Later that night, Sarah stood by the window, looking up at the stars that suffused the night sky with a glowing light as her thoughts drifted towards the Doctor. She didn't regret what she had done, but she wished she had more time before she told him goodbye for the final time.
"Are you alright Sarah Jane?" asked Reinette standing next to her holding a glass of wine.
"For once I'm not so sure. I can't help but wonder where he is, or what star he will decide to visit next." she turned to look at Reinette with a sad smile.
"You miss him, I can see it in your eyes. The heartache is almost unbearable to see."
"I had to let him go otherwise Rose and Mickey would be stuck on that spaceship. It was a small price to pay. He doesn't belong living in the slow path. He needs adventure..."
"But he also needs you," Reinette turned to look up at the stars. "I've often wished to see those stars. They really are quite beautiful."
"Yes, they are," Sarah replied wistfully, wishing she could visit them one last time.
"Ever since the ballroom, I have been thinking, about the time windows. There were many doors between my world and yours. Can you not use one of the others?"
Sarah shook her head sadly, wishing it were that easy, but life had never been that kind.
"From what the Doctor said, when the mirror smashed, it severed all links with the ship."
"Perhaps not all of them," Reinette muttered softly looking at Sarah. "Come with me, there's something you need to see."
Sarah looked at Reinette curiously, watching her start to walk towards her bedroom, giving her no choice but to follow. As soon as Sarah entered the room, she saw the same fireplace that she had stepped through when Reinette was a child.
"It's not a copy. It's the original. I had it moved here and made sure it was exact in every detail."
Sarah walked slowly forward hardly believing her eyes. She felt hope fill her heart that it may just take her back to the Doctor.
"When did you do this?"
"Many years ago. In the hope that a door once opened, may someday be opened again. One never quite knows when one needs one's Doctor." Reniette tells her knowingly. "It may still work Sarah Jane. I hope in my heart that it does."
"I don't know what to say."
"Say nothing. Got to him, he needs you. Now more than ever."
Sarah felt more tears gather in her eyes as she hugged Reinette in a tight embrace, which the younger woman gladly returned.
"You saved my life twice Sarah Jane. It's the least I can do."
Reinette pulled out of the embrace and gave Sarah Jane an encouraging nod watching as she walked towards the fireplace, looking for the switch. Finally finding it, she turned back to Reinette. "You could come with us."
"My place is here, and that's where I must stay. Tell my lonely angel that I say goodbye."
"I will. Goodbye, Reinette." She pressed the switch feeling the fireplace begin to rotate.
"Goodbye, Sarah Jane."
With one last look towards the fireplace, Reinette silently walked from the room feeling a sense of peace in her heart; safe in the fact that her lonely angel would no longer be alone.
When the fireplace finally stopped rotating, Sarah ran down the corridor that would take her to the Tardis, praying it hadn't already left. Turning the corner, she stopped in her tracks at seeing the crestfallen look on his face as he stared at the broken remains of the time window.
"Doctor?" Sarah called out softly taking a few steps forward when his head snaps up and turns to look towards her.
"Sarah?" his eyes widened in disbelief.
She smiled as he started to run towards her. She felt herself being lifted off her feet as he embraced her tightly afraid to let her go.
"It's really you," he whispered brokenly into her neck. "I thought I had lost you."
Sarah held onto him just as tightly never wanting to let him go. "You didn't, I'm still here." She whispered reassuringly, feeling her feet touch the ground as he took a step back to look down at her, with tears still visible in eyes.
"How did you get back? The time windows were closed."
"The fireplace. Reinette had it moved before the time window was destroyed."
The Doctor's eyes widened in realisation. "Of course! She broke the bond with the ship when she moved it. Which means it was offline when the mirror broke. That's what saved it."
She couldn't help but smile at hearing the excitement in his voice as he explained what occurred.
"She told me to tell you goodbye."
The Doctor looked back at the time window silently thanking Reinette for bringing Sarah back to him.
"She saved me in a way. If it wasn't for her, I would never have found my way back to you." Sarah whispered seeing him turn to look back down at her, feeling his eyes penetrating her soul.
"What's the matter, Doctor?"
"Don't leave me like that again."
"I won't, but I didn't have a choice. You were needed here... Rose and Mickey they needed you..."
"But I need you. The mere thought of never seeing you again was unbearable. It felt as if I was slowly dying."
"Promise you won't leave me or do something so foolish like that again, Sarah. I don't think my hearts could bear it a second time."
"I promise, but I need you to promise the same otherwise the deal is off."
"You drive a hard bargain, Miss Smith."
"So, do you promise?"Sarah asked waiting for his answer.
"I could never resist you, Sarah. So yes, I promise."
"That's all I ask," Sarah said staring up at him intently before leaning up and kissing him softly sealing their deal.
"Mistress. My sensors detect increased heart activity."
Sarah pulled back and looked down at K9 who had stopped beside her feet. The Doctor reluctantly let her go and watched in fondness as she crouched down and patted K9's head.
"Oh, K9 I've missed you. Have you been behaving?"
The sound of running footsteps caused Sarah to stand as she saw Mickey and Rose standing in the doorway, a look of surprise and shock on their faces.
"You're back?" Mickey was the first to say with a smile on his face, before running over and pulled her into a hug much to her surprise.
The Doctor watched on, feeling a spark of jealousy as they embraced.
"It would appear so," Sarah replied in amusement, before finding herself with an armful that was Rose.
"It's so good to see you. We thought..."
Sara pulled back and gave her a small smile, "I know, but everything worked out in the end."
