The Healing of a Heavy Heart
Clara wouldn’t ever dream of asking him to take her back, take her back to stop the car or stop Nina or stop— just stop everything. Anything. Set off some mad chain of events that resulted in a happy ending on all sides. A mad ‘the Doctor fixes everything’ plan where it was always alright in the end. It was so easy to fall into that trap and she knew that others had. But not Clara. She knew better.
Maybe it was from all those other versions. The ones that raced through time and space all alone. All separated from this Clara but all also very much the same, she felt them, she breathed them into her young lungs and sometimes felt terrifyingly old. For seconds or minutes, captured snippets of each eventuality as if it were her own. Sometimes all at once.
Or maybe it was just because she knew that if the Doctor could do that, if he could go back and save her Nina, he would have. If it didn’t have detrimental side effects, if it wasn’t a terrible mistake to mess around with fixed points in time. The Time Lord was no God. He was not the one to dictate who lived and who died. Very much touched by both himself, one of few things she saw as truly beyond his grasp.
She was already stablising herself, working on being less small right now, less openly weak. Clara hated being out of control this way, she hated feeling like the universe got to dictate her into suffering. Just curling up and taking it. She was going to be sad and mourn and hurt but she was doing it on her terms. Nina would have preferred it anyway.
Clara sat up in his lap again, as the Doctor offered with hesitant awkwardness to stay. Her eyes searching his and her hand coming gently to touch his cheek, to let her fingers trail astral skin, as she watched distantly and tried to asses his expression. Did the Doctor want to stay or was he offering purely because he was worrying for her?
She only saw hesitant and tender care in his features. The Doctor, as always, wanted to be right and he wanted to make sure she was picking this bit. Her heart tensing a moment with soft affection. Her sniffling quietened and she was silent with thought.
"Doctor," Clara eventually murmured reverently, his name a comfort all by itself, her eyes wide and more naive than they had been in some time. She wanted to be naive for now, it was easier and less painful on all accounts. Nodding carefully. Her hand dropping from his cheek to lay on his shoulder.
"…I’ll make us some tea."
It was an easy control-freak opt out from the extremity of all that had passed before. Sometimes, she could be just as evasive as him. Determined to re-gather composure. It was what Clara Oswald did, she masked herself and hid. Concealed what she felt for the sake of others and her own pride. Her words were wobbly and almost manic. But her hands curled into stubborn fists.
That was Clara all over, wasn’t it? She just ‘got’ things that others didn’t, especially when it came to him and the rules he had to live by.She was the one who always asked the right questions at the right time. She was the one who’d stopped him pressing that button and dooming Gallifrey when he’d given up hope. It wasn’t even anything he’d said, she’d just known. Someone she’d know what was right and that he could find a way.
It was hard to tell if that was just her faith in him or something more. After all, a very small part of her had been Gallifreyan once and perhaps that made her more in tune with these matters than your standard human would be. Or maybe that was just wishful thinking on his part because he wanted a little part of her to share something with him. He wanted them to have something special.
No, that was utterly daft, wasn’t it? Silly Doctor.
Silly Doctor whose hearts skipped several beats when she said his name like that. He didn’t even really know what ‘that’ was but it spoke of a connection, an undefinable thread that joined them. Understanding that no one else could truly offer him and an appreciation of all she was that no one else could ever have.
He was glad when he looked away only because he feared his own weakness might make things awkward between them in a vulnerable moment. She was too upset for him to think of doing something daft like kissing her,
Darting forward to press a chaste, affectionate kiss to her forehead as she spoke of making a drink, the Doctor helped ease her from his lap.
”Good. Yes. Tea. Full of tannins. Remind me to take you to the twenty second century at some point; that’s when they finally managed to make fruit tea taste like something.”