Characters: Sarah, Eight, Turlough, Luke, Maria
Spoilers: Up through Invasion of the Bane
Summary:For the After School Special ficathon at sarahjane_fic and erisinia who wanted a Doctor other then the newbies (much as I love them!); particularly Two, Four, or Eight. Luke/Sarah familial sweetness, as cutesy as you like, hopefully with Maria too. A thrilling adventure with another companion (bonus points if it's Turlough or Jamie or Zoe!) treated like it's a totally prosaic walk in the park--this can be just a reminisce if you don't want to focus on it, "Oh, that's nothing to the time we got eaten my a kraken" or something like that. XD
She got everything except the thrilling part of the thrilling adventure treated like a prosaic walk in the park. :)
Just an Ordinary Day
It was actually. Typical really. A little rainy, but what could you do?
As usual, Sarah had sent Luke off to school with Maria and settled down to a busy day of thwarting Torchwood and helping alien visitors. Today was no exception, as she spent a long morning on the phone with Jack, negotiating once again their non-interference pact.
By the time she was finished with that, she was ready for lunch. She went into the kitchen to make a pot of tea and some sandwiches to sustain her when suddenly there was a knock at the door. Opening it she found a stray, soggy alien, obviously in need of shelter from the storm.
"Hello, Turlough. You look like a drowned cat."
"Flattery will get you anywhere, Sarah Jane." He gave her a dark look, and took the towel she offered him. "I've got the information you wanted. It doesn't look good."
"Let me finish making the tea, and we can go up and run it through Mr. Smith." Sarah gave him a worried look. "I wasn't expecting you until Thursday. Was the news that bad?"
"Worse actually." He helped her with the sandwiches, then they loaded the food on the dumb waiter and headed upstairs to the attic.
Once there, Turlough fed the information into Mr. Smith and Sarah laid out their lunch, both chattering about what they had been up to since they'd last seen each other.
"I think Justinus will make a good representative. And we might get some of the political reforms we've been seeking."
"Taking over the world through soft drinks. What will they think of next? But I did get Luke out of it. You'll meet him later." She cleared the papers off the couch and dumped them helter skelter on her desk.
"I can't imagine you a mother. You're too..."
"Independent. I can't see you being tied down by anything, especially a child." Turlough finished keying in the data and came over to investigate the food.
"I couldn't leave him to Torchwood or UNIT."
"No I suppose not. So you're a mum now. I suppose this puts the kibosh on my convincing you to run off to Trion with me." He'd been trying to persuade her for years. Always unsuccessfully.
"Unlike you, I happen to like Earth." An old argument and one that would never be won by either of them. "Sandwich?"
They sat down on the couch to eat while Mr. Smith ran through the data. It took longer then they had anticipated and after they finished their meal they settled down to a lively game of Scrabble.
The rain had cleared up by the time Luke and Maria had finished school for the day. They cut through the park as they usually did on the way home, Maria trying to explain to Luke the subtleties of fitting in.
As it turned out she had her own slant on such things. "It's okay to be a little weird since I doubt either of us will end up in the popular crowd, but correcting the teacher's maths is probably a bad idea. You'll get a reputation as a brain and a show off."
"Even if he's wrong?"
"Even if he's...that's weird. What's a police box doing here? I've never seen one in real life, only in museums." Maria looked around as if there would be clues as to its sudden appearance. "We take this path every day. We would have seen it before."
"Maybe they're filming a tv show or a movie," Luke said thoughtfully. "I bet it's just a prop." He went over and knocked on the side. "Wood...no...maybe." He tried to open the door, but it wouldn't open.
"There would be cameras," Maria objected. "I wonder if he's involved." She pointed at a young Edwardian gentleman with long hair and a velvet jacket waving some sort of scientific equipment around, like he was trying to get readings.
"Alien," Luke said decisively, and Maria agreed. They had known Sarah almost a month now, and aliens were starting to seem almost commonplace. "He looks confused. Maybe I should take him home to mum."
"He might be lost, or crash landed or something." Maria walked over to the man. "Hello, I'm Maria and this is Luke, can we help you find something?"
"You haven't seen a catalytic avieron circuit around here anywhere, have you?" The man gave them a bright grin. "Didn't your parents teach you not to talk to strangers?"
"My mum says you should always talk to strangers." Luke grinned back at the man. "But then people say she's a bit strange."
"Strange is good. I like strange. I'm the Doctor, by the way." He held out his hand and gravely shook each of theirs in turn. "So, back to the circuit. Mine just burnt out and this scanner shows one somewhere in the vicinity. As they're not likely to be found in the local shops, I've got my work cut out for me."
"Maybe not," offered Maria. "Luke's mum has all sorts of weird things in her attic." Sarah had reinforced the idea that if they met a stranger asking for something not likely to be found on Earth, they should bring him, her or it home with them. "Perhaps that would be a good place to start."
