Heart of Steel
David Oswald is dead, killed by his enemies. The Doctor, his right hand man, sets out to find his daughter Clara to protect her from the same fate but once she realizes just what kind of business her father was in she is dead set on having her revenge. The Doctor is torn between protecting her from her father's enemies and giving her everything she wants because the little girl he once knew is now a strong willed and beautiful woman. Mafia AU.
Note: It says Mafia AU even though, strictly speaking, David Oswald was not a Mafia boss in this story but rather the head of a criminal organisation.
David Oswald was dead. No matter how hard he tried, the reality of what was right in front of him just wouldn't sink in, and yet the Doctor could tell by the blood and the figure lying limply on the desk which they had only picked out together a few months ago. David Oswald, his boss, his friend, was dead. Killed by his enemies. A part of him thought that he should have known and that he should have done something to prevent this. The Doctor was his right hand man and bodyguard, he should have known something like this would happen, especially after the past couple of days. His boss had acted differently of late. David Oswald had been one of the most powerful men in London, of course that was a position that came with enemies – a large number of them. Yet up until five minutes ago the Doctor had always thought they had been dealt with properly, the Oswald way. Dave must have known for days, he had taken precautions for something but never in his life had the Doctor imagined that something would be this.
Although he knew that it was fruitless the Doctor checked for a pulse, to be certain. None. He wouldn't have thought. There were only a handful of people capable of doing this and they would have been thorough. But who?
Looking around the Doctor found no clue, only a mess. The office had been turned upside down, papers scattered all over the place, drawers opened but he knew that, whoever had done this, they would never have found what they're looking for here and the knowledge filled the Doctor with relief but also a certain sense of dread. It wasn't over for him yet.
For a brief moment the Doctor considered the possibility that there may be witnesses, yet he knew that that was nothing but a dream. Of course there weren't any. David Oswald, his friend, always working late, had been murdered at a time during which he was most vulnerable, alone and unprotected. Just over an hour ago he had sent the Doctor away to pick up a few items and it had taken him too long to find a petrol station that still sold them at this hour. Maybe that had been part of Dave's plan? The Doctor dreaded to think about the idea that his boss had sent him away for his own protection. David Oswald. Dead. The city had instantly become a more dangerous place, especially for him and especially for everyone associated with Dave. The Doctor remembered his promise well, the one he had made his boss 28 years ago, the one Dave had asked him to make again just days ago and he would give his life to keep it. There was nothing more he could do now. His secretary would find the body in the morning, she would call the police and they would begin their slow process of investigation. The longer the news of his death remained unknown the better for him. He had a promise to keep and he would not fail, not this time. Grief would have to wait.
"Turn up the volume!" Clara shouted at the DJ over the dancing masses. There was no other mansion around for miles and they could be as loud as they wanted. And Clara had every reason to celebrate. Today she had handed in her final thesis after weeks of working on it and soon she would be given her degree in return and the part of her life that was university would be over. And she would also be turning 29 in just a few hours.
That was why Clara had invited everyone she knew to celebrate the occasion and turn this house upside down. As she glanced around Clara realized she might have gone a little overboard with the number of guests but she just shrugged it off and walked towards the bar to grab another drink.
"I am so jealous!" her friend Susie shouted at her. Well, she wasn't really a friend but someone Clara used to hang out with after classes. Susie was fun and so were the other girls, but they weren't real friends.
"Of what?" Clara asked back, struggling to raise her voice above the music without everyone else being able to follow their conversation.
Susie laughed. "You've got this house to yourself! Seriously, you're so lucky. I could either live in my parents' mansion with them or in my tiny London flat on my own."
Clara chuckled. Susie's tiny London flat was a loft and it had cost her parents' a couple million pounds. But it was true. Clara was lucky indeed. Her father was rich. Really, really rich, as were the parents of most of her guests, and Clara had never wanted for anything in her life. She had a cosy flat in London and she had this house that was practically her own now since her father spent most of his time at his other home closer to his office. This mansion was for the occasional weekend or the even rarer holidays and Clara used it whenever she could.
"Hey, let's go outside for a smoke," Clara suggested, grabbed her drink and led the way onto the patio where a couple of people were already gathering in groups.
She caught one of the guys looking at her and she vaguely remembered seeing him in her Shakespeare class, although she wasn't quite sure about that. He was cute and he smiled in her direction. Maybe she'd invite him to her bedroom later tonight when the party was beginning to bore her.
"Seamus is checking you out," Susie commented, nodding in the direction of the cute guy.
Clara lit her cigarette and gave her friend a shrug. "I'm not really interested in pretty, young men," she replied nonchalantly.
They stood outside in silence for a long while and Clara once again felt the emptiness creep up on her that had been haunting her the entire day. She had no idea where it had come from. Maybe it was just a normal side effect of finishing her education and the lack of ideas as to where she would be going from here. Her family had money, so whatever she did Clara was sure to land on her feet.
