Elizabeth Sladen, known as Sarah Jane Smith, died today, April 19th, 2011 after losing her battle with cancer. Rest In Peace, Elizabeth. You will be sorely missed.
The Doctor dropped Amy and Rory off for shopping, insisting that there was something he had to take care of. He had gotten a call on his phone early that morning. Martha, of all people, had news for him. Sad news. He checked the date on the screen. Yes, that was today. It was every day, really. He promised that he'd be there and hung the contraption up.
The TARDIS materialized three days later outside a church in Ealing. The Doctor was dressed in his best clothes. She at least deserved that.
He quietly approached the old wooden door and pushed it open. Dozens of people lined the pews, turning their heads to see who would dare to come in almost thirty minutes late. The Doctor spoke not a word, but caught Martha's eye from the front seat. She knew it was him, new regeneration and all. He gave her a small nod of recognition. The Pastor opened his mouth to speak, but Martha quietly shushed him. She knew the Doctor wouldn't stay for the whole service. He couldn't watch them speaking about her; it would drive him insane.
Instead, he silently made his way to the front of the room, shooing the Priest away. The man began to protest, but Martha spoke softly to him, telling him that everyone here knew him and that it was okay.
The Doctor stood in front of the open casket, looking out over the congregation. Luke, Clyde, and Rani sat on the opposite set of pews with Rani's parents and Clyde's mother. Several members of UNIT were in attendance, as well as Mickey and Jo Grant. Everyone was silent, watching him expectantly.
"Sarah Jane Smith," he said, swallowing a lump in his throat. "Was one of the greatest people I have ever met in my entire life. She was intelligent, a joy to be around, and she's probably saved the Earth almost as many times as I have." His eyes shifted to her son, Luke, who couldn't help cracking a smile at the memory of his mother's heroic exploits. "Sarah Jane was selfless, always looking out for others..." He trailed off, then finally turned to peer into the open casket. She looked very much at peace and far too young.
"I never apologized to you, did I Sarah? Really and truly apologized. I practically abandoned you, but you forgave me without my having to ask. A faithful companion to the end..." He walked to the open box and pressed his fingers to his lips, resting them on her forehead. "You were amazing," he whispered. "I'm so very sorry." He felt the tears fall down his cheeks and he wiped them away.
The congregation in the pews said nothing as they watched him take his exit. Only Luke, her son, raced after him as the large oak doors closed. He pushed them open and saw the Time Lord attempting to unlock the TARDIS. "Doctor!"
The Doctor paused and turned. "Luke, nice to see you again." He sniffled.
"Come back in two days," Luke said quickly, not wanting to keep the funeral any longer. "Mum wanted me to ask you a favor."
The Doctor paused, confused. But he nodded. "I will. Still the same house, yes?"
Luke nodded. "That's the one."
"See you in two days then," the Doctor replied, climbing into the TARDIS and setting the coordinates for April 21st, 2011, 13 Bannerman Road.
The TARDIS materialized next to the yellow bug that Luke now drove. The front door opened at the Doctor's first knock, Luke standing there with red rimmed eyes. "Hello Doctor. Thanks for coming." He allowed the Doctor into the house. The first things the Doctor's eyes fell on were two identical urns, one on a side table and the other at a place of prominence on the top of a shelf.
Luke gently picked the one from the side table and turned to the Doctor. "Mum wanted to be cremated," he clarified. "Half is in here, half is in there." He nodded to the urn on the shelf. "She was hoping that I could get you to take this-"
"-and scatter it in space," he finished. The Doctor watched him carefully, but sensed that there was more she wanted to say. "Mum loved her life here with me, Clyde and Rani, but I know she missed traveling with you too. She loved it just as much. I could see it in her face." He held the container out to him. "Please."
The Doctor took it reverently, cradling it like the most precious piece of cargo imaginable. "I will," he promised, watching Luke sniffle and wipe his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt. "Your mother is a star."
Luke smiled. "Yeah. Yeah she was. Thank you, Doctor."
The Doctor nodded, then took his leave of 13 Bannerman Road. The TARDIS whirred and spun through the Time Vortex, intent on a very specific event. A star Sarah Jane would definitely be.
The TARDIS was, for once, precise in its arrival. It would be several billion years before the woman known as Sarah Jane Smith would be born, but the Doctor had a special place for her. He carefully took the urn and walked to the door, opening the double doors and shielding his face from the light.
The plumes and clouds of gas were floating around him in seemingly random patterns. The gas was condensing quickly; the light was increasing and even the TARDIS couldn't keep the heat from passing the shields for much longer. The Doctor opened the urn and tilted the ash out, watching it be caught by the increasing gravity of the Sun. It swirled and mixed together, gas and ash congealing into the bright star.
Sarah Jane was now a vital part of the star that would help give rise to life on Earth.
Forever watching over the lives of the people she loved until long after they had passed.