Title: Moving Forward
Warnings: Character death
Spoilers: Slight ones Death of the Doctor and Cold Blood.
Timeline: Takes place after season five of Doctor Who and season four of Sarah Jane Adventures.
Notes: This was sort of my way of dealing with Elisabeth Sladen's death. It has not been beta'd so all mistakes are my own. Feel free to comment if you see something.
In Memory of Elisabeth Sladen
February 1, 1946-April 19, 2011
He had been sitting in the pilot's chair when the call came in. When he answered the phone he didn't want to believe what the person on the other end was saying. He remembered what he told Rose about humans and how they could spend the rest of their lives with him, but he couldn't spend his with them. And now the Doctor lost one of his best companions. Someone who he never thought he'd lose. Just the tenacity she had and the fact that she never stopped going. She was absolutely brilliant.
The Doctor barely heard Amy and Rory talking as they entered the console room. He said a few words into the phone and hung up. Soon he began to twist knobs, bang buttons, and whirl a gig. He didn't hear Amy talking to him. All he knew was that he needed to get to Earth. Ealing to be exact. He knew he could see her whenever and wherever but it would be too heart breaking and too tempting to warn of the danger that was coming. No it was best to go to the point in time where he lost her. If not for himself but for their friends and her family.
Those brilliant, wonderful children. Amy was right about the children.
He paused as the console churned and the TARDIS spun in a different direction. The Doctor felt sick to his stomach and felt his legs giving out from under him. He felt arms grab him and bring him over to the chair where he was seated.
"Doctor!" Amy said.
The Doctor kept his eyes close trying to catch his breath. He couldn't believe he was doing this. His previous incarnation was the emotional one. No that wasn't fair. Despite how much he deflected or showed pain in his previous incarnations the Doctor was always emotional. Once he had calmed down he opened his eyes and looked at Amy who had a concerned expression on her face. He gave her a pat.
"I'll be fine," he told her
"Your pulse is almost 115 beats a minute. Isn't that high even for you?" Rory asked.
He gave Rory a look. He must have been really out of it not to notice the man was checking his pulse. "It will slow in a moment," the Doctor replied, getting to his feet. "I have to go back to Earth.
"I thought you were taking us to a different planet."
"Amy..." The Doctor began.
He really didn't want to speak those words out loud. He couldn't because that would make it true. She suddenly had her arms wrapped around him and before the Doctor knew what he was doing he said, "She's gone."
She glanced up at Rory, who frowned. "Who's gone, Doctor?"
"Sarah Jane Smith. An amazing, beautiful, wonderful friend and companion. She traveled with me a while back and I had met up with her again a few times since returning her to Earth. She died saving the Earth and I need to go there. I need to see her family. Make certain they're all right."
Amy nodded. "Then that's where we'll go."
The Doctor stood taking a deep breath as the TARDIS materialized. He went to the door, Amy and Rory behind him. He felt their strength as he stepped into Sarah Jane's attic. He expected to find at least one of the children but instead he was greeted by Mr. Smith and K-9.
"Master!" K-9 said.
He smiled sadly as he knelt in front of his old friend and gave him an affectionate pat on the head. "Hello, K-9." The Doctor looked behind him. "Amy and Rory Pond, this is K-9."
K-9 wagged his tail as Amy gave him a pat as well. Rory just nodded at him. "Um, Doctor. Where are we?" he asked.
"This is Sarah Jane's attic. Mr. Smith."
"Doctor," the computer responded. "Sarah Jane left a message for you."
He swallowed around the lump in his throat. "Go ahead then."
Sarah Jane appeared on the screen looking as beautiful as ever. She smiled. A smile that could light up the room and melt away all his pain.
"Doctor," she began. "If you're watching this then something has happened to me. Something that both you and I know can't be changed no matter how hard we want to. No matter what my son and his friends say. They should understand the consequences for messing with time. I know I do.
"I know I have already said this, but thank you, Doctor. Thank you for taking me on a journey that I would never forget. Thank you for opening my eyes to the universe. Without my experiences with you I would never have found my Luke or been able to save the world albeit in a small way. Grieve for me if you must, but don't grieve forever because you know I'll always be with you throughout time and space. Goodbye, Doctor."
