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Fic - Everytime (Ten/Sarah Jane, G) - Temporal Wanderings
Ten and before

delicateone posting in Temporal Wanderings
User: temporal_wander (posted by delicateone)
Date: 2006-09-10 22:28
Subject: Fic - Everytime (Ten/Sarah Jane, G)
Security: Public
Location:home
Mood:anxiousanxious
Tags:ten
Title: Everytime
Author: Delicate One
Sarah Jane/Ten
Rating: G
Spoilers: School Reunion
Big thanks to aerynstales for great beta above and beyond! Also lfire1 and wight_trash for the encouragement!




'So...' The Doctor fiddled with the steaming mug of tea in front of him, dumping spoon after spoon of sugar into it until he was seemingly satisfied and stirred vigorously. Wait for it, she thought. He'll tap his spoon twice on the side any moment. She was slightly disappointed when he kept stirring, slowing down until it he almost stopped.

'So...' she replied, cupping her hands around her own mug of tea – Lemon and no sugar.

It never used to be like this. she thought.

'I'm sorry, Sarah. About...'

She cut him off short. 'Like I said, he was only a stupid metal dog. He'd been broken for a while, anyway. I don't know why I was even carrying him around in the boot of the car - I mean, how ridiculous is that?'

She watched him finally stop stirring, and then, absent-mindedly tap the spoon on the side of the mug twice before placing it on the table. Better late than never, she thought.

'What? K9? Oh that.' He looked puzzled for a moment, but seemed to wave it away with his hand. 'I wasn't talking about him. I mean you're right -- he was only a lump of metal and I can... ' All at once he seemed to notice her face and changed tack. 'I can fully understand you must be upset.' He nodded absently, trying to look sincere.

'Liar,' she said. 'You don't understand at all.' She picked up his spoon and fiddled with it. 'So. What are you sorry for? Sorry for coming back? Sorry to see me again? Sorry I got old?'

He shook his head. 'You're not old.'

She smiled back at him, a small strained smile. 'Look at you. I look old enough to be your mother.'

'Naw. Not at all.'

'You're lying again.'

'No, I'm not. You may look older, but not old enough to be my mother. Sexy Auntie, maybe...' Her head snapped up to look at him as he grinned his most winning smile at her and winked.

'Stop it.'

'Stop what?' His head cocked to one side.

'You know very well. Don't play mind games with me, Doctor. I'm not some swooning twenty year old who is going to fall for all that boyish charm and all those intense gazes.'

'You used to like it when I looked at you.'

'And where did it get me? Dumped with no word. No word, no contact, not even to let me know you were OK. All whilst you'd moved on with no thought of me. Moved on to younger, blonder...'

He looked up at her sharply. 'It's not like that.'

'Well, no one seems to have told her.' She tossed the spoon on the table, wishing it would make a louder noise.

'She knows. She knows it's not forever. My forever, yours, hers – They are completely different.'

'She may think she knows. She may say she knows. She doesn't. She knows nothing. And how do I know? I know that because I told myself I knew all the same things a long time ago. And look what happened.'

He pushed the mug of tea across the table towards her. 'I never asked for anything from you. All I asked was if you wanted to come with me. You came with me. Your choice. I told you, I'm not going to apologise for that.'

'You didn't have to ask. You never did. Did you ever realise? Do you realise now? Or are you still pretending to be above it all? Still using 'I'm a Time Lord' as an excuse?'

'It's not an excuse -- it's...'

'It's a convenient cop out. I saw you in that school, Doctor. You were tempted. You were tempted by what he said. Tempted by the power to change everything, to have everything. To be a God. Would she have talked you out of it? Would she have told you the truth?'

He stared at her for a moment, mouth open as if to say something, then closed his eyes and sighed, running a hand through the back of his hair. 'I have no idea.' He leant back in his chair suddenly looking weary, both hands now behind his head as he looked up at the ceiling

She picked up his now cold mug of tea and her own, taking them out to the kitchen. A welcome break away from him.

A moment later, she heard his footsteps behind her.

'I'm sorry. Not for taking you with me. Not for all you saw. I'm sorry that I didn't let you know I was alive. Whatever you think of me, I never did mean to hurt you. It was for the best, Sarah. A clean break. I didn't know it would hurt so much.'

She felt a hand touch her back gently and then pull back.

'I wouldn't have hurt you knowingly. You must know that.'

She felt him step closer behind her and when he spoke, she could feel his breath on her hair.

'It's just... It's not an excuse. I am different. However you look at it -- I'm alien to you. I'm a nine hundred odd year old being who could possibly live for your 'forever'. This old body may look human, and God knows I've been hanging around with humans far too long, but I'm still a nine hundred year old man from a long gone planet.' His hand touched her waist as he stepped closer. 'There is no one else, Sarah. They're all gone.' His voice was quiet and soft in her ear. 'All gone. So now I don't try and protect myself like I used to. There is no one else, Sarah.' His arm slipped around her. 'They're all gone.'

She stood very still, not moving, hardly breathing. 'You did hurt me.'

'I didn't think...'

'You never did.'

She gripped the edge of the sink. 'You never did think. You never thought how I felt. You must have known. You had to have known what I felt about you. For you.'

