Like the Doctor, Sarah Jane lies. There's something that she hasn't told the kids. It could be some bit of future knowledge she picked up while travelling with the Doctor or her comment that she's never had a child of her own or something else entirely.

LIAR LIAR

Mentally cataloging her plans for the day, Sarah Jane set the plate of toast in front of Sky. 'Thanks,' Sky said softly before looking over to where Sarah Jane continued making tea. 'Sarah Jane, I have a question.'

'What's that?' Sarah replied without looking over her shoulder, instead focusing on the task in front of her.

Sky took a bite of her toast and chewed it thoughtfully before asking, 'Why did you never have any children of your own?'

'Ah.' Sarah paused, not expecting that question. Taking her tea, she sat down opposite Sky. 'Well, I suppose I never felt ready to settle down and do the home and family thing, but then life changed and brought me Luke, and then you.'

'Would you change it?'

Sarah stood up and draped an arm around Sky's shoulders, giving her a gentle squeeze. 'Of course not, Sky! I'd not trade you and Luke for anything in the universe.'

Sky looked up at her. 'No, I meant having your own kids.'

Sarah sat back down, trying to figure out how to best answer. 'What brought on all these questions?'

'I've been watching TV and looking at the kids in school wanting to figure out exactly what family means.'

'Everyone has different meanings for the word.' Sarah regarded her adopted daughter for a moment. 'But, I learned a long time ago that family is what you make of it.'

'What do you mean, Sarah Jane?'

Sarah took a deep breath. 'My life has never been what you would consider normal, Sky, you know that. I never had many relatives, other than my Aunt Lavinia. However, you and your brother are the most important people in my life now, my family, no matter what happens. I will always try my best to give you as normal a life as I possibly can, the way I've tried with Luke the last five years.'

~!~!~!~

Luke Smith dropped his laptop into his computer bag as his astrophysics class came to an end. As he stood up and made his way towards the door, the voice of his professor stopped him. 'Luke! Luke Smith, could I have a word with you?'

'Ooooo, the brainbox is in trouble with Doctor Anderson. What did you do, Luke?' the boy next to Luke leaned over and stage whispered.

Luke turned to him. 'Nothing. Go on Dave, I'll catch up with you later.' He turned back and walked to the front of the lecture hall where his professor stood waiting. 'Doctor Anderson,' he said as he got closer. 'Is something wrong?'

Doctor Michael Anderson dropped a stack of papers into his messenger bag as he glanced up at Luke. 'I've been watching you all term, Luke. Your understanding of this subject transcends your classmates. You seem to be holding yourself back, so my guess is you actually know more than I do where astrophysics is concerned.'

Luke cleared his throat nervously. 'I've always found it a fascinating subject.'

Michael regarded his student for a moment. 'With your upbringing, it would have to be.' At Luke's surprised expression, he continued. 'I'll get right the point, Luke. I looked into your records. Your closest relative is listed as your mother, Sarah Jane Smith.'

Luke clenched his teeth together and adjusted his computer bag. 'Yes, sir,' he replied, trying to not sound like he had his guard up, but it wasn't often that someone inquired about his mother.

Michael smiled. 'If she's the Sarah Jane Smith I remember, I'd like to meet her again. There's something I owe her.'

'Sir?' Luke questioned.

Michael noted Luke's eyes getting wide, even as he shifted his backpack from one side to the other nervously. 'I'd rather not get into the specifics until I have a chance to talk to her, but Luke, trust me, this is important.'

'I'll make sure to pass along the message next time I speak with her.' Looking to extricate himself quickly, Luke continued, 'Is there anything else, Sir?'

'No, but please emphasise that I need to see her as soon as possible.' As Luke practically ran from the room, Michael called after him. 'Luke, I don't mean her any harm, if that makes you feel better.'

Luke stopped at the door and turned back to look at his professor. 'Not really, Sir, no.'

He watched Luke's hasty exit, before reaching up and put one hand over first one side of his chest, then the other. 'After so many years, so close.' Michael smiled to himself. 'This should be interesting.'

~!~!~!~

Sarah Jane quickly made her way downstairs to answer the ringing doorbell. Opening the door, she took in the young woman standing on her doorstep. 'May I help you?'

The young woman held up her ID. 'Miss Smith?' At Sarah's nod, she continued, 'My name is –'

Sarah cut her off, recognizing her. 'Lucinda, AKA Lacey Barnes.' At Lacey's shocked expression, Sarah smiled. 'Planet Three. I've seen you on their broadcasts.' She regarded the young woman for a moment, tilting her head before continuing. 'You've not been in front of the camera for a while.'

