Story: Guilty Conscience

Author: Stitch54

Timeline: Post SJA 'Goodbye, Sarah Jane', and somewhere towards the end of Sarah Jane's era with the 4th Doctor.

Summary: The Doctor decides he needs to see the future when he decides he has to leave Sarah.

Warning: This fic contains elements from my other crossover fic 'GCSEs, Boyfriends and the Doctor', which is on this site. If you read something that doesn't make a whole load of sense, just ignore it. You can get away with reading this without reading that.

Disclaimer: I do not own DW or SJA. The BBC does sadly.

He'd been looking for an excuse for a long time now. She was getting to close. And he was scared. It was the scariest thing he had ever faced. No Dalek or Cyberman came close to how scared he felt around her. A simple human girl terrifying him more than any monster could, it was absurd. And now he needed to get her home, and a good excuse to go with it. He had come up with a few, all seemed rather pathetic, but at this present time, it was all he had. He could just leave her on Earth the next time they were there, which would be the easiest, but not the kindest. He could give her a variety of excuses, but then he would feel guilty. Why was he so selfish?

Checking the psychic link with her that had developed to such intensity in the past week, he even had what she was seeing stream into his head, he found that she was in the library. Her hair was misbehaving, and every few seconds she had to push one piece repeatedly out of her face as she attempted to read the most recent addition to the library; Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, First Edition. They were editing it for a lovely lady from the nineties, and she was having a good spell and grammar check of the first chapter at the moment from the Doctor's lovely companion, Sarah Jane Smith.

As the Doctor settled on the decision to take her home in the imminent future, he was struck by a wave of guilt. Could he do this to her? Would she have a good life without him? What would happen to their relationship? It would be over of course. She would never forgive him for it. But he felt that he had to see the results. His mind was set, but he felt he needed the reassurance.

Turning to the TARDIS console, he ran his fingers across the many buttons and switches and set her to fly out of the Time Vortex. Sarah Jane would feel the movement of course, and the TARDIS would send messages into her head as to where they were going. Although, Sarah wouldn't understand the most of it, she would get the gist and head on up to the console room soon. So that meant he had about five minutes.

"Locate Sarah Jane Smith", he told the TARDIS.

On the view screen, a red blob appeared in the TARDIS. She was still in the library, moving slowly across the room to place the manuscript on the desk she used more than him these days. How he hated when he sat down he found that she had moved things about. But he couldn't be angry at her for long, as he soon learned that there was a very good logic to behind her sorting.

The next thing for the Doctor to decide upon was what year he would check on her. There were quite a few actually after when he was planning to drop Sarah Jane off, her home time. He could visit a year after, but he felt that was too soon, but was anytime the right time. Maybe the next century, when everything changes? The 21st century, yes it was decided. But when, 2000 perhaps? 2099, no, that was ridiculous. 2010? Yes, that was a good year. He hoped.

"Locate DNA to year 2010", he told the TARDIS, and it started to process the information.

Using Sarah Jane's DNA from the TARDIS records, the time machine came out of the vortex in the specific year, no time of year specified. Immediately, it began to scan the Earth below, and zoom in on London. Good, the Doctor thought, at least she is alive. Then the TARDIS went further, towards West London. No longer in Croydon, the Doctor continued to think. Finally, the TARDIS settled on Ealing, Bannerman Road to be exact.

A giant grin appeared on the Doctor's face, but suddenly, a warning sounded, and Sarah Jane was in the console room quicker than the speed of light. "What's that?" she panted as she bent over slightly next to the Doctor, "Where are we?"

"The TARDIS has detected a large amount of alien activity, and we are in, or rather over London", the Doctor answered as he flicked a few more switches.

"When and why?" Sarah added, forgetting to ask that the first time around.

"2010, and why, because I needed to get out of the vortex and do something", he replied as he quickly hid any sign that he was looking for Sarah.

"There's a lot going on there", Sarah Jane replied as she pointed to Bannerman Road where a cluster of dots almost obscured the map.

