URGENT NOTE: As you may know, the BBC starts shooting the 50th anniversary special this week. If you'd like to see a proper tribute to Sarah Jane in the special, please consider signing the petition at www dot ipetitions dot com / petition/sarah-jane-smith-dr-who-tribute (automatic link removed because we don't want to break any rules) and passing it on to any groups you belong to. If we all pass it on, we can make a difference! Time (ironically) is of the essence! Thanks!

This story is set between Waters of Mars and The End of Time. It's also AU, and in a separate continuity from "Unfinished Business," ignoring the SJA version of what happened to Sarah Jane's parents.

We don't own Doctor Who, and so on. Thanks!

England, 1956

"Mummy, how long will it take to get to Auntie's house?" asked the very petite five year old girl.

"About two and a half hours, dear." Her mother smiled at her and stroked her head. She loved that little face so much. "Now let me look at you before we go out to the car. We have to make sure you are presentable enough to have tea at your Aunt Lavinia's."

Sarah Jane stood still as she smiled up at her mother.

She was small for a five year old, standing just thirty six and a half inches tall. She had two ponytails with red velvet ribbons in them, and slightly mussed bangs. The child looked like a beautiful doll that had just been taken out of her box. She was wearing a bibbed bright red skirt with a white blouse with short puffy sleeves. The blouse had red velvet trim and red velvet buttons that matched her skirt, and she had on black patent leather shoes and white socks with red lace trim on them.

Her mother picked up her brush and gently straightened her bangs. She knew they would be mussed up again as soon as Sarah Jane ran out to play or shook her head. She just felt better doing it. "Play quietly dear for a few moments while Daddy gets the auto ready, and please try to stay close and keep clean."

Sarah Jane nodded her head and her bangs went flying as she ran off to play in the back garden of their little Foxgrove home.

Her mother shook her head and laughed. She knew a lost cause when she saw one.

"Almost ready, Eddie?" she called out to her husband from her bedroom window.

"Just finished up this second Barbara. You ready?" The man closed the trunk of their car and smiled at it with satisfaction.

"Be right down. Go and get Sarah Jane from the garden and get her into the car please." Barbara Smith took one last look at herself in the mirror before she went to join them. She ran her brush through her hair one last time and headed downstairs.

Her husband had just settled their daughter into the back seat when suddenly Sarah Jane looked about and panicked. "I forgot Elizabeth," she exclaimed, looking as if she were about to cry.

"Don't panic darling," said her mother. "Daddy will run back into the house and get her for you, won't you daddy," she said, turning to her husband as she opened the passenger side door and got into the car.

"Where did you leave Elizabeth my little princess," he smiled lovingly at her.

"She's upstairs in my room by the window seat," said Sarah Jane, looking up at her father with an expression that clearly let him know that he was her hero and she adored him.

Three minutes later, her father came out the back door, locked it again and headed back to the car. He opened the back door and handed a small stuffed owl to Sarah Jane who in turn, took it quickly from him and hugged it tightly to her. "Thank you daddy, you're wonderful."

"Your welcome your highness, glad to be of service to such a distinguished lady," he bowed to her with a smile and jumped into the car. He put the key into the ignition and smiled at his wife and daughter. "Now then, everyone ready to go?"

Two loving faces smiled back at him and nodded their heads.

"Ready when you are Eddie," said his wife.

"Marvelous," he answered her. "How about some music then? Shall I see what's on the radio?"

"Sounds lovely," said Barbara.

Sarah Jane was looking out the back window excitedly with Elizabeth still clutched to her chest.

The car pulled out of the drive and onto the road. The radio was playing "My September Love" by David Whitfield, and Barbara and Eddie started singing along with it. In a short while, Sarah Jane was sound asleep in the backseat.

The Doctor sauntered around the TARDIS console, trying to decide where to go next. "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" echoed through the halls, making him feel more lonely than usual. Whom did he have to come home to, exactly? As if in answer, the time rotor started moving up and down. "Oi," he said to the TARDIS, "what are you doing?"

The TARDIS didn't answer him, of course, but he still got the gist of her answer: there was something he needed to take care of.

The TARDIS landed with a jolt, almost a thud, really, and he looked at the readouts. "Kings Wood, 1956. Hmm." He couldn't think of anything interesting that would have happened then and there, except ... He grabbed his coat and exploded out of the TARDIS, looking around for any sign of what must be coming. A herd of cows chewed lazily in the field behind the road beside which the TARDIS had landed, and an old tractor sat at the side of the road up ahead at the curve, as if abandoned in favor of more pleasant tasks. Across the street, wheat swayed in the gathering wind.

It was quiet. Only the rustling of the wheat and tree leaves punctuated the overcast day.

Then, far away, thunder.

A moment later a raindrop spattered on the TARDIS's roof, then another, then on the road, and in just seconds it was as if the sky had opened up, and he had to retreat to the doorway of the TARDIS or be drenched. But that wouldn't matter in a moment.

Finally he saw it. The Morris Oxford MO wasn't speeding down the road, exactly, but when lightning struck the tree overhanging the fence in the cow pasture, the road was slick, and the car had barely slowed at all when it plowed into the tractor. By the time the Doctor had sprinted to the scene, the car was already in flames.

To be continued ...