"No, no, no, that's not right. What's she doing that for?"
"Oh but I didn't want to go here, come on, that's not fair!"
"Where's she taken us this time?" walking over to the door,
"Clara! Don't open the door!" Clara stopped, her hand on the door handle,
"Why?" She asked with a curious smile edging onto her face. "What's out there?"
"Ah, err, not sure. Better wait for the readings. There's a malfunction with the screen."
Clara walked towards the screen, pausing as she reached the console. The doctor kept edging the screen away from Clara as she stepped closer.
"There's nothing wrong with the screen is there?" She crossed her arms. "What aren't you showing me?" she grabbed for the screen, and smiled.
"Now don't go getting ideas, we are not staying." He hit the console as he passed. "Why are you doing this?" he muttered.
"Have you two had a falling out?"
"It must be bad for her to bring us here! She doesn't often take my side, what did you do?"
"I, didn't do anything." The lights went off. "Oh come on!"
"I might as well make the most of this while you two sort it out!" She went for the door, "Oh, I'd better change first; I can't go out there like this!" And she headed for the wardrobe, "thanks" Clara said as she passed the console. The engine noise started briefly then ceased, the lights turned back on.
"Now don't you gang up on me."
"Aren't you going to change? You'll stand out dressed like that!"
"Dressed like what?"
"It might be suitable for playing guitar on top of a tank to a crowd, but not for a private Ball in the 19th Century. I'll be right back."
"A Ball! No, no, n-" but Clara had already run off and was soon returning with attire suitable for a wealthy gentleman.
"There is no way I am wearing any of that, especially those ridiculous little shoes."
"Oh stop complaining and put them on."
"Oh suit yourself."
"I intend to."
Clara raced out the door, they were on the top gallery of the room, the TARDIS was hidden in the dark corner, and this part of the room was unused and therefore did not require candlelight. The dancing and festivities could still be clearly seen below. The music and laughter filled the room.
"Oh wonderful" sighed the doctor, rolling his eyes as he came to stand beside Clara, who was now looking over the gallery, anxiously trying to pick out one particular person. Not taking her eyes away from the sea of moving bodies below.
"You could have stayed inside."
"Ha! And leave you out here alone!"
"What do you think I am going to do? Are you trying to imply I am one of the silliest girls in England who cannot be trusted not make a fool of herself and her friends?"
"I don't think anyone can beat THAT girl." He pointed to a young girl, no more than 15, who was flirting and laughing outrageously with a group of officers.
"Ah, yes, Lydia Bennet."
"Oh you know her! Now I am glad I am accompanying you. I have a reputation to uphold."
"Come off it, I'm not going to act like her!"
"Remember how giddy and Lydia-like you became when you met your childhood hero! Robin Hood?!"
Clara didn't even reply, she left him and made her way down to the company, she had spotted who she was looking for standing just by the door.
"Oh, do excuse me." Clara said as she almost hustled right into a gentleman standing at the door, with two ladies by his side. "A beautiful house you have here at Netherfield, Mr Bingley." And with a slight curtesy she continued past without giving him a chance to respond.
"Charles, who is that young lady?"
"I have never met her before in my life! But she is quite possibly the most beautiful creature I have ever beheld." he gazed; mouth a-gape as she disappeared from sight.
"Clara! Can it be?!"
"Hello, my dearest Jane" Clara whispered gently in her ear as they clasped each other in an affectionate embrace which caused many close to them to look, utterly appalled, at the lack of property being shown in such an establishment.
"I have so desired to see you once more." Jane uttered delicately,
"Now I'm here, you can see as much of me," Clara paused teasingly, "as you would desire," embellishing a small wink in Jane's direction.
"I must say-"
"Ahem", the other lady beside them gave a coughing notion, as Mr Bingley was making his way towards them; face alight with a welcoming smile.
"Mr Bingley" said the newly found lady, giving a curtesy while he bowed.
"Miss Austen, I'm so glad you are here." He looked expectantly from Miss Austen to Clara.
"Please Sir; let me introduce to you a very dear friend of mine. Clara Oswald."
"And I'm the Doctor, nice to meet you" he said appearing from behind them, forcing Clara and Jane to shuffle apart as he offered his hand with a devilishly gleeful smile.
