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FIC: The Could-Have-Been Mrs. Smith

Title: The Could-Have Been Mrs. Smith
Series: There's The Door!
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: Sarah Jane has some home truths for Rose. None are to Rose's liking. Especially when the Doctor confirms them. YET ANOTHER NOT ROSE-FRIENDLY STORY.
Disclaimer: I'm entitled to my own opinions, and mine are clearly contrary to what happened canonically. At least according to the opinions of The Powers That Be. Namely RTD and SM.
Dedication: Eh... Who had the biggest influence on this one? Oh, I'd say tardis_mole.
Author's Note: Still need to watch Sarah Jane's adventures in Classic Who. I'm going off what friends who watched have told me.

This (May 13) was an emotionally difficult day for me. I'm going through a rough patch, but it's a necessary one. Cleansing the mind and emotional body of that which does not serve me anymore. So this brought up a lot of emotions while writing it. Made it tricky to write. I had to stay up late to finish it. And finish it I wanted to. In the process of pushing through (not the most receptive mental state, I admit), I have an idea for another story. A mind-wipe fix-it. Will let it float in my mind for a bit before committing it to the computer.

Might want tissues for this one. It deals with regrets and what might have been. And whether one can handle something. Which takes a lot of self-awareness.

Update, February 6: Am very glad I took so long to revise this for posting. Made it easier to just go through and do it.

The Could-Have Been Mrs. Smith

Started May 13, 2012
Finished February 6, 2013

Sarah Jane Smith knew that her time with the Doctor was over. She was older, and there was no going back. And this was a very different Doctor than either of the ones she knew. He was mentally too young for her now – which was quite a shock in and of itself. She supposed he would call it growing old disgracefully. Although she supposed in some ways, he always was too young for her – he'd just hidden it well most of the time. Or perhaps emotionally immature because of the Curse? It didn't matter now. At least not to them and their lost chances.

But this new companion? Well, she was not responsible enough to be an assistant. She lacked the maturity to handle situations with grace and aplomb. Mickey; now he was a better choice. If she couldn't travel with him, and she couldn't because she had too much work to do here on Earth, then he should have a Smith with him.

So she had to do one last thing for the Doctor. Clearly this one didn't know how to do it for himself: test the girl to see whether she had it in her to grow up and deal with this.

“Did you know the Doctor was going to marry me?”

The Doctor froze solid, his eyes wider than a comic character's in shock. What was Sarah Jane up to? And more importantly why was she bringing this up? Was it part of healing from the painful goodbye they'd shared, or because of all that never happened between them?

Mickey's face tried to reach the status of the Doctor's, but the comment wasn't about him. So he failed.

Rose's head whipped back and forth between Sarah Jane and the Doctor. “What?!”

“I saw two different Doctors, too. They were so very different, but I love them equally – because they were the same man at heart. Even after he changed, I never forgot the first one. The one I saved by raising an army to free him from a prison. I was there when the Time Lords sent him on errands they shouldn't have tried to make him do. I was a rock for him, and I tried to live up to that. I think I did, because he talked of figuring out a way for us to bond as spouses.”

The blonde from Powell Estates was stock still. The words became a knife wound to her chest.

Sarah Jane's eyes watered. “But the Time Lords interfered. He had to leave me to protect me, and I had no hope of seeing him again. Our chance was gone.”

Rose swallowed. “But he's not bound to anyone anymore.”

That wasn't what Sarah Jane was looking for. And the Doctor looked pained, so she had to explain a bit further. “But do you understand what it would mean to be the Doctor's wife? Because I did, and was ready to live with it and the implications.”

“What implications?”

Okay, the girl was listening. How well was about to be seen. “I wasn't his first assistant. Or companion, whichever word you prefer to use. He's traveled with many people over his association with Earth. Even I don't know how many. His wife would have to accept that she wasn't the first companion, nor will she be the last – he will outlive her and need to have others to keep him company.”

Rose's face had all but fallen open.

