He barged right into the room. Had to. First of all, his TARDIS had taken entirely too long to materialise, and second of all, he wanted to arrive with dramatic effect.
STOP THIS WEDDING NOW!
Everyone turned around, and stared at him. Just like that. Staring. Obviously they unaware of what was going on. Or of what was about to happen if he didn't stop this...
What's going on?
I can't believe it...
Sarah, looked helplessly at the Doctor and Peter, while the rest of the guests muttered away questions to each other and exclaimed, including Rani and Luke.
-She asked him. Suddenly, amongst all the chaos, K-9 popped out from under a...Table.
The Doctor however, ignored all these reactions coming his way, because the only reaction he really needed, was from her. That bride. That would-be Mrs.Dalton. His Sarah Jane.
I said -stop- this wedding.
But she couldn't say a word. Probably too speechless, probably too stunned to react fastly. She just looked at him. And then the winds came, he felt the unwanted presence drawing nearer...
ALERT! ALERT! DANGER MISTRESS!
Sarah! Get away from him! Shouted the Doctor.
But the force was too strong, he struggled to get closer. He just needed her hand, to pull her away. Unfortunately he couldn't reach far enough. The Trickster was on purposely tearing them apart. She then turned to Peter.
Oh, Peter! No!
Don't be afraid Sarah Jane. It's the angel.
Peter, with no fear, gently reassured Sarah Jane. Like he knew.
Sarah! Trickster, let her go!
-Too late, Time Lord! You're mine, Sarah Jane Smith. Mine forever...
The "angel" in white smiled smugly as he claimed his prize, while the couple vanished into thin air.
Within the blink of an eye, they were gone. Trickster, Peter and Sarah.
Sarah! Sarah, no!
He turned around, scanning the whole room, hoping that she might just be at the other end. Sadly, hope wasn' enough. And if things couldn't get any worse...
Hold on everyone! Hold on! Ordered the Time Lord as the entire guest list vanished too.
...Luke? Luke Smith?
Luke Smith: child genius with a mind the size of Jupiter. Adopted son of Ms.Smith. Clyde Langer: loyal friend and aspiring artist. Rani Chandra: neighbor of Sarah. Wannabe Sherlock. The Doctor went through a mental list of Who's Who, identifying the remaining survivors.
That's me! Good to meet you in the flesh.
W-what happened? Mum and the Trickster-
Luke Luke Luke, listen! Everything's going to be all right. I can find Sarah, I can bring her back. I promise. But I need you to be strong for me, just like you were before. I know you can do it!
The Doctor winked at him, like he always did, and pulled him up, hopefully being supportive enough.
Who are you?
What? How do you know my name?
The young companions, completely bewildered, didn't take long to realise who the bouuncy starnger was.
Wait a minute! You must be-It's you, isn't it?
I hope you're as good as she says you are. Added Clyde.
Weeeelll, you know journalists. Always exaggerating, but yeah! I'm pretty amazing on a good day!
MASTER! INQUIRY: WHERE IS MISTRESS SARAH JANE?
K-9! Did you miss me? Did you miss me, eh?
REPEAT. WHEREABOUTS OF SARAH JANE: WHERE IS SHE?
15:23:23. Time stopped. The 900 year old and his human pals soon descovered they were stuck in time. Nowhere. Nowhen. Not even the TARDIS was of any help now, not until time moved on. It was entirely up to them to help Sarah Jane. The Doctor started to search for any traces of his good friend, while the rest of the gang stood back waited for any results.
I told you. I've seen him. I've seen him fight off the Daleks. It was him who saved the Earth. Because that's what he does. That's who he is.
Hang on, I thought you saved the Earth too, Luke. Didn't he say?
Uh, Rani...Not sure if you've realised this yet, but hello! We saved the Earth plenty of times as well.
Clyde! Like I don't already know that. No, I'm talking about that one time. Those Dalek things, they were monsters! You saw them!
They exterminated families in their own homes.
Exterminate! But of course! She was talking about the Daleks!
Clyde and Luke paused for a moment.
Eve! She said her people were caught up in a terrible war. Between two mighty civilisations.
SHE WAS REFERRING TO THE TIME WAR, MISTRESS RANI.
What was that? Felt like someone just walked over my grave!
Exclaimed Rani. The trusty sonic screwdriver beeped loudly throughout the room. She was here.
That was her!
K-9! Isolate the time trace.
AFFIRMATIVE MASTER! TEMPORAL SCHISM DIVIDED IN TWO, MASTER.
Yes, of course. We're trapped here in 3:23:23, and Sarah Jane is trapped too. Just another second.
