averita: (tv: doctor who - sarah jane investigates)
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Title: Secrets and Stars
Author: [livejournal.com profile] averita
Summary: There’s something to be said for going from a footnote in a textbook to the most influential woman left alive to change one’s feelings about the press.
Rating: G
Word Count: ~1470
A/N: Yeah, you all knew it was coming. The potential for Laura Roslin and Sarah Jane Smith interaction is so fantastic, I couldn't resist. This one got away from me a bit; I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it, but the idea was too good to pass up! Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] marzipanilla and [livejournal.com profile] shyboots for their help!
Disclaimer: Not mine. Knowledge of SJA helpful but not necessary.

She’s been on New Caprica for three wet weeks before she sees Sarah Jane Smith loitering outside the school tent, nearly unrecognizable. She looks small and strange in an oversized sweater and sneakers, hair damp and frizzy with mist, and doesn’t seem to notice Laura as she scans the throng of children pushing their way through the canvas-flap doors.

"It’s nice to see that some things don’t change," Laura says when she’s close enough to touch her. Her lip quirks up – part greeting, part smirk – as Sarah Jane jumps and faces her. "You’ve been keeping busy, I imagine."

"I – quite," Sarah replies, clearly flustered. Laura notes the flush on her cheeks, pleased; it’s not something she’s seen before. The other woman regains her poise quickly, though, and offers a genuine smile. "No more than you, I don’t think."

Laura raises an eyebrow, looking amused. "If you’re looking for a story, I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place," she says. "Unless you’re interested in a piece on how the new administration is allocating their resources, in which case I’m happy to share exactly what we’re working with –"

She’s cut off by Luke, a tall, slight boy who raised his hand the first day of class and surprised her more than just about any student she’s ever taught; even Gaius Baltar, "genius extraordinaire" (she can barely even think it without suppressing a snort), has nothing on the boy. He looks at her with a wary sort of surprise before turning to Sarah Jane. "Mum, what are you doing here?"

It’s barely been two months since she left office and already she’s slipping; she feels her lips forming a quiet "oh!" before she can stop herself. Now Sarah Jane is the amused one, slipping an arm around Luke’s shoulder and watching as Laura composes herself. "I finished early," Sarah Jane tells him, straightening his scarf. "Thought I’d come meet you."

"Luke!" Clyde, a clever and confident (perhaps too much so) student who seems permanently attached to Luke, makes his way out of the tent; Maria, the final member of the little group, follows. "You forgot your – oh. Hey, Sarah Jane. Luke, you forgot your blueprints."

"Blueprints?" Sarah Jane asks dubiously, looking first at Maria (who looks back with wide, innocent eyes) and then at Laura, who’s watching the scene with a perverse sort of fascination. "Oh for heaven’s sake, don’t tell me you’re making another rocket. We’re trying to build this city, not burn it to the ground."

"It’s not a rocket!" Luke protests. "I think I figured out a way to adapt the water processing plant to use less energy. We just have to divert the Tylium fuel lines –"

"Don’t get him started," Maria cuts in. "Even the construction guys didn’t understand. They thought it was a prank."

"I told him it’d be more useful to figure out how to make a video game console out of canvas," Clyde adds helpfully, "but apparently even the Superbrain has limits." Luke looks mildly offended, but stays silent as Clyde continues, "Hey, Ms. Roslin, maybe you could give the plans to someone who knows what they’re doing? I’m sick of hearing about converters and conduits and – whatever."

Laura nods weakly, automatically taking the sheaf of paper that Clyde thrusts forward as Luke opens his mouth in protest; Maria nudges him sharply, hissing "No, it’s a good idea! She knows people!" There’s a strange sensation building in her chest, something like laughter, or maybe a breakdown of some kind. The wind is picking up and she pulls her sweater closer.

"Sarah Jane, we were going to go by the pyramid court – Dad promised he’d teach Luke how to play," Maria says, ignoring the boys as they engage in a whispered argument. "You want to come?"

Sarah Jane smoothes the girl’s hair back and meets Laura’s eyes. "Not just now," she says. "I’ll catch up with you in a little while."

Maria shrugs. "Okay. See you later. Come on, guys," she demands, and the three race off, Maria turning back to cast a curious glance at the two women now standing alone outside the school tent.

Laura finally does let out a quiet laugh. "I didn’t realize you had kids," she says.

Sarah Jane smiles, the warmth unfamiliar. "Just Luke. Maria and Clyde lived down the road back home. They might as well be mine, though."

"Maria mentioned her father; are their parents – ?" Laura lets the question hang in the air, unsurprised at the tight shake of Sarah Jane’s head.

"Alan Jackson and I were taking them to Virgon on holiday, but his ex-wife and Clyde’s mum were back on Caprica."

Laura pulls her hands from her pockets and folds her arms across her chest. "It’s freezing out here," she says quietly. "Do you want to come in?"

***


Laura never intended to leave behind a legacy. She’d scrawl her signature across thousands of meaningless documents to get to the few important ones; she’d appear in the background of a few newspaper photos wearing expensive suits and a fixed, unchanging smile; she’d introduce herself to countless people and know that none of them would remember her name the next day.

