in UNIT back in his day, a man who deserves the utmost respect; at least that’s what Mum always said. Still, this is the right thing to do, I think he’d be a bit annoyed if we went behind his back and just got engaged. Arthur took a deep breath and rang the doorbell and waited. A few moments later the Brigadier answered the door.
“Good evening, sir.” Arthur said nervously.
The Brigadier looked at Arthur warmly, still trying to maintain a bit of dignity, but he was rather fond of the boy. “Good evening Arthur. What brings you by at this hour? Is everything alright?”
“Yes, sir, I just needed to speak to you about Felicity.”
“Ah, that’s right. Do come in and we’ll discuss the matter.”
Arthur nodded and followed the Brigadier into the house. “Thank you, sir.”
“Would you like something to drink Arthur? A brandy? Scotch? Anything you like. I was thinking about having a nightcap myself, not that I indulge often.”
“Tea would be fine, thank you.”
The Brigadier led Arthur into the sitting room and made him sit down. “You look dead on your feet Arthur, they’re working you too hard, aren’t they?” The Brigadier handed Arthur a cup of tea and settled into his favourite chair.
“Now that the entire nation is actually aware of the existence of aliens, they’ve been working us harder than usual, sir.”
“Well, young man, I should know these things, I’ve dealt with many alien invasions in my day. Autons, Cybermen, Silurians, Yetis in the London Underground, and then nearly being a victim of a Sycorax attack Christmas 2005, this old man has seen way too much over the years.”
“I remember that, Gordon and Fels were up on the roof trying to coax you to come down. She was pretty upset that happened. Anyway, sir, I wanted to ask you something.” Arthur cleared his throat nervously. “Fels and I have been together some time now and I wanted to ask you your permission to marry her.”
The Brigadier sipped at his brandy thoughtfully. “Do you love her?”
“With all my heart, sir.”
“And will you protect her and support her in the style to which she should be accustomed?”
Arthur nodded. “I will, sir.”
“And one more thing, Arthur, stop calling me ‘Sir’ and start addressing me as ‘Grandfather’ or ‘Granddad’. And that is an order soldier.” The Brigadier couldn’t help but smile at the astonished, yet happy look on Arthur’s face as he shook his hand. “Allow me to be the first to welcome you to the family.”
“I can’t believe it, thank you, sir. I mean Granddad.”
“Well, I do think you should go find your lady love and ask her, I have a feeling she’s in the garage. As for me, I think I best be off to bed. Good luck to you.”
“Thanks, I’ll do that.” Arthur grinned and rushed off to find Felicity.
The Brigadier sat back in his chair as he watched Arthur leave the house. He was glad that his Felicity had found a suitable young man to settle down and start a family with. He respected that his granddaughter “had her career” as part of the scientific team at UNIT and he loved her dearly, but as always, he was concerned. He didn’t want Felicity to feel obligated to take care of him and didn’t want her to put her life on hold because of him. Maybe, just maybe, she can start living her life for herself. The Brigadier got up and headed towards the stairs and at that moment he heard it. That grinding, clanking sound that he had heard so many times before. It could only mean one thing, The Doctor had indeed returned.
Felicity was listening to one of her favourite songs by some old punk band from the 1970’s or 1980’s; Arthur could hear it as he was approaching the garage. He could also hear Felicity’s slightly off-key singing as he approached. As he got closer, he noticed she was wiping down a vintage 1920’s yellow roadster from the looks of it. He snuck up from behind and wrapped his arms around her waist, which caused her to jump a little.
“Hello you.” Felicity turned into Arthur’s embrace and kissed him. “What brings you by, as if I didn’t know?”
Arthur kissed her back and pulled away grinning. “ I was actually here to see your grandfather. Had to talk to him about something.”
“Oh? Anything that I should be aware of?”
Arthur blushed a little and looked at his feet. “Actually it was about something I wanted to ask you.”
“Hmm, must’ve been pretty important if you had to speak to my grandfather before you even bothered to say hello to me.” Felicity grinned and tried to snuggle in for another kiss, but Arthur gently pushed her away, his expression serious.
“Fels, come on, this is something I need to do.” He reached into his jacket pocket, pulled out a small box, and got down on one knee. “Felicity Joanna Lethbridge-Stewart, will you marry me?” He looked up to see the astonished, yet happy look on Felicity’s face and knew her answer before she could even get the words out.
“Artie are you nuts, YES!” Arthur grinned and slid the ring on Felicity’s finger. Felicity helped him up and hugged him tightly. “Guess we’re going to have to break the news sooner or later, though I know plenty of people who would say you’ve taken long enough,” Felicity remarked with a wicked grin. Arthur grinned back and kissed her deeply. Felicity raised a hand and started to stroke the back of Arthur’s neck and she could swear that he was now trying to push her back against one of the walls in the garage. She wasn’t sure how far this particular heated snogging session was going to go, for she heard a loud grinding, clanking, groaning noise that made her jump out of her skin.
“Fels? What the fuck was that?” Arthur looked at Felicity as if he saw a ghost.
“I don’t know, Babe, but you know, in Science-Fiction movies, it usually means that an alien spaceship showed up just as the hero and his girlfriend are in the middle of a particularly hot necking session.”
“Ha bloody ha. It’s not funny Fels, remember, we’re dealing with this alien stuff on a daily basis. It’s real, remember what happened to Granddad a few Christmases ago.”
Felicity remained silent in thought for a moment. “Fine then, let’s go see what’s out there.” She found her torch and turned it on. “Arthur, we have to go see this ‘alien’ for ourselves and then we’ll call it a night.” Felicity switched the torch on and started to walk out of the garage and towards the source of the noise.”
Arthur sighed and followed Felicity out of the garage. “Fels, this could be a bit dangerous, you know this whole alien situation is a bit dodgy anyway. Then again, it could be a stray cow or something.”
“Arthur, a cow does not make noises like that. It’s definitely a spaceship of some sort.” Felicity and Arthur started walking towards the house. “I think it came from somewhere around the house.”
Arthur stopped short before they reached the house and looked in amazement. “Bloody hell. That doesn’t look like a spaceship, but I don’t think I’ve ever saw one of those in my life either.” Felicity stepped closer to get a better look at what Arthur was talking about and gasped. A blue Police Box. She remembered the stories her grandfather had told her and Gordon about a friend of his who traveled around in a Police Box. Arthur walked closer and touched it. “It’s still warm Fels, I think whoever or whatever was inside it just recently landed.”
“You know what I think,” Felicity said very quietly. “I think we should go and wake Grandfather and tell him. But first…” Felicity pulled out her mobile phone and took a picture.
“Fels, what the hell are you doing?”
“I think Gordon would want to see this.”
“Why would Gordon want to see that?”
“Just trust me, okay?” Felicity typed in a quick message on her mobile and pressed the send button. She and Arthur then walked hand in hand up to the house.
The young man in the brown pinstriped suit made his way up to the house. He realized, perhaps a bit too late, that it might be a bit late in the evening to be making a social call, but he was confident that he had arrived at the right place. One of his companions remarked once that even a broken clock worked right at least twice a day, or something of the sort. If you ask me, the TARDIS might be old, but she never forgot her own. I just know he’s here and if not, I could ask where he lives possibly. Well, here it goes. He stood on the doorstep and took a deep breath. Come on now, you’re behaving like a man who is going on his first date with some pretty girl and you’re afraid her father is going to answer the door. I hope that he does answer, but if a pretty girl happens to answer it instead, well, I don’t think I’d mind so much…
He rang the doorbell and waited.
END PART 1