Summary: Life after the Doctor isn't easy.
Author's Note: For agapi42 who wanted fic for her favourite characters/pairings, and andrealyn who wanted Sarah/Harry - hopefully this isn't too lonely and grim. You get to share this one because you also get to share another one next week.
Sarah stood in front of her bookshelves, studying the photo that hid some of the paperbacks from view. It had been taken in Scotland and showed herself, Harry and the Doctor with big smiles on their faces. She couldn't help wishing she was back in the TARDIS, with all three of them together.
This year's UNIT Christmas party had been black tie, which meant there had been plenty of dashing young men in uniform for her to feast her eyes upon. Although she'd had fun the party was part of the problem. During the evening she'd heard tales of what UNIT had been getting up to in her absence and she wished she was still part of that, rather than having to go back to the ordinary reporting that hadn't felt so mundane before she met the Doctor.
Although she had tried going back to UNIT, the Brigadier had merely asked for her ID badge back and told her firmly, if gently, that she no longer had a place there. He had promised her that if they ever needed the media they would call her first, but that was little consolation when all she had to go back to was a small flat and a pile of bills.
The other problem she was having was with Harry, who, having fussed with their coats, now came up behind her. She half-regretted having slept with him on the TARDIS, as since then they hadn't seen each other for a while and could no longer work out what their relationship should be. She had tried to cling on to their friendship, but he had been strangely distant and she wondered if it was because he was unsure about her feelings.
Like the gentleman he was, after inviting her to the party in the first place, he had offered to see her home safely and she'd accepted, intending to talk to him about it. However, they'd never discussed what had gone on and what it meant and she wasn't sure how to start now.
Harry was equally silent, but when she made no move to acknowledge him he put a hand on her bare shoulder. She shivered at his touch. "Your hand's cold," she complained, but it wasn't the only reason she shivered. He looked good in uniform, she'd forgotten that, and what she really wanted was them to return to the friendship they'd had, with the added bonus of good sex on occasion. But she wasn't sure if that was all he wanted.
"Sorry," he said, removing his hand, and he brushed his equally cold lips against her shoulder instead.
She smiled, but he couldn't see that and he stopped before she wanted him to. Perhaps she didn't need to have that talk at all. However, her feet were killing her, which were counteracting any effect he had on her. She bent down to take her sandals off and sighed loudly as she stood in bare feet, facing him by now. "That's better."
He frowned at her. "Why do you wear them if they make your feet hurt?"
She smiled and shook her head. "Because it looks good." He could hardly be expected to understand. She rubbed one foot across the top of the other, which helped a little.
"I'm very good at foot massage."
She raised an eyebrow - that was unexpected, but he looked sincere. "All right, you're on." If nothing else she was determined to get him to prove that statement.
He twisted to look round her lounge and Sarah wished she had a long, comfortable sofa. But she'd had to take what she could get and the flat only contained two armchairs. She'd been putting off cleaning, so she had no intention of sitting on the floor.
"Bedroom," she offered as a solution and before he could offer an opinion she took his hand and led him there.
He hesitated on the threshold of her room. "I shouldn't... lady's bedroom," he mumbled.
She rolled her eyes and tugged at his hand. "Come on."
He had no choice but to follow, settling himself on the edge of her bed. She lay back on it, her head on the pillows and her feet in Harry's lap. He left her in anticipation for a little longer while he took his jacket off and folded it up, reaching out to put it on top of her chest of drawers. She'd cleared it of the pile of paper it had previously been host to earlier in the evening and now there was plenty of space for it next to her hairbrush and make up. Before he started he blew on his hands and she smiled at his thoughtfulness given her earlier complaint.
"Your feet are like ice!" he exclaimed once his hands were on them.
"It's cold out," she pointed out. It was warm enough inside her flat, but her feet always took a while to warm up. Since she hadn't bothered with stockings (they all had ladders anyway) there hadn't been anything to keep them warm in the first place.
It didn't stop him from honouring his promise, at least, and she soon discovered Harry was as good as his word. Her eyes drifted closed and she felt far more relaxed than she had all evening. She could get used to this.
It wasn't long before her feet were warm and painless, so she opened her eyes. He was still intent on his task, so when she gave a wicked grin he didn't see it. In the guise of stretching a little, she moved the foot he wasn't currently working on up his leg a little. She knew when she hit the right spot because his whole body jerked.
"Sarah," he admonished, but his voice cracked between syllables and his hand now just rested on her foot.
She took advantage of that and sat up, sliding towards him, ending up in his lap, her arms around his neck and his around her waist, holding her there. Her fingers played with the hair at the back of his neck. But before she did anything else, she wanted to be sure, so she said, "I just need a friend."