"Perhaps it would." He looked at them oddly. "Especially given that you two don't seem to be worried about what it is, or why I need it."
Luke grinned. "Worrying about that stuff is mum's job."
The Doctor shoved the scanner back in his jacket pocket, and followed them.
They led him along their usual shortcut. Despite his rather fancy appearance, he didn't balk, even when they led him through the hole in the hedge and over the fence on the other side.
That changed when they got to the stream. He frowned at the multitude of white, pink and blue flowers blooming there. "An infestation of variasa weed. Have to put a stop to that before it takes over the world. How long have these been here?"
"They started blooming about a week ago." Maria said, confused.
"And they weren't here last year?"
"We wouldn't know. We're both new here," Luke said, getting on his knees beside the Doctor. "We assumed they were native to the area."
"Not even native to the planet," The Doctor said with a grimace. He reached over to touch one and the petals closed around his finger. "Ouch." He pulled his finger out quickly and stuck it in his mouth, but not before the kids could see the blood. "They're carnivorous. Like Venus fly traps. The difference is that they spread much faster, and I bet those blooms have grown dramatically in the last week."
"Flowers do," Maria said sharply.
"You're lucky. Another week, and you probably wouldn't have made it home." The Doctor drew an aerosol can out of his jacket pocket and sprayed the field with it. The flowers started to wilt almost immediately. "I'll give it another spray on my way back to the TARDIS...my ship, he explained. "The big blue box you saw back there."
"Strange sort of spaceship." Luke looked suspiciously at the flowers. "Are they safe now?"
"I'll keep an eye on them to make sure they haven't spread beyond this area. But it should be safe now." He followed them over the rickety bridge and up the street.
Perhaps there would have been more conversation if Luke and Maria could have figured out what to ask him, but he was walking rather quickly and they had to hurry to keep up.
The Doctor stopped at the corner, uncertain where to go next, and let Luke lead him up the street to 13 Bannerman Road. He noted the Nissan Figaro in the driveway, and followed Luke and Maria into the house.
"Mum," Luke called. He peeked into the kitchen and found the note Sarah had left, saying that she was in the attic. He went back to tell the others, "Mum's upstairs." He glared at the Doctor who was fiddling with some of the things Sarah had left in the hall before turning and taking the stairs two at a time, trusting the others to follow him.
Luke knocked at the door, then barged in without waiting for a reply. "Mum? I brought home a...." He stopped abruptly, seeing she wasn't alone.
Sarah spun around from the computer screen they had been studying. "Turlough, this is Luke...."
"Sarah Jane Smith. And Turlough. What are you doing back on Earth?"
Sarah's jaw dropped. "Doctor?" It had to be.
He gave her a bright grin. "In the flesh. You're looking good, Sarah. Your son says you're the one to talk to about spare parts."
She studied this Doctor thoughtfully. "Back in velvet, I see. I like the curls." She grinned before answering his question. "I accumulate stuff. Mostly things I'd rather not let certain parties at, but the occasional thingamajig does show up. What were you looking for?"
"A catalytic avieron circuit." He watched a moment as she pulled out a box from under one of the tables, before turning to Turlough with an arched eyebrow.
Before he could say anything, Maria finally recovered her voice. "You know each other?"
"Mum knows everyone," Luke said with a cheeky grin, and the absolute confidence of a teenager.
"Sarah and I go way back. We worked together back when she was just getting started in journalism. About two hundred and fifty years ago for me. Is that a field gravity detector, Sarah?"
"Yes, it's a yoyo, Doctor." She threw it to him and gave Turlough a dark look before continuing her search.
Turlough was leaning lazily against the table watching the show but Sarah's glare prompted him to say, "Trion still has interests on Earth. Sarah's a useful contact here and she's become a very good friend. Actually we're working on a problem that you might be able to help us with."
Before he could continue, Sarah emerged, dusty but triumphant with the circuit. She waved it just out of reach of the Doctor's hand. "Do you know how much these go for on the open market?"
"If you could find a buyer." He abandoned the elaborate tricks he was doing with the yoyo, reached over and calmly plucked it from her hand. "I could trade you something for it."
"Consider it a friendly gift," Sarah replied before changing the subject. "So, Doctor, what do you know about variasa weed?"
"We passed some in the park," Maria said importantly.
"The Doctor killed it with some sort of spray," Luke added. "Do you think there's more?" He sounded worried.
Turlough nodded. "That's why I'm here. I got wind of the fact that someone was planning on spreading it around in order to cause chaos. I never will understand why so many people want to take over the Earth."
Sarah gave him another dark look. "Just because you didn't like living here...."
Maria frowned and dragged them back to the topic at hand. "If there's more around, how can we stop it?"
