The Hub was quiet. Captain Jack sat at his desk, skimming over some files, and occasionally glancing up to catch glimpses of Ianto cleaning up the place. Gwen was getting ready to leave. Rhys had made special reservations at an Italian restaurant. That meant Jack and Ianto would have the place to themselves soon, and by now, Jack was definitely not concentrating on the papers in front of him.
The phone rang, shaking Jack from his lust-filled thoughts. Cursing under his breath, Jack answered the phone and was surprised to hear a familiar, yet earnest voice. "Captain Jack? It's Sara Jane. We have a problem."
"What is it?" he asked, reflexively standing up. "Are you all right? Luke?"
"No, we're both fine," she said. "But... earlier, I heard the TARDIS in the distance and I ran outside to find the Doctor. Before I got a chance to knock on the door, he stepped out, looking very weak and fainted at my feet. I was so scared because it reminded me of the time he regenerated. God, I thought he was dying! I carried him to my house, and I put him on a spare bed. He's really sick, and I don't know what to do! Can you please come quickly?"
"I'm on my way," said Jack. He hung up the phone and grabbed his greatcoat from the hook.
As he rushed past his two team members, Gwen said, "Jack? Where are you going? Is something wrong?"
"I don't know. Maybe."
"What happened?" she asked.
"Something's up with the Doctor. I have to go see." He started towards the cog door.
"Are you coming back?" he heard Gwen call from behind him.
He turned around and smiled, "A gang of weevils couldn't stop me. Have fun with Rhys."
There was a knock at Sara Jane's door. "Where is he? How is he doing?" Jack asked, stepping inside before Sara Jane could even answer him.
"He's stable," she said. "Like he's in a coma." She led him to her spare bedroom, where the Doctor was lying lifelessly in bed.
"He's been asleep for most of it, but once in a while he mumbles something deliriously."
"Like what?" asked Jack.
"I'm not sure," she said. "But I think it may be jumbled memories from his past because he definitely mentioned the name Morbius- that's someone we met once when I used to travel with him."
"No. No more janis thorns!" muttered the Doctor as he tossed about in bed.
Jack knelt by the Doctor's side. "Doctor. Doctor. Can you hear me? It's me. Do you know who I am?"
The Doctor's eyes flickered open slightly, looking at Jack, beyond Jack. "Oh, this won't do at all, either, Romana," he said, before quickly closing his eyes again.
"Doctor!" shouted Jack in frustration.
The Doctor suddenly bolted up and grabbed Jack's shirt. "Chatterton," he said. He turned towards Sara Jane. "Barbara, where is she?"
"Where's who?" Jack asked.
"Don't be foolish. I can't find her anywhere. Where's Susan? I don't know where she went. I must find her." Jack calmed the Doctor and laid him back down on the pillow. The Doctor closed his eyes again.
"Who's Susan?" Jack asked Sara Jane.
"I don't know," she said. "He kept mentioning her before, also. She must have been an old companion of his."
"Susan... I must find Susan..." the Doctor continued to mutter in his sleep.
"I think we need to find Susan," stated Jack, staring back at the Doctor's semi-conscious form.
"Perhaps the Brigadier would know her," offered Sara Jane. "He and the Doctor have known each other for a very long time."
"Do you really think he'd know?" asked Jack.
"At the moment, he's our best option." She left the room for a few minutes and returned with a phone and small address book. She looked up the Brigadier's number and called him. "Hello, Brigadier. It's Sara Jane Smith... I'm fine, and you?... Listen, do you remember if the Doctor ever traveled with or made mention of someone named Susan?... Are you sure?... The Doctor is very sick, and he keeps muttering about some girl named Susan... Yes, quite sick. I don't know what's wrong with him... Oh thank you. I'll see you soon, Brigadier. Goodbye."
"Any luck?" asked Jack. But he could tell from her side of the conversation that the answer was negative.
"He wants to stop by to see if he can be of any help," she explained.
"Hello, Miss Smith," greeted the Brigadier as she opened the door.
"Brigadier!" she said, welcoming him into her home. "This is Captain Jack Harkness."
"Captain," the Brigadier said, shaking the other man's hand. "It's a pleasure."
"Oh, it's an honor to meet you, Sir," said Jack. "I've heard a lot about you, and may I just say how amazing it is to finally meet you."
"Please, call me Brigadier," he said. Standing next to Sara Jane, knowing the Doctor had gotten into a bit of trouble... It felt just like old times. "So what's the situation at?"
"He's right in here," Sara Jane said as she led him to the Doctor.
"Oh, he's changed again," said the Brigadier as he calmly stared at the Doctor, studying him. He looked rather thin, pale, dark hair, couldn't see that color of the eyes at this moment.
