Three Gifts for Clara
Summary: Three different times the Doctor gives Clara a gift after she has moved to live full time on the TARDIS. After the events of Last Christmas. Clara x Twelve humor and sweet fluff. Open to whouffaldi if you please.
Rating: Family Friendly
“This is the last of it,” Clara declared after she pushed her way through the blue doors with a large box in her hands.
The Doctor didn’t look out from under the console where he was adjusting the time flow regulators. “I told you, the TARDIS can supply anything you need.”
“And I told you, if I’m going to be traveling with you full time, I need my own things.”
“Yes, ma’am,” came his muffled voice.
Clara struggled across the control room with the box. She approached the stairs to the lower level with trepidation. After a few attempts at readjusting her grip and wishing she had worn more sensible shoes, she let out an exasperated sigh. “You could help me with this,” she said.
“Put you back into it. I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
The Doctor recognized the edge to her voice and slid out from under the console. From this perspective he saw only Clara’s legs and a huge box. He frowned, and then, sliding his sonic into his pocket, he stood to relieve Clara of the load.
“What’s in here?” he said, as he took the weight of it in his arms. It was more of a complaint than a question.
“What? Stuff. My personal stuff,” Clara said defensively.
“ Look, I quit my job. I rented out my gran’s house. I reduced my life to a few tiny boxes…” The Doctor’s eyebrows rose at this. “…It’s okay if I want to keep my own tea mug and my mother’s throw pillows.”
“This feels a bit heavier than throw pillows.”
“And books,” Clara amended.
“Books? I have books, and what do you need with throw pillows? This is a ship, Clara, not a day spa.” He leaned in closer to the box and sniffed. “Do I smell pineapple?”
“No. Absolutely not. No fruity candles burning in my TARDIS.”
“I’m drawing the line. The throw pillows can stay, but the candles must go.”
“Fine. No candles out here, but in my room, I’ll do what I like,” Clara insisted.
“Fine, but if the TARDIS hides your bedroom door again, don’t come crying to me.”
There was a beat of silence between them. When nothing more was said, the Doctor turned and started down the stairs with his load. The Doctor had almost made it all the way down the stairs with the box when he heard Clara’s exclamation.
He heard Clara running up the stairs from the console to the second level and then he knew. He couldn’t see what she was looking at, but he knew what she was seeing. Sitting across the upper landing from his own leather wingback chair sat a second chair, almost the twin to his but smaller. It had a tall strait back, scrolling armrests, and a thick cushion. He didn’t really care what she thought of it, he told himself, but he paused to hear her reaction anyway.
“Is this for me?” she called
“Well, who else would it be for?” he answered.
Clara sat down in the chair and wiggled in. Her feet just touched the floor and she gave the armrests a squeeze. “It’s perfect.”
“Of course it is,” the Doctor said, putting down the box and coming up the stairs.
“No, really it’s perfect. Usually if I sit all the way back in a chair my feet don’t touch the ground…”
“Well, at your height, I’m sure that’s a challenge”
“…but this chair, it’s like it was made for me. All the dimensions are just…perfect.”
“That’s because it was.”
“It was what?” Clara looked down at him, confused.
“That’s because it was. Made for you, I mean.”
Clara ran her hand reverently across the leather. “You made this for me?”
“Yes. Well, No. I had it made for you.”
She looked at him skeptically. “How?”
“TARDIS.” As if that one word answered everything.
Clara laughed lightly. “And she cooperated with you to make something for me?” Clara turned her face into the new leather, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. It smelled like her dad’s old jacket, comforting and familiar. After reveling in it for a moment a question struck her; she opened her eyes and turned to him. “Why?”
“No. no. no. I’ve been traveling with you for years and I never got a chair. I’ve never gotten a place in this room. What’s different? Why now?”
The Doctor sighed. “Clara, I meant it when I said that the TARDIS could be your home. Now that it is, I thought you needed a chair.”