The Doctor replied, "The seedlings are incredibly rare. What we saw earlier was really just a single plant. Do you have any idea how many we're dealing with?"
"Three seedlings. That was what my contact said. Sarah found the first one over where the Bubble Shock factory used to be and if you've found the second, that leaves only one." Turlough studied the map they had been using to mark the data on. "It will be somewhere in town...this is the only place in Britain with the right kind of soil, and there's been no signs of it anywhere else."
"Mr. Smith picked up the plants unique molecular composition. We just need to track it down." Sarah had moved over to the computer to begin the transfer of the right biodata to her watch.
"Nice watch," The Doctor said. "Another bit of flotsam you've picked up?"
Sarah grinned at him. "You don't recognise it? Well, then I shouldn't say. Which incarnation are you, anyway?
"The Eighth. So I take it I'll give it to you sometime in the future?" The Doctor grinned back at her. "I won't ask for details, then. It's nice to know we're still friends, though."
"Oh, I'm saving the slap I owe you for your Fourth incarnation, if I ever see him again." Sarah grinned as she replaced the watch on her wrist, but inwardly she was relieved that this incarnation came before the one she'd met at Deffrey Vale. That one had been damaged badly by what had happened, even if he didn't show it. The words "everybody died" still echoed in her thoughts and often she found herself wondering how he was coping with his losses.
Finally Mr. Smith pinged at them. The computer had pinpointed the location of the third seedling...near the centre of town.
Somehow they all crammed into Sarah's car. She knew better than to suggest that Luke and Maria stay home and, with the Doctor driving, they set off.
"He's almost as bad as you are, mum," Luke teased as they rounded a corner, just a little too fast.
"Why do you think I insisted on driving?" the Doctor asked. "I've been in cars with your mother before."
"Don't look at me. I never saw the point in learning to drive one of these contraptions." Turlough grinned at Luke before turning to Sarah. "I have to say, I like your new son."
"I'm rather fond of him myself." Sarah had forgotten how fast the Doctor liked to drive. Not that she minded, but the Figaro wasn't his souped up Bessie. She wondered if it would stand the stress. "Turn left here." Behind the supermarket there was a wild area with a stream running through it. "They need plenty of water when they first start blooming, so it has to be around here somewhere."
"Everybody out," Turlough said cheerfully as the Doctor brought the car to a screeching halt.
Sarah didn't blame him. He was squeezed in the back with the two kids on either side of him, and he had a low tolerance for that sort of thing as a general rule.
The Doctor fished in his pocket and brought out his sonic screwdriver. Pressing a few buttons, he brought it close to Sarah's watch. "Pull up the biodata, so I can copy it. Then I can go one way and you can go the other."
"Who's going with who?" Luke asked as though it was the most important question in the world.
"With whom," Sarah corrected absently. "Doctor, why don't you take Turlough and Luke and go North and Maria and I will go South. Unless the two of you want to go together." She looked at Maria and Luke and waited for the answer.
After a look at Luke, Maria answered, "Boys versus girls. And I bet we find it." She stuck her tongue out at him.
He responded in kind before turning and leading the two men North. Sarah and Maria turned South and almost immediately, Maria let out a yelp. "Over here."
The other group hadn't got very far and it took them a minute or two to rejoin Sarah and Maria.
Maria was right, the flowers were right by the edge of the car park, hidden by tall weeds. The Doctor and Sarah both started spraying the flowers, which immediately started to wither.
"The poison is absorbed by one flower and gets into the plant's system, like when you visit the doctor and have an injection," Sarah explained. "By this time next week, the plant will have decayed into harmless fertilizer and been absorbed back into the earth. We'll probably have a bumper crop of wild flowers here, but they won't be carnivorous." She grinned at the others.
The Doctor looked at her. "You should probably come by tomorrow and give it another spray."
Sarah nodded. "Luke and Maria can show me where they found the other patch. Do you have to go off, or can you stay for dinner?"
"Please stay. I've never eaten with a real live alien before," Maria added.
"I don't remember inviting you to dinner." Sarah grinned. "Alright, call your dad and ask if you can stay. And even if the Doctor doesn't stay, we'll still have Turlough."
Turlough glared at her.
Sarah ignored that. "Doctor?"
He grinned at her. "I suppose I don't have to leave right away. We can regale these youngsters with tales of our adventures."
Luke looked at him thoughtfully. "Will you tell all sorts of embarrassing stories about mum?"
"I think that could be arranged," Turlough said, clearly plotting his revenge for both her teasing and being squished in the back seat.
Sarah sighed, realising what she had set herself up for. Then she grinned at the group. "Okay, everyone back in the car. Do we want Chinese or Indian?" She pulled her mobile from her pocket and once it became clear that Chinese was the favourite, punched in a number. It would be lovely to spend some time reminiscing with the Doctor, rather than running for her life. She hoped there wouldn't be another crisis that evening.