"Yes, and we are going to land", he told her, and in swipe flicked about a dozen switches, "Now".

With a jerk and a bump, the TARDIS materialised. Their location not yet known, so the Doctor brought up the view screen to find out. He needed to make sure there weren't any complications with Sarah Jane present. But he had to pull a face at what he found outside. "You've landed us in someone's house", Sarah Jane told him off, "Like that will help the situation".

"Ah, but it depends on whose house it belongs to", he told her in a smile.

He shrugged his coat on and headed for the door, Sarah Jane in tow just behind. He checked that the two lengths of his scarf were close to even before he even dared to walk through the TARDIS doors. "Oh, um, Sarah", he said as he turned to her, "Do you mind fetching my sonic screwdriver? I know you have hidden it, but your mind doesn't reveal to where it might be".

"Is that code for stay in the TARDIS until I know it is safe?" she asked him with a smile.

"No, I need my sonic screwdriver, and only you know where it is", he lied; he really wanted to check that it was safe for her to come out.

She screwed up her face in defeat, and stuck her tongue out at him as she marched across the console room to the interior TARDIS door. Once he knew she was at a safe distance, the Doctor cautiously stepped out of the TARDIS and into the year of 2010.

Sarah Jane Smith was sitting at her computer desk, doing nothing in particular, except a well overdue report on the big doings in Ealing, that she had nothing to do with. Yeah right. If only her editor knew that Sarah Jane was the centre of all the press Ealing was getting. She was just finishing this well overdue report on the 'meteor shower' that everyone had seen on the planet, all because she was locked up in a basement, and the kids were saving her.

Speaking of kids, as she literally full stopped the last sentence, Rani and Clyde walked, chatting about something so insignificant, Sarah Jane wondered if they were wasting their breath. It was one of the many arguments or discussions they had that seemed to go round in a continual circle.

Spinning around on her chair, she was greeted by two happy pleased to see her smiles. "Finished?" Rani asked as she strode up to look.

"Literally just" Sarah replied, "How was your morning?"

"Nothing better than being dragged through clothes shop after clothes shop", Clyde complained as he slumped down onto Sarah Jane's sofa.

"You were the one who wanted to go shopping", Rani pointed out as she sat down next to him.

"Yeah, to get a video game, not to look at clothes that you would like for Christmas", he replied.

"Did you get the video game?" Sarah Jane asked, hoping that he was successful, and was not bored out all morning.

"Yeah thanks", Clyde smiled as he sat forward, "Can't wait to play it later".

Suddenly, there was a loud groaning in the air. A wind seemed to appear from nowhere as it sent Sarah Jane's papers flying all over the attic, and a blue box started to appear in front of Mr. Smith. Not it's usual landing place at all. The three of them all stood, and watched the TARDIS materialise, and each begun to wonder what business the Doctor would have here this time.

When Sarah Jane noticed it wasn't facing them, and there was no sign that anyone was going to come out, she took out her sonic lipstick. A gut feeling told her that she would need it for some reason or another. "Mr. Smith, I need you", she called to her computer from behind the TARDIS.

"I guess you are aware Sarah Jane that the TARDIS has landed in this vicinity", Mr. Smith stated the obvious as he opened up.

"Yes. Scan the TARDIS, is there life onboard?" she asked him, getting worried why the Doctor was not exiting the TARDIS.

"Detecting the Doctor present and another humanoid too deep within the machine itself for specific analysis", he replied, as Sarah Jane strode carefully around to the front of the TARDIS, a bit squashed now with Mr. Smith out.

"What readings are you getting from the TARDIS Mr. Smith?" Sarah Jane asked him, as he and the TARDIS had quite a good rapport these days.

"Normal, except", the pause did not help Sarah Jane feel any better, "Sarah Jane, the TARDIS is not from our time stream".

"What does that mean?" Rani asked as she stood and looked around the TARDIS.