"Quite right, couldn't have put it better myself." The Doctor said softly. "Rose, Mickey take K9 and we'll meet you in the Tardis in me. There is just one last thing myself and Sarah needs to do."
Rose was about to object when she felt Mickey grabbed her arm and gently pull her away muttering 'leave it' as they disappeared back down the corridor.
Sarah felt the Doctor grab her hand, and gently tug her forwards. "Come on, follow me."
Sarah had no choice but to jog to try and keep up with him, realising they were heading back towards the fireplace.
"Why are we here?"
"So I can say goodbye in person."
"I'm sure she'll appreciate it, Doctor."
The Doctor kneeled down in front of the flames, calling out for Reinette expecting her to appear. When he realised no one was coming, he stood up and pulled Sarah on the fireplace and pressed the switch causing it to rotate once again. When it finally stops, Sarah looks around seeing Reinette's room in complete darkness with no sign of life.
"This can't be right."
The Doctor gripped Sarah's hand tighter as they walk out into the palace hallway,
As they walk further into the hall, they see King Louis standing by the same window Sarah and Reinette were standing at just a few moments ago.
"Oh, hello. the Doctor called out softly.
"You just missed her. She will be in Paris by six."
"Ah." the Doctor mutters, seeing the King stare over at them before taking a few steps forward.
"Good lord, she was right. She said you both never looked a day older. So many years since I saw you last, yet not a day of it on your faces." He observed in wonder, then walked over to the sideboard and opened the drawer and pulling out a letter. "She spoke of you many times."
The Doctor's smile started to fade realising what had happened.
"She often wished you would visit again." he said holding out the letter.
The Doctor took it with heavy hearts, just as there was a thrash of a whip, followed by the sound of hooves caused them to look out of the window.
Through the rain, the three occupants watched the hearse carry Reinette's coffin away through the gates of the palace.
"There she goes. Leaving Versailles for the last time. She was only forty-three when she died."
Sarah and the Doctor continue to watch the hearse until it fades from view, their faces solemn with a pain that they both can't hide.
"Illness took her in the end. She always did work too hard." King Louis voice breaks as he turns to look at his guests, his eyes glistening with tears. "What did she say?"
The Doctor looks down at the letter, before tucking it into his jacket pocket.
"Of course, quite right."
After a few moments, the Doctor squeezes Sarah's hand signaling it's time for them to go. Standing on the fireplace, they take one last look around Reinette's room, memorising the last remains of the woman who had an impact on their lives in the short amount of time they knew her.
Once back on the ship, they silently walked back to the Tardis. Letting Sarah enter first, he takes one last look around the spaceship before closing the door of the Tardis behind him.
"Why her? Rose blurted out causing Sarah to look over at her wondering if she knew about herself and the Doctor.
"Why did they think they could fix the ship with the head of Madame de Pompadour?"
"We'll probably never know." The Doctor answered walking slowly up to the console with his hands in his trouser pockets. "There was massive damage in the computer memory base. Probably got confused," He walks over to the controls and starts to press various buttons and switches. "The Tardis can close down the windows now the droids are gone. Should stop it from causing any more trouble."
He tapped on the computer, acting for the world that everything was okay, but Rose could tell that something had happened.
"Will you both be alright?" Rose asked looking at each of them seeing the same sadness in Sarah Jane's eyes.
"We'll be fine Rose," Sarah reassures her. "It's just been one of those days."
The Doctor looked up from the controls and smiles briefly at Rose, before fiddling with the controls again. Rose continued to watch him knowing the two of them are keeping something from her.
"We'll leave you both alone," Mickey said tugging on Rose's arm. "Besides, it's time Rose showed me around the rest of this place."
Sarah saw the hesitation in Rose's eyes, knowing she would stay if given the chance. When Mickey finally lead her out of the console room, Rose couldn't help but look back at the Doctor over her shoulder causing Sarah to inwardly sigh knowing they hadn't heard the last of this.
'They're gone, Doctor."
He looks around, before slowly taking out the letter from his jacket and carefully opens it.
"If you prefer to be alone, I can go..."
"No, stay, please. You have every right to read this as much as I do."
"If you're sure, Doctor." she said walking over to him, and looking down at the letter, seeing Reinette's neat scrawl as she began to read.
My dear Doctor and Sarah Jane,
The path has never seemed slower, and yet I fear I'm nearing its end.
My only hope is that you are both reunited and are travelling the stars together once again.
Take care of each other.
You are no longer alone, my lonely angel. Enjoy the time you have both been granted.
I hope we shall meet again, but I know it is unlikely our paths will cross. I only ask that you both do not forget me.
Farewell, and Godspeed my lonely angels.
The Doctor wrapped an arm around Sarah's shoulders, pressing a kiss on top of her head, as they comfort each other in their grief. The Doctor silently passed the letter to Sarah as they take one last look at the fireplace on the monitor, which is still lit with merrily dancing flames. Pressing down on one of the buttons on the computer, they watch as the flames go out, leaving the fireplace shrouded in darkness.
"It's time we left."
Sarah merely nods, watching the Doctor press the lever causing the engines to grind to life as they leave the spaceship behind.
"You had best get some rest, Sarah."
"I'll rest, but only if you join me." She bargained waiting for his answer.
"Are you sure that's what you want?"
"More than anything. Besides, I don't think either of us should be alone at the moment."
The Doctor beamed down at her, his eyes filled with love and a spark of happiness despite the somber mood as Sarah guided him from the console room.
He didn't know how long he would have with her, but he would enjoy their time together until it came to an end. The emptiness he felt at the start of their journey was now gone. He was no longer alone. He had the woman he loved for years by his side once again, and it was all thanks to, Reinette Poisson.