Sometimes, she dreams of the fall of Arcadia. She dreams of the screams and the blood and the bodies. The yelling soldiers around her and the thumping of the ground as thousands fled. She dreams of the orange sky and the red sand and the red blood and the orange dust that flew up into the air when buildings collapsed into rubble.
She wakes on a planet of cool colors rather than warm. She sees the green grass and the blue water and the blue sky and the green leaves coming back into bloom after winter. She’s not sure whether she’d rather be on Gallifrey with its oranges and reds and its biggest wars that ever were and will be, or on Earth. That is something to mull over, after all: Unrest and home, or peace and homesickness. She flips her pillow and dreams of Gallifrey once more.
They say that only one Time Lord survived the War. They’re right; only one Time Lord did. But a Time Lady survived as well. They used to know her as The Captain. Now it’s “just Jane, Jane Watson.”
One thing she’s always questioned and resented about the Time Lords was that despite their name, they had no actual regard for the passing of time. They joke around for hundreds of years, letting time pass in the blink of an eye. Even if they live for thousands of years, they never fully understand that their time is limited until it’s too late. They never realize that clock keeps ticking, and ticking, and ticking, and ticking no matter how many times they turn it back. But her? She likes to live life linearly, slowly, appreciatively. She likes to live life as a human.
She becomes Jane Watson, and she joins the army. On Gallifrey, during the war, she fought on the front lines, controlled troops and witnessed unfathomable sights first hand. Nobody on Gallifrey truly feared death, though, they feared punishment. She finds that when she fights in a war with humans, the fear and danger makes the experience more bonding, more secure. Nothing less than trauma and pain bring people together to the highest extent, after all.
Then she gets shot. She gets shot. One of the most respected people on all of Gallifrey is incapacitated by a bullet. Every day she just gets more human, more hesitant, more breakable. She has to stay that way, so she lets it heal naturally, and will never return to the battlefield as Jane Watson again. It’s excruciating.
She suddenly understands why some of her people take life quickly and extraordinarily: because it differentiates themselves from humans, from the ordinary. And Jane Watson, The Captain, is not ordinary. She closes her eyes in the hospital, squirming in a fruitless attempt to get comfortable, and dreams of The Academy.
She feels Gallifrey, feels its inhabitants. It’s always there as a low din- like the humming of the air conditioning, or the buzz of a fan- only noticeable when it stops and all that’s left is the ticking of the second hand on the clock. She hears a low buzz in the back of her mind of a planet always in motion, and it’s always there.
And then, one day, one moment, when she’s carrying out a special mission on Earth, she notices an absence, and hears the slow taunting of the clock on the wall. She screams, and for one second, the blue planet turned scarlet.
Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock, bbbrRRNNGG
The Doctor visits her in his half-broken Type-40. For a while, he stares at her, no words spoken. He’s already on his ninth incarnation and she wonders how he could be that frivolous with something as fragile as life. The events that had just transpired should say enough about how fleeting it is.
One thing she doesn’t ask is why. She knows why. There was no other way. That moment maybe destroyed the Daleks and Gallifreyans, but it saved the rest of the universe. She hates to think it, but she would’ve done the same.
“I forgive you,” she says, and just that second, what was wrong was made well again.
Unlike the Doctor, her Tardis’s chameleon circuit is fully functional. Her Tardis is her closet at 221B Baker Street, and if Sherlock believes she was gone for a minute trying to find a matching pair of socks instead of undergoing various fruitless attempts to control The Master? Well, so be it.
She breaks her fractures three ribs while on a case with Sherlock. It’s not nearly enough injury to warrant regeneration, but her secret could still be revealed. Lestrade coaxes her onto a gurney and she swears under her breath throughout the entire ride to the hospital. No, it’s not the break she worries about, but the x-ray.
“Can I request a doctor?” she asks after coming up with an impromptu plan that almost certainly won’t work.
“For the surgery, sure,” the doctor (the medical kind, not the Time Lord) says, “but right now the nurses will have to take a few x-rays.”
“Can a request a nurse with certain certifications for the x-ray? Or maybe a doctor?”
