[Sarah Jane Adventures] The Practical Exam (Pencils Down)|
Tuesday 26th October 2021
Summary: Waiting for A level results is the worst. Except for being locked in a cell, that's even worse
Notes: Remix of Put Down Your Pencils And Get Ready For The Practical Exam by Netgirl_y2k
Rani's parents had been driving her mad. Tomorrow was A level results day, which was nerve-wracking in itself. What made it worse was her dad reminding her daily how it was going to decide her whole future. Her mum kept saying how it didn't matter and she shouldn't worry. Which made Rani more nervous. Unable to take any more of it, she'd texted Clyde, who had jumped at the idea of going out alien hunting with her.
They wandered around Ealing, hoping for aliens, while Rani complained at Clyde about her parents. After a while she realised he wasn't saying anything and then she didn't want to talk about it either.
In the end the alien had found them: the Doctor turned up and took them on a trip. The dinosaurs were scary and just as cool as the Doctor said they were. The saber-toothed tigers were not as cute as they looked. And the alien cat nun bondage was weird and not something she wanted to think about too much.
Now things were a whole lot more normal: they were currently locked in cells in the basement of the White House after they'd been caught trying to stop the Waseen mother from laying her eggs in the President's brain.
"Perhaps it doesn't matter," Clyde said, holding his face up to the bars of his cell. "He might make better decisions after the larvae eat his brain."
The Doctor considered this for a moment. "People will notice. Even humans aren't that unobservant."
Rani hadn't been paying much attention to either of them. As soon as they were locked in and left alone, she'd pulled out her phone, glad she'd let Mr Smith soup the signal up: she only had one bar as it was. She held up her phone once the text had sent. "Sarah Jane."
"Of course," Clyde said. "Maria lives in Washington."
Sarah Jane and Luke were visiting Maria and those three could definitely take care of the Waseen. The aliens weren't particularly fast or clever, but weren't something that the Secret Service were used to. Especially as the Waseen were impervious to bullets.
"If only mine hadn't become an alien sacrifice." Clyde sighed. "I don't know how I'm going to explain to my mum how I've got through two phones this summer."
Rani's phone chimed. "Sarah Jane's on the case." She sat on the hard bed, relieved that was taken care of. And she was sure that after Sarah Jane saved the world she'd be able to talk the Secret Service into letting the three of them go.
"I knew I'd picked you two for a reason." The Doctor grinned and pulled two brown envelopes from inside his coat pocket. Once Rani had taken the one he held out, he handed an identical one to Clyde.
Rani frowned until she realised this was what she'd been avoiding.
"How did you get this?" Clyde asked.
The Doctor tapped his nose. "Time traveller."
"This has been opened and sellotaped shut." Not very well from the way it was coming up at the corners. She held it up for the Doctor to see, who shrugged.
"That'll be the aliens working at Royal Mail." He waved a hand. "I'll have a word with them."
"What would aliens want with our A level results?" Clyde asked.
Rani didn't believe the Doctor's story either but it wasn't important. Her mouth had gone dry and her hands shook a little. "I don't know if I can open this."
"I'll open it." Clyde reached an arm through the bars.
"No!" She held the envelope behind her back, despite the Doctor's cell between them. "What if it's bad news?"
"It isn't," the Doctor said cheerily. "Lots of 9s and 10s. That's good, right?"
Rani and Clyde gave him matching looks. "A levels are letters," she said.
"Oh. Must have been something else I read." He started pacing around the cell, occasionally stopping to crouch down and prod at the ground.
Rani examined the floor of her own cell to distract herself as she opened the envelope. "Yes!" She sighed and put a hand to her chest. "I got in."
Rani smiled back at Clyde, but it turned to a frown as she watched him fold his envelope and put it in his pocket. "Aren't you going to open it?"
He shrugged. "Doesn't matter, does it?" He strode jauntily over to the bed to sit on it and stare at the floor.
It should have been a warning that he cared what she thought, but she ignored that, stepping closer to the bars of her cell. "It only decides your whole future. What if you don't get into university at all?"
"Maybe I don't want to go to university." Clyde toed the dust on the floor that may or may not exist, given the cleanliness of Rani's cell, but it was taking up all of his attention.
"No way out that way." But neither of them paid the Doctor any heed.
"But you have to!"
"According to your dad."
Rani stepped back. Her dad wanted the best for her, and her friends. Wasn't he right? As she turned away, towards the front of the cells, she saw a Judoon transport in, which came as something of a relief.
"No. Ko. Fo. Go. Ho." He pointed at Rani and Clyde, who both turned towards the Doctor.
