All the Doctors were there in the end. How could they not be? He deserved it. The little funeral was almost empty, only Benton, Sarah Jane, Mike Yates and Jo Jones being able to show up in the end, apart from those thirteen men. Thirteen men who were all down as "the Doctor". In the end of course many more than thirteen had come, but Parallel Timelines and possible futures aside, the Doctors were here.
It was all prearranged from their point of view. The Seventh Doctor - the master manipulator - had learned the date of the funeral and sent out invitations to all his selves throughout time. They all arrived and, though UNIT gave him an honour guard, it was the six biggest and strongest of the incarnations who carried Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, in a little black coffin with five different UNIT badges and the Union Flag. The earlier Doctors were set on having a Seal of Rassilon there too, but the later ones had a slight objection to that. Perfectly understandable. So Earth got six symbols onto his coffin and his friend was content merely to be there; and to be there again, and again.
The First and Second Doctors were busy talking about him; the First about the little moment he and Susan had shared with him, later on in his life, the Second about Cybermen and Yeti.
"Why is it d'you think that I got him mixed up with that Zodin incident?" Two asked softly.
"Zodin?" One replied softly. "I remember her. But wasn't that Captain named Stewart?"
"The stiff upper lipped woman?" Two said. "On the Cadeuceus?"
"Yes," One said, rapping his stick into the floor, certainty in his tone. "One of his descendants!"
"It's nice to know he had some," the Second Doctor smiled. "Generations of Lethbridge-Stewarts helping us out in our respective pickles."
The First Doctor chuckled sadly - a bittersweet sound devoid of real mirth - and sighed.
The Third Doctor, meanwhile, was sat alone at a table. He had gotten here shortly after Jo had left him - he had received the summons to come before but he didn't want to take Jo with him to this event. Now he was alone he could.
"Splendid chap," he said softly, letting the words roll around. He looked over at Four and Six, who were discussing the finer points of their limited interactions with the Brigadier, and smiled. How privileged the Doctor felt, in his exile, to have had such a good friend supporting him. How sad he was that he had to be here, to see that friend off. How grateful he was that, for him, the Brigadier was still a presence.
Five was sat alone in a corner, having left Turlough in the TARDIS. he didn't know how he felt about the death of Lethbridge-Stewart. Saddened yes, but he knew this was not the end of his interactions with the Brigadier. Still, to be here on this occasion was somber. Somber, but necessary.
Six and Four together were altogether quieter than they were known for. Four wore a long black scarf and Six was wearing his blue outfit with a black cat badge pinned to it, to reflect the mood. Both were talking about Lethbridge-Stewart, of course, but Four had more to say. Six listened, taking it all in. Reigning his loud, brash nature in for the one man he could call his best friend. Regretting his destiny: not being able to see him more.
The Seventh Doctor walked toasted the exit - he had a lot of work to do, his mission that he simply could not delay any longer. His great work to set the cosmos to rights. But before he went, he turned and tipped his hat to the coffin.
"Thank you, Brigadier," he said softly.
Then he turned and walked out of the room.
The Eighth Doctor sat down next to the Ninth and smiled at him.
"Jelly baby?" he offered, holding out the bag. Nine gave him a look and he put it away. "You know I half considered not coming - I got the invite just after I regenerated and thought, 'nah, one more of me won't make a difference.' But I'm glad I did come. He deserved a send off with the lot of us."
"I got the invite just after I regenerated too," Nine said, without elaborating. Eight nodded.
"Still, it isn't as though we won't see him again," he added. "Time travel, and all that."
"Wibbley wobbly timey wimey," a different voice said, sitting down next to them. The Tenth Doctor wore his black tuxedo - a risk but there were at least thirteen of him here plus Sarah and Jo, so they'd be good for any threats.
"I saw him a couple of times," the Tenth Doctor said. "It was good."
"How long into the incarnation?" Eight asked, politely.
"Near the end," Ten said softly. "I'm taking time out to see all my companions again. I arrived too late for Alistair."
The three were silent. Then the Eighth Doctor watched a young looking man in tweed and bow tie approach the coffin, a red headed girl beside him.
"I don't know if I'll ever meet him, Amy," the Eleventh Doctor said. "This could be the end of the run. The last time I saw him I saluted," he remembered fondly. "Only time I ever saluted anyone, apart from," he demonstrated a sarcastic little salute to no one in particular, "for Jack. He deserved it. Alistair I mean. And Jack, but Alistair more."
There was quiet for a long moment, and then all of a sudden, there was a bang. The respective Doctors and Companions turned, to see a half mad looking Sontaran looking at them all with a power-hungry grin in his eye.
"I am Strell the DeathLord," he proclaimed proudly, "and now that you are all here, Doctors, I shall end you!"
He raised his blaster, but then surprisingly, someone called out.
"You will face me, Sontaran!"
The Sontaran - and the Doctors - had little time to do other than register a nervy looking young soldier with a rifle and the Seventh Doctor before the latter rapped out "Stewart! Five rounds rapid!" and the young soldier shot the Sontaran where he stood. Strell collapsed with a grunt, smiling at dying a soldiers death.
For a moment, the nervy young soldier looked at the assembled Doctors in shock.
"Go on, introduce yourself," the Seventh Doctor said.
The young man came to attention. "Private Alistair Lethbrjdge-Stewart, sirs!" he snapped out. There was a brief pause as this information sunk in, and then every single Doctor and a few of the companions ran forward and hugged him, yelling out greetings filled with love and admiration. Except Eleven. When Alistair had a moment, Eleven smiled and saluted him. Alistair saluted back, slightly shell shocked at the attention. One by one, the other Doctors saluted too, then the companions. Finally they had all completed the paying of their respects to the man, their friend, who had saved them once again.
"Right, now I'd best get him back," Seven said. He and the young Alistair walked off, and the Doctors were left smiling.
"Splendid chaps," the young Alistair said as he walked off. "All of them! All that saluting, you'd think I was a Brigadier!"
"You might be yet!" Seven laughed. "And let me tell you, none of them are as splendid as you."
For one shining moment, Alistair smiled. The Seventh Doctor guided him back to the TARDIS. He'd have to erase the young man's memories but other than that, one quite successful day. But still, sad.
"May your adventures be joyous ones," he said softly. Then he closed the TARDIS door.