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Doctor Who: This Used To Be My Playground [Fanfiction]

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This Used To Be My Plaground

The Doctor was seated at the head of the table, on an ornately carved high-backed chair. Ohila of the Karn Sisterhood sat at the opposite end, observing the activity.

Assembled before her were The Doctor, having regained the office of Lord President from the deposed and disgraced Rassilon, and The General, chairman of the Gallifreyan War council.

Their agenda this day was to discuss the malicious and misguided actions of the former President, his intent to confront the prophecies regarding the nature and impact of the mythical hybrid that would come to claim Gallifrey and stand amongst its ruins.

The choices made by Rassilon had left The Doctor alone, without a friend, without a reward, and with nothing to lose.

“If you wanted to know about the hybrid, why didn’t you come to me? You’ve summoned me home before”

“We dared not risk bringing the hybrid here, you claimed it was you in your message to the young boy you dispatched to the capital”

“So being time lords and knowing not to cross hairs with the web of time, you ensured you couldn’t just force my TARDIS back here because you heard a remark from me in your present”

“And this very admission from you was what prompted Rassilon to take action and to seal you within the confession dial, so you would be given a chance to elaborate”

“And face a just punishment in the process of working out a means to escape” The Doctor replied.

“Your companion, Ms. Clara Oswald, was not intended to be a victim of your interrogation, please believe that Doctor”

“Clara did a very human thing, she tried to one-up me, and she got herself killed. I can’t turn the clock back on that as much as I want to. Rassilon laid out the mines, but she was the one who stepped on them”

“Then you forgive us?” The General asked.

“The Doctor tore out the weed at the core of Gallifrey’s arrogant bout of paranoia, no one else is to blame but Rassilon himself” Ohila said, chiming in.

The Doctor tilted his head upwards, his eyes fixated on the large oval window atop the building, trying his best to make up distant suns glistening across the bright and burning orange skies of his homeworld.

“When I said the hybrid was ‘me’, I didn’t mean myself, I meant someone I had turned into a hybrid, a human who’s life I prolonged indefinitely using a piece of alien technology. She had a name, but as time passed, everything that name was associated with withered and died around her, so she abandoned it, she became singular, unattached. She identified only as ‘Me’. That individual was the crude she-devil you arranged a deal with on Trap Street”

“How does she come to Gallifrey?” The General asked.

“You’re Time Lords, can’t you decide when it is time to see for yourselves?” asked Ohila

“Well, perhaps time has already decided for us. Rassilon made the deal with her to keep her street safe, she knows our race exists, and she’s got all eternity to wait for the universe to run out of breath. A heat death means plenty of sun, and you picked a fine spot to deposit this old nursery in, ideal conditions for a final, fateful vacation”

“All prophecies are not clear on what shape the hybrid will come in, it is possible this girl is but one of many diversions” The General argued.

“You mean your prophecies aren’t even clear on what colour it is? They’re not trying to offend anyone on the P.C spectrum are they?”

“This is no time to play the fool. Doctor”

“It’s the end of the universe. It’s the only time I’ve got. And you want me to keep you all safe”

“Can you?”

“I’ll need help obviously”

“Gallifrey is at your command”

“Oh, not from you lot. No, you’d cramp my style. Look at your hats. I’m going to need the use of an extraction chamber, to request a favour of someone”

Many years earlier, at Bannerman Road, a familiar scenario played out

A young boy, Luke Smith over excitedly, chats on his phone with his friend Clive over the events of Christmas 2009, the day the world became one man everywhere.

“That was the maddest Christmas ever, Clive. Mum still doesn’t know what happened. She got Mister Smith to put out this story saying that Wi-Fi went mad all across the world, giving everyone hallucinations. I mean, how else do you explain it? Everyone with a different face ”

Luke crossed the road without looking, only for the Doctor, a much younger Doctor, dragged him off the road before he could be struck down by a speeding car.

“But it’s you! You’re…”

The Doctor walked back to his TARDIS.