'Which is part of the reason I left. The whole reason I didn't come back. You must know that now.'

He sounded sad, alone. So lonely. She knew what that felt like, and she hated herself for feeling it. She twisted around to face him, his oh so different face as his hand dropped to lightly rest on her hip.

'You are prettier this time round, you know.' She touched his cheek. 'Although you've still got ridiculously big eyes. And teeth. I think I preferred them blue though...'

'My teeth?'

She snorted a laugh. 'Your eyes. Although I wouldn't put it past you to have blue teeth, you know.'

His eyes twinkled as he visibly brightened, smiling at her. 'I'll keep it in mind. Although you know I have no control how things turn out. I'm still waiting to be ginger. Ooh, how good would that look, though? Ginger with blue teeth!'

'It would look terrible and you know it'

'And I'd stand out in a crowd. Being ginger and all.'

He smiled at her again, wide and disarming. She couldn't deny that she liked what she saw in front of her. And the way he talked… When he talked - whether he made her angry or made her laugh - she still felt that same tug. He may look completely different and in many ways act differently, but when they talked, when they laughed, it was almost the same, and she could feel herself being pulled back.

'So...Do you forgive me? His voice was low as he spoke, but he still had that smile on his face.

'I told you, you can't come on to me with all that boyish charm. I've been there and done that. You'll be offering me a jelly baby next.'

'I would if I thought it would help. And, of course, if I had one, which I don't. Not sure I like them any more anyway.'

She shook her head, smiling at him. But when he raised his hand to her face and touched her cheek, she froze for a moment, battling the urge to press her cheek into the warm palm as his fingers lightly stroked her skin.

'You do look the same, you know.'

She went to tell him not to be silly, but he stopped her.

'No, you do. Whatever you were doing without me, Sarah Jane Smith, it's agreed with you.'

He leant in towards her and kissed her cheek, pulling back to give her that big smile she didn't want to get used to. Her hand reached up to cover his, still caressing her face when he moved forward again and pressed his mouth to hers, slow and gentle at first, but growing more insistent as she didn't back away.

And she didn't back away. Instead, she pressed forward, closing her eyes and returning the kiss. He tasted of a thousand memories, of all the times she'd missed him and wished him back with her, of all the times she'd wanted him there. His hand moved to neck, pulling her closer as hers trailed to his hair, her fingers twisting around the short strands.

She felt him press forward, all warm and solid, his mouth sliding against hers and it felt so good to have someone close to her, someone who knew all the things she could never tell anyone else, all the secrets that no one else would believe or understand. She stood, back pressed up against the edge of the sink behind her, the Doctor kissing her, the Doctor's tongue flicking out to touch hers as they moved against each other...the Doctor...

She pulled her mouth from his and stared at him in shock. His hair was in disarray, his mouth slightly damp and open, eyes wide and staring at her almost in as much shock as her.

'No.' She ducked away from him and retreated to the other side of the kitchen. 'What the hell was that about?'

He stood with his back still towards her, one hand gripping the sink edge, the other running through his hair.

'Doctor. Did you hear me? What was that all about? Pity? Because if it was, I don't want your pity. I don't want you to...'

'I'm sorry.' His head dropped.

'Sorry? Oh right -- you're sorry.' She shook her head, sitting heavily on the kitchen chair. 'You're sorry you left. Sorry you came back. Sorry you are alone. Sorry you kissed me...'

He turned to face her and stood square, hands stuffed into his pockets. 'You kissed me as well.'

'Well, how very adult of you to point that out. Nine hundred years old and still relying on the 'but they did it as well' argument.'

'But you did.'

She stared at him for a moment, then shook her head, closing her eyes and sighing. 'It doesn't matter, Doctor. Why are you doing this? Why are you coming here, talking to me this way...kissing me? You've had nearly thirty years to say sorry. Was that my consolation prize? A way to make you feel better?'

He leant back against the worktop, hands still in his pockets, and looked down at his feet, scuffing one against the floortile. He grew silent again.

She leant back in her chair. 'I'm sorry too. I'm sorry that no one is left. I'm sorry that you feel alone, and I'm sorry, so very sorry, if you're hurting; I would never want that for you. But I refuse point blank to be your salve to soothe your loneliness or bolster your ego or whatever is going on here.' She rose to her feet and went to stand by him.

'Doctor. Doctor, look at me. Please.' He raised his head as she touched him arm, his eyes dark and sad. 'I forgive you. Whatever you're sorry for, I forgive you. I'm not going to pretend it didn't hurt, and I'm still unsure as to why you're here, but if you want me to forgive you, I will. If it will make you feel better, I will. But tell me why. Tell me what is going on in that head of yours. You can't have meant that kiss as it...'

He looked away, ducking his head again. 'I always thought you were more intelligent than that, Sarah.'

'What?'

He looked at her, opened his mouth to speak, snapped it shut, and strode from the room, hands stuffed further down into his pockets.

She followed him out, to find him standing in the middle of the room, turning on the spot and looking around.

'What did you say?'

'I said very little, as I recall. You were the one doing all the talking.' He stopped turning and looked at her. 'Coat?'