Lacey looked around. 'That's actually what I wanted to talk to you about, Miss Smith.' She looked around. 'But I don't want to be overheard.'

'Come in.' Sarah stepped aside, ushering Lacey in the door and through to the living room. 'Would you like some tea, Miss Barnes?' Sarah offered.

Lacey shook her head as she sat down in one of the chairs. 'No thank you, but please, call me Lacey, Miss Smith.'

Sarah sat down opposite the young woman. 'Lacey,' Sarah acknowledged. 'Sarah Jane, please. Now, how may I help you?'

'I've been doing some research at Planet Three, Sarah Jane, about the time when you were working there. Apparently, I've aggravated someone, since they've snatched me off the air and put me on probation.' Lacey took a deep breath. 'I've been ordered to drop my investigation, but I think it's because I may have come too close to finding out who I really am.'

'What do you mean?'

'Something's wrong with me, and no one will tell me what it is.' Lacey leaned forward and stage whispered. 'I have two hearts.' She watched as Sarah masked the expression on her face.

'What does that have to do with me, Lacey?'

'I think I know who you are.' She sat back and entwined her fingers together.

Sarah felt herself being scooped up out of the bed, but she was still disorientated. She could feel the Doctor's arms around her, holding her close to him as he took her quickly from the room. Once they were away from prying eyes, his steps slowed. 'Don't worry Sarah. I'll fix this. I promise.'

She nodded silently in response, her head falling weakly against the Doctor's chest, the scratchy wool of his scarf comforting her with its familiarity. She didn't remember anything else, until the Doctor's soft voice whispered in her ear. 'Sarah? Wake up, Sarah. We're in the TARDIS.'

She opened her eyes, trying to take in her surroundings. 'Do you think you can stand? I need to get us in the vortex.' Sarah concentrated as the Doctor gently put her down on her feet. She reached out and steadied herself against the console as the Doctor quickly set the coordinates to put the TARDIS in flight.

The ringing of her mobile brought Sarah back to the present as she finally found her voice and looked at the young woman sitting across from her. 'I see.' She looked across to the far table where her mobile continued to ring. 'Would you excuse me just a moment?'

Lacey nodded. 'Of course.'

Sarah snatched up her mobile, then walked into the kitchen, making sure she was out of Lacey's earshot before answering. 'Hello.'

'Hey Mum, I have a question.'

She tilted her head. 'What's up, Luke?'

'What do you know about a Michael Anderson?'

Sarah thought for a moment. 'The name doesn't ring a bell.'

Luke continued. 'He's my astrophysics professor. He called me out after class, asked if you were my mother and said that he wants to meet you. That he owes you something.'

Sarah's stomach lurked up into her throat as she finally recognised the name and realised what was happening. 'I see.'

'Mum, is something wrong? You know him, don't you?'

Sarah ran a hand over her eyes. 'Both of them. At the same time.' she mumbled.

'Pardon?' Luke asked, confused.

'Nothing,' she replied softly. 'I need to come up there to see him. Best to get this over with.'

Suspicious and cautious, Luke asked, 'Mum, are you ok?'

'Yes, Luke, I'll be fine, but you caught me in the middle of something. Can I call you back later?'

'Of course. Love you.'

'I love you too, Luke.' She snapped the phone shut and took a deep breath before walking back into the front room. 'Sorry about that, Lacey.'

'Your son, calling from Oxford?' Lacey smiled at Sarah's expression. 'I'm a journalist, it's part of the territory.'

Sarah nodded. 'Of course.'

'It's in the genes too, I would imagine.'

Sarah regarded Lacey for a moment. 'I don't suppose you'd be interested in a small road trip?'

Lacey stood up, suspicious. 'Where?'

'You want your questions answered, yes?' When Lacey nodded, Sarah continued. 'All right, well, I will answer all your questions when we get to Oxford. I have to meet with an astrophysics professor, and I only want to do this once.'

~!~!~!~

Sarah gripped the steering wheel tightly as she made her way out of Ealing towards the A40. She glanced over to where Lacey sat in the passenger seat. 'So, tell me what led you to my door?'

'My parents are dead, Sarah Jane. I was barely twenty years old and got called home from university because I was told that some of their colleagues needed to run some tests. They were hoping to get an answer about my genetic abnormalities.'

Sarah glanced over at her. 'Abnormalities?'

'The two hearts.'