"Hide, both of you. Now!" Sarah Jane replied as she ran back to them.

Clyde and Rani jumped over the sofa as Sarah Jane skidded on the wood flooring and landed next to them on the floor. Cautiously, she peered around the edge of the sofa to see if there was any life exiting the time machine yet. "Why are we hiding?" Clyde asked in a whisper.

"The Doctor in that TARDIS is pre Mr. Smith knowing her", Sarah whispered back at him as she continued to look, "Which means the Doctor in there, is pre meeting us, and him meeting me could seriously affect the timelines".

"How could meeting you do that?" Rani wondered.

"Let's just say, on a whim, the Doctor in there is pre even meeting me. If he were to meet me now, it could affect his decision to let me travel with him when I meet him", she whispered back at her a ninety miles an hour almost, "Which would change everything that is happening right here right now".

"Like with your parents?" Clyde asked seeking a situation he was familiar with for comparison.

"Exactly", Sarah replied as she heard the door creak open, "Get down".

She heard a pair of feet land on the floorboards of her attic. There was no sound at all for a moment, just the whirring of Mr. Smith, waiting for his next orders. Curiosity getting the better of her, Sarah Jane had to peer around to see who it was. The feet, or at the feet level was the giveaway. On the floor by whomever's feet they belonged to, was a long multicoloured knitted scarf. It was definitely the Doctor. A Doctor she knew and a Doctor that knew her. "Aren't you beautiful", his deep voice said as he bent closer to Mr. Smith.

"Thank you", her computer replied instinctually, he couldn't help it.

"Is there by any chance my good friend that you could tell me where I am?" the Doctor asked Mr. Smith.

"The attic of 13 Bannerman Road", Mr. Smith replied only talking to the Doctor, because Sarah Jane had programmed him to be able to seeing as he was the Doctor.

"Thank you", the Doctor replied as he continued past Mr. Smith and found other objects in Sarah's attic.

"Doctor", Sarah Jane heard a female voice call from inside of the TARDIS "Is it safe to come out".

"I think so", he called back over his shoulder, and "There is a very friendly computer out here".

"Well, I found your sonic screwdriver", the female voice continued, closer to the door now, but Sarah knew straight away what to do.

With one quick movement of her hand, she aimed her sonic lipstick at the TARDIS, and the door closed shut; with no way of opening it without the lipstick, which Sarah Jane was not in any way letting the Doctor get his hands on. The Doctor heard the doors slam, and jumped around to try and do everything to get back in.

"Doctor", the female voiced called from inside, "The doors are jammed".

"I think I know that", he shouted back in, "Some external sonic device has caused it think".

"The computer?" the woman wondered.

"No, TARDIS is too powerful for the likes of him", the Doctor replied.

"Thanks", Mr. Smith said, making the Doctor jump.

"What level is Earth currently at?" the Doctor asked him, as he began to frisk himself for the TARDIS key.

"Level 5", Mr. Smith replied.

"There is no way anyone on Earth could have that sort of technology", the Doctor said to nobody in particular, "Come to think of it, you are way too advanced to be here".

"Sarah Jane, what did you do?" Rani whispered as she heard the Doctor frantically trying to get back in the TARDIS, the key not helping at all, "I thought you would want a pre us Doctor to leave ASAP".

"Yes, but not in this circumstance", she replied, "You two better leave".

"Why?" Clyde moaned.

"Because he doesn't know you, and it could upset the time streams", Sarah Jane glared at him, "Now vamoose out of here, otherwise I'll get Mr. Smith to recall that game of yours".

Clyde knew he was defeated now. He looked to Rani, and she knew too that it would probably be better if they got out now. Quickly and quietly. Clyde nudged his head, and slowly stood up, helping Rani to stand. She was out of the door before he even had a chance to reach down and help her. Clyde noticed that, and turned on his heels to follow after her. "Hey, you there boy", he wasn't expecting that, neither was Sarah, "What have you done to my TARDIS?"

