Jack stayed by the grave after the service. There were others there too, of course. Some were human, some only looked that way. They trickled past the grave, each saying a private farewell. The old UNIT crowd leaned on each other- Grant, Shaw, Sullivan. Jack had met most of them before in some capacity, but they didn’t seem to have anything to say to each other today. Martha and Mickey nodded to him as they left. As they walked away, Jack saw Mickey lean over to Martha. I thought he’d show, he whispered.
Luke and the rest of his little crew were the last to leave, of course. They left mementos by the stone- pictures, strange artifacts, flowers- and then went back to Bannerman Road to share their grief in private. Jack pressed a slip of paper into Luke’s hand before he went. “If you ever need anything,” he said. Luke didn’t speak. He just nodded, his face full of confusion and pain and loss.
And then they were gone. Jack stood, and walked to the grave, waiting. He stood at parade rest, his hands held loosely behind his back.
“I’ve missed it, haven’t I?” a voice said, behind him. “I’m rubbish at funerals.”
“I knew you’d come eventually,” Jack said, with a small smile.
“Martha called me,” the Doctor said. He came around and stood next to Jack. “I wouldn’t have known, otherwise. I try not to know when it is that my companions die.”
Jack nodded. “It lets you think of them always as alive,” he said.
“Which they are!” the Doctor said. “I have a time machine. Humans get millions of minutes, and we can visit any of them. We could go see her, alive, right now.”
Jack smiled. “Maybe,” he said, quietly. “But we’re here now. She deserves a proper goodbye.”
The Doctor’s face fell. “I’m rubbish at goodbyes, too,” he said.
Jack nodded. “I’ll start then, okay?” He looked at the grave. He paused, and then saluted. “Ma’am,” he said, “It was an honor. You were brave, and brilliant, right to the end.” He broke out into a grin, suddenly. “And incredibly sexy.”
“Right,” the Doctor interrupted, disapprovingly. “Enough of that.”
“Your turn,” Jack said, in a tone that brooked no argument.
The Doctor looked uncomfortable. “I-” he said, and stopped. “She would have wanted a goodbye, wouldn’t she have?” he asked, without really asking. He took a deep breath. “Davros said, once, that I made you into a weapon,” he said. “I don’t know if I was good for you, or if you might have been better off if you’d never met me.” He stopped, and Jack and the Doctor stood in companionable silence for a time. “I know that I’m better off for it,” the Doctor finished, his voice rough. “Goodbye.”
They walked away together, leaving the stone behind them. SARAH JANE SMITH, it said, the letters cut deep into the marble. Defender of the Earth.