“Mum! Mum!” Luke said, heading towards his mother, Sarah Jane, as she stepped out of the house to check on him.

“What? What is it?”

“It’s him. It’s the Doctor”

The Doctor waved goodbye, Sarah smiled.

Then she noticed something wrong.

The Doctor seemed frozen, locked in position, no longer moving a muscle.

She looked all around her, and everyone else was the same. Luke, the cars, the people going about their business on the road, all motionless.

A shimmering light emitted from just behind the TARDIS, Sarah felt compelled to investigate, etching closer and closer towards it.

She saw a hand beckoning her, an unfamiliar voice calling her name.

Sarah stepped into an all-white room, with operatives also dressed in white. The only colour are their faces, the General, the Doctor, and Sarah, and some blue computer panels.

“Where am I? What is this?”

“Hello Sarah Jane” The Doctor said.

“Doctor? Is that you” Sarah said, pricking the front of him with her finger.

“It is, and to answer your question Sarah, this is home”

“Home? Your home?”

The Doctor nodded.

Sarah felt her confusion give away to untempered elation.

“You found it”

She placed her right hand warmly against The Doctor’s right cheek and stroked it tenderly.

“Doctor, oh Doctor welcome back”

The Doctor reached out and held Sarah’s hand as it remained attached to his cheek, he felt its searing warmth, he wanted to wrap himself in it, he had missed it.

He had missed her; he had missed everything about her.

The General urged The Doctor to get on with the matter at hand.

“Sarah, this isn’t a house call”

“I just saw you, you were saying goodbye, like you always do, but something was different about it…it was like you knew you weren’t coming back, not as I knew you, not as you knew yourself”

“And you would be right, that version of me died Sarah, not long after bidding you adieu, that wasn’t even my previous form”

“You had a whole other life I missed out on?” Sarah asked, her hand disengaging from The Doctor’s face.

The Doctor grabbed her by the shoulders.

“You’ll come to know the self that succeeded him in time, that’s all it takes, time”

Sarah did not fully understand, but trusted the words of the man before her. She gave him a light smile, trying to hold back tears as she processed the news of the tenth incarnation facing his mortality.

“You’ve gotten old” she said.

“I’m probably only a couple of years ahead of you in appearance”

“Ah, so you’re finally keeping up with me”

“Ms. Smith, the lord president has requested your presence on this planet for as long as he deems proper”

“Oh I can’t stay; I have a son to look after”

“They’ll keep, don’t worry, you’ll be returned to this precise spot and moment when we’re done”

“Doctor, are you sure it is wise to use the extraction chamber in this fashion? There could be unforeseen side effects…”

“What side effects? Tell me”

“Sarah, I think we should go topside, it’s almost nightfall”

Before Sarah could utter another word, The Doctor grabbed her hand and escorted her to one of the lifts which took them up to the top of the capital citadel.

Atop the citadel, Sarah and The Doctor sat atop the roof, kicking their feet back and staring out at a few crimson stars as they ignited one by one and descended into the wild lands of the planet.

“I hope none of those areas are inhabited” Sarah said.

“No, no Gallifrey has specific defences, magnetrons that pull the falling strands away from any habitable area and into harmless dunes”

“Even at the end of everything, your people still cling to survival skills” Sarah replied.

“Sarah, I have to ask something of you, and you can say no any time you like”

“Tell me, just as long as you speak truthfully about the side effects of this extraction chamber of yours” Sarah insisted.

“The chamber is usually only used for people at the very end of their time stream, we take the person at the moment of their demise, and when they have provided us with the necessary information, they’re returned to see out the rest of their remaining seconds”

“Was I fated to die then?” Sarah asked.

“No, no we misused the chamber this one time. You have much more life left in you Sarah, and that’s why I need you for what lies ahead”

“Why not extract me at a later stage in life? When I’ve met your previous self?”

