Find Me If You Need To

What did Sarah Jane Smith mean by those words to Rose Tyler?
When things end rather differently, following an upset - Rose goes in search of the seasoned reporter and one time companion of a Time Lord they have in common.

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"Find me, one day. If you need to. Find me."

Sarah Jane Smith remembered her words to Rose Tyler on board the TARDIS, the unspoken offer which had passed between the pair of them in light of the understanding they'd reached. A veteren reporter, more importantly a veteren companion of the wily companion, she knew the pain that would eventually lay in store for Rose, the day when she would have to leave the TARDIS, and rejoin the rest of the human race in their ordinary mundane lives.
She also knew it was worth every second, every scream, every wonder - every day spent in his company.
And she still had K9 to remind her of those times, and share in new adventures, new Earthbound adventures. Taking a break from one such harrowing escape, she was surprised and suspicious when there came a rather tentative knock at the door of her Croyden apartment.
She made her way past K9's dog basket affair, wondering why he hadn't gone to the front door like he usually did when confronted with a newcomer. K9 could be somewhat hard to explain to visitors, but over the years Sarah had become rather good at it, even having a laugh at her visitor's expense.
So far K9 had been described as someone's robot experiment gone wrong, an electronic mobile tax calculator and even the Pentagon's latest hush hush project sent to her for 'housetraining'. That last one always made her laugh, especially when some of them actually bought the story!

She peered through the spyhole and was rewarded by a very familiar, very tear streaked face indeed.
She opened the door quickly.
"... Rose?" She asked, not knowing if this was Rose Tyler she had already met, or was about to meet. Time Travel could screw with your head sometimes.
"He's a pig! Just like the rest of them! I thought he was different..." She exploded into tears, and instinctively Sarah Jane hugged the twenty-ish year old, pulling her inside and kicking the door shut behind them.

Later over a steaming cup of tea, and having gone through three boxes of tissues, Rose related the entire story.
Madame De Pompadour. The letter she'd found in the Doctor's suit jacket.
"She called him her 'lonely angel' and 'my love'." Said Rose accusingly.
"Did you ask him if anything happened?" Asked Sarah Jane slowly.
Rose looked up with tear streaked eyes, and shook her head disbelievingly.
"As if! It's all there in black and white Sarah! She took MY Doctor for herself." Her bottom lip quivered, and it looked like she was going to burst into tears again.
"I'm just saying - "
"Don't! Don't try to defend him alright! He did exactly what my Mum, Mickey and everyone else said he would do!" Cried Rose, anger replacing hurt momentarily in her words and tone.
"You don't even KNOW whether or not anything happened between him and Madame De Pompadour." Reasoned Sarah carefully.
Suddenly Rose's mobile sprang into life. She took it out, looked at it and then pushed it towards Sarah Jane.
"I don't wanna talk to him! Not ever." She said, melodramatically with a toss of her head.
Sarah Jane sighed and opened the phone. It was the Doctor.
"Rose now listen, don't hang up on me, alright. I just want to know what I've done wrong? Even Mickey the Idiot doesn't know. Or if he does he's not telling." Said the Doctor, sounding a little lost, and alot frustrated.
She waited until he was quiet for a moment, then spoke.
"Doctor, it's Sarah Jane here." "Hullo Sarah! Wait a sec, what're you doing answering Rose's phone?" He asked.
"She's a little.. upset at the moment Doctor." Replied Sarah Jane.
"Well she's calmed down alot since this morning then!" Said the Doctor, a little hopefully.
"Yes well, why don't you come by the flat sometime tomorrow Doctor. Speak to Rose then, yeah?" Suggested Sarah Jane, ignoring Rose's mouthing of the word 'No' at her.
"Tell you what, get Rose to call me when she's figured out what I've done wrong, so she can tell me. I've dropped Mickey off for a visit with his mate, so I'll just hover about waiting for her to decide when it's convenient to talk to me again." The Doctor hung up, obviously hurt and confused at why he was being punished for something he hadn't realised he'd done - that is if he did do whatever it was he was supposed to have done in the first place! As he stared at the phone reicever back in it's place on the TARDIS console, the Doctor wondered if there was any point going back to Earth at all. No matter how hard he tried not to let his personal feelings show, he always manage to get it wrong with Rose. Either he was being too withdrawn and 'alien' as she put it, or he was showing too much affection for everyone BUT her and that was wrong too! He wondered if he'd ever get humans, then asked himself the more disturbing question, did he ever want to?

