Alistair ended the call relieved, he had phoned the hospital to get the latest update on Doris. Her hip replacement had gone well, and she should be able to join him at the nursing home in a few days days.
He had arranged so that Doris would stay here with him for a few weeks, until she was ready to resume living back at the house on her own. His own poor health coupled with Doris’s declining mobility had made his move to the nursing home essential. It had enabled Doris to have the operation she desperately needed. It also gave Alistair the piece of mind knowing that when he was gone, Doris wouldn't be struggling with her mobility.
Death was not exactly an old friend, but Alistair had brushed shoulders with it so often in his life that he didn't fear it. He would regret having to leave those he loved. He would regret the pain that his passing would give his loved ones, especially Doris and Kate. But that was just the nature of life.
He put his phone away in his inside pocket after making sure he had put the number of Doris's bedside phone into his contacts.
It was a pity he couldn't just go for evening visiting but, no one was available to take him and as Doris had said apart from him being sat holding her hand, which would be lovely, it would be better if he saved his visit to Wednesday. His physician didn't want Alistair travelling without medical supervision and the home could only spare someone for one trip to the hospital this week. Kate had tried to arrange for a medic from UNIT to take him, but something had come up.
He shifted in his wheelchair awkwardly. He had lost a lot of weight in the last few months, and was rather skeletal which meant sitting for a long time in one position tended to be painful.
Suddenly a tall thin young man wearing tweeds and a bow tie bowled into the room.
“There you are, hope you ready for your trip to see Doris then! Haven't got all day you know!”
The nursing home manager came in hot on his trail, just as the man grabbed the handles of the wheelchair and was spinning it around towards the patio doors into the garden.
The manager barred their way.
“Now Mister.... I'm afraid the Brigadier can not leave the home with out medical...”
The Doctor was positioning the wheelchair to dodge around the woman.
“Doctor, is that you? And if it is would you please stop!”
The Doctor stopped and went around to face his friend.
“I thought you wanted to see Doris?”
“I'm sorry, Brigadier, but you can not travel without medical supervision and respiratory support equipment!” the home’s manager stated.
“Madam, I am the Doctor!”
He pulled out his psychic paper.
The woman frowned, she read the medical degree flashed in front of her. She was slightly confused, she had never met a Doctor who actually carried a copy of his qualifications with him, but... well you couldn't argue with..
“Alright Doctor Smith, you are qualified to look after the Brigadier, but you will need.."
The Doctor pointed behind the manager.
“That young man carrying the oxygen cylinder and emergency bag, is staff nurse Rory Williams who is now training to be a Doctor, and the young lady with the flowers chocolates and get well soon cards is his wife Amy! Our transport is just outside and we will get the Brigadier safely to his wife's bedside and back before you know it!”
The woman looked at the Brigadier who, smiled at her and nodded.
She sighed, stood aside and watched the strange party leave through the patio doors. Before remembering there wasn't a way through to the car park from there.
Alistair smiled seeing the TARDIS looking just the same as always.
As they approached the doors flew open.
“That's new,” Alistair said, “so you don't need a key now? Some sort of remote control is it?”
The Doctor was frowning at the key in his hand.
“I didn't know she could do that?” Amy muttered to Rory.
“I don't think the Doctor did either!” Rory muttered back.
As the Nursing home manager ran after them she heard a strange noise. Rounding the corner of the building she could have sworn she saw an old fashioned blue police box just vanish into thin air. She rubbed her head and decided she needed a cup of tea and perhaps a lay down.
The Doctor had parked Alistair's wheelchair next to the console.
“Hello old girl!” Alistair said placing his hand gently against the side of the control panel.
The Doctor rushed around the other side of the console to punch in the coordinates and engage the dematerialisation switch.
Rory could have sworn the TARDIS, was well, happy!
Amy looked at Rory,
“Can you feel it,” she whispered to Rory, “I swear the TARDIS is smiling!”
The Doc skidded over to stand between them.
“Of course she is, she's got her oldest and dearest friend travelling with her!”
Amy saw the Doctor glancing over at the old man who was looking around the inside of the TARDIS, taking in all the changes.
“As have I!” the Doctor murmured tears shining in his eyes.
“Had the place redecorated!” the old man said, looking over to them.
The Doctor’s head shot up.
“I like it!” the Brigadier said grinning.
The Doctor laughed out loud and ran over and slid down on to his knees to embrace the man tightly.
Seeing the old man wince Rory. rushed over,.
“Gently Doc!” he said
The Doctor loosened his grip.
“Sorry Alistair, are you OK?” he asked worriedly.
“Fine Doctor, just fine!”
He looked at the Doctor then looked meaningfully over at his companions.
“Oh err, right, Alistair, this is Rory and Amy, they are married! Amy, Rory, this is Alistair.. Sir Alistair!”