“That’s still to come for you, but this is you at your peak Sarah, this was when you had just earned your second chance and you revelled in it, this was the woman I knew could keep the earth in line even as I stepped over it myself. I was tempted, very tempted, to abuse the chamber in a different way, to bring a good friend of mine back from the brink of death, and keep her where I needed her to be. I wanted to be naughty Sarah, a very naught boy indeed. This, all of this, used to be my playground and the Time Lords the spoiled elders I wanted to mock in front of the unruly sorts, my aim was to be a champion amongst the unruly and strike out on my own”

“You succeeded at that, and more so you proved wiser than the so-called elders, you proved to them straying from home did more good for the universe than ruling out intervention” said Sarah.

“And what did it cost me? A friend, my Clara, oh I can tell myself she was to blame for her own demise, but had I not let slip that nonsense about the hybrid and Me the moment I got here, Rassilon wouldn’t have had the impetus to try and snare me in the past…it’s only now I realise this isn’t my playground Sarah, it’s my penance. I have to rule over Gallifrey, I have to prepare them for the hybrid, whatever form it takes, and I’m more scared that I may face it alone”

“And that’s why you summoned me…the absolute best version possible, to spend the duration of your presidency at your side…to keep you in line”

“I’m scared, and alone, and hell bent on succeeding, will you stand in the ruins, you, myself, and the one who only goes by Me, at the end of it all, and confront the riddle of the hybrid once and for all?”

“Oh Doctor, even if there were no stars left, I’d gladly light your path any day. Come on, we’ve got work to do”

The Doctor and Sarah climbed down from the edge of the roof and laid their heads down, clutching their hands and squeezing them tightly. They watched more stars descend from the burning sky.

“I suppose when I get back, I’ll have a few extra years on me”

“All of that will be covered when you realign with your correct timeline”

“And I’m sure I’ll need my memory erased”

“I’m not putting myself through that again”

“But if you do let me remember, when I see your earlier face, I’m not supposed to say anything?”

“Even if you hear of my ‘untimely’ death from a couple of vultures”

“It’s not like you to leave me a preview of what’s to come”

“Sorry, just trying to keep the timeline spoiler-free for myself”

“Hmmph, spoilers, reminds me of a woman I crossed paths with just a couple of days ago, my time anyway”

“Did she say anything about me?”

“Just that you never leave her any tin dogs”

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Doctor Who-The Man I Was [Fanfic]

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As The Fifth Doctor bids farewell to his previous selves, he finds one of those selves may be a little further ahead

 


DOCTOR WHO:

THE MAN I WAS


The game of Rassilon was over, the price for playing it had been paid in full by the now deposed Borusa, President Eternal, now ruling alongside many other prize claimers over a tomb.

Within moments Chancellor Flavia and her guards would be descending on the chamber to secure the area and to instruct those who had survived the game to make a full statement of their ordeals.

The Doctor knew he had to make good his escape before that could happen. Celestial Intervention Agency’s regular lines of inquiry were always so bothersome to him.

He also knew that each of his incarnations would have the most terrible trouble keeping their singular narrative straight, having experienced four separate challenges all at once.

He envied his fourth incarnation, who had managed to elude the whole procedure purely on an error on Borusa’s part.

The window open to his remaining selves were narrowing, he knew if they all took their leave now, there would be no chance of him being able to properly recollect due to the timelines being thrown back into synch, he would not be able to retain the memory, and the CIA would be far too tangled up in red tape to bother pursuing the matter further.

Temporal fission was the solution; another product of Rassilon’s misguided but fair genius. Those who had participated in the game would be returned to their customary times and places.

As they all came up to him to say goodbye, the kindly elderly soul reunited at last with his granddaughter, the inconsistently tempered cosmic hobo accompanied by a respected Brigadier, and finally his third incarnation, accompanied by perhaps the best of companions.

Her.

Sarah Jane Smith.

“Well goodbye me dear chap, I must say I’ve had the time of my lives, haven’t we Sarah Jane?” asked the third, extending his hand out to shake his other selves’.

“Have we? Well, I only have one life and I’ve had too much already” she said.

She reached to extend her own hand and bid farewell

“Goodbye” she began, than something came over her.

