"Just as no one will ever forget you, Sarah Jane!" The Doctor exclaimed, embracing her warmly. "It’s wonderful to see you again…"
She embraced him back, sighing. “I haven’t seen this face of yours. I assume… The last one was the one who met me with Jo, four years ago.”
"…Sarah, it’s me! It’s the Doctor! You…you do remember me, don’t you?"
"Of course I do. No one simply does seem to forget you." She smiled widely.
"…Sarah Jane Smith…"
"…good Rassilon…is it really you?"
She… her heart fell to the ground after hearing that voice.
"Yes." She mumbled, answering the voice’s questions. "I go by no other name."
She had always been so kind at heart, Sarah Jane. He remembered that from her years traveling with him. They may have had differing opinions at times, but they had always worked wonderfully together - that eccentric cosmic clown with the sweets and the scarf, and that feisty journalist.
"That is extremely kind of you." He remarked simply. So long since he had seen such simple kindness. The war was changing him, and not in a positive way. Her hand felt warm in his.
"That would be lovely, thank you." He wandered into her living room as she indicated it, eyes roving over the pictures around the room, the furnishings, everything - trying to soak up the normalcy of it. No Daleks, no explosions, no Time Lords. Just humans and humanity.
As she poured the tea for them, she found herself in a position she had at least hoped she was ready for. She didn’t know what she could ask, how far could her curiosity go. It was him alright - but it was different, and although she was used to see a new face and a new body on him, she didn’t know how much she could be relieved.
He remembered her, and that was enough.
"Here." She comes with the tray to the room where he was, a small smile on her face. Sitting beside him, she picks up his cup and hands it over to him, before even bothering with hers. "…May I ask what are you running from this time? It never changes."
//will do more replies tomorrow.
"Good ol’ Sarah Jane." He smiled. "Yes siry, The usual for me. I don’t think it does."
"Wouldn’t have you any other way." She sighed. "If only Luke was here. Or the others. They’d love to see you again…"
He gave a small chuckle. “Yes, they were. Good old days. The days of all that hair and that ludicrously huge scarf.” He could still remember the day she had left traveling with him, but he couldn’t possibly remember how long ago it had been for him.
"What I am busy with can wait, and I fear it has held my attention for far too long." Yes, an unhealthily long time. It showed in his face - aged and grizzled and far too old for him. To think he had gone from someone who stole a Lord Byron Costume to this. It seemed doubtful there would be a next Doctor, the rate this war is going.
She took his hand. He didn’t remember the school incident, or her wedding, or his fake death. He was from the past. After his Doctor, the scarfed one, because he clearly didn’t remember the other times, like the time he took her to Gallifrey, or the other ones she had met. “Then come. My house… my house may as well be your house. It’s the least I can do.”
Sarah Jane took him inside, his hands were cold, like he had done something so bad. She had heard about the Time War… his future self had told her. But was this the one who did it?
"Earl grey, two cubes of sugar, no milk?" She asked, leaving his cold hand be, pointing to her living room. "If I remember correctly."
He smirked. “Of course not. I’m never reckless.” He smiled. “I’ve been good. How’ve you been Sarah Jane?”
"You know me. Running, fighting. Taking care of the kids. Taking care of this city… The usual. Which I assume is what you’ve been up to. The usual." She crossed her arms. "It never changes, does it…?"
He was a little taken aback by the hug. It was almost possible - amid the chaos and upheaval of war - to forget that not everyone was like Cass. Not everyone would deadlock themselves in a room away from him, urging him to return to his battlefield. He could still remember the hurt he had felt at those words - what felt like centuries ago.
Maybe they were, and he just couldn’t remember.
"Sarah Jane." He hugged her back, his eyes closing slowly as he did so, a brief respite from the fighting, the killing, the suffering. A respite and a link to happier days. "As have I missed you. Too long, Sarah. It’s been far too long."
His voice had so much pain in it… True pain, true regret. She wanted to know why. She wanted to know who was this Doctor, which one. She knew about future and past, but this one was different, this one seemed much darker… much more far from what she was already used to.
"Yes, it has been too long for us. Will… Will you come inside with me? A cup of tea. For the good old days." Sarah smiled, pulling away from him. Her heart beating, like she was in love, a forbidden love. Like it has always been. "Unless you’re busy, which I understand, I am busy myself… but I can put everything on hold."