A/N - This is set after SJA's "Invasion of the Bane", but before "Revenge of the Slitheen".
A young man with unruly hair, a pinstriped suit and trainers sat across the desk from UNIT's Brigadier Andrews. The young Brigadier gave the man a disapproving stare. 'Doctor, your request is most unusual. I would not even have entertained it, except I got a call from a supposedly very retired Sir Alistair.'
The Doctor grinned in his own manic way. 'Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart! And how is the old boy doing?'
'Doctor, your lack of formality is disturbing, but given how much help you've given to UNIT and the world in the past, I will willing to look over it. You've requested the assistance of one of my soldiers for an indeterminate amount of time. Sir Alistair apparently found out about this, and informed me that we were to honour your request, and he specifically requested a certain person. The fact that he even knows who is in the current personnel lineup is unsettling enough, but I spent some time looking in more detail through the personnel files. The particular person he recommended has a most interesting connection with Sir Alistair's active days, and I believe she even refers to him as "Uncle".'
'Really?' the Doctor asked innocently. Before he could ask another question, there was a swift knock on the door.
'Come in.' Andrews replied.
A petite, young woman walked in the door. Her uniform was crisp as she snapped to attention. 'You asked to see me, Sir?'
'At ease, Sullivan.'
The Doctor turned around and recognized her instantly. 'Susan Sullivan!' he exclaimed. He smiled at her as she sent out telepathic feelers towards him and felt her inquisitive responses. 'I'm glad to see you've been working on your telepathy, Susan.'
She smiled as she recognized the responses coming from the Doctor. 'I learned from the best, Doctor.'
The Brigadier looked from the Doctor to Susan. 'Sullivan, am I correct in assuming that you know this person?'
Susan turned to the Brigadier without hesitation. 'Yes, Sir. This is the Doctor, Sir.'
'The Doctor has requested access to certain files and equipment, as well as the assistance of one of our personnel. You were "suggested" to me by Sir Alistair. He apparently heard about what was going on and made several phone calls to track you down. You have an interesting history with UNIT, Sullivan.'
Susan smiled. 'My father served with UNIT in the late 70's. Sir Alistair is very close to my family, Sir.'
'No matter now, Sullivan. Assist the Doctor in whatever he requires, and then report back to me when you've wrapped up.'
The Doctor looked from Susan to Andrews. 'It may take some time.'
'As much as it pains me to say it, Doctor, given that Captain Sullivan is one of my best officers, take all the time you need. Her other duties have already been reassigned. I was told that it was possible that this project of yours could take a very long time, months or years even.'
Susan looked surprised, but relaxed slightly when the Doctor quickly winked at her. 'Come on, Susan. There's no time to waste!' He quickly linked his arm in hers and escorted her out the door.
'I'll be in touch, Sir.' she called back as the door closed behind them.
As they almost ran down the corridor, Susan glanced at the tall, slender young man standing beside her and frowned slightly at his rumpled pinstriped suit. In appearance, they looked to be close the same age, although she recognized the same ancient eyes of the Doctor she met on Trivid all those years ago. 'Doctor, what are you doing?'
'I have reason to believe the Bane are going to try to invade. I haven't heard from them in hundreds of years, and why they would try to invade Earth after all this time is beyond me.'
'The Bane? Doctor, that's been sorted out already.'
The Doctor stopped dead in his tracks. 'What? By whom?' His surprise was obvious.
Susan smiled. 'Sarah, of course. I even got a little brother out of the deal.'
The Doctor resumed walking, but slower this time. 'Brother? How'd that come about?'
'The Bane was using brain scans of all the children that entered into their Bubbleshock pop factory. Luke was a product of all those scans. The Archetype, they called him. When the Bane mother was destroyed, Luke didn't have any place to go, so Mum adopted him.'
'So why at Deffry Vale did she tell me she didn't have any children?'
Susan stopped walking. The Doctor didn't, at least until he noticed that Susan wasn't beside him. He finally turned back to her and raised an eyebrow, waiting for her explanation.