"Not recently," said Jack.
"You know, when I first met him, he was a little fellow," mused the Brigadier. "Looked rather like a hobo..." But that was a very long time ago. The Doctor had changed a lot since then, and yet, still remained the same.
He went up to the side of the Doctor's bed. "Doctor? It's the Brigadier. Do you know who I am? The Brigadier."
"Pompous, self-opinionated idiot!" whispered the Doctor.
"What was that?" asked Jack. Sara Jane chuckled under her breath.
"He recognizes me," stated the Brigadier with a sigh.
"So, old chap," he continued. "Susan, where is she?"
"Huh?" said the Doctor as he opened his eyes slightly.
"Susan, where is she?" he repeated.
"She's with David," said the Doctor, his voice strained.
"Where are they?
"Reversing the polarity...."
"Doctor, concentrate. Where did you leave Susan?"
"London. No more Daleks," said the Doctor before passing out again.
"Well, that doesn't give us much," said the Brigadier, turning back to consult with Sara Jane and Jack.
They were silent for a moment. "Oh ho ho... Maybe it has!" exclaimed Jack all of a sudden. "When I was a kid, I remember learning in school about the Great Revival Period on Earth. In the 22nd century, the Daleks took over the planet, but after a decade or so, they were suddenly defeated by the Underground. Emerging from this time to bring the planet back to its former glory were many great people, most notably, David and Susan Campbell living in London. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't be surprised if the Doctor had been there to see the Daleks beaten, or if he knew the Campbells. Why don't I try to find her... Where's his sonic screwdriver?" Jack rifled through the Doctor's trench coat lying at the foot of the bed and pulled out his screwdriver. Jack rolled up his own sleeve. "Ah, just a few adjustments. Perfect. Let me just pop into the future and I'll search for her." He pressed a button on his Vortex Manipulator and vanished.
"Now how did he manage that?" asked the Brigadier, not showing a bit of surprise.
"He used to be a time agent," said Sara Jane.
Jack looked around. He was definitely in London, and definitely in the future. He approached someone on the street. She was very good looking, but Jack had other things on his mind for once. "Excuse me, do you know where I can find Susan Campbell?"
"Susan?" said the woman. "Bless her heart. She's like an angel from heaven. She and her husband live three blocks up."
Jack found the house. It was humble, but seemed pleasant enough. He knocked on the door and a petite, dark haired women opened the door. "Hi. My name is Captain Jack Harkness. I'm looking for Susan Campbell."
"What's all this, Jack?" asked the woman. "You act like you don't know me after how many years?"
"Pardon?" asked a confused Jack. He never set eyes on this woman before in his life. Well,at least he didn't remember meeting her... He has lived for quite a long time, popping in and out of different eras.
"What's going on, Jack?" asked the equally confused woman.
"Um, look... I don't know how much you know about me, but from my perspective, I've never met you before. I just time traveled from 2009 to find you."
"You do look a bit younger than usual," Susan consented. "But why are you here?"
"I'm here on behalf of the Doctor."
"The Doctor?!" Susan's eyes went wide and her body visibly tensed. So she does know him, thought Jack.
"Look, he's really sick right now, and he keeps calling for you. Will you come with me?"
"Take me to him," Susan said determinedly.
When they arrived back at Sara Jane's, Susan ran to the Doctor's side. "Oh, he's regenerated," she said, in a tone that seemed a little disappointed.
"Yeah, but that's not the problem right now," explained Jack, ready to get to business. He noticed Susan's expression. "You okay?"
"Yes, it's just that I was afraid he might not..." Susan's voice trailed off.
"Susan...?" the Doctor moaned.
"I'm here," answered Susan, kneeling beside him and stroking his hair in a very maternal fashion. She suddenly stood up and turned to Sara Jane. "Where's your kitchen? I need to get some things."
"Downstairs and to the left," she answered. "But why?"
"You'll see," Susan disappeared and came back a few moments later. She returned to the Doctor's side and produced something from her hand. "Help me prop his head up," she said. Jack helped life the Doctor up.
"Here, eat this," she said, pressing the thing she had in her hand to the Doctor's lips.
"Is that a stalk of celery?" asked Jack.
"Yes. Let me get a damp cloth for his head." She got up and left the room again.
"But how's that supposed to... Doctor!"
"Yes...?" asked the Doctor, quickly regaining his strength, but still decidedly weak.
"Take it easy. Lie down there." Sara Jane helped him adjust his pillow.
"What happened?" asked the Doctor.
"You were sick," said the Brigadier.
The Doctor glanced around the room. "Brigadier, old fellow, is that you?"
"Hello, Doctor," smiled the Brigadier.