'You mentioned that earlier.'

Lacey stared out the passenger side window. 'Both my parents had two hearts. I thought it was normal until I was ten years old. They told me that I inherited the same defect they each carried. It wasn't until I was almost eighteen that they even told me that I was adopted.'

'You still haven't said why you're reaching out to me.'

Lacey turned to look at her. 'I have friends in high places, Sarah Jane. I had some scientist friends run tests on my DNA structure and it pulled your name up as a match. But there was something else there, something no one could give me an answer to. I knew the only way to find out was to ask you directly.'

Sarah tightened her hands around the wheel and glanced over to Lacey. 'I see,' she said softly.

Sarah couldn't miss the catch in Lacey's voice as she softly said, 'Did you give me away because I was flawed? Because I wasn't a perfectly healthy baby?'

'No, never.' She took one hand off the wheel to reach out and squeeze Lacey's arm. 'It wasn't like that, I promise you. I'll explain everything, once we get to Oxford. While I probably don't deserve it, I need you to trust me, please.'

~!~!~!~

Sarah and Lacey walked in silence through the hallway headed towards Michael Anderson's office. Sarah stopped in front of the door and took a deep breath before finally knocking. The door opened and Sarah got her first proper look at Doctor Michael Anderson. He was tall and slender with dark wavy hair and bright blue eyes.

As soon as he saw Sarah, he obviously recognised her, a contagious smile spreading across his features. 'Sarah Jane Smith!' He reached out and grabbed Sarah's hand in both of his and shook it enthusiastically. He swung the door open wide, realising that Sarah wasn't alone, 'Won't you both come in.'

Sarah gestured back to Lacey. 'This is Lacey Barnes, a journalist from Planet Three.'

Lacey and Michael exchanged polite hellos, but Michael was focused on Sarah. 'I can't believe you came up here so quickly.'

Sarah smiled. 'I figured it was important.'

Michael gestured to two chairs positioned by his desk. 'Please, sit down. Can I get either of you anything?'

Sarah and Lacey took the offered chairs. 'No thank you,' Sarah replied. 'Michael, why did you want to see me?'

He couldn't stop smiling. 'My parents told me so many stories about you growing up. I never quite knew how many of them were true.' He glanced over at Lacey and could see the uncomfortable look on her face. 'I'm sorry, Lacey, but have we met? You look familiar to me.'

Sarah jumped in. 'Michael, tell me about your upbringing. You said your parents told you about me. What else did they tell you?'

Michael sat down. 'Well, pretty much everything, I think. They told me at an early age that I was adopted. That I was born on another world, and about you. That a Time Lord brought me to them and explained my double heart.'

At that, Lacey spoke up. 'You have two hearts too?' She turned to Sarah, 'Wasn't abandoning one kid bad enough, you had to get rid of two?' She gestured over to Michael, 'And obviously he's older than I am, so you did it not once but twice.'

'It isn't like that,' both Michael and Sarah responded at the same time. Michael turned to Sarah. 'At least I didn't think so.'

Sarah held up her hands. 'Let me explain.' She turned to Lacey. 'I travelled for years with a man called the Doctor. Suffice it to say he wasn't human. Now, some of this may not make sense without knowing more of the background, but I will answer all your questions, I promise.' She took a deep breath and turned to Michael. 'The Doctor and I were captured by a species known as the Iredrians. They were researchers specialising in genetics. They held us against our will, wanting to do some cross-species experimentation.'

'Are you saying I'm a bloody science experiment?' Lacey spit out in disgust. 'Created by aliens?'

Sarah focused on the floor, her voice soft as she continued. 'I try not to think of it that way. This wasn't nearly as simple as that.'

Handcuffed, the Iredrians dragged the Doctor into the laboratory. Unlike a standard lab, there was a hospital-style bed against the fall wall. Sarah lay unconscious in the bed. The Doctor gasped as he saw her and struggled against the grip of the guards on his arm. 'What have you done to her?' he growled at their captors.

'She is serving as an incubator, Time Lord.' The main scientist looked up from his work at the lab bench and gestured for the guard to release the Doctor's handcuffs.

The Doctor rushed over to Sarah's side, taking her hand in his and checking her pulse. 'Incubator?' He looked up at the monitors attached to Sarah and noted the heartbeats on the screen.

'We will keep you here until the accelerated growth of the specimens reaches a crucial stage.'

Sarah's eyes fluttered open and locked onto the Doctor. She grabbed his hand in a vice-like grip. 'Doctor,' she whispered.