She inhaled deeply and blew the smoke out into the cool November air, admiring how the wind carried it away. Maybe she should ask her father for advice. They had always had a good relationship even though they hadn't seen much of each other in the past few years. He was always so busy and Clara had basically been left to herself after finishing school. Not that she had minded it so much back then, she had thoroughly enjoyed her freedom and used it in the best possible way. He wouldn't have approved of her friends or the parties at his home but right now Clara felt like she could use a few pointers.
"Maybe I should become a teacher," Clara mused and took another drag from her cigarette.
Susie laughed at her. "A teacher? You? Girl, you can do whatever the hell you like. You could travel around the world with your father's money!"
"I travelled before I started university. I'll travel more. But I need something to do, I think."
"You know what I think?" she giggled, "The drink's getting to your head. A teacher? That's insane."
Susie threw the cigarette to the floor and stepped on it, extinguishing it with her high heel. Clara followed her example, knowing that the cleaning staff would take care of it tomorrow morning after the last guests had left. Before they headed inside Clara threw one last glance in Seamus' direction. Yeah, maybe she'd have some fun with him later.
Clara was determined to head towards the dance floor, pushing her way through the crowd but somehow the thoughts about her future wouldn't leave her alone. She had to do something, but of course people like Susie would think teaching was below them, that was why Clara had no real friends in this room. Until she spotted him.
It had been years since she had last seen the Doctor, probably around the time of her graduation and she had no idea what he was doing here but there was one thing Clara knew for certain. She was happy to see him. A smile spread over her face as she made her way through the crowd towards him while he was still looking around, obviously trying to find her. Her heart danced wildly inside her chest the closer she came and a tingling started to spread through her legs and arms when Clara realized she had missed him more than she would have thought. And he was so much better looking than in her memory with his tall, lean body and his adorable silver curls. Clara had had a crush on her father's chauffeur for as long as she could remember but she had still been a child when he had driven her to school after every break. Now that she was a woman he might view her as more than just his boss' daughter. And maybe, just maybe, it would be him in her bedroom tonight instead of Seamus.
"Doctor!" she called out excitedly as she threw her arms around him in a tight embrace and his body instantly stiffened under her touch. Clara giggled when she remembered that he had hated hugs even then when they had said goodbye before he had left her at her boarding school.
She loosened her grip on him and smiled right into his handsome face. "It's so good to see you. How are you? What are you even doing here?" Clara asked, her voice almost flowing over with excitement but she didn't see the same sentiment on his face. He looked grim, maybe even sad.
"Clara, we need to leave," he said in a low but pressing manner, "Right now."
"What?" she huffed in confusion, "This is my birthday party. I can't leave. Come on, stay until midnight."
She smiled at him again, hoping to convince him to at least stay for a little while. She wanted to know why he was here and talk to him. And, yes, maybe something more than just talk but he seemed anything but in the mood for any of these things.
"Something has happened," the Doctor reached for her hand, holding on tight to her wrist, "You're in danger and I'm here to take you somewhere safe but we need to leave right away. Please, Clara, grab a coat and let's go. Do you have the key your father sent you?"
The key. Clara had almost forgotten about it. Yesterday a private courier had arrived with a package from her father, containing several birthday gifts. One of which she had found a little odd. A key her father had claimed had belonged to the first flat he had shared with her mother. And he had asked her to wear it on her at all times.
"Yes," she breathed in reply, "I have it. Why? What's going on?"
Something was wrong, Clara knew that now. She could tell by the look on his face.
"I'll explain everything once we're in the car," he said urgently, trying to pull her along but she resisted, "Clara, please, just trust me for now. Can you do that?"
He looked around nervously as if he was only waiting for something to happen or someone else to show up. Whatever he was up to, wherever he planned to take her, they would be alone and that was something Clara had intended for them from the moment she had spotted the Doctor. As for the trust, she had known him all her life. There was no one she trusted more, maybe not even herself. So Clara gave him a soft nod and let the Doctor drag her along. She only had time to grab her purse and her jacket before he pulled her outside where she already spotted a car parked right in front of the house. The gardener would be furious about the ruts in the gravel path but that wasn't her concern.
"Get in the car," the Doctor almost bellowed as he darted towards the driver's seat.
"Calm down! I'm getting in, aren't I?" Clara groaned in annoyance, opening the passenger door and climbing into the car.
He turned the key in the ignition the second they were inside and the motor sprang to life right before she could hear the gravel being propelled in all directions under the tires when he slammed his foot down on the gas pedal. They had just turned around and were heading towards the gate when Clara was starting to grow impatient.
"Okay, time for you to tell me what has happened and where we're going!" she demanded but before the Doctor could even reply there was an earth shattering noise that ripped through the night and left her ears ringing. Their path was instantly illuminated with an orange glow and when Clara turned around she realized that the house had gone up in flames.