averita: (tv: doctor who - sarah jane investigates)
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posted by [personal profile] averita at 06:56pm on 22/04/2012 under , ,
Title: By Any Other Name
Author: [livejournal.com profile] averita
Summary: "'No one will ever forget that day,'" Clyde quotes, and his own smile fades into seriousness. "I didn't, you know." (Spoilers for "The Curse of Clyde Langer.")
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~1260
Characters/Pairing: Ellie Faber (aka Lila Lincoln), Clyde Langer, Sarah Jane Smith. Can be read as Clyde/Ellie, but not explicit.
A/N: I'm not entirely pleased with this but I've been working on it on and off for months and it's gotten distracting, so I decided to finally polish it up enough to post and move on. It's definitely experimental.
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine.


He hasn't changed much in eight years. The plaid is gone, replaced by a trendy t-shirt and blazer, but there he stands, still shorter than her, still with that easy smile that she'd thought, once, that she'd like to see more of. She only sees it for a second before it freezes, melting into an expression of disbelief. He looks almost confused as he stares at her.

He's so close. She takes the few steps forward and holds out her hand.

"Hi, Enrico," she says, and smiles.


***


The studio was small but posh, with wide glass windows and plenty of champagne already flowing. Even now, dressed in black slacks and a new silk top, Lila felt out of place. It was crowded, she was pleased to see, mostly with people around her age but not entirely. They all seemed to know each other.

It was one of the older women who first spotted her by the door, nervously gripping the stem of the glass she'd picked up just for something to hold. The woman was small, with dark, silver streaked hair and half-moon glasses, and her handshake was reassuring. "Hello," she said warmly. "I'm Sarah Jane Smith. Are you an artist?"

Lila smiled in return. "Lila Lincoln," she introduced herself. "I'm - no, I'm just here for the opening." She felt herself blushing. She'd been off-kilter for three days now, since she first saw the poster in the park, and she pulled it from her jacket now. "I saw this the other day, and I think I might know the artist."

***


"Ellie," he says blankly, and blinks, like he's just coming out of a daydream. His voice is different; deeper than she remembers, and hoarse. Her smile turns tremulous.

"Lila," she manages to correct him, and then he's pulling her into a hug so tight she can barely breathe around the lump in her throat.


***


Sarah Jane's easy smile turned pensive. "You know, I thought you looked familiar," she said, and frowned more deeply. "Have we met?"

"Oh, no, I don't think so. I barely knew him, I'm not even -"

Lila cut herself off as Sarah Jane suddenly paled, reaching for the poster Lila still clutched and staring at it. It featured eight paintings, mostly brightly colored depictions of action heroes and comic book figures, but Sarah Jane's eye was immediately drawn to the simple portrait of a teenage girl with curly blonde hair.

"You're Ellie," she whispered, and the girl from the portrait nodded.

***


He holds her for a long time. When he finally lets go, he keeps his hands on her arms. "I didn't want to go," he says immediately, and the urgency is more noticeable now. "I didn't. I looked for you, I looked everywhere, but then I saw the poster and found out what the Night Dragon was -"

"I know," she tells him, taking an unsteady breath. "Your friend - Sarah Jane - told me." She raises an eyebrow. "She said you saved the world."


***


Without a word, Sarah Jane embraced her. "He is going to be so happy to see you," she said, voice shaking. "He looked for ages. It was my fault, you know, I'm the one who made him leave - I had to do it, we needed him, everyone did - but it hurt him so badly." She pulled back, and her eyes were shining. "Thank you for taking care of him."

"Things worked out okay for him, though, didn't they?" Lila glanced towards a knot of people towards a back corner. "I thought they would. He was so sure things would be okay." She laughed slightly. "He even convinced me. And he was right. In the end, he was right." When she looked back at Sarah Jane, her eyes were bright in the dim light. "It's just that for a minute, I thought I might've found someone to take care of me for awhile."

Sarah Jane smiled sadly, and took Lila's hand in hers. "Come sit with me for a minute," she said. "There are some things you should know."

***


Clyde laughs a little, moving one arm to rake through his hair. "Yeah, I did, at that," he admits. "You believe it?"

Lila shrugs. "I shouldn't. I don't know, though." She smiles again, suddenly. "It was a weird time, wasn't it? The fish, and you kept going on about a curse..."

"'No one will ever forget that day,'" Clyde quotes, and his own smile fades into seriousness. "I didn't, you know."

"Yeah," Lila says, and lets her eyes drift to the portrait on the wall. "I believe it."


***


They sat on a bench outside and watched as the crowd slowly filtered out. Lila wrapped her jacket around her as the stars grew bright.

Sarah Jane's voice was steady as she spoke, though she stumbled in places; it was clear that these were not stories she shared freely. It broke at one point, as she described tearing up her own attic; Lila found herself remembering similar scenes during those last few days at home.

