Once Upon a Time

by dbskyler [Reviews - 7]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Angst, Drama, General

Author's Notes:
Spoilers through "The Big Bang." Written for the LiveJournal community "50ficlets." Prompt: Lost and found.

This is a work of fan fiction, offered freely. Doctor Who and all characters belong to the BBC.

Once upon a time . . .

Stories are supposed to start at the beginning, but she doesn't know how this one begins. That's okay; once upon a time will do.

Here is what she knows:

Her name is Sarah Jane Smith, and she had parents once, but they are gone. She was raised by her Aunt Lavinia in South Croydon, England, Earth.

She travels through space and time with a Time Lord called the Doctor. He is her best friend.

The Doctor takes her on trips in the TARDIS, which is bigger on the inside than the outside. He took her to Mars, and to Antarctica; to a space station, and to a planet on the edge of the known universe. He took her to the past, the future, and to amazing places scattered throughout the stars.

She doesn't know how it began, but she knows that something is wrong, in the way that things out of place in a room nibble at one's awareness. Something is nibbling at her awareness, but she doesn't know what it is.

She tries to ask the Doctor about it, but whenever she thinks of it, she's never able to find him.

* * *

Once upon a time . . .

Who says that stories can't start in the middle? She knows the Doctor is her friend, and that's enough, surely. Why should it matter that she doesn't remember how they met? He's a Time Lord, and he takes her on trips in the TARDIS, which is bigger on the inside than the outside. He took her to the past, the future, and to amazing places scattered throughout the planet.

Something is wrong, but she's not sure what it is. She thinks it might have to do with the sky. She looks up at the night sky and sees the moon, then finds herself searching for stars that she knows don't exist. She did a story on star cults once; she even interviewed Richard Dawkins. No one knows better than she that the moon has been alone in the sky for as long as history can remember, but still she looks for stars, and can't shake the deep feeling of loss when she fails to find them.

She makes a mental note to ask the Doctor about it when he comes back for her. She knows he will come back for her someday; in fact, hasn't he already? She thinks she can see him standing in a shadowed room: tall, with spiky brown hair, wearing a long, tan coat. No, that's not right; he's tall, yes, but his coat is darker than tan, and he wears a hat on his brown curly hair. And the scarf! Yes, that crazy, wonderful scarf that wraps around him twice and still trails on the ground when he walks. But that doesn't make sense either, because doesn't he have white hair? She'll have to ask him when she sees him, which surely will be soon now.

She goes to bed dreaming of velvet, and when she awakens, the memory is gone.

* * *

Once upon a time . . .

Here is what she knows:

Every night she dreams of a Time Lord called the Doctor, who takes her to places that don't exist; stars and planets scattered across a populated universe. One night the dream is especially vivid, and she tries to hold on to it because it seems important that she not forget, but the world is smaller now, and things disappear more easily.

She finds herself looking up at the sun, watching the shining circle that hangs there yellow-orange in the sky. The sight of it makes her cry, but she doesn't know why.

Her name is Sarah Jane Smith, and she had parents once, but they are gone. She was raised by her Aunt Lavinia in South Croydon, England, Earth. Except Aunt Lavinia is gone now too, or perhaps she never was, and South Croydon is a dream, but not in the way that the Doctor is a dream. The Doctor is real. Or maybe she just wishes he were real so he could come and fix this.

Stories can't start at the end, and this is the end. Her last thought is that if the Doctor is real, then at least she will be remembered.

She disappears.

* * *

Once upon a time . . .

Her name is Sarah Jane Smith, and she had parents once, but they died when she was young. She was raised by her Aunt Lavinia in South Croydon, England.

Sometimes she dreams she has a best friend called the Doctor, who takes her on trips to amazing places scattered throughout the stars. She knows he's not real; the universe has never known him, and if she thinks she hears echoes of his existence, then it is only because she dreams that she is empty. She knows better when she wakes up, but it still always makes her cry.

* * *

Here is what she knows:

No.

Here is what she remembers:

Her name is Sarah Jane Smith, and she had parents once, but they died when she was young. She was raised by her Aunt Lavinia in South Croydon, England, Earth.

Once upon a time, she went to investigate the strange disappearance of some scientists. She stowed away in a blue box that was bigger on the inside than the outside, and she met a Time Lord called the Doctor. He took her to Mars, and to Antarctica; to a space station, and to a planet on the edge of the known universe. He took her to the past, the future, and to amazing places scattered throughout the stars.

He was her best friend.

He still is.

And that's how the story begins.