He never thought he’d see her again. When he left her on that beach with his metacrisis double, he thought he’d left her behind.
It figured that he’d see her again on one of the worst days of his life.
He watched the funeral from a distance. His bow tie black, to match the hole in his hearts. His hearing wasn’t much better than a human’s, but he didn’t need for it to be in order to know what was being said. An amazing woman. A wonderful mother and friend. The heart of her neighborhood.
Sarah Jane Smith. She had those damned white riding gloves she’d loved so much… until they landed on the mud planet. She never wore them again. Together through so much, so much good she’d done… So much she could have yet done.
He leaned against the mausoleum and closed his eyes in pain. He was glad that Amy and Rory spending the week with their families… He didn’t think he could handle both being here, and having to explain why he was here.
Behind the stone building, the TARDIS made a quiet wheezing sound. She hated to interrupt the Time Lord, but her sensors had picked up something he needed to see. It was enough to pull him out of his grief stricken reverie. He pushed away from the mausoleum with none of his usual energy, and trudged around to rest his hand against the old-new-borrowed-blue box. “Thinking of Sarah Jane, too?”
The response was a light nudge at the bond he shared with his ship, and he headed inside to check her monitor. A temporal flux… no, more than that – a tempero-spatial flux had been detected not too far away. He furrowed his brow. “No… No. That’s impossible.” But there was no doubting what he saw on the monitor.
He headed out of the TARDIS and turned in a full circle before he spotted them.
Only two more people, slowly making their way to the group of mourners surrounding the closed casket upon its dais. The man’s suit was black, rather than pinstriped, and the woman’s blonde hair was hidden by a black hat and a mourner’s veil. Of course – she couldn’t let herself be seen in this world. Here, she was considered as dead as… well… as far too many people the Doctor had known in his life.
He watched the pair – his metacrisis double, a double no more now that he had regenerated, and the most important living woman in his hearts – Rose Tyler. They spoke quietly to the mourners as the funeral began to break up, and each laid a single flower upon the casket before it was lowered into the ground. Time passed, as it was wont to do, and the mourners dispersed, until only three people were left of the funeral party – the two interdimensional travellers, and one alien.
The Doctor approached quietly, stopping beside Rose. Without a word, without asking who he was – of course she knew… – she took his hand. And he held hers, just as the other Doctor was doing on her other side.
“I felt it,” the man with the wild hair and the pair of black specs perched upon his nose said, quietly. “When you regenerated. And when the TARDIS was finished, when she scanned the universe for the first time…”
“Yeah.” The Doctor’s voice was thicker than he would’ve liked it to be, and Rose squeezed his hand.
“I’m so sorry,” she whispered – and it was clear she was talking to both of them. None of them took their eyes off the casket. “John’s been telling me more about her.. I can’t believe…”
“Neither can I,” said the Time Lord. “But.. I suppose it’s like gravity. You can fight it, you can defy it. But in the end… there must always be an end. Sarah Jane knew that.” His other self nodded and fell silent in response.
“Still hurts,” Rose said quietly. And they stepped closer to each other. Time would pass, and they would go their own ways – the pair back to their universe, their ship young enough to survive the trip twice, but never again – and the Time Lord back to his life. Soon he would pick up Amy and Rory and be on his way, saving the universe. But for now, hands held tightly, and each took solace from the others; standing in silent testament to the life of the woman they knew and loved. A Time Lord, a half Time Lord, and the Valiant Child that had captured their hearts, all lost in mourning, speaking a silent farewell to Sarah Jane Smith.