his_sarah_jane: (aiming the rifle)
You know how when you're listening to music playing from another room? And you're singing along because it's a tune that you really love? When a door closes or a train passes so you can't hear the music anymore, but you sing along anyway... then, no matter how much time passes, when you hear the music again you're still in exact same time with it. That's what it's like.
- Music From Another Room.


“Give it to me,” you say with more force in your voice than you’ve ever used before. He doesn’t respond, only giving you a look. You repeat your words – “Oh, just give it to me, Doctor” - and this time, rather than waiting for an answer, you take the rifle from him.

There is so much activity around you, has been since the two of you had snuck out in those daft robes that absolutely envelope you. Maybe it’s for the best. After all, he had warned you about coming out of the TARDIS. You were supposed to stay hidden, safe in your room where she would protect you. But you had argued. The two of you were in this together and, for whatever reason he had been called back to Gallifrey (a lie), you were going to help him. The mind wipe was worth the risk, you had claimed, because you thought deep down you could never forget him. He’s rather like that song that won’t leave your head, you explain. Best friend, family: through thick and thin.

You could never leave him. And finally, he caves, warning you to stay close.

So you do. Despite the imminent danger, despite the fact that this is clearly all some ploy, you still get a thrill in meeting old professors and classmates. He had a life before you, just like you had one before him. It’s strange to actually see it come to life.

But now? Now things have gone horribly wrong. The crowd roars with confusion. The President has just been shot. And look, over there! The pair that had been crying wolf about an assassin had a gun! No one believes your innocence. The guards are coming up the catwalk, ready to arrest you. So a decision has to be made. And while the Doctor just stands there, professing his innocence, you make it. As much as it hurts your journalistic pride, he has always been better at putting the pieces together. If anyone can figure out who is behind this, it’ll be him.

“He’s innocent! It was me. He was trying to stop me!”

You take a step forward to the guards, holding up the gun. He calls your name behind you and it brings tears to your eyes. You turn around and smile softly at him. It’s apologetic. Completely and totally apologetic, completely and totally love struck.

“I’m sorry,” you say. That step you had taken is retracted as you close the gap between the two of you. You place a hand on his cheek, gently caressing it before placing your hand on top of the scarf, in between his two hearts. “Oh, I’m so sorry, Doctor, but it has to be me. They’ll listen to you, you know that. And you’ll rescue me. That same old song, remember? You always rescue me, Doctor.”

“Sarah--”

“I’ll be fine,” you reassure him, but this time, you’re not sure. These are the people he ran away from. The people who wiped Zoe and Jamie’s minds. You know you have everything to fear. So you pull on the scarf, bringing his head close to yours. His curls mesh with your fringe, the tip of his hat touching the crown of your head. You look at him, tempted to kiss him so much. You have never seen him look this lost, never seen him look this angry. “I promise you, Doctor. I’ll be fine. You’ll figure it out, get me released, and then we’ll go about travelling in the TARDIS as if this never happened.”

When his fingers touch her cheek, caring and tender, you know you need to pull away now. You can hear the shouts of the guards behind you. It’s now or never.

“I love you, Doctor,” you whisper. “It’s why I really couldn’t leave you after all.”

Then they grab you. The take the rifle away from you and hold your arms in vice-like grips. You steal one last look at him, your Doctor, before they lead you away down to the cells. In his sad blue eyes, you see your world. All the happiness, danger, joy and suffering the two of you have shared together. You smile at him and mouth those four little words again.

You spend less than a day in the cells before you discover the true identity of the assassin: Chancellor Goth. But he isn’t working alone and no matter how hard you try to find out the identity of his accomplice, it eludes you.

Even your rescue eludes you. Goth arranges for a secret trial, one the Doctor knows nothing about as he campaigns for your innocence.

Guilty.

***

Day forty-five since the villagers found you. Although your amnesia hasn’t gotten any better, your strength has returned. You’ve become a more productive member of society. You can help in the plants now. You’re slowly relearning how to read and write, relearning how to cook and plant, relearning how to question. But you have so many questions that remain unanswered. Assumptions do not work for you and you have no idea why.

