Summary: What happens after Inconceivable
Blame: paranoidangel42 because she keeps asking for more.
The pain was fighting with the sedative Sarah had been given. She kept drifting in and out of consciousness.
A familiar grinding noise broke her reverie. "Doctor," she moaned softly.
"Yes, Sarah, it's the TARDIS. I hope he has medical equipment in that thing, because I'm not sure we can move you. And I don't know what sort of complications to expect." Liz stood. Sarah thought she might be getting ready to greet the Doctor and wondered if she'd accepted her story or was just trusting him to sort it all out. Another wave of pain washed over her.
"Sarah." The Doctor was suddenly kneeling beside her. "Focus on my voice."
"Doctor." She managed the barest of smiles, before he picked her up and carried her inside the TARDIS. She lolled her head against his shoulder, aware of the pain and nothing else, her head foggy from the drug. She thought she heard Rose's voice and Jack's, but that had to be a mistake.
She was lying on something soft now. She could hear voices but couldn't identify them through the haze.
"Liz, I don't suppose you have her medical records. Give them to Martha, she's a proper doctor."
Someone murmured something about the sedative.
Someone was undoing her trousers.
"This should counteract the sedative a bit."
Sarah felt a pinch on her arm, and immediately her head was clearer. She was suddenly wracked with a sharp cramp, realised the sedative had been dulling the pain and wished it still were.
"She's almost fully dilated already."
"Labour among my species is quick, but not usually this painful. Sarah, can you hear me? If you can, squeeze my hand."
Sarah forced her muscles to do as he asked.
"Good, when Martha says so, you need to push. This should be over quickly, then you can rest."
She tried to smile at him, but the pain was almost constant now.
She put everything she had into it.
"I've got her, one more good push should do it."
"I've got you, Sarah, you can do this."
The Doctor was still holding her hand so she gripped it and did as he asked, passing out again in the process.
"Give her to Sarah."
The Doctor's voice woke her and Sarah was dimly aware that the pain seemed to have gone. She opened her eyes. "The baby." Her voice faltered. She felt incredibly tired. She did notice she'd been moved out of the infirmary and into her own bedroom.
"The baby." A woman she supposed was Martha put her into Sarah's arms. "Your daughter."
The Doctor moved to the side of the bed and arranged the pillows to help her sit up. He grinned brightly at her and offered the baby a finger. "Hullo, I'm your dad and this is your mum. We're very pleased to meet you."
The baby grabbed his finger, making Sarah smile. "How long was I out for?" She cuddled the baby tighter, not knowing what else to do.
"About fifteen minutes. She's absolutely perfect. The drug doesn't seem to have reached her system. You've outdone yourself, Sarah Jane." He kissed the top of her head. "How are you feeling?"
"Exhausted." She suddenly realised the others had left the two of them alone, and wondered idly what had happened to Nat and Josh.
"I'm sorry. If I'd realised your labour would be quite so rough, I would have been hovering much closer." The Doctor sat down on the bed beside her, smiling absently at their daughter, who was starting to nuzzle at Sarah's breast. "I think she's hungry. Here, let me take her for a moment."
Sarah awkwardly pulled her shirt up, watching him. "You're so good at that."
"I have done it before, you know. You'll get the hang of it. And aren't you the bestest baby ever? Our fabulous Fred. Here." He laid her back in Sarah's arms, absently adjusting both of them. "Let her find the nipple on her own. That wasn't hard, was it?"
"No." Sarah hadn't really thought about this part. About how it would feel to be holding and feeding her baby. She was actually quite sweet. "You never did see the nursery." She bit her lip, waiting for the other shoe to drop, not wanting him to feel guilty about this. He carried too much guilt already.
"I will. I'm looking forward to it. I should probably check up on everybody. I just dumped your friends on Jack and Rose, and from what I saw they seemed a bit bewildered by the TARDIS. I decided you'd be better off in your own bed, but I don't think I told anybody. Maybe Liz did."
"I'm still feeling awkward about explaining to Josh that you're an alien. Though I expect Rose and Jack will have done so. And, um, telling Rose that you're the father." And what was Rose doing here anyway? The last Sarah had heard she was trapped in that parallel world. Sarah decided to save that question for later, when she felt better.
"Well, we've got past that bit, at least. When we left the TARDIS all my attention was on you, and I think I made it clear to everyone present that it was my child. I'll have to talk to her though. The timing is...awkward." He stroked her hair again. "She had just shown up and we were trying to figure out how she got back to this side of the Void when you called. Something's terribly wrong with the fabric of space and time and I'm still trying to track down the source."
"I wonder," Sarah said softly. "The last time I saw you, eighteen years ago, was when you left me off in Brighton before going off to twist time and space so that neither the Time Lords nor the Daleks had ever existed."
"You remember that." A shadow crossed the Doctor's face.
Sarah touched his cheek. "I didn't forget. I never forgot. And maybe that's part of the problem. Now admittedly I got most of my knowledge of temporal physics from those children's shows I watched back on Gallifrey. Heaven knows, I've still got the theme song to Into the Vortex stuck in my head. But I remembered and you survived and the Daleks did too."
"One Dalek," the Doctor corrected.
"One Dalek, at first I bet. But the next time you met them there were more, and there were more at Canary Wharf and then I ran into some near Cardiff - you can ask Jack about that or Josh." Sarah paused to marshal her thoughts. "Something wasn't quite right. The deal was all or nothing, but...it's like knitting; if you don't fasten the end in properly, you can unravel it with a good tug. It's like it worked for a while and now it's coming apart. You surviving and me remembering made it possible that they'd regain a foothold, and after Canary Wharf people have seen the Daleks. They believe." She cuddled Fred tighter.
He wrapped an arm around her shoulder, pulling them both close. "Go on," he said tightly.
"It's about possibilities, isn't it? You somehow left a loophole, a possibility that some survived, and now they're exploiting it." She switched into Gallifreyan, because there were no words in English to explain her theory.
After a moment, he started nodding his head and extrapolating on her theory. After a few minutes, he'd far surpassed her basic understanding of the problem at hand and was considering how to deal with it.
"I do. I think you're right. I left a loophole that I should have closed off, because I didn't want to believe. I forgot that I was the one holding this reality together, or maybe I wanted the possibility. I didn't go back to Gallifrey because I didn't want to...I couldn't deal with whatever I would find there. As much as I believed no one else survived, I needed that small hope. I'm sorry." He stood abruptly, running his fingers through his hair. "We need to sort this out soon, but I'd rather wait until you're stronger. Did you want to see anyone," he asked, "or do you want to rest?"
"Nat and Lissa, please. No one else just yet." She had to clear the air with Nat.
"I'll send her up to you." He kissed Fred and then kissed Sarah gently on the lips. "I'd go without you, but we need to see this resolved, and you might be key, being so entangled in this mess. And I think we should wait until you've recovered a bit." He gave her a quick smile and disappeared out the door.
Sarah didn't blame him for wanting to hurry. She looked down at Fred torn between hope and fear of what this might mean for her. Once she had promised Calla that she would raise her baby on Gallifrey, thinking she'd never be able to go home. Calla had died in the war, but there were others who might feel it her obligation to do so, who if she and the Doctor were correct might have survived. And given the chance that she might be able to keep that promise, Sarah wasn't sure she was willing to break it.
Rocking Fred gently, Sarah wondered if once she set foot on Gallifrey again, she'd be allowed to leave. She smiled ruefully, thinking that even if she were, they'd probably insist she leave the baby behind, and she wouldn't do it. Living on Gallifrey, as stifling as it was, would be better than losing her child.