THe Doctor looked up from his work on the console. He tried to keep his voice patient, though he really thought any interruption could wait for later. "Jo, I thought I told you not to..."

He felt the very familiar touch across his psyche.


He turned around, and beheld a young Time Lady in full regalia, a businesslike manner fully in effect.

"My jailers return. How do you do," he said, a touch of bitterness in his voice.

"I am fine," said the red-headed woman, adjusting the hem of her dress. "Are you ready for the latest review, Doctor?"

"As I am ever," he replied. He reached out, and was rebuffed. They wouldn't even allow a mind-touch. Great Rassilon, did they think him that damaged?

"Very good," she said. She drew forth a computer pad, and began to call up various forms.

The Doctor sat down upon his work-bench, hands clasped. "I don't suppose I could ask your name?" He sounded a bit hopeless.

"No, you could not." The woman slowly turned about, scanning the pad over his workshop. "You've been setting back invasions, have you? Even for these primitives?"

"Even for these primitives," said the Doctor, a slight growl in his voice. "What, are you surprised, warden? Or do you think it's only because I would only want to preserve my life as well?"

"No, I don't, Doctor," the woman said. "Don't call me warden, either..."

The Doctor started. A twinge had touched his mind...

He stood and stepped forward, hoping, unbelieving.

"S.. Susan? Did... did you... are you...?"

The woman jerked back. "Don't touch me. Don't you dare touch me!" She leaped to her feet and started backing toward the door. Tears leaked down her cheeks.

"Susan... Susan, please. I had no idea you would- I mean-"

"You left me behind on a primitive, dying planet, Grandfather. Why did you... how could you..."

She reached the door, flinging it open to step into her TARDIS. She looked over her shoulder.

"Please, Susan!" said the Doctor in desperation. "I had always meant to come back for you!"

"You didn't," she said. She slammed the door shut.

He sat down heavily on the floor, the echo of TARDIS departure ringing in his ears.

"Doctor. Doctor!"

Benton was shaking his shoulder, trying to rouse him. There was a note of desperation in his voice.

He looked up. "Down to me again, is it?"

"Er, yes." Sergeant Benton looked both confused, and frankly relieved, as the Doctor hauled himself to his feet.

Don't go off on him,thought the Doctor. He has no idea what just happened...

He straightened his collar, and gave Benton a tolerant half-smile. "Well, then, Sergeant," he said, "I'm game. Let's go meet the neighbors."

He strode away quickly, hiding his face from Benton as he brushed away the tears.

Handy stuff, lace.