queenriley: (luke and sarah jane)
[personal profile] queenriley
I'm about to spam your flist with old fic I never posted. My apologies.

Title: Happy Christmas, Clyde Langer
Fandom: Sarah Jane Adventures
Rating: G
Summary: Clyde is alone on Christmas when an unusual problem arises. Can he save the day, all on his own?
Written for Yuletide 2010
Disclaimer: They don't belong to me. I'm only visiting their sandbox for a little while.


Clyde wasn't going crazy. It was Christmas Eve, the news was awash with stories of "students" and their "foiled pranks", which he knew was really code for alien attacks and the Doctor stepping in to save the day. Just as he always did on Christmas. So that was situation normal. But Clyde was hearing voices. One voice, actually, and it set his nerves on edge. He could hear a little boy crying, begging for help. Clyde knew he was the only one hearing the voice and that definitely was not situation normal, even for Bannerman Road. He had to figure out what was going on.

"Mum, I'm going to Sarah Jane's!" he called as he slipped his phone into his pocket.

"I thought she was in the states visiting that Maria friend of yours? What you going there for?" she asked from the kitchen. Clyde stopped in the hall and sighed.

"I've got to water the plants." He held his breath, just waiting for the question he knew was coming.

"You said Rani was doing that." She was in the hall now too, glaring at him skeptically.

"She was. But she's gone out to that resort in the country for holiday, remember? She'll be back on Boxing Day. I promised I'd check in while she was gone." She sighed, but he caught the hint of a smile at the corner of her mouth.

"Oh, go on then. But back in time for tea, yeah? It's Christmas Eve." He kissed her cheek and darted out the door. Freedom. He was halfway to Sarah Jane's when he heard the voice yet again.

"Help me! Please! I don't know where I am. I can't get out. Help me get back!" the voice begged. It sounded so scared and the loneliness tugged at Clyde's heart.

"Hello? Where are you?" he called.

"I don't know where I am. I'm lost. Please won't you help me?" it cried again. Clyde spun in circles trying desperately to see. The voice had heard him. It had replied. He could only assume that was a good sign. He caught a glimmer of something in a garden down the road and chased after it. He finally stumbled upon what looked like a ghost blinking in and out of existence. It was a small child, a little boy, and he was crying. He blinked further and further away, and it was all Clyde could do to keep up. Just as suddenly as he'd appeared, the boy vanished and Clyde couldn't find him again.

"Wait! Wait, please! I want to help you!" Clyde yelled, but the boy did not show up again. He looked like a ghost, but he couldn't be a ghost. If Clyde had learnt anything from his years with Sarah Jane, it was that ghosts weren't real.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Mr. Smith, I need you!" Clyde called out as he charged through the attic door. The alien supercomputer sprang to life with his usual fanfare.

"Clyde, what can I do for you?" it asked.

"I've seen a ghost. Well, not really a ghost because ghosts aren't real. But he looks like a ghost. Or what we think ghosts would look like." Clyde was panting hard, but he was pretty sure Mr. Smith would understand what he meant, even if he couldn't understand all the words.

"Actually, Clyde, ghosts are rumoured to inhabit one of the three outer moons of Agea-"

"Mr. Smith, please!" Clyde interrupted. "He's a little boy and he's crying for help. We have to find out what's going on."

"Very well," the computer replied curtly. "Scanning the area for unusual alien activity." Clyde wasn't sure how much good that would do, seeing as he couldn't remember a Christmas when the Doctor wasn't fighting unusual alien activity in the vicinity of London, but he wasn't about to interrupt the computer again. He took the time to catch his breath and pick up a few of the newspapers that had been scattered about during Mr. Smith's fanfare. His eyes trailed to the headline of a paper from just two days ago. The picture had caught his attention, and he stopped dead in his tracks.

"No unusual alien activity, though I have detected a small temporal rift located just off the primary school." Mr. Smith reported, popping a map onto his screen, a blue dot blinking over the exact location of the rift.

"Big enough for a small child to fall through?" Clyde asked, his voice hoarse.

"I suppose it's possible, though highly unlikely. The size of the rift makes the odds of anyone stumbling into it unintentionally 15.9 million to one."

"I think I've found your one." Clyde turned the paper around for Mr. Smith to scan. The article popped up on Mr. Smith's screen.

"Jamie Timms, age 7, missing since 22nd of December. Would this be your ghost, Clyde?"

"Yeah, he's the boy I saw. I think he fell in the rift." Clyde sat down hard on the stairs. No wonder he was crying for help.

"He likely didn't pass completely through, or he'd be gone for good. He appears to be stuck, half in this world, half in wherever the rift happens to open. How unfortunate. The likelihood of anybody being able to get him out is small. The odds are more in favour of the other person being pulled into the rift, causing it to grow exponentially and swallow all of Ealing. I'm sorry, Clyde, there appears to be nothing we can do."

"No, Mr. Smith. I can't believe that. It's Christmas. It's the time for miracles." Clyde stood up and started towards the door. He knew the risks, but he was going to try anyway.

"Clyde, I cannot help you if you are pulled into the rift. I can only monitor your activities from here." Mr. Smith warned.