Bingley, taken aback slightly, took his hand and bowed "Doctor" and he paused, waiting for more, "Doctor who?"
"Ah so you've heard of me? Wonderful"!"
Bingley still looking shocked turned his attention back to the ladies.
"And are you enjoying the Ball Miss Oswald?"
"Yes, very much."
"Would you honour me with a dance?" He asked holding out his hand. She nodded hesitantly, and placed her hand on his as he led her away, she gave an imploring glance back towards Jane, grieved to be taken so quickly from her presence.
"Oh how wonderful Mr Bingley dances!" squawked a Mrs Austen, from her place behind them. "Even if it is with a, well.." Unable to find a negative thing to say about Clara, she took a sip from her drink.
"Why are you not dancing with Mr Bingley, Jane? Five thousand a year!"
"So you are Jane!" The doctor interjected
"Yes, and you are the friend of Clara" Jane said innocently, embarrassed by her mother's last comment.
The Doctor didn't like being referred to as 'the' friend, crossing his arms he turned his attention back to Clara, now gracefully moving her way down the dance floor. Jane and her mother were now in conversation, he could, of course overhear everything. He subdued a laugh, but he couldn't help the smile.
There was applause as the music finished and chatter arose until the next dance began. Clara not having returned had obviously been coaxed into a second dance with Mr Bingley.
"And how about you Sir, do you dance? You're sister dances so well!"
"The young lady dancing with Mr Bingley"
He looked towards Clara, "Oh, yes sister, of course." And he laughed,
"I feel you must be quite a proficient at it, see here young Jane is quite the dancer."
"Madame you are quite mistaken. I do not dance."
"What? Not at all? Come now, every man must enjoy a dance or two when there are pretty ladies and amusement to be had!"
" I assure you, I would rather resonate concrete."
"Resonate con- resonate, well oh my, what, unusual words you use." Placing a hand gentle upon her chest as she stumbled for something more to say in response.
"Only unusual to the primitive, less educated mind" he muttered under his breath but still ensuring he was loud enough to be over-heard. "Besides, any savage can dance." Mrs Austen stood there dumbfounded at being thus insulted in public by a stranger! That will not last long, she will soon find her natural skill at vocalising her disgust quite loudly throughout the night to anyone willing, or unwilling. Alas, it had already begun; she had of course spotted her sister. Although her sister were the more sensible of them she was quite at her ease to happily and very unnecessarily encourage Mrs Austen's poor nerves into a spasm. Mrs Austen bid herself excused and left Jane wholly to the company of a man whom she certainly did not approve of.
"I believe you and Clara have been writing to each other?" he asked, already knowing the answer but attempting to start up a conversation.
"Yes" she said gently, blushing ever so slightly. "Some very pretty verses Clara ha-."
"That hasn't stopped it?" raising an eyebrow in question.
"What do you mean?" she stumbled for the words.
"Don't you ever wonder who first discovered the power of poetry in driving away love?"
"Is not poetry the food of love?" he has started to unlock her playful teasing side,
"Yes I suppose," he paused "If it were only a fine, stout love it would yes. But now, hah listen to this" he bounced happily "If it is only a vague inclination, one poor sonnet would kill it stone dead."
"I cannot believe-"
"Well dear, do try to. I am never wrong."
"So what would you recommend to encourage affection?" Jane said getting ever so slightly riled at this man who insists upon insulting her beloved poetry.
He paused, looking at her rather intently. "Dancing" Jane looked immediately towards Clara, just finishing her second dance with Mr Bingely, she was making her way toward Jane. The doctor had slipped away, un-be known to Jane who was now standing perilously close to tears as she watch Clara, happy and laughing from her dance hasten her step.
"Jane, what's wrong?" Clara said concerned as she returned to her side, instinctively and subconsciously taking her hand.
"You're friend has, well he." A tear began to silently fall down her face. Clara tenderly wiped the tear with her thumb, and smiled, comforting Jane in as conspicuous way as was possible with the amount of wondering eyes around them.
"I think I may have caused your friend to dislike me somehow"
"Really." She said, looking at him dangerously. He made eye contact with her, saw he was perilously close to danger and quickly made to move in the opposite direction, but Clara didn't give him a chance to go far.