By this point, Sherlock and Lestrade start to look at her funny. “Can you ask around if anyone is certified in UNIT?”
“Unit?” the doctor asks, his confusion clearly showing on his face, “I’ve never heard of- anyway, I’ll ask, but if no one replies within a few minutes you're still gonna get an x-ray.”
Jane begrudgingly mumbles an agreement, accepting that it’s going to be the best she’ll get.
Sherlock walks up to her, “Unit? There’s no such thing. Jane, what are you trying to get out of this situation, making up random certifications? It’s just an x-ray!” Before she could respond, a voice pipes up from the doorway.
“I’ll have you know Mr. Holmes, that UNIT is very much real. And as for Ms. Watson here? She’s trying to get the medical attention that would work best for her, isn’t that right?”
Jane throws her head back and laughs despite the shooting pain, much to the confusion of the other occupants of the room. “Oh, Martha Jones! How happy I am to see you! They want to take an x-ray of me and you and I both know that a normal doctor or nurse very well can’t do that!”
Greg pipes in, stepping forward, “Jane, what are you going on about? Who is this lady?”
Martha looks at Greg and Sherlock, seemingly just noticing their company, “Why she just said, I’m Martha Jones, and I will be Jane’s UNIT certified doctor. Now I most kindly ask you to leave- doctor/patient confidentiality and all.” She ushers them out the door, Lestrade gaping like a fish and Sherlock deep within deduction mode.
“Now, Captain, what have you been up to?”
She takes her medical files back to 221B with the full intent to shred them. Sherlock gets his hands on them first.
She’s about to open her closet door, for the Doctor apparently has something “outstanding, outrageous and extraordinary” to tell her, so they planned to meet at Cardiff, July 14th, 1998. She’s just about to turn the doorknob when Sherlock walks slowly through the door, holding an x-ray showing her Binary Vascular System. He looks completely disconnected from the world, trying to process the impossible. Not the impossible- the improbable.
“Ahh, yes…” Jane tries to figure out what to say, “I see you’ve found my x-rays.” She immediately winced at the embarrassing words as they came from her mouth. “Sorry, those were going to end up in the shredder.” She stops and thinks again, “Sorry that was… cringy.” She winced again. “I- should really stop talking.”
Her slightly shaking hand leaves the doorknob and she finds a certain relief in knowing that it's nearly impossible for her to be late, for she actually passed her Tardis piloting exam, unlike a certain Time Lord. Jane (Should she refer to herself as The Captain? Or maybe her nickname at the Academy, Artemis? She doesn’t know so Jane will have to do.) takes a deep, shuddering breath.
“I forewarn you, Sherlock, the answers you seek will broaden your universe unmeasurably, and all of it is far too much to even begin to understand,” she pauses, staring awkwardly at Sherlock who hasn’t made a sound, “And for someone who ‘deleted’ that the Earth revolves around the Sun, the infinitalities of the Time and Space continuum might be a little...much.”
“You’re an alien,” he says bluntly, surprising Jane, “You’re an alien from a foreign planet, and for some godforsaken reason you’re hanging out with me ?”
They both stare at each other in silence once more. Then Jane starts to giggle, and that giggle turns into the sort of howling laughter which one just can’t sit and watch with a straight face. So Sherlock's lips begin to upturn and soon enough he can’t stop the laughter from consuming him either. Oh, the absurdity of it all! They eventually calm down, licking their lips and stifling the beginnings of giggles before they leave their mouths.
“Sherlock,” she begins, oddly confident, “Would you like to go on a trip with me in my spaceship time machine? I’m apparently going to hear some “Outstanding, outrageous and extraordinary” news from a fellow alien. I can explain everything inside.”
Sherlock suddenly looks hesitant, the fact that this is not, in fact, a joke, fully setting in, but Jane knows that his never-ending curiosity will prompt him to go with her. He suddenly takes a deep breath, “Where is this spaceship of yours, Jane?”
Oh, this part was always the best! She straightens her face, showing no sign of her internal laughter, and opens the closet door behind her.
If Sherlock's jaw would’ve fallen any farther, it would’ve hit the floor.