Susan took a deep breath. 'Ah, so you're the one she saw there. We weren't sure which version of you that was, when we compared notes afterwards. Deffry Vale was before Luke came into the picture. As for me, officially, even now, Sarah is not listed as my mother. We thought it best not to be changing things around after we returned from Trivid. Despite her protests to the contrary, Sarah was not in the best shape mentally, and it took quite some time for her to come to terms with everything that happened. Also, I was legally an adult by the time we got back, and honestly, none of us wanted to do anything to tarnish Elizabeth's memory. She was my mother in every sense of the word for the first three years of my life, and very accepting of the entire weirdness that was Mum and Dad's relationship. No one wanted that erased. As for not mentioning it to you at the school, Sarah told me that she wasn't sure if the whole Trivid thing had happened for you yet. You didn't mention anything about it, so she didn't want to take any chances of messing about with the timelines.' Susan regarded the Doctor for a minute, then continued. 'I guess since the Bane have already been dealt with, you won't be needing UNIT's services?'
The Doctor smiled. 'I didn't really need UNIT's services, although I am glad the Bane thing is all sorted. I came here specifically for you.'
'Come with me.'
'Come with me,' he repeated. 'You asked me once if I could show you the universe. I knew you needed to reconnect with your parents and determine where you fit into the scheme of things, so the timing was not appropriate. It's been almost fifteen years for you now, Susan. May I show you the universe?' He held out his hand to her, wiggling his fingers and smiling.
'Fourteen years for me, but how long has it been for you? Since Trivid, I mean?'
The Doctor rolled his eyes as he blew out a big puff of air. 'Oh well, something like two or three hundred years, give or take a decade.'
Susan raised an eyebrow. 'Seriously? So you meant it when you said you'd come back for me?'
'I made you a promise, Susan, and I try my best not to break my promises. Why do you think I made sure that your duties were reassigned?'
Susan smiled. 'Just one condition, Doctor.'
'Call me Sue. That's what my family calls me, and Susan seems so formal.'
'Done.' The Doctor grinned broadly as he took Susan's hand in his and led her down the corridor to where he had the TARDIS parked. Opening the door, he gestured for her to enter ahead of him.
Susan walked into the console room and took a long look around. 'You've redecorated. Very nice, I like it!'
The Doctor smiled and went to work setting the coordinates. After a couple minutes, he turned to her. 'Hand me your mobile.'
She handed him her phone and watched as he took out his sonic screwdriver and made an adjustment to it. 'What did you do?'
'I just made sure you could connect with Sarah and your brother from anywhere in the universe.'
Susan grinned, 'Thanks, Doctor.' She looked down at the phone. 'Let's try it out, shall we?' She began to dial a number, then stopped and stared at the Doctor as she he shot a thought her way. 'You think what? That's not possible is it? I am,' she paused, punctuating each carefully chosen word, '100, percent, human.'
The Doctor smiled, knowing he had run all the tests already, but she didn't need to know that. 'Course you are. 32 degree Celsius body temperature, average of 50 heartbeats per minute, oh that's completely normal.'
'When we got back from Trivid, my heart rate dropped with the difference in atmospheric pressure. I may not be what passes for normal around here, but I am completely human.' She finished dialing the number she intended to dial previously.
Luke Smith's mobile rang while he was sitting on the sofa watching television. He glanced at the caller ID before answering. 'Hi Sue.'
'Hey Luke. I'm going away for a while. Would you and Mum mind swinging by my flat now and again to check on things?'
A puzzled expression crossed Luke's face. 'Where are you going?'
'I'm going travelling with an old friend.'
Sarah walked in the room. Luke looked up at her before asking another question. 'What do I tell Sarah Jane?'
Sarah looked down at Luke, 'Tell me what?'
Into the mobile, Luke said, 'Hang on a sec, Sue.' To Sarah, he said, 'Susan is asking that we pop in on her flat to check on things while she's travelling with an old friend.'
Sarah made the leap automatically. 'Tell Susan I want to talk to the Doctor.'