Back on Earth, Sarah Jane slowly clicked the phone closed.
"What did he say? Is he upset? Angry? Sorry?" Asked Rose, conflicting emotions flickering across her face.
"All of the above I'd say. He's dropped Mickey off, and says when you feel like calling, give him a call." Sarah Jane tried to lessen the blow as much as possible, but from the renewed hurt in the girl's eyes it was plain to see she hadn't managed it.
She took a hand and squeezed it.
"He really doesn't understand us you know." She said quietly.
"Women?" "Humans. He's half human himself -" She saw Rose's surprise and smiled genially.
"He hasn't told you that bit either"
Rose shook her head.
"That's the Doctor for you. He doesn't always know how to deal with relationships - especially ones which involve him saying and doing the right thing at the right time. It's a bit like his steering." Confided Sarah Jane.
"A bit wonky, takes the scenic route and doesn't always end up where he's supposed to be?" Concluded Rose.
"Yup. Thats it exactly. Now you can either let him think the worst and possibly drive him away..." "Or I can tell him why I'm upset and let him explain himself?" Finished Rose with a half smile.
Sarah Jane smiled back at the young woman.
"I'll put the kettle on."

Forty minutes later their came another knock at Sarah Jane's door, and this time it was the Doctor looking decidely rumpled and self conscious.
"Ah.. hello Sarah Jane. So this is Croydon. See what you mean about Aberdeen now." He said, earning a chuckle from his old companion.
He withdrew a weird metallic shaped bone, and seeing her questioning glance nodded towards K9.
"Present for K9. Good for the filaments." He said, and put it in his bowl.
"So where is she then?" He asked Sarah Jane without preamble.
"In the living room, watching daytime TV. I'll just finish the tea"
"Thanks, Sarah Jane." He said quietly and as she passed him gave her a hug. She looked at him in surprise.
"What was that for"
"For being there for Rose." He said simply, letting her continue to the kitchen. He missed the look of slight longing and reminscence on her face as he headed into the living room.
"Hey." He said by way of greeting. " What's on TV"
He sat down on the arm rest of the chair and idly flicked the TV over with his sonic screwdriver.
"Hey I was watching that?!" Said Rose, flicking it back onto her programme with the TV remote. Ten seconds later, he'd switched it over again. She switched it back.
After a little while longer of the game, Rose eventually switched the TV off entirely. The Doctor considered switching it back on again, but didn't fancy his survival chances with Rose if he did, so he out away his sonic screwdriver.
"Well that was fun. What shall we do now? Turn the lights on and off?" He didn't mean to sound sarcastic but it sounded like it even to his own ears so he immediately apologised.
This set Rose off into a flood of tears again. When she calmed down a bit, he sat beside her on the couch.
"You gonna tell me what's really upset you now?" He asked her.
"You .. you and Madame Bloody Pompadour." There. She'd finally said it.
"Me and Madam De Pompadour? What about me and..." And then the pieces fell into place for him. Her edginess upon his return from France, her grimaces every time the woman had been mentioned on the TARDIS... the displacement of the letter that had mysteriously leapt from the left pocket of his jacket to the right.
"You read the letter." He surmised, looking disappointed.
"Yes. I was looking for the pyschic paper to play a joke on you and Mickey.. but I found that letter. Why her?" She asked, looking him in the eye.
He could play the fool, feign ignorance, and it wasn't as if he'd put the letter away - but still, Rose hadn't had to read it.
"You read my letter, and you assumed that I ... slept with Reinette. That I slept with her, instead of coming back to you." He said, his voice soft and hurt.
"It's pretty obvious "
"Is it? Is it really? Then I must be really stupid. Because as far as I'm aware, and having actually BEEN there at the time you'd think I'd know this, I have in no way bedded, slept with or otherwise fraternised with Madame De Pompadour - or any of her parlour maids for that matter. I was a little hung up with the fact that I'd been cut off from the TARDIS and my friends... but hey if it's in the letter, I must've done it then!" He stood up, suddenly furious - not with Rose, not with Reinette but with himself. Why did he do this to himself? What was it about humans that compelled him - no nearly drove him - to insanity? Their clothes sense!
Suddenly Rose saw it from his point of view. She'd violated his privacy, made assumptions and accusations and expected him to somehow be alright with how she's arrived at those conclusions. And he was telling the truth - she could see it in his eyes. In his anger.
She'd betrayed his trust in her, just as badly as she'd believed he'd betrayed her trust in him.
"Doctor - I... " She reached out to touch his arm, but the Doctor just shook his head.
"Leave me alone for a bit Rose. Please. I'm not good company." He said, and walked out.

As he passed her in the front hall, Sarah Jane instinctively knew things had somehow gone from bad to worse.
"Doctor"
"I'm fine." He said, and kept going.
As she crossed over to the living room, she found Rose crying into the arm of the settee.
"Oh Rose." Was all she could say, as she cradled the young woman into her arms.
"What have I done, Sarah? What have I DONE!" Sobbed Rose Tyler.

Would the Doctor return?!?