Summary: What happens after Inconceivable
Blame: paranoidangel42 because she keeps asking for more.
As usual x-posted to my lj.
Chapter 1: Old Friends
Chapter 2: Girl Talk
Chapter 3: Ladies Who Lunch
Chapter 4: Back to the Beginning
Chapter 5: Retail Therapy
Chapter 6: Synchronicity
Sarah sank down on the sofa and kicked off her shoes with a sigh of relief, wondering what had possessed her to agree to wear high heels. She had every intention of sticking to flats for the rest of her pregnancy.
She'd had a rather expensive dinner with Josh and Nat, his treat. She couldn't remember when she'd seen either of them so happy, burbling on about the wedding, which they'd decided to postpone until October, after the baby was born, to give them a chance to plan a "proper wedding" as Nat had put it. Sarah suspected Josh would be just as happy to elope, but Nat clearly had him wrapped around her little finger. This was probably good for both of them. Josh's focus on her, as the herald, could be a little unnerving at times.
So, Nat had her prince and a fairytale ending (if not in quite the usual order) while she, having started to add up how much a baby would cost, had to start looking for freelance work. She wouldn't endanger her baby doing investigative work if she had any choice, but she'd written straight scientific articles in the past, and she made a few calls to some of the magazines, feeling out the current trends and topics.
She suddenly noticed that her teeth were chattering, and cursed, wishing K-9 were tall enough to make her a cup of tea. She wrapped the quilt that had become a permanent feature in the living room around her shoulders, and headed to the kitchen, envying Nat and her normal pregnancy.
Sarah had thought she was so lucky when the nausea had disappeared early, and then the bouts of hypothermia had started. Either the baby or her own body had decided that she was too warm and kept trying to dump the excess heat. The problem was that her human body couldn't handle this. She hoped her body would find some equilibrium, because the alternative scared her.
Once she had the cup of tea in hand and she'd stopped shivering, she started thinking about what she'd do that night. The nights themselves never bothered Sarah. When it was dark, she could see the stars, and remember that she had walked among them once. But when she tried to sleep, she tossed and turned restlessly, unable to turn her mind off, or fell into an uneasy sleep plagued with nightmares that had grown worse as the baby grew inside her. And at 2 in the morning there was no one she could call...not every night. So she found other things to occupy her mind.
She saved the nights for thinking about the baby. Making plans and lists first, then starting on some of the many things she needed to do before she gave birth. Most nights this worked...focusing on the future, rather than the past. Hoping that she wouldn't mess up her child's life with her own pain and grief.
The lists were simple, drawn at first from the book she had bought with Jo. Things the baby would need. Things that had to be done before the baby arrived. Things she wanted to do before she was tied down. And then came the other lists. People she would trust to watch her half human child. Places and people to keep the child away from. UNIT and Torchwood headed the last list. Their priorities would be different from hers, and she wasn't willing to see her baby as a guinea pig or a hostage to her father's good behaviour.
And after that she had started working her way through them. It seemed like there was so much to be done, starting with clearing out the spare room to use as a nursery. All the debris of her life, packaged in boxes, that she hadn't opened in many years, just moved from place to place, one step ahead of whomever was trying to kill her that week. Working her way through a box or two a night, she thought the room would be clear in a month or so.
First, Sarah sorted through her Aunt Lavinia's belongings, knowing those would be the easiest to deal with. She brought a box at a time to the living room, and worked at it with the telly going, figuring out what she wanted to keep, and what she could give away. She gave Liz her aunt's notes and other research at one of their weekly dinners, and told her to keep it or pass it along to whomever would benefit from it.
Once she'd finished that task, she had started on her own boxes. These were all marked with a date or a location, things she had boxed up when she moved, but had never bothered to unpack. The things she had kept from her school years went quickly. The objects in the boxes might as well have belonged to a stranger, she didn't remember any of them. This was no surprise to her, she'd known for quite some time that she couldn't trust her own memories to match up with what the world thought had happened. History had changed while she had travelled out of time, and she had never quite caught up. Until she had held the romper in her hands and talked about that day with Liz, she hadn't even trusted that memory.