He pulled her closer and she rested her head on his shoulder. "You have one."
Unwilling to initiate anything more in case she no longer had that much she stayed there, listening to his breathing, his shirt still smelling of washing powder and warming her cheek. She closed her eyes, feeling suddenly tired.
When she did move it was to lie back on the bed and pull him down next to her. "How do you do it?" she asked, threading her fingers through his. "Go on as if everything was normal, I mean. Forget everything we saw with the Doctor."
"I haven't forgotten." He squeezed her hand. "Maybe I'm just used to being away."
She'd done plenty of travelling herself, before she ever met the Doctor, but it hadn't been quite the same and now it was hard being tied down to one place and time. She sighed and shifted her head to use his chest as a pillow, his arm a comforting weight across her back. It didn't take long for the the steady beat of his heart to send her to sleep.
When Sarah awoke it was still quite dark, but getting light. She yawned and rolled over, intending to go back to sleep, but the movement reminded her how uncomfortable a ball gown was after a few hours. Harry looked to be still asleep, so she got out of bed carefully.
She wriggled out of her dress quietly and hung it up on the back of the door. Shivering in the cold - it was too early for the heating to have come on yet - she picked up the first thing that came to hand. It was Harry's uniform jacket; heavy and scratchy, probably because it was not intended to be worn against the skin. But it was warm and big on her too, the sleeves ending past her hands and the rest of it covering her body easily.
Wondering where she'd flung her pyjamas the previous morning, she turned back to face the bed and discovered Harry was awake and looking at her intensely. "Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you."
He shook his head and sat up, propping himself against the wall behind. "I usually get up at this time."
She hadn't looked at the clock to find out what time it actually was. It was enough to know it was too early, especially given how late it had been that she fell asleep last night. Abandoning the idea of pyjamas, she walked back to the bed and couldn't help noticing the way his gaze followed her movements. She gave him a questioning glance.
He coughed and examined the duvet before his eyes met hers. "It looks good on you."
She smiled. "I think that's the first compliment you've given me."
"Surely not." He frowned.
Since it was unimportant, she didn't stop to consider whether he really had or not and instead changed her route to end up standing next to his side of the bed. "Do you want me to take it off? she asked, dropping her voice a little.
He shook his head, but he was no longer looking directly at her.
Taking that as an invitation, she grinned and sat herself in his lap to brush her lips against his. His hands had gone to her hips when she sat down, and now travelled up her sides, under his jacket.
"Are you sure you don't want me to take it off?" she whispered.
This time his answer was to remove one hand to the back of her head and pull her down for another, more thorough kiss.
Warmer and more comfortable afterwards, Sarah dozed, taking no notice of where Harry went. He could hardly get far without all of his uniform. When he came back to the bedroom he was dressed again and carrying a tray with toast and tea on.
She smiled at him and sat up. "Breakfast in bed. You can come back again."
"Don't expect this every time," he warned, and passed her a mug.
She didn't mind, though, because he had at least confirmed that he wanted to do this again. But she couldn't resist teasing him, so after she took a sip of the tea, which he'd made just the way she liked it, she rested the mug on her bedside table. "I'll withhold your jacket and tie until you promise." She sat up straighter and folded her arms, looking up at him in defiance.
There was enough space on her dressing table for him to put the tray down there. "Then I'll just have to take them from you." He sat on the edge of the bed and reached out to her.
She grabbed his hands before he could get near. "Oh, no you don't."
Quickly, he changed his grip and held both of her small hands in one of his, leaving his right hand free to reach for his tie. However, her hands weren't the only weapon she had available, and she wriggled around to stop him getting hold of it. She wasn't quite good enough, though, and he got a finger into the knot and held on. Annoyingly, he was sitting too far up the bed for her to use her legs at all, and so she had no choice but to let him undo her tie. As he did, she got goosepimples where his hands brushed against her breasts.
Standing back up afterwards, he said, "Drink your tea or it'll get cold."
She glared but it was lost on him, as he calmly ate a piece of toast. So she had no choice but to give in, and she sighed before taking his jacket off. She held it out to him. "Swap you for a piece of toast."
He took his jacket from her and passed her the other slice. She pulled the covers back up to keep her warm, no doubt getting crumbs everywhere, but she could change the sheets later.
He didn't take long to finish his breakfast. "I have to go." He pulled his jacket on and stuffed the tie into his jacket pocket. He kissed her on the cheek and then stayed there a moment, hesitating. Eventually he said, "I'll call you," and left.
Sarah finished her tea and snuggled back down in bed, pulling the covers up to her chin. It wasn't just that that made her feel warm, though. It was also because she didn't feel quite as much as if she was on an alien world any more.
Cross-posted to sarahjane_fic, worksonsailors and harry_sarah