'I'm going to get you out of here, Sarah. I promise.'

She took his hand and put it over her swollen belly. 'I'm not alone.'

'I know, and I'll do everything I can to protect you both.'

'Get him out of here,' the Iredrian scientist bellowed to one of the guards. 'His time here is up.' As the guards grabbed the Doctor and dragged him towards the door, the scientist walked over to face the Doctor. 'Any resistance from you and we will not hesitate to kill the human. She is only the incubator, we have gotten all the value we can from her.'

'She'll always have value to me,' the Doctor spat out.

'And that is where you are weak, Time Lord.'

'An incubator,' Michael said softly. 'I never knew.'

'What are you saying?' Lacey asked.

Sarah looked at the two pairs of blue eyes staring at her. 'I carried you for just four months, then you were taken from me and I'll be honest, I don't know what they did after that. I don't even remember it all, even to this day. The Doctor was able to reach someone on Gallifrey and they sent an envoy to shut the entire operation down.'

Michael looked over at Lacey. 'So we're twins.'

'Essentially, yes,' Sarah replied. 'However, the Time Lord envoy that shut down the experiments indicated that they were going to separate you two in time, but were going to keep you both on Earth.' Her eyes closed as memories long buried came flooding back.

Sarah felt the Doctor scoop her up in his arms again and take her from the console room back to her room. She didn't remember anything else until she felt a hand smoothing back her hair. Her eyes slowly opened. 'How are you feeling, Sarah?' the Doctor inquired.

She turned her head slowly towards him. 'Tired.'

'I'm sure you are. You just rest now.'

'What happened?'

'The Iredrians did something fairly nasty, but you don't need to think about it now. It's over.'

'Over?'

'Yes, Sarah.'

'What about the children?'

'I'll make sure that once the Time Lords get them resettled, they'll let you know where they are. You just sleep now.'

With his reassurances and the softness in his voice, Sarah's eyes closed and she drifted back off to sleep.

Sarah looked up. 'Lacey was taken to a Time Lord couple living on Earth in 1985. They'd been petitioning the High Council to have a loomed child, but the Time Lords always turned them down because they were separating themselves from true Time Lord society.'

'So that explains the people that came to the house when I was at University.'

Sarah nodded. 'All Time Lords were required to go back to Gallifrey during the last Great Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks. Very few survived, I'm sorry.'

'What about him?' Lacey gestured back to Michael.

'Michael was taken to an older human couple in 1977 who worked with the Celestial Intervention Agency in their prime.'

Lacey jumped up. 'I'm an alien freak! How is this possible?'

Michael reached out towards her. 'Come on, Lacey, this doesn't really change who you are, does it?'

'It changes my whole identity! How can you sit there and be so calm?' Without waiting for his answer, she stormed out the door, slamming it behind her.

Sarah and Michael both stood up, but as Sarah made for the door, Michael reached out and grabbed her by the arm. 'Let me go. I'll see if I can talk to her. She might take it better coming from me.'

There were tears in Sarah's eyes. 'I've made a mess out of this, haven't I?'

'Other than Luke, do you have any other children?'

'Luke and his sister are both adopted.' Sarah sighed again. 'I'm going to have to explain this to them. I lived alone and had no one in my life until they came along, both as teenagers. I wasn't a part of either you or Lacey's lives, so I certainly couldn't claim you as my children.'

'Why not?'

'That wouldn't be fair to the parents that raised you.'

Michael watched Sarah for just a second before reaching out and surprising her by wrapping her in a warm hug. He pulled back and headed towards the door. 'I'm going to find Lacey.'

~!~!~!~

Two days later, Sarah sat sideways on the sofa in the attic, her legs stretched out in front of her, staring ahead, lost in thought. She barely registered the wheezing sounds of the TARDIS as it materialised on the landing. The Doctor quickly stepped out and saw Sarah staring into space. He knelt down next to the sofa and reached out, putting a hand on Sarah's arm. 'How are you holding up, Smith?' he asked softly.

She looked over at him, her expression remaining blank. 'This was not how I expected this situation to shake itself out. I've known for so long they were out there, but they were living their lives, being fantastic. And now they're here, asking questions and wanting answers I can't truly give them. Michael's mostly curious, but Lacey's more hostile. The universe scares her and she's bitter about how she found out.'

'Unfortunately, we can't go back and change it, Sarah.'

'I didn't ask you to.' She sat up and swung her legs over the side of the sofa and looked at him. 'Why are you here, anyway?'