There’s something to be said for going from a footnote in a textbook to the most influential woman left alive to change one’s feelings about the press.

In the early days, Sarah Jane Smith had been, if not an ally, at least not an adversary. She had arrived on Colonial One shortly after the attacks and quietly inserted herself into the still-forming press corps, asking intelligent but intent questions and, on one memorable occasion, distracting Billy mid-sentence with a pair of especially tight knee-high boots. Thinking back, Laura realizes that she’d rarely seen the woman on the ship outside of the press room.

"We were staying on the Adriatic," Sarah Jane explains now, settled in a chair beside Laura’s desk and holding tight to a mug of what passes for tea these days. "Alan was helping with the engineering, he was a computer expert back on Caprica, and we weren’t about to split the kids up. I’d shuttle back and forth."

"You were a journalist back on Caprica?"

"Yes," Sarah Jane nods. She fiddles with a pen on Laura’s desk, not seeming to notice. "On Leonis, originally, but I came to Caprica in my thirties. It’s where most of the action was." There’s a wistfulness in her voice, Laura notes, one that seems to go deeper than the normal nostalgia. "I worked for the Caprica Tribune for awhile, and the Times, then as a freelancer. I took some time off after adopting Luke last year, but was going back to work when the Cylons came."

"He’s a smart kid," Laura says mildly, sipping her tea and looking at Sarah Jane over the rims of her glasses. "Very smart." A smile plays at Sarah’s lips, but she stays silent. "I suppose I should be pleased that something came from my time as Secretary."

"Oh, yes," Sarah Jane says, leaning back in her chair. "Yes, I would say so."

It’s unsettling, Laura thinks; she’s become used to being the one with the secrets, but the woman sitting across from her now clearly has a few of her own. She thinks of the parent teacher conferences she used to hold, those often painful meetings she’d come to dread over the years, and how she’d come to think of press conferences in much the same way by the end.

It’s not an easy silence, and Sarah Jane breaks it abruptly. "I voted for Baltar." Laura raises an eyebrow, and the other woman meets her gaze, steady despite the slight flush to her cheeks. "I just - I thought you should know."

Laura hums, suddenly weary, and she leans back as well. Her hair, already longer and thicker than it had ever been on Colonial One, falls across her eyes as she pulls her glasses off and sets them on the desk. "Well," she murmurs, "you’re not the only one."

Sarah Jane shakes her head, lips pressed tightly together. Laura’s eyes are sharp without the lenses covering them. She asks, "Was it worth it?"

The shadow that darkens Sarah Jane’s face is familiar; secrets, Laura remembers suddenly, often weigh more than they’re worth. "It’s easier," she finally answers, "if we’re in one place."

"I wouldn’t have thought you to be one for the easy path," Laura says. There are shapes on the canvas walls, and they’re growing darker. They’ve been here awhile.

Sarah Jane puts down her mug, eyes shining with something Laura can’t identify. She looks tiny, Laura thinks again, here in this tent, face half hidden in the shadows of the dim light, and in that ridiculous sweater three sizes too big.

"I don’t mean easier for us," Sarah Jane says.
Mood:: 'okay' okay
There are 17 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
 
posted by [identity profile] wild-force71.livejournal.com at 12:11pm on 20/11/2011
...is it wrong to say that was creepy? Cos it was. It's been a while since I watched BSG but you got that hopeless feeling in perfectly. Brr!
 
posted by [identity profile] averita.livejournal.com at 02:11pm on 20/11/2011
I didn't realize you'd seen BSG! I'm glad! I'm not sure how much sense it makes otherwise, at least from that end.

Anyway, not wrong at all, I don't think. Like I said, this one got away from me a bit - my original plan was something a little angsty but mostly Laura and Sarah Jane bonding, with added awkwardness. Once they got inside the school tent, though, it kind of took a life of its own. My hope is that the end in particular comes across as darker and a bit ambiguous.

Thanks for commenting :)
 
posted by [identity profile] sleepismyfriend.livejournal.com at 05:53pm on 21/11/2011
Totes awesome! I saw your request for a beta a few days ago, and nearly had to run away from my computer not to respond because I love BSG and DW, but am finishing up my last weeks of college. lol.

I like this! You included the kids and Alan, which was something I didn't expect. It all makes perfect sense for Sarah to choose Baltar not for herself. I hate to think what would come of them when the Cylons find them.

After all, Laura would definitely have Sarah's help in the resistence. :)
 
posted by [identity profile] averita.livejournal.com at 08:24pm on 21/11/2011
Hee! College is more important. I wouldn't be surprised if I play around more in this AU-verse, though - it's a lot of fun.

Thank you! I had a lot of different scenarios I was playing with but I kind of liked the idea of Laura being flabbergasted by Super Reporter Sarah Jane Smith being a mum figure, especially to that particularly precocious lot. As for Sarah, yeah, I think she would have seen straight through Baltar but I like the idea that she still has faith that the Doctor will find them if they stay still long enough - pity the Cylons beat him to it. But you're right, she would definitely be involved in the resistance! (Can you imagine Tigh with anti-gun/military Sarah Jane? LOL!)