“She would have to accept that she is so much younger than he is. She would need to be an adult in every last one of her own people's meanings of the word to cope with the responsibility of being around him and helping him to see the human side – while respecting his alien differences. I'll be the first to admit I needed more practice with that. I think I've only just started to accept how much of a companion the TARDIS truly is to him, and knew I was wrong to mock him for stroking the ship. She is a being with feelings, thoughts and rights, which must be respected.”

Rose blanched. Suddenly her actions toward the TARDIS, which she'd thought were to keep the Doctor safe, took on a darker tint. She felt very uncomfortable.

Sarah Jane continued. “She couldn't expect him to act like a human. He might be male, but that doesn't mean the rules about human blokes apply to him. His needs are different, and they would both have to adjust.”

The blonde shifted from foot to foot. Her actions toward Mickey – the ones that the Doctor might know about – floated past her mind. And how many times had she berated him for doing something...alien?

“She'd also have to grasp that his past is an incredibly complicated matter,” Sarah Jane whispered, having had a short talk with the Doctor that clued her in on what had happened to the other Time Lords. “We see things very differently, Humans and Gallifreyans. We can find common ground, but it takes hard work and compromise. Accepting that you won't have everything you want, and that sometimes your spouse's needs must come far before your own.”

The Doctor knew he didn't have to comment. Rose was on her way to figuring out a lot.

“And now it's far more complex,” Sarah Jane stressed. “For a woman to be his wife, she'd have to accept that sometimes all she can do is be there. That she cannot replace all that he lost, all that was denied him. Sometimes, being with him is about being his emotional teddy. And having the self-respect to not depend on him for your own happiness.”

My career-minded focus at the time might have been useful in its own way to remembering that, Sarah Jane thought – not for the first time. But such a mindset might do Rose some good. Even if for just a bit.

Rose's mouth wobbled. “That's...that's a lot to deal with.”

Sarah Jane nodded. “A lot of the work overlaps with what a companion might experience, but the big difference is the level of trust. And the sheer number of things to be aware of.”

Rose thought for a long moment. Did she have it in her to be his wife? More to the point, did she want to be that anymore, now that she knew more about what it would involve? And how much had she already overstepped the mark?

She glanced to her side. Mickey she'd treated poorly, she could see that now. She'd used him as a shield to hide behind, even though she could flirt herself. And if she had reacted so strongly to Sarah Jane, how would she react to knowing about the family he lost?

She didn't want to know anymore. She looked at the Doctor. “Excuse me,” she whispered. “I'm going to pack my things and go home. For good.” And she walked out of the room, trying to hold back her tears at realizing her dreams were all for naught.

Sarah Jane's eyes followed Rose with a sad expression. As painful as this was, it might be the making of her as a person. New experiences were how people grew, or else they would practically live their lives as if asleep.

Mickey sensed that his presence was not for the best at the moment. “I'll check on her,” he offered, his tone more saying that he was giving them a moment in the Control Room – by themselves.

The others nodded uneasily, now alone for the first time since the Doctor had revealed this current him to Sarah Jane, apart from in the storeroom. There was a long moment of silence after Mickey left.

The Doctor had to ask. “Sure you don't want to come?”

Sarah Jane smiled through her tears. “My time has come and gone. You need someone different now.”

He knew it was true. Still, he hugged her tightly and they cried for the future – now the past – that could never be.

Each prayed silently that the other would find someone. Someone who could grasp and accept the baggage they respectively came with, and who could support them in healing.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 1st, 2013 12:13 pm (UTC)
I don't know why I didn't see this before, but this was great.

Sarah Jane is giving a perfect description of what Donna was to the Doctor. Mature, able to respect the Doctor's alien-ness while at the same time giving the human perspective on things, just being there for him when he needed someone, taking care of his needs before her own, even helping take on his burdens as her own.

It's good that Rose understood all of this and realized that no, she wasn't the proper one for him. That shows some level of growth and promise for her own future.
Nov. 1st, 2013 02:21 pm (UTC)
Probably because I didn't link it to doctor_donna, with good reason. She's not there at all. I suppose she is being foreshadowed in a way.

Would make for a different meeting with Donna. I must say.

And I have to write some stories where Rose shows maturity. She could and did. Sadly they are more than canceled out by worse actions, I fear.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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