Characters/Pairings: Sarah/Harry, Luke, Martha
Summary: Nobody thought their marriage would last.
Word Count: 2150
Original Story: paranoidangel42
Notes: Betaed by selenay936
Sarah couldn’t help feeling that other men, when faced with a marriage proposal, greeted it with a delighted ‘yes’, whereas Harry had just looked at her, shocked and unable to reply. She probably should have guessed that would happen, given that the last time they'd seen each other was during that business with the androids and at the time she hadn't been ready to stop travelling with the Doctor. But now she'd had enough of being cold and wet and constantly running. She'd always intended to come home to Harry, and here she was.
He was, however, still staring at her as if she'd lost her mind. "Are you feeling alright, Sarah?"
"I," she said decisively, "am perfectly fine. I love you. I missed you. Let's get married." She'd thought the trip home from Aberdeen would be the perfect time to broach the subject. Apparently not.
"Isn't this a bit sudden?" He was looking at her as if she had grown another head, which was silly. The Doctor would have said something before she left...wouldn't he?
Sarah supposed that she couldn't blame him for being dubious. But it seemed like a perfectly sensible plan to her and she said so.
There followed one of their typical arguments. He wanted to date. She suggested moving in without the benefit of matrimony. He looked horrified. She quickly backtracked, because the last thing she wanted to do was scare him away.
The trip back to London ended with nothing decided, but by then Sarah had realised that she was going to have to be patient with Harry, and give him the time it would take for him to admit that they were perfect for each other.
Patience was not Sarah's strong suit. A month later he was still baulking and she'd expected they'd be married by now, or at least planning the wedding. She suspected he'd insist on a traditional Church wedding, and she was prepared to go along with that.
Meanwhile she'd persuaded Florinda to take her back on at Metropolitan Magazine on the strength of stories she'd written whilst travelling with the Doctor, convinced the Brigadier to allow her to learn self-defence techniques with some of the UNIT soldiers, and otherwise completely rebuilt her life. Harry was the only piece not falling into place.
She tried everything she could think of (short of seduction, as she suspected he'd be horrified by her being "less than pure" on her wedding night – she might be underestimating him, but why risk it?). She took first aid courses to show she was interested in his work, wheedled an admittedly low level security clearance out of the Brigadier so that he wouldn't feel like he couldn't talk to her about UNIT business, and finally, in desperation, took sailing lessons, so that she'd know something about the subject that informed his life.
Sarah wasn't a great sailor, but the fact that she was trying was the thing that seemed to get through to Harry that she was serious about this. The last thing she expected was for him to lead her off the boat she had rented for the day straight into a jewellery shop, and suggest that she pick out a ring. Sarah was hardly at her best, between the sunburn and her waterlogged clothing, but she'd looked worse during her travels with the Doctor, and handled it with aplomb.
After some consideration, she chose a smallish stone for her engagement ring and when Harry protested, she insisted that given her work, she didn't want to risk losing a larger one.
Later that night, Harry told her he was being posted to Norfolk, Virginia for three years, on detachment to the American branch of UNIT and he hadn't wanted to leave her behind even though he still thought they were too different to make this work for any length of time.
Sarah laughed and kissed him, forestalling more arguments. "You'll steady me and I'll loosen you up a little. We're hardly the first pair of polar opposites to fall in love."
"I hope you're right." But Harry wrapped his arms around her and held her close, and that mattered more to Sarah than his doubts.
Sarah had expected Harry to insist on more spectacle, but his family was away in Canada and couldn't get back in time and Aunt Lavinia was in Johannesburg. Lacking family, even Harry had to admit that there was no need to go overboard as long as they ended up married in the end.
After their wedding, they finally moved in together. Sarah did her best to keep the place tidy, as Harry preferred, but like the Doctor, she did her best work in chaos. She compromised by attempting to confine the mess to her desk.
Still, their life devolved in to an amiable, if hectic pattern. Harry was doing extra training classes to prepare him for teaching at the US Naval Hospital, whilst Sarah was going round to all her usual contacts to scare up enough work to last her until she made some contacts in the States. As a result, they didn't see much of each other and Sarah barely unpacked.
This was to set the pattern for their lives together. Even once they settled down in Virginia, Harry was on call most days and Sarah quickly became busy writing travel pieces for Metropolitan Magazine about the sights along the East Coast. Often she was going out as he was returning or vice versa. Days when they had time to sit down for a meal together became something rare to be cherished.
Perhaps that was what kept them from self-destructing, Sarah sometimes thought when she was in a cynical mood. Harry was occasionally chauvinistic, while she herself could be stubborn and opinionated but she loved him and was certain he loved her. And people could change.
Not that either of them did much changing. Harry did develop a greater appreciation of adventure than Sarah had ever expected, to the point of joining MI5. She knew people wondered if she minded the long separations, but in truth, she didn't. They had discovered early in their marriage that it worked best if they were both running in opposite directions, leaving them less time to get on each others' nerves.