Thanks so much for commenting :)
 
posted by [identity profile] firstlady1408.livejournal.com at 10:46pm on 21/11/2011
Firstly, WOO HOO thanks for including Alan ;)

This was a great read. I love that Gaius is no match for Lukey Boy! I agree with the other comments, what started as banter between the TWO HBIC EVER ON TV...slowly but seamlessly edged into the world of the eerie and strange. Very BSG. Loved Sarah's admission that she voted for Baltar...loved that you didn't take the easy option.
The last couple of paragraphs were very David Lynch'y..very Twin Peaksy. Can't wait for more.
 
posted by [identity profile] averita.livejournal.com at 05:04pm on 22/11/2011
Thanks love ♥ I'm glad you liked. It did get away from me a bit!

We'll see what Sarah and Alan get up to in that tent of theirs...LOL.
 
posted by [identity profile] firstlady1408.livejournal.com at 07:15pm on 22/11/2011
A girls gotta have needs right and being so close to that kind of eye candy....I refer to both Sarah and Alan there ;)
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posted by [identity profile] mayireadtoday.livejournal.com at 04:46pm on 22/11/2011
Was this a fusion or was Sarah Jane lying and she's the Sarah Jane we know?
 
posted by [identity profile] averita.livejournal.com at 05:03pm on 22/11/2011
Well, it's up to interpretation, especially given that there are Cylons at every turn! But I think she wanted them in one place so that the Doctor could find them. I like to think she wouldn't give up so easily.
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posted by [identity profile] mayireadtoday.livejournal.com at 05:10pm on 22/11/2011
Interesting. This fic was very cool.
 
posted by [identity profile] averita.livejournal.com at 05:12pm on 22/11/2011
Thank you! I love both shows so this might be a universe I play around with a little more in the future.
 
posted by [identity profile] cavgirl.livejournal.com at 11:58pm on 25/11/2011
Loved this. I have a bag/sja crossover in the works also, but I started writng just before Lis died, ... and that rather killed it. Mine was crack, though, so I absolutely LOVE seeing these
characters come together in a serious fic. Wondering if SJ voted Baltar so that they're all together if the Doctor comes. Heh, now I want to see what happens when you shove 40000 or whatever the count is into the TARDIS...
 
posted by [identity profile] averita.livejournal.com at 12:09am on 26/11/2011
Thank you! I'm sorry to hear that Lis's death put a stop to yours - I'd love to read what you have if you ever feel up to finishing it, but I totally understand. I'm really glad that you liked this one.

Wondering if SJ voted Baltar so that they're all together if the Doctor comes.

That was my thinking, although it was left kind of vague. I think she probably figured it would be easier for the Doctor to find them if they were all in one place rather than jumping through space.

Can you imagine? I'd love to see the Doctor and Laura going at it - they'd have some interesting conversations. Or the Doctor and Baltar! So much potential.
 
posted by [identity profile] cavgirl.livejournal.com at 06:25pm on 19/12/2011
Camilla Sandman has written a couple of Laura/Doctor confrontations, including a really interesting one that has Laura as the Doctor's daughter. I *think* that was Cam's, at any rate, but it might not be. If you haven't read it, let me know and I'll see if I can find the details. Calibre, how I do love thee...
 
posted by [identity profile] lorrainemarker.livejournal.com at 12:37am on 08/12/2011
I really enjoyed the conversations between Sarah Jane and Laura. They both have these secrets, and Sarah Jane's is nothing anyone, least of all, Laura could expect. Your dialogue created the sort of creepy sensation some of the best Dr. Who episodes did. I'm thinking Ghost Light and Curse of Fenric, which are from #7's run and not actually Sarah Jane's doctor; yet still works with Sarah Jane. Also, I loved the little exchange about Luke. There was so much hidden there and it was a perfect Sarah Jane moment to say exactly the truth while lying like a rug.

Yes, it would be easier for the Doctor to find them if they were all together and not moving. I just hope he gets there before the Cylons in this AU.
 
posted by [identity profile] averita.livejournal.com at 04:25am on 10/12/2011
Thank you! There's so much potential with BSG/DW crossovers, and these are two characters that I think have a lot in common and would have a really interesting dynamic. The creepy got away from me a bit, there - it's not where I was planning to go! - but I'm glad that you liked it.

I have a feeling the Doctor would have some pretty strong opinions about what's happened up to that point, and his interactions with Roslin and Adama as the leaders of the fleet could be really fun to play with (I'm picturing scenes a la his with Harriet Jones in The Christmas Invasion - for all he has the best intentions, his sanctimony can be overwhelming sometimes!). I have so many ideas but very little patience (and time, at the moment!) but hope to continue playing in this verse!
cantarina: donna noble in a paper crown, looking thoughtful (Default)
posted by [personal profile] cantarina at 03:52am on 06/02/2012
This is lovely! Fantastic characterizations of both women there's a quiet strength to the both of them (with such a different quality for each!) that rings so true. Also, the SJA kids are wonderful! All enthusiasm, as ever!

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