Title: Ready For A Fall
Summary: After the events of Lost In Time, Rani and Clyde allow themselves to be vulnerable.
Rating: K+ for author's paranoia
Characters/Pairings: Implied Rani/Clyde
Spoilers: Very heavy for Lost In Time
Timeframe: Directly after Lost In Time ends
Disclaimer: I don't own SJA, but its characters seem to own me.
Author's Note: I've had this in my head for a while now, it's good to get it out :) This was one of my favourite episodes of the series. Big thank you to CountryGrl for pre-reading this for me!
Sighing and shutting off Mr Smith, Clyde was contented by what he had found. George had survived after all, and gone on to do great things with his life. Clyde wanted to meet him again, but decided against it. After all, how would he explain how he had not aged in seventy odd years?
He wandered over to the window, and looking out he saw Rani sitting on her door step, arms wrapped around her knees and staring into space. He hadn't had the chance to ask where she went, or for him to tell her where he went; after leaving Smalley's they'd got caught up in Angela and Sarah Jane's stories of Angela's grandmother. Judging by the outfit she'd come back in, he guessed she'd gone a lot further back than he or Sarah Jane had. He was almost disappointed she'd now changed out of it-he hadn't been joking when he said he liked that dress. Even though, it had garnered a few strange looks from the people in the coffee shop.
Before he even knew it himself, Clyde was walking over the road to Rani's house. She didn't hear him as he approached.
"Decided to stick with 21st century fashion?" he queried with a grin, walking down her path.
She looked up, seemingly coming out of a daze. "Something like that," she rolled her eyes, laughing softly. "You should've seen my Dad's face when I got in. I had to tell him that we went to an impromptu fancy dress party."
Clyde laughed too and sat down beside her. They sat in comfortable silence for a while, watching the sun go down over the top of Sarah Jane's house.
"So who do I have to thank for the vision of you in period costume?" Clyde asked flirtatiously, with a glint in his eye.
Blushing a little, Rani gave him an amused, slightly baffled expression. Sometimes she couldn't tell if he was being serious, or just being... Well, Clyde. She let it drop and looked away, turning her gaze to the darkening sky again. "Lady Jane Grey." Clyde didn't miss the tone of reverence in Rani's voice, like she was talking of a great hero.
The name was vaguely familiar to Clyde, and his face screwed up as he tried to remember why. Now was the time he wished he paid more attention in his history lessons, "Was that the queen who ruled for only ten days or something?" He couldn't remember the details.
"Nine," Rani corrected him quietly, but with a strange urgency in her voice, like she wanted him to remember it. "I was with her on her last."
Clyde nodded slowly, guessing from her tone and face that it had been very emotional for Rani. He wanted to comfort her, but was at a loss to know how. Tactfulness was really not one of his strong points. Tentatively, he put a hand on her arm and squeezed gently. She glanced sidelong at him and the corners of her lips turned up. She covered his hand with her own.
"It's okay, Clyde," she told him, looking in the distance again. "She is remembered." This thought seemed to make her happy, and Clyde was glad of it. He wasn't used to seeing her quite so vulnerable; and he had decided he didn't like seeing her sad. It just seemed wrong, and it was the strangest feeling, but it made him sad to see her upset.
Rani took a deep soothing breath, trying to clear her sudden burst of emotion away. She looked briefly down at their still intertwined hands on her arm then back up at him. Partly to distract herself, but mainly because she wanted to know, she asked, "What about you? Where did you go?"
Clyde blew out through his mouth heavily, his mind going back to the events of the day, "1941." he told her absently, remembering it. Rani nodded in understanding, the Second World War. Clyde glanced at her then back into the distance, "I'll tell you one thing: Nazis are a lot scarier in the flesh than they're made out to be in textbooks."
She felt her eyebrows rise in shock. She had unconsciously imagined him in Churchill's war rooms. And even though he was sitting beside her safe and the day was long over, she felt scared for him. "Were you afraid?" she asked softly. She didn't ask in a condescending way.
"Me? Pfft, No!" he scoffed immediately. "I've faced the scourge of the universe: Slitheen, Gorgons, the Trickster! Bet the Nazis wouldn't have stood a chance against them!"
She gazed at him, waiting.
He finally looked into her eyes, "I was terrified," he admitted, laughing slightly nervously and shaking his head.
Rani smiled and patted his hand, glad that he trusted her enough to admit it. Clyde always liked to appear tough in front of everyone, so people didn't think he was weak. But she knew he was anything but weak.
"But, being me, I showed them where to go," Clyde told her, bragging. It was obvious he didn't want her to focus on the fact he was scared.
"Yeah, I'm sure they were quaking in their boots!" Rani raised her eyebrows and they laughed.
All was silent again, and the two teenagers felt better than they did before they had shared their experiences with each other. It was completely dark out now, and the cold air of night began to descend on Bannerman Road. Rani and Clyde unconsciously huddled closer together to keep warm.
"Rani, dinner's ready!" Haresh called from inside the house, making them both jump.
Clyde sucked in a breath, "Guessing that's my cue to vacate the premises before he sets the dogs on me."
He stood up, holding his hand out for her to get up too. Rani smiled her thanks and took it. Clyde smiled again, "See you tomorrow then."
Rani watched him go, feeling like something was wrong.
"Rani!" Her dad shouted again. Rani was torn, but in the end, she ran off after Clyde.
He was already halfway down the road when she shouted, "Clyde, wait!" Clyde immediately turned at her voice, and was surprised when she was directly in front of him. Without warning, she kissed him softly on the cheek, lingering a little.
"Thanks," she said, pulling away. "For listening."
Clyde was still a little dazed, but eventually got out, "Anytime. I'd, err, better go then." He signalled vaguely in the direction of his house.
Rani had almost forgotten he was meant to be going home, "Oh, right, yeah," she awkwardly stuttered out. "See you then." Clyde smiled and nodded, walking away somewhat reluctantly. Clyde couldn't resist looking back and saw Rani had turned back at the same time. They waved once more to each other, smiling still.
They were lucky to have each other, and they both knew it.
End Note: Hmm. Took me weeks to write, and I'm not sure I like it. Let me know what you think.