Tribute to the wonderful Lis Sladen. She shall be missed.
Beep, beep, beep...
Beep, beep, beep...
The Doctor stared at the blinking, beeping light on the TARDIS' control console, wanting it to stop and knowing nothing in the universe would. He leaned against the railing separating the console from the outer portion of the control room and stared at the light.
He barely noticed as Rory approached. “Doctor, are you all right?” he asked, inching ever closer. He motioned back to his wife Amy in the lift. “Amy and I were just-well you just sort of shut down and...” He backed up and his mouth twitched. “Yeah, okay.”
The Doctor glanced over as Amy stepped forward. She looked to the console and the beeping light. “Doctor, what is that?” She caught herself short. “I mean why is it blinking? What's it mean?”
There was a pause and a sigh came from the Doctor. A smile ghosted over his features as shadows covered his eyes. “Human beings,” he began. “Lives so short. 'As mayflies' one famous person once said.” His head cocked to the side. “Or was that me?” He waved himself off. “Some of you don't so too much with your lives. And I don't mean normal stuff like work and raising a family. Some of you don't do anything with the time given to you.”
He reached up and pulled a monitor into view. The image of a woman, the same age as Amy and full of life and energy appeared. She wore her dark hair short, framing sharp and inquisitive eyes. A gentleman stood next to her with curly blond hair and an Edwardian bent to his clothes. “And there are some of you who know and keep moving, keep trying new things and just... living.” He levered himself to a standing position as the image changed, to one of the lady, slightly older but still with the same energy and life. There was a new man, with a manic grin and impossibly long scarf. “Some of you take life and live it to the cliched fullest.”
He turned from the image and leaned against the railing, barely noticing Amy and Rory by her side. He cocked his head back. “That's Sarah Jane Smith, one of the finest humans I've ever met. That blinking light? In my personal timeline, she's died.”
Amy's mouth opened slightly. “Oh, Doctor... “ She placed a hand on his shoulder. “I'm sorry.”
A sigh escaped from the last of Gallifrey as he slowly turned back and stared at the blinking light. “It's a recall button,” he explained. “I press it and I arrive at the funeral. And I know I am but as long as I don't she's still alive.” He tapped his chest twice. “In here, we're still running from Cybermen and Daleks and on Skaro and at UNIT with the Brigadier,” he said, the last words breaking. He rubbed his eyes and looked at his hand. “Must be dusty in here. Rory, get a feather duster.”
Rory grunted and crossed his arms. “Doctor, don't.” He waited for the Doctor to open his mouth before continuing. “Don't shut yourself down like that!”
The Doctor's mouth twitched. “Rory, Rory!” He turned to the younger man and slapped him on the shoulders, shaking him a bit. “I'm not human, remember?” he pointed to his head. “I know that someday even you and Amy will... be... gone...” He swallowed and closed his eyes. “And this stupid, stupid old man will be flying off in his blue box, a little smaller than before because he keeps getting attached to humans who wither and DIE AND-”
Amy grabbed his shoulder, spun him around and her arm blurred. When the Doctor's vision cleared, he poked the inside of his cheek with his tongue and tasted his own blood. He rubbed his jaw and cleared his throat. “Thank you,” he half-whispered. “And I'm sorry. I am-” He looked up to the image of the woman and he leaned against the console. “Sarah Jane. I never said, did I? I never...” He reached over and slapped the button. “I'm so, so sorry, you wonderful, magnificent woman.”
A thirteenth police call box appeared outside the cemetery. The sun shone, with a stiff breeze kicking up errant leaves. The Seventh Doctor stood outside as the door opened and the Eleventh Doctor exited, followed by Rory and Amy. All four wore black garb, but the Eleventh still wore his bow tie and the Seventh still carried his umbrella. “I was wondering if you were going to show,” he said, gentle chiding in his voice.”
The Eleventh blinked and held up a hand. “Listen, I know it's customary for Doctors to bicker when we're together, but just this once?”
The Seventh nodded and doffed his hat. “For her, most certainly.” He motioned to the cathedral. “It hasn't started yet. Luke's near the front and has proven rather strong throughout all this.” He let out a sigh. “Good lad, there. Takes after his mother.”
The Eleventh blinked as his feet carried him inside. He spoke some comforting words to Luke, standing there in his suit with red-rimmed eyes. He nodded to Benton and Yates-and why did he only see them at funerals? He saw past versions and his two remaining lives, and there... was her.
She looked peaceful, and still as radiant as ever. The Eleventh stepped forward and knelt down, swallowing as the words left his mind. He blinked and shook his head. “I've never been very religious, but if there is some higher power, something past death, I hope some day to see you once more and travel time and space with you.” he then stood up and kissed her lightly on the forehead. “Goodbye, Sarah Jane.”
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