Luke passed the message to Susan, then handed his mobile to Sarah.
'Hello, Sarah Jane,' the Doctor said quickly.
'Promise me you'll look after my daughter, Doctor. Keep her safe.'
'I'll take care of her, Sarah,' he said quietly, 'I promise.'
'Put Sue on the line.' When Susan came back on the phone, she smiled. 'Call me from time to time.'
'Of course, the Doctor rigged my mobile so I could call from anywhere. You can also reach me too, in case something comes up with you or Luke, or if you hear anything from Dad.'
'This is going to be an amazing experience for you. Treasure it, and above all Sue, have a fantastic time. And be careful!'
'Thanks, Mum, I will. I love you.'
'Love you too, Susan.'
After disconnecting the call, Sarah handed Luke's mobile back to him. 'Susan is going off with the Doctor. When we hear from Harry again, I can't wait to see his expression when he finds out about this.'
Luke thought for a moment. 'Can I go with the Doctor at some point?'
Sarah sat down on the sofa beside him and wrapped him in a protective hug. 'Ahm, let's talk about that when your older, eh Luke?'
Luke just smiled.
After speaking with both Sarah and Luke, Susan turned back to the Doctor, his earlier thought bothering her. 'Why do you think that?'
'Well,' he shrugged, dragging out the word, then continued, 'Why wouldn't I?'
'It's not possible. I was born almost a year after you left Mum in Aberdeen.'
'Well, Gallifreyan natural births don't happen often, but they usually have a gestation period of about 13 months, so 11 or so months is probably a decent compromise.'
Susan raised an eyebrow, 'You're serious, aren't you?' When the Doctor didn't respond, Susan continued. 'Come on, Doctor. You've never said anything before, so why now?'
'When we were on Trivid, Gallifrey still existed. Now, there are no more Time Lords. Except me. The rest are gone, thanks to the Time War. At least I was able to keep you from that.'
'By not admitting the truth? What about my parents, do they know? I mean Mum would almost have to, but what about Dad?'
'Sarah once told me that she thought we lost the right to the truth by her giving you up for adoption. As far as she was concerned, you were Harry's child, and she never questioned it. Harry did a fantastic job of raising you, especially since he was functioning almost as a single parent. I had no idea that Sarah wouldn't wind up raising you. They both care very much for you.'
'And I do about them. Both of them. They're my parents. Regardless of the biology.'
'Of course, and I wouldn't want to change a thing, but I thought you should know the truth, only because it might answer some questions you have about why you're a bit different.'
Susan jumped on a different train of thought. 'You abandoned my mother, knowing she was carrying your child. Who would do that sort of thing?'
The Doctor frowned, his tone serious. 'Certain things had to play out between Sarah and myself to maintain the timelines. I went back for her, but landed in the wrong time.'
Susan frowned. 'I never would've expected that from you. Wait, she never mentioned you coming back.'
'What year is it?'
'Oh well, that explains it. It hasn't happened for her yet, so you can't say anything. I met Luke, and assumed at first, but Sarah quickly told me he was adopted.'
'Are you sure you're not just making assumptions where I'm concerned?'
He reached up on the console and slid one of the video panels towards her, 'You tell me.'
She leaned over and stared at the panel, then looked up at him. 'Oh my…you're serious.'
The Doctor leaned back against the console and folded his arms, then simply nodded.
'I'm not changing anything. Harry Sullivan is still my Dad. You're only the genetic donor.' Susan sighed. 'Although, you probably need to talk to Mum.'
'We really should.' He threw a few levers, sending the TARDIS into flight. 'Hold tight.'
Susan shot him a look. 'You'd better.'
Sarah stood in the attic and turned from Mr. Smith as she heard the familiar wheezing, grinding noise and watched as the TARDIS materialise in the corner. Susan stuck her head out and looked around. She smiled when she saw Sarah. 'Mum, are you alone?'
Sarah nodded, 'Luke is at school, why?'
'Can you come in here for a minute?'
Sarah walked into the TARDIS and gave Susan a hug before looking from Susan to the Doctor and sensing that something was up. 'What's going on?'