Maybe in another year, the lack of a past won’t bother you anymore.

As you help gather fluteberries in a field, you hum a familiar tune. Your mind has been buzzing with those lately, although no one has been able to help you place them. It doesn’t matter. Your family accepts you for who you are: Allasa Nan, the foundling. And it really is nice to have a home. It really is. Still, sometimes when you look to the stars, you can’t help but wonder what you’re missing.

Soon enough, your basket is full of berries. As the dark begins to fall, you know it is time to return to the village. Your foster parents will be expecting you home for dinner by now. You begin the trek back when something catches your eye. It’s blue and boxy and looks very out of place in the fields. A shiver runs down your spine. You should head back, warn the elders.

Instead you stare. You continue to stare when a door opens up and a man steps through. He looks at you with a sort of awe. Slowly – no, not slowly – a manic grin spreads across his face. It’s a familiar grin, like those old tunes you can’t quite get out of your head.

“Sarah Jane?”
his_sarah_jane: (pensive)
Five times you said yes and meant no.

It’s cold outside. That’s the first thing the four year old girl notices when she steps outside of the small Liverpool house. It’s cold for the month of May and she blames it entirely on the business trip her parents are going to have to make. Her birthday is next week. She’ll be five and grown up. Her daddy seems so proud. He promises to bring her back a surprise. Her mother laughs when she overhears the conversation:

“It’ll be brilliant, my little Sarah Jane,” Nigel Smith says, ruffling the girl’s hair. “You’ll absolutely adore it. But the only way you’ll be getting this surprise is if you promise to be a good girl for your aunt Lavinia.”

“I will!” Sarah smiles a gap toothed smile, attempting to look as innocent as possible. Her answer to her father is a yes. But both her parents know that it isn’t the truth. She’s too curious, too mischievous, too anything to be the proper good girl her father wants. Still, she says yes, even when she means no.

“Wonderful.” He smiles, wrapping an arm around Alice’s waist. “We’ll be back soon, alright, darling?”

That cold May day, the Smith parents and daughter exchange truths and lies in their farewells. Neither are ever meant to be kept.


She wakes up with a gasp. The room is dark and her breath is heavy. She pushes her fringe out from her eyes and takes another gasp. Blankets fall around her body. It had been that dream again, more memory than fantasy: saying goodbye to her parents as a child, her aunt telling her how they had died. Sarah Jane is twenty now, but fifteen years later and the memory of that day still haunts her.

The body next to hers stirs. She rubs her eyes, trying to act as if nothing is amiss. Andrew will never understand, not in a million years. His life is perfect. He expects hers to have been just as much: the perfect journalist and the perfect girlfriend, now the perfect fiancée. They’ve been sharing the flat in Nottingham since the end of her second year at university. He’s a light sleeper. She despises that.

“Sarah, love?”

A light sleeper and clearly awake now. Sarah sighs, sinking down into the sheets and trying to pretend that she’s still asleep. The trick doesn’t work; brown eyes bear down on her very soul.

“Was it another bad dream?”

She shakes her head. Andrew looks at her doubtfully.

“Is everything okay?”

“Oh, of course it is, Andrew.” This lie is starting to come so easily now. Everything is always all right around him. Nothing can ever be out of place. “Just a bit of a fright, that’s all.”


To make up for her failed engagement, Sarah Jane finds herself diving deep into her burgeoning career. It’s easy enough to do and soon enough, she’s relocated to South Croydon and started a promising job with Metropolitan paper. The prospects are exciting. She’s assigned a column – her very own column to do whatever she wants with. All of this is almost enough to make her forget about Andrew and forget about the way he compromised her values and forced her to finally say no, not everything is all right after all.

Then she makes a mistake. It’s a simple enough mistake. Dinner at the local pub further down on Hillview Road has been a normal occurrence while she’s still busy moving in to her new flat. What isn’t normal is the man that starts to talk to her from a nearby table. Gary Noble: a nice enough bloke and far from plain looking. She finds herself laughing again and even smiling. The meal passes quickly.

