I've no idea how the fourth Doctor came to be the Curator, and my tiny mind cannot really come up with a version of events to suit… yet. However, there's no reason why it couldn't be a similar scenario to the creation of ten two. For that reason I have stolen a little bit of dialogue from Journey's End, it just seemed to fit.
This is a short oneshot, and I'm going to dedicate this to Mercedes Aria, for giving me the kick up the backside I needed to write something new for this pair. I hope you like it.
Sarah Jane stepped out of the car and walked to her front door. She paused before putting her key in the lock, gazing round at the drive which was empty save for her own car; Luke was long gone now, in his own home, living his life as he ought to be. Sky was on a sixth form field trip; she, at least, would be back although it was only a matter of time before she went off to university. Sarah Jane felt the familiar pull of loneliness, tempered with the comforting knowledge that this was how things should be. Sending her children off into the world, waving goodbye. It was right way of things.
She stopped dead as she entered her hallway. Her senses, honed by years of being on almost constant alert, told her immediately that she wasn't alone in the house. She pulled out her sonic lipstick and palmed it, creeping quietly towards the living room. And then she heard the instantly recognisable voice of K9, left here by Luke who was ever aware of his mother's downplaying of how much she missed the daft robotic dog.
Curious now, she pushed open the living room door, and her jaw dropped.
Oh, he was older now. His curly mop of hair white, his considerable height lessened by the stoop of age; his hand tight on the arm of the chair as he rose, K9 wagging his little metal tail as he moved out of the way. It was unquestionably, unmistakeably him.
For a long moment they stared at each other, and then the Doctor broke the silence.
"The years have been kinder to you than they have to me, Sarah Jane."
Sarah Jane found she could not form any words. She had never imagined him like this; in her memory he had stayed eternally youthful, full of energy and bounce, and the last two versions she had met of him had only served to cement that impression. It occurred to her suddenly that she didn't know how this body had met its end. She had enough research, enough fractured memories and anecdotes to piece together what had gone afterwards to a certain extent, but she had never known what had happened to this him. A dreadful thought struck her; had he come here to regenerate? Had he turned up after all these years to torture her with yet another goodbye?
"Sarah?" the Doctor's voice was uncertain, its deep rich tones concealing an awkwardness she had never known he possessed. She closed her eyes, and felt a single tear track its way down her cheek.
"Do you know how long it's been since anyone called me that?" she asked him, desperately trying to hide her confusion, her anger and her fear.
"I'm sorry…" he began, the pain evident at how much he had hurt her.
"Do you know how much I've missed it?"
She opened her eyes and found he had moved closer. She caught his hand as he lifted it to wipe her tears away and shook her vehemently.
"No! If you've just come here to tell me goodbye, you can just leave." her voice dropped to a whisper. "I can't go through that again."
"No, no of course not. But..it's complicated."
"Try me." she challenged him. "I've spent the last forty years of my life chasing aliens, seeing all sorts of things. I've even met you again. Do you really think I'm too simple to understand?" she started to back away and his grip tightened on her fingers.
"Let me show you something." he pleaded, tugging her closer and turning her hand to place her palm on the left side of his chest. Sarah swallowed, pulling herself together, and concentrated, feeling the steady thump of his pulse through her fingers. She looked up at him, confused, and he reached for her other hand, bringing it up to press it to the other side of his chest. Nothing. Her eyes grew wide.
"After a fashion. I can't really explain, Sarah. All I know is that I've but one life to live - what's left of it, anyway."
Sarah Jane took a deep breath, her fingertips tightening, bunching up the fabric of his shirt. His hands had left hers now, and she felt them settle on her shoulders, tentative at first, and then growing in confidence as he pulled her in. She laughed silently to herself. He had always been so bloody sure of himself. And he was quite right, since her own arms had found their way around his waist, and she certainly didn't have any intention of letting go.
"I could spend it with you, if you like."
"Yes," she whispered into his chest; "yes, I'd like that very much indeed."
Reviews always welcome.