Normally when he’d go running off, he wasn’t expecting to run into old companions - especially not her. Or the impact it would have on him.
So there he was, in a ghost town in the middle of nowhere, researching some aliens who had made their…
She stopped stalk still when she heard her name quite certain she was dreaming. Or maybe one of whatever was here had hit her in the head and knocked her cold. Wouldn’t have been the first time for that. Her eyes widened as he skidded to a stop in front of her, her hand coming up but hesitating to touch him. “Is it… Is it really you?”
His own hand reached out to take hold of her outstretched one, a smile tugging at his lips. “Yes, Sarah. It’s me.” It was good to hear her voice, to even see her again. “Jelly baby?” He offered, his free hand moving towards his pocket where he kept the candy.
God, how was she supposed to react. Laugh, cry, yell. Take the jelly baby and spit in his eye. His touch made her shiver. “It’s you.” She worried her lip with her teeth. It was painfully obvious that he hadn’t expected to see her again. Meeting her was simply coincidence. This wasn’t a heartfelt reunion. There was something about that reality that made her heart ache and her stomach twist.
Still it wouldn’t do to let him see that. She forced a smile and nodded, taking the candy he offered, in an effort to restore normality. “I don’t need to ask what brought you.” She was proud of how steady her voice sounded, how normal. “Same thing that K-9 had me looking into. Alien infestation?”
The corners of his mouth twitched slightly at her expression, his eyes searching her face. Something didnt seem right; had he done something wrong? She didn’t seem all too happy at the moment, though she did take the candy so he took that as a good sign.
Popping a few pieces into his mouth, he gave a nod. His eyes lightened up at the mention of his - well, her - dog. “How is he, how is K-9? But yes, alien infestation. Been here for a while, but only recently been active after being dormant.”
"K-9… Needs repair or he’d be here with me." Sarah frowned. "It’s hard to find the right parts for him. I’ve had to beg the Brigadier more than once." She chewed the candy, "All he knew was there was an active alien presence, I was going to check it out and tip UNIT off if I couldn’t manage on my own."
There, that sounded normal didn’t it? He had no idea. No idea that he’d left her in Aberdeen. No idea that she’d had no money, so had to depend on the Brigadier to get her home. How hard it had been to readjust. How she’d had to live off her Aunt’s good will and the Brigadier’s kindness of making her the UNIT ‘media relations officer’ for a time, until she mended fences with Clorinda.
The bus tickets. Burst pipes. Trying to be normal when you didn’t feel as though you fit any more. She still didn’t.
She’d just gotten good at faking it.
Even when she looked for him everywhere. Always straining to hear the sound of the TARDIS.
She’d almost gotten over him. Almost stopped looking. Then she’d moved to Moreton Harwood and received K-9.
'Give Sarah Jane my fondest love.' That's all it had taken and she'd been back on the same hook. Looking. Wondering if he'd come back. Hadn't he said he would. He never said goodbye, only until we meet again.