Some more rational people would call this an instance of recognition, and a chance to make something of the moment before them.

The realization had to have been dawning on Sarah by now this was the latest version of The Doctor, the form that had succeeded his fourth, the last face Sarah saw.

The one that left her behind on Earth on the flimsy basis no human was to step forth on Gallifrey, his home world.

In truth, he just didn’t want her to know him better than any of his prior companions. The last two to step forth on his world had their memories stolen from them, their times with him on his travels brutishly cut short.

Things had changed in his lives since then; experience had taught him that a greater loss can occur on his adventures whether or not they be tied to Gallifrey and its own dangers. The late Adric had seen to that.

He had tapped into the minds of all his incarnations when they had linked together to free him from Borusa’s control, and from what he had glimpsed of his third incarnation’s dealings in the Zone he had found it the most casual, almost no drama to be had other than bearing witness to a Raston robot’s crude despatch of Cyberman forces.

He reflected on how Sarah had dealt with witnessing one of the deadliest killing machines devised, and she had barely blinked.

This was the woman he deemed impossible to take with him?

Madness.

What if she told him, in this moment, how she felt? Would she thank him for the times he spent with her? Would he thank her for sending her a version of K9 as a Christmas present? Would she give him a piece of her mind?

His heartbeats beat faster, his aloof expression almost crumbled.

Then the moment passed as quickly as it had started with a formal handshake and a quiet goodbye.

“Erm, it was very nice meeting you”

The Third Doctor ceased the opportunity to make light commentary on this

“Thankyou Sarah, it was nice meeting you too”

“What?”

“I’ll explain later” he said, giving his other incarnation a wink.

It was at this moment that The Fifth Doctor reflected on another memory of his third self created by this day’s events, another exchange between him and Sarah Jane when they had first met up in the Death Zone.

No, no, it’s you you”

That’s right”

No, No, you changed remember? You became all, er…”

Teeth and Curls?”

Yes”

He had remembered what his fourth incarnation was fated to look like. Usually a time lord can only be certain of his own reflection for as long as his timeline is out-of-synch, then they forget as soon as the adventure with them has concluded. In times of greater danger, the future self manifests as a projection, occasionally the projection will be camouflaged to prevent the reflection becoming clearer , presumably not to shake the focus of those they’re assisting to move on to the next phase as they combine wits to solve a problem.

Another response from the exchange rattled The Doctor further.

Yes, well, maybe I did, but I haven’t yet”

He was trying to make things simpler for Sarah on their adventure together, but he holding something back from her, he had planted a lie inside a truth.

He had become teeth and curls; he just hadn’t become him again.

Not yet.

Retro regeneration was, after all, possible.

Perhaps Borusa’s time scoop had malfunctioned twice, displacing his fourth incarnation, and bringing another incarnation that happened to take the face of a previous self forward. The pain he had felt when he was initially taken perhaps could have been because they were in the midst of a forgotten adventure together and his role in that encounter was essential to keeping him alive.

If his luck held out, perhaps the explanation to Sarah was one about to come rather than yet to come.

Sarah could sleep soundly in bed today knowing she could see the faces of all those Doctors she knew again, replenished, and renewed.

And if there ever came a day where he would revisit a few of those old faces, he would make up for the mistakes in the lives they had led earlier.

Next time, he would not let her go.

As he watched the ‘Third’ Doctor and Sarah Jane enter the TARDIS, The Doctor spoke to his companions, a part of him cursed himself for not saying much to Sarah Jane in that crucial moment, but a part of him was overjoyed at realising what sort of person he’d travelled far from

“I’m definitely not the man I was. Thank goodness”

 

 

Doctor Who-Waiting For A Wounded Soldier [Fanfic]

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Waiting For A Wounded Soldier

 

At Belle Vue Park, Sarah Jane Smith approached the TARDIS. A glistening monument in a beautiful grove.

As she stared at the door, she was hesitant to knock.