Her own chair. Clara blinked a few times, suddenly grateful that the lights in the console room were dim. She stood, and after reverently caressing the leather once more, grabbed the armrests and violently yanked. She wasn’t strong enough to lift it, so it made an awful scratching sound as it slid it across the platform. She pulled the heavy chair until it sat side by side with the Doctor’s larger one, close enough that the chairs almost touched. She stood back and surveyed her handiwork, but it still wasn’t quite right.
The Doctor watched Clara as she suddenly ran down the stairs and then disappeared down to the lower level. He heard her rustling with the box for a moment, and then she repapered carrying the ugliest floral pillow he’d ever seen. Clara headed back up the stairs and placed the pillow right in the middle of her chair.
“There. Now it’s perfect.”
Some days on the TARDIS were long and quiet. Sure, there were many adventures, many moments of heart pounding excitement or breath stealing wonder, but between those moments were long quiet stretches of time. This was new to Clara.
Before, her adventures in the TARDIS had been a respite from real life, a break from the day to day in the classroom, a chance to get away and do something different. Any down times in the TARDIS she filled with school work. How many of her adventures had ended with her grading tests for a few hours at the Doctor’s desk before he dropped her home? There was always marking or lesson planning. Her work as a teacher never seemed to be done, so with the help of the Doctor, she stole time away from her real life, sandwiching adventure in the betweens.
But now, living fulltime on the TARDIS had changed everything. This was real life, not the respite, not the step away. In one bold decision, she had left everything behind by running away with the Doctor. Not running away, she corrected herself, running to. She had been running to the Doctor for years and had just made the next step on that journey. It was the right step. She knew that deep in her bones. Life had offered her several paths in the past year and this is the one she had taken, purposefully or not, it was where her heart had led her. And it was good. And it was right. And she was happy.
But there were times, like now, when the quiet hum of the TARDIS couldn’t block out the homesickness she felt. Not homesick for specific people or places per say, but homesick for her dreams of a normal life that never were to be, with a man that was no more. She could go back in the TARDIS to visit her Dad, of course she could, or she could materialize in London and have tea with her old friends, literally anytime, but something inside her knew that she had stepped out of that life; she wasn’t part of it anymore. She had once told the Doctor that she hadn’t wanted to be the last of her kind, but in a way, that’s just what she had become.
So to pass the time in her new life she now sat at the Doctor’s desk in the lower level of the console room, reading old star maps. She thought maybe if she could get a better handle on the universe, she could better understand her new place in it. The Doctor had disappeared a couple of hours ago to go to heaven-knows -where and she had to admit that she missed him when he was away.
Earlier in the day they had gone to the Frenko Bazaar, an intergalactic trading post. The brightly lit, sometimes garish, oval domed buildings reminded Clara of the shops at Liverpool One, except these shops were manned by all sort of alien beings, many of which Clara had never seen. Under the watchful eye of the Doctor, she had spent hours combing through clothing, technology, exotic animals, vehicles, furniture, you name it, and meeting with some local people. She wasn’t sure what she and the Doctor had eaten for lunch, she wasn’t even sure that she wanted to know, but it was sweet and spicy. She smiled when she took her first bite and it was nice to have the Doctor sitting there, smiling back at her. There was no danger, no mystery. They were just people on a normal day spending time together. Today she had missed Danny a little bit less than she had the day before. It was progress. Slow, but progress.
She heard the TARDIS doors open and close, and the metal clanging of The Doctor’s shoes on the stairs. She looked up at him as he approached her.
He pointed his finger at her accusingly. “You’re doing that thing with your face again?”
He willed his fingers. “You, know, the thing.”
“I haven’t been crying,” she defended.
“No, that other thing.” His hand was waving now. “The malfunctioning one.”
“The sad smiling one?” Clara folded her arms. “Doctor, we talked about this. That’s not a malfunction; it’s normal human emotions.”
“Well, stop it. It’s depressing.”
“I can’t just turn off what I’m feeling, Doctor. It’s one of those human weaknesses you always point out.”
“I know. I know. That’s why I went out and got you something today.”
Clara was surprised as the Doctor turned and went up the stairs.
“I think it will help.” He returned a moment later with a loosely slatted wooden crate in his hands.
