Sarah looked around the room, the haze of the atmosphere and the throngs of beings crowding around reminded her that this was an outer space equivalent of a well loved bar. Given the company she was with, it could sound like the beginning of a bad joke. In fact, if anyone asked her about it, she'd never get them to believe her.
'Pick your poison,' her host asked her. Well, host was probably the wrong word. Date wasn't quite the right word either. Friend would probably be the best label, although still not one hundred percent accurate.
'I may be sorry I said this,' Sarah started, 'but why don't you pick.'
Turlough waggled his eyebrows, 'Why Sarah Jane, I do think you're mellowing.'
She cut him off before he could infer anything else. 'You make one crack about my age and you won't live to go back to Trion.'
He held up his hands in defence. 'I wouldn't dare.' With a wicked smile, he made his way to the bar, leaving Sarah sitting alone at the table.
A familiar voice whispered in Sarah's ear. 'Are these seats taken?'
Sarah whirled around to see the Doctor with the pinstriped suit, trainers and wild hair standing there, arms outstretched. Sarah stood up and was quickly swept into a huge embrace.
Another voice broke into their reunion. 'Oy, Spaceman, you gonna introduce us?'
Reluctantly, the Doctor let Sarah go and turned to Donna. 'Donna Noble, this is Sarah Jane Smith. Sarah Jane, this is Donna, she travels with me now.'
'Sarah Jane Smith,' Donna repeated. 'The journalist? Used to be on Planet Three?'
'That's me,' Sarah admitted.
Donna's smile grew exponentially. 'Oh this is brilliant! You were my Gramps favourite! Well, are his favourite. He still talks about missing you on the telly.' Donna reached out to shake Sarah's hand enthusiastically. 'Wait'll I tell him I met the famous Sarah Jane Smith in a space bar.'
Sarah looked over at the Doctor and smiled, watching him run a hand through his spiky hair and shooting her a look that almost passed for an apology. Donna continued on, 'How'd you meet Skinny Boy then?'
Sarah smiled, instantly liking Donna. 'Well, he wasn't this skinny back then, but I met him years ago and travelled with him for a while.'
Donna continued pummelling Sarah with questions. 'So what are you doing up here? Oh, is that why you left Planet Three? Find another spaceman to give you a lift off Earth, out to see the universe?'
The Doctor jumped in. 'Yea, Sarah, I thought you were staying Earthbound these days.'
'Well, let's just say I was helping a mutual friend on the diplomatic front and we came here to celebrate afterwards.' Sarah gestured towards the table. 'In fact, why don't you guys sit down and I'll let him know you'll be joining us.'
As the Doctor and Donna moved to sit down, Sarah headed towards the bar to find Turlough. She wanted to give him fair notice that they weren't alone, and who their company now included. 'Two gingers, the Doctor and Sarah Jane walk into a space bar,' she started to herself. 'Now how's that going to end?'
The Doctor watched Sarah, trying to see who she was speaking to, but he never caught a good look at the person's face. Donna watched the Doctor carefully, and when she spoke, her tone was soft. 'I recognise that look, Doctor.'
The Doctor whipped around to face Donna. 'What are you talking about?'
Donna smiled. 'For as much as you do talk about Rose, the look you give Sarah Jane tells it all. She's the one that got away, isn't she?'
'Well, our relationship is different.'
'Uh huh, right.'
Sarah walked back over, Turlough and four drinks in tow. 'Here we are then.' Sarah handed one of her drinks to Donna and Turlough handed one of his to the Doctor.
'Turlough!' the Doctor exclaimed, happy shaking the other man's hand. 'I didn't realise you and Sarah knew each other that well.'
Turlough smiled as he sat down. 'She's one of the best diplomatic negotiators we have. Whenever we have trouble, it's usually with a species she's encountered and befriended one way or another.'
Sarah leaned over to Donna. 'I'm like Switzerland, good at being neutral.'
'Since when?' the Doctor questioned, shooting her a look.
Sarah simply raised an eyebrow in response and held up her drink towards him. Donna reached across the table to shake Turlough's hand. 'I'm Donna Noble, since these two are too busy communicating without talking to introduce us.'
'Turlough,' he shook her hand with a mischievous smile. 'They get like this every time they're together,' he added.
'I think there's a story there,' Donna smiled knowingly.
The drinks and the stories began to flow freely at the table, the friends catching up and laughing heartily. Sarah finally decided that the day wouldn't end like a bad joke, but would be added to her list of fondly remembered moments.