Now...this isn't perfect, it's not brilliant...but it is a tribute to Sarah Jane/Elisabeth Sladen, and I suppose that's all that matters.
I don't cover every episode, or meeting, and I haven't touched on her meeting with the Eleventh Doctor because the Tenth Doctor's regeneration seemed like a good place to end it. But...let me know what you think, okay?
Dedicated to Elisabeth Sladen...R.I.P, we still all miss you terribly and can't believe you've been gone for a whole year.
It had all begun when she had stowed away on his TARDIS. She was neither the first or last to do so, but none of his companions had been separated from him before he could even explain about the secret of the TARDIS. Yet somehow she had managed to form an alliance with a noble house in the Middle ages and raise an army to rescue him. Or rather, capture him, as she had believed at the time that he was working with the unpleasant bandit Irongron.
Still, after all that was over, they had quickly become very close. She was a woman with a strangely different aura than any other woman he had known before. Zoe and Vicki were both from the future and had therefore been quite insistent on females being equal to men, but Sarah Jane's feminism was different. Zoe and Vicki were both used to being considered equal, therefore it was an incredibly small matter to them. For Sarah, it was still a battle that had to be fought in her everyday world, and the need to constantly match and surpass men was a drive that gave her an enchantingly feisty spirit. Something very simple she once said had always been an incredibly admirable quote:
"There's nothing only about being a girl."
His regeneration had not fazed her much once she realised that he still very much wanted her company…he could still remember the relief that she had not challenged him in the way that Ben had or Rose would.
She had the spirit and heart of a lion, as someone had once said. The first to speak up when she saw injustice and when possible, the first to do something about it. And the tiny quirks she picked up from him! The little pokes of her tongue when she was cross or teasing, or the funny noises she made with her mouth when exasperated or bored…all incredibly endearing things that made her so much more than the average human.
But she was becoming too different, too detached from the human life she had once led. It was evident in the way she dressed; the Sarah he had first met would never have worn that blue corset or those red and pink overalls, yet she had begun to stop caring about what was happening on Earth and start seeing things in a universal perspective. It made her an individual, and he admired her for it…but what would come of her individuality when she eventually returned to Earth?
Despite these thoughts, he was much too selfish to simply let her go. She was his best friend, and he didn't hesitate to tell this to anyone they happened to meet. How could he let her go? Was he really selfish enough to let her stay?
Eventually the situation created a way out; He had been called back to Gallifrey. Bringing a human there would simply be begging for them to imprison him or kill her, so he had little choice. Sarah had to leave him. And this time…it would have to be for good. She wouldn't live forever, she would grow old and eventually die, and he could not bear to watch that.
Watching her walk out of the TARDIS doors in her red and pink overalls and fluffy white jacket – flowerpot and bad in hand – was one of the hardest things he can ever remember doing.
"Don't forget me."
"Oh, Sarah…don't you forget me."
After that came the mad warrior woman and the smug Time Lady, he had plenty of things to occupy his mind with, enough that he managed to avoid thinking about his Sarah Jane for a very long time. She still slipped in occasionally, in his dreams just as his other companions and friends did, but the pain of losing her had faded a little by then. It was easier to remember with happiness instead of melancholy.
He had never been entirely sure what he had felt for Sarah. There was a strong surge of love inside him whenever he thought about her, he could never deny that, but what kind of love was it? Familial? Platonic? Romantic? It seemed to be all and none at once. But he forced himself to try and forget.
She appeared suddenly in the Game of Rassilon, but he had been far too busy running around after the Time Lords to speak to her. He wasn't even sure that he wanted to. What would he say to her? 'I'm sorry that I abandoned you and never came back?' He couldn't face her, so he didn't.
So that was why, centuries later, in the staff room of a suspicious school, the entrance of a journalist rendered him positively speechless. The lines on her face showed the years that had passed but she was still every bit as beautiful as she had always been. And then she came up to him and smiled the smile he had not realize he had been missing for 500 years, and said her name in the exact same manner that she had said it to him when they first met. Here she was, his Sarah Jane, out in the world on her own as the journalist she had always been. He had to resist the urge to take her into his arms and hug her for all it was worth, and settled on just attempting to talk to her like a normal person.
And later, after she had seen the TARDIS, she knew it was him. What followed was words from her that made him feel so guilty, arguments between Rose and Sarah while Mickey laughed, and above all, K-9. In the diner, she poured her heart out to him, while he tried to make her understand that she had needed to get on with her life.
"You were my life."
Here she was, the prime example along with Rose that sometimes companions were too devoted with him. Sarah Jane, content to keep on travelling and gradually forget about Earth conventions and such. He never was sure whether they did it because of him or to see the wonders of the universe. Perhaps both...
He'd never wanted to leave her, not ever...but at the time he had been too afraid of breaking the rules, too afraid of what the Time Lords would do to both of them if he dared to bring a human to Gallifrey. But now, he was so tempted to take her with him again, and when Rose agreed, they made the offer.
She said no. He felt as though some part of him had always known that she would decline. She needed to live her own life, and somewhere along the line, she had realised that, and accepted it with more grace than he had.
So he hugged her one last time, bringing her off the ground and pressing her so close to him that he was sure neither of them could breathe.
"Goodbye, my Sarah Jane."
And when he was dying, he had to see her face, one last time. And being her, it only took one look for her to immediately understand. The emotion in her eyes as she stared at him across the street, was the emotion of compassion and caring, of total sympathy. She knew what he was about to go through and wanted him to know that no matter what, he was never alone and always loved.
And that was why he loved her, why he had always loved her...his Sarah Jane.
I hope that this is in any way good...it can't come close to the amazing person that she was, but...yeah.
Let me know what you thought, please?