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No Longer a Sidekick

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Of course, deciding to give it a go didn't alter the fact that Fitz was standing on the corner of an anonymous street, in a London of indeterminate year, and that he hadn't managed to get hold of any cigarettes in six months.

He turned out his pockets to take stock: two lengths of string, five guitar picks, an apple (an apple he couldn't even begin to think why there was an apple in his pocket), a novelty souvenir of a nodding tiger, three paperclips, two biros, five shillings and six pence, plus a handful of other currencies only some of which he recalled ever seeing. He shoved everything back in his pocket, except for the British money and set out to find a newsagent. Once he'd had a smoke, he'd be able to make a plan.

That was when a car drew up at the curb. It was a futuristic kind of car, which meant Fitz was definitely not back in the 1960s. The window wound down and a woman leaned across the passenger seat to stare at him.

Fitz had mixed feelings about Sarah Jane Smith, or rather he had very mixed feelings about Samantha Jones, and last time he'd heard anything Sam was staying with Sarah.

"Fitz?" Sarah queried.

"Sam with you?" he asked nonchalantly.

Sarah Jane's eyes glazed over momentarily. Fitz shivered, recognising the symptoms of Time War fall out. Something had changed. He hated it when that happened. Sarah Jane shook her head after a moment.

"No," she said.

"You don't even know who I'm talking about," Fitz replied, and he could detect the note of accusation in his voice.

"No," she agreed. She looked tired. He probably wasn't the only person fed up with the Time War and it's effects.

"Bloody hell, I need a smoke really badly." He shoved his hands in his pockets again and rocked back on his heels, looking up and down the street.

"Do you have any money?" she asked.

"Five and six," he replied smugly.

Sarah Jane frowned at him. "Any modern money?"

"Oh bloody hell, not decimal. When is this exactly?"

"2011. Look are you getting in the car or not?"

Fitz looked up and down the street again. He really didn't want to get in the car with Sarah. He really didn't want to face the fact that Sam had vanished, that Sarah had never met her, that maybe she had never existed. What he wanted was to slouch off, find some ciggies, get his act together and then... Of course, he was stuck in London, some time in the future. He had no money and nowhere to go and for once the Doctor was definitely not coming to get him. Fitz hunched over pushing his hands further into his pockets. Then he sighed, opened the passenger door and got in. It wasn't like he had any better options.

"How did you know where to find me?" he asked after a minute or two.


"He could have come himself."

"The Doctor doesn't work like that. Once it's over, he moves on."

Fitz closed his eyes and leaned his head against the window. "He survived, though?"

He could hear the desperation in his voice and the exhaustion, but he needed to know that the Doctor got out of the nightmare alive.

"He survived. I'll fill you in when we get back to my place."

Fitz could tell Sarah thought she was going to deliver bad news, but then he'd already seen the changes in the Doctor. He wasn't exactly expecting him to be all sparkles and happiness on the other side of the war.

Fitz slept on the couch for a week and tried to ignore the Scooby Gang of children who apparently inhabited the place. It wasn't easy.

"I thought the Doctor's companions would be, you know, more impressive," Clyde said.

"I have hidden depths."

"Is that why you're standing smoking in the garden in the rain?"

Fitz was tempted to ask Clyde precisely how many times he'd saved the world, but Fitz was a bit worried that Clyde might beat him on that score. He was sure Rani would beat him, but he was a bit intimidated by Rani and was used to the Doctor, or in this case Sarah Jane, being surrounded him/herself by intimidatingly competent women. However, he objected to being out comedy-side-kicked by someone who was probably half his age. And wasn't that a depressing thought, what exactly had happened to his life?

"What are you planning to do then?" Clyde asked when Fitz failed to respond beyond tapping the ash off the end of his cigarette onto the patio stones.

"Dunno. Get a job." Even saying it depressed Fitz, but what else was there.

"You could try playing gigs in the pub. I've heard you on that guitar of yours. You're OK for an old bloke playing ancient music."

Fitz winced and scowled at Clyde. "Who are you calling old?"

Clyde gave him a look. Fitz took an extra long drag on the cigarette.

"Or, you know, you could help Sarah out?" Clyde suggested.

"My days of being a side-kick and saving the world are over," Fitz said. After all surely the point was to grow up, to get over the Doctor and carry on.

He gazed thoughtfully at Clyde. Fitz had always wanted to be a musician so it wasn't such a stupid idea. He could always learn new tunes.

He would have earned £50 for his first gig, if he hadn't been kidnapped by some kind of alien megalomaniac with a strange penchant for black and silver jumpsuits. Not that she didn't carry them off well. Fitz leaned back and admired the view while Rani and Clyde attempted to pick the lock of their cage with Sarah Jane's sonic lipstick.

"You could try to help us," Rani accused as she grappled with the device.

"Nah, my days of side-kicking are officially over. I'm just an innocent bystander."

He gazed around the room. "Besides she's got some kind of counter sound wave thing set up over there. The Doctor and I ran into one somewhere out near Alpha Centauri."

"So what? We need to destroy it then?" Clyde asked.

"Or cancel out the cancelling sound waves with a separate signal," Fitz replied almost without thinking.

Fitz looked down at the floor of their cage. The megalomaniac had dumped his guitar and amplifier in with them. Fitz had been carrying them to the pub where the gig was. Setting up a cancelling sound wave would be a piece of cake.

"Look, guys this is a strictly one-time deal. Next time aliens invade, leave me out of it."

"Just an innocent bystander, eh?" Clyde asked.

Fitz had no idea how the boy could run and talk while Fitz was gasping for breath. The Slitheen on their tail could put on a surprising turn of speed given their size.

They barged through some fire doors. The cleaning staff had obviously been around before the Slitheen arrived because Fitz nearly tripped over the mop and bucket left abandoned in the hallway. He paused to grab the mop and wedge it through the door handles.

"Nice," commented Clyde.

"Innocent, yet resourceful." Fitz couldn't help a grin.

Then they ran on. Somewhere ahead of them Sarah was setting up a gizmo that would, allegedly, sort everything out.

Later that night, after Rani and Clyde had been sent home, Fitz and Sarah got drunk and ever so slightly maudlin over a bottle of chardonnay, a frozen pizza and several packets of crisps.

"I can't believe you put that thing, whatever it was, together using only bits of string and the inside of a telephone."

"A smart phone, but I had help. Don't forget there's a super-computer in the attic."

"Still, I thought only the Doctor could do that kind of shit."

There was a sharp silence between them. They hardly ever mentioned the Doctor directly. Fitz liked to pretend that it was because the topic was too painful for both of them, but he had a sneaky suspicion that Sarah was steering clear for his sake.

"Fitz." Sarah put a hand on his arm and her eyes were full of sympathy.

Fitz leaned in because he was slightly drunk, and because he needed some comfort and because Sarah was a good looking woman. But mostly because he really, really didn't need a heart-to-heart about getting over the Doctor and kissing her seemed like a good way to bypass that.

She pushed him away firmly.


"You're half my age, Fitz," she said, and at least she seemed to be laughing gently at him rather than angrily.

He frowned in confusion. "What's that got to do with it?"

Her face fell. "God, you are so like him sometimes."

Which was a bit like a bucket of cold water. He slumped into a chair in front of her kitchen table and poured himself another glass. "I try not to be."

"Don't we all," she said sympathetically.