A/N - This is set after "School Reunion", but before SJA's "Invasion of the Bane". :-)
Susan checked her dress uniform in the mirror and smiled. She normally hated these rather formal functions, but understood their necessity. In this particular case, she was glad to be a part of it. They were going to be celebrating Sir Alistair's 70th birthday. "Uncle Alistair" as she had grown up calling him, didn't want all the fuss, but it was another good opportunity for several of the Doctor's former companions to get together.
Her smile quickly faded as she thought of the people who wouldn't be there. For one, the Doctor himself had never shown up. For another, no one knew where her father was. Research for NATO was the last thing they'd heard after he'd left just after her birthday a couple of years previously. Just at that moment, her doorbell rang. Running downstairs, she gave a quick glance through the peephole before swinging the door open, smiling as she saw Sarah on the other side.
'Hey Sue, are you just about ready?' Sarah asked with a smile.
'Hey Mum, I'm ready. I heard there were going to be some new faces this time.'
'Yes, I know of at least one. A young woman about your age, Martha Jones, I believe her name is.'
Susan nodded. 'Oh I met Martha a few days ago. She just finished her exams and has been brought on as one of the MO's.' Susan didn't miss the look that briefly crossed Sarah's face.
'Well, better UNIT snagging her than Torchwood.'
'She mentioned something about Torchwood three in Cardiff, but she chose UNIT instead, wanting to stay closer to her family. I can certainly understand that.' Susan smiled and reached out and pulled Sarah in for a hug. 'Right, Mum?'
Sarah smiled. 'Right.'
'Something's not quite right.' Sir Alistair frowned as he looked across the room.
'What do you mean?' Sarah asked.
'I can't put my finger on it.' Sir Alistair admitted. 'It's just one of those instincts an old soldier never loses.'
Sarah watched as a handsome man in an American military uniform walked in the door making a beeline for the young Doctor Jones and began talking animatedly to her. 'Who is that man that talking with Martha?'
Sir Alistair frowned. 'That would explain it. That is Jack Harkness. Goes by the rank of Captain, but there's nothing in the official records that he actually earned that rank.'
Sarah raised an eyebrow. 'He's Torchwood, isn't he? I thought UNIT tried to steer clear of Torchwood whenever possible.'
'Jack is different. Apparently he travelled with the Doctor for a while. Supposedly he's trying to turn the place around. There's something about him that always put my teeth on edge, but I think it's just me.'
'The Doctor didn't mention anything about him the last time I saw him, although, we didn't really get an opportunity to talk too much. What with that whole Krillitane thing going on.'
'There is something else you need to know about Jack, Sarah Jane. Have you ever heard of D347?'
'D347?' Sarah repeated. 'No, I've never heard of it.'
'It's a UNIT directive. It was actually written for you, and then once we found out about Susan, she was amended into it. It was something the Doctor specifically asked for. We knew you were different from the others he travelled with, but it wasn't until he gave us some very specific instructions that we knew how much.'
Sarah tilted her head slightly to the side. 'What on earth are you talking about?'
Susan sniffed the air. Jack walked up to her, but said nothing until she tilted her head slightly. 'That's an odd expression for such a beautiful young lady.' Jack said softly as he smiled his most flirtatious smile.
She only glanced at him. 'Don't you smell it?' she asked him. When he only shrugged in response, Susan shouted to the room as she pulled Jack down to the floor. 'Everyone get down!' Just then, the room was peppered in a series of small explosions.
Jack covered Susan as the debris began to rain down. 'What was that?' he whispered in her ear.
'Chemicals, probably originating in the lab. Someone mixed up a toxic cocktail, accidentally by the smell of it.' Susan refused Jack's help in standing up, then dusted off her uniform, and scanned the room as rest of the people were getting up. She noticed a group of the soldiers quickly run from the room to ascertain the source. She quickly spotted both Sarah and Sir Alistair and left Jack to run over to them. Sarah stood up fairly quickly, and then they both helped Sir Alistair up off the floor. 'Are you okay, Uncle?' Susan asked. 'I think it was just an accident in the lab.'
He propped himself up on his cane and began to dust himself down with his free hand. 'No worse for wear, Susan. How did you know?'
