When Aisha couldn't find Adric that morning she searched thoroughly for him, looking in many rooms, upstairs and downstairs. It was odd, he was usually there waiting for her every morning. She wondered if something had happened to him again, and she nervously fiddled with the ends of her scarf and pulled the peak of her hat down. As she jogged down the corridor suddenly she spotted a flash of yellow and green, she slid to a halt and ran back.
The room was fitted like an old Victorian study, with shelves of books and wooden shaped panels. Sitting at the impressive black wood desk was Adric, in a throne-like chair with red velvety cushioned seat and back. In front of him was a journal and in his hand was a black biro which he was frantically writing with. As Aisha walked forward her first thought was on how very out of place this young dead Alzarian and his black biro looked in this room, then instantly dismissing this silly thought she wondered why he was here, so early in the morning and what he could possibly be writing that was so important.
"Adric?" she asked.
He stopped the writing, but didn't turn to face her. He took a deep breath.
"Aisha, can you please go?" he asked, his voice sounding a bit wobbly.
"Go? What...?" Aisha struggled to find the right words. "Adric, what's the matter?"
"I said GO! I'm alright!" he said, still not turning to face her, but his body language giving it away that he was anything but alright.
Aisha stood there, considering what she should do. If he wanted to be left alone then she should respect his wishes, but then it was in her nature to help others, and weren't they supposed to be friends now? Her mind was suddenly made up when she saw his shoulders shaking, as the sorrow manifested itself into tears that blotted the paper. Instantly she was there, arms wrapped around him and her chin hooked round his neck as she gave him as tight and comforting a hug as possible.
"Come on, tell me what's wrong man," she said to him.
Adric just sniffed, and then Aisha looked at what he'd been writing. Suddenly she understood what was on his mind, and why he was so upset.
"Oh. I see," she said. "Why didn't you ever just say that to him?"
"H-he was always too busy..." Adric hiccoughed. "Always 'later' for me, never for the girls..."
"..." Aisha said. "I know. You need a holiday."
"What?" he asked, looking at her.
"It's about time you had a little fun to make up for your tragic life," Aisha said, with a stern look on her face. "You had a horrible life, but now you have me to help you cope."
"... It's not that easy to just forget." he said.
"I know, but it's not so much fun to keep it on your mind now is it?" she smiled at him sadly. "I'll help you deal with the past so it's not so painful, and to do that we'll have some fun!"
"You're not going to steer the TARDIS are you?" he asked, as she let him go finally.
"Oh no, that'd give us away and I'm not yet ready to show that much defiance to my father!" Aisha laughed. "I know that there's a temporal link to a beach down the forty fifth corridor after the main swimming pool, and I even have a little Earth money."
"Can we get ice cream?" he asked.
"Oh yes, proper local ice cream cones with the little chocolate flakes if you want," she grinned. "My treat for being here to make life more interesting."
"You know the exact way to tempt me already..." he half-laughed. "That worries me. You haven't even begun to use your power over me with that bet I lost last year..."
"All in good time," she smirked, as she grabbed his arm and yanked him to his feet through the chair.
The Doctor was just minding his own business in a sauna room when he heard the clattering of running feet down the outside corridor. He sighed heavily as he got to his feet and slipped on the white towel dressing gown. After having said good bye to Martha only a week ago he wasn't in the best of moods, he didn't know that she would meet him again only two days later to him and she'd travel with him again. As it was he was irritated and stormed towards the door.