It had been an emotional and draining couple of hours for her, reuniting with the traveller that she had spent much of her young adult life, seeing things no other journalist born to Planet Earth had the fortune to see, only to be unceremoniously deposited back on Earth. No farewell, no meaningful conversation.

No closure.

He’d tried a few times to make it up to her, an attempt to attend a Jazz session at the Royal Albert Hall led to an adventure with the insect-like Kalik who were abducting passenger trains, intending to feat on the occupants. She and The Doctor succeeded in thwarting the attack.

And then, she forgot. It seemed he forgot too.

She wondered why that was the case, perhaps forgetting had been an adventure all its own.

Perhaps it didn’t matter at this point.

He was here. Now. The Doctor had come back.

And in the wake of his return, great tragedy had been averted, and personal loss had occurred.

The greater tragedy involved the enslavement of children in an attempt by the Krillitane race to crack the code necessary to rewrite all of universal creation; they were thwarted by the heroic acts of her loyal robot dog K-9.

The personal loss had come with K-9 selflessly sacrificing himself to level the school and kill all the Krillitanes inside.

Sarah now stood before the primitive majesty of the TARDIS, completely humbled and emotionally broken, eager to see The Doctor one last time before he departed.

She wondered if he could even face her after forging her dog into a weapon to use against the enemy.

She was fine with that, she understood.

An apology wasn’t what she was hoping for.

Finally, The Doctor stepped out of the TARDIS doors; he froze as Sarah approached him, her hands shaking, her face raw with longing and a need to communicate.

“Oh yes, right, hi, spot of tea?” The Doctor asked.

“Oh god yes” she said.

As she entered the ship for the first time in decades, observed by Rose Tyler and Mickey Smith, who were already inside awaiting their next adventure, she took note of its majestic coral appearance; it was as if she’d flown into a honeycomb.

“You’ve redecorated” Sarah said.

“You don’t like it?” The Doctor asked.

“Oh on the contrary, I love it, it’s just, not what I was used to from our time together”

“You don’t know how many times my old selves have critiqued my desktop choices”

“I thought you told me once that time lords can’t retain memories of meeting your other selves?”

“I take notes” The Doctor remarked.

“Really?” Sarah asked, excitedly curious.

“Notes. Pen to paper, like leaving reminders on the fridge. Rose, does the TARDIS have a fridge yet?”

“Mum won’t let me install the one we’ve got” Rose admitted as she made the tea.

“Oh she probably just hasn’t defrosted anything yet, give her time” The Doctor remarked.

“Did I hear you right? You’ve met other versions of you?” asked Mickey Smith.

“Tolerated would be a better word” The Doctor replied.

“Of course, it’s so simple, leaving notes to pick up on later; I wonder how much of your future you’ve learned?” Sarah inquired.

“Reminders for a time traveller are a bit like a spaghetti junction, lots of bends and turns that you need to navigate carefully otherwise you’re going in non-linear circles. What I did twenty years earlier may just be what I’m about to do tomorrow. It’s best me and the others stick to yesterday and compare what we did then with how we handle the here and now” The Doctor explained.

“Tea’s ready” said Rose as she headed back with a tray of hot mugs.

“Oh that hit the spot, thank you” said Sarah as she took a sip.

The Doctor downed his mug’s contents in one long gulp.

“Sure your throat won’t be too toasty?” said Rose.

“Nah, I’ve got a high tolerance for heat, I once survived the molten temperatures of the gravel pits of pavilore pits while hopping. Oh, and I also survived the angriest whopper from Burger King”

Sarah and Rose both giggled, The Doctor and Mickey both beamed at this.

“Yeah, that shows you’re cooking mate, you warmed both the ex and the latest both up to you, that tin dog may be gone, but you’re out of the doghouse” said Mickey.

The laughter stopped and all three of them stared coldly at Mickey.

“Oh, sorry” said Mickey, realising he’d been inappropriate.

The Doctor glanced over at Sarah.

“We’re about to head off now, but you could come with us, see the universe all over again with wiser eyes, maybe mentor Rose, give even Mickey the idiot a telling off that could last a lifetime”

Sarah’s eyes lit up, but the spark quickly faded as her sense of mortality kicked in.