"Celery?" asked the Doctor as he noticed the half-eaten vegetable lying beside him. "How did you know to give me celery?"
"We didn't," said Jack. "It was her." The Doctor looked where Jack was motioning, towards a woman standing at the doorway. The Doctor froze with an expression that consisted of both astonishment and joy.
"Susan?! It couldn't be. Susan, is it really you?" At those words, Susan couldn't contain herself. She ran into the Doctor's outstretched arms, and hugged him so tightly, burying her face in his chest.
"My dear little Susan." The Doctor pulled her in closer, needing to feel her to know that she was really there. He lifted Susan's chin to have a better look at her. Oh, what a beautiful woman she had become. He wiped away her tears and smiled.
Susan began to compose herself, but still held tight to the Doctor. "Grandfather, you know you're allergic to certain gases in the Praxis range of the spectrum. You're usually more careful than this."
The Doctor suddenly remembered the other people in the room. He turned to them with a smile, "You must excuse Susan. She thinks I'm utterly hopeless without her watching out for me." He turned back to Susan, "I can manage to take care of myself, you know."
"Oh, but Grandfather! I've been so afraid for all these years. I didn't know if anything had happened to you."
"What could possibly happen to me?" he asked. Strange words for a man who was lying semi-conscious only moments ago
Susan paused for a moment. "Well, the Time Lords..."
"Oh that!" exclaimed the Doctor. "That's old hat."
"Really?" said a surprised Susan.
"Well, I did eventually turn myself in," the Doctor explained. "That was after my first regeneration. They put me on trial."
"But you didn't do anything!" said Susan excitedly. "They must have found you innocent."
"Actually, they found me guilty. They sentenced me to exile on Earth, took away my control of the TARDIS by blocking off my understanding of dematerialization theory, and forced a regeneration on me. But they later lifted the punishment."
"Doctor, we shall have to have a little chat later on," interrupted the Brigadier.
"Oh, right. I never did actually tell you that, did I?"
"Not in so many words," said the Brigadier coolly.
"I'm sorry, but did she call you Grandfather before?!" Jack finally asked.
"Well, I do happen to be hers," said the Doctor
"After all the years we've known each other, you never mentioned a granddaughter," said the Brigadier.
"I don't tend to discuss my private life. Actually, didn't you two meet briefly?" The Doctor paused, remembering. "Oh wait, never mind..." He realized that the Time Scooping would have erased their memory of those events, and he wasn't up to explaining such a complicated story.
There was a silence. "But why didn't you ever visit me?" Susan finally blurted out.
"I was wondering when you'd get to that," said the Doctor in a serious voice.
"You said you'd come back."
"I know. I'm so sorry." He hugged his granddaughter.
"I was so worried."
"It was for your own good," he said. "I thought I was protecting you."
"How?" asked Susan with a lump forming in her throat.
"Do you know," mused the Doctor, making room for Susan to sit beside him. She lied down next to him on the bed, laying her head on his shoulder as he wrapped his arm around her. "Even with all the times they've tried to kill me, the would still Time Lords send me out on these missions. It's like they have me wrapped around their little finger. You know why? It's because they do. We've reached a mutual understanding that if they let me be, I'll go wherever they send me. But the times when they want to use me as a scapegoat, do you know why I give in and don't resist? Because I don't want them trying to get to me through you. And they would! I know it! And if I lost you, Susan... Well, you're all I've got." The Doctor fell silent again.
At that last sentence especially, Susan started to cry. Though she was so young at the time, she remembered all too well the day they left Gallifrey. She remembered the destruction and the panic. Hiding, afraid to make a sound. Finding herself wandering alone in the garden. The Doctor finding her, and falling asleep in his arms wrapped securely around her. Waking up inside the TARDIS for the first time and seeing her grandfather with red rims around his eyes. Asking where her parents were and if they could go back home soon, and he explaining to her that they could never go back home and that they only had each other.
"Hush, now don't cry, my child. Do you know, I've been asked many times why I favor Earth so much? What it is that these humans have to offer? It was because of you! You loved Earth so much. When you were gone, I needed something so that I could feel that we were still connected in some way. I thought that if I protected Earth, then I would be protecting you. Everything I've done, I've done for you."
"I've missed you so much, Grandfather," said Susan.
"I know, Susan," whispered the Doctor. "I know."
The other three in the room felt like they were intruding, so they silently walked into the hallway, saving the rest of their questions for later, and closed the door behind them.
"Glad that's taken care of," Sara Jane sighed in relief.
"The Doctor never fails to surprise me," said the Brigadier.
"Tell me about it," said Jack.
"Wonderful chap," he mused. "All of them."
"So..." asked Jack, turning to the Brigadier. "How many regenerations did you meet?"