As he flung the door open his vision was obscured by the steam for a few minutes and he saw the blurred shapes of two people running from him. He gave chase, determined to scold Aisha (for he knew one of them was her from the aerial sticking out). Eventually he stopped, having had lost sight of her and the other person she'd been with. As he caught his breath he wished he had thought to put his plimsolls on before he'd chased her, his soles were killing him... Suddenly he heard a sound from inside the nearest room, a Victorian study, and he wanted to catch her. He quietly walked up to the door and with a kick it flew open, crashing off the bookshelf behind it. Annoyingly the room was already empty, and he knew it must have been Adric who had been with her. No wonder they'd run, they still thought he didn't know the young Alzarian was here. Unknown to either Aisha or Adric he'd seen the young Alzarian during that episode with his experimental youthing helmet, and since he'd seen Aisha talking to what appeared to be inanimate objects. He missed being able to speak to Adric, but then it would just interrupt the relationship and the bond that was developing.
"Oh, I don't need this..." he half-said and half-sighed.
He massaged his temples with his fingers, and only as he was bringing his hands down to a spot between his eyes did he spot the letter, spotted and smudged. He picked it up. He held the letter at arm's length for a few moments, he recognised that handwriting, knew it instantly. Why had he written this? Had he been about to give it to the Doctor before he'd died? He bit back a tear as the painful memories surfaced again, but he knew that Adric must have been feeling so much worse when he'd written it. He sat down and began to read it...
Why Doctor, why?
I'd had such a painful life... no proper family except Varsh... discipline that was bordering on abuse... gang life... and then the Marshmen, taking the only person who'd ever looked out for me, looked after me... so when I came with you, when I stowed away and you allowed me to stay on I thought my luck had changed. I finally thought I'd found a purpose to my wasted young life. But it wasn't to be was it?
At one point you'd never have ignored me, but then the girls joined us and I was suddenly second-best. Left to get on with whatever I was doing, left wanting to prove to you I was worth something and I deserved to travel with you. That's why I stayed behind when all others were bailing, to save the Earth, to save Tegan, to prove myself to YOU... the closest thing I ever had to a father. Yet I'm so angry with you...
Always 'later' for me, but never for the girls... tell me why Doctor, why was I suddenly less important? You left me behind Doctor...
Leaving me behind... leaving me behind to die Doctor... and you finally realised didn't you? Too late you realised how much you meant to me, and me to you... and what you'd lost by ignoring me... I was your apprentice... or so I thought. Didn't last long did it? You re-generated and then I was left in the background... you think you left me behind on the freighter, but you left me behind a long time before that...
As the Doctor read that last bit he couldn't help it, eyes that hadn't cried since he'd lost Rose leaked fresh tears. WHY hadn't the boy said anything? Why had he left it so long till it all came out in that argument before his death? And... was it indirectly his fault that Adric now existed only as a phantom? Had he made the boy feel so left out that he would risk his life to prove himself worth something? He'd only tried... his best...
That night after a great day out Adric was drifting down the corridor when he saw something, the Doctor was in his old room. He drifted silently over, to see what was up. He stuck his head through the wall near the ceiling of the room.
The Doctor had made up a weird shrine there on his side table, two special green candles were burning either side of it and a little pot with a grey paste was at the head of it. The Doctor looked like he was saying some special mantra or prayer, and was holding something in his hand. Suddenly the candles flared up, making Adric jump. The Doctor however opened his eyes and looked calmly up. The paste in the pot was sparking and crackling.
"I know it's been a while since I called upon you..." he said to the sparks shooting off. "But I just want to make my amends to a former friend of mine, someone I should maybe have treated a little better while he was still alive."
Adric watched in shock as the Doctor placed a yellow strip of cloth and a gold shard of something into the shrine. Then the Doctor bowed his head again and seemed to be saying another prayer, in a trance almost. Adric then felt a compelling urge to go down there and take the cloth and shard, he somehow knew that it would quieten the anger and sorrow he wore like his badge. Also it would tell the Doctor that Adric had forgiven him, after all this time. It would let them both move on... He floated down and picked them up, he looked at the Doctor who hadn't moved. He smiled, as he felt peace flow into his body for the first time in a good long while.
"Thank you Doctor..." he whispered before floating up through the ceiling.
As he went he saw the Doctor's grin and knew that he'd done the right thing in accepting the apology...