|And the Quiet Shadows Falling
Author: Nancy Brown PM
Late in the day, Sarah Jane has a visitor.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Sci-Fi - Sarah Jane S. - Words: 940 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 1 - Published: 11-02-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7518030
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: And the Quiet Shadows Falling
Characters/Pairings: Sarah Jane, others
Spoilers and Warnings: up through current canon on SJA, DW, and TW
Summary: Late in the day, Sarah Jane has a visitor.
AN: Written for tw_femficfest as a THANK YOU to amilyn, who graciously stepped in as a pinch-hitter in the fest.
Mr. Smith mutters to himself in the attic, but Sarah Jane can't summon the energy to walk upstairs to see him. Gita comes by twice a day with food and company and gossip. She's so proud of Rani, of everything she's done with her life, and what she's yet to do. Sarah Jane lets her talk, doesn't mention that she videochats with the kids - kids! Ha! If Luke was a real boy, he'd be almost thirty, think of it! - almost every day and has heard the news before. She can't help her smile. Gita has as much right to brag about her child as Sarah would with her own, if she could brag about what he really does to anyone else.
"Excellent civil service job," Gita says over tea, pride filling every word. "She and Clyde are going to run the London office. Can you imagine?" She stirs honey into her cup. "Says the head of the main branch is a bit of a flirt. I told her, don't get into anything with your boss, it doesn't end well. She just laughed at me. She's a bright girl, though. You don't think she'd do anything foolish?"
"I'm sure it'll be fine," Sarah Jane reassures her, and reminds herself to threaten the Captain again the next time he calls with a question. She's already promised to break off his arms if he makes a pass at Luke, and apparently she needs to include her other children under the same banner.
She never puts teeth into her threats. She can still remember the night he came to her doorstep, handsome face broken, to tell her in short words that he was leaving, was giving her what access codes he had, was placing the protection of the Earth into her hands because he could not help breaking whatever he touched. But years have passed, and the world has changed, and she wants to believe he will not get her son and his friends killed.
Sky phones her in the afternoon, talking about her classes, about a girl she met. Sarah Jane listens and laughs at the right places, and tells Sky she loves her.
"Are you feeling all right, Mum?" There's worry in her voice. "I could drive home this weekend."
"I'm fine. Just tired."
There are worse forms her illness could have taken. Part of her always believed she'd fall in the line of her duty, at the hands of an alien or standing between one and the rest of the world. She didn't anticipate her breath getting short, or her limbs growing weary. One day soon, she will have to leave her house and not come back.
She spends the fading afternoon light typing, working on a story she's been researching for months, another tale of the unusual and the amazing.
She must have fallen asleep. When she wakes up, the light has gone, and there's someone sitting on the sofa. "Gita?" she asks, mind slow from sleep.
"No," says the woman. "Mrs Chandra came by earlier. She left you something to eat on the counter but didn't want to wake you."
Adrenalin jerks her awake. She doesn't know the voice, can't recognise the face in the dim light. Sarah Jane switches on a lamp, saying hurriedly, "I'm sorry, but you've broken into the wrong house."
"I didn't break in. I came at the right time." Her face is pleasant, sharp and bright, framed with wild blondish curls. "According to the history books, this is the day Sarah Jane Smith dies."
Sarah Jane stands from her chair and backs away. "I'm warning you."
"But I've always said, what are history books for, except to tell us when to arrive in the nick of time?" She grins, and it's a familiar, feral grin, the face of someone who sees time as just another playground. Adrenalin merges with warmth, and nearly-forgotten anticipation.
The Doctor has worn many faces. It's possible he's wearing a woman's body for this regeneration. "Are you ... ?"
She shakes her head. "But I've read all the history books, and I know where he'll have been. I'm going to meet up with him in a bit. It's a terribly dangerous situation, high stakes, the universe at risk. There's a good chance we'll all be killed." She's smiling widely as she says it. "Interested?"
Sarah takes a deep breath, but her lungs don't cooperate. "I don't think I can."
"Oh, don't worry. There's a hospital we'll drop by first. You're not allergic to cats, are you?"
Cats? "No." Her conscience pokes at her. "I ought to call my children, tell them not to worry."
"There's a phone on the TARDIS."
She takes one last look around her house, shrouded in shadows and at the end of the day. This ought to feel like an ending, but as she takes her coat, Sarah Jane can't help but think she's just about to begin.