'To help. I was there too, after all, and most of this was my fault. I couldn't make you face it alone.'

'I live with this everyday. My secret that I'd tucked away in the furthest corners of my heart.'

The Doctor sat down next to her and focused on the floor in front of them. 'I do as well. I worried so much during the Time War that they would somehow be found and get pulled in. That even the slightest bit of Time Lord DNA that goes through them could've been used as a weapon. But they're safe, and that's all I could've asked for. Both then and now.'

'You haven't seen them stare at you. Two identical pairs of blue eyes, the exact same shade yours used to be.'

'Lacey's parents got pulled into the War. I tried to keep them safe, but ultimately, I couldn't stop them from being in the middle of things at the Event.'

'This has always been awkward territory for you, Doctor, I know that.'

'Rubbish. I've been a father before, I've even been just a genetic donor before. This was just the only time when someone else got pulled into it with me unplanned.' He draped an arm across Sarah's shoulders. 'Nothing that happened was your fault, Sarah, so I don't want you blaming yourself for it again.'

She sighed, remembering the guilt she carried for so long. 'Where do we go from here?'

'I don't know, Sarah. Maybe the universe owes it to you to let you not hide this anymore. Maybe there's some relationship that you can carve out with them. If you want to, of course.'

She shook her head. 'I don't even know anymore. It isn't like I gave birth to them. The Iredrians just took my DNA.'

'Our DNA,' the Doctor interjected. 'And while you may not have physically given birth to them, what happened to you was much worse.'

'I try not to think about that,' she replied sharply before stopping to take a deep breath. 'It changed my life forever.'

The Doctor pulled back his arm from around her shoulders, but then reached out and took Sarah's hand in his, giving it a reassuring squeeze. 'What have you told Luke and Sky?'

'Nothing yet.' She stood up and began to pace. 'I don't even know where to begin. This could change their entire perception of things.'

'How? Give them more family?'

Sarah shook her head. 'Doctor, that's not what Michael or Lacey are looking for. Me either for that matter. I lost a lot more than two children when the Iredrians did their experiments, and I don't want Luke or Sky thinking they were replacements for what I lost.' She gestured around the attic. 'All of this, everything we've done and seen, they always trusted that I would tell them the truth, that I wouldn't shield them more than I had to.' Sarah hung her head. 'I lied to them, Doctor. I lied to everyone.'

The Doctor stood up and stepped over to her, reaching out and taking her hands in his. 'Sometimes we have to lie, Sarah. We lie to protect the ones we love. It's the nature of the universe, and I've had to do it so many times now. I've gotten very good at it over the years.'

She looked up at him and gave him a sad smile. 'Then I guess I learned from the best.'

The door to the attic flew open and Sky came in. 'Sarah Jane, there's a man at the door looking for you.' Then she noticed the Doctor. 'Hello Doctor.'

'Hello Sky.'

'I thought you were going shopping with Rani?' Sarah asked.

'I was. We were heading out the door when this man came up the walk asking for you. Rani is downstairs at the door waiting for you.

'Come on then,' Sarah said with a smile. 'Let's not keep anyone waiting.' She looked back over her shoulder at the Doctor. 'I have a strange feeling about this.'

'Me too, I'm right behind you.'

The Doctor followed Sarah and Sky downstairs and when they were within sight of the door, they could see Michael standing just outside. Rani asked him, 'And how do you know Sarah Jane?'

'I guess you could say, while it isn't easy to explain, the closest I can get would be that she's my mother.'

'What?' Rani asked disbelievingly.

'Yes, well, nothing is ever that simple, is it Michael?' Sarah asked as she made her way to the door, the Doctor staying beside her.

'Sarah Jane, what does he mean?' Rani looked to the Doctor, her surprise evident. 'Doctor? Something serious must be up if you're here.'

Sarah looked first to Rani and Sky. 'Don't let me keep you from your shopping trip.'

'Are you sure you don't need us to hang around, Sarah Jane?' Rani asked, curiosity getting the better of her.

'Nope, now go on, both of you.' Sarah shooed them out the door. 'Enjoy yourself girls.'

'But Sarah Jane,' Rani started.

'Now don't Sarah Jane me,' she said softly before lowering her voice and speaking directly to Rani. 'Rani, please, keep Sky out for at least two to three hours. I need to take care of this and I don't need anyone asking any questions.'

'But I have questions.'

'And I'll answer them all later, I promise.'

Rani and Sky watched from outside as Sarah Jane closed the front door. 'That's just weird,' Rani admitted. 'Sky, what do you know about this?'