“It’s a nice night out,” Gary states as they stroll down the lane towards her flat. Their hands occasionally brush as they walk closely together. Originally, she had protested his offer to walk home. Now, she’s happy that she didn’t refuse. “The stars seem to be twinkling ahead. It’s lovely, and the company even lovelier.”

“Exaggerations won’t get you everywhere,” she retorts playfully. Sarah Jane’s eyes twinkle. Harmless flirtation – this she can handle. She comes to a stop in front of a door and smiles up at him. Their walk is over. From the way he looks her over, he knows that too.

Gary smiles and cups her cheek gently. “Will it get me an invitation up to your flat for a cuppa?”

Instantly, the scenario plays out in Sarah’s head. It wouldn’t be just a cuppa. It’s too soon to start anything. Her heart is still on the mend. But oh, he seems so very charming and he’s so very gorgeous and it could be… oh, well, couldn’t it just be a one night sort of thing? A fling, a shag, no complications in the morning.

“Yes.”

No. No, no, no. She can’t handle another man this soon.

“It certainly will.”


“I'm not listening.”

Alien monsters, robber barons, a bloody invasion of London by dinosaurs. She had stumbled in over her head when investigating the disappearance of those scientists, disguising herself as her aunt in order to scoop those other curious reporters. Her previously simple world has been turned upside down. The stars in the night sky don’t look the same again. Even a simple passerbyer on the city sidewalk deserves a second glance.

And it’s all because she snuck in to that TARDIS of his when she wasn’t supposed to. Breaking the rules, it appears, has consequences after all. Sarah Jane absolutely refuses to do anything more of the sort. She wants her life to return to that mostly peaceful thing it was. No more aliens for her, thank you all the same.

“...and its seas are as warm milk and the sands as soft as swan's down,” the Doctor continues, leaning closer to her as he talks. There’s a twinkle in his eyes and his face is littered with happy wrinkles
“No, Doctor,” Sarah insists. Hands move from chest to ears, absolutely refusing to listen to this. Her mind has been made up. He isn’t going to win. She’s determined. There will be absolutely no more adventures for Sarah Jane Smith this point out. She wants a normal life, complete with an absolute guarantee that she won’t ever nearly escape death again.

“And the streams flow with water that are clearer than the clearest crystal...”

Sarah Jane shakes her head. Somehow, in some way, it does the trick. The Doctor sighs and takes a step back from her. He frowns, placing a hand to his chin. Then he shakes his own head. Disappointment flashes across his features.

“You’ll never find a beach like this on Earth. Now, Sarah Jane, you really don’t want a normal, humdrum life, do you?”

“Yes. Yes, Doctor, I very much do.”


No. No she doesn’t. She doesn’t want this life. She doesn’t want to be here on Earth. Humdrum, dull lives are for other people. They aren’t for people like her. People like her know death at an early age. It has to be their constant companion in some form or another. Excitement, adventure, pain and joy: all of it. She craves all of it in her life. Love and bliss and domesticity are for other people. Sarah Jane could have had that once.

Up until this point, she has been more than happy she said no.

It is a yes she never intended to say. She never intended to go home. She never intended to leave. All of it, every complaint and every scolding and every pout, all of it had been a rouse. All Sarah had wanted was his attention.

Tears in her eyes, she’s ready to run back to the TARDIS. He couldn’t have gone off yet. It’s too soon. He ought to be watching her leave, that forlorn alien look in his eyes. Sarah stops dead in her tracks. Her breath catches in her throat and she can’t take it anymore. Slowly she turns and starts to dash back. However will he get along without her? That sonic screwdriver is only good for so much, after all.

It’s not there.

He’s not there.

He’s not there.

Her goodies drop to the ground as Sarah chokes back a sob.

He’s gone.

All because she had said yes, she'll take her leave of him for now, when it very clearly had been a no.

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Sarah Jane Smith

April 2011

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