Leave it to the Doctor not to get her something simple like a scarf or some jewelry. She had no idea what would be in a crate like this, and she couldn’t see anything through the cracks.
He held out the crate to her. “My research tells me that this is just what you need.”
She started to reach out for it when she heard a bump from inside the crate. Startled she quickly jerked back her hands.
She folded her arms and looked at him suspiciously. “Is there something alive in there?”
The Doctor grinned. “It’s a surprise. I thought humans love surprises.”
“It’s not that I don’t trust you Doctor, but sometimes your idea of a good surprise is not the same as my idea of a good surprise.” Clara pushed her chair back a bit. “Why don’t you open it?”
“Oh, you’ll love it. The Internet can’t be wrong.”
“Yes, it can. The Internet can indeed be wrong, Doctor.”
He pushed it towards her. “It’s not going to bite you, Clara. Well, wait, I’m not positive of that, but… here, I got it for you.”
When Clara still refused to take the crate, that was now shaking a little from side to side, the Doctor placed the box on the ground at her feet.
“For heaven’s sake, Clara, no wonder I don’t buy gifts very often. Open it, or no. I don’t care.” He stepped away and started looking with feigned interest at the piping that hung under the console.
Curiosity overcoming her fear, Clara reached down and touched the lid to the crate. The crate thumped again and jerked a little.
“Doctor, tell me It’s not going to eat me, or burn me, or cover me with slime.”
The Doctor rolled his eyes. “Clara, I’m not an idiot. Even I know it’s not a good idea to give someone something that will eat them.”
She reached down and pulled off the top of the crate. A small white fluff of fur peered up at Clara with big green eyes. She looked down at the little creature, her heart already melting. “What is it?”
“What does it look like?”
“I’m not sure. We saw so many animals at the bazaar today, it could be anything.”
The Doctor ran his hand through his hair. “It’s a man eating baby yeti,” he deadpanned.
The lid that Clara had held went clattering to the floor. “A what!”
“Heavens, Clara! It’s a cat. A kitten! Look, look, see.”
“Are you sure? Are you really sure it’s just a cat, Doctor?”
“I’m sure I’m sure.” He pulled his sonic out of his pocket and scanned the animal. The high pitched sound made the animals ears twitch and it let out a mew. He looked at the results on the sonic. “See, normal cat. Why do you have to make everything so difficult?”
Clara reached her hands into the crate and pulled out the most adorable, white fluffy kitten she had ever seen. “Oh, Doctor.”
As soon as she placed it in her lap, the kitten immediately started purring. “Oh, she’s wonderful.” Clara ran her hand across its soft fur. After a few strokes the kitten rested her head down on Clara’s leg.
“Of course it is. One billion pictures of cats on Twitter alone, how could I be wrong?”
“I’ve always wanted a kitten. Doctor, how did you know?”
“I remembered the cat things in your dreamscape. It was a logical conclusion.”
“But a cat, here on the TARDIS? Are you sure?”
The Doctor looked away, suddenly feeling shy. “I’ve heard that animals can help humans who are grieving. I thought it would help… well… you know.”
Clara lifted the kitten up and nuzzled its face with her own, and then she stood up and gave the Doctor a kiss on the cheek. “Doctor, you still amaze me. Thank you.”
“Not again with the eyes! Clara! I thought this creature was supposed to make you happy. If it makes you sad, then out it goes.”
She sniffled softly. “No, no. I am happy. Honest,” she said as she held the kitten against her chest.
“See! Malfunctioning again!” He threw up his hands. “I’m right back where I started.”
After a day of exploring the Sapphire Waterfalls, Clara and the Doctor were sitting in their respective chairs. Clara was reading and the Doctor was sitting and staring at his steepled fingers.
After several chapters, Clara looked over at him. “What are you doing?” she asked.
He didn’t turn to her. “Sitting,” he answered.
Clara put down her book. “Yes, I see you’re sitting. You’ve been sitting for over an hour.”
“What are you doing then?” he asked.
Clara waved her book. “Reading.”
“Great, now that we’ve got that cleared up.”
“Doctor,” Clara persisted.
“I’m thinking,” he answered.
“Thinking about what?”