Sky shook her head. 'Nothing.'

~!~!~!~

Michael looked from Sarah to the Doctor. 'You're younger than I expected.'

'I'm older than I look,' the Doctor replied. 'So, Michael, what brings you here?'

'I wanted to talk to Sarah Jane. We didn't get to talk much when she came out a couple days ago.'

Sarah gestured for him to go into the front sitting room and have a seat. 'You could've called. Oxford isn't just around the corner from here.'

'It somehow doesn't have the same effect.' He couldn't stop looking over at the Doctor, a fact that wasn't lost on the Doctor. 'My father told me a lot about you both, or at least as much as he knew. However it doesn't quite live up to the reality now that I see you. And certainly seeing you both face to face, at the same time.' Michael dropped down into the nearest chair. 'Well, I have to admit I'm a bit overwhelmed.'

'Why don't I make us some tea,' Sarah offered. Without another word, she headed into the kitchen, leaving the Doctor and Michael alone.

'So, Michael, tell me about yourself,' the Doctor asked.

'Well, I was raised by a couple out in the country, but I imagine you know that. My mother passed away when I was a teenager, but my father was always very involved. He loved telling stories about the old days, working with the Celestial Intervention Agency. He always found the Time Lords to be an interesting group.'

The Doctor frowned. 'I suppose.'

'Working with them enabled my parents to understand my unique needs.'

'Such as?' the Doctor asked.

'Like allergies to aspirin, lower body temperature, two hearts, that sort of thing.' Michael paused, unsure of how to phrase his next question. 'Tell me about how I was born. I heard I was an experiment.'

The Doctor tilted his head and looked at the young man. 'You were.'

'The specimens are not all viable,' the Iredrian scientist hissed. 'If we wait much longer, they will all perish. They must be removed and incubated another way until full self-viability can be assured.'

His assistant walked over to the examination table where Sarah was strapped down, but watched their every movement. 'What do we do with this incubator?'

'She is of no value. We have samples of her chemical makeup, should we need anything further. We only needed enough from her to balance out the Time Lord genes. If we can synthesise Time Lord life, we can control the whole High Council.'

Sarah struggled against her restraints. 'You can't!'

The head scientist walked over towards the table. 'Oh, we can, human. You should consider it the highest honour that you could contribute to the downfall of Gallifrey.' He turned to his assistant. 'Remove the specimens from her.'

As the assistant brought the scalpel down towards Sarah's stomach to make the first incision, she began to struggle against her restraints. 'Immobilise her first,' the scientist argued. 'We cannot risk any damage to the specimens.' He brought out a small plastic mask and covered Sarah's nose and mouth. 'Breathe deep, human, and this will be much less painful for you.' He waited until Sarah lost consciousness. 'Now, make the incision,' he instructed his assistant.

Two guards dragged the Doctor into the room, but stopped just inside the door, not wanting to interrupt the experiment. The horror on his face evident, the Doctor struggled against the guards, unable to stop the assistant from dragging the scalpel through Sarah's skin.

'I couldn't stop them.' The Doctor's voice cracked. 'I couldn't do anything without risking Sarah. One wrong move and she would've bled to death right there and then.' The Doctor took a deep breath, bringing his emotions into check. 'I held you and Lacey both when you were just the tiniest babies, then I turned you over to another Time Lord and never saw you again. Sarah never got the opportunity to hold you, and I sometimes wonder if that was the right decision.'

Michael watched the expression on the Doctor's face. 'I never knew it was so traumatic for her.'

'It changed her life forever,' the Doctor admitted softly. 'I've always felt guilty for that. Guilty that I couldn't protect her.'

The Doctor and Michael both lapsed into silence, each of them staring at the floor lost in thought. Sarah walked in, carrying the tea tray and noticed how quiet they'd both gotten. 'Wow, what brought down the mood in here?'

'You did,' the Doctor said softly.

'Right,' Sarah replied before offering, 'Maybe I'd better go out and try again?'

The Doctor jumped up. 'No, no, I didn't mean that.' He took the tray from her and sat it on the nearby table before enveloping her in a tight hug. 'You are fantastic,' he mumbled into her hair.

Michael watched them for a quiet moment before finally saying, 'I always heard that you two were best friends, maybe more than friends. I always thought that was a rumour, meant to make me feel better. However, given I never thought I'd see the two of you together, this is giving me the opportunity to see with my own eyes that the stories were true.'

~!~!~!~