Clyde turned on the spot to look at the Doctor. He was surprised to see the all curls and teeth Doctor from one of their previous adventures. But he was shocked to see the pure anger look that he was giving Clyde at that very moment as he strode across the TARDIS to confront him. His blue eyes did not leave Clyde's, and you could almost see the pure frustration boiling up inside the Doctor. "Reverse whatever you have done to my TARDIS", the Doctor told him in a low voice, "Now".

"I, um, err, I haven't..." Clyde stammered, and tried to look down at Sarah Jane for help, but for some reason, the Doctor seemed to have his attentions locked on him.

"Spit it out boy!" the Doctor shouted at him, taking a sudden step forward, making poor Clyde jump.

"That is enough!" Sarah Jane shouted at him as she jumped up from her hiding place, "It was me not him!"

The Doctor instantly seemed to shrink by about a foot after he was matched by Sarah screaming at him. She watched him back off, and he was so shocked by her outburst, that he backed up into the TARDIS. "Clyde, you and Rani get out of the house now", Sarah told the boy, and "I'll give you a ring when it is safe".

Without needing to be told twice, Clyde bolted out of the room. His feet thundered down the stairs, and Sarah Jane was only satisfied when she heard the front door slam. Then she knew she could release her full fury on the Doctor. "How dare you! How dare you land in my attic, and then use your almighty Time Lord mental powers on a teenager because he is the first person you happened to lays your eyes upon!" Sarah screamed at him, marching down the small flight of steps, wagging her finger at him.

He was silent for a moment. Taking in what was happening, taking in who she was. He knew. He knew it was Sarah Jane Smith. Sarah Jane Smith, who happened to be in his TARDIS which he was leant up upon, and standing before him. The very same person. "Sarah Jane", was all he was able to say with a grin upon his face.

"Nice to see you too Doctor", she smiled up at him.

And with that, they shared one of the most needed hugs ever. He picked her up and spun her around, not wanting to let go. She knew he was happy, and she knew what circumstances this was under. Squeezing him slightly, he knew then to put her down. His wild eyes examined every feature that was Sarah Jane, and took his hand to stroke her hair. She tilted her head into his touch, and closed her eyes as she became familiar with his presence again.

"Doctor!" their moment was ruined by a cry from inside the TARDIS, "I heard shouting. Is everything okay?"

"Everything's fine", he called back, "Just working out a way to get back in. You be a good girl and go and have a cup of tea".

"But..." the voice came back, protesting.

"No buts, time will go quicker. I promise", he told the voice.

"But..." but Sarah Jane had heard enough and soniced the TARDIS, out of sight from the Doctor behind her back, to block out the internal sound.

The voice cut out, and the Doctor was beyond confused as to what was going on. He poked his head back around from the front of the TARDIS, to find Sarah Jane with her arms crossed, tapping her foot. "Guilty conscience?" she raised an eyebrow at him.

"Sort of", he replied, "Wanted to make sure things turned out all okay".

"Oh really", Sarah said sarcastically, "I was sort of hoping this was a social call".

"Did things turn out all okay?" he asked her straight.

"What do you think?" she told him, arms open indicating to the entire attic, and headed over to the sofa to sit down.

"Fair enough", he agreed with her, as he sat with her, "What do you do with all of this stuff?"

"Save the world because you are gallivanting across the whole of time and space", she replied coldly, "This planet needs someone reliable to defend it from alien menaces".

"What about UNIT?" the Doctor wondered.

"Without you, it basically ceased to exist Doctor", Sarah Jane told him, "I worked with them for a while, but all guns blazing is not my approach".

"Good", he nodded, "But how did you lock the TARDIS? Only the Time Lords can do that".

Sarah Jane just placed the sonic lipstick in his lap. His eyes looked over the object rapidly, his fingers examining every detail. He could never resist the gadgets they saw on their journeys. Soon he moved his attentions onto the inside, and the sonic part itself, which he began absolutely fascinated by. "It is so compact", he stated, "I'm still working on mine. Where did you get it from?"

