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|
Sarah kept reminding herself that it was only temporary. The other Time Lord had made that very clear indeed. Sooner or later the experiment would be over and Paul/the Doctor would leave. And he had made it equally clear that there was a war on, and that they might disappear abruptly, with no chance to say goodbye.
She tried not to care too much. Tried also not to let her knowledge affect how she reacted to Paul, but it was difficult. She missed so many things about the Doctor - her Doctor. Paul was lovely but he wasn't - there was something missing. Perhaps it was the travelling, perhaps it was just being open to all of life's possibilities.
It sometimes seemed like Paul had used up all of his spontaneity during their whirlwind courtship and marriage. Now whenever she suggested they do something different, he'd hem and haw and they'd just stay in the same old rut. It was as bad as being married to Harry Sullivan would have been. Harry was a lovely chap too, but she had finally convinced him that marriage wouldn't work. He would have wanted a family, a home and a stay-at-home mother, and even if he'd tried to accept that she was none of these, she would have always felt like a disappointment to him.
Once in a while, she thought about having a baby with Paul, despite what she'd said to Bob, to the point of nearly going off her birth control. There was some truth, she supposed, to the cliché of wanting a baby so that she'd have a piece of him after he left. But this wasn't really him and sense asserted itself. She'd probably be the worst mother ever- too busy with her life and career to properly pay attention to a child.
So they went on as they had been. Sarah who had been growing more and more stir crazy started taking assignments that sent her out of the country again. At first this worked. If it were summer or a school break, Paul would go with her and they'd make a holiday of it. But slowly, he started to resent her travelling so much. They fought. Neither was the sort to run out of the room in tears, so there would be painful silences instead. Sarah found herself almost wishing that this experiment would run its course, but she promised herself she wouldn't leave until the bitter end. She had made a promise to Bob that she wouldn't do anything to upset the experiment, and keeping that promise was a matter of pride.
She didn't try calling when she returned from Jaipur. It was right in the middle of the school day, and Paul hated being disturbed at work. Instead she let herself in to the cool, dark flat, hoping to catch up on her sleep before he returned. They'd fought again over the phone. Not yelling much, just disappointment and "why can't you?"s on both sides. She never spoke the real "why can't you?" out loud. Why can't you be more like the Doctor I knew. That would be too much, too cruel. It wasn't as though he knew.
He felt it anyway, and she could see it in his eyes. He didn't remember who he had been, but before she had opened the watch, she had told him way too many stories about her adventures, and she sometimes saw it in his eyes. His "why can't you" - why can't you love me the way you love him? Why can't I be enough for you? He didn't know that the question was absurd, that somewhere inside him was the man she had fallen in love with.
Sarah wasn't sure what it was that bothered her when she walked into the lounge. Everything looked normal. They were neither of them tidy, so the piles of books and papers were hardly unusual. Later, she would put it down to reporter's instincts.
Then she saw it. The fob watch was lying open on the low table by the sofa, open and clearly empty. Picking it up and closing it with a loud click that rang through the quiet flat, she walked slowly and carefully to their room. A quick investigation showed he hadn't taken much. She was going to have to deal with the stuff he'd left behind. Typical of the Time Lords, really.
She didn't cry. Not then. Instead she walked slowly to her knicker drawer and pulled out a tiny wooden box that she had bought during her travels with the Doctor. Inside was a lock of hair. She tucked the fob watch beside it and thought for a moment before removing her ring and laying it on top of the pile. Closing the box, she made no move to put it away. She had never thought of herself as sentimental. People left, after all. That was a lesson she had learnt long ago. But the hair might be useful later on. She had the (alien) equipment for DNA testing, and someday she might need to identify another chameleon arched Time Lord. One never knew. There were bound to be some indicators that the sample wasn't human, assuming it were possible to restore him to his original Time Lord body. She supposed keeping the ring was indeed sentimental, but she could allow herself this one piece of him.
As she attempted to sleep that night, missing his warm body beside her, she tried not to think of the war he was headed towards, or what the cost would be.