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Alternate Ending for the film "Their Finest"

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- They're all exhausted, no-one has slept for days with the Blitz, and four people didn't arrive this morning as expected. Perfect conditions for an accident.
- The scaffolding comes down on Tom Buckley, on Ambrose Hilliard, and on two gaffers whom Catrin is ashamed to say she never learned the names of. Hilliard's groaning. Buckley - - Tom - - is too quiet and too still, and she's still standing there in shock after both of them are carried away to the hospital.
- Someone gives her tea, and someone else puts her in a chair while she holds it and doesn't drink it, and after a while someone comes back from the hospital to say that Hilliard is going to be okay. The gaffers will be okay after a bit longer. No-one says anything to her about Tom. Someone shakes their head.
- The show must go on. She puts down the cold tea and picks up her pencil. Re-strung ropes are already swinging the set back into position. It's as though nothing happened, but they've moved on to shooting a scene that had only Lily and Brannigan in it.
- She's numb. She's numb for days. She wants to cry and she can't.
- After his leg has been set and plastered, and they've stopped giving him anything for the pain, Hilliard remembers to ask about Buckley. The nurse shakes her head. “Can't much be done, not for coma. It's not like he can hear you.” Hilliard makes a quiet, intense fuss until he's taken down there anyway.
- Buckley looks smaller under the blanket. He's breathing, Hilliard supposes that's something, given how many bandages are wrapped around his head. The man should be dead. Hilliard sits beside him for an hour while nothing happens and then says, surprising himself, “You heard the lady. A world without you in it isn't one she cares to live in. She didn't write that just for the screen, you idiot. That was for you.”
- Four days later, Hilliard is better enough to go back to the set. Mrs. Cole is quiet and withdrawn. “How are you holding up?” he asks her.
- Holding up? How is she holding up? What kind of question is that? Isn't the whole country just holding up under the losses of the Blitz? Her loss isn't special, isn't better. Doesn't mean anything, Tom had said.
- “It's just,” Hilliard is continuing over her non-response, “I thought you'd have come in to see him. The nurses said it wouldn't help, but it can't hurt.”
- This is how Catrin ends up at the hospital with no memory, later, of how she got there, clinging to Tom's limp hand.
- Tom wakes up two days after this, a week after the scaffolding. Miss Moore is an absolute angel and tells her to take the rest of the day off – Catrin gives her a huge, impulsive hug and then is running out the door.
- Tom can't remember anything from the entire week before the accident. He can't feel his legs. Catrin doesn't care.
- Catrin goes to the premiere. She brings sweets back for Tom and tells him all about it.
- The following week, she gets the film shown at the hospital, in both the spine injury ward, where Tom is, and the war injury ward, which is much bigger.
- The week after that, Miss Moore says she's heard of some interesting medical research coming out of the Department of Neurosurgery at the Radcliffe Infirmary, thanks to a Jewish doctor who escaped the Germans. She has an inside source, she says, and hands Catrin a stack of papers. Catrin reads all of it, concludes Doctor Lugwig Guttmann is on to something, and starts taking Tom out of the ward in a wheelchair whenever she can.
- The film is big, very big. The public love it. The Americans love it. The Minister of War loves it.
- The Air Raid Wardens film gets renamed Girls Like Us, in a moment of brilliance between Catrin and Phyl, um, Miss Moore that is. Parfitt just smiles and goes along with it.
- Girls Like Us gets the green light. Girls Like Us gets whatever resources they ask for. When they ask for a ground-floor office, to make it easier for Tom to return to work, they get that, too.
- The doctor lets Tom return to work. Light work only, but typewriters classify as light work. Clearly the doctor has never seen Tom, Catrin and Parfitt pulling an all-nighter and working until dawn. The doctor says that Tom might, with a lot of time and work, learn to walk again. Time and Talent, Catrin and Tom say in tandem, and the doctor looks confused.
- Catrin really has read Dr. Guttman's papers. She knows Tom may never actually walk again, and she doesn't care. Walking isn't what matters.
- Gradually, Tom can remember more and more of the week before the accident, until he can remember everything until 10 hours before the accident, but that's alright, so Catrin writes out her alternate-scene-on-the-beach apology again. She'd told him already, but he wants her words on paper, so he can keep them.
- Hilliard is quietly very, very happy that he never has to give the Time and Talent speech to Catrin. Hilliard is eating Sophie's cooking, enjoying Sophie's company and laughing at her witticisms, and gradually learning to let his own happiness show on the outside. Sometimes. With friends.
- Hilliard's character in Girls Like Us is a retired cat burglar. Hilliard tries to keep his stiffened hands out of shot whenever possible. The director keeps putting as much of Hillard on the screen as he can, because at 63 Hilliard is still dashing, and still has an ardent following of fans who think so. The director thinks so. Hillard's fans determinedly ignore his arthritic hands the same way that determined homophobes in the audience ignore the clear affection between two of the women characters, Blanche and Rosie.
- Eventually, Sophie manages to teach Cerberus more manners than Sammy ever did. Sometimes, Hilliard still misses Sammy with startling fierceness.
- Catrin and Tom get a ground-floor flat, close to work. It's not always easy, but life doesn't owe it to anyone to be easy.
- The war isn't over yet. More and more women will never be squished back into their boxes. The new lighting guy isn't a guy at all, rather a “Samantha, but please call me Sam” who gives Phyl Moore a lovely smile over tea on her second day. Phyl has a good feeling about this.