He turned to her. “What are you reading?”
She held up her book so he could see the spine. “Frankenstein.” She opened the cover. “A first edition if this printing date is to be believed.”
“Ah, Mary Shelly. You know, she was never the same after the goat incident.”
“That’s very interesting, but you didn’t answer my question. What have you been thinking about?”
He gestured towards the console. “The transcoil distributers.”
Whatever Clara expect, it wasn’t that. “You’re thinking about transcoil distributers?”
“Yes. They’re operating at fifty-five percent, I think there’s a way to get them up to fifty-eight, maybe sixty, if I’m lucky.”
“And you’ve been thinking about transcoil distributers for the last hour.” She sounded skeptical.
Clara reopened her book. “Okay then.”
A couple of chapters later Clara started to feel sleepy. She readjusted in her chair several times but couldn’t get comfortable. Eventually she decided on sitting on it sideways, her feet dangling across the other side. A few pages later, Clara’s neck started to ach. She tried leaning it sideways against the back of the chair, and that worked for awhile, but then she saw another option; the Doctor was sitting right there.
Clara leaned her head back and it fell against the Doctor’s arm. The Doctor’s hands immediately rose and he started to jerk away.
“No,” Clara commanded in a voice like she was training the family dog.
The Doctor froze and looked down at her. From his angle all he could see was hair. He slowly leaned away again.
“No,” Clara repeated. He froze again. “Stay,” Clara said still not looking at him.
The Doctor took a deep breath and considered. Then he slowly eased back into his chair and he felt her head’s weigh fall on his arm. “That’s the way,” she encouraged. “You can do it.”
For his part the Doctor hadn’t been paying much attention to Clara. He’d already figured out how to get the transcoil distributers up to sixty-one percent and had moved on to thinking about the shield capacitor. Clara’s head on his arm had startled him. This is Clara, he reminded himself. You trust her. You’d give your life for her. It’s okay. He breathed again and forced his body to relax, first his neck, then his shoulders, and then his hands gradually rested down onto the armrests.
Clara felt the change in his posture. “Good. Thank you,” Clara said, turning her eyes back to her book.
Several more moments passed, and the doctor was still thinking of the capacitor, still going over scenarios and possibilities, when he felt Clara’s hand clasp onto his. He tried to take his hand away but it was held fast. “Clara, what are you doing?”
“It’s a scary part,” she offered in explanation.
“For me or for you?”
“In my book,” she clarified.
“Books aren’t real life.”
Clara rolled her eyes. “I know.”
“Then why are you scared.”
“I’m not. Not really.”
“Then why are you holding my hand?”
“Because it’s a scary part. I told you.” She kept on reading her book.
A moment later the Doctor spoke again. “Clara, are you going to require me to hold your hand during all the scary parts?”
Her lips turned to a smile as she kept reading. “That would be nice.”
“And I am also to serve as your pillow whenever you are tired?”
She hummed low in her throat. “Yes,” she answered.
“Clara!” he complained.
She put her book aside once more and turned to him. “It’s just you and me now Doctor.” Her voice was soft, almost pleading. “Can you give me this?”
The Doctor looked down at their joined hands. It wasn’t so bad. Actually, it was a little bit nice. With her head on his arm he could smell her hair. That wasn’t too bad either. He didn’t like that he couldn’t see her face, but this was Clara; they’d put their hiding from each other behind them.
Could he give this one more thing to Clara? Yes, he decided, he could. He could take her hand whenever she was sad or scared. He could let her lean on his shoulder when she was sleepy. He could give this to Clara. To no one else, mind you. Just Clara.
“You’re the boss,” he said, grasping Clara’s hand more firmly.
“I’m not the boss,” Clara mumbled, turning back to her book but leaning more heavily into his arm.
A little while later the Doctor heard Clara’s breathing slow, and he looked down to find Clara had fallen asleep. A feeling of contentment filled him as he noted that her hand was still held snuggly in his. At some point the kitten had jumped in her lap and was contentedly purring. He hadn’t noticed it there and the Doctor determined to keep a closer eye on the creature; something that moved so quietly, he thought, was not to be trusted.