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[Doctor Who] Never the Same Again

Rating: PG
Beta: hhertzof
Spoilers: EDA Genocide
Summary: Jo says goodbye to the Doctor.

After the argument she'd just had with the Doctor, Jo decided it was best to stay out of the way. So while he navigated them home, she wandered through the TARDIS corridors. Inside it was still much the same and she confidently found her room. She hadn't been in there for twenty years, and even then it hadn't been a place she'd spent much time in. But it still looked exactly as she'd left it.

The room didn't have much furniture in, except for a bed, chest of drawers and a wardrobe. On the floor she'd left a black pair of trousers and matching top and she picked them up more out of habit than anything else. Goodness knows how long they'd been sitting there, but they just looked like they needed washing and ironing and then they'd be perfectly wearable. They weren't the sort of thing she wore any more, though, and she left them on the bed with a smile.

Perhaps the TARDIS hadn't changed, but the Doctor had, and not just his face either. Even though she had grown up, she'd expected him to be just the same. Since he had tried to treat her like she was twenty years old again, so maybe he'd thought the same of her too. At least at first.

Now she was more independent than she'd ever been while she was working for UNIT and she'd saved his life - all of their lives and that of every human that would ever live - without asking for his approval first. Just as he always had, the Doctor believed there was a way that didn't involve killing another species, and he believed his way was better, even though it had looked like he was about to be proved wrong. His reaction to her actions hadn't been what she'd expected at all, given the number of times she'd found her own solution.

At least she had done something. That was how she defended it to herself, anyway. Regardless of whether she'd meant to or not, she'd saved the human race and made sure she had a home to go back to. And where her home was, her son was too.

Not really knowing what else to do, she sighed and sat on the bed. In some respects nothing had changed at all and as much as she might argue her case with the Doctor she ultimately only wanted one thing and it was clear he wasn't going to give it to her. She'd spent years imagining travelling in the TARDIS again, but now she was here she wished she was home. At least there she wouldn't have to see the way he looked at her.

Not really knowing what else to do, she sat on the bed with her head in her hands, trying not to cry and didn't move until she heard the familiar sound of the TARDIS landing.

Sam wasn't in the console room when Jo arrived. She couldn't say she was surprised - Sam hadn't looked very comfortable at watching her and the Doctor argue. But after the time they'd spent together on prehistoric Earth Jo would have liked to have said goodbye to her.

The Doctor didn't acknowledge her entrance, just opened the doors and said, "Here were are. Home."

It may have been a long time for him since they'd last seen each other, but that didn't necessarily mean his control of the TARDIS had improved. So she looked out first to make sure she recognised the street. She just hoped he had got the time exactly right, because even a few days out would make all the difference to her.

With one hand on the door frame to steady herself and stop him from shutting the doors on her, she turned around to face him. "Doctor," she started, but then wasn't quite sure how to finish that sentence.

He at least looked up and his hands stilled on the controls.

He still had the same expression on his face that told her exactly what he thought of her and she half-wished she'd just left without saying anything. But even though it had been a long time she always hoped she would see him again, so she could tell him all that she'd achieved since leaving him. As much as she thought she didn't need him any more, she'd hoped he would be proud of her. The truth was, no matter how old she got, his opinion still mattered to her and his hatred of her for killing the Tractites hurt more than their deaths on her conscience ever could. However, she refused to apologise. She wasn't twenty any more and he didn't get to tell her what to do.

"I have a son now," she said, after a long pause, because she really did want him to know about the most important person in her life.

"I know."

She nodded. She wanted to ask if he also knew that Cliff left, but didn't ask, in case he didn't. She'd much rather he thought her marriage had worked out well. "Tell Sam I said goodbye, won't you?"

"I will." He still didn't move, but at least that meant his attention was on her. She used to like that, but now she wasn't so sure.

She let go of the TARDIS and let her hands drop to her sides and wondered when they had reached the stage where they had nothing to say to each other. Any other time she might have gone over and hugged him goodbye, but he thought she killed the Tractites deliberately and she couldn't bear hearing him tell her just how disappointed he was in her.

"Be careful," she said, knowing he wouldn't be, but not wanting him to go through too many regenerations.

He said nothing to that, just nodded, so she turned and walked away. She thought she heard a soft "You too", but was too afraid to go back and check, in case she was wrong.

As she pulled the door shut behind her, for a moment she could imagine she was going on another grand adventure with her best friend. Then she stepped back and the TARDIS faded away as she watched and left her standing on the pavement on her own.

Then she cried.