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[personal profile] geenoway
Title: Human Nature
Author: [personal profile] smallearthcat
Pairing: None
Rating: G
Summary: Episode tag for The Mark of the Berserker. Luke didn't understand people very well, which was made all the more obvious when Clyde's dad came to town.
Disclaimer: All things Sarah Jane Adventures belong to the BBC, I own none of it.
Author notes: Comments and con crit. are much appreciated.



People were complex, Luke knew very well. There always seemed to be so much he didn't know or got wrong, no matter how many books he read on the subject. And he read a lot of books, especially on that subject, because it was something he was expected to know, and something he didn't. He really didn't like not knowing things.

The only problem was that the more he read, the more confusing it all seemed. And that was how he knew people were complex, that the books were right on that point. Gathering more information on a subject was meant to make it easier to understand, not more difficult. Not that that stopped him, not a bit. He was sure if he could just read enough, it would come to make sense eventually. Social interactions had their own sets of rules, and if he knew them all, he would finally understand how people worked.

Clyde told him different every time he found Luke reading one of those books. 'People don't work like that. You could know everything there is to know about social interactions, and you still wouldn't be able to get it right every time,' he'd say. And Luke believed him, but he also couldn't help trying. Clyde would just sigh and leave him to it, and Luke knew both the advice and being left to it were signs of Clyde's friendship. See? Reading was totally working for him.

***

It wasn't until Clyde's dad came back to town that Luke really understood how right Clyde had been. Because of course he'd known that his dad leaving was a sore point for Clyde, but he'd never guessed that might be because Clyde actually wanted his dad back, despite any protestations to the contrary. Never guessed that Clyde would leave both Luke and his own mum in favor of a man he'd claimed to be doing fine without.

Luke had been thrown for a loop, unable to reconcile what Clyde had told him about his dad and the reality of how he was acting. It worried Luke for multiple reasons, but mostly because he didn't want Clyde to be hurt, and he knew enough to realize the likely outcome of this situation would not be good for Clyde.

More selfishly, he was beginning to realize that for all his reading about different social situations and interacting with people, none of it had helped him see how complex Clyde, his best friend, was. He'd thought he was getting to know Clyde pretty well, and he'd obviously been complacent to think that Clyde wouldn't be able to surprise him.

It was perfectly obvious the more he thought about it. Hadn't Clyde surprised him twice just the night before with the knowledge that he was both a good artist and a good cook? If he'd not known such relatively unimportant facts, how could he possibly have hoped to be able to parse a complicated family situation?

The feeling was only exacerbated when he found out that Clyde had told his dad about aliens and taken him up to Sarah Jane's attic. That was something Luke had thought Clyde would never do, especially not without at least talking to him about it first. But that's what Clyde had done, and Luke found himself feeling a little bit betrayed, even before Clyde had been made to forget that Luke and Rani were his friends. After that, they'd been far too busy trying to sort everything out for Luke to have any time to examine his feelings about the situation.

In the end, everything turned out all right; Clyde's dad went back to Germany, Clyde's mum forgot everything, and Clyde apologized to Sarah Jane for letting the secret out. And Luke? Luke went back to his reading, because it was what he knew, what made him feel better, even if it wouldn't really explain to him why Clyde had acted as he'd done with his dad.

That was what Clyde found him doing the next day, tentatively peeking his head around the corner and sighing at the familiar sight. "Are you still on that? You have to know by now-"

"Yes, I know."

"You...what?"

"I know the books can't tell me all there is to know about people or how to act in social situations. They couldn't explain you."

Clyde looks positively dumbfounded, though whether it was because Luke admitted books couldn't teach him everything or because Luke had been using them to try to figure Clyde out, Luke didn't know. Still, it felt good to be able to surprise Clyde with something other than his social inadequacies. Fitting, really, that they should be able to surprise each other.

"I never thought I'd hear you say that, mate," Clyde replied faintly, finally stepping into Luke's room.

Luke put down his latest book (Predictably Irrational, chosen in an attempt to understand illogical decision-making, not that there was any particular reason Luke wanted an explanation for that) and sat up, more to be polite than anything else; he was still working out how to deal with all the new information he'd got in the past day, and more importantly, how to deal with Clyde now that it felt like everything he'd known about his friend had been shaken up and rearranged into something entirely new. He wasn't sure he was completely ready to face Clyde yet.

"I never thought you'd tell anyone else about aliens and saving the world."

Clyde winced at that, and Luke was hit with a stab of guilt, because he hadn't meant to bring it up, to make Clyde feel badly about it. Still, it was bothering him, and he'd rather Clyde knew that.

"He's my dad, yeah?" Clyde said quietly, and then more loudly, "I know I shouldn't care what he thinks, not after he abandoned me, but..."

"But he's your dad," Luke finished.

If there was one thing he did understand, it was the importance of family, and maybe that was all the explanation needed here.

"Yeah," Clyde said. He looked as though he thought Luke might actually get it and that it was a relief not to have to try to explain. Maybe he didn't understand it any better than Luke did.

Luke smiled a little at the thought, because maybe he was picking up something about human nature, about Clyde, and that could only be good, as far as he was concerned.
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