She took one look at Rose and realised this was a sport for the young. There was no place for her.

“No. I can’t do this anymore. Besides, I’ve got a much bigger adventure ahead. Time I stopped waiting for you and found a life of my own” she said.

The Doctor glanced over to Rose, whose demeanour had surprisingly changed; she gave the Doctor an interesting look back, one that was apprehensive and remorseful, the Doctor’s eyes dug deep into her own, almost apologetically.

“Can I come? No, not with Ms. Smith, I mean with you lot. Because I’m not the tin dog, and I want to see what’s out there” Mickey added.

“Oh, go on, Doctor. Sarah Jane Smith, a Mickey Smith. You need a Smith on board” Sarah said.

“Alright fine then, only at your request, not his insistence. Rose, you on board?” The Doctor said.

“Rose, is that okay?” Mickey asked.

“No, great. Why not? “Rose replied, acting almost as if her day couldn’t get any worse.

Sarah smiled.

“Well, I’d better go” Sarah said.

“Catch you later” Rose muttered. Sarah wasn’t sure what she meant.

The Doctor and Sarah made their way out of the TARDIS, away from the prying eyes of envious companions and overexcited newcomers.

“Is Rose alright? She looked kind of…distant”

The Doctor stretched his arms and felt a tense tingle in the back of his neck, he scratched it slightly.

“Pure intuition I imagine. Knows what’s coming”

“Is what’s to come that bad?” Sarah asked.

“She’s ready, knows where she stands, that makes it a little easier”

“Make what a little easier?” asked Sarah.

“I’m really not good at this” The Doctor remarked as he fidgeted with his right trouser pocket.

“Don’t tell me you lost your key” Sarah said, laughing.

“No, not the key, something just as important, though frankly if I found myself stuck here, this would be even more easy to get through, because then I wouldn’t always have to say goodbye”

Finally, The Doctor pulled out a studded blue diamond ring. It had four sharpened edges, resembling a miniature star.

Sarah’s eyes widened in astonishment as The Doctor got down on one knee.

“When I told you my other selves and I wrote ourselves little reminders, we stuck to dealing with yesterday, all our regrets and how to make up for them. This was always at the top of my to-do list”

He held Sarah’s hand tightly and squeezed it; his eyes stared intensely into hers.

“I came back for you one time, in my seventh body, to say how sorry I was for abandoning you, we were going to listen to Jazz together. When I was drafted into the time war, I took that previous moment of reconciliation from you to keep you from worrying about me, so you wouldn’t be kept waiting for a wounded soldier…but seeing how far you’ve come, seeing how you’ve coped with my absence and how, through all of that, still willed yourself to move forward, I knew now was the time Sarah, to ask you to keep the faith, and to keep waiting, because I will come back. I will return from my weary travels and I will come home to you. Tried and true you. Your song is the only one I want singing me to my inevitable sleep”

Sarah could do little to hold back her humbled tears or to keep the bravest man she ever knew from coming apart at the seams, all she could offer was the simplest answer to the question all men ask when reach this point of the procedure.

“Sarah Jane Smith, there’s only way I can make this promise mean something, will you…” he began

“Yes, you crazy old wonderful man, yes” she said.

“My Sarah Jane” The Doctor remarked, his face a mix of sadness and content joy, he got up and whisked her up in his arms, cradling her in an ecstatic embrace.

The pair stared at one another, transfixed by their mutual love and admiration, trapped in a single moment in time neither wish would slip away from them

A faint purring sound from the TARDIS engines prompted The Doctor into action; he carried Sarah over to the doors and urged her to let him carry her over the threshold. Sarah held firm on her intentions from earlier.

“I meant what I said Doctor, you’ve got the legs for eternity, I’m not that spry, but if there’s anything that needs handling on home soil while you’re not here to clean it up, I’m game for that. I’ll keep my neck of the woods safe, you keep whole worlds from toppling, go bedazzle dimensions and glue together cracks in time, just know when the time is right to come home. We’ll make this work, I know we will”

“Go get ’em Tiger” said The Doctor, kissing Sarah on the forehead and putting her down before charging through the TARDIS doors.