Jack came over to join them. 'You are something, aren't you Sullivan?' He gave Susan an appreciative smile. 'I don't suppose you'd like to show me how you do that.'
Sir Alistair cleared his throat. 'Harkness.'
'Happy Birthday, Sir Alistair. You're looking well.'
Just then, one of the UNIT soldiers came up to them and saluted Sir Alistair. 'Sir, we thought you'd like to know it was just an accident in the lab. One of Dr. Taylor's experiments went awry.'
'Thank you, Harding.' The soldier left and Sir Alistair shook his head. 'Malcolm and his experiments. One day he'll stumble across something useful.'
Jack interjected, 'You know, Sir Alistair, Torchwood could take him off UNIT's hands, I'm sure we could find a good project for him.'
'Harkness,' he frowned disapprovingly. Once he was sure Jack was giving him his full attention, he continued. 'Now, what I started to tell you when you walked over here,' he pointed at Susan and Sarah. 'D347.'
Jack looked from Susan to Sarah and back again before throwing his hands up in the air, 'Woah, sorry ladies, time for me to make my exit.' He winked at Susan. 'If you ever want to come out from under that directive, Sullivan, make sure to let me know.'
'Jack.' Sir Alistair cautioned. 'That is a lifelong directive. Captain Sullivan can't eliminate it, even if she wanted to.' As Jack quickly made his retreat, Sir Alistair looked back to Susan. 'Now, tell me how you knew about the explosion.'
'The chemical smell was overwhelming.' Susan felt the room begin to spin, so she leaned against the table.
Sarah looked at Sir Alistair. 'You're going to have to tell me about this D347 at some point.' She put a hand on Susan's arm. 'I see your hypersensitivity still comes in handy.'
Susan reached up and began rubbing her temples. 'Yes, but at a cost.'
Sarah reached up and put an arm around Susan. 'C'mon Sue, have a seat. You never mentioned you were getting those headaches.'
'Must've slipped my mind,' she said absently.
Susan sank down into a chair and held her head in her hands. Sarah quickly ran up to the bar and came back with a bottle of whisky. 'Sue.' Sarah held out the bottle to her.
Susan frowned, but took the bottle anyway. Taking off the cap, she just took a large swig from the bottle. 'I'll get a very high alcohol tolerance if this keeps up.'
'That may be, but the Doctor said it would make the chemicals metabolise more quickly. If you're able, I'm taking you home, right now. I want to get Mr. Smith to scan you. If we get to him quickly, maybe he can find out what's going on, and you're staying at the house tonight, so no argument.'
Sir Alistair put a hand on Susan's shoulder. 'How long has this been going on, Susan?'
She took another swig from the whisky bottle. 'The hypersensitivity stuff, oh, off and on since I was eighteen. The headaches just started in the last six months.' She put the cap on the bottle and stood up slowly. 'Ok, Mum, let's go.'
Sarah took the whisky bottle from Susan and tucked it in her bag. When Sir Alistair gave her an odd look, she shrugged. 'In case she needs it.'
Sarah looked over from her desktop computer in her attic towards the sofa where Susan was curled up with her eyes closed. Mr. Smith was open and working. After a few moments, he announced, 'Sarah Jane, I have completed my analysis.'
Susan rubbed her eyes and walked over to stand with Sarah in front of Mr. Smith. 'Well, what's the verdict?'
'Susan, I have a way to reset your system to correct the metabolic imbalance, but it will render you unconscious for approximately two hours, and I would be making changes at the cellular level. Past that, there should be no ill effects, but your senses will return to that of a normal human.'
Susan frowned. 'Isn't there a way to leave the stronger senses, but just get rid of the headaches? I only got the headaches a few months ago, and the Doctor didn't seem to think that I should've had them at all.'
'I'm afraid not, Susan. At least, it is beyond my capabilities to eliminate one without the other.'
'Mr. Smith, before I allow you to do anything to Susan, I want you to be absolutely sure that this is 100% safe and that there will be no long lasting repercussions.' Sarah frowned.
Susan reached and touched Sarah's arm. 'No, Mum, it's ok. Mr. Smith, can you do it from the sofa so I can be lying down?'