'Come look at this,' Susan said, pointing at the video panel.
Sarah walked around and looked at the panel. She looked up from the Doctor to Susan and back again. 'Is this what I think this is?'
The Doctor nodded. 'Yes.'
'What does this prove?' Sarah asked, getting defensive.
'Only what we suspected.'
Sarah turned to the Doctor, eyes flaming. Before she said anything, she turned back to Susan and quickly embraced her in another hug. She pulled back and looked in her eyes, trying to read her emotions, but only seeing questions. 'Sue, I will answer all your questions, but could you first excuse us for a moment?'
Susan nodded. 'Sure, I'll be outside.' Susan headed out of the TARDIS to the attic to allow Sarah and the Doctor to talk.
Once Sarah was sure Susan was outside, she whirled on the Doctor. 'I told you to leave this alone.'
'That was all well and good when Gallifrey was still here, but now I'm the last of the Time Lords and Susan deserved to know.'
'So you've already told her.'
Sarah reached up and slapped him across the face. 'This was NOT your choice to make, Doctor.'
He rubbed his cheek with his hand. 'So now you've joined the parental slap brigade, isn't that wonderful,' he mumbled sarcastically.
'You had no right, Doctor, I asked you all those years ago to leave this alone.'
'I had to know, Sarah.'
'Why? This was all about satisfying your own curiosity, not what was best for Susan.'
'She has questions, Sarah, questions that only I can answer.'
Neither of them noticed Susan stick her head back in the door enough to listen to their conversation. Sarah folded her arms across her chest, her posture mirroring the angry tone in her voice. 'Doctor, please. This is about you being lonely, about you being the last of the Time Lords, about losing Rose. So many things, none of them being what's best for MY daughter.' She took a deep breath before continuing. 'Look, you barely know Sue, and now show up in her life fifteen years after she first met you and drop this sort of information on her. And then you plan on whisking her away to heaven only knows where. Is that for you, or for her?'
'Would you believe me if I said both of us?'
Susan walked up the ramp. 'Mum. It's ok.'
'How is this ok, Sue?'
'Mum, it doesn't change anything. Honestly.' Susan wrapped her arm around Sarah's shoulders. 'I have always wondered, but just attributed so many things to our time on Trivid. The latent telepathy, the increased senses of hearing and smell; those things I'd like to, but can't really explain away by living on another planet for two years. You lived there too and you don't have them. Now there are some things about you that aren't quite human either, like the lower body temperature and lower heart rate, so how are those explained?'
At that, they both turned to the Doctor. When he said nothing, Sarah added, 'I've been like that since I came back from travelling with you.' She laughed as a memory flashed back to her. 'Actually, come to think of it, my temperature never did come back up to normal after the whole Antarctica thing.'
'Antarctica? Seriously?' the Doctor asked, the hint of a smile just appearing.
Sarah nodded. 'And if I had to guess, it wasn't long after that I got pregnant with Susan.'
The smile grew and brightened the Doctor's features. 'That trip to Andara, right before Italy.'
'Which makes me really glad I didn't absorb any of that radiation at the nuclear power facility.'
The Doctor only nodded. 'That's true, that's very true. I never thought about it at the time.'
Susan cleared her throat. 'Excuse me, while I can appreciate you two taking a lovely stroll down memory lane, I am still in the room.' They both looked at her. 'I wanted to ask about Dad. He doesn't know anything about this, does he?'
Sarah shook her head, 'No, and given that he's currently missing, there's nothing he has to know. If, or when he comes back, Sue, you and I can sit down and decide whether to tell him or not. For now, I don't see why it would have to leave this room.'
'I agree, after all, he's had so much loss in his life, I don't want him to feel like he's losing me too,' Susan stated.
They both looked at the Doctor, waiting for his answer. 'Don't worry, I'm not going to say anything. In fact, I don't really want to be anything more than just the Doctor to you, Sue. I'm not here to replace Harry in your life.'
'Don't worry, you never could.'