The Doctor smiled, tears in his eyes, as the screen went black. "Goodbye, my Sarah Jane," he whispered.
It was a few minutes before he felt an arm around him and when he didn't say anything, Amy spoke up. "I think I would have liked her," she told him.
Looking at her he nodded. "You would have loved her!"
The three turned when they heard the door open. Rani stood there and when she saw the Doctor she smiled and ran to him. "You're here!" she said, hugging him. "I thought I heard the TARDIS but I couldn't get away."
"It's all right. I thought you'd be... busy."
She nodded and looked at Amy and Rory. "I'm Rani Chandra. You must be Amy and Rory."
"You know us?" Amy asked.
"The Doctor mentioned you the last time we met."
He cleared his throat because he hadn't told the married couple about his supposed death and all that. "Everyone here?"
"Yeah. Only just. Well except Luke. Clyde and I can't get him to come out of his room," she explained as the headed out of the attic. "Not that I blame him really, but..."
The Doctor nodded. "Maybe I could try?"
"That would be great," Rani replied with a smile.
"Doctor?" Amy said. "Do you want us to wait for you?"
The Doctor shook his head. "I'll be all right. Go on with Rani. I'm pretty certain there are some other people she can introduce you too. A few who you may have seen when you..."
"Oh right!" Amy said remembering the request she made to see his past companions. "Lead the way, Rani."
He stood outside Luke's door for a moment as he composed himself. It wouldn t do the young man any good if he started blubbering in front of him. The Doctor knocked but didn't wait for a response.
When he entered Luke was sitting on the edge of the bed staring at a framed photograph. The Doctor sat beside him and glanced at it. The picture, of course, contained Luke and Sarah Jane. She had her arm around him and they were grinning from ear to ear. The Doctor could see their love for one another as if it were something he could grasp and hold on to.
The Doctor knew Sarah Jane had died saving the world but he didn't know how. He would never ask Luke or Rani or Clyde. He would never go back in time to that fateful day when they lost her forever because he knew he wouldn't be able to stop himself from saving her consequences be damned. He was about to say something to Luke when the boy got to this feet.
"Who are you?"
"Oh come on, Lukey Boy. I know I had a different face the last time we met but you're a smart lad."
Luke stared at him a moment and it dawned on him. "Doctor!"
"There you go!" He took a step forward and the Doctor thought he was going to get a hug but instead he got a fist in the eye. Obviously he hadn't been expecting that and dropped to the floor. "Wow you pack quite a punch!"
Luke just stood there staring at the Doctor, face red with anger. He didn't shout, though, when he spoke up. "Why weren't you here to save her?"
The Doctor remained on the floor speechless. It was true he knew that Sarah Jane was dealing with some sort of alien attack, he always knew. He only interfered when she called or he could tell it would be more than what she could handle.
"Please get out, Doctor."
The Time Lord stood with a nod but said nothing as he stepped out into the hall. He suddenly had a flashback of Amy's declaration as Rory was disappearing into the crack. Then what's the point of you?
Amy was right and so was Luke. What's the point of him? He couldn't save anyone anymore whether they were dying in front of him or at another point in time.
"Doctor?" He blinked, looking up to see Martha standing there. "Oh my God, what happened to your eye?" she asked.
The Doctor waved his hand dismissively. "Nothing to worry about. It's good to see you, Martha."
He knew she could read him like a book and despite the smile he had plastered on and the fake cheerfulness in his voice she pulled him into a hug. "You don't have to put on a face for us, Doctor. We know how much you cared for Sarah Jane."
"Well I'm not the only one who's grieving, Martha," he replied as he pulled away from her, indicating Luke with a tilt of his head.
Before she could reply he breezed past her and down the stairs. The Doctor was surprised at some of the people he saw standing around in Sarah Jane's living room.
He spotted Jack, Mickey, Jo, even Tegan was there. The Doctor remembered Tegan and Sarah Jane meeting once before. He often wondered if they kept in touch after that.
Tegan was the first to come up to him. She was the only one out of all of them he hadn't seen in quite a while. "I see your fashion sense hasn't improved since the last time I saw you," she said with a smile.
The Doctor returned the smile and swept her into a hug. "Oh Tegan! How I've missed you!"