'Sarah Jane, there are no risks to Susan, and yes Susan, you can be on the sofa when I begin the process.'
Susan walked back to the sofa and sat down. 'Right, it's settled then. Whenever you're ready, Mr. Smith.'
Sarah nodded. 'Go on, Mr. Smith.'
As Susan lay down, Mr. Smith emitted a beam that enveloped her. She gasped slightly, then lapsed into unconsciousness.
Sarah walked over and knelt next to Susan and stroked her face gently. 'Mr. Smith, please display and monitor of all her vital signs, just in case.'
'Of course, Sarah Jane.' He began to show Susan's vital signs including heart rate, temperature and blood pressure on his main screen. Just then, the familiar wheezing, groaning noise filled the room, but Sarah didn't even look up.
Just as the TARDIS materialised, the Doctor practically flew out the door. Sarah finally glanced up as the Doctor made a beeline for where she was still kneeling by the sofa. He looked up at the display on Mr. Smith, then down at Susan. He squeezed Sarah's shoulder and smiled before addressing the computer. 'Mr. Smith, show me all the scan results.'
The Doctor went over and stood in front of Mr. Smith and watched as the scan results quickly flashed on the screen. Sarah finally took in the Doctor's appearance, tall and lanky, pinstriped suit, trainers and unruly hair. The same Doctor she'd met at Deffry Vale. 'How do you know about Mr. Smith?' she finally asked, knowing she'd never mentioned her supercomputer to him.
He held up a hand to her and made a quick shushing down as he continued to stare at the viewscreen. 'Mr. Smith, access the TARDIS databanks, file 34710111423.737681830608.'
'Accessing.' After a quick moment, he continued. 'Alteration of the cellular structure changed from .0000000001 to .000000000005, with a deferential factor of .00006758. Re-establishing the DNA sequence to handle the…'
As Mr. Smith continued, Sarah quit focusing on the words and the fact that the Doctor was standing in her attic and instead turned back to Susan, reaching up and smoothing the hair away from her face. 'It's going to be all right, Sue.' As she continued to whisper soft assurances to her, she realised Mr. Smith had stopped talking.
The Doctor smiled, 'That's more like it! Good job, Mr. Smith. That should preserve the extra sensitivities.'
Sarah stood up quickly and walked over to him. 'That's what you said before. You said she shouldn't have any problems.'
The Doctor smiled. 'That was almost 200 years ago; I know how to handle it differently now. Besides, we had Mr. Smith to do all the work.'
'Which reminds me, how do you know about Mr. Smith?'
The Doctor threw an arm around Sarah's shoulder and leaned in close, whispering to her. 'I'm crossing my own timeline a bit, highly dangerous of course, but I couldn't come back any other time. You'll tell me about Mr. Smith later, so you can't say anything about this when you see me again. Just pretend this never happened. Susan can't know I was here either. Just tell her that Mr. Smith figured out a way to keep the heightened senses, but eliminate the side effects.'
The Doctor walked over to the sofa and knelt down, then reached out and took Susan's pulse, despite Mr. Smith continuing to display her vital signs. As he carefully put Susan's hand down, Sarah couldn't miss the look that crossed his features as he turned from Susan back towards her. 'What's wrong, Doctor.'
Barely above a whisper, he replied, 'Take care of her, Sarah.'
Sarah looked back at Susan. 'How long before she regains consciousness?'
Mr. Smith answered. 'At most, two hours, possibly as little as one hour, Sarah Jane.'
'I feel like I'm missing a piece of the puzzle.' Sarah admitted.
'Told you, I'm crossing my own timeline. I made a promise to Susan when we were on Trivid and I'm going to keep it.' He noticed the look in Sarah's eyes, and reached out and took both her hands in his. 'I was never good at keeping promises in my younger days. Now I realise how important they are.'
'It's like you said on Trivid, we did what we had to do to maintain your history.'
'Yes, and I'm doing this now, Sarah, to preserve your future. Well, it's your past for me, since I've already seen it and I must say, it is very impressive.'
'Nice to know you're still around.'
The Doctor laughed and wrapped her in a warm embrace. 'You can't get rid of me that easily. I'm like a bad penny, always turning up when you least expect it.'