"Oi, what's your problem?" She grabbed his arm and pulled him to the side of the room, away from prying ears. "Would it kill you to be nice to her?"
"I do not possess the talent of being nice to those I have not met before."
"Well maybe you should take your Aunts advice an-" Clara paused short, realising she had naturally gone into quoting Pride and Prejudice, subconsciously the words flew out.
"You're impossible" and she left him standing there, sullen looking, but slightly amused. He headed back over towards Jane.
The two were strong in conversation when the Doctor appeared next to them, Clara completely blanking him took a sip of her drink whilst Jane stood awkward and silent.
"Miss Austen, I would like to, apologise for being, rude." There was an atmosphere still between the three of them but Clara's countenance was warming. The Doctor took this as a good sign. "I would be, honoured, if you would, dance the next with me." Jane agreed, and Clara smiled as he led Jane away. The dance started, and continued happily, Jane was enjoying the company of Clara's friend and had completely forgotten his previous rudeness. The end of dance applause again filled the hall and the doctor led Jane across the room, he paused suddenly in front of a mirrored door, stunned momentarily at his appearance.
"Sir, are you alright?" Jane delicately asked as she was almost pulled backwards from the abrupt stop with her arm still linked with his. He stood still, looking from his reflection, to his own body and back to his reflection.
"Yes, yes, quite alright thank you." He replied absentmindedly, settling his jacket and fiddling with various parts of his attire before giving a satisfied nod to himself.
"Shall we?" He offered his hand once again to Jane, who placed hers on top as he continued their original path back to Clara. Clara, meanwhile, had ample time from her watching place to fully admire the beauty that was Jane Austen.
Something she overheard from a quiet conversation behind her pulled her rapidly from her thoughts,
"Charles, who is that man dancing just now with Miss Austen?" Caroline quizzed her brother,
"I believe he is the brother of Miss Oswald. Very odd man." He replied half-heartedly as Clara had now stolen his attention yet again.
"Odd he may be, but with ten thousand a year one can overlook such a small detail. He is rather handsome."
"Handsome!?" Charles exclaimed, "My dear Caroline, do you really think so?"
Caroline refused to answer, she was staring at the Doctor with confused wonder, her gaze moved onto the young lady on his arm, gliding beside him, her eyes narrowed almost to slits as she fired jealous, spiteful glares at an unaware Jane.
"I don't know what he sees in her though." She spat through pursed lips.
"Her face is too thin; her complexion has no brilliancy; and her features are not at all handsome."
"Oh, come now Caroline." She ignored his hushes to silent her,
"Her nose wants character; there is nothing marked in its lines."
"If I didn't know better, Caroline, I would say you were jealous".
"Her teeth are tolerable, but not out of the common way; and as for her eyes, which have sometimes been called so fine, I never could perceive anything extraordinary in them. They have a sharp, shrewish look, which I do not like at all; and in her air altogether, there is a self-sufficiency without fashion which is intolerable." Finally she stopped, Charles stood aghast at having his sister so openly insult one of his guests, especially in such close proximity of Jane's dear friend, who had now turned to face them. Mr Bingely blushed profusely as his eyes met hers, she was not amused, far from it, she was returning a glare that put Caroline's to shame. Caroline caught this and took leave of her current position with an air of snobbery. Charles was left there alone, standing awkwardly for a moment looking at Clara, whose eyes were still piercing daggers into Caroline's long thin back as she meandered her way through the guests, before he headed off into the opposite direction.
"I haven't seen that look for a while." The doctor observed quietly as he arrived next to her. "It's rather amusing seeing it from here, I am normally on the receiving end of it!" This last statement came across a little too excited, it did however arouse Clara from her thoughts and ever-deepening dislike for the woman.
"I didn't know you could dance that well." She said turning to look at him, her countenance had calmed upon seeing that friendly face. Despite everything, the doctor has always been her best friend, no matter how much he annoys her; she couldn't stay mad at him for long.