"I've missed you as well, Doctor," she replied. "You know we've all become better people for having known you."
He raised an eyebrow because he wasn't so certain about that. Well maybe in some small capacity he had helped shaped them into who they were now. Even Sarah Jane but she had always been a better person than him. All of his companions had.
As Donna told him once he needed someone to stop him. These wonderful people and many others were always there to stop him. They were always there for him no matter how much he acted like an arrogant fool.
The Doctor smiled. A true, genuine smile. "Thank you, Tegan. That means a lot to me."
Soon everyone was taking their turns speaking with the Doctor. After a while they all sat in the living room and began telling their stories of Sarah Jane. The Doctor told them all how they met and how he wanted her to make coffee for them. "Well Sarah Jane would have nothing to do with that," he said with a chuckle.
The Doctor excused himself a bit later. He needed to step outside. He was leaning against the house he saw a taxi drive up. A young girl got out of the car and said, "I know, Dad. Of course!" Her father paid the taxi and the two walked up the drive.
He knew immediately who the girl was. "Maria."
"That's me," she said, eyeing him curiously. Then her eyes widened in recognition. "You're the Doctor!" He was surprised she knew who he was. They had never met before. "When I talked to Clyde after they met you the second time he told me about the bowtie."
The Doctor stood tall, straightening the bowtie. "Well, they're cool."
Maria chuckled. "I think so too, Doctor," she told him before launching herself into his arms.
The three went into the house where Clyde immediately greeted Maria and pulled her aside to tell her about Luke. The Doctor made his way into the kitchen where Jo was making tea and coffee.
She turned when she heard someone behind her and smiled. "Have a seat, Doctor. You look absolutely peaked! I'll have some tea ready in no time. How about some Jammie Dodgers as well? Amy told me you love them."
"Oh I'm fine, Jo."
She shook her head. "I wasn't born yesterday you know. This is quite a shock to you and don't deny it."
The Doctor nodded. "Yeah it was. Of course I expect it. I should be used to this by now but it just seems worse this time around."
"You're thinking of the Brigadier aren't you?"
"I'm thinking of everyone. Susan, Romana, Rose, Donna. Some I lost through time and space and most of it was my fault. I could have prevented their deaths. I still can but I won't."
Jo frowned as she sat beside him, taking his hand. "The consequences of course."
"Their deaths. Their exiles. They're all fixed points in time," the Doctor finally admitted.
It wasn't a question. As Jo said she wasn't stupid and the Doctor knew that. None of his companions were stupid. He knew they would figure out that he made sure their deaths were fixed points in time or not.
The Doctor had to stop that though. No matter how much he loved them. Humans lived and they died and there was nothing he could do or say to change that. He might be able to go back and visit their time line but he knew he never would because the pain of having to leave them again would be too great.
Sometimes he wondered if he lived too damn long.
"Excuse me, Doctor." The pair turned to see Luke standing there looking a bit unsure of himself. "Can I speak to you for a moment?"
Jo gave his hand a pat and left the two alone. "Have a seat, Luke," he said, but the boy remained standing.
"I'm sorry. About earlier. What I said. What I did. I know Mum would have been so ashamed of me! I'm not the only one who lost someone and you've known her longer than I have."
The Doctor stood, taking Luke by the shoulders. "It doesn't matter how long we know someone. What matters is the impression they make on us. What they do to inspire us. If we remember that then they are never truly gone."
"That's what Mum always said about you," Luke replied.
"I'm not really one to be looked up to."
Luke shook his head. "Oh but you are, Doctor. Without you I never would have met her or Maria or Clyde or Rani! You made quite an impression on Mum and you've inspired us all!"
The Doctor had the good sense to look embarrassed. "I will have to take your word on that, Lukey Boy."
I really hope you do, Luke said with a smile, giving the Doctor a hug.
Once he left the Doctor just stood there in the middle of the kitchen. That s where Amy found him looking like a lost puppy. Doctor?
He blinked after a moment and turned to face her. Amy, he replied suddenly sweeping her into a hug. Promise me that you ll always be brilliant.
And I will promise never to forget any of you because that means you ll live on forever just as my, no our, Sarah Jane!
"The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it's a world, or a relationship... Everything has its time. And everything ends."
~Sarah Jane Smith, School Reunion