Wait a minute, there's something I don't get. How did you know about this? The wedding? You weren't invited!
I was! Perhaps not by Mrs.Smith...But Mr.Smith.
Mr.Smith contacted you?
Yes! He detected an anomaly, and knew straight away Sarah Jane was in dangerous hands!
So he sent out a distress signal. A message. Warning me. Of course back then, I wasn't actually certain what the exact problem was. Thought it could have been Peter, but nah! He's just as innocent as Sarah in all of this.
What? But he's in on this! He's with the Trickster!
No! No no, it's the Trickster who tricked him.
And you came here? Just like that?
Course I came! Sarah's my friend! She's so special.
Rani and Clyde stared in silence.
So...You and Sarah Jane...
What about it?
Were you two together?
Like a couple?
Like friends. Good friends. Not a couple, Rani. Never a couple.
Yeah, but everytime she talks about you, she goes all dreamy eyed and stuff.
Can't blame her.
Clyde looked at Rani, and then back at me.
Were you two lovebirds?
Was it with you humans? Always finding ways of turning the the simplidt of friendships into some soppy romantic novel!
Rani looked down and apologized.
Sorry. Didn't mean to be nosey.
Ah, no need to apologize. Get that a lot. With your lot.
Clyde, on the other hand, continued the investigation.
But she was your companion?
And you two traveled back in them old days?
That's funny cos y'see, back in them old days, companion actually meant "spouse"!
Where did you get that from? Questioned Rani, sceptically.
Rani raised an eyebrow to Clyde.
Alright alright, it was "The Da Vinci Code". Anyway, point is, companion means spouse. Ain't it right Doctor?
Rani and Clyde looked at him in surprise. (probably an answer they weren't expecting)
Oh, yes! The Aramaic word "companion" actually meant "spouse". But that was over 1000 years ago! However I and Sarah Jane, we kicked off back in the 80's. So Clyde, oh Clyde, you've just missed out on a huge year gap.
With an amused smile on the Doctor's face, he turned to Clyde and patted him on the back.
Kids! Your best friend and Luke's mother is time trapped by a one second difference because of the Trickster, a member from the Pantheon of Discord, and you two are asking me personal questions? About the rules of companionship? Hah!
Rani constrained herself from laughing, covering her face, hiding it away from Clyde. And Clyde, he just stood there, with a face as red as a tomato. Trying to avoid all eye contact with both the Doctor and Rani.
Don't laugh! At least I'd make a better journalist than you.
Alright, Lois Lane. You try and figure out what's going on.
The two walked around the room in circles, thinking of all the possibilities while the Doctor continued to investigate the area. Though, all he could find were posh brochures.
Hang on though, this is mad! The Trickster, he's all powerful and immortal, he wants to cause chaos throughout the stars...And he wants Sarah Jane to get married. What does he get out of that?
The two turned to the Docotr. Assuming he had the answer.
Good thinking Rani! I s'pose...He's never been to a wedding before? No, that's daft. AH! She's here. If I can narrow her link ratio...
Then arrived the Trickster.
Ah! You look better in black. Or is white the new black?
At last Doctor! I can feel this moment reverberating back to the Dark Ages. The meeting of the Pantheon Discord and the Last of the Time Lords.
I've known the legends of the Pantheon ever since I was a little boy! I fought your shadows and your changelings. I never thought we'd actually meet.
And I know the legends of the Doctor. A man of ice and fire, who walked among gods, who once held the Key to Time in his hands. Now, he is surrounded by children.
-They're my friends. Which reminds me, you look a bit lonely for a Pantheon.
The Doctor couldn't resist but pull a face. He wanted to provoke him.
I embody multitudes.
-But who are you, a man who has lost everybody, to talk to me of loneliness?! When the Gate is waiting for you...
What do you mean?
The Trickster laughed evily, more certain about the Doctor's future, than he ever was.
Sarah Jane Smith, is my prize! Even you Doctor, didn't realise how wonderful she is.
What d'you want with her?!
What I've always wanted, from many of those I visit. Her agreement...Goodbye Doctor.
And with that, the Trickster left once again.
Her agreement...With the power of words she says "I do"-YES! THAT'S IT!
She promises to love and honour her husband, wedding ring goes on, then she's agreed to it, she's totally under the Trickster's power! Marital bliss, but she forgets about all this. She starts living a new life.
Forgetting about her old life! Protecting the Earth!
And the planet's wide open so, aliens can just barge in?
Without Sarah, without you lot, saving the world from your attic in Ealing, there'll be chaos and destruction! Big drink to the Trickster.
As if she's going to say yes!
But she will, won't she? Because we're here.