“Just Alistair, I only make officials use the Sir bit!” the old man said smiling and holding out his hand to shake theirs.
“We got you, some flowers, chocolates and cards to give your wife!”
“Thank you! Err... Cards?” Alistair enquired.
“Yes, well the Doctor chose the first one!”
She held up a rather garish design with a frog and a teddy bear and the message, ‘Hear your a bit croaky! Your Cuddle buddy wants you to get better soon!’
Alistair raised an eyebrow.
Amy thought she couldn't have found any way of expressing her thoughts on the card any more eloquently.
“Rory thought this one would be better!”
Alistair looked at the second card, it had a picture of a beautiful rose covered arbour and the legend ‘Get Wells Soon My Love!’
He looked at the Doctor’s eager face.
“Well it's close,” the old man said tactfully, “but you know how much Doris loves roses, Doctor!”
The Doctor looked a little crestfallen.
Walking off he muttered to Rory, “If you'd got the one with daisy's, he'd have liked mine best!”
Raising his eyebrows at the Doctor’s retreating back, Alistair shook his head, then flashed a grin at the young couple.
A table with a pen materialised next to Alistair’s wheelchair and the TARDIS paused in flight so Alistair could write his message into the card and write Doris's name on the envelope.
Amy picked up the card and put it in the envelope and the TARDIS returned to flight and landed outside the staff entrance to the hospital.
The Doctor grabbed the handles of the wheelchair and at a run headed out of the TARDIS. He was about to sonic the staff entrance door when Rory produced his pass.
The Doctor shot him a pained look.
“Using passes isn't as much fun! Don't go ruining the experience!”
“Doctor,” the Brigadier said “you are taking me to see my wife, which is the best experience possible and I can't thank you enough, old friend!”
Amy saw the Doctor’s beaming smile.
As the Doctor ran towards the open lift door Amy and Rory ran to catch up.
The Doctor seemed impatient with the lifts slow progress to the tenth floor. They arrived just as the doors were opened for visiting to start.
The staff nurse on duty waved to Rory.
“Doctor Williams, I thought this was your day off! What is it can't you stay away!”
She smiled at Amy.
“We’ve just brought a friend to visit his wife!” Amy said pointing towards the Brigadier.
They saw the Doctor arguing with a nurse outside the side ward.
“It's alright Mary, they are with Doctor Williams!” the staff nurse called.
The Brigadier shot Rory a smile!
Rory took the Doctor and the Brigadier into Doris's room.
Amy followed them and put the flowers, chocolates and card on Doris’s locker. She had to smile at the loving way the old man kissed his wife's hand then held it to his cheek, and the loving smile he got in return when the lady on the bed opened her eyes and saw him.
Rory and Amy excused themselves and told the Doctor they would be outside in the waiting area.
Rory left the oxygen cylinder and bag with the Doctor who took a seat in the room.
“Never seen him like that before!” Rory said. “And the TARDIS too, who is that guy?”
Amy shook her head.
“The Doctor just said he was an old friend!”
Rory went into the ward office and pulled out Doris’s notes.
“Lady Doris Lethbridge-Stewart. So he must be Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart!”
Amy shook her head.
“No idea, seems a nice old guy! The Doctor seems terribly fond of him!”
Rory was sat thinking, “That manager at the nursing home called him Brigadier! That means he's a soldier or at least was a soldier! I thought the Doctor didn't have a good word to say about any soldiers!”
Amy just shrugged, but she too was intrigued.
Rory perused Doris's notes and then went to speak to the staff nurse.
He came back smiling!
“Well it's good news all around, the surgery couldn't have gone better, and seeing as she will be discharged to the nursing home they will be letting her leave on Thursday!”
Amy smiled taking Rory’s hand.
“That'll make Alistair happy!”
Rory glanced in at the old couple who were holding hands and chatting.
“Looks like it'll make them both happy, they look like they're very much in love! Wonder if we'll be like that at their ages?”
Amy kissed his cheek and smiled.
“I'm sure we will!”
Visiting ended and they saw the Doctor wheel Alistair out of the room.
They were all quite as they headed back to the TARDIS, Amy and Rory were holding hands.
In the TARDIS Rory told Alistair what he had found out at the hospital and the old man was smiling brightly as he heard his wife would be joining at the home him that soon.
The Doctor took Alistair back to his room, leaving Amy and Rory to sit on the bench in the garden.
The Doctor was talking twenty to the dozen, and the old man was smiling as he listened to their last adventure.
Twenty minutes later the Doctor returned, “Right well, we'll be back next week for tea with Alistair and Doris. Alistair wants us to collect some of his Grandmothers Shortbread! So we'll need to visit Scotland 1933 before we come back!”
Amy looked at Rory.
“So Doctor, how come you and Alistair are such good friends?”
“Arr, well, now that's some story....”