So whilst Harry did undercover work for the government, Sarah was busy travelling, to Hong Kong and Cairo and Peru. Occasionally she'd manage to get back to England or they would time things to meet up in a tiny café in Paris or a coffee shop in San Francisco.
Eventually Sarah decided once again she'd had enough of being cold and wet and tired, and returned to England to take a job as science editor at a major magazine, just as Harry found out he was being sent into deep cover in America, working with a Lieutenant Colonel Jack O'Neill from the US Air Force.
At the request of Harry's superiors, they staged a breakup quarrel for the handful of friends who didn't assume that they'd given up on their marriage a long time ago. The highlights of the argument included Sarah calling Harry "old boy" and Harry referring to Sarah as a "female chauvinist". It took all they had not to burst out laughing and spoil it.
Divorce papers were faked, and Harry quietly dropped out of sight. Even though they hadn't spent that much time together, Sarah found herself missing him.
The news of Harry's disappearance came less than six months later. Sarah was thankful that MI5 thought to notify her, but when she tried to dig for further information, she met with closed doors and silence.
Sarah eased up, hoping they'd lower their guard, but they never did. She never stopped missing him, but they'd been apart for so long, that her life didn't change much now that he was gone. She rarely spoke of him now to anyone, but she continued to keep their annual date at Il Tartufo, hoping that someday he would turn up unexpectedly.
Years passed. She was offered a job at Planet 3, anchoring her own show, and accepted. She still went on jaunts around the world from time to time, but she was starting to feel the need to put down roots. Perhaps some of it could be traced back to a feeling that she hadn't appreciated the ties of her marriage until after Harry was gone.
Then one day her most recent expose fell apart under close scrutiny and before she knew it, she'd lost her job and her reputation was in tatters. Suddenly, she was on the run from some unknown enemy, trying to keep her head down and clear her name.
In the rare spaces she had to think, she was relieved that Harry was out of it. She did wonder, at first, if that had been the first hint of the plan to take her down, but there were so many other explanations, and she was too busy keeping her own skin intact to start digging into the circumstances of her husband's disappearance.
The one habit she kept up was visiting Il Tartufo once a year. With all their comings and goings, that date had been established early - the one day in a year when they were certain to see each other. Running into Will Sullivan there had been serendipitous. Harry had never talked much about his family and Sarah suspected a falling out with his father, though she'd never been able to get him to admit it. Still, Will was a connection to Harry, and Sarah clung to that.
Perhaps she was still too trusting, despite her paranoia. First Wendy and then Will and even Josh turned out to be not who they claimed. She might never know if Harry, like his brother, was a member of the Crimson Chapter. Perhaps that was why he had fallen out with his family. Perhaps. At least Harry had disappeared before the Orbus Postremo had discovered that she was the Herald.
Her world changed and changed again. Once she and Josh had been permitted to leave the hospital after the Dauntless disaster (as the papers were calling it), they had mostly gone their separate ways - Josh to sort out his father's estate and Sarah to rebuild her life and career.
Sarah finally decided that she'd never see the Doctor again, only to find herself tripping over him from time to time. She adopted a son, despite many quarrels with Harry in which she'd sworn she'd never have kids. She finally felt like she could stop looking over her shoulder and slowly started to trust people again.
When Luke told her that Martha Jones had called, Sarah expected to have her brain picked about aliens. She did not expect the other woman to tell her that Harry had suddenly appeared in the middle of the lab she was working in. Hearing his voice for the first time in over a decade, she had to press her hand to her eyes to keep from crying.
Sarah tore through the streets of London to the restaurant Martha had set as their meeting place. Pride kept her from throwing herself at Harry when she first saw him, but she couldn't keep the joy from creeping into her voice when she greeted him.
"You don't look a day older," she blurted out, inwardly wincing at the fresh lines on her own face.
"He isn't," Martha replied before Harry could. "Somehow, the device he was working on threw him forward in time."
Sarah nodded, thinking that there weren't many people who would accept that without question. At least she wasn't the only one this time.
"I've got a lot to catch up on," Harry said ruefully. "Technology and such."
"I can help you there," Sarah replied, though she wondered what Harry would make of her attic. "Oh, I probably should mention I adopted a son while you were gone.," she added casually. Time enough to go into the details when they were safely home. She was almost tempted to skip the "adopted" bit, but decided that Harry was too good at sums for that little trick to have the desired effect.
Once Harry had worked his way through his speechlessness, the talk turned to more mundane things. UNIT would supply modern ID and a plausible story about where he'd been. He'd move in with Sarah and Luke and they'd try to make a go of settling down together.
Sarah hoped they wouldn't end up killing each other. He'd certainly be helpful in dealing with the aliens that kept turning up as long as he didn't get captured and need rescuing too often.
It took a while to sort out all the details, but finally everything was settled and Sarah found for once she was happy to hear Harry say, "Come on, old girl. Time to go home."