Next had been the boxes from her flat in Croydon, when the Doctor was still working (mostly) for UNIT. The Brigadier had arranged to have that flat packed up and her belongings stored when they left for good. Business suits that no longer fit, pictures of them together. Looking at some of the photos, Sarah was surprised that more people hadn't thought they were lovers. He always had a hand on her shoulder, her arm or her waist. She'd given up the business suit look after they left Earth. She'd never really liked them, and once she no longer needed to impress people with her professionalism, she had stopped wearing them.
She was surprised to find an early model sonic screwdriver tucked away in a corner of one of the boxes. She remembered nicking it early on. There was a newer model in her handbag, slipped out of his pocket at Deffrey Vale when they said good-bye. It was too useful and he could always build a new one. Convincing Rose that she couldn't work it had been one of her better tricks, and had proved useful in diffusing the tension between them.
Another box, of the goodies she had packed up when he'd been called back to Gallifrey and left her on Earth. She smiled wryly when she found another sonic screwdriver nestled in between the red striped overalls and the stuffed owl and wondered if he'd ever noticed that she'd 'borrowed' them. She put it with the other one. It couldn't hurt to have a backup or three. She also found more photographs, ones she hadn't wanted to look at after he'd left without saying good-bye. She bought frames and put them up around the house. She'd given up on the possibility of moving on when she had realised she was pregnant and he should at least have a presence in the home where his daughter would grow up.
After that Sarah had taken a break from the boxes, as she was pressed into service helping with the presumably imminent wedding. Somehow focusing on that had eased her mind a bit and sleep had come easier, though that might have been pure exhaustion. And it had helped to be thinking about someone else. Nat's constant panic attacks had been a relief because they kept her too busy to dwell on the past.
Now that they had decided to postpone it, she had to jump right back in. The boxes wouldn't sort themselves, and the baby would need the room soon enough. She wasn't showing yet, but she couldn't button most of her jeans. She had to do the best she could for their child's sake.
As she sorted through the next box, she found more photographs. After he had left Tegan off the second time, he'd brought Turlough round for tea and sympathy. Being the Doctor, there had also been alien vines threatening to engulf London. When she saw the photos, she recalled that the Brigadier had taken them after the danger was past. And there was another anomaly in her memories. She distinctly remembered him being at UNIT until 1980, when she had returned from Aberdeen, but the Doctor and Turlough both swore he'd been working at St. Brendan's by 1977.
She had bought extra frames, in case she found more photographs, and now she picked one of the best pictures and placed it on the mantle, next to the others she had found. Tomorrow, she'd put the rest in the photo album she had started for her baby.
The rest of the box was less interesting. More clothes that no longer fit, and a handful of odds and ends she had just tossed in. She went through another, equally boring box before deciding to give up for the night.
She pulled the quilt a little tighter around herself and started going through the mail, instead. A few bills and a cheque - payment for reviews and stories she had written for a science magazine. She was doing well enough, and the money her Aunt Lavinia had left her would act as a buffer, but if she relied only on that, she'd be in trouble by the end of the pregnancy.
A small box, containing some brand new gadgets with a request for reviews by the same magazine. The last things she had reviewed for the magazine, she'd nearly referred to as 'primitive', before remembering they weren't for this time and place. She laid those aside to play with later.
The last item in the pile was a letter addressed in an unfamiliar messy handwriting. The return address was Jackie Tyler's flat, confirming her suspicions. She slit the envelope open and found a note and some photos, taken three months ago in Deffrey Vale. Flipping through the photos, she smiled when she realised that he'd labelled them on the back in his own unique style. Her Gallifreyan was a bit rusty, but by the time she reached the bottom of the stack she was laughing. She set aside one of just the two of them to be placed on the mantle with the others.
The note was typical and made her smile.
