Title: Closer to Fine
Pairings: Doctor/Sarah, Doctor/OC, Sarah/Paul Morley
Beta(s): whatkaitedid, persiflage_1, attempt_unique, paranoidangel42
Summary: The Doctor believes Luke is his son and that Sarah lied to him at Deffrey Vale. The truth is more complex than anyone suspected.
Notes: Paul Morley is mentioned in Christmas on a Rational Planet. The title and end quote come from the Indigo Girls song, Closer to Fine
Written for Tardis_bigbang 2009. I'll be posting a chapter a week, but if you're eager to read the whole thing you can find it here. The links below will go live as I post each chapter here.
|Chapter 1||Chapter 5||Chapter 9|
|Chapter 2||Chapter 6||Chapter 10|
|Chapter 3||Chapter 7||Chapter 11|
|Chapter 4||Chapter 8||Chapter 12|
Perhaps it was nearly losing Luke to the Slitheen, or the Doctor coming round thinking Luke was his son. Either way, Sarah felt a sudden urgency to find out more about Luke. She hadn't told the kids, but the Bane didn't have cloning technology yet, not to that degree. All the evidence she had discovered so far pointed to a past that Luke couldn't remember.
Sarah didn't say much about her plans for the weekend, just that she had to leave town on the trail of a story. It was easier just to let the kids fill in the blanks for themselves. She listened idly as they made plans that didn't include her or aliens, and hoped that they would have a nice, quiet weekend without her.
The hospital was infested with vworils, but that wasn't the reason she was here. It did provide her with a good story for when she got back, so she didn't object to the extra work. It wasn't as though vworils were terribly difficult to deal with. Collect them, give them a good talking to, send them back home to their families. She had never figured out why they liked hospitals so much, but it was usually kids acting up. The adults tended to be apologetic about their offspring. At least, the adults she'd met.
The infestation turned out to be two teenagers, or the vworil equivalent, who had borrowed mum's spaceship and gone for a joy ride. They led her on a merry chase, but when she caught them, she gave them her usual lecture and then called their mum to come pick them up, leaving her to her original purpose in the hospital.
What she was really on the trail of was Luke's past. An amnesiac boy had been picked up on Bannerman Road close to her house a week before the business with the Bane. She'd been out of town and hadn't known anything about it until she started digging for strange events around the time of the Bane incident. He'd been taken to the nearest hospital and here she was, trying to find out more.
It took her a while to find the record. It wasn't under any obvious alias for a boy who couldn't remember his own name, but she finally found his file - under the name of Wormwood. If that didn't clinch it, the hospital records of the tests they'd done would have. They matched perfectly with what she'd discovered in her own tests, right after he'd come to live with her.
A nurse who recognised her from her Planet 3 days confirmed the story. "Ah, the amnesia case. I remember. Nothing else wrong with him and he seemed cheerful, if confused. His mum came and picked him up about two days later. A Mrs. Wormwood, I believe. Strange name like that at any rate. Somehow his clothes had got lost, but that was okay, because she brought him new ones when the doctor said it was okay to release him. She seemed very mumsy. Why did you want to know this again?"
"She wasn't his real mum or a very good one." Sarah answered. "You wouldn't believe the state I found him in." Best to leave it to the imagination here, she thought, "She's been taken into custody and I've taken him in. But I needed to see if he had family anywhere. I don't suppose his clothing has turned up." She didn't attempt to look at the files herself. The other woman was inclined to be helpful, but she might not be if Sarah started pushing.
The nurse typed something into the computer, before getting up and rifling through one of the filing cabinets that still lined the office walls. "Sorry, no. Would you like me to send them along if they do? Or perhaps you'd like to talk to the doctor in charge of the case. That would be Dr Smith. No relation, I imagine."
Dr. Smith. The Doctor? That was his favoured alias. Of course it wasn't he, but Sarah couldn't help the shiver that ran down her spine. Still, it had to be a coincidence. He wasn't a medical doctor as far as she knew, and he would never have left Luke in Ms. Wormwood's hands. "Please do. As much as I love him, I wouldn't want to keep him from his own family. And I'd love to meet his doctor."
"It's a grand thing you're doing, Ms. Smith. I never believed those rumours about you." The woman grinned amicably at Sarah. "I used to watch you all the time on Planet Three. Those new reporters aren't anywhere near as good."
"I was cleared of those charges, but I do appreciate the sentiment." She did. It always helped to know that not everyone had bought into the carefully constructed plan that had brought her career to a screeching halt a few years ago. One more win for the good guys.
Dr Smith turned out to be Dr Daisy Smith. The two of them studied each other for a moment, and Sarah couldn't help but admire the contrast between the white lab coat and the doctor's dark skin and envy her her height as she followed Dr Smith into her untidy office. "So Ms Wormwood wasn't who she said she was. I suppose you must think us very gullible, but she did seem to have all her papers in order and pictures of the boy. How is he doing?"
"He seems to be happy," Sarah replied cautiously as she took the chair offered to her. "He's made some good friends and he's doing well in school." There was always the chance that someone would decide that she wasn't a fit mum and she'd end up having to deal with social services.
"I'm glad to hear it. He seemed like a sweet kid," the doctor sat down and rummaged in her desk. "Reminded me of someone, but I couldn't tell you who." She pushed cornrows out of her eyes, and looked at Sarah as though she was going to add something, but turned back to her desk drawer instead.
Sarah glanced down into the drawer, and bit her lip to keep from speaking. Among the pens and paper clips, there was a fob watch in a design that she recognised. A pattern was starting to form in her head and she wasn't sure she liked where it was going.
Dr Smith finally found what she was looking for and withdrew it, closing the drawer with a click. "This is the boy- Luke's. It was in his pockets when we found him. I wish I could tell you what happened to his clothing, but somehow his belongings were misplaced." She pressed the object in Sarah's hand.
It was round but too thick to be a fob watch. Opening her hand, Sarah saw a wooden yo-yo. She smiled and slipped her finger through the loop and tested it out. She'd never been as good at it as the Doctor, but he'd taught her a trick or two over the years. "I'm sure he'd love to have this back." Smooth wood, no paint or dye, and no indication of the manufacturer. She'd see what she could find out when she got home. The type of wood and the composition of the rope might tell her something new.
As she left, Sarah reflected that she wasn't surprised that the watch wasn't Luke's. But it was interesting that one had turned up now. She was going to have to consider her next move carefully, and perhaps a little investigation of Dr Daisy Smith was in order. Still, Luke was her first priority.