"I know. But I have to try," he said, and walked out of the attic.

"I knew you would." Mr. Smith sighed to the empty attic.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Clyde waited. He'd been able to get Jamie to mostly follow him to the playground, but now he couldn't see or hear him. He was right where Mr. Smith had shown him the rift would be, and he could feel the energy coming off it, even if only just. The hand that had touched the TARDIS sparked blue when he got too close to the rift, though he still wasn't sure why. So he waited. Jamie had to show up eventually. It was the only way.

He shivered. The sun was setting, darkness was falling. He'd missed tea and Mum would be mad, but still he waited.

Moments later, a glint of a shimmer caught the corner of his eye. There he was. Jamie was wandering towards him, looking around as if he couldn't see where he was. But he'd heard Clyde. He'd followed him. Jamie blinked in and out, showing up in a different spot each time. Clyde would have to be quick, but he was ready.

His hand tingled with blue energy as he stretched it out right to the edge of the rift. Any minute now.

"Jamie! I'm right here, Jamie. Reach for me," he called out, hoping to draw the little boy to his voice. It had worked all day; it had to work now. Sure enough, for the briefest of instants, he was face to face with the glowing visage of the little boy. Clyde closed his fingers tightly around whatever he could grasp. His forearm disappeared into the rift, but he'd grabbed a solid form and he wouldn't let go. Jamie screamed in fear, but Clyde pulled as hard as he could. The rift held tight, but the blue energy in Clyde's hand pushed against it. With one last hard tug, Clyde tumbled to the ground with a heavy weight on his chest. He laughed as he looked down into the entirely solid, corporeal, in-his-own-timeline form of the little boy. He'd done it. Jamie was alright. He was back in their world.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The police knocked on his front door much later that evening and his mother opened it frantically. He felt a pang of guilt at her worried face, but that quickly vanished as she took in the two officers flanking him.

"Clyde Langer, where have you been?" She was furious. He started to protest, but he felt an officer's hand still him.

"Mrs. Langer?" the officer asked. She nodded, tight lipped. The skin below her right eye pulsed, a sure sign she was really really angry.

"He's done nothing wrong, Ma'am. You're son is a hero, today. We had to hold him for questioning, but we're done now and had to escort him home." Clyde smiled down at his hands as his mother gripped the doorway in surprise.

"A hero?" she asked quietly, as if not quite believing it herself.

"Yes. Your son rescued a little boy today, a boy who'd been missing three days tomorrow."

"Clyde?" she asked. He smiled sheepishly.

"I'd gone for a walk after Sarah Jane's. I was out by the playground when I heard him crying. He was stuck down a hole, couldn't see where he was, and so I just... pulled him out. Took him to the police." Of all the things he'd expected his mum to do, it was not grab him and hug him to her as she'd done when he was small. But he couldn't really say he didn't like it. He buried his face in her shoulder and hugged her tight.

"My Clyde," she whispered.

"A little boy is home in time for Christmas, safe and alive and well, thanks to your son. We'll take our leave. Happy Christmas, Mrs. Langer." The two officers turned and walked away, leaving Clyde and his mother standing in the doorway.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It was well past midnight when Clyde finally heard his mother snoring in the next room. He slipped out of bed and threw his coat over his pyjamas. Mr. Smith had told him the temporal rift had been closed, but he wanted to see for himself. He snuck past the Christmas tree, taking a brief moment to feel like a small child again and marvel at the shiny wrapped boxes beneath it, before sliding quietly out the front door.

It wasn't long before he found himself standing in the playground. A familiar blue box was by the swings, close to where the rift had been, and he could see the Doctor walking in circles right where he'd pulled Jamie out.

"Hello, Doctor," he said, shoving his hands in his pockets.

"Clyde Langer! Hello there," the Doctor smiled at him. He still had that ridiculous bowtie.

"Closing the rift?" Clyde asked.

"Closed it from the TARDIS, actually. I'm just... checking. Wouldn't want any more unfortunate accidents." He made one more tiny circle, barely moving from the spot, and closed his sonic screwdriver.

"All done here," he said and turned to walk towards the TARDIS. Clyde just stood there, watching him go. He suddenly felt very alone. The Doctor turned quickly and jogged back to Clyde. He didn't have to bend down much to be face to face anymore, and he put both hands on Clyde's shoulders.

"Clyde Langer, you did a good job today, and you did it all by yourself. You were the only person on this whole earth who could have helped Jamie and the risks were great, but you did it anyway. I'm proud of you," he said. Clyde smiled. He hadn't really needed the validation, but it still felt good to know that somebody else really understood what Clyde had done.

"I did, didn't I?" Clyde asked. The Doctor smiled wide and Clyde couldn't help but match him.

"Happy Christmas, Clyde," he said as he walked away, stepping into the TARDIS and closing the door behind him. Clyde almost wanted to go with him, but the thought of his warm bed, his presents, and his mother at home stopped him from calling out and asking if he could. He'd rather be home with Mum tonight.

"Happy Christmas, Doctor," Clyde whispered as the TARDIS faded away.
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May 2012

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