Fandom(s): Doctor Who
Characters: Wilfred Mott, Thirteenth Doctor
Word Count: 550
Summary: Nothing will stop Wilf from fulfilling his promise.
The old man, bundled in his winter coat and red knitted cap, sat on a rickety folding chair nestled between the plots of the allotment. On most nights, he’d be observing through his old telescope, but tonight, the deep blackness above called to him. The light pollution made the Chiswick night sky more of a medium grey than black, but with the nation on lockdown from the pandemic, the businesses were closed and the streets were empty. The sky still wasn’t a true black, but it was darker than he’d seen it for decades. He couldn’t tear his eyes from the long-absent fainter stars which now glimmered through. Even his tea sat untouched in its thermos.
Of course, a lockdown meant he shouldn’t be here at all. He’d a heck of a time getting past his daughter, who’d tried to block him as he dragged his gear out the door. He knew she feared he might get infected, but to be honest, he hadn’t seen a soul since. If he was the only one out, well, he was as safe here as indoors, and it was a fair bit quieter. No traffic, no walkers out beyond the fence, and certainly no one nagging him.
In the silence, even his old ears could pick up the approach of booted footsteps, crunching down the path. A figure emerged from darkness, fair hair and light coat shining in the moonlight.
“Hoi!” he called. “Not many come out here at night, even in good times, but have a sit if you like. Best you stay over there, though.”
“I’m good here, thanks,” replied the woman. Sounded Northern. Mancunian, or Yorkshire, maybe. “Shouldn’t you be inside?”
“Suppose. I’d say the same about you.”
“Yeah, you might.” The woman paced off a few steps and rotated on the spot to take in the entire sky. “I never could stay inside for long. Ten minutes, tops, then I’m right out the door again. But this time it’s important. Stay inside, save the world.”
“Then why you out?” he asked. “If it’s so important.”
“There are things more important than saving the world. Not many, mind you, but a couple. Helping a good friend’s one.” She stopped twirling and fixed Wilf with a serious stare. “How about you? Why’re you here?”
“As you said. Things more important.”
Wilf didn’t see that it was any of her business, but somehow, her manner coaxed it out of him. “I made a promise to a friend, for my granddaughter, ten years ago now. Every night, I said. Every night I’d be here for him, because she can’t. And I’ve done it, every night. Except a couple of times when I got laid up. And when we went on holiday to Blackpool, but even there, I got out and looked.”
She shook her head. “You really should stay in. This virus is bad. Don’t expose yourself like this.”
“I won’t let him down,” he insisted.
“You’re not,” she replied. “He knows that. And you know what? I think your friend would rather you look after your granddaughter and everyone else first, don’t you think? I bet that’s what he’d do.”
Wilf couldn’t argue. “You put it that way…”
“Come on,” she smiled. “I’ll walk you home. From way over here.”