As Sarah watched the TARDIS dematerialized, she spotted a familiar metal dog come into view as it faded from sight.

“K9” she said.

“Mistress” said K9.

“But you were blown up”

“The Master rebuilt me” K9 confirmed.

“Yes, he does that. He rebuilds. Come on you, we’ve got work to do, my world needs to look it’s best for my soldier when he comes home”

Doctor Who-My Angel

Zygon

Photographs.

Prior to the sensations one experiences with the real thing, it is photographs that are your infant footsteps into the mists of time.

The day you’re born, the day you marry, the day life you’ve yourself created comes to life, and the cycle repeats.

All of it contained in photographs.

In her attack on Bannermen Road, Sarah Jane Smith was looking over one such photograph, trying to solve a puzzle. She had been resisting a desire to sort it out at later date, but something was compelling her to examine it more thoroughly now.

It had been sent to her via a time/space telegram courtesy of her computer Mr. Smith, who had intercepted it. The photograph, a colourful photo of what appeared to be a bright and bustling summer’s day, two young and energized people standing still in the midst of a traffic jam surrounding a vast futuristic city with golden spires and lush gardens growing from every rooftop.

They stood transfixed, one holding the other tightly, beside him a small grey and white cylinder.

It was tranquil, it allowed her present mood to settle.

She turned back to her computer to resume her Skype call, all too suddenly reminded why she had put off her examination.

“You alright Mum?” Luke Smith asked as they continued their online chat.

“Tell me more about this Earl ‘Early’ Ladd” she asked

“Well, he kind of got that nickname from how early his social care buddies always were with him. He’s sort of become the envy of the rest of the dorm at the moment, his carers caught wind one of his interests was professional wrestling, so they found someone who had connections with the business and were keen to give him an opportunity to interview them”

“Oh my, I hope he doesn’t feel too overwhelmed” a concerned Sarah asked

“He did sort of vent to me about it, he said he was starting to feel less like a person and more of a project, something for the programme to brag about if he ever achieved success through those opportunities”

“He should make that clear to his carers then, when’s this interview due?”

“It’s just past midnight, so sometime this afternoon, Saturday the twenty-ninth, the choice is entirely up to him”

Luke couldn’t help but notice that Sarah Jane was starting to look a bit distant. Her eyes had widened, her face looked visibly fragile. She peered over at a calendar and let out a small giggle.  Luke kept his eyes trained on her eyes.

“Mum?” he asked

“Oh don’t mind me, it’s silly” she said.

“No, it’s sad” came a voice from behind her.

Sarah turned around to find a lean, tall, somewhat elder man standing in front of a bulky police call box situated in the centre of the loft.

“Mum…is that…” Luke began as he recognized the police box as belonging to a friend of the family, The Doctor.

Sarah swiftly turned back to the computer and cut him off.

“We’ll talk later, ok? You be a good boy and pop off to bed, dream of the next day, or the day before, pick and choose, just don’t worry about tonight”

“Any dream will do” said the man.

“But Mum…” Luke spoke.

“I love you” Sarah continued.

With a punch of a key, the Skype chat was cut off, and Sarah turned to address her visitor.

“Yes, well, memories can be sad as well as kind I suppose” she said

“Tell me what’s wrong” The Doctor replied

“It’s an important date today, surprised you remembered it” Sarah said, folding her arms.

“I count all the anniversaries…none of them get past me” The Doctor replied.

“We both know from experience some people evade time” Sarah replied.

“Not always by choice Sarah” The Doctor responded.

“That photograph you sent me…from the far future correct?”

“Correct” said The Doctor.

“Who’s future is it? Yours, or mine?”

“There’s a third answer to that”

“Yes, well I’m not entertaining it”

“Yes, I imagine you wouldn’t” The Doctor remarked.