"Yes, well, I said I don't dance, not that I couldn't dance. Besides, I have a personal admiration and favour for this style dancing. It is far more, elegant an-"
"Elegant!?" Clara exclaimed folding her arms, turning fully to look at him bewildered. "Since when have you cared for elegance?" she smiled teasingly, it was now his turn to glare at her. "I still remember when you were prancing around the dance floor like a drunk giraffe." And she started laughing gently. His disapproval deepened.
"That wasn't me, well, it wasn't me as this body." He was getting slowly agitated, "well what do you expect, the man wore a bow tie, you can't expect his dancing to be much better." Clara, still laughing placed her fingers over her mouth in an attempted to stifle the giggles.
"Speaking of bowties, you do look handsome in those clothes." He didn't respond as he looked aimlessly away from her.
"I thought you said you intended to suit yourself?" she edged slowly, trying to elicit a response from him.
"Well, you did a great job, I like your taste" she winked at him. That caused a reaction,
"Ha!" He laughed. "I forgot I was battling against you two."
"Us two?" she asked innocently.
"I can recognise when my clothes are holographic Clara", it was his turn to fold his arms.
"Yeah sure, why didn't you say anything?"
"Would there be much point if I had?" raising his eyebrows,
"Not really no." she admitted, "but don't annoy me anymore, otherwise you'll be standing in the middle of this room in nothing but your birthday suit. Oh good Lord no…." Clara trailed off; she had just noticed that Jane had not been with them, she had in fact been stopped by the most odious man in the room.
"What?" the doctor followed her eye line, and there was Jane edging slowly backwards as a rather feeble, snivelling, rather tall, heavy-looking man of five-and-twenty kept creeping forward.
"Ah, I think your damsel in distress needs rescu-" he paused short as Clara had already left him and rushed over towards Jane.
"Jane, come with me." She grabbed Jane by the hand and ran out the room, the stares and mutters of everyone followed them again, and the doctor took his cue to follow them out.
Clara led Jane up to the gallery and to the TARDIS hiding in the corner.
"Oh" Jane let out breathlessly, "Is that the TARDIS that you spoke of in your letters?" Clara's face lit up as she watched Jane's emotions go through the normal motions upon first seeing the blue box, surprise to amazement and finally to settle on excitement. She walked timidly towards it as if it were a wild animal, and stretched out her arm,
"It looks different from your descriptions, not at all what I'd imagined" She touched the frame of the door.
"So, how about it?" Jane asked hopefully,
"How about what?"
"Travel with me?"
"What!?" Jane spun round, "Travel with you, in that?"
"Don't you want to travel the world with me?" she asked gently with a hint of misunderstood worry. "In your letters you said you would give anything to be with me. Is it not still true?"
"Of course it's true, but I never thought-" she paused looking back at the blue box, now towering over her like a mountain casting her in shadow as the fear of the moment momentarily over took her. "They will wonder where I am, father would worry about me."
Clara pulled Jane into a comforting embrace.
"Did I not mention it was a time machine?" Clara whispered gently into her ear,
"I know nothing of these things Clara, it is not my place to-"
"Jane," Clara pushed her away so they were looking each other in the eyes. "It's a time machine, it means we can go on adventures for as long as we want, and then return to this exact moment, well, not the exact moment but a few minutes later."
"Really? So no-one will know I have gone?" excitement flooded through her at this thought, she could save herself from the dread of having to say goodbye to her beloved Clara a little while longer at least.
"Do I take that as a yes?"
"Yes, Clara. Most definitely yes." And she unconsciously hugged Clara, luckily no-one below could see this, because it quickly turned into a passionate kiss, disrupted only when the Doctor came barging through the door.
"Oh don't mind me" he said as he pushed his arm between the two of them, forcing them to shuffle apart once again, as he put the key into the door and pushed it a jar.
"I assume from the happiness of that kiss that this is not a sad parting?" he waited for an answer but received none as Clara and Jane had now returned to gazing into each other's eyes. He sighed,
"I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty lady can bestow… at least we know where she got the inspiration for that line!" Clara shot him a look,
"Line, what does he mean Clara?"
"Never mind that for now Jane."
"Shall we?" the Doctor said as he raised his arm to the door and walked towards it and disappeared behind it.
"Ready?" Clara offered her hand and Jane took it, the doctor popped his head back around the door with that cheeky smile he always wore.
"Oh and Jane, you'd better brace yourself."