Then, as if by magic, something returned. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
TARDIS! Beautiful, yes! Emergency Programme protecting the pilot, of course! Partial materialisation.
What's going on? Asked Luke, as he came back.
Look! That's pure Artron Energy! TARDIS power. Strong enough to beat the Trickster's power! That's how we can fight him!
By luck, the Doctor managed to get inside. But the others couldn't. He tried his hardest to pull Clyde over, who was linked to Rani and Luke. But the doors shut. A loud thud against the TARDIS was heard. It must have been Clyde. Shot with Artron Energy! TARDIS welcomed her pilot back.
~Doctor! Are you alright?~
Never mind me! I need to get back, I need to help them!
~I'm sorry Doctor, power is at 40%. I could not hold on for much longer.~
40? Blimey, that is weak. How about you? Doing okay?
~I think it's best to focus on your friends Doctor, and not me. For now.~
Right. Right...If I could just travel to one second in the future. I need to warn Sarah and Peter!
~If it is to any of your concern, the human child Clyde Langer, may be attempting to attack the Trickster. One touch of Artron Energy and...~
I know! I know, come on old girl, take me to her! Allons-y!
~Dematerialising in 15:23:24.~
He opened the TARDIS doors, to finally see her. Sarah. And Peter.
Good grief, the TARDIS can't stabilize, Clyde's keeping the Trickster busy for a moment, oh! Those three are just brilliant!
Doctor, what can I do? If I say no, we're trapped here forever. If I say yes, I condemn the world to the Trickster. Either way, I lose. There's no way out.
It all rests with you Sarah. Your greatest challenge, the hardest thing you'll ever do in your life.
What is it? Tell me what I have to do!
You fought the Trickster before, you know how he operates. How he can be defeated...
He glanced sadly at Peter. Poor man. It was all clear now. The only way to fight the Trickster, was through Peter. One day, Peter must have been at Death's door, and the Trickster came to him at his last moment. He promised Peter that he would find him his true love and give him life, if Peter gave his agreement. And he did. Sarah Jane Smith and Peter Dalton could have been the perfect match, but it all counted on him now. He had the option to break the agreement. The price? His life.
I know you're a good man Peter. I'm so sorry.
And he did do it. Out of love.
Can't believe the Doctor ran off like that.
Sudden disappearing acts. That's him all over.
Sarah Jane, escalation of temporal flux! Declared Mr.Smith.
TEMPORAL FLUX ESCALATING!
There she was. The blue wooden box. The doors opened with the Doctor acting all casual.
What do you take me for, Sarah? Just thought I'd go the quick way-Oh! I like it in here!
Can we have a look?
What, in the TARDIS?
Rani nodded with excitement.
Even that scared Sarah...
Course you can, yeah.
Luke, Rani, Clyde and Sarah walked one after another into the not-so-little blue box. They wandered around the Console Room and examined every detail in amazement. It was like an outer space "Charlie in the Chocolate Factory"! It was strange too, for the Doctor who hadn'y children in the TARDIS for years. But he liked it. It seemed homely. And, he got the impression from TARDIS that she enjoyed having them too.
Oh, wow! It really is, isn't it? It's bigger on the inside.
Oh, what does this do?
Hey, don't touch! Warned Sarah. Then she added... You came all that way. For me.
You're so important! Not just to me. Trickster wanted to end your story. But it goes on! The things you've done, Sarah...They're pretty impressive. Oh! The things you're going to do!
The future...How about we could go for a ride?
-Or back! To the dinosaurs, yeah?
-Or another planet?
No way! For one thing, you are grounded by the Judoon. And your parents would never forgive me. Go on!
They all looked disappointed and crushed. Rani pouted, Luke tried to show a polite and understanding smile, and Clyde gave a little salute. They walked off. Leaving the Doctor and Sarah were they left off.
It's funny, this room was once filled with every single one of your friends. But, now it's so...Empty.
Hm, they all left.
What happened to Donna?
She...She left too.
I rather not...No. Not by choice. But it was for the best. Really. She's fine now, absolutely fine. Happy without me.
I'm fine, I am.
Sarah sighed and gave him a tight hug.
Is this the last time I'm ever going to see you?
He wanted to say Sarah Jane Smith, you won't be able to get rid of me! with a cheesy carefree grin. But he couldn't.
I don't know. I hope not!
Bye Doctor. Until the next time.
-Don't forget me, Sarah Jane.
No one's ever going to forget you.
He smiled faintly at her, and watched her walk out. Seeing those doors close. And he remembered. Each companion, each friend he had met in the past, he remembered them all. Those dazzling days. Those crazy adventures. And then he remembered something else. Something he said.
The Gate is waiting for you...