My Sarah Jane,
I know you were planning to get on with your life, but I thought you'd like these. It was actually Rose's idea to send them. (Of course, he would never have thought of it.) You humans seem to be fond of such things. Anyway, you should probably know that we left
So, if you need to get in contact with me, you've got Jackie's address, and I think Rose's mobile number. (Not for what she needed to tell him. That would just be awkward. Misses and the ex, indeed.) You won't need to. You're probably having brilliant adventures of your own. And besides, Jackie's the sort who'd read my mail. (Like mother, like daughter, Sarah suspected.)
I noticed that you've nicked another screwdriver. I'd forgot that bad habit of yours. Try to remember the whole 'anachronistic tech' thing and don't wave it about too much in public. (Said the pot to the kettle)
I hope K-9 is behaving himself. (Speaking of anachronistic tech.) Give him a scratch behind the antennae for me.
P.S. Rose just told me she's got a wedding to go to on 22nd June and she'll be at the hen night the night before. Maybe we could have dinner, if it doesn't interfere with that wonderful life you're having. Give me an excuse to not be alone with Jackie. (If she could work it so she didn't run into Rose. Being obviously pregnant would make a meeting uncomfortable.)
P.P.S. Setting 12247A on the sonic screwdriver will pull up a list of functions, including some you might not have discovered yet. (So he wasn't planning on asking for it back. That was good.)
You've probably figured out most of the basics. You were one of my more mechanically-minded companions. I mean you were good with mechanical things, not that you're mechanical - that would be K-9. 42B7^ pulls up the medical scanner. Database of over a thousand races, including humans. (And Gallifreyan, presumably. She wished she had known about that sooner.) 223* will open just about any lock. A64$ is the mp3 player and 34d26 will bring up the unit conversion software. Play around with it, but don't use setting v546 - you're apt to blow a hole in whatever you're pointing it at.
P.P.P.P.S. Ignore that last P.S.. Pretend I didn't say it. You're having a brilliant life of your own. (Sarah decided to ignore this one instead. Knowing he missed her helped, since she wasn't sure how he'd react to being a father. She brushed her fingers lightly against her slightly swollen stomach. She could wait a few more months.) Be happy, Sarah Jane.
P.P.P.P.P.S. If anyone ever makes you feel like you're too old to do something, remember that I've got a thousand years on you. It's your life, Sarah. Don't let anyone tell you what to do.
P.P.P.P.P.P.S. I forgot what I was going to say. Oh yes. Setting 1v42s, very handy for softening butter.
By the time she finally finished the note, her smile had grown into a grin, and she murmured, "That's your daddy in a nutshell, baby." She opened her laptop, so that she could make a note of the date. 21st June - she'd be about six months along by then. She could manage three more months alone.
In the meantime, there was another bit of useful information tucked in the letter. She dug the sonic screwdriver (the new one) out of her handbag, did a quick scan of her body and studied the readout. Despite the 'extrapolated data from divergent biological sources' note, everything seemed to be within healthy parameters. It also gave her a surprising amount of information about the development of the baby. She read quickly through the medical data which she would pass on to Liz, who would understand the consequences better.
She frowned when she noticed an estimated due date of December, if she had the conversion right. Sarah tapped in the code for converting dates...December it was. Lovely, she was going to be pregnant for close to a year. She'd been hoping that the pregnancy would be closer to a human term, it was her body after all. But apparently, estimating from the current stage of her pregnancy, she'd be going a full Gallifreyan term. And given that Nat and Josh knew the date of conception, she wasn't sure if she could fudge that enough. Especially since she and Nat were supposedly at the same stage of their pregnancy. Even counting from when she told them would be ten months.
She put the letter on the mantle, she'd find a better place for it later, and set back to work on the next box. She still had a few more hours to go before she'd be tired enough to fall into an exhausted sleep, she might as well sort a few more boxes in the meantime. Sarah hesitated over the next box, marked 'Brighton', before deciding she'd save that one for last. Not a piece of her past she wanted to deal with tonight.
She moved on to a box from her war correspondent years and turned on the telly and the DVD player. There was nothing like an interstellar war, involving a president who looked eerily like the face she saw in the mirror each day to take her mind off of her own problems. She thought idly that if they were ever in the same place at the same time, people would think they were Cylons. She laughed and focused on the episode and the box and tried not to think about anything else.