"Hmm, when you work how to compact yours, ask me that question again", she told him, trying to hopefully keep the timelines sorted out.

"But how can it do that to the TARDIS?" he wondered, the Time Lords were still figuring out how to externally control a TARDIS like that, normally it took a lot of mental concentration.

"Once part of the TARDIS, always part of the TARDIS", she told him, "Now give it back".

She snatched it from his hands before he could investigate the object any further. He watched her move her hands, but grabbed her wrist before she could do anything else. She shot her eyes to look straight into his, just what he wanted. They locked glances for a moment, the Doctor using his psychic abilities to tap into her mind, but before he could even get there, she broke it off. "Doctor, let go of my arm", she told him, and he complied, sort of, loosening his grip slightly.

"Where is our mental link Sarah Jane? It is so strong for me at the moment, why not you?" he looked deep into her eyes, "I could never break it off with you, and you aren't able to. Is there another psychic being in your life blocking me off from you?"

"You are the only psychic being ever allowed into my head with permission Doctor", Sarah Jane told him as she managed to pull her arm out of his grasp, "You tell me the answer to your question".

He thought for a moment, relocking eyes with her. Sarah felt she needed him to know something, to reassure him that everything would be alright in the end. Otherwise he would never leave. He taught her, during their escapades with the Artron energy, how to close and open her mind to him and others. Now she was using what he taught her to show him the things that would lead her to being able to show him this. Confusing.

Then he saw it, what she wanted him to see; his future, her past. Nothing to revealing, hugs, happy moments they spent together, the time they spent together in school and the TARDIS, all her faults and beauty. "I come back for you", he stated as the images finished.

"No, we meet again. And my relationship with him, you, is stronger than it ever was, is", she said, confused by the timelines.

"And you are happy?" he asked.

"Happier than ever, I save the world for kicks for God's sake" she laughed, "Like you said to me once before, I needed to get on with my life".

"When did I say that?" he wondered.

"Sorry, that's in your future", she smiled, "You have to understand; I really can't tell you too much. Timelines and all".

"Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey", he smiled at her, "I love you Sarah Jane".

Sarah smiled at him. The tears were whelming up in her eyes, with one last look at him, she composed herself before breaking down in front of him. "I think it was time you went now Doctor", she told him, as she soniced the TARDIS doors, "Don't keep me waiting".

"When do I drop you home? The right time hasn't come into my head yet" one last question as he stood.

"Where have you just been?" she asked him.

"Does Harry Potter ring a bell", he told her.

"Yes, and you have to get it back to her", Sarah told him as she stood up next to his six foot plus stature, "Otherwise the seventh film will never come out".

"It's going to be that good?" he seemed a bit shocked.

"Spoilers!" she gave him a playful punch in the arm, "Give me a few more trips, and the time to drop me off will be as clear as crystal. Andy Pandy knows the answer".

"Andy Pandy!" he screeched, "What has Andy Pandy ever had to do with our travels?"

"You'll see", she said as she pushed him towards the TARDIS, "Now go or you'll never see me again".

"Till then Sarah Jane", he said from the archway of the TARDIS, neither in nor out, "Maybe by then I will learn how to park this thing better".

"Don't you ever call her that!" Sarah told him, standing up for the machine that in the past few years she had come to know and love more than any human ever could, "She is magnificent, and don't you ever forget that".

"Goodbye, Sarah Jane", he smiled at her.

"Goodbye, Doctor", she replied, "No matter what happens, you will see me again".

"Good, I look forward to it", and with that he closed the TARDIS doors.

Within seconds, the blue box had dematerialised, leaving only the winds of time as any indication he was ever there at all. For some reason, Sarah Jane couldn't help but smile. Her past was set, and his future was going to be magnificent. And the two of them were brilliant.

AN: I hope you all enjoyed it. My Christmas present to you all! Please review!