This is just a one shot based on 'Heart is a Hole' by Cherri Bomb (listen to it whilst reading for the full effect), which I've been dying to write a fic about. The idea came to me when I re-watched the final episode of Series 5 of The Sarah-Jane Adventures. Read on for more...
Disclaimer: I don't own The Sarah-Jane Adventures :(
I was so excited to be home: being in Oxford had given me the best opportunities I could ever have hoped for, like how to cook for myself, survive without the comfort of the people I'd known my whole life, and experiment with so much more freedom in science. But nothing compared to home. Home was honest, trusting, and was the place my heart beat most comfortably in. I couldn't wait to see how the Clani relationship was developing. I knew it, Mum knew it, and, I think, both Rani and Clyde knew that they had a bond like no other, so I gave them a paired name. It annoyed Clyde, which was one of the reasons I continued in using it, but that spark was there. Something that couldn't be ignored.
I was also excited to see Mum; I'd missed her. She had always seemed so frantic but relieved whenever we messaged online, and I was glad she had found Sky. Sky had kept her mind off me, and helped her concentrate on fighting aliens whilst having another person to talk to in the house, but I couldn't help but feel worried. Not for them, but for myself.
Were my nightmares coming true?
I didn't think so.
I pulled up the driveway, my bright yellow car adding a splash of colour to the seemingly drab Bannerman Road. Home, at last. The flowers had started to wilt in the autumn weather, but home had never looked so good. It was funny how time away made you have a new perspective on life. I went to the door dragging my large suitcase behind my legs. The wheels scuffed noisily behind my feet, and occasionally scraped the back of my legs. Nothing too serious, though. I pushed the white wooden door labelled '13', and noticed the door had been left unlocked.
The house was still itself: the hallway was well lit, with the doors to the living room and kitchen both wide open, revealing the kitchen cabinets and cream sofas in the two separate rooms; the stairs wound higher and higher, with numerous news articles and pictures following it's pathway. It was so beautiful, the only home I ever knew.
I lifted the heavy suitcase once I'd reached the stairs, surprising myself with my new found strength. Before Oxford, Mum would do most of the carrying, as I hadn't really carried much strength, but being away from her allowed me to explore that region of myself. I wasn't about to go to a gym every day, but picking and carrying boxes to my dorm and bags from my car had strengthened my muscles that little bit better. I'd reached the second level of the house, just below the attic. I placed my suitcase down excitedly, and wheeled it to the front door of my room, a huge smile across my face.
Only, it wasn't my room anymore. The walls weren't light blue anymore, with tiny insects placed on its surface. Instead, it had been painted a sunny yellow, just a little creamier than my car. There were children's toys littered on the floor, all things little girls would play with. Sky.
"Right. Yeah. Not my room anymore," I realised aloud, as I took in the rest of the room. Large sunflowers were on the shelf that used to house all my science books and models. Had Mum thrown them out? Probably so. I turned round back to the landing, and pushed my suitcase away from me.
Looks like it would be the spare room for me.
"Luke, oh, welcome home!" Mum gleamed at me. Seeing her face brought back so many happy memories. I was so glad to be home. I ran up to her, and we engaged in a long hug. I'd missed her so much.
We let go, and I turned to face Clyde and Rani. "Hi Clani," I smiled.
Rani scowled happily. "Don't call us that." She leaned in and kissed me on the cheek.
"Clani? Who's Clani?" Mum said, confused.
"Clyde. Rani. Clani," Clyde summarised.
"It's meant to be funny,"
"We can't keep away," Clyde said jokingly, shaking my hand.
Mum propped her hand against my back, and turned me around to face Sky. "Luke, meet Sky. In person,"
"Sky. Hi. Hi Sky," I said nervously. She seemed cautious. Did she like me?
Her eyes looked panicked. "You're taller than you look on webcam," she said.
"Yes... yes I am," I said cheerfully, looking down at my body. I wasn't that tall, was I? I hoped I wasn't too scary. "Sorry, I-I just went in your room. Forgot it's not mine anymore," I said awkwardly, trying to make some sort of conversation. Sky didn't seem to want to co-operate with me.
"It's the best room and you don't live here anymore," she said, almost annoyingly.
Yes, I don't, I confirmed in my head. I paused, thinking of something to say to cover my hurt. "It fine, it's really fine," was all I could manage. I looked at Sky, attempting to smile. I hoped she would smile back, but all I received were sad eyes.
There was an awkward silence.
"I'm sorry, Mum. I just wanted to say hi. Do you mind if I go and unpack my stuff?" I asked. I had to get away from those eyes.
Mum nodded, unaware. "Yes, of course you can," she said happily.
I went for the door, shutting it as I left. I didn't continue though. Instead, I just stopped. I slipped my back daintily, against the surface of the wooden door to the attic, and slid down to the ground. So, Sky had my room because I didn't live here anymore. If I was living here still, would she be in the spare room? Would we get on? Probably, so.
I was about to get up and unpack, when I overheard a conversation in the attic. The voices were slightly muffled, but I made out every word perfectly. Too perfectly. I wish I hadn't.
"Sarah-Jane, I don't know whether I like Luke anymore," Sky started. So she didn't like me. But, we'd been so comfortable on webcam. We had talked about the metal kind, her powers and how Mum had rescued her from her death.
