Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: The Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith
Date Written: November 2006
Timeline: Somewhere during the adventures of Four.
Word Count: 1258
Disclaimer: The characters of Doctor Who do not belong to me. They belong to BBC and whoever else may own them.
Ever since her university days, Sarah Jane Smith had cared about keeping her appearance in order. It was at that point in time that Sarah had discovered that wearing a little makeup and jewelry in addition to a smart outfit could make the boys turn their heads. It had thrilled her at first; the attention she could get with just a well placed smile. And it became a useful trick as Sarah began her career as a journalist.
But there was one man in Sarah Jane’s life that this trick didn’t necessarily work on. Sure, she could get his attention – he was her best friend, no matter what face he wore. But it wasn’t the type of attention she necessarily wanted. She wanted something more, and even that feminist inside of her – never ever afraid of standing up to men – didn’t know how to ask for it. At least, not from this very strange man.
So she followed him around, all through out time and space. She laughed with him and teased him, and nearly got killed repeatedly along side of him. She’d wear the makeup and the jewelry and the dresses, but it just never seemed as if he noticed. Other men would notice Sarah Jane, to her chagrin, but he never did.
That was, until that one day, when they finally made it to the beaches of Florana, as he had promised her all those years ago when she first started traveling with him. The view of the oceans and the suns setting was every inch as amazing as he had promised, and for once, there was no one trying to hurt them. Of course he wore that ridiculously long scarf over his bathing suit and Sarah had laughed so much when she saw it. She laughed and smiled and walked over – not the bit self conscious in her two piece – and proceeded to pick up one end of the scarf to wrap around her own neck.
“Well?” she had asked.
“Fantastic,” the Doctor replied, smiling down at her with mirth in his eyes before offering her a jelly baby.
But that was then and it was now, and while the TARDIS sat on a dune little whiles away, the Doctor and his companion sat watching the suns set. This time, Sarah Jane wasn’t wearing any of that makeup or jewelry she always so seemed to rely upon to fit the part. There was no practical point to any of that at the beach, after all. But she still had on that ring Aunt Lavinia had given her on her eighteenth birthday.
“You never take that off.” The words startled her out of her day dream and she looked over at him, tilting her head quizzically. “That ring.”
“Oh,” she replied with a small laugh, lifting up her left hand and admiring the silver and stone ring that rested on her middle finger. “Oh, that old thing. It belonged to my mother. I suppose I wear it to remain close to her.”
“You never mention your mother.”
Sarah shrugged. “She and my father died in a car accident when I was young. I never really knew them. Aunt Lavinia was the one to raise me.”
“You mention her a lot.”
“Well yes,” Sarah began and then broke off suddenly as she tried to blink away sudden tears that had appeared. “Oh Doctor, must we discuss this now? Everything is so beautiful here and…oh Doctor, please?”
He nodded and the next thing she realized, he was pulling her across the towel and into a hug. The scarf was warm against her cheek and she could hear his two hearts beat in rhythm as her head lay against his chest. But the hug really didn’t help at all. It had been far too long since Sarah had last had a good cry over the events of her childhood.
“Oh Doctor,” she whispered into the scarf, ignoring the fibers that tickled her nose. “Oh.”
She didn’t really realize what she was doing at the time. It was almost as if something else was controlling her when she lifted her tear-streaked face upward and looked into his eyes. They were old eyes, haunted eyes fitting to the man sitting beside her. And then, she lowered her lips to his, brushing them lightly at first and then going in more deeply.
It took a few moments for the Doctor to respond and pull away, the long scarf tangling in her hands as she fell out of his arms and on to the towel. He looked worried and panicked and Sarah Jane could feel her face flush as he watched her.
“Sarah, I can’t. I am a Timelord. I watch the universe change around me. I watch people come and go, in ways you cannot possibly understand.”
And there he went again, placing the superiority – the loneliness? – of his race above her. This time, the pain in her eyes had nothing to do with the memory of her parents’ death. There was no make up to hide the hurt and no professional looking façade of a journalist to hide behind. She had frightened him, somehow. And more to the fact, she now realized that even with her company, he still found himself alone.
Sarah Jane knew a thing or two about being alone, though. She never got along with children her own age when she was a kid, and always preferred the company of her aunt’s friends instead. Alone was a part of life, but it didn’t always have to be, she realized. It was now or never; she had a choice to make.
“Pish,” she scolded, hearing herself reply as she looked up at him stubbornly. “Doctor, just this once, let’s not be alone. I know it’ll follow us for the rest of our lives, but please, Doctor. Just this place, just this time. Let’s not be alone.”
“Oh Doctor, I’m serious. Today, we shouldn’t be alone.”
A long silence passed between them as she stared up at him, unflinching. She was nervous and confused, but this was it. This was the only chance she would ever get and she couldn’t pass it up. Because here was the Doctor, paying her the attention - that attention – she had been wanting for so long. Sarah wouldn’t be able to live with herself if she let the opportunity slide. She watched and she waited, her eyes never leaving his. Then, after what seemed like an eternity, he reached forward and placed his hand on top of hers, touching her mother’s ring gently before moving a strand of her hair back behind her ear.
“My Sarah Jane,” he whispered, and tilted her head up for a kiss.
What happened next neither would ever mention again in their lives, although both would always remember and treasure it. For with him, it wasn’t about the make up or the jewelry or the pretty smile. It was only about her, about Sarah Jane Smith. And that meant more than the world to her, because she knew that was what being loved was like. It was for those hours that followed that she knew that she would never be alone again as long as she had this memory. And neither would he.
One day, long after they had parted ways, the Doctor would return here to Florana and sit on this same beach, remembering a time long ago when he wasn’t alone in the universe. But for Sarah, all she would ever have was in her dreams.