"The Honeymooners"

Epilogue: "Curse of the Rani"

Sarah Jane stood on the quiet street, staring in numb shock at the place that the TARDIS had occupied only seconds ago. Her threat to leave hadn't been serious; it had been more like a cry for attention. The type of attention that he doesn't know how to give, she reminded herself bitterly. Most men she'd known – human men – would have held her, comforted her after her ordeal with Eldrad. Not the Doctor. He'd simply gotten to work fixing (or rather trying to fix) his precious TARDIS!
And so she'd threatened to leave, even packed her bags to make the ploy more convincing. Was it manipulative? You bet. But it seemed to her the only way to get a reaction out of him. And she'd gotten one, all right… just not the one she'd expected, certainly not the one she'd wanted.
"I've had the call to Gallifrey," he'd told her. "I can't take you with me, Sarah. You've got to go home." And almost before she'd known what was happening, he'd bundled her out of the TARDIS and taken off without her. The Rani's words to him on the beach at Brighton suddenly came back to her.
"There's nothing these women love more than a challenge, and deep down inside they all have the same foolish belief that they can change a man into something he's not. They all like to believe that their love alone can transform a man into what they want him to be."
Sarah Jane had tried to tell herself that she wasn't like that, that she loved the Doctor for who he was and accepted that he didn't, couldn't return her love, at least not in the same way.
But just as the Rani had said, deep down inside she thought she might be the one to change him, the one to touch his human side, to wake those emotions that she just knew had to be there… it seemed inconceivable to her that someone who seemed so much like her could be so very different, devoid of the ability to feel romantic love.
She understood that he had to return to Gallifrey, had to obey the call home, but she just couldn't fathom why he couldn't have taken her with him. His father had taken his mother to Gallifrey, hadn't he? All right, maybe that hadn't exactly worked out, but the point was that he'd done it.
But the Doctor hadn't chosen to follow in his father's footsteps, not even for a visit that would no doubt be as brief as he could possibly make it. No, he'd dumped her off like so much garbage… and that made her wonder, was he ashamed of his involvement with her? Afraid of what the rest of his people would say about it? That thought brought her up short. But he should love me enough to… damn it! He doesn't love me. He can't love me. The Rani was right all along… right about both of us.
Damn her.
Sarah Jane did the only thing she could do under the circumstances. She picked up her suitcase and set off to catch the bus home. Naturally, it began to rain.
She had stood in the rain for ten minutes when the bus finally arrived. The doors opened with a pneumatic hiss and Sarah Jane stepped on board. The air inside was uncomfortably hot, and the drying clothes of the passengers made it feel damp and steamy. She paid her fare, grabbed her suitcase and headed up the aisle, looking for a seat on the packed bus. She had just resigned herself to standing for the duration of her trip when she saw a man motioning at her. She tripped her way up the aisle and plopped down in the vacant seat beside him.
"Oh thanks so much!" she exclaimed gratefully.
"Long trip?" the man asked, his blue eyes twinkling merrily.
"You've no idea!"
"Oh, I bet I do, Sarah Jane!"
"Um, do I know you?"
The stranger in the green velvet frock coat smiled.