'Leaving again?' She couldn't help the sarcastic tone. 'Consistent as always, I see.'

His eyes darkened and he stepped forward, staring her in the eye. She stood her ground, looking right back at him.

'You seem to think this is easy for me. That I cast you off like some old clothes and moved on. But it has to be like that. You said you understood, that you knew it wasn't forever. You say that I hurt you? Leaving hurt me too.' His eyes, the look that had been so intense suddenly dulled and he blinked, his body sagging slightly. Turning, he moved to the sofa and sank down, sprawling, head dropping back against the cushions.

'You knew I couldn't take you with me when I was called back. It wasn't possible back then, it just wasn't and you were safer here. And maybe...maybe, I could have come back.' He scrubbed a hand over his face. 'But I thought...you were safe. You were home.' Suddenly he leant forward, resting his arms on his legs, looking at the floor. 'You were safe...'

Slowly, she sat down next to him on the sofa, leaning forward to mirror his posture.

'And apart from that -- I didn't know what had happened to you. What if you had met someone' He hesitated. 'Someone and moved on? You didn't need me breezing back into your life and trying to drag you off. I didn't want you to have to make that choice.' His head dropped into his hands.

She reached over and laid her hand flat on his back, rubbing slowly and soothingly. 'I might have liked the opportunity to make that choice.'

He turned and looked at her. 'But you would have come. Whatever, you would have come. Tell me I'm wrong.'

'You're wrong.'

He smiled ruefully. 'Ah. Right. Yes. Of course.' He took her hand. 'Now who's lying'

She gazed at their hands, fingers entwined, and dipped her head, trying to keep a straight face. 'OK. Maybe I would have. But I would have come for all the right reasons.'

Her head rose and she found him looking at her 'So,' she began, 'are you going to tell me what was that all about?'

'That...that was exactly what it felt like. It was precisely everything you said it was -- guilt, loneliness, a balm, a need, lov… ' He trailed off. 'A kiss for someone I care about a great deal. Always have, always did, always will.' He raised her hand to his lips and kissed it gently, before covering it with his other hand and rubbing slowly as he smiled at her. 'Maybe I'm just getting old and sentimental.'

'It happens to us all.'

They grinned at each other, and suddenly he gathered her into his arms, hugging her tightly and pressing his face against her neck. She wrapped her arms around him in return, closing her eyes and breathing him in, holding him as close as she could.

She felt him murmur against her, 'Forgive me?'

She stroked his hair, and whispered in his ear, 'I already have.'

He gave her one last squeeze and let her go, rising from the sofa to straighten his rumpled jacket and clearing his throat.

'Right. I best be going. You know how it is -- busy busy busy...and I'm sure you have a stellar article to write about our friend Mr Finch and his methods. Although how you're going to explain the whole bat things blown up by oil used to fry chips is beyond me. Coat?'

She stood as well, walking towards the hall. 'Over the banister, where you threw it.' She handed it to him as he followed her out and watched as he shrugged it on before once more shoving his hands into his trouser pockets.

'And don't worry about the article. I'm a journalist. I'm good at fudging the facts. What I'm more worried about is what I'm going to tell the insurance company about the damage to my car. Driving it through the front door of a school may not go down too well'

That earned her an extra wide grin. 'Ohhh, don't worry about that. Just tell them you were saving the world. Again. Par for the course, really. You should get it written into all of your policies.'

They stood for a moment looking at each other. She was just about to say goodbye when he reached for the door.

'Right, I'm off. I've got the TARDIS in the local park at the moment. Moved her out of the school just in case; you know how things get. Why don't you pop over and say hello to the old girl tomorrow? Got a few things to see to; bit of fine tuning. She's getting old and sentimental as well. You remember that noise she used to make when she was entering the vortex? You remember that kind of 'Wooooooooo' noise?' He flapped his hands about a bit while making a high pitched noise, so that she couldn't help laughing. He stopped and looked at her a puzzled look on his face.

'What?'

'Oh, Doctor. Nothing... just...nothing.' She smiled indulgently at him and shook her head.

He nodded as if that was enough and walked out of the door. 'Right, so I'll keep an eye out for you tomorrow. I'll even make you a cuppa. Not sure if I've got any lemon in though. I'll have to check...I could always...'

'Anything. Anything will be fine, really.'

'Right. Yes. Fine.' He nodded absently before turning back to her. 'You will come tomorrow, won't you?'

'Of course I will.'

He nodded once more before turning again to walk up the path, pausing long enough to open the gate and close it behind him.

He walked backwards, still talking. 'Tomorrow. Everything stops for tea!'

He gave her one last grin, turned, and was off, striding down the road, coat billowing behind him, a tuneless whistle floating back on the breeze to her ears.

She watched until he was out of sight, completely out of sight, and then slowly… gently… closed the door.

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faith_less_one: Better with two
User: faith_less_one
Date: 2006-09-16 15:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Better with two
*tears up a little*

That was gorgeous. I absolutely love Sarah Jane - have done since the first time I saw her - all those years ago. I slightly felt in the show that she didn't really have closure - but this has completely satisfied me.

Thank you.
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September 2006