The stories were mad, fantastic, and completely unbelievable. Part of her didn't want to hear them, these explanations. She'd had eight years to get over this particular betrayal but it had never quite left her, even as the anger had faded and eventually turned to a hazy sort of nostalgia.

But then, hadn't he been a bit mad, a bit unbelievable? Hadn't he been bizarrely, wonderfully, fantastic?

***


"You really did it," she says, looking around the room, the drawings and paintings lining the walls. "I wondered if you would. I'm in school," she adds, answering his silent question. "Turns out the Night Dragon wasn't such a bad thing after all. Spent a couple of years in France, saved up some money, then came back to London about three years ago. I'm studying history, might go into teaching."

"That's great," Clyde tells her, taking her hands. "I knew you'd be great."

She's wondered, over the years, what he'd think of her now and whether he'd be proud. Looking at him now, his eyes warm and sincere and so close to hers, she knows she guessed right.


***


She turned in her seat, and Sarah Jane fell silent. The studio was nearly empty - only six people remained. Two girls, one younger than the others, giggling about something and apparently teasing a tall, attractive guy around Lila's own age. Another girl with curly black hair was talking to an older woman dressed in reds and oranges, her arm wrapped tightly around another boy barely taller than she was. His back was facing the window, and his shoulders were shaking with laughter.

"Come on," Sarah Jane said, and stood.

It was warm inside the studio. The racing pulse, the light head - she'd felt these things around him before, a long time ago. Some things hadn't changed.

Sarah Jane slipped an arm around Lila's shoulder, leading her to the group still chatting in the corner.

"Clyde Langer," she called as they approached; he turned, face alight with laughter and a little too much champagne as she continued. "There's someone I'd like you to meet."

***


He smiles crookedly. "Lila, yeah? I'll have to get used to that."

"Clyde Langer," she replies, and smirks. "I suppose Enrico Box can be your superhero name. You know, for when you save the world."

He laughs, and when he hugs her again she thinks that maybe this time, he won't let go.
Mood:: 'tired' tired
There are 14 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
 
posted by [identity profile] tptigger.livejournal.com at 03:15am on 23/04/2012
Here from one of the Sarah Jane comms. ♥ lovely. I hope things work like this for both Clyde & "Ellie"
 
posted by [identity profile] wild-force71.livejournal.com at 07:32pm on 23/04/2012
(Hey, you. :D)
 
posted by [identity profile] averita.livejournal.com at 03:20pm on 25/04/2012
Thank you so much! I'd like to think so. This turned out shippier than I had planned - I actually figure that Clyde's with Rani at this point, and Lila/Ellie is off living her own fabulous life - but I'd like to think they reunite in some way and remain friends!
 
posted by [identity profile] jesterlady.livejournal.com at 03:58am on 23/04/2012
I love it. I always thought that was so tragic when Ellie disappeared like that. I'd like to think that he'd find her one day and could explain what happened.
 
posted by [identity profile] averita.livejournal.com at 03:21pm on 25/04/2012
Thank you! I thought so too - what a heavy episode, especially for one of the last. I like to think that there's a reunion somewhere in their future. (I remember when it first aired, I thought that Ellie should be the Doctor's next companion! That would've been a pretty awesome connection.)
 
posted by [identity profile] wild-force71.livejournal.com at 07:33pm on 23/04/2012
Gorgeous. Thanks, Avery. Poor Ellie.
 
posted by [identity profile] averita.livejournal.com at 03:22pm on 25/04/2012
Thanks, bb! Those episodes were so sad, but I like to think she went out and had a pretty awesome life.
 
posted by [identity profile] wild-force71.livejournal.com at 03:23pm on 25/04/2012
Defo. And Clyde would not forget her; he'd probably keep an eye out for a long tme, everywhere he went.
 
posted by [identity profile] averita.livejournal.com at 03:25pm on 25/04/2012
That's my thinking. I like the idea that, in this particular scenario, he'd make sure that her portrait was included on the poster just in case someone happened to recognize her.
 
posted by [identity profile] wild-force71.livejournal.com at 03:27pm on 25/04/2012
::Nods:: I love clyde. He's such a good guy.
 
posted by [identity profile] spydurwebb.livejournal.com at 11:44pm on 23/04/2012
Awww, very nice!
 
posted by [identity profile] averita.livejournal.com at 03:22pm on 25/04/2012
Thank you very much!
 
posted by [identity profile] garnet-words.livejournal.com at 08:27am on 24/04/2012
Oh, this is so lovely. ♥
 
posted by [identity profile] averita.livejournal.com at 03:23pm on 25/04/2012
Thanks so much ♥ It's a bit different to anything else I've written in this fandom, so I'm glad people seem to be liking it!

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