His grimace didn't make Rani feel any more confident. "They're not happy that you left the planet."
Rani and Clyde exchanged a glance, as he stood jumped down from the bed, where he'd been prodding the ceiling. "You said you'd spoken to them."
"I did." The Doctor took a breath. "Did I forget to say they didn't agree?"
"Brilliant." Rani threw her hands up.
"I'll tell them you two stowed away, it'll be fine." The Doctor strode to the front of the cell. "Mo. To. Yo. Jo. Bo."
Rani didn't need to understand Judoon: the way he raised his weapon told her it wasn't working.
The Doctor was looking a little desperate too. "We need a distraction," he whispered to Rani.
In turn, Rani mouthed "distraction" to Clyde.
Clyde pulled his A level results back out, while Rani peered into her jacket pocket. But she didn't think it would be enough: it was too small and the beak, although pointy, didn't hurt when it poked her. Her phone dinged and gave her an idea. But was the signal good enough and the volume loud enough to find something on YouTube?
She didn't even get as far as typing in her passcode when there was an explosion from somewhere above them. Sarah Jane, judging by her one-word text.
In response, the Judoon aimed his gun at the ceiling. Immediately the Doctor whipped out his sonic screwdriver and aimed it at each of the locks on their cells in turn. They each unlocked with a clang.
Rani wondered just how long he'd been able to do that.
Not that she could ask while they were sneaking past the Judoon and the Secret Service people speaking quickl yinto radios.
"Why didn't you do that sooner?" Clyde asked the Doctor, once they were safe and panting, back in the TARDIS.
"It was a test, wasn't it?" Rani guessed.
Clyde wrinkled his nose. "Did we pass?"
"I'm taking you home. Too risky to have you around right now." The Doctor pressed a button, raced around the console to throw a lever and the TARDIS dematerialised. "Maybe in a few years."
Clyde stood up straight. "We'd rather not be disintegrated by the Judoon. Not before Rani's become a famous journalist anyway."
Rani smiled at him, both for the compliment and for cheering her up. "And not before Clyde's become a famous artist."
"Well..." The Doctor held a finger up. "No, I can't tell you that. You'll have to find your future out for yourselves." He busied himself with something under the console.
Rani stepped closer to Clyde. "I'm sorry. I think I got a little brainwashed by my dad."
He nodded. "I kept thinking about how I'd have to leave my mum and she doesn't know how dangerous Ealing is. I couldn't say anything or your dad would hate me more than he already does."
"He doesn't hate you."
Clyde gave her a look.
Maybe hate was a strong word, but he certainly didn't like Clyde, so she conceded the point. "What are you going to do now? Oh, maybe that place you've been interning will give you a proper job."
"Got fired." He put his hands in his pockets. "That thing with the Luxits a couple of weeks ago. Wouldn't believe it wasn't me damaging property."
"I'm sorry." Rani nudged his shoulder with her hand. She wondered if there would be aliens at university and whether she could handle them on her own if they were.
"Here we are." The Doctor came around the console as the door opened. "Ealing. Right where I picked you up."
Rani went over to the doorway and peered out. He was right: in front of them were the rhododendron bushes they'd looked under in case any miniature aliens were hiding in them, ready to pounce on unsuspecting humans. Or cats.
She turned back to the Doctor. "Thank you."
"Yeah, thanks," Clyde echoed, from beside Rani. "Although I could have got into that moon landing photo if you hadn't pulled me away."
Rani smiled she stepped out of the TARDIS.
The Doctor coughed. "Aren't you forgetting something, Rani?"
Maybe she'd have got away with it if the baby Nemicolopterus hadn't chosen that moment to pop its head out of her jacket pocket. She sighed. "I suppose my parents would wonder where I got a dinosaur from, even a baby one."
She put a hand down and the Nemicolopterus hopped onto it. "Look after it," she said, as she passed it to the Doctor, where it ran up onto his shoulder. "Maybe take it somewhere where it's not going to get eaten by other dinosaurs."
"Especially not T-Rexes. Ugh." Clyde shivered.
Rani hadn't enjoyed the experience of being sniffed by one herself, but it was the expression on Clyde's face that made her laugh. "So that's why you had that death grip on me." She slipped her arm through his. "Of all the things you've seen it's a dinosaur you're most scared of."
Clyde raised his chin. "You were clinging just as hard."
Rani pulled him away from the TARDIS, calling their goodbyes and waving at the Doctor. Together they watched it dematerialise.
"Do you think he'll ever come back for us?" Clyde asked.
Rani smiled at him. "With our alien fighting credentials? He'll need us again."