Chapter 7: Fallen Angels

Do not be afraid, my children. I shall not abandon you. For though my body is entombed, my spirit is dispersed all through time.
-The Book of Rassilon

"Will I remember?" asked Sarah. "Afterwards, I mean."

"I don't know," Romana said. "It's possible. I'm so sorry."

Sarah nodded. "I can do this."

"You're very brave."

"What about you?"

"Oh, there's not much to being dead. I imagine I'll rather enjoy the rest."


Someone was speaking.

"The Paradigm gives us power, but you could give us wisdom. Become a god. At my side. Imagine what you could do - think of the civilizations you could save. Perganon, Assinta... your own people, Doctor. Standing tall. The Time Lords... reborn.

"Doctor, don't listen to him," said Sarah, such a long time ago.

Finch turned to her, continued. "And you could be with him throughout eternity. Young... fresh... never wither, never age... never die." His eyes turned back to the Doctor. "Their lives are so fleeting. So many goodbyes. How lonely you must be, Doctor. Join us."

"I could save everyone." Behind the Doctor's eyes, Gallifrey was burning.

"Yes," said Finch, leaning forwards, his voice silky, intimate.

"I could stop the war."

"No," said Sarah. "The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love."

The Doctor watched Finch's face, watched it fall. Behind his eyes Gallifrey fell. Tears and ashes.

"Whether it's a world, or a relationship," continued Sarah.

"No," said the Doctor. "No."

Time cut a little more…


And Time held fast around the Earth and though she edged back as the Abomination surrounded her, she knew the moments that she must protect beyond all others.

"Let me in, let me in!" screamed the Doctor.

"Not by the hairs of my chinny-chin-chin," Time called back.


Finch turned to Sarah. "And you could be with him throughout eternity. Young... fresh... never wither, never age... never die." His eyes turned back to the Doctor. "Their lives are so fleeting. So many goodbyes. How lonely you must be, Doctor. Join us."

"I could save everyone." Behind the Doctor's eyes, Gallifrey was burning.

"Yes," said Finch, leaning forwards, his voice silky, intimate.

"I could stop the war."

"No," said Sarah. "The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love."

The Doctor watched Finch's face, watched it fall. Behind his eyes Gallifrey fell. Tears and ashes.

"Whether it's a world, or a relationship," continued Sarah.

"No," said the Doctor. "No."

Time cut a little more…


The faded Doctor sat with the Rose who could still remember when nothing was further away than a trip on the bus. It was dark and cold and there was nowhere to go and nothing to wait for.

Not a catacomb, not a maze, not an archive. But a tomb.

And a place where Time no longer held dominion.

"I don't want to be alone," the Doctor said.

Rose took his hand. "I'm here."

"I don't know. I think you might just be a figment of my imagination. I've imagined so very many things. I don't think I can count them all any more."

She squeezed his hand. "I'm real enough."

"I hurt you."

"Yeah, you did."

"I'm sorry."

"No, you're not."


"I could stop the war."

"No," said Sarah. "The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love."

The Doctor watched Finch's face, watched it fall. Behind his eyes Gallifrey fell. Tears and ashes.

"Whether it's a world, or a relationship," continued Sarah.

"No," said the Doctor. "No."

Time cut a little more…


"You'll only have a few seconds," Romana told her.

"What do I do? What do I say?" And, for a moment, Sarah thought she might panic.

Romana smiled, shrugged. She was bathed in calm, perfect composure. "I can't answer that. But he's your friend, and you know him a lot better than you think."

Sarah took a deep breath, asked, "What if I get it wrong?"

"Then we tried."

"Romana, I don't-"

"You've done this before. Be his conscience. Remember that you're right. Tell him what he needs to know. What you think he should know. It only needs a push, and you were almost there before. A word's as powerful as an action. Or, if nothing else, tell him what will happen."


The Doctor watched Finch's face, watched it fall. Behind his eyes Gallifrey fell. Tears and ashes.

"Whether it's a world, or a relationship," said Sarah.

"No," said the Doctor. "No."

Time cut a little more…


Somewhere else, a granddaughter was suddenly afraid and a baby boy started to cry and a mother and a father who watched over his cradle held each other for fear of what the wind was bringing.
"I'm ready," said Sarah.

Romana nodded, took the Key to Time in her hands, felt its potential flow through her. Felt the temptation.

I could save them all.

But Time was ready and she could see the open window, the path to Earth.

I am imperfect.

But Gallifrey rose before her eyes, her Gallifrey, and the great union between the temporal powers and the peace through the Vortex and she would sweep away the Daleks and all the ways in which they had hurt her, her people, the cosmos.

It was so simple.

So simple.

Save for the memory of what would happen should she fall. She had seen it once, so long ago, on Gallifrey. Another future, another Romana. One who had called herself Imperiatrix and ruled her empire with a cruel justice and vicious hatred of all who would not conform.

She knew, she had always known, she would pass this test.

And she would die.

Good luck, Sarah Jane.

It wasn't easy, but she smiled.

And she sent this Sarah into the other Sarah and did not think about paradox or cause or effect or all the universe a storm around the eye, that moment there in the classroom.

One future stopped, another began.


"Whether it's a world, or a relationship," Sarah heard herself say and she did not know what to do next.

And then she remembered, those words that Rose had said, that had been said before. By Rose, the ship and Time. Sarah remembered and she said, "Everything has its time…and everything ends."

She saw the Doctor watching her, saw the indecision in his eyes resolve into action.

He lifted a chair, smashed it into the computer, rejected Finch and all that he had offered.

And in seven words Sarah had saved everything that she'd ever known.


The Last Great Tower of the Time Lords fell and Pain fled back into the cosmos; Death rose from the ashes of all those she had reaped; Gallifrey burned.

And Time guided the threads as they ravelled and unravelled and history was written and rewritten and almost everything was just as she remembered.

Somewhere on Earth, a human was crying. But only on the inside.


They ran, the Doctor and her, they ran as they always had and she loved it, loved it and revelled in it and savoured every moment.

It would soon be gone and so would he. Exactly as it should be.

She let him hold her when she was sure it had finished, really finished. When she could let go, just a little, and she cried into his arm and she didn't say a word.

They stayed a little while, the Doctor and Rose and Mickey. Longer than she expected, but just as long as she needed.

"Find me... if you need to, one day. Find me." That was what she told Rose, just before they left. The rest could wait. So could she, she wouldn't forget.

One day, she'd tell Rose about Romana and her ship and the Doctor and the end of the universe. She wasn't sure that Rose would believe her, but maybe she'd understand. And there really wasn't anyone else she wanted to tell, anyone else she could imagine telling without a self-conscious laugh and some serious self-doubt regarding her own sanity.

But it was real. Had been real. She held it all inside of her, all those people and memories and events, just hers. A whole new universe inside her head.

Just after they had left she said a quiet goodbye, a thank you, to Romana.

And somewhere out there the sky was burning, the seas were fierce and the people screamed. Somewhere there was despair, somewhere there was cruelty and somewhere there was a man in a blue box, making things better and doing the best he could. Those were the stories that she'd been a part of, and now they went on without her.

But it'd be alright, because she'd always liked this bit: the bit that was all about a girl and her dog.

Sarah Jane Smith went home.