“I shouldn’t even have asked you the first question” Sarah replied.

“Days like these to a time traveller…they provide all sorts of questions,  even the answers are riddles to us all” The Doctor answered back.

“Is that why you’ve come…to help us sort something out? Keep that future in place, or are we to prevent it from happening?”

“That would entail running towards something, I just dropped in to say why I’m not dropping in on this day a lifetime ago…why it has to be me”

“Why?”

“I got careless Sarah…incredibly careless. Something happened at the Olympic Games last year for you…so many years past for  me now”

“I saw it on the news, you carrying the torch, I was beaming with pride” Sarah replied.

” I was there twice that day Sarah, a runner with the torch came under attack. I saved him”

“Saved him from what?”

“I delivered him from Angels” The Doctor replied, walking over to a table and flicking small traces of dust from atop it.

“So what was the problem?”

“The Angel found its way into the TARDIS, it gathered up as much artron energy  as it could muster and it hid itself away,  lurked undetected and followed us all the way back to Manhattan where we dealt with other Angels…and when we tucked time back into place, it picked it’s moment to strike…and it took them Sarah, my friends…sacrificed to it…’my Angel'”

“Is that how you lost her?” Sarah asked, knowing what this meant.

“She chose her heart over her head, it’s love, it triumphs, that’s all I can take from this”

“You must tire so easily these days”

“Of what?” The Doctor asked

“Of how many times your hearts break”

“So many of them stray so far beyond me…this one was different, this one encouraged me to go on..just for a bit longer”

“And you did?” Sarah asked.

“Eventually, life sent forth a spark, one that lit the milky way, it will take a very special star in the eye of another to match what I saw in that…whoever that may be, I intend to give their name and their face a place in my memory”

“You’ve forgotten the last one? You?” Sarah said, slightly aghast.

“It surprises even me too”

“But you remember the feelings that person gave you, it’s strong…as strong as when you said…”

She trailed off, not wanting to add further tension, The Doctor opted to finish her sentence for her

“…As strong as when I said goodbye to  you. You and one other”

“Other? There was another?” Sarah asked.

“Her name was River…” The Doctor replied.

A chap came from the TARDIS doors, The Doctor’s plump and oafish assistant Nardole stepped forward.

“Interrupting am I?” he asked.

“Hopefully it’s with good news” The Doctor remarked.

Nardole waved to Sarah, who nimbly waved back.

“Doctor, the temporal tears over Manhattan were made of the same artron storms as those over Coal Hill”

“Are you trying to tell me our attempts to deflect the tears caused them to bounce off one continental radius to another?”

“Were they supposed to?” asked Nardole.

“I’ve got to get over there as soon as possible, someone may lose an arm or a leg over all this” The Doctor remarked, and ushered Nardole back into the TARDIS.

He took a look back at Sarah.

“I’m on call” he said.

“Do your duty” she said.

Before he entered The TARDIS, The Doctor froze, and looked back up at her.

“When River and I last parted…I said goodbye, but I never called her mine. She’d kill me if I ever claimed her as my property”

“It’s never been about property Doctor, it’s always been about the promise. Promise me you’ll be safe…that you’ll always be safe”

“Goodbye, my Sarah Jane” The Doctor replied, permitting himself a wry smile, before entering his faithful ship.

As he began punching in co-ordinates and cross-examining tears settling across the Manhattan and Coal Hill skyline, Nardole saw fit to intercede again.

“You know I was running a background check on that photograph you sent Ms. Smith and I was fascinated by it, apparently it’s meant to be a representation of a secret commitment ceremony that Time Lords make to those they consider compatible soul mates that they are torn from by time and duty …was there any particular reason you…”

“If I were you, I’d just answer the call” The Doctor remarked.

“That didn’t work out so well for Melissa McCarthy” remarked Nardole.

The TARDIS dematerialized, leaving Sarah Jane Smith to tend to her moist eyes, her tense emotions, her photograph, and her eternal promise.

“God speed my Doctor…….MY angel” she whispered.