But things changed.
"Oh Sky. Why?" Rani asked, concern in her voice.
"He seems scary. And, I don't think he likes me either," she said.
"I'm sure he does, Sky. He was smiling with you the whole time. Maybe you were just-"
"No, Sarah-Jane!" Sky interjected suddenly. "He wasn't smiling. He was hiding."
"Sky, I really don't think he was hiding," Mum said, a dryness arising in her throat.
Clyde joined in. "Sarah-Jane. Luke was acting different. If he liked Sky, surely he'd have stayed and we've had a normal conversation."
"I'm afraid to say I agree with Clyde," Rani said. "When Sky said Luke was taller than she imagined, Luke kept looking at his own body."
Mum sighed. "I'm sure he just didn't want to scare her,"
"I'm not afraid of him," Sky burst.
I was shocked. Sky was turning people against me. She didn't know she was doing it, she just didn't like me. She didn't understand what was going on at the time, but if she had, maybe she wouldn't have said anything. She could have come to me personally to talk about it, so we could sort it out. But she didn't. Now Clyde and Rani were beginning to see me as some kind of monster. At least, that's how I thought they saw me.
My nightmares had come true. I had been replaced by a 12 year old girl, who had amazing electric powers, and had the charm to manipulate a whole room without her even knowing she was doing it. I was nothing compared to her. Who cares if you have the brain power of 10,000 people? It's nothing compared to the power of controlling electricity, and being a girl. Mum had seemed much more comfortable with Sky around, now. She could talk about clothes, aliens, school and life with someone around the house. Clyde seemed fine with being surrounded by girls, too. He had Rani, of course.
"Maybe you're right," Mum gave in.
No, Mum. Don't believe her! I'm not scary, and I do like her, I thought.
I stood up silently from the door. I didn't hear the rest of the conversation. I went to the spare room, and grabbed my suitcase, still packed. Before I left the room, though, I grabbed a pad and a pen. This is what I wrote:
Mum, Sky, Clyde and Rani,
I'm sorry for acting strange around you all, especially you, Sky. I was just nervous about meeting you. I hoped we could become friends, but I overheard what you said to the others. I'm not scary, I'm not going to replace you and what you with the Mum, Rani and Clyde, and I'm not going to steal your room away from you.
You can be sure of that.
Clyde and Rani, take care. It seems that you don't trust me either, seeing as you both came to Sky's defence so quickly. Just take care.
Mum, I tried to be as friendly as I could be. I'm thankful for everything you have done for me, but you've got Sky, now. You don't need me. I'm the one that's been replaced now, just like the Nightmare Man depicted in my dreams. No, my nightmares. Look after Sky, Clyde and Rani as well as yourself and the Earth.
Before I leave, just know that I'll wait for 1 hour before I leave this note in this room, and leave Bannerman Road. It'll give you time to talk to me. If you do talk to me, and we sort this tiff out, you won't be reading this. If you are... why?
I'm sorry, but all my faith has been turned into doubt. If I had the TARDIS, I would go back in time and make myself stay in the room, but I can't. I'll always think of you when I close my eyes, but home now is not here. My heart used to be this place, but now my heart is a hole.
Please forgive me.
I waited. I walked around the kitchen, pretending everything was ok, waiting for them to come to me. None of them did. I caught them looking at me like I was some sort of freak. They were the looks I deserved, though. At one point, Rani pulled Sky into a room, and they talked together. I didn't hear what they said, but when they came back out, they just ignored me. I thought I knew my friends inside out. Clyde had told me that friends always tell me the truth, and that we always look out for each other and we fix every problem we have. This was why Sky and I could never be friends.
After the hour was up, I retired to my room. Mum had gone out to get food for dinner, and Clyde and Rani were with Sky, no doubt talking about me. I slipped the note carefully on the bed, and got my suitcase. I lifted the heavy load, and silently crept down the stairs, careful to not make any creaks on the old floorboards. When I reached the bottom floor, I didn't bother on wheeling the case on the floor; they'd hear me. They'd had their time to talk to me, and they hadn't. I got outside, and went to my car. I unlocked the boot, and shoved my bag in the space provided.
Tears started to creep down my cheeks. I wiped them away, and ran to the driver's door, my hands shaking as I pulled the door open to the wheel of the car.
"I'm sorry, everyone," I muttered as the engine spluttered into life, and I sped off into the distance.
I always think of them when I close my eyes, their faces still heavily imprinted on my mind. They'll never find me here. Not even Mr Smith. I wish I could fix the mess. The SerfBoard case was too suspicious for me: I knew Mum, Sky, Luke and Clyde had been part of it. They'd revealed that the SerfBoard was nothing but an ordinary computer, and a pretty rubbish one at that two, especially after the rumours. I also knew there was something more to that case, too, but I didn't want to drive up and ask them. Not now. It's still too soon to talk to them, and explain how that day hurt me more than anything.
They'd confirmed by nightmares. I just hope that when I'm ready that they haven't forgotten me.
Please, Mum. When I'm ready, I'll come back. I promise.
I hope that was ok for you guys. I've been so desperately wanting to write an AU for that story, considering all the nightmares Luke had about being replaced, and then Sky came along. I was happy when they became friends, obviously, but I wanted to do a different take on the story.
Review if you want to :)